Monday, January 26, 2015

Daniel Tiger Potty Artwork Free Printable

We are working on a full remodel for our bathroom.  It should be done in the next couple of weeks so I have started thinking about decor for the space.  We are going with a grey scale color theme that is a bit sophisticated, but this will also be the bathroom that our kids will grow up using.  I wanted to insert a little fun into the room through artwork.  Since Daniel Tiger helped us so much while potty training Pearl, it seemed natural to use a quote from that magic potty training song.
People seemed to love the print when I posted a photo on Instagram over the weekend so I figured I would offer it on the blog as a free printable.  Click here to access a pdf of the print.  Please let me know if you use the print, I would love to see photos of it up at your home!

*A few tips for using online printables - I have archival paper, but basic card stock will probably work for you.  There is a lot of black ink in this print so recycled printer paper is not ideal as it will get wavy.  To avoid any sort of streaking in the text, set your printer to a higher quality print as it is most likely on a standard printing setting.  The artwork will fit in an 8x10 frame.  You can easily print it on 8.5x11 and cut it down if needed.**If you need potty training assistance, the episode number is 111 and I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bookshelf Remodel

Our living room had a major eyesore for a number of years.  We had a whole wall of built-in bookshelves that were just not pretty.  The shelves were useful since we have a ton of books, but there was nothing that could be done to that set-up to make it look nice.  The bottom 1/3 of our shelves were unusable because toddlers love pulling books off of shelves.  The ledge of the bookshelf extended out so much that it became a dumping ground for mail, keys, and any item that I didn't want the kids to reach.  Our living room always looked cluttered, messy, and not very well thought out because of those shelves.  It didn't matter how clean the room was.
Thankfully, due to a recent freelance job, we had the funds to update them.  Jeremy had a vision and explained it to a carpenter friend of ours who executed the bookshelves perfectly.  We can fit all of our books on there in a more organized and decorative manner.  We also now have tons of storage at the bottom of the wall that the kids will not be able to access.  I'm incredibly excited about our shelves.  Jeremy clearly is too because he has been on a book buying frenzy recently.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Christmas Post in January

This Christmas season was really fun for our family.  Pearl was old enough to understand a lot more and both kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  Santa isn't a thing around here, but we also haven't made it a point to not do Santa which I think confused Pearl a little.  Santa is basically everywhere and she picks up on things pretty quickly.  We will need to have the talk with her next year.
We got to spend lots of time with extended family on both sides and Pearl was especially excited to see her Washington cousins.  She even had a sleepover with her cousin Maleah one night.
Presents are not a huge thing around here, but the kids did receive books, a toy Dyson replica vacuum (which Axel is obsessed with), and a couple Frozen dolls.  They were spoiled by extended family as usual and I don't think we will need to buy them any pajamas for a couple years.
My proudest moment of the season was when Pearl chose to give away a bunch of toys to our friends who just started their journey with foster care.  She was so excited that the kids would get to enjoy them.  After choosing to give away all of the toys I had set out as options, she went into the playroom to find more.
As usual, I made a silly gift tag for family presents.  I didn't have much time this year so Jeremy suggested I just do a Die Hard poster replacing Bruce Willis with Axel's face instead of Photoshopping the whole family.  Axel loved the tags and kept tearing them off of gifts.  By Christmas, I had to tape each one back on at least once.
We rang in the new year with a group of friends who also have kids.  We were in bed by ten.  It was perfect.  I'm excited and a little nervous to experience all that 2015 will bring which of course includes baby number three in March.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pearl Plays PDX #7 - Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo

We went to ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo on Sunday night.  Honestly, the first time Jeremy and I attended ZooLights, it was miserable.  We didn't have kids at the time and went along with my sister and my niece.  There were so many people there that we had to park in a remote lot and be shuttled over, the line for the zoo train was hours long, and it was freezing cold.  That was about five years ago and I didn't ever want to go back to Zoolights after that night.
Pearl loves animals and all things Christmas-y so I knew she would think it was magical. We decided to give it another shot with our own kids this year.  I read the FAQ page on the Oregon Zoo website to find out tips on how to not relive that same experience.  I learned that it isn't as busy early in the season and weeknights are ideal if you have toddlers.  I also found out that although ZooLights technically "starts" at 5:00, they turn most of the lights on around 4:00.  You can buy ZooLights admission as early as 4:00 as well.
We decided to go on a Sunday night and arrived well before 5:00.  It was a really cold evening, but it was totally worth braving the weather.  The parking lot was barely half full.  We received our tickets (with no wait) and headed straight to the zoo train.  We only had to wait 15 minutes until we were on the train.  Both kids actually seemed to love the train experience.  I was a bit surprised by how quick the train ride was since I know people are willing to wait hours for it and you pay an extra $4 per person to take the train.  It was the highlight of the night for our kids though.
There are tons of booths where you can buy hot chocolate and other treats.  Carrying around a hot chocolate adds a bit to the magical experience and nearly everyone at the park had one in hand.
There are many more lights than I recall seeing five years ago as well.  The whole experience was much more fun seeing it through Pearl's eyes instead of our own grown up eyes the first time around.  I was also surprised by how many animals we were able to see because I don't recall any being out on our first visit.  Both kids enjoyed seeing the elephants.
We lasted for about an hour and a half.  We made it through the majority of the zoo and we stopped to see most of the animals that were available for viewing.  Axel was starting to get really upset about the cold weather though so we decided to call it a night.  On the way out of the park, one kid was crying because he was cold, and the other was crying because she was desperate to stay.  Pearl would have braved the weather for much longer to stick around if she could.  I bet Axel will enjoy it more next year, but we will definitely leave the baby with grandparents. 
Recommendations I have for those thinking of visiting ZooLights with toddlers include going as close to 4:00 as you can, not going on a Friday or Saturday night, attending early in December, and immediately getting in line for the train once you arrive.  I also strongly recommend over bundling yourself and your kids as the cold can get pretty difficult to overlook, especially for the youngest visitors. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DIY Christmas Card Wall Display

