Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Glutton for Punishment, or so it seems.

We have neglected our backyard for sometime. It's not a bad backyard, so to speak. J, built a beautiful deck last spring. I just never got around to fixing it up because of having a new Angel-baby and the heat when it was finally finished. After recently spending sometime in a few of our friends personal backyard oasis, I was inspired to spruce up our own backyard up and make it a little more enjoyable. We would all kill for a pool and if I ever win a million dollars that is on the top of the list. A girl can dream, can't she? So in the time being we will work with what we have. I would love to have the budget for a yard crew to come in weekly and maintain the yard all nice and tidy, but being a single income family you cut costs where you can. This usually means me doing the grunt work. It's not J's fault. I just do a better job at pruning and weeding. It's just part of my OCD and he's fine with running the mower over the yard and calling it a day. Sadly, I don't so that explains my arduous week in the sweltering Texas heat.   

I started day one with scrubbing our canvas umbrella to rid it of all the green mildew and funk that had built up over the last 2 seasons. I moved on to our shady patio and tackled the green stuff there as well. We have had so much rain and not enough dry out time. Once the fish tank smell and look was gone, I sprayed down synthetic wicker furniture and cleaned out the gutters over the back door. Next on that list was to tackled the overgrown tree that was touching the top of our umbrella and hanging too close to the side of the house. I borrowed our neighbors pole saw and went to town. I was kind of excited about this because I never used one before and I am always on the lookout for anything that makes a job easier. With a little bit of elbow grease, I was able to clear out the lower limbs and let more light in. 

First corner tackled. In process of ridding the green stuff and pre-limb removal.

The next day I tackled the flower bed that I made last year after the deck was finished. I had to do some serious pruning on our Hibiscus bushes and weed everything. I ended the afternoon with weeding our rock beds that run along the side of the house to prevent erosion. I finished with spraying down the deck and cleaning off all the sticky parts.

Hairy Hibiscus.

The third day brought out the pole saw again. I had a major nest to tackle in the corner of our backyard. I hacked away at the limbs that were resting on our back fence. Some of my neighbors overgrown trees had tangled themselves into my mess overgrown shrubbery. Ha, I like that. I got rid of the low canopy of overgrowth along with out 4 or 5 dead bushes and manage to get into some poison ivy along the way. Fun. I finished trimming up what was left of our azalea bushes and called it a day.  

Let the sunshine shine. Next pole saw job.

Bonus. While surveying my next flower bed, I found out that the neighbors on the other side of us have a lemon tree. She said we can keep all that fall on our side. I cant wait for them to turn. I have a delicious skinny margarita recipe!

I have two beds left to clean out and weed. We plan to shop for some shrubs and trees to fill in around the fence line as requested by our HOA and to replace the dead shrubs I pulled out. I also need to get more mulch for the beds and fill in around our trampoline. I would like to put some flagstone down around the left side of the deck to make a pathway and sod around the patio. The patio still needs some regrading due the building of the deck. This should be easier compared to the grunt work that I've already done to clean things out. I think I am going to take the day off and take the kids to the pool. Once the yard work is finished, I can move on to the fun part of decorating the deck and patio. I hope to transform it into something that we are going to enjoy using. Who knows maybe have a mid-summer water slide party to celebrate all my hard work in loo of a pool party?! 

Moving on to here next.

Worn out little helper. Follows me everywhere.

 

Monday, July 29, 2013

A baby: in review.

I thought I would do a quick write up on Angel-baby's first year. All her likes, dislikes and milestones from the previous 12 months. Something that I can come back and reminisce over as she is getting older and onto newer and bigger things. She is quite the little stinker with such a funny personality that changes daily. 

Sleeping
We really lucked out with this one, she has been sleeping through the night since she was 2 weeks old! She's never been much of a napper and usually just cat naps in the car between errands. If we are home and I can manage to get her down, she will nap for 1-2 hours. 

