Monday, August 6, 2012

DIY Baby Sandals

I have been pretty busy lately with a newborn, a 3 year old and 5 year old, starting grad school classes and just keeping up with housework and family commitments. Despite all of that, I have been antsy to do some crafting.
My sister-in-law found some baby sandals for her little one and said that she thought they were something that I could probably make. After hearing this I went out and bought a pair of Toe Blooms to take a closer look. I figured that I could make some and began searching online for a tutorial. I came across this one from Laura at The Creative Muster and immediately went looking for supplies.
I was unlucky in finding any cotton jersey in the girly colors that I was looking for- all of the stores I visited had darker fall colors out. So I began to think about what I had on hand that I could use. I had a few cotton t-shirts in my fabric stash that I thought could work. I cut one apart and used the pattern from the Creative Muster as well as the Toe Blooms that I bought to create my own pair of baby sandals. The first pair was too big for my newborn, so I altered my pattern and made another pair. This pair fit perfectly, stretching just enough to fit and stay on my little girls feet.

I paired the sandals with a beautiful gray and pink dress for a wedding that we attended recently. My mother-in-law gifted us the kids matching clothes when our youngest was born. Aren't they just adorable!

Though time consuming- cutting out all of the pieces for the flowers and handsewing all of the tiny pieces together- the sandals were totally worth it! It was a perfect project to pick up and work on anytime I had a few free moments. The best part is that you can do it all by hand and do not have to be a great seamstress.
Though summer is almost over and the weather will be cooling off, I think that the sandals would also be cute with tights. I have made a pair in black and plan to make another pair in white. I would also like to play around with the pattern and see if there would be a way to make a pair that looks more masculine for boys. Things like this make me so angry that I did not come up with something like this myself!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Tangled Birthday Party

Our oldest daughter Reese turned 5 last week, and we had several celebrations planned to mark the event. First, we planned on going out to lunch at Happy Joe's on her actual birthday, June 7th, when my husband had a work conflict. I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for that afternoon and began to think that if my midwife induced labor, I was five days from my due date, I would not be very comfortable or willing to go out to dinner. As a result, we decided to celebrate her birthday with a family dinner the night before. We went to Happy Joe's per Reeses' request and the kids had a blast playing all of the games and collecting tickets for their prizes. After eating too much pizza, they delivered a birthday sundae to our table and the entire restaurant joined in singing, "Happy Birthday!" to Reese.
The very next day, I went into labor with our third child! Besides getting a "Happy Birthday", the poor girl did not get the celebration that this much anticipated birthday deserved! She did get to go out to dinner at the restuarant of her choosing (Chik-Fil-A) and go shopping with her grammy, which made her feel pretty special!

We had planned to hold a birthday party with my in-laws that weekend, so after getting home from the hospital, we went into full party prep! Actually, most of the preparations had been done long in advance, so it was just organizing the house after bringing home a truckload of stuff with us from the hospital!

Reese absolutely loves the movie "Tangled", so we decided on a Rapunzel themed party. I started with the invitations several weeks ago. Being pregnant, crafting invitations was a perfect activity to keep me busy while spending the evenings with my feet propped up. I combined 2 different invitation ideas that I found on Pinterest to create our own unique invitation.

Another project that I worked on while propping my feet up, was the banner. I used a cut out of the sun motiff and attached it to a piece of purple cardstock. I then strung the cards together with yarn and hung them throughout the house. We also had several different types of purple paper lanterns hanging in different areas of the house.

My banner was inspired by this one on Pinterest.

Finally, we put together a cupcake "cake" inspired by a cake I also found on Pinterest.

I baked a batch of cupcakes and frosted them all in green frosting and arranged them all on a platter. I then frosted the edge of an ice cream cone and placed another one on top. I added the cone castle to the cupcakes by using a toothpick inserted into the cone and cupcake. While I rolled out a few pieces of banana laffy taffy to make the hair, I gave my daughter a package of edible flowers to add to the cupcakes and tower. Finally, using some frosting, I attached the laffy taffy braid to the tower and draped it through the cupcakes.

The birthday girl was completely spoiled by our wonderful families. Though she ended up having to share the birthday spotlight with her new baby sister, I think that she ended up having a perfect birthday!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nesting Overdrive

