Archive for the ‘crafty things’ Category

Valentine’s Day has turned into Valentine’s month around here…well, the first 14 days of this month.  I saw this idea on Pinterest and really wanted to do it.  Then I found these mailboxes in the dollar bin at Target and voila!

I just Mod Podged on a letter for each kid (and one for Trav, too!), found some candlesticks at a thrift store and spray painted them black.  Each day in February leading up to Valentine’s Day, the kids and Trav got a special note inside the box.  For the kids, I wanted to point out little things I love about them and things that make them special.  So each day they pulled out a little note like this and a little treat (yay for the Dollar Store!)…

More dollar store fun…Dollar Tree has basic white plates for $1.  Awesome!  I figured even if I completely screwed up a Valentine’s Day plate, I’d only be out a buck.  I tried to do a handprint plate with the kids hands making a heart shape.  Pinterest idea…and it bombed.  Then I thought that maybe I could make hearts out of thumbprints…and it worked.  Each family member contributed a thumbprint heart, and the plate was done!

I’ve loved doing this with my kids over the last 14 days.  They get so excited to come to breakfast and see if the red flag is up on their mailboxes.  And then they love listening to me read what their note says.  Molly would end each note with a little giggle and a big hug, while Owen would often make suggestions about what he’d like his next note to say.  For example, one day I wrote how much I love to hear him sing.  He wasn’t a big fan of this note and requested that the next day I comment about how much he loves Batman and Joker.  Goofball…I don’t think he totally got the point.

Anyway, Valentine’s month has been great.  I don’t know if it’s made as much of an impact on the kids as it has with me.  Focusing on the wonderful things about my kids that make them special has helped me focus on the positive things when they’re screaming at each other and fighting over the same toy!

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

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Thanks to Pinterest, my Christmas budget was a bit more frugal this year.  Because I think it’s fun to see what other people create, I’m going to share what I’ve created with you!  If you have no interest, just skip this post.  But some of you crafty types like this kind of post, right?

Here we go…

First, Owen made a handprint Christmas tree on a 16×20 canvas for Mimi and Dada.  And Molly made a footprint/handprint reindeer for them with a red thumbprint nose.

Next, the kids and I made a handprint/footprint wreath platter for Nana and Bubba.   Owen’s handprints were in dark green and Molly’s handprints and footprints were in lighter green.  Then I drew the bow and q-tipped the holly berries…and voila!  I had a hard time giving this one up…I may need to make one for myself.

Last, Abbey and I got together and made presents for friends and teachers.  My mom and mother-in-law were also the recipients of these presents.  We made neckwarmers and handwarmers out of flannel material stuffed with rice that we scented with peppermint essential oil.  And we also made sugar body scrubs for the shower.  These were SO easy and I love the way they make your skin feel in the shower!  We made peppermint body scrub, lavender body scrub, and brown sugar spice body scrub.  These gifts were so easy, fun to make, and budget-friendly.

There you go…crafty Christmas 2011.

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Pinterest!  Not what you expected me to say, right?  But it’s true.  I can’t get enough.  I am rarely on Facebook anymore, haven’t checked the blogs on my blogroll in at least a week (no offense to my fellow blogger friends), and have been delinquent in responding to emails.  All because of my new obsession.  If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet…DO IT!  You won’t regret it.

If you have no idea what this Pinterest thing is, here’s a quick explanation.  Basically it’s website you can join (similar to Facebook) where people share pictures of things they like in different categories (crafts, kid stuff, recipes, home decor, travel, music, movies, books, etc…).  I thought it sounded lame when I first heard about it.  I honestly thought it would be another time waster that I didn’t need.  But then one night while Travis was out of town I decided to see what all the fuss was about.  After three hours online I had to MAKE myself stop…and I was hooked.  My one worry was that I wouldn’t actually create anything that I saw…but I’ve already made a few things that I’ve seen on Pinterest and I have a long list of projects waiting in the wings.  Here are some of the things I’ve made….

