April 30, 2013

Nursery Sign - Dream Big

Yesterday I just finished the big sign that will go over the baby's crib.  Here it is!

I had originally designed the whole thing to be a big vinyl sticker, but the vinyl and I had a fight and I lost.  So, plan B was started.  I purchased this large sheet of MDF for about $6.  It's not the thinnest kind they sell, but the second thinnest.  I sketched out a cloud and my rockstar dad cut it out for me.

I took the cloud and spray painted it white first.  It took a fair amount of coats because MDF really sucks in the paint. 

April 29, 2013

Mommy School - Summer School Plan 4

My boys love, love, love art.  As much as Rex likes superheroes, he's torn between his loves.  He says he either wants to be a policeman (which I figure is the closest he can think of to being a superhero) or an artist.  So, I want to spend a week of the summer on just art.  

I figured we'll pick an artist a day.  We can learn about the artist and try out his or her "style."  

1) First up is Eric Carle.  Baden is obsessed with him.  It's funny that he has a favorite author when he's only 3, but he'll sit and listen to any Eric Carle book.  I think it's the bright, bold art he loves.  And honestly, I love Eric Carle too.  I found a great short video to start with HERE.  It shows him working on his art and explaining his love of color.  It's less than 3 minutes, so it won't be hard for the boys to sit through.

Then I think we'll paint papers in different bright colors like he does.  We'll cut them into shapes to create our own pictures.  Here are a couple examples of kids attempting his art that I found.

2) Next up we'll talk about Vincent Van Gough.  We'll read the main summary about him HERE.  However, I want to emphasize to the boys that he wasn't very successful or accepted in his lifetime and only sold one painting.  I think it's neat for them to understand that we can follow our hearts and passions - even if others don't always understand us.

April 28, 2013

Sunshine Sunday - muscles, crowns, and self portraits

First off, thank you all SO, SO, SO much for your kind comments on Friday's post.  Your comments really buoyed me up and I appreciate how kind and understanding you all are.  Thank you.

If you follow me on IG you've seen most of these pictures, but I didn't get out my big camera this week.

Baden has been getting better about eating his veggies and I always stress how they make our bodies strong.  He had to stop and show my after every single bit of veggie soup how much bigger his muscles were because of the bite he just ate.  I think he looks like his eyes are going to pop out of his head if he flexes any harder.

Both boys have been doing a lot of creating lately, which I love to see.  They'll see a box or a basket around the house and tell me that they could use it to make something really cool.  It makes me proud of them to see them stretching their minds and re-using things.  Baden made his own crown the other day and wore it everywhere we went - even to the doctor's office.

Some of you asked how Baden does at dressing himself now that he can reach all his clothes.  Well, we have a bit to learn about matching still, but he's pretty proud of doing it all by himself. 

April 26, 2013

Something's Gotta Give.....

I wanted to you you readers a quick heads up about something.  I've been thinking about my life and blog a lot lately and where I want things to go.  And I've made some decisions.

You see, I feel like I've been spreading myself way too thin in the past couple of months.  I've allowed too many things to be put on my plate and I'm not doing any of them as well as I'd like to.  That means something has to give.

I heard a phrase years ago that stuck with me.  It said, "A good woman knows her limits."  I know that I can't handle everything right now.  I'm exhausted from the pregnancy.  I'm trying to blog.  I have a lot of responsibilities at church.  I'm trying to cook whole foods and make pretty much everything from scratch for our family.  I'm trying to be a good wife and mom and......I had a real breakdown about it all this morning.

So?  What does all this blabbering mean?  I've decided that I'm going to take the summer off of blogging.  June through August you won't find a new post here.  I want to really appreciate and savor the birth of what will probably be our last child.  I want to be a good mom to my two boys and not feel like I'm going to snap any second.  I want to sit in the backyard and watch my boys play.  I want to just take more time to appreciate all I've been given rather than worrying about all I have to do.

While the blogging has been a huge blessing in my life, it also can be kind of stressful.  I have hundreds of unanswered emails in my inbox right now and that truly weighs on me.  I read about how to promote my blog through all the social media channels and it makes me feel like there is no possible way to keep up with that.  I don't have that to give.  There are more important things in my life.  In 2012 I started to run ads on here and make some money.  It was really helpful to our family during some hard times.  While it was helpful to have made some money blogging, I don't want that to govern the way I spend my time.  I don't want to worry about page views.  I want to worry about being more patient with my boys.