Stats and Milestones
At her 1 year well-visit check up, she weighed in at 20.9 pounds (48%) and was 30.5" long (89%) with a head size of 46.55cm (87%). All my kids get that large head from their daddy! As we say around here, it's just more room for all those big brains! On the teething front, she has her 2 bottom teeth and 1.5 of her top incisors through. The doc did say that it looked like her 2 top teeth should be coming in soon. She is starting to pull herself up and learned how to climb stairs. Her eyes are still bluish-gray so I figure they will be on their way to brown soon. J with brown eyes - 3, Me and blue eyes -2. She loves to jump in her Johnny Jumper and army crawls like nobody's business. She has become a pro at getting from her tummy to to sitting position in mere-seconds and flipping to her tummy as soon as you get her diaper off and reach for a new one! First words were Da-da and sometimes she says Ma-ma. She points her finger and tells Schaefer Flynn (our Boston Terrier), NO NO NO and can wave bye-bye.

She wears size 12-18 months and moved into the roomier size 4 diaper. If she would keep shoes on, she'd wear a size 4. She is so long but her waist is tiny so most things that fit for length are really baggy. Wish I had that problem! She loves to shop and is really into jewelry! Either that or she really likes being pushed around in the stroller and shiny things. It's a toss up.
 
What we're eating
We are still figuring out what she will eat because she threw all baby food and snacks out the window about a month ago and decided she had enough of it all. She really likes yogurt so I sneakily mix her baby cereal into that and LOVES cheerios. She is into feeding herself and has moved to little bit of apple juice and regular whole milk in either a sippy or straw cup. At bed and nap time she still takes a bottle. I want to make sure she is getting enough nutrition while we figure this whole food thing out. I did make her scrambled eggs today and she LOVED IT! This weekend she ate almost a whole piece of pepperoni pizza too! Who knew and for the record she took it out of my hand and just started chowing down!

Favorites
-------------

Trader Joe's freeze dried bananas
apple straws
cheese
baths and splashing
pool time and splashing
bubble guppies   
Loves her book on the babies and the body parts
she loves to rock and cuddle at night
her favorite toy is still her play vanity
she loves to crawl through her tunnel
She makes the cutest face every time she sees my camera!
Loves her Brothers!
playing peek-a-boo

Dislikes
---------
sweets
mash potatoes
pancakes
hates getting her hair bows put in her hair.
changing her diaper.

Eating eggs!

Pool time!
 
Figuring out this laptop thingy, like daddy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Small tweaks for a new look. Angel-baby room, revisited.

I've been working on Angel-baby's room this week. I was never really satisfied with the way her nursery turned out. The color wasn't right, it was supposed to be a minty-blue but came out more of a light baby blue. Why would I want to do a girl nursery in blue after having 3 boys?! However, I didn't hate it enough to repaint. My mother inlaw made a fabulous ruffle curtain panel for her window but it never hung right. I made a paper mobile but the finished look wasn't how I thought it would be. I could not decide on the furniture placement and it always felt off, no flow. Simply, I just didn't like it. I had no creative juices left throughout that pregnancy. It was fine, other people liked it but I was never excited about it.

This week, while in one of my marathon rocking sessions with Angel-baby a new idea hit me on how to finally rework her room.  One year later, almost to the exact day she was born;  I finally figured out what I needed to change. I started with the furniture placement. I moved the dresser to the wall next to the window where her crib originally sat. I always thought that wall needed something more and the dresser fills the space better. I then moved the crib to the middle of her room under the letters that I made for her name. Those were a really simple DIY craft project consisting of Dollar store frames, felt and scrapbooking paper. I made a designated play area on the wall next to her door where the dresser was initially. We set up a play tent leftover from when Boy #3 was little and made a cozy little reading nook. No better time to get her interested in reading! I kept the area of the room with her glider, nightstand and tree bookshelf that J made the same.

Other small tweaks were rehanging the paper mobile I made on a wooden umbrella that I brought home from my sister inlaw's wedding. I always wanted to use the umbrella in her room, I just wasn't sure how. This turned out really cute and she loves looking at it. Now you can see everything and makes it more of a original piece. I tackled the curtains that were one large panel.  My mother inlaw made a beautiful ombre ruffled curtain for her window that was supposed to hang off to the side but never fell quite right and the ruffles got lost. I didn't think I had much room for 2 window panels since her window is in the corner of the room. I decided to cut the panel into 2 pieces to frame the window and see if I could make it work. Much to my surprise, it fit with a bit of finagling and you can see all the beautiful ruffles now and it makes the window look huge! I added her paper lanterns from her birthday party over the tent for the illusion of colorful leaves. I left the mirror that I made hanging on the wall next to the tent. It reminds me of the sun shining down on the trees.

