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Monday, August 24, 2015

That one is looooooong goooooooone!

I hope if our beloved old Ernie Harwell was alive, I would like to think he would give his stamp of approval to Jack's finally completed nursery and consider it a homerun. 

I of course had imagined it done long before Jack was born but....that didn't work out.  Hey we finished it before he was 2 months old, not too bad right?  Wanted to share the details because it was so fun and maybe can inspire another little Tiger nursery in the making. 
First up I made this darling little wreath for the door.  I used this tutorial here. Big thanks to my neighbor Casey for the baseballs, pays to live next to a coach! And my Mother in law for the stained glass D! It turned out great!

I took an old old dresser we had and gave it new life with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, this was my first time ever using chalk paint and it was a bit stressful but fun.  Thanks Jenny for all the help and advice!  Because our dresser was dark cherry we did have to prime it first. Otherwise I feel like as long as you aren't trying to have furniture that looks new you can't go wrong with chalk paint. I decided to leave the old tarnished bronze hardware because it gave it the authentic antique feel although I am pretty sure back then people didn't paint lovely cherry furniture garish orange! This picture also shows the adorable navy blue caddy that spins lazy susan style for all of Jack's various baby toiletries.  This was a fabulous gift we received and was something I describe as "I never knew I always wanted!" A perfect gift, thanks Lucy and Mick!  

This is the "changing corner"
Besides the dresser which hold several months worth of baby clothes, we have the changing table.  Jack's room is the smallest of our bedrooms which is perfect for the nursery, plus I figure he will be more easygoing as the boy so he won't care too much right? I was worried this corner would be too tight but it works well.  You can grab new clothes out while changing him and you aren't walking away from him. 

Also sitting on the dresser is an orange giraffe made by my sister Sue, isn't it adorable!? She is super talented! The baseball piggy bank was found at a garage sale by my friend, I think it was like 50 cents!! I repurposed an ordinary lamp with some orange paint and a red sharpie on the lamp shade...instant baseball lamp! My in laws got Craig the matted and framed photo of Tigers stadium when it went bye-bye years ago, we love Comerica Park but there was nothing like the original.

Some other fabulous items we were gifted are featured here as well. This diaper holder and chevron changing table cover are from my Mother in law and were so cute and the perfect colors.  When I look at how everthing turned out it is funny to me that everything was from different places! The changing pad cover is handmade from someone's etsy shop and the diaper holder was on amazon.  Also the maternity and newborn pictures my uber talented Mom took for us then had made into collages and framed look so cute.  I love looking at them and so does Jack, he frequently stares at them when getting his diaper changed!
The window seat was where I tried my hand at sewing.  I have very limited skills so I am rather proud of how stuff turned out! The baseball plaque and hook on one side I got for $7 from a garage sale (a friend was looking out for me and snagged them!) and the pennant was a gift I got just this weekend which makes the perfect decoration for the other side.  Isn't the hook adorable with the teeny tiny bathrobe on it!?

I found a tutorial to make this curtain and it was relatively simple.  I recycled a D from an old Granderson jersey my husband couldn't bear to wear anymore since he left us for the team we don't speak of. I might have been better off attaching the D by hand as it was thick and hard to sew on straight.  So that definitely shows my novice sewing skills.
The cushion is the only part of the nursery not quite finished.  We had an old pad that we were going to recover and my Mother in law bought this navy chevron material for me and I had seen a tutorial on how to make a crib sheet and figured it would be basically the same idea just different dimensions.  But I forgot to buy elastic so I am thrilled it turned out great, I got the fit perfect but it isn't smooth yet because I still need to add the elastic. 

Well a window seat needs a pillow so I scrounged through Craig's old tshirts and sweatshirts and found an old hoodie he doesn't wear much anymore (the man has an endless supply of Tiger's paraphenalia) and I thought, I'm on a roll I'll turn that sweatshirt into a pillow. Cut out two rectangles, sewed it up, flipped it inside out and stuffed it like crazy with batting and sewed it shut. Maybe I am not too bad at this afterall!
Flanking either side of the window seat are the crown jewel of the room.  Custom built-ins my husband and his dad made!
They took every suggestion I had and made my vision a reality.  They modeled the style after the builtins in our family room on either side of the fire place.  They add tons of storage that was wasted space which will help since this is the smallest bedroom.  They made them look professionally done.  My husband used his expert painting skills to finish them off even using the orange from the dresser to give a pop of color to the top cubby holes. 

Note the bat and glove to keep the baseball theme.  The cubbys are enormous and although I have stocked some toys he will start to play with in a year there really is SO much room.  I decided to get three different colored baskets from Target to give more color variety and staggered them.  Baskets are so expensive I didn't want to put them in all the cubbies.

