Friday, April 26, 2013

April Play House Update: The Big Top

This month, our play house in the basement turned into a circus/carnival!  The kids are having a great time playing magician and taking hot air balloon rides!

Here are some pictures of the updated space: (Please note, my computer situation is getting worse.  Now, all of my uploaded pictures have a black bar across them.  The originals do  not.  I don't know where it came from or how to make it go away, so please try to disregard it.  The originals are so much better.  I'm tired and don't have the time or energy to investigate it further so I'm thinking of it as my new look to keep myself from crying....anyone know of a good laptop sale going on right now??  Help:)!)

We made the rings for the ring toss using rope and colored duct tape.  The stand is actually a mitten and hat dryer:)!

Giselle the Giraffe

Boog the Bear

I wanted to build a 'zoo' cage for this area, but there wasn't enough time this month.  Then I was going to use  bungee cords to create a similar effect on the bookshelf, but I never got around to that either:).

We are all trying to learn how to juggle:).  It's not going well.  (I found this kit at Barnes and Noble's on super clearance this week!  They had lots of kid books and games for 75% off the lowest marked price = fantastic deals!)

I found these raffle tickets at the dollar store, and we've been having fun earning them with successful ring toss attempts and redeeming them for hot air balloon rides and puppet shows and sweets from the candy corner.

I swear this set up is every kids dream.  (And Bill's too...he tells me he's going to quick run to 'the store' and heads downstairs for dessert:).)  I got the jars on clearance from Target awhile ago, which is weird because most stores still carry them in this size.  I plan to use them for a little pantry upgrade once the carnival is over.

Lucky is putting on a magic show for us using a Melissa and Doug Magic set she received for her birthday last year!

He got a blue dot sucker!!  Winner!!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What's Going On Around Here?

I feel like my posting as of late has been very scarce to say the least.  I can tell you that we haven't been sitting around twiddling our thumbs.  Not at all.  We've been making some changes and updates.  And those changes take time.  And since time is limited, I haven't been able to find the time to write up posts.  I'm still taking pictures like crazy, but the writing of posts has fallen off the docket as of late.

(Also, I've been struggling with a new computer that I'd like to throw out the window most days.  Bill is quite computer savvy, and I know a thing or two about blogger, but we can't find a solution to speed up my browser to make writing posts and uploading pictures an enjoyable and easy process.  I'm fearing the solution will be finding a new computer...which won't be cheap and is frustrating to think about because my current computer is new.  Seriously though, my last 'guest room' post took me at least 2 hours of agonizing computer restarts and error screens to complete.  Normally, it would take me about 30 minutes.  It's making me avoid post writing=not good.  We'll figure out a solution over time, I'm sure, but in the meantime every post is a frustrating battle.)

Okay, back to the changes.  The biggest change is in our diet.  I read Clean by Dr. Alejandro Junger, and have been completely motivated to 'clean up' our diet.  It's been a challenging food adventure to say the least.  I've begun shopping at a local food cooperative.  I'm trying to keep our fridge stocked with local and organic ingredients.  I'm spending time finding meals that require way more time to prepare and clean up than we are used to doing.  Sometimes the meals are hits.  Sometimes they are misses.  Bill and I feel like professional chefs with our ingredients spread on the counter before beginning a big meal.  We are making changes slowly as we are able, but I can already tell a difference in how I feel and in how my clothes fit.  I can also tell a difference in my food cravings....I actually am craving healthier foods.  I recently picked up this new cook book by Gwyneth Paltrow:

I'm enjoying looking through it and have already added this amazing product to our refrigerator:

Thanks for the introduction to Vegenaise, Gywneth!!  It's better than mayo:)!!  

I'm also enjoying my favorite food website Eating Well.  I'm telling you, we are well on our way to eating more thoughtfully and preparing the foods that our bodies need to work properly, the way nature intended!!  One of our goals is to dramatically decrease the number of processed foods we consume.  As in, I'd love to replace store bought chicken nuggets (a staple in this household...we currently use Perdue's Simply Smart Gluten Free Chicken Tenders) with big batches of homemade chicken tenders using organic chicken and our own crust recipe.  I'd love to replace our packets of instant oatmeal with our own homemade oatmeal.  I could go on and on with examples.  All of these changes will take time and require lots of trial and error. Every week we are learning more and changing more.  It is truly exciting.  I'm especially excited for Lucky and Charm, as the eating habits we reinforce in them now are more likely to stay with them throughout their lives!!

Another change is that I'm taking more interest in my wardrobe and our family's wardrobe as a whole.  Not that I'm hoping to become a trend setter or anything, but wearing nice clothes and well thought out outfits make me feel better.  Having children that are well dressed makes them feel better too:).  I've gone in streaks when it comes to clothes shopping.  I'll get into shopping for a couple weeks, buy lots of clothes and then want nothing to do with clothes shopping for a long, long while.  I want to keep up with my wardrobe better.  It takes time to learn what size you wear from which manufacturer, which company's jeans fit you best, what stores carry your 'style'...especially when you've been out of the clothes loop for years.  Time consuming as it may be, I've made the mental decision that it's important to put the time in because of the benefits to my overall well being.  When you feel good about how you look, you feel better overall!!  I am having a blast coming up with my 'wish list' items for my spring and summer wardrobe.

Bill is super supportive on this front, which I love!!  He knows spring and summer wear can be stressful for me since I've been avoiding the sun like the plague ever since my melanoma in situ diagnosis last year.  I feel more on top of my clothing style now than I have in a long, long time!  Now if only spring would arrive, so I could stop wearing my old winter gear, much of which is quite literally falling apart from 7 months straight of wear:)...think broken winter coat zipper, worn out boots, and mitten 'blow outs'.