I dug out the leftover removable stencils and put them over her crib and dresser. At the time I thought they were too small and wasn't sure how I wanted to used them. They work in here now. My sister made her adorable Princess and the pea quilted wall hanging. I decided to hang it at the end of her crib so she can see and enjoy it. I call it Princess Angel-baby and the pea, she likes that! I kept one of my favorite dresses of all time hanging (also given to me from that same sister, holla Courtney) over the dresser. To me, it embodies what the perfect baby girl dress is. Even though she has outgrown it, I couldn't bare to part with it or pack it away. I'm a bit sentimental that way!

I have one empty wall that I'm thinking of making a decorative garden gate with hooks for dress up clothes or tutus. I have a old pallet and few ideas that may be used for this project. I've been saving her cute onesies and think they will make for perfect flowers. I'm think embroidery frames with the fabric cut to size will make the cutest flowers to hang over the gate. I'am also debating about painting the dresser and night stand in a fun shade of purple with chalk paint and replace the acrylic knobs for milk glass. Something to think about anyways.

I never imagine that just by rearranging a few things and reworking some of the same accessories I already had, could create this whole new look. It finally feels finished and done. She seems to love it and so do I!

New placement of dresser. This is where the crib was originally. The newly reworked curtain into 2 panels and and mobile on umbrella.

Umbrella mobile.


New placement of the crib with added stencils.

Love this quilt, it is definitely fit for a Princess Angel-baby!

Cozy tent with hanging lanterns.

Tree bookshelf made by J, painted and distressed by me. Glider and nightstand all stayed in the same place, perfect for our marathon nighttime rocking sessions. 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New gallery wall for dressing up the dinning room.

When remodeling my dinning room, I knew that I wanted to add a gallery wall for the main focal point in the room. As I blogged earlier, we made a simple accent wall with Beadboard wallpaper and a 3 inch ledge for displaying odds and ends. The hard part was deciding what style and direction I wanted to go with for my hanging decor.  I didn't want it to become too fancy since that's not my thing, or too simple because it was our formal dinning room so I had to really find a balance medium. I have my vintage dinning set but modern rug in bright colors. Rustic chandelier and Beadbord wallpaper on my accent wall, so there are a lot of things going on in there.

The main thing that I wanted to use right from the beginning and where I pulled all my colors for the room was Boy #1's awesome watercolor that he painted in art class. It's such a fun picture, and I love that I can display one of his originals. I framed this myself, always trying to be budget conscious. I used a old print that already had a frame since it was the right size for his painting. I added shelf paper that was lying around the house to hold the painting onto the old print. I measured out enough shelf paper to cover the entire print and then cut a large frame out of the shelf paper to fit the new painting in the opening. After it was all centered I pressed the shelf paper into place, working out any bubbles to anchor the new painting down. When everything was in place, I painted the shelf paper with a coat of my left over chalk paint in Old World. Voila, a framed original for nothing!  I love this painting!


I centered his painting in the middle of the wall and used it as the anchor and worked around it. The next thing I did was hit my storage bin of old odds and ends. I found three frames of various sizes. I gave two frames a quick coat of Antibes Green, chalk paint and pulled out some scrap burlap to use as matting. I chose three of my grandmothers broaches, all costume jewelry pieces to hang in the frames. I hung them together in a little grouping along with a vintage style mirror, old railroad clock and a pair of metal love birds, all purchased at Hobby Lobby on sale for 50% off. I also found at the same store, the metal LOVE sign that I hung over the painting. It does express how I feel about the painting and my family in general!  I'm still on the lookout for something small to hang from the birds, I'm thinking a quote of some kind. The clock was just the right size for the ledge and I love how the red is a nice change from all the greens. I found a cute square canvas quote and cross while I was shopping at some local resale shops. I hope they will help inspire us while we use the room. I moved the standing picture frame from another room and place a painted tree on the ledge that Boy #2 painted when he was 2! I like how the mix of personal pieces and the store bought finds work together nicely here.