1.  My new knife block.  My first project.  It used to be boring a boring butcher block, but add a fun paint color and a last name initial…Voila!

2.  My second project…Thanksgiving handprint plate.  A cheap plate, some enamel gloss paint from Hobby Lobby,  and my son’s hand made this one happen.  It’s not food safe, but I’ll just display it every year at Thanksgiving and remember how sweet and little Owen’s hand used to be.

3.  My newest project and the one I’m most excited about…pajama pants!  I got a sewing machine for Christmas last year but never had time to learn how to use it.  Now that Travis is traveling so often, I’m having time to figure it out.  Jo-Ann’s had flannel on sale for $3 a yard last week and I bought three different materials to make him some new jammies…and it was about time.  His had become capri pants…not cool for a four- year-old boy.  Here’s my first pair…army guy pants.  I wasn’t crazy about the fabric but knew Owen would love it and I was right.  He wore them for 24 hours straight when I finished them.

My second pair…robots.  And a $2 shirt from Goodwill.  Cheap jams.

And the third pair…sports theme with a $3 Walmart shirt.

I also made teacher gifts for the kids’ teachers, but I won’t share that quite yet because some of my most loyal readers just might be getting the same thing for Christmas.  So if you haven’t already…go check out Pinterest.  It will change your life forever.  Seriously.

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We’d had a green kitchen (technically called wasabi green) since we moved into our house.  It was the color I wanted.  At first.  It loved it for a while.  It was bright.  It was cheerful.  It was kitcheny!  But it wasn’t very flexible.  There aren’t too many colors that go well with this certain green.  And anything red made it look Christmasy.  It was time for a change.  I learned that choosing the right color of beige is super ANNOYING.  I thought I’d picked the right color and spent an entire naptime painting the kitchen and dining room…only to discover that it looked purple when on the walls.  Not what I had in mind.  Then I went the smart route and got samples of beiges and for a couple of days my walls looked like this:

After looking at the colors in all different lights, I chose Urban Putty from Sherwin Williams.  After getting it on the walls and redecorating a bit, I love it!  I love having more color in the room through accessories.  I found this fun table runner at World Market and love the colors it introduces in the room.

In my kitchen I’d always had a chalkboard/corkboard combo that helped me organize my life.  Well…it never looked organized.  It always looked chaotic and made my kitchen feel cluttery.  That corkboard is still an essential part of my life, but it now has a new home in the stairwell leading down to the basement.  And the wall in my kitchen (the only wall in my kitchen that has any room for hanging things) now looks like this:

I discovered through this decorating adventure that hanging plates is NOT easy.  All those plate hanging hooks that you can buy are tricky!  I couldn’t get them to work with my plates.  I ended up buying some super strong glue and sawtooth hangers and gluing them on the backs of the plates.  I haven’t heard any shattering glass in the middle of the night…so far so good.  I also thought this was a fun idea that my friend, Abbey, gave me.  I found a fun piece of scrapbook paper, framed it, and then used a dry erase marker to write a verse on it.  It only cost me 50 cents for the paper so I can change it out with the season…or whenever I get tired of it.

Moving on to the part that I love the most…the kids now have an art corner!  Our house is small without a whole lot of storage space (upstairs).  All the kids’ art supplies used to be stored in the top of Owen’s closet.  Not very convenient.  And, to be completely honest, I often didn’t suggest doing art activities with the kids because it was such a pain to get everything down.  I have this shelf in my dining room that has always been home to decorative cake plates and the like.  I had a vision of turning that into an accessible art corner for the kids…and now the dream is a reality!

I love the see through containers so the kids can choose what they want to play with without having to be able to read.  A little chalkboard paint and a white paint pen made my little organized-obsessed self very happy.  Everything has a label.  Bliss.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this.  Ever since I put this together, the kids are obsessed with doing projects.  They can easily find their own supplies and get started without as much reliance on me.  The little table is now right next to the art shelf so they can get right to work.  It’s working out so great.  I wish I’d done it years ago!


