Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Year, New Life!

You all must have thought that 4 kids have done me in.  Well, it takes a little more than that to stop this lady. . . and a little more is just what has been happening around  here lately!  I will give you the short version of the story:

 Just two shorts weeks after having our little bundle of joy, my hubs got laid off.  It was a devastating blow to say the least.  But we tried to take advantage of the QT that we were getting with a new baby at home and Dad around.  It was really something I could get used to, if we could get paid to sit around and play with our kids all day!  Alas, that is not the case, and {because he's just so irresistible ;)} the hubs did a great job of scoring a few job offers.  But wouldn't you know the offer that seemed to suit us the best was over 1,000 miles from where we were, and from any family, or friends that we know. 

We made our decision and  within 3 weeks were packed and moved and settled, with just enough time to celebrate Christmas, in (drum roll please)  Arkansas!  Yep.  Bet you forgot that was even a state.  We had.  So with this new year comes this new adventure in our little spot here in middle America, or southern America, we can't actually decide (coming from the North East) if it feels more south or more west to us. 

It has been culture shock for sure, but we are loving settling in and trying to feel like natives.  We have already tried fried catfish and the BEST fried chicken i've ever had (I have not, nor will I, go so far as to try frog legs, but let me tell you they are a real food here, and people DO eat them!).  We have become part of the Razorback fan club, we've already got our t-shirts, which seems to be a requirement for living here, that and a hogs car decal--(which we do not have).  We have experience our first tornado warning and have spotted a place we would go in the house in case one decides to crash through our neighborhood.  We have seen little chicken coops in peoples very normal suburban back yards apparently you don't need a farm to have fresh eggs!   One of my favorite adjustments are the few 70 degree winter days!  Definitely beats the 5 feet of snow that would have been dumped on us in New England!  Things are different, but change is good.  I have no doubt this experience will be one that will change our family for the better.  So, while the projects may be a little farther between for the next little while while we settle in, I will try to keep updated, becuase my ideas certainly aren't slowing, and we will now have a new house full of new decorating and projects!  So, don't give up on me just yet. . . it takes more than a few hits to knock this lady out! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Baby Number 4 has Arrived!

Our sweet little girl arrived at the end of september, thanks to a wonderful and merciful doctor, who induced me a week early!  And boy was it a good thing he did!  She was our biggest baby yet weighing in at 8lbs, 6oz.!  She is two weeks old now and so much fun to have around. We were able to bless her in her little blessing dress this past weekend, while the grandparents were here.  So, here are some pictures of her all fancied up for the camera! 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blessing Dress

Can I just say that my oldest daughter is turning into quite the project junky herself.  I mentioned to her a month ago that i thought it would be fun to make a dress for our new baby girl to be blessed in after she is born.  Like a Christening dress, a Blessing dress is usually fancy and white, but it doesn't have to be.  And in the spirit of wedding dresses with a splash of color, wanted to do something a little different for our Autumn baby.  So I told my daughter, we could make it out of cream fabric, and add brown tulle or a few tan ruffles in places for a twist on the normal Blessing dress.  So she stopped me before I gave her all my ideas and said. . ."Mom, i have just the dress we can make it out of."  I was kinda surprised that she would automatically look for another piece of clothing to make it from (since for once I was totally planning on buying fabric for it) and was nervous about what dress she was wanting to slice up.  She came back with a hand me down dress up dress from her dress up bin, that I think at one point in it's life span was a very cute little girls dress, but had been picked up at a yard sale, given to my sister in law, and handed down to me for playtime.  I looked it over and saw enough salvageable material, that I was getting pretty excited.  It was lined with satin, had raw silk, and organza. .  . which gave it lots of potential.  I messed around with it for a few days and with some inspiration from my friend Cindy at Cranberries and Capers, who customized and shipped a beautiful Blessing day headband before I had even fully formulated the my dress ideas. (Here's what she sent. . . . she. is. AMAZING.) 

I came up with a sweet petite fall Blessing dress, that has lots of different textures and warm woodsy colors that I am just LOVING!


