Thursday, August 10, 2017

Amelia is 4! Princess photo shoot and party



No one told me before I became a parent that my kids will get older and older, and the moments with my children are so fleeting! Amelia turned four and is about to start pre-school, and I. just. can't. handle. it. I will miss her too much! OK truth be told she is at a really hard stage these past few weeks where literally anything that happens could offend her and she will decide to run up to her room crying.  The running away to cry is what is so hard for me because she will just cry louder and louder until someone comes and appeases her.  Can't watch that show? Run up to room and cry. Don't hit your brother? Run up to room and cry. Must eat dinner? Run up to room and cry. Although once it hits bedtime she is sure to find a different place besides her bedroom to cry! 



But for the other 98% of the time when she isn't crying she is such a joy. She is a fabulous older sister to Noah and will play with him for hours on end.  Like really hours each day they play together.  She is so curious about the world and usually she is up for anything.  She can entertain herself for hours while Noah is taking a nap too.  She loves pretend play and comes up with the most interesting characters and stories.  She is so ready for school and I'm really hoping preschool goes smoothly for her. 

For Amelia's birthday party I wanted to keep it really simple and inexpensive.  For a four year old's birthday party, having a friend's party is still so new so it is a perfect time to introduce simple party games.  We ended up playing "Duck, Duck, Goose" (or in our case "Crown, Crown, Princess/Prince"), dance party, freeze dance, and "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" (Pin the Crown on the Princess or Prince).  I also bought 150 plastic gold coins and hid (read: scattered) them around the room. Then we gave the kids bags and went on a treasure hunt.  When that game lasted 2 seconds we had the kids help us hide them and then did that all over again 5 more times. Here's a peek at the mayhem. 
 

For decorations I brought down a few princess toys, found some old pink tassel garlands from Amelia's first birthday and then taped some of her dresses on the walls.  I bought pink plasticware and called it good! 


We bought the "Frozen" chicken nuggets bag from Costco and Nick put them in the oven while we were playing the games.  The chicken nuggets were the shapes of crowns, hearts, stars. Very princess-esque I'm sure.  We also had watermelon and costco croissants and chicken salad sandwiches for the parents that stayed.  Oh and can't forget the PINK raspberry lemonade and cute straws.  


Notice my cute painted cabinets? Hopefully they will be done soon and I'll do a post of them.  


And this was me after trying to elevate my calf because I had fallen in the garage and injured it the day before and it was swelling to unheard of proportions after all the work of getting ready for the party. 

For Amelia's birthday photos, I saw the idea of princess dresses on a clothesline on Pinterest and knew I had to do that! Amelia LOVES to stick her tongue out lately instead of smiling for a picture but not so during this shoot.  She was seriously so happy and thought it was the most fun thing ever to have a tea party with her princesses on the grass.  Seriously I think they turned out darling and the smiles I caught are 100% natural which makes me 100% happy.  







And of course Beau had to get in on the action.  Poodles go with a royalty photoshoot right???


Now to frame this in a huge print because I think it's my favorite picture I've ever taken!



Friday, July 7, 2017

Why Is It Important to Believe?



There's a piece of marriage advice that goes something like this: "Choose someone you want to suffer through life with." That's such a horrible thought, right? Yet how true is it? Of course I believe people should marry the person that complements them the best, who they know will love them through thick and thin, and who they can trust and love. But for people that have been married for awhile, this saying rings a little too true, right?

There is a quote given in a talk by a man I admire and he says: “[The fact is] most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. … Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.  The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride” - Gordon B. Hinckley quoting Jenkin Lloyd Jones. The full article and attributions can be found by clicking here.
Life is hard. We are filled with the everyday minutia that fills our days and then quickly our lives. 

But We Get To Choose!

I strive to choose to be grateful for what I have and to take as many opportunities as I can to feel the awe of my small life in the grand scheme of Earth and eternity.  I choose to believe that I have an all-loving God who allowed me to come here on this Earth so that I could learn and grow and find my way back to Him.  

