December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

December 8, 2011

Its looking like Christmas...

Its beginning to look like Christmas in this house!  I am more excited than usual about decorating for Christmas because in this new house, we haven't had a lot of decoration going on.  Christmas was a great kick-start to getting out some of our decor and making the house feel festive and homey.

One of my favorite features of this old house is the buffet, or piano windows.  I made this pom pom garland with my friends, Mollie this fall.  It was an easy but time consuming project.  I will post a tutorial later!  I got the "Joy" letters at a country store in Northern Minnesota, but I've seen them all over since.  The mercury glass holders are a combination of Michaels, Target, and Crate & Barrel.

In the dining room, I created a display with items I dug out of boxes, etc:

My sister gave me the small apothecary jars and I filled them with whatever I had that was festive.  I also taped red ribbon to the topiary pots (I pulled the stem out of the topiaries for a new look).

I added my subway art for some height and for now, I like the look!

A little sparkly garland goes a long way to help make some ordinary look fun and seasonal!  We remind ourselves to look for "Zippy", our Elf on the Shelf.

 I love this colorful tree behind the kitchen sink and the little pots I just tied a ribbon and put some holly in the tie.
 Where is Zippy anyway?

This is our entryway for now...I had fun decorating and putting the boys' stocking up.  Where to put stockings without a fireplace?

The Christmas Countdown has been working beautifully...

the boys love running to the bin of wrapped books to open their books for the day!

How is your decor coming along?  Its a process...adding little bits along the way.  Holiday cards we receive and the kids artwork is another great way to add to any holiday decor!

December 4, 2011

My Brand New Bag

I love these diaper bags...

Well, I contacted PPB and they asked me to send in my old bag.  Then they contacted me again to ask me which new bag I would like!  They replaced my bag after 3 years - now that's great customer service! 

My new bag is the glazed version, so its water resistant and will hold up better for baby #3.  :)

Thanks, PPB!

December 2, 2011

(Un)Crafty - T-Shirt Scarf

I am not a Black Friday shopper, so on the day after Thanksgiving, my sister and I decided to do a few projects.  She was more ambitious than me and made some cute glittered votives, but I just came away with this super easy to make t-shirt scarf.  

We bought XL size cotton t-shirts and used my mom's rotary cutter and mat. 

 Step 1: Cut off the bottom hem.

 Step 2: cut off the top of the shirt from right under the sleeves.  Then you are left with a tube.

 Step 3: Measure and cut into strips.  I did about 1-inch strips.

 Leave about one inch (or more) of the tube uncut at the top - this will be how your loops stay connected.
 Step 4: Stretch our each loop - this will cause the cotton to curl.

Voila!  Ours are bug enough to double up around your neck and are pretty cute!  I'm thinking of making took up only about 10 minutes!

December 1, 2011

(Un)Crafty - Christmas Countdown

Happy December!  Can you believe it?  The fall was beautiful and it went by so fast!  We are busy: still moving into our new house and preparing for our new baby who will join our family in just three short months!

Since today is the first day of December, it was the first day to put our Christmas Countdown, or Advent Calendar, to use!  The boys were so excited when they woke up!  Of course, they would love to go through each day this morning and enjoy all the fun and treats.  Waiting each day will be the hard part!

With our life circumstances feeling super crazy, this is an especially (un)crafty project!  I pulled out all the Christmas and winter-themed books (about 40 in total - whoa!) and wrote the titles on popsicle sticks.  The sticks fit well in the felt calendar I made a couple years ago.

 This project took over the dining room table for a couple days.  

 I wrote the titles on each stick, leaving room at the end for a treat!

 Then I wrapped up all the books in some wrapping paper from the Target $1 Spot.  I used 4 rolls to wrap all the books.  Each book is numbered so when the boys take the sticks out of the "December 3" pocket, they can find the books with a "3" in the basket under the tree.

Most days have two books, which is perfect for two kids.  They each get to pull out a stick, have a treat, and open a wrapped book.  Do you have any great advent calendar ideas?  You can find some seriously crafty calendars at Hi Sugarplum's link party.

November 29, 2011


When I think back to this time last year, we were entering a storm.  But, we thought we could fix it, figure out what needed to be done, and get back to normal.

Well, thankfully, that didn't happen.