I thought about different ways to keep things going here, like guest posts or contributors but every time I've tried to conceive a way for blogging to take less time it takes more.  And the idea of taking off the summer makes me feel a huge release.  I don't do things half way.  It's not in my nature.  I tried slowing down my blogging speed, but it just doesn't work for me.  I'm kind of all or nothing.

At the end of the summer I figure I'll reevaluate things and decide if I'm ready to come back or if I'm just done.  For now I plan on posting through May and I have some fun projects to share, but that's all I can promise for now.

If you want to have updates on regular life, I'll still be on Instagram (@mommaroars) through the summer but that's about it.  I just wanted to give you all a heads up so that I'm not randomly leaving you hanging come the end of May.

Thank you for your kindness and support and your understanding.  I have been so lucky to have you visit here for so long.  See you tomorrow.

April 25, 2013

Painted Bins and a Bathroom Update

This is the last bathroom update and the next post I do on it will be the big reveal.  Hallelujah!  I'm so excited that it's almost done.

So in the area that has the throne....

...there's some shelving to the left.  I want it to look nice enough that I don't feel it has to be covered up.  I had some of these bins there, but they were an almond color and didn't match the new look.

So?  My mom always taught me you can paint anything.  So I took these babies through a spray paint car wash.  Then I came back and painted the handles gray.  Much better.  I found the little bins above on clearance and I think I'll painted some other baskets I already have to fill up the other shelves.

April 24, 2013

What I Love Wednesday - the Honest Company

After totally changing the way we eat in our home and going totally "clean," it made me start to look at other things in our home.  Ideally, I'd like to use the most natural products I can.  I want to clean up what I use for makeup, cleaning products, and more.  So, when I got the chance to review laundry products from the Honest Company I jumped at the chance.

First let me tell you about the company.  The Honest company was started by a mom and dad who were getting a little worried about questionable ingredients in the products they used at home.  They wanted to create an honest company, that would offer effective, affordable, safe, and eco-friendly products.

The Honest company now sells a lot of different products - diapers and wipes, cleaning products, laundry products, and even personal care products.  I love the idea of having products that you don't have to hide from your kids.

The dryer clothes were the product I was most anxious to try.  I don't like regular dryer sheets.  Then I switched to one that was a spray, but it didn't remove any static from my laundry.  These dryer clothes were great.  They pull out and look like a wet wipe.  They were fully effective.  I had no static in the laundry.  There's very little scent to them - which I like.

The laundry detergent was also great.  It cleaned all my loads of laundry well and my clothes came out smelling fresh, but not overly scented.

 I wanted to really put the stain remover to the test.  When switching to natural products I think there's always a worry that they won't be as effective.  I had a lot of laundry from one of my son's bloody noses.  (Maybe that's gross to talk about, but that's the toughest stain I ever have.)  I tried out the stain remover on a sheet where the blood had dried for many days.

I had to search the sheet to find the stain after washing it.  If you look really hard you can just barely see it, but I also didn't let the stain remover soak very long.  I threw it right into the washer.  It did a lot better than what I have used in the past.

Do you want to start making your home an Honest home?  Here are a few ways to make the transition or learn more.

- Sign up for their emails HERE.

- Try out a free sample of their diapers HERE.  (They are the cutest diapers I've ever seen.)

- Get a free trial of their cleaning products HERE.

It's so nice to be able to try things out before you commit.  

And here's a great coupon code to use.  Get $10 off of your $40 order by using the code: 10off40Pollinate.  
(Limited to first-time customers and one use per customer. Expires May 8, 2013.)

You can find the Honest company on Facebook, Twitter, or their blog.

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and The Honest Company  but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #NaturallyHonest  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.”

April 23, 2013

Nursery Art - printing on vintage pages

I'm working on a small gallery wall for the nursery and I wanted to add a little art to a clipboard I have hung on the wall.  So, I brainstormed some ideas and here's what I ended up with.  It was really easy to do.  It's not free-handed or anything.  I'll show you.  I'll probably put another patterned paper around it to frame it.

First off I googled "hot air balloon picture" and found a simple sketch that worked.  I printed it on an old dictionary page, just by taping the page lightly in the middle of the regular piece of paper.  My printer is not friendly and it still worked.

Then I got out the kids' watercolors and started to paint the balloon.  I like how you can still see and read the page.  I picked the page that said "sweet" at the top.  Yes, my fingers are crossed that that's what's she'll be :)  (Though I'm thinking it'll probably be feisty.)