I live in a beautiful place and I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and two children. Most of my husband's family and one of my sisters live very close to me.  However, one thing that is always a tough thing for me is that my mom and dad live all the way across the country. To add to this, my mom has major health problems that have lead to her being hospitalized and close to death many times since I have been living away from them.  It can be heart-wrenching to be so far away and it is easy for me to get down when I feel so helpless and unhelpful. As most parents of small children know, we can't just hop on a plane with our babes at the drop of a hat.  With not only missing my mom and wishing she could see my children more, but also missing out on being able to help her and bring her happiness by spending time with her and sharing more of our lives together, this has been a trial in my life. 

Me and Momma
So what can I do? 

Prayer

I can pray.  I can give all of my fears and sorrows to my Heavenly Father in prayer and keep going. Things aren't perfect for me - and they never will be - but I can still find peace and happiness in my circumstances because of my faith and my knowledge of good things to come.  I know from experience and from the feelings I have felt when I pray that God can lift my burdens and make them feel light. If you want to see how I order my prayers, click here for an example

Service 

Another major thing that stems from my belief in God and helps me immensely is service.  In my church, I am given a lot of ways to serve, and whenever I do, I am filled with a God-like love for those that I serve.  Also, when I serve, I pray that my loved ones far away will get the help that they need and I can't give them.  This fills my heart with peace and I have hope that things will work out.  

My belief in Heavenly Father and in my Savior Jesus Christ help me see past pain and sickness, and know that everything in this life can be for my good as long as I choose to believe.  I believe our sorrows and sins have been felt and suffered for by our Savior and that God is available to all of us and longs for us to return to Him.  

If you would like more information, you can start with this post on my church's website: Is God Real? 

My Reasons to Believe



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Kids' Playroom Update + Chalkboard Table


Hey Hey Hey! I've been spending a little bit of time sprucing up my kids' playroom.  The room we decided to make a playroom is the designated "office" according to my home's floorplan. Since I prefer to be super unorganized and I like my papers flying around my house like something out of a Harry Potter movie, we changed it up and made the office into a kid's playroom instead.

The playroom is the first room on the left when you enter my house behind a set of french doors.  The windows are see-through (duh), so eventually I want to buy this cool window privacy film from Amazon so that when it becomes a total mess in there, I can just shut the doors and forget about life for a while (and my kids).

The main big ticket items in my playroom are the kids' craft table and teepee.  My sister-in-law gave me the kids craft table and chairs when she was moving away so the only one I actually purchased was this Teepee from Amazon.  It was actually the first ever review I've written on Amazon too.  I think I gave it three stars, because as soon as we put it up the strings that hold the canvas up onto the sticks immediately lost their stitching. So after a few days I dusted off the ol' sewing machine and spent an hour sewing on every single string and sewing up the end of every seam that was loose (which was every SINGLE seam) and already coming apart.  Moral of the story? This goes against literally everything I believe but maybe buy a higher quality tent??? I really don't know anymore and I don't want to have a personality crisis so I guess I'll just stop thinking about it.


The table was originally all dark brown wood, but when we lived in our rental house I put leg extenders on the kids table and used it as extra counter space for a couple of years, so the top is basically trashed.  What I ended up doing is painting the bottom with leftover paint (SW Blithe Blue) from my front door (pro tip: don't buy an entire gallon of paint just to paint your front door). And the top I used Rustoleum's Chalkboard Paint (chalkboard as in you can draw on it with chalk, not as in chalk paint).  I didn't prep the surface and so far it has held up just fine with 2 coats of paint. (but I still recommend prepping the surface with TSP or sanding or primer).





Some of the little things I have around as decor are my "PLAY" letters.  I've seen on Pinterest with the galvanized metal letters from Hobby Lobby, but I wasn't prepared to spend 15 per letter (and that's at 50% off mind you).  So I bought the 1/4 inch thick wood letters and painted them with really drippy silver metallic spray paint that I had laying around to give it that sort of metal look.  I also made a real life tassel garland. I have only made "faux" tassel garlands before - as in tissue paper ones.  But if you can believe it buying clearance yarn from Wal-mart was actually cheaper than buying the tissue paper. I think each pack of tissue paper is 2 dollars and each string was 1.50.  So my tassel garland cost me 1.50x5, you do the math :).