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Lately it seems rare when we have nothing on the calendar.  There were an abundance of these days, it seemed, during the summer when we longed for routines to kick back into gear.  Now I relish the days we can wake up, stay in jammies most of the morning, and never leave the house.  Today was one of those days.

When I was a kid, I loved making forts.  My brother and I used to spend hours in the unfinished area under the basement stairs, making tunnels out of cardboard boxes and blankets.  This morning the kids and I created our first fort together.  We have no unfinished nook in the basement that’s perfect for fort-building, but we do have a pretty large dining room table that provides the bones for a really great fort.  Lots and lots of blankets later, this was produced:

The kids thought they’d died and gone to heaven. 

We played with the Thanksgiving pilgrims and Indians, read books by flashlight, and worked really hard on remembering not to stand up inside the fort.  Several bumped heads and tears later, this lesson was learned.

Owen played in the fort for 2 hours this morning.  Molly thought it was awesome but really delighted in knocking over all the army guys that Owen had so carefully set up.  I long for the day when she’ll just leave his stuff alone.  Will that ever happen?? 

This was one of those lazy mornings that I wish we could have more often.  I got the chance to play with the kids and I didn’t once worry about all the other things I should be doing around the house.  The laundry can wait.  The dust will still be there tomorrow.  It was just what we needed. 

…And then I realized I’d gotten too distracted while playing with Owen and Molly was way too quiet.  What was she doing??  Eating dirt out of one of my plants.  Awesome.

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little chef

A few days before Halloween, Owen helped me make sugar cookie cut-outs.  We made sure Molly was fast asleep (because that’s the ONLY way anything gets done around here), put on our aprons, and got to work. 

Step 1:  Wash those hands!

Step 2:  Measure the dry ingredients.

Step 3:  Sift, sift, sift!

Step 4:  Mix, stir, and blend with the spatula.  (Funny story, Owen kept saying, “Mommy, can I use the bachelor?”.  I told him that it was actually called a spatula and he said, “That’s what I said.  The bachelor!”.  I guess you all now know what TV show is my guilty pleasure.

Step 5:  Yum…time to lick the beaters. 

Step 6:  The fun begins…it’s time to cut out shapes with the cookie cutters.

Step 7:  The cookies are out of the oven!  Time to let them cool.

Step 8:  Taste testing is a must.  You always have to make sure the food isn’t gross! 

Step 9:  Decorating the cookies with icing and sprinkles.  (Owen and his buddy, Jackson, got to do this together.  Jackson was WAY more into it than Owen.  Owen was really just there for the eating part.)

Step 10:  The eating part.  See what I mean?  Icing has been smeared on and there’s a significant lack of sprinkles, but there’s a whole lot of cookie eating going on!

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Our little artist thoroughly enjoyed her first scribble date with Mommy.

Her finished product…with a few rips and tears.  She discovered the paper was taped to the table and tearing it became way more interesting than coloring.

And then the empty apple juice container was just so much fun to put the crayons into.  This kept her attention way longer than the coloring. 

This little video of Molly’s scribbles gives you a glimpse of her personality.  And you can see a bit of how she “talks”.  When we ask her a question, she always answers with a long, drawn out, “uhhhhhhhh” and then a made up Molly word.  She’s a character, our Molly.

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While out shopping for birthday plates and napkins for Molly’s birthday party, I stumbled across something so much better!  And something that will last forever.  Something that will make our house look like a festive place of birthday fun for the days surrounding a family member’s birthday.  At least those are the reasons I used to tell my husband why these birthday decorations were so very necessary. 

Here’s the new birthday banner.  We can say goodbye to the paper one that gets put up year after year and worked just fine.  But it just didn’t quite have the same pizzazz that this one does.  Whaddya think?

And then there’s the birthday table runner.  How fun is that?  I have never seen a birthday table runner so of course I needed to buy this one.  And then the centerpiece needed a little love and some color to match, so dump a few beads in there and PARTY!