The other side the cubbies are wider but there is only one column.  The window was not centered so we had to vary it but I still think it looks awesome.  The Tigers basket there was a gift and is the perfect tote for all our wooden blocks.  The baseball pillow I saw at Meijers and couldn't resist.  The handmade quilt made with Tigers material and jeans is so soft and was a gift from my friend Kim.  Love it!
The rocking chair won't be in there forever, just while I have one last baby to rock, that is a hard realization to handle.  Right now it is one of my favorite places.  In fact I am writing this blog from that very chair, I have a good view of the outside from his window when the kids are playing.  It's quiet in here with the white noise of the fan and he is napping beside me in his crib.  It's the only place I can get peace and quiet to type with the excuse of "you can't come in here your brother is sleeping". Plus it's probably the cleanest room in my house haha!
Another craft I made that I adore and am kind of obsessed with is my first ever string art.  I think I may make these all the time.  From now on, string art and sweatshirt pillows are my new favorite things, I'm thinking Christmas gifts! My friend Lisa taught me string art, it's fun, a great stress reliever (think pounding nails and mindless string wrapping!) and it turns out so cute.  She didn't charge me for the nails and string, the board was a random piece of wood from my garage and the blue paint probably cost me 50 cents so...cheap projects that are super cute are the best!

Another cheap project is his name sign.  Note the baseball stitches on the wall we did that first in his room as opposed to painting any colors.  Pretty easy we more or less free handed it! The sign was made out of pallet wood.  My husband is getting to be an expert at making me pallet signs, this is our 4th! I white washed it, added orange stripes, bought the letters of his name and painted them the same blue as the string art sign and the guys glued them down.  They secured it to the wall carefully as pallet signs are very heavy (that is the downside to them!)
Behind his door I put another baseball hook for his towel.  The same friend  who found me all the stuff at garage sales had that for me.  Thanks Tara!

My generous Mother in law also bought this beautiful bedding set for the crib. If I was more skilled at sewing I would have whipped something up like this myself but I am definitely not there yet!

All in all I am quite smitten with the room. Hopefully it looks pulled together and not too over the too Tiger crazy. Craig and I were looking around and marveling too at how for a complete room make over the cost was relatively low, but that is due to the extreme generousity of others.  The cost breakdown is:
Paint for dresser, sign, stitches, lamp, string board: $30
Lumber and other construction materials for the built-in shelves: $150
Letters for Jack sign: $12
Material and ribbon for curtain, cushion, wreath: $10
Baseball pillow: $10
3 baskets and a trashcan $62
Baseball hook and sign $7
Everything else gifted or salvaged!
Total: $281
I love it!
Most importantly hopefully Jack loves it. He already seems to like all the navy and white contrasts. So happy my boy is here, my family is complete and my vision for his nursery was doable! On to my next project!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Back to school

The final week of scheduled activities was very low-key, especially since Grace was only here for Monday and Tuesday.  Those two days they played "School" and Grace was the teacher and I was the principal and they kept pretty busy with scholastic activities.
The other days were focused on familiarizing Charlotte with age appropriate letter activities and improving Sophie's reading skills.  We got all the magnetic letters and played with them, made words, sang the abc song again and again...

We watched the LeapFrog movies.  I find them incredibly effective for pre-readers.  We have the original set but Netflix also has a variety of LeapFrog movies as well.

We also started playing around with the extensive tag collection of books we have on loan.

Even though there are still a few weeks left of summer (lets not rush it along right!?) I do love fall and can't help but get a little excited and swept up in the back to school season.  We started the turn toward this changing season by tightening up bedtime a bit this week.  We ordered some new backpacks and started purchasing school supplies. 

So while this last week seemed rather anti-climactic it was nice and low-key. I will try to look back at missed activities and plan a few fun things for the last straggling days of summer.  Mostly though this tired Momma is going to work on organizational activities and special cleaning projects. I have to continue to make the most of my maternity leave, with lots of baby snuggles intermixed too! Hopefully my next blog entry can be the completed nursery, we are almost done!

Monday, August 10, 2015

I like to move it move it!

I like to move it move it! Love that catchy song ever since Madagascar came out, such a fun song to dance with your kids to.  So as our sports week we danced to that song and watched the movie too. 

Other than that I mostly just sent the kids out to do active things. As such I don't have very many pictures this week. I am working on trying to get my baby sleeping better afterall so I was more of an idea man this time, "hey go do this..." and not always participating.

As such I had them utilize their outdoor toys and sports equipment, which incidentally they also got all organized this week by helping their dad clean the garage.  So they rode their bike and scooters and kicked around a soccer ball.

They used their chalk to play hopscotch and foursquare.

On Tuesday our food had a "ball" theme.  We had donut holes aka "golf balls" for breakfast.  I attempted to make a cracker/cheese/pepperoni football for lunch that they scarfed up and of course we drank gatorade too.  And we had cheese balls aka "Basketballs" for our afternoon snack.  Good thing we are moving around and burning extra calories this week to make up for the really crappy food that goes along with this theme haha!