While I was at walmart, I bought tiny clothespins to make a little art display for my kids' art.  Don't worry, I know they won't be winning any awards for their art because they got my genes in that department.

I found my "Loved Beyond Measure" sign on clearance at Hobby Lobby, and my deer head drawing on clearance as well there too.  The deer drawing is made by a company called Twelve Timbers and they have some really cute stuff decor.

Last thing, I found my rugs for 5 dollars each at 5 Below! Have you heard of that store? It's like a dollar store but everything is 5 or less dollars.  Do not walk in unless you are ready to spend at least 50 dollars though, fair warning.  I've only been once when I found these rugs so I'll have to stay away for now. But check your area to see if you have a 5 below, because I have NEVER seen cute rugs less expensive than these.





















Sometime I am going to add curtains, maybe some shelving, blinds and curtains, AND paint.  For now though we've moved onto painting our kitchen cabinets because I am so fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants for everything I do around my house.  I'm not sure I get a lot done or I just start a lot of projects, but I *think* my house is starting to look better despite my scatterbrain-y ways.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Father's Day Inspiration with JORD Watches (+GIVEAWAY)

Father's Day is just two short weeks away! I am a one-upper (can't help myself), so usually around Mother's Day I start thinking of things I want to get Nick for Father's Day or what I can do for him.


After looking at the calendar, I realized that Father's Day falls on June 18th this year, AKA our anniversary! Nick and I have been married for 6 years, and sharing this day with Father's Day definitely means I need to be giving the better gift for sure this year.


Nick totally deserves a great gift and a great day. He really is the best dad to our kids, and they both just adore him.  Any free time Nick has, he is spending with our kids and me. Anyone can see from spending time with him that home with his family really is his favorite place to be, and I am so beyond grateful for this.  Nick is like the perfect mix of a modern yet traditional dad and husband. He helps with housework and chores, gets down and dirty changing diapers, giving baths, and playing with the kids. He also works hard to support us, and also encourages me to stay home with our kids and raise them the old-fashioned way. I am one lucky woman to be married to him.

 
When the opportunity to write an opinion post and do a giveaway with JORD Watches came along, I KNEW that this would be the perfect thing that Nick would love not only for a fabulous Father's Day gift, but also a little somethin somethin extra special for our Anniversary.


Do you follow the anniversary gifts by year? I usually look them up on the internet each year, and if it coincides, then I will try to follow along. This year it is so perfect because guess what? The "Modern Theme" for the 6th year anniversary gift is WOOD! So perfect because JORD watches are made from beautifully crafted wood.  Each watch is made with a variety of woods from around the world and they are hand finished, scratch resistant, splash proof and treated with Tung oils.


Nick's watch, the Conway Series - Dark Sandalwood and Burgundy, is a dark chocolate wood with sapphire glass and has hours, seconds, minutes and date display. The watch has a beautiful muted burgundy watch face, which perfectly accents the deep chocolate tones of the band.


Also, something has to be said about their packaging.  Every watch comes in the best smelling magnetic-closing wooden keepsake box that I was beyond impressed with. I'm guessing it is cedar, because it somehow smells like bacon and nature and manly goodness all rolled into one.


I just really can't say enough good things about this watch and this company, and I wasn't even paid to say any of it! Every experience with JORD will be an exceptional one.


Just want to mention real quick that they also sell women's watches, so if you're ever looking for yourself, they sell such beautiful, elegant, and timeless women's watches as well.

That reminds me - JORD is giving my followers a $100 dollar gift card to their website. One lucky person will win, BUT… EVERYONE will receive a consolation code worth $25 once the contest ends!