The kids have been very excited about the birthday decs.  Molly keeps pointing at the banner and Owen thinks it’s all for him (even though his birthday is still a month away).  You gotta love Hobby Lobby.  They also had birthday napkin rings…so very cute, but a little frivilous.  You may be thinking that his whole get-up is frivilous, but the napkin rings really crossed the line.  They were ADORABLE, with curly ribbons hanging off them in all kinds of bright colors and patterns.  I almost gave into their temptation, but then I remembered that I normally like to buy some cutsy themed paper napkins for birthdays and I would never use the napkin rings.  I’m sure some other shopper fell into their trap…they were almost irresistable.

Anyway, I’m enjoying having two spring birthdays to celebrate…we’ll get to have these cute decorations out quite a bit!

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No, it’s not my Snuggie…as cool as it is.  My friend, Becky, did this with her blog and I thought it was a fabulous idea.  I had my blog made into a book!!

I know that my blog will probably always be available to me online, but I loved the idea of having a book I could flip through.  This blog is the best record I have of the lives of my kids.  As I created the book, I loved reading back through old posts and remembering things about Owen’s first year.  This book goes from October 2007 (when we started the blog) to November 2008.  I’m getting ready to start on the next year…December 2008 through December 2009.  It was a ton of work to put together, but the final product was SO worth it.  Here’s one of the pages:

And another one:

If any of you bloggers out there want to check out how to do this, the website I used is www.blurb.com.  Thanks for the idea, Becky!

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So…I’m trying my hand at making my own baby food for Molly.  Yeah, I know I’m not special.  A lot of people do this.  But the thing is, I never once even attempted to try to make my own food with Owen.  I think I was a little overwhelmed by the fact that the child never slept and cried all day long.  Jarred baby food kept me sane.  My life with Molly is much different.  She doesn’t cry all the time.  I sleep at night.  And she takes naps!  Heavenly.  I actually have time during the day to do something exciting…like make baby food!

My friend, Abbey, got me started.  She’d been telling me how easy it was and how you can save so much money doing it.  I wasn’t convinced it was for me, but then I tried it and I love it!  I have saved so much money doing this.  Bear with me as I brag about my savings…Molly eats 3 solid food meals a day.  That would mean I’d need to buy at least a couple of jars of baby food per day.  At around 50 cents a jar (if I’m going cheap), it adds up!  When I visited Abbey, we made baby food sweet potatoes together.  I bought $1.80 worth of sweet potatoes, made them into baby food, and Molly’s been eating them for the past month!  So far (besides sweet potatoes) I’ve made bananas and avocado.  I’m getting ready to be more adventurous though…Schnucks had their winter squash on sale at 2 pounds for a dollar.  I bought a butternut squash, and I’m getting ready to cook it up. 

Abbey used this book as a reference for all her baby food-making endeavors:

book cover

The book is great.  It goes through all the different foods you can make for your baby and at what age they are okay to eat them.  Then it gives you detailed instructions on how to make, freeze, and then serve the food.  I found the book on Amazon for $2 and it’s been worth every penny.

Another reason I’ve loved making my own food is that I rarely have to worry about running out of food for Molly.  Because I freeze what I make, all I have to do is pull out her meal, warm it up, and then serve.  Way easier than having to make a run to the grocery store. 

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying I have anything against jarred baby food or think badly of those who use it.  Like I said before, I used nothing but jarred foods for Owen and he is a pretty healthy little guy.  I’ve just found a fun new hobby…and a great new way to save my family a buck or two!  (And those who know me well know that I’m always looking for ways to save the fam some money.)

Molly sure does seem to love the food.  Owen, on the other hand, looks at it and says, “Ewww, yuck.”  Here’s a video of them after Molly finished eating.  Owen is not a fan of messes of any sort…and he doesn’t want to get close to Molly until all the food is gone from her face.  Pay attention to Molly’s frantic kicking when her brother covers her face with the napkin…

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