Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Crafty Costumes!

This year we told the kids that we were not going to pay big bucks for store bought Halloween costumes. With 3 kids, not including one Angel-baby, and 2 dogs (not to be one to leave anyone out, much to their dismay) our Halloween's were really starting to add up. As a way of tightening our belts and trying to stay on top of a budget we decided that costumes would be made this year. There certainly isn't a shortage for ideas in this department thanks to the web or Pinterest. You can find plenty of helpful tutorials that are easy and simple and don't require too much skill or materials to make. The kids knowing how crafty their mom was (wink, wink) didn't seem to have of a problem with this idea. I took any reasonable suggestions (sorry kids, robots were above us at this time) and narrowed my search and hit my favorite go-to place, Pinterest first to see what I could find. 

The top choices for boys #2 and #3 were Lego figures of some kind, possibly a Super-hero or a Ninjago character. Boy #1 said he didn't care and could just wear a football jersey and helmet and go as a football player this year. I'm just glad that he is back into the idea of dressing up because last year he swore he wasn't going to do Hallween until the very last day and I had to run out and find him something. It makes me happy that he still wants to dress up, have fun and act like a kid even though he's in 6th grade and a Call of Duty FANATIC! Angel-baby doesn't get a say since she is 15 months old and I speak for her. My only requirements are something that involves a tutu. I've waited YEARS to be able to do a tutu and if she could live in one right now, I would SO do it!

I found some easy costume plans but J surprised me with one of his own and went in a different direction all together. He found a Minecraft tutorial on one of his blogs and was excited to try it. I guess if it's geeky enough then J can be into crafts, who knew?  My boys LOVE Minecraft and once he said the words "Minecraft costume" all three were sold. I asked what was invloved and when he started talking about graphs, mathematic equations and using dry wall screws on cardboard I tapped out and let him take over this project. He was really into making these and that is just another reason why I love this guy so much. He does anything for his kids, always. I gave him a deadline since the costumes had to be finished in time for Halloween and he can be a bit of a procrastinator. I'm happy to say he finished them all last weekend and they look great! The kids were impressed with the final product. The hard part will be keeping them away so the costumes will make it to Halloween. They are already reenacting fight scenes from the game that involve TNT, pick-axes and a golden sword. 

Angel-baby is going a Princess Tiger-Lilly. Her costume was relatively easy in comparison. I made her a tutu, head-dress and an embellished onesie with the materials purchased all on sale at Hobby Lobby. It was eally simple and I will write up a tutorial later. 

It's calling for rain here on Halloween night. I hope the soggy weather holds off so the kids can have a good outing. I can't wait to see everyone all dressed up and ready to go. I love these times and they seem to be flying by too fast these days. I've got to remember to slow down and enjoy this ride, even all the crazy hectic times in between. 

Sneak Peak

Minecrafts heads.

TNT, you've got to have it according to the boys!

More props, pick-ax and golden sword.

Princess Tiger-Lilly!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Life with kids!

When I started my blog I intended to use it as a way to keep up with the kids. Down the road when they all are "big-kids" and off doing their own thing, it will be nice to have a their younger days chronicled. This is one of those said post. The last couple of weeks have had us down and out. A stomach bug, croup, and even a case of head lice that seems to be jumping around on the school bus, AGAIN! The sickies has left us worn out and my washing machine is calling for back-up relief! Boy #1 has had 2 major projects due within couple of days of each other and the procrastinator in him holds off until the last minute to finish it. He's in 6th grade and I am trying to let him handle this all on his own istead of constantly hovering over him but it has me sitting on my hands and gritting my teeth. Give him wings, right? There have been quite a few long nights but hopefully things have settled down with the start of the new grading period and with everyone feeling better.