THE CONTEST CLOSES JUNE 25 AND THE CONSOLATION EXPIRATION DATE IS 8/31/17

Thank you, JORD, for this wonderful gift for my husband.  I can't wait to celebrate him!

  Luxury Wooden Watch

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Lemon Wreath Tutorial



It is a dreary day here - drizzle, rain, sticky.  And my day has not been very fun.  It was just one of those bad Mom days where I woke up before I wanted to, my kids were horrible at the grocery store, we got home and they were still horrible so I yelled and made one of them cry.  Then the other one wouldn't take a nap... So now we have just retreated to the T.V. for the rest of the day because I have nothing left. It is fitting I made a lemon wreath because I am in a sour mood.   

I did at least finish up this wreath today, although I did 90% of the work last night so I'm not sure I can even give any credit to this not-so-great day. But typing this out is already helping me get into a better mood so the Daniel Tiger show parenting my children is worth it, right?

Well then, let's get to it! 

First, I collected my supplies.  And I did that all from my phone! Amazon same-day shipping that is.  I ordered these at like 11:45 AM, and they were at my door by 6:30 PM

Supply List:
Black and White Ribbon - Amazon Again (You ideally should use wired ribbon, it just looks so much nicer)
Twine, Wire, or thick string of some sort
Large Wire Wreath Form - mine is the biggest one wal-mart sells. Its got to be at least 20 inches big. 
Hobby Lobby bunch of artificial baby's breath-like florals (not pictured)
Metal Wire (like the really thin kind you hang pictures with) (not pictured)
Wire cutters (not pictured)
Scissors (not pictured - wow I really suck at this point at taking supplies pictures)
Hot Glue Gun and - Pictured!


Now, if you are too lazy to go find your wire cutters, yank really hard and try to separate the greenery into individual stems.  If you find your wire cutters, cut the stems apart leaving as long of a wire edge as you can and your hands will thank you later by not giving you carpal tunnel in a few years.


Now, start wrapping the wire around the wreath form and securing as tightly as possible.  After you've done about a quarter of the stems, count how many you've used and see if you need to space them apart more or if you can fit more onto the space you've already done.  You will use the white flowers later to fill in the gaps where the metal is showing through.


Now attach your lemons! There are lots of ways to do this.  The easiest but also most likely to get you, your table, and others burned is to use a hot glue gun.  If you go this route, you'll have to hot glue onto the leaves and the metal, because it might easily come off the metal.  

Another method (that I ended up using) is to thread some wire into the back of the lemon until its pretty lodged in there.  String the wire tail that is hanging from the lemon wire around the wreath form as tightly as you can without pulling out the wire from the wreath.  If the wire comes out of the lemon thread it through into a new place and really get that sucker in there. 

I tried to do a needle and thread but could never get my needle to come back out of the lemon.  If you have a curved needle this would do the trick, but I don't have one and refused leave my house for reasons mentioned at the top of this post.  

Then add some of those little white flowers to hide any spots that are showing the wreath form.  Or I you don't want more than just green and yellow on your wreath add more greenery. 

Lastly make and attach your ribbon.  There are SO many great tutorials on ribbons on youtube, and I plan on doing one sometime, but just make a cute bow if you don't think you can do a fancy one and call it good.  Wrap some wire around the ribbon then secure it to your wreath form.  

If anything is loose, use more wire or hot glue to secure it into place. Yay! You just made a wreath for wayyyyy less money than it would cost you on Etsy (which is the only place I've seen a wreath this cute).





P.S. My knocker is from Anthropologie - and it's two little lovebirds that kiss every time they are knocked together.  Kind of my favorite. I hope everyone's day is going better than mine! Go forth and decorate!

P.P.S If you are still reading this the TV is off and my kids are happily playing, so maybe things are looking up? Stay tuned.



Friday, May 19, 2017

Noah is 2!

Noah is turning 2 tomorrow! He started talking this year and has really exploded with words starting in 2017. He says 5 word sentences all the time, and is always impressing me, so I've felt like he was 2 for a while now.