Also, we've been doing our annual spring cleaning this year to prepare for our garage sale.  Our sun porch has been cleaned out and it's like a new addition to our home!  The kids LOVE playing out there.  Again, once we consistently get out of 30 degree high temperatures, we'll be able to enjoy the space even more:).  It no longer looks like this:):

I've also decided that part of the garage sale will be my own 'store' of sorts.  We've been working on making lots of items to sell at my shop, and we're having a fantastic time doing this as well.  It's time consuming, but I love it!!  So far I've made lots of crayons, some organic lavender eye pillows and felt fire pits.

And then there are all the normal projects we like to tackle.  Our office is getting close to completion.  I can't wait to share the space with you.  Lucky's room is going to be almost totally redone.  Our front room will be redone before the fall as well.  Our great room is waiting on a new rug.  And then there are a few things we need to do in our guest room:).  And did I mention it's spring, and we can spray paint soon?  And I'll finally have a working space in the garage instead of a freezer:).

My posts will be infrequent in the coming weeks leading up to our garage sale, but as you can see...I'll have lots to blog about in the months to come.

I hope you all have a lovely Spring!!  I'll be back soon:)!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

We Sold...

...our guest room.  Not the actual room.  Just nearly everything in it.  It's a long and rambling story as to how we went from this:

to an empty room, but the short version is that we bought Lucky a bigger bed in order to use her twin mattress upstairs for a project in our spare bedroom upstairs.  The spare bedroom had been used for storage of items we weren't using and are now in the garage sale pile in our sun porch.  While looking for a full sized bed/headboard for her, I fell in love with the Julian bed from World Market.  It unfortunately did not come in a full size.  The queen size, however, was on super duper clearance with a coupon making it nearly impossible to walk away from.  Yes, I found plans on Ana White to make the same bed in any size we want, but we both shuddered at the thought of planning, building, staining and sealing it ourselves.  (Honestly, if we were able to find the same bedding from Lucky's twin sized bed in a full size, we would have bought the bedding, rotated her headboard horizontally, moved a few pictures and called it good with a metal bed stand.  The prospect of another huge project that we hadn't anticipated was not good.)

In the end, we opted against building Lucky a bed from scratch.  Instead, we bought the queen size Julian bed that I totally loved from World Market for $213 (with a coupon:)) for our guest room, and decided to go a different route in Lucky's room.  So not only did we still not have a bed for Lucky, we also needed to get rid of the old guest bed so we could move the new one in.

Enter Craigslist.  We ended up selling the old bed frame, box spring, side tables, lamps and bench, along with the duvet cover and bed skirt for $500.  In order to break 'even' so to speak, I have a lot of work to do and not a ton of dinero.  We'll see how it goes.  I'd like to add curtains, night stands and lamps.  Bedding would be nice as well:).  A little art work wouldn't hurt either:).  More to come on this subject, once I track down the more that's going to come.

As for now, here's our new guest bed:

And just so you know, I love this bed...but I have no vision for the rest of the space, as of yet.  I think I need to break out my inspiration binder:).  Wish me luck and stay tuned.

P.S.  The other half of the room is looking like this right now. AHHHH!!  I'm remaining calm and calling this a 'summer project' to go with all the others we have planned:).

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Belated Easter!!

I had hoped to get a post up yesterday, but never got around to writing it until last night:).  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!!  Here is some of the fun we had yesterday:

Easter Morning!!

Charm's big gift was a yoga mat and a yoga DVD:)!! 

Lucky's big gift was a DIY Lip Balm Kit (and an early reader book collection not pictured:)):

We tried out this kit for coloring our brown eggs:

 Here was a little project we did using old broken crayons that I've been collecting and an Easter cookie tray that I picked up on super clearance at Target last year.

We put the crayon pieces in the cookie tray and placed them in the oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.

We let them cool:

And then popped them out of the tray.
Wa-la.  Festive new crayons.

Happy Monday to you!

P.S.  Do you see this picture?

It wasn't the first picture we took of Lucky and Charm in their Easter outfits.  It was more like the 100th.  At least it felt like that.  It's the same way it feels every time 'picture time' rolls around for a holiday or family gathering, and the quest begins for the 'perfect picture'.  I thought it would be fun to show the whole series of Easter 2013 pictures because it makes me laugh so hard I get teary, and I'm pretty sure it will make my Mom get teary too.

Background:  We were in a rush to get to church on time yesterday morning (per usual:)), so we didn't take Easter pictures before Church.  On the way home from brunch following Church, both Lucky and Charm fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep on the couch for about an hour after we got home.  When they woke up, we immediately wanted to dye eggs with them, but first we needed to get 'Easter pictures' so they could take their good clothes off.

They were bribed with jelly beans.  Lucky wasn't feeling so awake yet (she very rarely takes naps anymore), but Charm wanted some beans.  I asked him to hold her hand, thinking for some reason that would make her happy.  It didn't.  The pictures can do the talking from here:


Lucky is not impressed with the situation.

Charm is perking up:).

Lucky is still not impressed.  McKayla Maroney would be so proud.

Lucky is stubborn, but in our house, you can only fight back the smiles and laughter for so long.  I mean, how can you be expected to keep a straight face when your Dad is fake picking your Mom's nose with a plastic grabber toy from your Easter basket?

This ends the Easter 2013 photo shoot.  Mission Accomplished.