I took Boy #3 to the doctors for a bad case of croup and while we were there Angel-baby had her 15 month well check-up. The time was not the best since they scheduled it around 2 and that's her nap time. She was already on the cranky side. The tiny rooms don't help and there's not much to entertain a baby with other then a couple of books that she throws right to the floor.  Our nurse measured and weighed her and left us to wait for the doctor.  Boy #3 was waiting on the exam table and Angel-baby was walking around the room while I put her things up. I hear a knock on the door and I look up at the same time the door opens and knocks her to the floor. She screamed and cried for 20 minutes but who could blame her! She shrieked through her brother's exam as well as her own. Our doctor never once apologized! When he was done he said "Everything looks good except for her temperament."....FOR REAL?!... All I could say was, well it is her nap time. He leaves and says the nurse will be in to give the shots. Angel-baby finally settles down so I put her down to get her things to dress her and the nurse walks in and does the same exact thing! Then she said "After she finally settled down, I heard her screaming down the hall, sorry." I said shes 2 for 2 with that door. How hard is it to knock and then give you a second to make sure your child is out of way of the door? Angel-baby is a very good baby, we get compliments every were we go. When we left she had a huge goose-egg on the side of her head! I've been going to this place since I had Boy#1 but I think I will start looking around for a new place soon. Re-damn-diculous! 

STATS

 SIZE
Weight 22 lbs 7oz (70%)
Height 32.5 " (97%)
Head 47.5 cm (93%)

CLOTHES- she's tall and skinny
anywhere 9-18 mos for pants 
shirts 12-18 mos
shoes 4.5W
diaper 4/5

FOODS
cheese
turkey 
ham
chicken
mac and cheese
bananas
applesauce
cheerioes
yogurt melts
gram crackers
strawberries

DRINKS
whole milk
apple juice

WORDS
dadda
daddy
bye-bye
see-ya
see-ya later
hi
ella
nana-banana
cheese
mmmmm
hi Gage
no-no-no
Shoes
Hot

SLEEP
wake up 8:30-9:30
nap 1-2 to 3 or 4
bedtime 7:30-8:30

ACTIVITY
walking (started at 14 months)
climbing stairs
jumping (in her crib)

TOYS
Vanity
leap frog table
stuffed tiger
most of Schaefer's toys

FAVORITE SHOW
Bubble Guppies

Love this girl!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Niche' Problems. Making a easy DIY Rustic Pallet Wreath Hanger tutorial.

I have a decorative niche' in my foyer that I was never sure what to do with. I felt like nothing looked right and the ledge that trims the bottom was too narrow to sit much on it. I guess in theory, niche's can be really nice if done the right way but mine always left me scratching my head.  A couple of years ago, I decided to dress up my foryer niche' with some paintable wall paper and complimentary accent color. The awkward size of the niche' made it difficult to decorate it in just the right way. Pictures or collages never went well with the long, semi-circular wide hole. One day recently, while moving some things around the idea hit me that maybe I should try and fill the space by going upwards instead of outwards. Something taller in height but slimmer in width to highlight my niche' instead of trying to fill it out. (...how many times can a peson say niche in one paragraph, go...) I had a old pallet that was lying next to the house for months becoming more "seasoned" with time and weather. I LOVE pallets and always keep them if I get one. I figured this could be the perfect project for it. I was going to attempt to make a rustic style display piece resembling an old gate for hanging my wreaths. 

Laying out the boards.
I started this project by hauling the old pallet to the driveway and pulling off 4 boards with a crowbar and hammer. The boards came off easily enough since the wood was pretty weathered. I would advise wearing a pair of gloves incase the boards splinter in the process. If I wanted a nice smooth finish for painting then I would have broken out the plam sander but since I was going for the rustic look, I didn't care how beat up the wood was. I knew that this was just going to be hanging up for display and away from fingers so I went over whatever coarse parts with a sanding block and called it a day. I added some more character by pounding the boards a few times with my hammer and crow bar for extra wear and tear. 
 
Slightly staggered. 
  


I brought the boards inside and laid them down based on how I wanted to hang them. I decided on a slightly staggered pattern. I found some scrap wood in the garage to use as a way to attach the boards together and cut two pices for the top and bottom with a hack saw. I made the pieces just long enough to nail all the boards to it. Super easy. I used 2 inch nails and hammered the boards into place from the front.