I have been off of work for a full week and I was determined to keep active rather than relaxing with my feet propped up. Now that I am at 38 weeks, my thoughts are that keeping active will encourage the baby to make his or her appearance sooner rather than later!
Monday was Memorial Day and we spent most of the day hanging out at my in-laws pool. It was great to be able to play with the kids, but be able to relax and stay cool at the same time.
While the kids napped on Tuesday, I started going around the house gathering items that I plan to sell at a garage sale later this summer. During the cleanout of my craft room, I came across 2 scrap pieces of fleece that were perfect for a project I pinned on Pinterest. I pinned this tutorial for car seat pillows several months ago and with a lot of travelling planned this summer, I really wanted to complete this project. The instructions were very easy to follow and I would have had both pillows done in one naptime, but I did not have velcro on hand.
Wednesday, my husband was out of town, so I tried to take it easy, I didn't want to go into labor when he was several hours away. I worked on school work for my summer class while the kids played outside. That evening we went to town and ran a few errands, to purchase supplies to work on a few projects on my to do list. We also purchased and put together a few deck boxes to store our patio cushions in.
Thursday was rainy and gray. Rather than sit around the house watching movies and tv, I pulled out the gallon of oops paint that I finally purchased for my son's room and got to work. You can see a before of the room here. I took time off that afternoon to go to the doctor and received the disappointing news that I was not even close to going into labor. That renewed my energy to finish the painting that evening after dinner!
Friday, I finished painting my son's room and then took the kids to walk around the zoo. We walked for at least 2 hours before heading home for lunch. While the kids napped that afternoon, I worked on cleaning the house. That evening we went out to dinner and a party to celebrate my father-in-law's 15 years of service.
Saturday we attended my daughter's last soccer practice/game and then spent several hours running errands and getting groceries. That evening I spent several hours in the kitchen preparing 5 loves of stromboli. We planned to take some out on the boat with us the next day and then I figured that we would have a few loaves prepared for meals while I was in the hospital or soon after I got home.
Sunday morning I woke up before Randy and the kids and decided to take advantage of the time to work on another Pinterest project. I pinned this nursing cover project several weeks ago and decided to go ahead and complete one with a blue checkered fabric that I had on hand. Though we are not sure what we are having, I think that the pattern is kind of feminine even though the colors may be more masculine. The cotton fabric that I had was light and see through and therefore not so well suited for a nursing cover, so I ended up lining the whole cover with a white cotton fabric. We then spent the rest of the afternoon on the boat at the beach. Thankfully, the kids were happy to splash and play in the sand while I sat back and relaxed. After eating a quick dinner and bathing both kids, we were all in bed by 9pm. It was a crazy busy week, but with our third child due in about a week, things are only going to get crazier!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Nesting has set in!

Well, it finally happened! At 34 weeks pregnant, I could not take it anymore and just had to decorate or improve something! I had chosen not to find out whether we were having a boy or girl at our ultrasound because I wanted to be able to relax and enjoy this pregnancy rather than spending the entire time wrapped up in preparations like I was with my first two pregnancies. Last week, I reached a breaking point where I just had to do something and while my husband was out of town, I decided to finally paint my daughter's bedroom. Although we bought paint when we moved into our home over 2 years ago I never got around to painting. Here is how the room has looked pretty much since moving in:

I had chosen a light purple color from my daughter's rug and bedding. I painted one wall and immediately knew that it was not the right color. The color was too light and actually looked almost white. With white furniture and ceilings, the room was not gaining any personality. I planned to let the paint dry and add another coat to see if I could make the color work. So I packed the kids into the car and went to pick up some supplies. While shopping, I decided to check the mistint section and found a lovely shade of lavender. I immediately grabbed it up and put it into the cart. We got the rest of our supplies and I rushed home to get a coat onto the wall. With the first brush strokes, I was in love! I got one coat on about half of the room before it was time for bed, so I cleaned up for the night and tucked the kids in. The next day I added a second coat to get even coverage on the textured walls. I was stiff and sore from all of the bending and crouching, so I took the next day off. Over the weekend, I finished the other half of the room, despite my daughter's protests that I leave the room half painted! My little princess absolutely loved her room! She loved it so much that I could not get any shots of her new room without her dancing through the middle of the photo!
The change in the wall color made a huge difference in personalizing the space, but I have a few more ideas that I hope to work on over the summer and after the new baby is born! Though I love how the room turned out, I am ready to rest these last four weeks!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The time I almost killed my husband

You will not find a lot of recipes on this blog because I am not much of a cook (as this story will illustrate), but I felt that this tip that I learned from my mother-in-law needed to be shared! Soon after I met my know husband (almost 11 years ago) I invited him over to my house for dinner. I planned to make spagetti because I figured that everybody likes spagetti and there is really no way to mess it up. I could not have been more wrong! So the day of the big dinner arrived and I went shopping for the ingredients and spent the afternoon preparing our meal. When my boyfriend arrived he commented on how delicious everything smelled and we sat down to eat. He was a football player, so of course he was a big eater and he gobbled up 2 servings of spagetti. After cleaning up we went to relax and watch a movie in the living room. Soon after the movie started he excused himself to go to the restroom and spent the rest of our romantic evening in the bathroom! Later when discussing the source of his abdominal discomfort, I revealed that I had fried the burger in a frying pan just like my mom had done for my entire life. At that time, my boyfriend revealed to me that his mom boiled their hamburger rather than frying it. We knew then that the difference in cooking methods had meant more grease than my boyfriends stomach could handle. I was immediately intrigued by the concept of boiling hamburger and had to ask his mom about her method. It really is just as simple as it sounds, boiling hamburger in a pot of water just as you would do with noodles. I buy the leanest ground beef that I can, usually 93/7, and break it up in a pot of water. I then bring the water to a boil, stirring occassionally until the hamburger has completely browned.
Finally, I dump the pot into a strainer and strain away all of the water and grease.
This method of boiling hamburger creates small pieces of meat that are perfect for spagetti as well as tacos. And not only does this method produce a less greasy and healthier hamburger, it also keeps the house from smelling greasy.
Most peoples reaction when I tell them about boiling hamburger is similiar to mine (disbelief), but since trying it 11 years ago, I have never fried hamburger again! Though I continue to do most of the cooking for my family, I have also adopted several of my mother-in-laws recipes, and thankfully have never again made someone ill with my cooking!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pink & Orange Baby Shower

This past weekend we threw a baby shower for my brother and sister-in-law and their new baby Payton. They did not really have a theme in mind, but inspiration struck when I found some girly floral pink and orange invitations at Target. Once I found the invitations, the rest of the party came together easily. I have been wanting to make the tissue paper pom poms and decided that they would be perfect for this party.