Every year I end up doing a few DIY Christmas related projects.  I can't help myself.  This year, I wanted to come up with at least one project the kids could actually help with.  I attended the DIY Fair put on by Imago Dei Community here in Portland to help with ideas.  This wasn't one of the projects, but someone had made snowflakes in a few configurations with craft sticks as decor for the event.  That got my wheels turning and I went out to purchase my supplies.
I don't know about you, but I struggle with how to display all of the Christmas cards we receive from family and friends throughout the Holiday season.  In past years, I have tacked a string to the wall and punched holes in the cards to create a banner with them.  I thought if I made a snowflake large enough, I could use it to display all of our cards.  Plus, it's basically just craft sticks and glue so if one filled up, it wouldn't cost anything extra to make another.
I sat down with Pearl and Axel to glue the sticks together and make our snowflake.  The kids were over the project after about five minutes, but they loved playing with the craft sticks.  I ended up just letting them play while I finished the snowflake on my own.
I decided to paint the snowflake gold to match our Christmas cards from Tiny Prints.  I love how this liquid gold gilding looks on finished projects.  It's hard to tell from the photos, but it has a very pretty metallic look.  I applied it to the snowflake with a sponge brush in a well ventilated area because that stuff is strong.  Make sure you do the same.
After I put the snowflake on the wall, I started tucking my cards into the corners.  They stayed pretty well, but I decided to use paper clips to secure them as I know I will soon have many more cards to fit.
This was a super easy and cheap project, but it looks great in our living room and is a much more personal way of displaying cards than a banner on the wall.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I am Thankful For...Free Thanksgiving Printables

I was planning to go buy diapers this afternoon, but the weather is really terrible so I chose to stay inside.  I have shamefully already started my Christmas crafting even before celebrating Thanksgiving later this week.  I did have a fun idea for little "I am thankful for" cards that Pearl could hand out at dinner.  This seemed like the best time to put them together.  The diapers can wait until tomorrow (no later though because our stock is low!).
Once I finished putting them together, Pearl had a good time telling me why she was thankful for all of her cousins.  I'm excited to hear her reasons for the rest of the family.  These would also be great to use as place cards if you were fancy enough to have assigned seating at your meal.
I thought I would share the "I am thankful for" cards with all of you here as free printables.  It is a fun activity to do with your kids and you might be surprised by what they say!  Please comment if you use them.  I would love to hear why your kids are thankful for their family members.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 3, 2014

DIY Print Shop Screen Printing Kit - Sponsored Post

**I received the DIY Print Shop Table Top Screen Printing Kit as compensation for this post.  All opinions in this post are completely my own and were not suggested by the sponsor.
Last week I attended a blogger event at Ryonet to learn about their company and the new DIY Print Shop Table Top Sceen Printing Kit they created in collaboration with Print Liberation.  I rarely attend events like this, but as I dabble in screen printing and already buy products from Ryonet, I thought it would be informative and helpful for me.  Also, they promised doughnuts.
It was a super fun morning learning about printing, products, and getting our hands dirty a bit.  I didn't expect them to take us through the whole process of printing, but Ryan and Josh showed us everything from start to finish.  I took a class at The Make House here in Portland about a year ago so this was a great refresher and I learned a bunch of tricks to make my printing life easier.
At the end of the event, I was lucky enough to take a DIY Table Top Screen Printing Kit home with me.  I am crazy excited about all that it contains.  This kit seriously has everything you need to get started with printing.  It even has hinges so you can set up your own DIY printing press which is something I did not have.  It has a bulb that will burn your screen in about 12 minutes.  The bulbs I purchased at Home Depot when I first started take 45 minutes.
I am convinced this is the most complete beginner screen printing kit on the market.  It certainly costs more than the Speedball Kit I started out with, but you also don't need to go out and buy extra stuff.  The products you receive are barely comparable between those two kits.  The squeegee with the Speedball kit is laughable compared to what you get with the DIY Table Top Kit.  The Speedball Kit doesn't come with an emulsion scoop coater, transparencies, an exposure bulb, light safe bulb, or degreaser that are all pretty much necessary for printing.  These all come standard in the DIY Table Top Kit.  Once you finally gather all of your supplies after buying a different kit, you will wish you went with the DIY Table Top Kit, I promise.  They even considered the details.  It comes with rubber gloves and adhesive to tack down the material you print on.
This is everything included in the kit:
You can get a comprehensive list of what all of these supplies are here.
I love all of the detail that went into designing the kit as well.  Look at how fun these bottles are:
I'm excited to get started with this kit and build a hinge press with it which will make things a lot easier when printing by myself.  You can also buy the kit in combination with Ryonet's Starter Hobby Press which is absolutely on my Christmas list this year after getting a change to play around with their presses.  I can't believe how affordable it is.
I've had a number of people ask me what they need to get started in printing and it's nice to finally have one link to send them to instead of a comprehensive list of supplies they have to gather on their own.  It makes printing feel so much more accessible to beginners.