April 22, 2013

Mommy School - Summer School Plan 3

The third week of Mommy school will be about the of the world.  We'll learn about the continents and how they differ from each other.  I thought this would be good after learning about the planets and space the week before.  Here are a few activities we plan on doing.

1) I want to make a big map for the boys to see.  I figure I can print one off at Staples as a blueprint so it'll only be $3 and they can color it.  Then we'll play continent Twister like I saw HERE.  That'll give them a brief intro to each continent and then we can spend a day on each one.

2)  After spending a LOT of time looking for ideas on teaching the boys about the different countries and what animals live there, what the climate is like, what traditions they have, etc. I couldn't find a whole lot.  Then I came upon this app for an iPad.  It's called Barefoot World Atlas, and it's based on a series of books you can find HERE.  You can watch a demo video about the app HERE.  The downside is that it's $4.99, but that's a whole lot of info for the price and I think it will be a really cool way for the boys to learn about their world.  The demo video had me hooked.

3) I'd like us to do some cooking from some of the different cultures.  We already eat a lot of different types of foods, so maybe I'll have the boys put a sticker on our map to show where the meal we're eating comes from.  Even our fruits we eat as snacks would be fun to put on the map.  

Silhouette Winner and Posting Later...

So our random Silhouette Portrait winner is:

If you didn't win, you can still take advantage or the promo HERE.

Also, my regular scheduled Mommy School Summer Plan post will be up a little late this morning.  Thanks!

April 21, 2013

Sunshine Sunday - a new week to come

 This week was more like the kind that makes you happiest when you know it's over.  On a good note, I got a lot done, but sometimes the more I get done the more I realize how much there still is to do and I just feel like I can't possibly do it all.  If you've emailed me in the past few months and I haven't responded, I am very sorry.  I'm way backed up there as well, but I'm trying.  My husband got the flu yesterday.  I'm hoping none of us get it, but only time will tell.  Blah, blah, blah.  On with the more uplifting stuff.

The other night I left the boys in the tub with the jets on, at their request.  I didn't realize how the jets would multiple that little bit of shampoo that was in the tub.  I came back in a little bit and found this.  That was a close one.  The boys were having a blast, though.  (Random side note: That yellow in the water is a blow-up duck and not pee.  I promise.)

I caught a little moment after his bath where this guy was willing to smile and let me take a picture.  Oh how I love that face.

This guy found the photo booth program on my iPad and I now have hundreds of odd pictures of him. He really enjoyed it.  Most of the photos are of the ceiling or his finger.  You gotta start somewhere, right?

And the nursery is finally all painted.  Hallelujah!  More to come on that later.  I still have a couple projects to finish there.

So here's to a new week.

Thanks for stopping by.

April 20, 2013

Soapbox Saturday - Monkey Bar Storage

After posting about our garage clean out I received an email from Monkey Bar Storage.  They asked if I'd like to try our their garage bike rack.  It mounts to the wall and holds up to 6 bikes.  I thought this would be a great way to clear some space in our garage and I was really excited to get it on the wall.

It only uses 4 feet of wall space and it holds different types of bikes.  See the hooks that the tires can sit it?  It makes it really easy to load and remove them.

So here's what ours look like right now.  

I figure that we'll still keep the boys' bikes down for the summer, but this will be great when winter hits again.  Then we won't have to do a little dance around all the items in the garage to get the snowblower out each time.

So here's what I really liked about the bike rack:

- It was easy to install.  You can move the mounts to hit the studs correctly.
- The hooks for the bikes make loading and unloading them simple.
- It can save lots of space in the garage.

Here's what I didn't like:

- If you don't have high ceilings in your garage and you're mounting large bikes, they won't really be out of the way as much.  It would still work well with kid's bikes and a lower ceiling, though.

So if you need some extra space in your garage, you can find this bike rack HERE and you can find a lot of other great storage items HERE on their web site.

Thanks for reading.

April 18, 2013

Clothing Stickers, A Silhouette Promo, and Giveaway

It's time for another Silhouette promo and this one is awesome.  It's for the machine and vinyl - which is what I think everyone uses the most.  There's also a simple entry giveaway at the end of this post.

So, as I'm nesting for the baby I'm trying my best to make things in the house low-maintenance.  I'm trying to teach the boys how to do more things on their own.  Recently I decided it was time to tackle Baden's closet.  It has these weird, deep shelves that I've never been able to utilize well which meant I had most of the things he needed to high for him to reach.