I never thought I would say that.  If you would have told me one year ago that we would have a whole new life, be a whole new family, and be so much better because of the pain, I would never have listened.

In the end of the saga, before the hiatus, God opened a door for us to begin a new life.  It was unexpected and scary, but we felt strongly that God was asking us to trust Him.

Thankfully, we set off on a new path for our life and our family.  We had to leave behind our vision for our life and accept God's vision for our life.

Thankfully, we listened.

One year ago, I still had hope about where our old life would take us.  But today, I can see that the storm we entered made us stronger in character, in our marriage, in our family, in our conviction as parents, and as followers of Christ.

Thankfully, that storm came through our lives and raged like crazy to teach us so much.

Our life today is completely different...

We have a life.  We can dream.
We have time for our growing family.
We have emotional capacity for each other.
We are supported.  We are loved. 

We discovered all of this because God had us on a journey, and it involved pain and hurt.  We take responsibility for our share of the conflict and we have found peace in forgiveness where needed.  We graciously - thankfully - accept our new life and know that there may be more storms ahead, but that we will weather them knowing that God will never stop teaching us.

November 20, 2011

Funky Feathered Turkeys

We made some fun feathered turkeys thanks to my cousin who sent the supplies in a care package.  My four year old really loved this project.  Our turkey family totals about TEN because we had such a great time creating!

construction paper, scissors, pencil, glue stick, feathers, puffs, pipe cleaners

Trace hands and cut them out of construction paper.  Then glue feathers and other embellishments onto hands as you please!  Cut pipe cleaners for legs and tape to back of turkey.

from cousin Angie's blog
From Angie's blog

November 14, 2011


Since moving in early October, we've been slowly working on making this house ours.  Unfortunately, most of the work we've done can't be seen: shelves in closets, cleaning out storage spaces, etc.  Last weekend, with a forecast for one more warm(ish) weekend in Wisconsin, we painted the front door and shutters black (to forego the faded maroon from the previous owner).  We are loving the crisp, stately look of our new front door color and feel like its one of the first things that makes our mark on this house as ours.  Also gone are the overgrown window boxes which we chose to skip altogether.  Landscaping will be an ongoing project that won't begin until next summer...the work is just beginning!

November 8, 2011

Turkey Family

Now that Halloween is over, the Thanksgiving decorations can come out.  We don't have much going on for holiday decor this fall, but I am determined to get the new house set for Christmas.  I thought this turkey family was so adorable on eighteen25.  Thanksgiving is such a great holiday to get our kids to understand, so this interactive activity is on my list!

October 26, 2011

The Bump

Along with everything else that has been happening...moving etc, we are also awaiting our third baby - due in March!  My blog has taken a serious hit this summer and fall as the fatigue and morning sickness set in.  Not to mention, chasing my two little guys (who seem more like men than boys these days), packing a house, and now trying to unpack a house.  This baby has been a trooper and now, at 20+ weeks, I can feel the baby wiggling at all hours of the day.  With so much change this year: new job (for Hubby), new house, new baby...this is a new beginning for us.  We are excited for the journey of our family becoming FIVE.
Photo credit: Brisham Photography

(for more of the family photo session, view Brisham Photography Blog)

October 23, 2011

We moved!

Life has been so crazy that the blog has taken a back seat, to say the least.  We moved into "the yellow house", as my boys like to call it on October 7th and have been unpacking ever since.  Moving is no small feat, my friends!  Luckily, we had so many friends who graciously helped, brought meals, and took care of our kids while the chaos ensued!  Soon we'll be back to land of the living...until then...

September 26, 2011

Spider Crackers

We've been under the weather at this house.  And by "we", I mean "ME".  It just feels like when the mom is sick everyone is sick because life sorta stays on hold.  Actually, my husband (who has earned the title of All-time Superdad after the last week) did a great job holding our crazy schedule together, keeping the kids clean and fed, and giving me ample time to rest (like serious sleep: 15+hrs on Saturday night for this mama).

Amidst the sickness, I did manage to do a couple fun thing with the kids.  We made Spider Crackers one day for our morning snack!  It was a fun activity that the kids enjoyed doing...and eating!