Attaching the hanger.
When everything was hammered in place, I flip the holder over to add the hanger to the back. I used small eyehooks evenly spaced on both ends and screwed them into place. I added some floral wire between my hooks and twisted the ends down. That was pretty much all it took to finish the back.

Dry brushing in French Linen. 
I dry brushed the front with a couple of coats of Annie Sloan's chalk paint in French Linen but kept the coats really light so the weather parts of the wood would still peek through. After the paint dried, I rubbed in some Brixwax in light brown to seal the paint. 
 
Finished niche'.
 
This was a super-simple project that took around 2 hours from start to finish. Of course I was working around kids, homework and dinner. To think of what all I could get done if I had more time! I'm really diggin' the rustic vibe it adds to my niche'. I plan to change out my wreath seasonally. I think the pallet hanger fills the space nicely without it becoming too busy. I am finally satisfied with my niche' and think that this is the best way to display my style. I may have finally made peace with my niche'!
 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Transforming my old TV armoire into portable Mud-room!



I love the idea of a Mud-room, somewhere the kids can take off all their dirty shoes and keep all their jackets and bookbags in one place. A little room out of the way from the rest of the house literally and visually speaking. A place for all the necessities while keeping it all organized for easy retrieval in hectic mornings.  I SO wish I had a larger laundry room with a sink for this or a area off the garage to add that kind of storage all tucked out of the way, but I don't. My somewhat awkward floorplan with small laundry room doesn't allow much room and the door to the garage is only a few feet away from our front door.  I set up a make-do solution in the foyer with with a storage bench and mirror with hooks. The problem was the cumbersome bench made it too hard for the kids to retrieve and put their backpacks away and our small mirror with hooks didn't leave too much room for everything that needed hanging. Once the cooler weather came around everything would get piled up like a
big-messy-closet right at the front door. Not really the impression you want to spotlight as soon as you walk in the house. What to do? 

While recently rearranging our Family Room I moved out our old TV armoire that had tons of storage. Funny how over the years the TV's have gotten smaller and slimmer and these big housing units now sit practically half empty. When deciding where I was going to put this thing for the time being the idea hit me that this could be the perfect soultion for my sought after Mud-room! I saw all the potential storage that this beast had to offer and wanted to monopolize on that to my best advantage. My Mud-room would be a somewhat portable station that could be moved easily enough while keeping all of our unruly must-haves tucked away out of sight. I was kind of digging the idea.

The transformation was really simple. There were only a few adjustments that needed to be done to get the piece ready. I had the old backing that came with the armoire stored in the garage and slid that back into place. J took the old hooks off of our old mirror and attatched them to a piece of scrap wood and drilled that into place on the inside of the cabinet. I took out one shelf that held the TV components to make a little more room for storage. I painted the inside of the cabinet doors with chalk board paint for friendly reminders to forgetful kids. I chose Annie Sloan's chalk paint in French Linen and my faithful Briwax in light brown for the finish. The inside was painted with Antibes Green followed with a light coat of French Linen. It took a while since the piece was so big but I CAN NOT say enough good things about this paint. This simple makeover took a couple of days. 

I organized the inside with a few baskets I already had. I added one tall basket that we kept by the front door for shoes and couple of long flat plastic floral boxes (came with some flowers I planted) for small things, like dog leashes, sun glasses and hats. The drawers are great for gloves, winter hats, more dog supplies, bug spray and sunblock. I really like that I can shut the doors and close it off and it's all out of sight. It really works well as my go-to command center when getting the kids ready and out the door, well anytime! How many times we as moms say: "Where are your shoes?!"  I'm so gald I save this piece and up-cycled it into something even more purposeful! 

Before. The only picture now is from when we were still using it in the Family Room.

After the hooks were put in place and before a serious cleaning!


He she is in French Linen and Antibes Green on the inside.
Hooks, Chalkbaord, and baskets make this piece functional!