Old looking railroad style clock

Metal lovebirds hook 

Vintage inspired mirror with knob and broach 

I knew that I wanted to add some family photos to wall to make it a bit more personal.  I had some new pictures from our recent beach trip that would be a welcome addition. I went to the dollar store and bought 3-5x7's and 3-4x6's frames all in black to glue together to make them beefier in size. I've seen this a lot lately and figure what did I have to lose for $6. I took the backs off of the 4x6's and gorilla glued them to the 5x7's in the corners and let dry for several hours. I printed off 4x6 pics but used the 5x7 backs. When they were all dry, they really did look like decent frames and made a nice addition to the room. 

2-$1 dollar store frames.

Gorilla glue in the corners.

Finished frames.

I found some other goods on sale at Hobby Lobby for the other side of the wall. I picked up a sweet wooden bird frame for $8 and used our anniversary photo from this year. I also had a 40% off coupon and bought the collection of red metal flowers for $14. The flowers tie in well with the clock from the other side of the wall. I hung my cross with the inspiring quote and F is for Family plaque on a vintage looking old key hanger to finish the end of the gallery wall. I already had the pedestal frame and candle with holder. I just gave them each a coat of chalk paint in Old World. I love having the ledge! It adds character and it is nice to hang and stand things to mix it up and add a little more dimension to the wall.

Be inspired, maybe.



Vintage key hanger


I am so pleased with the outcome of the finished wall. I love how my hodgepodge of old and new plus a pinch of personal effects mix with each other perfectly! Once I narrowed down the direction that I wanted to go with, it all came together pretty easily. It really makes the room feel complete and I enjoy taking it all in every time I sit at the table. It makes for a happy space with plenty of personal character! 

Finished wall!
 
 



Monday, July 22, 2013

Back from a breather with Angel-baby's First Birthday Bash!

Took a bit of a breather from my blog the last couple of weeks with out of town company visiting and the planning and party of Angel-baby's first birthday. Lots was done, just no time to blog about it. I really need to work on that, it seems whenever a new project pops up, I get sucked in until it's finished. But the company has left, the party is over and now it's back to piles of laundry, grocery store running, cooking and entertaining all these kids in the never ending rain! I'll jump right in with Angel-baby's birthday shin-dig. Grab a drink and a snack, it's a doozy! 

For her birthday, we kept it simple. We didn't do a theme pre say, just used shades of pinks, greens and whites. Everything shabby-chic if I had to give it a name.  Easy food, BBQ, hotdogs and cupcakes for the menu. Decorations were shades of pinks and greens and mostly homemade. To entertain the kids we set up our inflatable water slide and prayed that they rain stayed away for they day. For gift bags, I set up a simple candy station with thank-you lollie pops, crunch and munch, rainbow gold fish and m&n's. I found small paper sacks Hobby Lobby, that were the perfect size for our candy bar. Everything made ahead of time to take the stress out of celebrating! Here are some of the highlights, is seems that with all the celebrating, I didn't get many photos taken but I'll share what I do have.

I made these invitations using my chalk board wall in the kitchen for a back drop. I saw a few ideas on PInterest, of course, where the kiddos were sitting sweetly in front of the lettering for their first birthday bash. I tried to recreate something similar with what I had on hand. I think I worked on this for hours! 4 hours to be exact to get the lettering right. What we do for our kids, huh?!!

 
The next part was dressing her up in the cute tutu and accessories and snap the pic. I thought this would be a piece of cake! My hats go off to all the professional photogs out there.  Here's what I ended up with after 2 different 90 min sessions with the camera, OVER 2 days, 100+ pictures taken, tears on both of our parts, and the loss of some hair on mine. All for the perfect pose. DANM Pinterest! I found the best shot I had and edited out what I needed to. After printing them out, I put the rest of the invites together with some scraping materials that I had in my craft bin. I planed to make envelopes and mail them out but I finished everything up right before we headed out of town for the beach. I just notified all our besties and gave out the invites at the party. I wasn't really excited how they turned out and felt like the were missing something. The blingy stickers were a bit much, but here's the finished product.

Invite, edited and scrapped. 

