Wednesday, November 25, 2015

DIY Holiday Fireplace Mantel Decor

 Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I have shamefully already put up Christmas decorations.  I wanted to update our decor because I am a bit tired of looking at the same items year after year.  We are on a budget though and Christmas decor just does not fall into the "need" category.  I put our fireplace mantel together completely with items and supplies we already had.  I feel great about how it turned out and I'm enjoying the newness without having spent any money.
Here are a few things I quickly put together that you can do too:
1. I printed off some Christmas related lyrics on pretty paper.  I used a frame and mat from artwork that we usually have in our guest room so I didn't have to purchase anything.  Holiday decorations are temporary so it's totally fine to borrow things from other parts of the house.
2. I updated an old wreath DIY that was once wrapped in yarn. I used more rustic looking scrap fabric that I had left over and a glue gun.  The fabric I used is all from the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store.
3. I framed one of our Christmas cards from Tiny Prints to display.
4. I painted an old vase, a shot glass, and an empty spice container with leftover gold paint. I used them to hold greenery trimmed from a tree in my yard.
5. I made a string art reindeer using supplies I had in my craftroom.  If you are not sure how to do string art, there are tons of tutorials all over the internet.  Just google "string art."  I repurposed a cheap craft box that I bought years ago as my background.  The wood was thin and soft enough that I was able to use push pins instead of nails which made the project a whole lot easier.
6. I made a simple advent calendar banner with craft paper, tape, and baker's twine.  All things I already had on hand.  I'm probably most excited about this project because it will be the first time I have done an advent calendar with my kids.
Are you working on any DIY projects for the holidays?

Monday, November 2, 2015

8 Months Old!

Flora is eight months old!
This girl is just the sweetest.  Her smile really does light up the whole room and she generally smiles all the time.  She has been learning a lot of new things and is always so proud of herself when she gets something new figured out.  She knows how to clap now and gets really excited when she can clap along with other people.
Her first word came out at the beginning of the month. I am happy to announce that it was "mama".  I taught her to say it, but I didn't think she really knew what it meant at first.  She now occasionally yells it when she wants me to come to her so she has definitely made the association by now.  Jeremy has been working on dad with her.  She has definitely made the "da" sound a few times, but we are still perfecting it.  I have also gotten her to say "hi" a few times while waving.
She walks along the furniture in the living room with ease now, but is always holding on.  I didn't think she was capable of standing on her own yet, but Jeremy got her to do it on Halloween and yelled at me across the room to see her.  I caught a split second of it before she sat down.
Flora is constantly grabbing everything and is obsessed with her sibling's water bottles.  She will go to extreme lengths to obtain them and is unfortunately really good at drinking from them so I have to keep an eye on that situation.  I have no idea why she thinks she is so thirsty.
We are going strong with nursing and she still eats like three times a night.  She sleeps really great in between feedings though.  I transitioned her to the crib last week which means she starts out there and ends up sleeping in our room by around 1:00 am.  That's still progress, I guess.  I really don't mind sleeping with her.  I will miss it when that stage is behind us.
See how much she has grown!

Friday, October 2, 2015

7 Months Old!

Flora is seven months old!
Flora has been teething all month.  It has been pretty rough for us both.  She now has her two front bottom teeth and things have seemed a little better the last few days.  I'm hoping we are past the worst of it.  She has developed some pretty poor napping habits which I think is related to the teething.  She very rarely naps in her crib for more than ten minutes at a time.
She is a fast crawler and zips all over the house now with no trouble.  She loves to climb things and can usually be found standing while gripping onto something.  Flora is pretty stable now, but hasn't tried to stand without holding onto things yet. Although she seems to love being mobile, she still would prefer that I hold her all the time.
Flora has started eating puffs and other baby snacks in addition to purees.  She still mostly nurses though.  We have encountered some issues with biting as a result of teething, but I think we are past that at least for now.
I have to watch her like a hawk because she will put anything in her mouth.  Pearl and Axel are not so great at keeping their tiny things off of the floor and coffee table so she regularly finds things like stickers and little bits of food.  She also seems to be desperate to consume the remote control.
Flora can wave!  She is so happy, funny, and loves to play.  She brings our house so much joy.
See how much she has grown!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Little Pony Birthday Party - Pearl Turns 4!