Here's our supplies:
round crackers 
peanut butter (you could use cream cheese or other spread)
pretzel sticks
chocolate chips (or raisins)
frosting or more spread or whatever
knives for spreading
oh...and...a couple cuties.  :)

 This is the goal: a cute little cracker sandwich that looks like a spider!!

 Both my boys love spreading and getting to use a knife, so I got out the dull kiddie knives and let them spread-away.  It was messy!

 There was lots of eating...especially out of the chocolate chip bowl!

Just spread peanut butter (or chosen spread) between two crackers and add pretzel sticks for legs.  Then we used a little frosting to hold the chocolate chips on for eyes.  That's it!
 And yes, it was almost 11am, but we're still in pajamas.  I was sick, ok?

Proud of his yummy spider!

September 21, 2011

Did I do enough?

As I take my oldest son to preschool today (one of three mornings per week), I reflect on this post, "Did I do enough", written by Emily at her blog, The Anderson Family Crew.

As a mom (stay-at-home or not) we all have these feelings about whether we're doing enough for our children.

It makes me question all the times I am/was too tired to play along,

too busy to read the book right then,

too preoccupied to really listen to my small child.

Have I missed too much?  Have I been too selfish?  Given all the change (and some of the pain) we've experienced in the past year, I know I have not been the mom I wanted to be.  Feeling too sad, too tired, too emotionally drained to have the energy my kids need me to have.

But I don't think its irreversible.  I think every moment is a chance to recoup by living in the moment with our kids.  We are so lucky that kids have hearts so big, so forgiving, so resilient.  We can learn from that.  So, rather than thinking of the times I have missed, I will think of the times ahead and how to make them the very best.

September 16, 2011

Barely There Summer Decor

Summer was such a whirlwind that I didn't do as much summer decor as I would have liked.  Pretty much the only existence of anything summery was on the mantle downstairs.  I had hoped to make an easy little pennant to hang from the mantle, too, but with house showings - all projects came to a stop.

My sister gave me these little apothecary jars that she found somewhere online.  
They are perfect for this space because they are short and don't block the viewing.

The trick is finding something small enough to fit in the jars.  My mom traveled to Bali with my dad for work and brought back the white coral she found on the beach so I took some small pieces of that and filled one jar.  The beach glass I found at the Dollar Tree (yes, for $1!) in the decor section.  It added just a little color and was easy to fit in the smallest jar.

I also had some sand that I got with a merchandise credit at Pier 1 and filled the third jar with that.  The little vase is from IKEA but was not bought for this, just thought it looked "beachy" enough to join the ensemble.  I also added the little mercury glass votive holders because I liked the shiny addition to the mantle.

So there it is: the compilation of my barely there summer decor...exciting right?  Maybe not.  Oh well.  I'm actually more excited to use those jars this fall and see what we can fill them with...

September 15, 2011

Changes in the Nursery

Our two year old is still sleeping in the crib in the nursery at our house.  After a short stint in a "big boy bed" we reverted back to the crib and its been best for his sleep (and ours!).  The room is pretty gender neutral and babyish, but with the move coming up so soon, there won't be any changes until we are well-settled in the "yellow house".  

Here is the room BEFORE, as you may remember from this little house tour:
Most of the room stayed the same, I just changed some wall decor...

 This wall above the crib used to have the wooden sign above it, but nothing else and for years, 
it has been begging for more attention.

 I moved the wooden sign and the letters over to the wall with the canvases.  
I like the look of these three elements together over the bookshelf.

 Then I gathered up frames and other decor from the house to create a gallery wall above the crib.  The embroidery hoops are so fun and easy!  I got the hoops (a set of 5) at a thrift store for only $0.80!  Then I just traced the hoop on fabric I had left over from other projects and inserted into the hoop!  So easy to make, change, and so cheap.  The hoops has been living downstairs in the hall by our laundry room, but I realized the colors would work in the nursery, so the moved.

The wall also included some newborn photos, some other special art, and a card I framed from his baptism.

I laid the objects out on the floor how I wanted to hang them and then just went for it!

Here is the finished product.  Much better!

My other project cost me $3 in this room.  I found a shower curtain I liked at a garage sale down the street but mostly just liked the pattern, so I cut it and recovered the lamp in the nursery.  I also have plans to make a little pillow for the rocking chair out of the same shower curtain.