So I purchased some inexpensive bins for his clothes.  (He doesn't have a dresser.)  Then I used some vinyl to make labels, so it's easy for him to know where things are.

The decals were made by googling "long sleeve shirt silhouette" for example and then importing the image and tracing it.  Not only can he find things now, but he can put away all his own laundry.  Victory.

Since he's only 3 he's not really into folding yet, but I really don't mind.  I figure the world won't end if his pants are in a bin unfolded.  

April 17, 2013

What I Love Wednesday - Women with Heart

One of the greatest blessings of blogging has been "meeting" all of you.  I feel really lucky to "know" you guys.  There have been so many times where you have touched my life.  It may have been through a comment or a thoughtful email.  It may be just getting to know you through your blog.  I love feeling connected you - knowing that we have so much in common.

As I've gotten to "know" some of you I am so impressed with the bright, shining spirits you have.  I learn from you a whole lot.  And sometimes I ache with you as I read about your struggles.  And sometimes I want to reach through the computer screen and hug you.  I know it may sound silly, but I believe that as women that we really need that connection and that we can an amazing ability to uplift one another.

Today's What I Love Wednesday is about a reader who is so kind.  Her name is Ko.  I started reading her blog a while ago and I just love her sincerity.  She and her husband have two boys and feel very strongly that they are supposed to adopt a girl from India.  They have been saving for a long time and they were recently accepted into the India adoption program.

Ko has an etsy shop to help raise money for the adoption.  She sells really cute stuff at killer prices.  (You should raise your prices, Ko :)  Anyhow, I thought it might be fun to spread the word about her shop to all of you and see if we couldn't rack up a little extra business for her.  She didn't ask me to do this, but I thought it would be fun.

See how cute her stuff is?  I think I'll do a little shopping for the baby there.

So, you can find her shop HERE and her blog HERE.

And because I know there are a lot of you out there trying to do good things (even though I can't write about all of them) please feel free to link to a cause you're involved with or a shop you have.  Maybe we can all help each other out a bit.

Thanks for reading.

April 16, 2013

DIY Blackout Curtains and the Nursery Update

Random Sidenote before we start: I'm bringing back the "water cooler" chit chat at the end of the posts, so feel free to chime in.  Thanks!

There's still lots to be done in the nursery.  I have half of it painted and half is still brown.  I have a lot of organizing to do as well in there.  However, there is some progress being made.  The curtains are up.  I thought I'd shop you how I like to do black out curtains for nurseries.  It's crazy simple.

So you can buy this black out fabric at fabric stores.  I've seen lots of tutorials on how to sew them as lining into your curtain panels.  However, I say don't do it!  These are the same panels I've used in every nursery.....

....because I just clip them in behind the curtain panels.  They don't even have to be as long as the curtains.  (The curtains are floor length but the panels just past the window.)  Then when I redecorate I can use them again and again.

You don't even see them sticking out from the curtains, but they do their job.

April 15, 2013

Mommy School - Summer School Plan 2

Here are some ideas for week 2 of our Summer Mommy School.  I picked the theme of Space for the week.  Here are a few links/ideas that we'll be trying.

1) Make a rocket out of recycled materials.  (The original source isn't a blog anymore, so I don't have  a link.  However, it's pretty self-explanatory.)

2) I might have to let the boys splurge on some Oreos just because this moom phase idea is really cool.  You can find it HERE.

3) Here's a good filler worksheet for basic, simple math and coloring fun.  It's HERE.

April 14, 2013

Sunshine Sunday - 7 months, blankets, and forts

I'm now past the 7 month mark, which is exciting to me.  I passed my second glucose test which means no gestational diabetes!  I was SO relieved.  I'm still having a really hard time with reflux,  heartburn, and exhaustion, but knowing it will all be done in less than two months makes it better.  

Here's the bathroom and I at 7 months.  The bathroom will be done pretty soon and I'm thrilled.  My parents have been super-duper helpful with it.

My mom made this little blanket for the baby and I can't get enough of it.  (Feel free to ignore my hideous feet.)

The boys somehow talked my husband into putting Nutella on their toast the other morning.  Baden wasn't really good at destroying the evidence.  Caught him.

The boys and I have been building forts like crazy lately.  I let them sleep in one together the other night.  It took over 2 hours for them to fall asleep, but they sure had fun.  They try to match their PJs to each other every night.  Somewhere along the line Rex decided he was too hot and had to remove his shirt.  That meant Baden had to as well.  They crack me up.

And that was our week.


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