Here's some of my favorite things Noah does lately:

Ends most sentences with "me." It can be anything - "I'm all done me." "I want more me." "get away me" My favorite is "I burps me"

Loves pickles! This one just amuses me so much because Nick ABHORS pickles. Noah asks for a pickle multiple times a day.  Should I be worried he has a vitamin deficiency??

Obsessed with everything boy, but pink is also his favorite color.  Ok fine pink is actually the only color he actually knows.  But he loves trains (he used to call these choo choo trucks and it made me more happy than anything ever has and it was one of those things I was so sad he learned) and , mario, balls, trucks, being outside and of course watching daddy play video games.

Only in the last 2 months or so has Noah FINALLY sat down to watch a show.  Before this, he completely ignored the TV and it made me happy but also sometimes irritated that he could never be distracted by it when I desperately needed to get something done.

He and Amelia play so well together.  He goes along with all of her games and follows her around and they are best friends. This truly makes my heart melt, and life so much better in general (as long as they are not fighting which happens a lot too).

Loves his Daddy so much but I would say he is primarily a Mama's boy.  He still loves to nurse, prefers to sleep next to me, wants me to hold him all the time, and likes to be near me in general.  I will relish this while it lasts.

Still takes a nap nearly every day! I LOVE this about Noah!

Didn't scream through every swimming lesson unlike his sibling who will not be named. And he actually enjoyed himself and did the activities for the most part.  It's so fun to have a baby who will participate!

Just so easy going and is ready and willing to do whatever anyone is doing and participate in whatever.

Last of all he is just SO. DANG. CUTE. I mean, perfect those eyes, nose, ears, mouth, hair, skin, and everything else. But he really does have the softest skin.  Can you tell I just really love him? I can't wait to watch him grow up this next year and learn even more every day.

Happy Birthday Noah!

PS Noah is getting a scooter, a Blaze toy, and a remote control car as presents :)




Noah off to work!







Thursday, May 18, 2017

Easy Chalkboard Chicken Wire Kitchen Organizer


Hey hey hey! Another 2 dollar project! Guess what the I fashioned this note organizer/chalkboard out of? A cabinet face! I picked up a few of these (that included the drawer fronts) from my local habitat for Humanity ReStore for 2 dollars each. I originally wanted to use the drawer fronts as a little frame to put some key hooks and knobs on to hang things from in my kitchen, but I came up with a way to use the cabinet faces as well that I like even more than my original idea. See it always works out to just buy lots of random crap at thrift stores even when your husband begs you not to! (ok fine I have a problem) But that aside, at least I made use of this random purchase!



Here's how I did it:

First, I think this could easily be adapted to a picture frame or made with pallet wood as well.

To make it, first I found some thin wood and cut it the shape of the top two openings plus at least 1/2 on each side to be stapled on later. Then I painted the wood with chalkboard paint and set that aside to let it dry.

For the bottom chicken wire part, I stretched out my chicken wire and unmangled it (google is telling me this isn't a word, but I'm pretty sure it should be for the action that describes what you have to do to get chickenwire to cooperate) and got it to be stretched out and then layed it flat (lied flat???). Then I used wire cutter to cut all the little edges to fit the opening of my bottom row on my cabinet face.

Then I got out my staple gun, loaded 'er up and got to it. I individually stapled down all the loose wires so that nothing would be pulled down or loose.




When the chalk paint was dry I did a second coat, let that dry, then stapled it on chalk paint side down.

This project was so easy, and so perfect for some inexpensive and somewhat fun and functional home decor. Currently the one in my kitchen reads "Let us all speak kind words to each other" and I think it's actually been working! My kids don't read yet so you can guess that the kind words need to be coming from me...




Who's excited for Summer? I'm excited for swimming and the beach but not the mosquitos who seem to really be enamored with me and the humidity and heat that I could just generally go without all year long.

P.S. it's Noah's birthday on Saturday, what the heck my baby is going to be 2!