And the best part, is it was totally free, thanks to my little project clone!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Beginning

It is time to really buckle down and get ready for this baby to come and live with us!  So, we started rearranging things.  You know, I am learning, with each subsequent child, all the unpractical notions of a perfect nursery, just the right bedding, or a dream space for your new baby,  leave your head.  Because you learn (and it has taken me 4 kids now to get it) that all the fluffy bedding, will be on the floor most the time, and you will use all those hospital blankets to keep them swaddled tight at night.  And in a few short years you will want to change all those hand painted details in their room to fit a different gender baby or to go with their personality more.  I know now that the best investments are the essentials, like good crisp sheets, because that is what people will see when the come into their room, or cuter recieving blankets because they will poop through them, and a good swaddle is your saving grace at night.  All the pomp and frills are so fun, and I would do them again, but this time, I know that she will probably spend most her nights sleeping wherever will give us a good 3 hour stretch at a time.  And as she grows the same sleeping arrangement won't always work, so we will switch her her around sharing with her siblings until we find just the right fit for two little personalities. . . and that is okay!   All that being said, I have been sluggish putting her stuff somewhere, because i want to have the best access and  with three bedrooms, she doesn't have the luxury of her own room.  But i made it official the other day that she is going to start out living in the corner of our bonus room.  That is her space.  She has a dresser, and space to be changed and a space to sleep, and there is a comfy rocker to rock her to sleep.  And she will just be a cute little nomad for a while. 

But, baby stuff aside, as I lugged this old dresser across the upstairs  from my bedroom to the bonus room, I realized this brown beauty was my starting place in home projects and refinishing: 

This old dresser was hand made for my dad to use when he was a boy.  It was old and rickety with a cherry finish. When my husband and I were newlyweds we acquired it from my grandparents house, and after a year or two we decided it needed a face lift.  So, I went--completely unknowledgeable of what I was about to undertake--to Walmart and picked up some bison brown paint and some poly, and went to work.  We added new knobs and although it was still old and rickety, it had a nice chocolate brown finish to match our bedroom.  And we had a great feeling making something, we already had, work for us.  I look around our house at our furniture--a vast majority of which is hand me downs, or garage sale, or more recently, made by the hubs--and it has all had our love worked into it in some way or another.   It all started with this first little dresser whose refinishing work pales in comparison, now that we have learned more through trial and error.  It has been such a blessing in our lives to have started working on these little skills of reworking old furniture and clothes to be something that is new, fresh, and exactly what we want.  It started out by just giving it a shot. . . there wasn't much to lose.  The dresser couldn't have looked any more out of style, so we just plunged in, and here we are 5 years later with a house decorated the way we love, and full of pieces that tell a story and have a little of our blood sweat and tears (literally) finished right into them.  And this rickety dresser, our baby of the furniture, so to speak, is all grown up, and will probably need some more TLC soon, but it feels good to see it in it's current form, being used for our new baby for a while.  We had we thrown it out long ago, we would have been one dresser short right now.  So, if you are a blog peruser and you look at the things people are doing and think I could never do that, then think again!  Your first few things may flop, but you will learn from it, and be so glad you have the know how to turn that $20 garage sale bed frame, with all it's cute little details and a bad stain, into just the thing you need for your little girls room! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wishing Well

My in laws have this pipe coming up out of their front yard. They were thinking it was a little unsightly, so they enlisted my husband to make a faux wishing well to cover it up.  He gathered supplies before we went down there, and a couple of days into our vacation he had this little cedar beauty sitting in their yard.  I love how it looks in it's natural wood state, all surrounded by the forest.  I am never very good about thinking of outside decor or landscaping.  It is something I wish I was better at.  I thought it was such a great idea my mother in law had to get rid of an eye sore that isn't removable.  It makes me want to drop a penny in and make a wish :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Goodbye Summertime, You Will be Missed.

Whoa, where did summer go?  Even though it still feels a bit like summer here.  Kids are back in school, and life is slowing down.  And I am getting back into a normal routine.  I feel like the biggest slacker on the blog front.  It is one thing to have the posts and the pictures in mind, it is a wholly other thing to find a minute to sit at the computer and publish them.  We had such a fun summer.  And one of the most exciting months was July, where we went absolutely nowhere.  I enrolled the kids in a little imaginative movement class for one day a week, and a friend of mine and I swapped Tuesdays to present a craft class at our houses once a week.  We filled in the rest of the days with swimming, when it was warm, and activities when it was rainy (which wasn't too much. . .it was a pretty hot July!).  But the activities and crafts we did added so much to our daily routines that I wanted to share the ones we did.  Most of them we found on crafty little blogs, and the cost was minimal, but made for hours of fun!  They would be great to do for bday parties, rainy days, science projects, or just to add some flare to the week. 

Here are the links:

The Idea Room:  Bouncy Ball

The Idea Room: Marshmallow Guns

You Tube: Cute T shirt Cutting- (we used this one Here)

You Tube: Tie Dying Designs

Make Your own Bubbles

Family Fun: Sand Castles that Last

Here are some pictures of the fun:

The finished bouncy balls.  She noted this in her post, but they really aren't that bouncy.  She has another one that we didn't try that is suppose to be more bouncy ball-like.  We still had fun making them and letting them bobble across the kitchen floor for a few hours :). 