Excuse the dog head in this shot. 




Love the new look and there's no telling how messy it is inside! 
 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall decorating on a budget!

It's finally starting to look like Fall around here. Well, inside anyways. I'm ushering in the season with some budget freindly decor in colors of yellows, reds and oranges. I bought some new pieces from Homegoods, Michaels and Wal-Mart to help freshen up some of my old deocorations and I "shopped" for a few more accessories from other rooms in my house. I went with a more neutral "Harvest" theme so I'll only have to tweak it up a bit after Halloween and should be good until Christmas. Welcome to how I do Fall in Texas, Y'all!  Grab your Spiced Pumpkin Latte and come take a peek of what's going on around here. 

I'd love a Autumn garden flag but the Auburn flag stays through football season. Gotta represent the SEC, War Eagle!

Our front porch is made up mainly of budget-friendly deocrations that were made or purchased for a steal. J made those chairs, table and frame for the chalkboard. I'm on the lookout for some cute Fall pillows. I saw a couple of owl pillows at Michaels but I'm waiting for them to get marked down. The garland of leaves around the front door was purchased from Wal-Mart for $2.97. I bought two strands of garland 6 feet in length and strung them with my old set of Halloween lights. The wire welcome black cat sign was purchased years ago from Michaels. 
 
The wooden owl, ceramic vase and acorn decor were all purchased from Michaels all under $10. The mums on the table came from a local grocery stores for $5.

I changed out my chalkboard with a Halloween inspired theme and countdown calendar. I love having the outdoor chalkboard to change with the seasons!

"When witches go riding and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers 'tis near halloween!"
Such a fun quote and I'm so happy with the way my man in the moon came out because I'm not much of a artist.

Next to the front door there is a hodgepodge of pumpkins, real and fake, along with some mums and a couple of cute signs welcoming guests into the season. One of the mums here came from Lowe's on clearance for $2.50 and the other was $5. The real pumpkins came from Trader Joe's for $2.99 and the small white mini pumpkins were $.69. Other plastic mini pumpkins were purchased for $.97 a piece from Wal-Mart. The Haunted House Tours sign came from Ross for $3.99 and the Autumn sign from Michaels was under $5. I made the wreath holder with J's help, with scrap wood in our garage.

I also made this weath from scrap fabric and a few odds and ends I picked up from Micheals.

For my enty table, I spruced up a wreath I had by making bow out of my scrap material and adding some scented embellishments that came with the bouquet of dried Fall flowers purchased from Homegoods. I made the wreath hanger from old pallet boards. I need to blog about that soon. I threw together this pennant with leftover material in burlap and canvas. I used a sharpie for the letters and a bit of scrap meterial for the ribbon. 


I was stumped at first in how to do my front hall table and niche. I really do hate my niche and hope to replace the narrow ledge with something wider and functional. I'd also like to ditch the table and add a bench. This arrangement is a mix of vintage and rustic "Harvest" elements that I think they work pretty well together. The vintage Halloween sign, owl, dry scented flowers and candle all came from Homegoods. The white pumpkins, wire basket and "shroud" material all came from Wal-Mart. The orange mini-pumpkin vase filler came from Michaels and I split it between the table and my mantle. 


Fall in the Family Room.


In the Family Room, I did a simple switch of the candels on my decorative ledge over the love seat. I hung a Halloween inspired collage on my display frame that I made in place of a shadow box. I think the frame is a fun way to highlight a small collection of odds and ends in interesting way.  I used clothes pins hung to floral wire to hang some Halloween theme decorations. 

I find inspiration anywhere. In my display frame, I hung some leftover Halloween cupcake liners and a napkin. Makes for inexpensive way to add some October flair and I'm sure it will work well for any season.

On the coffee table, I added brown beer bottles with bit of my old Fall greenery. I loved the shape and color of these bottles so I kept them, cleaned them out and took the lables off. The other glass vase filled with pinecones that I collected outside.