For decorations, I chose paper lanterns over balloons thinking that I will hang them in her room latter. I found a lot of cute options at Hobby Lobby, including a pink tule tutu for her highchair. I bought inexpensive paper pinwheels and a number 1 cupcake mobile to hang over the birthday girl's chair. I made a simple timeline banner with her pictures for each of her first 12 months. It was hung with some scrap ribbon between my 2 big windows. I used a old pink table cloth passed down from my grandmother that fit my theme and played off my new green chairs. I had some leftover burlap that made a simple runner and kept everything from looking too fancy. Paper plates, napkins, and forks in shades of pink and white along with inexpensive pink cardboard trays for the cupcakes were purchase from Hobby Lobby as well. I displayed Angel-baby's cake on my parents glass cake stand to set it apart from the cupcakes. I made a simple flag bunting and used sprinkles to decorate her smash cake. The cakes were the center piece for the table. I really didn't need to add anything else on the table after that.
 
Timeline banner. I'll put her pics in her baby book and the ribbon somewhere in her room.

Paper lanterns. 
 
Cake with bunting. Best picture that I have.
 
The food was kept super simple. We made BBQ beef brisket and hotdogs in the crock pot. I served  mini dinner rolls, deviled eggs (thanks mom), baby dills, chips and a simple fruit and cheese platter. Her cake was a homemade single layer 9" and ice cream cone cupcakes in vanilla and chocolate for our guest. Easy and cute. We had water bottles and juice boxes. We fixed sherbet punch and beer punch for the grown ups. I set up the punch station on our bar and we had a drink bucket outside for the wet ones.

Punch bar

Afternoon fun!

Not sure what to think of this whole cake thing.






She was super spoiled for sure. A big shout out and thanks to all who came. We are lucky to have so many wonderful friends who shared her special day with us. I can't believe my little girl is getting so big, so fast. Makes me a little sad to move on, but also excited to see what her bright future has in store for her! She is definitely one of the BIGGEST loves in my life.  Feeling awesomely blessed right now, simply. 



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Beach Livin', well sort of.

I was away with the family all of last week hoping for a little fun in the sun. We took our annual family beach trip down to the family home in sunny Panama City Beach, Florida. We went earlier this year to try and squeeze in a few extra free vacation days with J having the 4th off. I like to go later when the crowds have died down and the traffic isn't so bad, plus it gives the kids something to look forward to towards the end of the summer.

The weather didn't want to cooperate with us this time around, but that's beach living. I can say that in the 12+ years, that we've been making the 10.5+ hour trek down or across; there has only been one other time where we had nothing but rain. That was the summer of 03 and we were in a tropical storm that sat over us the entire week. This week was just bad luck. Poor Boy #3, he was so looking forward to building sandcastles, crab hunting and sea shell collecting. He's takes after his mom for sure, and is a real beach bum.

We did manage one day were the clouds broke and sun came out and we manage to get the kids out on the beach and take pictures. 

First day there and couldn't keep this boy off of the beach!

Schaefer Flynn got in on some beach action! He LOVED it too!

Love this one of my 2 babies napping.

My Beautiful boys!
 
Soak it up while you can, fellas!

Love this one too.

Boy #2.

Boy #1.

Angel-baby LOVED the beach!

Couldn't keep her out of the sand or waves!

Girl after my own heart!
 
We found that old milk carton and she had the best time!

We managed a couple of dates away, too!

Silly boys.

Love his girl!

My heart! 

Sweethearts.

Despite all the rain and coming home to a broken sprinkler system with a half dead lawn and shrubs, we still had some great times. J, and I, made it out to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville for cheeseburgers. We also indulged in some gulf coast oysters and I had my soft shell crab sandwich that I crave year round! The two younger boys got to see Despicable Me 2 while Boy #1 went to see Lone Ranger with his grandparents. We caught up with some out of town cousins and made airbursh tees for the entire family! Sweet! 

There are still some things to look forward to this summer. Hopefully we might have a couple of weekend jots to Dallas and check out legoland, San Antonio and Sea World, maybe a trip to Memphis or a day trip to Galveston. I have a couple of friends who have pools being built as we speak and in near completion in days! Bring of the fruity drinks! I'm also in the last minute process of planning and doings of Angel-baby's first birthday this weekend! Finishing up my gallery wall in the dinning room and hoping to start on my foyer/front hall project soon! Plenty to keep me busy and to keep the beach blues away! Until next time, P.C.B.