Next I created some artwork with all of the details of Payton's birthdate.

Finally, I decorated the walls with clothes of varying sizes in pinks and oranges.

I used the small table to corral all of the gifts in one spot.

This worked well because they looked cute and also doubled as their gift! I also used decor that doubled as a gift in the shower that I threw for my brother and his wife a few months ago.
The party went extremely well and the new parents received lots of great gifts.

My kids even got in on the gift opening!

My daughter kept handing over gifts faster than Kristin could even open them!

The guest of honor was quiet as a mouse the entire night. She was happy to rest as the other guests passed her around, waking only to eat or have her diaper changed.

Congratulations Derek and Kristin! Welcome to the family Payton!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Here comes Peter Cottontail...

After Valentine's Day I needed something to get my house ready for Easter and Spring. While at the Dollar Store shopping for my son's birthday party, I was drawn to lots and lots of cute Easter decor. I couldn't resist, so I grabbed a bunch of things and threw them into the cart. After the birthday party and all of the Valentine decor was put away, I pulled out the items I bought and got to work.

First, I grabbed an empty vase I had laying around and filled it with Easter grass. I added a few pieces of styrofoam (for stability) and stuck a few of these adorable sparkly eggs in randomly. I finished it off with some more grass on top and wrapped the middle of the vase with the egg ribbon that I actually purchased last year.

Because that turned out so cute, I was on the hunt for more vases to put more eggs into. I remembered some green glasses that I got for my wedding and have never used. This time I filled the bottom of the cup with styrofoam, stuck in the eggs and added some grass to the top. Finally, I tied some more of the egg ribbon around the glass.

In the dining room, I used the tree and sparkly eggs to create a centerpiece for my table.

Finally, I added an egg shaped candle to a hurricane filled with grass.

Along with all of the paper decorations that I crafted last year, the house really looks springy and ready for a visit from our favorite bunny!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Birthday party fit for a future firefighter!

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, all Aidan could talk about was garbage trucks. He was fascinated with watching the garbage truck come to our house and pick up the garbage, he always pointed out garbage trucks on the road and pretended everything was garbage. Being the attentive parents we are, we of course bought him a garbage truck for Christmas. Immediately after Christmas, he was suddenly obsessed with all things firetrucks and the garbage truck that we so deliberately sought out, sat untouched!
Well, when I began thinking of ideas for his birthday party, I immediately thought of firetrucks. In researching a firetruck theme, I came across this tutorial for making a firetruck cake (originally from Family Fun magazine)and it was decided.
My first objective was to find invitations. Though I have made the invitations for the kids recent parties, I wanted to do something different. I found a photo invitation that I liked, uploaded my pictures and ordered them in a fraction of the time that it would have taken me to even make a mock up invitation by hand.

Once the invitations were finished, I began to work on the decorations for the party. I found and printed some symbols of firefighters, a fire hydrant and a crest. I cut them out and traced them onto colored scrapbook paper and dressed them up with some markers. I added "The Firefighters Prayer" and a picture of my little cutie next to a real firetruck made to look like an award for Firefighter of the Year. Finally, I printed a few templates for dogs and cut them out. Then I had the kids cut out black dots and glue them to the template to make dalmatians. They had so much fun cutting and pasting that they kept asking to make more! I added all of the decorations to the kitchen cabinets where the party guests could enjoy them while they got their food.

I purchased a few plastic fireman hats at the Dollar Store for the guest of honor and all of the guests under age 5. Along with the firetruck shirt (from a set of pj's we purchased on clearance at Gymboree), the birthday boy was looking pretty cute!

The final element was the food. Though I wanted to have food that went with the theme, hot dogs, hot wings and four alarm chili, we thought that BBQ pork and cheesy potatoes was a more favorable option for our guests. I made the firetruck cake according to the tutorial I mentioned earlier. Besides the fact that the cake was dark pink rather than red, I think that it turned out pretty cute! And most importantly, the Birthday Boy loved it!

The birthday boy received so many wonderful gifts.

On a side note, I tried to create matchsticks by dipping pretzel sticks in white chocolate (colored red)like these from Modern Moments:
Unfortunately, mine ended up looking more like they were intended for a bachelorette party (sorry, image too x rated for this family blog)than for a 3 year old boys party, so we ended up eating them ahead of time and hiding the remainder before the party!
Despite the match stick debacle and the pink firetruck cake, the party was a blast and the birthday boy and guests had a great time!