The Mantle was a bit of a challenge with its size and the newly hung TV.  I didn't want it to look too busy or too sparse. I chose to do a simple swag of Fall flowers for the ceneter piece to go with my chalkboard pennant that I orginally bought online for Angel-baby's 1st birthday. I wired the flowers together with some floral wire. I used a variety pumpkins in fun colors and sizes mixed with some of my glassware and candles. I hit Michaels big Fall sale a couple of weeks ago and bought the greenery for just under $2 a piece. The gold and white pumpkins were also on sale for half off as was the mini-pumpkins in the vase. I dug out my old Smith and Hawken pumpkins that I bought several years ago at Target. The total for my mantle makeover was around $12.


Last simple touches where rearranging some things on my console table and adding some more Fall color candles. 
  
I added my Halloween runner to the breakfast table along with a Fall platter that I have never used as a tray. I tied some burlap and ribbon to a leftover glass jar and added some more of my old Fall greenery. I used another cleaned-out beer bottle for a simple candle holder and added my ceramic owl that I bought from the B&BW outlet a few years ago. I bought the ceramic place card holder at Hobby Lobby for $1.50 and used a dry erase marker to write a simple Fall greeting.


I even found a place for an old Halloween planter/canister  that J sent me one year with flowers.  Note, I said 1 year. We've been married for 12, but I digress. I made a simple grouping with one of my old lanterns and potted plant for the kitchen counter.

My Floorplan is pretty open so I don't really need to go overboard in every room. The little pops of color spread throughout the house make me happy and put me in a Autumn state of mind.  Our "cool" front has arrivied bringing along with it some real Autumn weather and I'm burning my secented wax as we speak! I am enjoying the aroma of freshly baked cobbler (without lifting a finger, mind you) and feeling the cool breeze through my open windows. It doens't get better than this! I hope you leave feeling inspired with the love of my favorite season. What is better than pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hayrides, hot apple cider, changing leaves and cooler earlier nights? Thanks for stopping in! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Introducing Super-fly and his new glasses. *Caution extremely long and possibly boring!*

Last week I decided to do a small paly-date with a few of my friends who have littles at home. Angel-baby is never too young to start networking, right? Anyhoo, I haven't done anything like this in years since the boys have basically been in school or preschool for as long as I can remember! We had a good time, the kids played well and I made pumpkin dump cake and coffee for the moms. It was fun, well as fun as these things go. During the craziness I got a call from a unrecognizable number so I let it go to voice mail. I totally forgot about the call until later in the afternoon around 2:45 when I finally had time to sit down. It was the school nurse needing to talk to me about a "non-emergency issue" with Boy #3. Of course I started feeling guilty about not taking the call earlier. I do have the school number programed in my phone and it would have showed up, plus my phone was only working when I used it as a speaker-phone until J was able to fix the microphone. It was much too loud at the time of the call to hear anything anyways. The boys get out at 3 but I told my husband to give her a call to see what it was about, he got voicemail. More mommy guilt.

Turns out that Boy #3 didn't pass his vision screening at school. I wasn't sure how accurate this test was but looking at the paperwork that the nurse sent home with him, showed that it was a pretty in depth test and not just a read the letters kind of thing. I made a appointment at our optometrist's. Both J and I wear glasses. I knew that one of the kids would end up in glasses at some point. My vision is horrible, J wears them and is already developing a cataract and astigmatism runs on both sides of our families. After all the tests, compelte with dilation were finished, it turned out that he has an astigmatism in his right eye that seem to be a bit of a concern. The rest was typical. He has blurred vision that is common for kids his age with vision problems and a touch of farsightedness that I blame on his IPOD. The doctor told him to wear his glasses while doing school work and watching TV. She also wants to recheck him in 6 months. He was ok with the news and was exicted to pick out his glasses. We opted to go to the mall where you can get them done in the same day. I wanted to get it all out of the way in one go. We were in luck as they were having a great sale going too, 60% off of frames and lenses. Cant beat that!