Today is Pearl's fourth birthday!  We had her party on Sunday.  I was planning on just buying a bunch of food and throwing it together at the last minute because I enjoyed how simple Axel's second birthday party was.  Pearl decided about a week ago that she wanted a My Little Pony theme though.  I also love MLP so we went for it.
If you watch My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic at all, you would know they talk about food a lot.  I saw some parent created food items on Pinterest that they tried to tie into the show, but were not from the show.  I guess I am a MLP purist because that bothered me.  I wanted to do foods that actually existed on the show.  We had Applejack's apple brown bettys, Spike's jewel cake, Granny Smith's apple cider, and Pinkie Pie's rock candy.  I wanted to figure out how to make rock candy necklaces, but there just wasn't time to work on that.  My sister-in-law also made an awesome cheese sandwich platter to honor one of our favorite ponies - Cheese Sandwich.  Since we only had a week and I have three small kids, I delegated out a lot of the food tasks to family because they kept offering to help.  All I really had to make were the cakes.  My mom also arranged the fruit and veggie trays into adorable rainbows.  She was so dedicated to the task that she scoured a farmer's market to find a purple vegetable.
Some of the decor, favors, and plates were store bought My Little Pony licensed stuff.  I made all of the food signs and the Wonderbolts banner by googling the images I was looking for.  I didn't have to crop out background for anything because Bronies are awesome and there was a free vector already created for everything I could have possibly ever needed.  I also found the font for free.  I was in such a hurry to get all of this done that I didn't save links to where everything came from.  I would love to credit everyone out there who helped me (thank you Bronies), so I'm hoping to find time to go back and credit everyone properly (stay tuned).
Pearl had so much fun.  On top of having a pony party, she also received a ton of MLP gear as well as a sweet Anna from Frozen dress.  Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us. We love you all!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

6 Months Old!

Flora is six months old!
Baby Flo had her first tooth pop through.  The one next to it is about ready to come through as well.  She has been taking it like a champ.  Chewing has become her favorite pastime.  We have a lot of teethers and baby toys to keep her occupied, but she keeps managing to find our leather flip flops which are apparently preferred.  We try to keep this from happening though since she is a person and not a dog.
Flora is crawling around everywhere.  I am trying to vacuum more regularly and often have to steer her away from the dog food dish.  She manages to spot the one thing on the floor that she shouldn't have and immediately bolts for it.  I discovered her eating part of a cracker that Axel dropped yesterday so I guess we can add crackers to the list of foods she has tried.
Flora has pulled herself up into a standing-ish position a couple times in the last few days.  She doesn't seem incredibly stable yet, but is really motivated.  She just wants to do everything that her older siblings do I guess.
We tried putting her in the nursery at church last Sunday for the first time.  This was not ok with her and I was called in to pick her up in less than five minutes.  She doesn't cry much, but when she does, she really gets animated about it.  Having her with me in the service isn't too bad though.  The only concern there is random happy noises/screams.  We generally sit in the back for that reason.
See how much she has grown!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

First day of Preschool!

Today was a big day in our household.  Pearl had her first day of preschool!  I didn't want to be the weird parent who took a bunch of photos at school, so I opted to be more privately weird and take photos in front of our garage.
Pearl loved everything about her first day except for "the salty light green broccoli," at lunch.  She came home with a sweet drawing she made of the two of us and a whole lot to say about her day.
This is an exchange we had in the car on the drive home:
Me - "Did you make any friends at preschool?"
Pearl - "I made four girl friends. Only girls, no boys."
Me - "It looked like there were some nice boys there, too."
Pearl - "Sorry, no boys."
Me - Do you remember the girls' names?"
Pearl - "One was named Allie and one was named Cassie. One was named Mally. I don't know what that means, but I guess I don't mind."
Me - "There were four? What was the other girl's name?"
Pearl - "That's just Allie again."
I have no idea if any of those names are real or not, but her story was funny regardless.  Axel and I both missed Pearl while she was gone, but I'm excited for her and can't wait to hear more preschool stories.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

5 Months Old!

Flora is five months old!
Flora continues to amaze us with her body strength.  She can sit up on her own pretty well, but doesn't have it completely mastered yet.  I generally still hover as she occasionally flops over.  Flora has been moving all over the living room.  Although she doesn't have crawling fully figured out yet, she still bounces around in crawling position and manages to back herself up under furniture.  I assume she will get forward motion figured out this next month.
It takes barely any effort at all to get her to smile.  She smiles all the time and does it for everyone.  We have also heard her laugh on occasion this month.  Pearl is the best in our family at getting her to laugh.  Her new trick is screaming.  She screams for fun and she loves it.  I can't believe how loud she can get.  Taking her to church was a little difficult yesterday.  You never know when she's just going to randomly start screaming.
Flora went on her first vacation this month.  We went to Seaside, OR for a week.  She did great in her new environment.  It's always tricky to figure out how to keep a baby covered from the sun while at the beach, but we managed to work it out.  She spent a lot of time in her ring sling and we even introduced the Ergo during the trip which she seemed to enjoy.
We introduced a whole lot of baby food purees this month.  She has tried banana, avocado, zucchini, sweet potato, apple, pear, green bean, mango, and carrots.  It took about a week for her to figure out the mechanics of eating.  Now she is already pretty fast.  I have only been feeding her solids once a day maybe five days a week.  We don't always manage to fit it in.
See how much she has grown!