Wednesday I sent them back out to play some old favorites like frisbee, hide and seek, red light green light and to have a tricycle race. They honestly weren't always enthusiastic about my ideas but usually ended up having fun and giggling and running back in to see what game they should play next.


Wednesday nights dinner had a baseball theme (which means more health food!), we had stadium hotdogs (I even wrapped them in tinfoil to seem authentic! We also had nachos.  Yeah we will eat healthier next week I promise!
Also it isn't exactly like crackerjacks but I made some of my famous koolaid popcorn.  I made 4 flavors; cherry, orange, lemon and green apple.  It is like a 3 hour project especially with 4 flavors but so yummy.  The recipe can be found here.
To continue the baseball theme of this day the girls played baseball with Craig outside (I think some of the neighbor kids too).  Craig was probably more excited than the kids to do this.  And it makes me happy to send him out to do that because he doesn't always take breaks to have fun.  Another baseball activity that took place this week is we are 90% done with the Detroit Tigers nursery for Jack.  I have a few more finishing touches to do before I can do the big reveal. 
Finally on Friday night we had ultimate family game night on the wii playing bowling, table tennis, fishing, air hockey, billiards, duck hunt, etc. All from our living room. We hadn't played some of those wii games in quite awhile. It was tons of fun!

Seemed like the kind of occasion that needed a super yummy snack...For a treat I made this Reeces Peanut Butter Basketball dip found here.  It is UNREAL!! And super cute! Of course within 3 seconds the basketball was destroyed and unrecognizable.  But the recipe makes a lot so I would recommend it for a big party usually.  So I had this huge bowl of barely eaten peanut butter deliciousness and my mom asked me to bring dessert to a family party the next day so.... I used the leftovers as a frosting on brownies and repurposed it into another dessert.  Yeah I'm pretty smart.
This weeks fruit of the spirit is Faithfulness.  We talked about how to be faithful to God and stand up for our faith and share it with others. So....next week is my last "planned" week.  And it's kind of a lame theme, "Back to School" in an attempt to make the kids do work they haven't been doing all summer. But don't panic, even after this week we will still have 3 weeks left of summer and I'm going to find some fun stuff we skipped to revisit.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Animal Kingdom

I think I am running out of steam! Grace was up at camp this past week....
 and without all the help she gives me with the toddler especially I just plain felt too worn out to do much.  Plus with her big sister gone Sophie insisted on multiple play dates to keep her from dying of a broken heart or boredom so even she was gone a lot.  When here she had to sleep with her little sister
...and she practiced being the biggest sister in charge!
And when she wasn't here I focused my attention on these two wild animals, having a whale of a time in the tub...

So knowing for months this would be animal week what a blessing when kind and generous Miss Heidi asked if anyone wanted to go horseback riding this week, I knew Sophie had to get in on that! Softened the blow from dropping Grace off at camp to have this to look forward to on Monday.  
Just when we got our horse all saddled up we noticed...
...a little stow-away trying to steal a ride!

My little cowgirl and I had a great time! It was nice to be able to do something just the two of us too! Thanks Miss Heidi!
There are million of adorable animal food ideas, I had about 30 of them on my potential snack list.  However, this is what I am talking about being out of steam.  I didn't do any of them.  These were three of my favorites!

On Tuesday we watched:

And the girls played barn and noahs ark with little people.
And then we made our own farm animals out of paperplates...

Wed morning we made rainbow loom caterpillars from this link here.

Then Sophie was gone from Wed afternoon to Thursday afternoon.  Meanwhile having a flare up of asthma Grace had to come home from camp just for one night.  On Thursday she was eager to get back up to camp so she occupied herself waiting for dad to get home to take her by making her own paper plate animals. 

Friday we did a whole lot of nothing...in fact I can't remember what we did at all, I think the baby had a rough day and Sophie was tired and cranky, I think she may have watched a bit too much tv that day! Saturday we went to pick up Grace from camp and then headed right to the Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park.

Some of the animals we saw...

The girls liked how close up all the animals are at this place, a change from the regular zoo...

And you get to take a safari ride too to see the bigger animals...

Afterwards we cooled down with another pool day at my parents, the days of enjoying the pool are numbered so we cherish them all!
For our continued study of the fruit of the spirit: There is a saying frequently used in church: "God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good". We talked about the fruit of goodness and how we can be good as God is good and that he is our perfect example.  We talked about the way God shows his goodness to us, how he blesses us.  We pointed out the ways he is good to us as they came up over the week. I only have 2 more weeks with "a plan", one of which Grace will be gone a lot again.  Then we have some free time in August where we can squeeze in some of the activities we missed earlier in the summer.  Going to keep chugging along for now.  This next week is sports week, should be interesting as my family is very...not sporty!