We picked out some pretty awesome Harley Davidson farmes that were black with some skull inlay on the arms. While the sales clerk was running my insurance we spotted the sport-goggle style that are great for active kids and athelets. I asked if those would work for him since he's so little but they fit fine. He LOVED these and was SUPER EXCITED about the look. These seemed like the perfect solution for him. The frames kind of wrap around his face for better visibility and the inside is lined with a soft rubber to help stop with slipping and comfort. They are impact resistance up to a point and come with an adjustable elastic strap to help keep them in place. His only requirement was that we find some in blue. He was in luck, we found a navy pair trimmed in red and gray plus they had a couple skulls to boot. He was sized up, the order was placed and they were going to be ready in 3 hours. With our insurance and their sale, we ended up paying only $47! He was so excited and couldn't wait to come and pick them up. When we got home he ran into the house and set a timer on the stove for when we needed to go back and pick them up. 

I took him back to the mall after dinner and he was ecstatic to see that his glasses were all ready and waiting for him. He got to choose what "can" (case) he wanted to keep them in. He said how much better he could see and liked how the strap kept them on nice and tight so he could still play football with his brothers. When he was getting out of the car he said how much deeper every thing looked and tried to jump out but wiped out! I told him to get use to them before he decided to do any fancy tricks. He said he couldn't wait until he got to school to show his teacher and friends. When we got home he had to run over and show our neigbors. Boy #1 told him how cool he was while Boy #2 told him he looked wierd...the little 3rd grade jerk-wad. I told him he was so cool he could pass for a super hero and that I was going to start calling him Super-fly. He said that was a dumb name and would just go by his own name. That night while laying down with J, he said how he was going to be the only one in his class with glasses. I think it was starting to weigh on him that now he has something different about himself that sets him apart. I think it makes him more unique but I know kids don't feel that way when they just want to blend in like everyone else. I know, I started wearing glasses in 2nd grade. We told him that's what makes him special.

Day number one went off well. He was exicted to go to school and ride the bus with his friends and show off his new specs. While wating for him to get off the bus that afternoon I told the other moms about his reservations and excitement. They all complimented him when he got off the bus and told their own kiddos to check out his new awesome glasses. They all agreed how cool they were. Everyone said he really DID look like a super hero! He said his teacher plus a few other teachers said he looked awesome along with the  school nurse. His classmates thought they were cool. I think a few of his friends were even a bit jealous. I told him he could take them off if he needed a break when we got inside. He took them off carefully and cleaned them with the colth they came with just like I showed him how to do. He was fine.

This morning he was up early wearing his new specs and was excited to go to school until half way through his cereal. He said his tummy was hurting and he didn't feel so good. He got to the bus stop and said he wasn't going to school or getting on the bus! J decided to bring him back and drive him to school. He took off his glasses and said that he wasn't going again! I told him that he can take off his glasses when he gets home and J promised him a new app for his ipod when school was out. I told J just to drive him in and talk to his teacher. Lucky for us today was walk to school day. They parked at the park across from the school and got swept up in all the excitement of the activity. J said he let them visit the school spirit store that had set up a table for the festivities and he picked out a $1 pencil and was good. I guess we will see how the day goes. Today is Friday so he can get use to the idea of wearing them a little bit at a time over the weekend. I think he liked the attention at first but too much of a good thing, is well, too much. I think he wants to go on blending in. I told him in a few days the newness will rub off and he will still be the same old Boy #3. I think tonight we are going to celebrate his new look by taking him to Chuck-E-Cheese his most favorite place on the planet! Hopefully that will cheer him a little bit until he gets used to his new look. It's so hard, I had the same exact feellings he had. I hope he just warms up to them soon and it isn't a contstant struggle. 

He has such a fun, lively, funny, sweet and caring spirit. He also has tons of personality, charm and a smile that can make your heart melt. He's lucky because it has saved him a million times when he has gotten into trouble! If anyone can make glasses work, it's him. It just gives us something else to love about this little guy!

Before, waiting to get his new glasses.

After, new improved Super-fly version!