Mini Marshmallow Guns.  Not only were they fun to assemble, but my friend Kayla, who was in charge of this fun little activity, had targets to shoot at, and bottles to knock down.  She even painted them at the end.  My kids still sleep with theirs by their bed.

Make your own Bubbles.  This is really a trial and error process I found.  There are tons of recipes out there that are all basically the same ingredients but in looking at the comments on most it seemed like there was never 100% success rate for those using them.  We could only get a few of the really big bubbles to come off our homemade wands.  But the little bubbles worked great. 

Sand castles were so fun to play with and make but my advice: Use a pot you don't care about to cook it in , and the lastablilty was a bit questionable, because once they dry they begin to crumble, so if your little
ones want to touch it after it's dry, it really won't "last" too long!

I wish i had pictures of the tie dying.  But it was a bit much for me to get pictures while keeping my 2 year old from dying herself pink.  But maybe i can get my daughter to model her shirt for a picture later.  We cut our T's (for the girls) before dying them and they use them as cover ups for their suits, or layer them with a tank top.  They turned our adorable!

Not all of the projects had the outcome that we thought, but they were all worth it, and the kids loved them all, whether they flopped or not.  It's really all about doing something different and switching up a mundane routine. Anyone else do any fun summer projects with the kids?  I would love to hear about them! 

The next few weeks will be major baby prep!  This kiddo is due in 5 weeks!  We have some desks to assemble, rooms to rearrange and dressers to repaint and pass around to different kids, so look for some crunch time posts in the weeks to come :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rock-a-bye baby

So, it is really getting close, the due date of this little bun in my oven.  Just over 2 months away!  Time sure is flying fast.  And after that doozy of a project on the stairs and hallway I just finished, my ideas have turned more baby-minded.  As I have started pulling things out from storage I am feeling like it is all looking a bit old and worn, and some of it just a little blah.  Sort of like this:

Okay, so there is nothing wrong with this, and actually this isn't mine, but it has the same blah and boring look of the swing I had that was destroyed by a 3 and 4 year old jumping on it and playing all sorts of little games in it the last time it was out.  But I am sure anyone who had a kid 6-8 years ago will remember those navy blue and cream plaids that Graco was shelling out for their swings, carseats, pack-n-plays,etc.  I was happy to accept a hand me down from a neighbor to replace my old one, but the pattern wasn't much more exciting.  The swing my friend gave me had the bonus of little dancing teddy bears in overalls.  I was very grateful for a swing--teddy bears or not--because, hey, that's more money in my pocket that I can use for diapers, but I still wanted something a little sassier.  I have noticed, with the coming of number 4 to our house, that our house is all about kids.  We have toys and baby stuff everywhere.  I love it, it makes our house home to have our kids things planted here and there, but with all the little nick nacks I am collecting are really a part of my decor and I want them to look cute and match my decor, dang-it!  So, for a very minimal fee (I think it was about $15-- and could have been even cheaper if I could ever lay my hands on the 40% off JoAnn's coupons when I go) I got some awesome brown and cream zebra home decor fabric (I believe I only used about a half yard, but you would have to measure your own swing cushion), a yard of tan trim for the straps, and a yard of avacado-green ruffle.  Although I spent a little bit more because I didn't measure for what I really needed (and i didn't even use a half a yard of the fabric) I think you could easily pick up the supplies, if you measured everything before you picked it up, for about $10. 

My project began when my mother in law was here, and she pretty much did all the work on it while I got some rest (thank you a thousand times over).  But what we did for the swing makeover was cover the cushion in the same fashion i did for the ironing board.  My mother in law just cut it out using the cushion as a pattern and zig zag stitched around, adding the new ruffle in place of the old one.  We changed over all of the old navy straps to nice fresh tan ones.  And finally took the plastic off of the metal swing poles and sprayed them Krylon's oil rubbed bronze.  Once it was dry we put it all back together and set it up in my living room. It's sophisticated with sort of a whimsical baby charm.  I am loving it!  It looks great, it matches and it's functional. . . yeah!     *Just a note:  Knowing this is for a baby, I didn't attempt to paint or change the tray or the seat or the toys.  Luckily the seat, and trey and plastic bits all seemed to match what I was doing. . .the toys did not.  Those darn toys actually are pretty stuck on there, and are still a bit ugly, but better safe than sorry with remaking baby stuff. So no one get too carried away with the spray paint ;)