3/31/15

Decorating the Playroom

When I was planning the kid's party I put myself on a pretty strict budget. Thankfully I have my Scentsy income that provides extra money for stuff like this. But I also knew it wouldn't be wise to spend so much of my paycheck on a birthday party.

With that said I wanted the money I spent to be smart. I wanted to be able to use most items for a purpose other than the birthday party....which isn't always easy. But I will say I definitely got my money's worth out of the cake. I alone, ate on those two cakes for dayyyys. So yummy. Good thing I had leftover money to pay for bootcamp, that cake isn't doing my hips any favors.

When I saw the "pin the hat on the birthday kid" game I knew it would be perfect because I could take those giant prints and use them in our playroom. I had been looking for the perfect thing to complete the back wall in that room and this was it! I of course got the idea from Pinterest because that's where all good ideas come from.


This is the page where I saw the game and here is where I got the idea to put them in our playroom.

I mentioned that I printed the engineer prints at Staples for just over $3. I first went to Office Depot and they refused to print a portrait at that size and said it was for blueprints only. In fact they were pretty rude about it.

I went to Staples and they were as nice as could be about it however, they did tell me that they have been tossing around the idea of not letting people print portraits because it uses so much of their ink and clearly at just over $3 a pop they aren't making a lot of money off them. So just FYI this could come to an end soon but HOPEFULLY NOT!

After the birthday party I went to Hobby Lobby and bought foam board. I think it was a little over $2, I then took the pictures and positioned them how I wanted them on the foam board and taped it down with scotch tape.

Then I put these command strip things on the back and hung them up.


And the completed project:


We've been in our house about a year and a half now and I'm still decorating little by little. I guess a house is always a work in progress!


If you are wanting a large black and white print in your house I would highly suggest going this route. Obviously it isn't the most amazing quality but it's not bad at all! Just FYI I did use my Nikon DSLR camera for these, I'm not sure how great an iphone picture would turn out.

3/16/15

Choo Choos and Tutus a Joint Birthday Party

For a couple of months prior to March I debated whether to have a joint birthday party for the kids.

Their birthdays are nine days apart so it logistically made sense, but now that Eli is four I didn't know if he would want to share his party. He has been talking about his birthday party since before Christmas and proclaiming how excited he was about it. 

Then I also considered not doing a first party for Anniston but decided it probably wouldn't be fair since I did a one year party for Eli. So after asking Eli if he cared if Annie shared his birthday party I decided to plan one big joint bash!

Next came deciding on a theme. Every time I asked Eli what kind of party he wanted he would of course say "Polar Express". So I decided to do a train theme. It was hard trying to figure out how to incorporate Annie into that. I searched Pinterest and it wasn't much help but I saw a card for a "Trucks and tutus party". I liked it but it still didn't click on what to do for my kid's party. Then that night while texting with a friend and having a brainstorming text session she suggested "choo choos and tutus" and bam our theme was born. I thought it was perfect!

I decided to use our church for the venue because we have an amazing playground that the kids could play on, plus a big room for cake and presents and it was FREE.

So let's get to the party. All of the pictures are a collection of pics from my sister's phone, a few that Luke took on our camera and some that my neighbor took. 

In the entryway I had the "sign in" table with this adorable birthday canvas I had made by Crafting and Cocktails. I decided not to make the birthday canvas the party colors because I want to use it every year. Plus I plan on taking the kid's picture with it every year on their birthday to watch them grow throughout the years.


 

I kept the favors simple and did suckers tied around a bottle of bubbles. All of the print designs (including the above invitation) came from One Good Name on Etsy She did an AMAZING job on everything. I just realized I didn't get a picture of the favors at the party but here is one from my office with my messy floor in the background: 



I used big frames and displayed all my "Trees on Sundays" pics throughout the party (if you follow me on Instagram you know that I take pics of my kids every single Sunday and have done this since the first Sunday Annie went to church)



More Trees on Sundays pics...



As the kids arrived we had a bounce house for them to bounce and slide on. 



 I found a fun "pin the hat" game on Pinterest that I used at the party. I took pics of the kids and blew them up into "engineer prints" for $3.89 at Staples and then made party hats out of neon poster board. Kids took turns trying to pin the hat on the birthday kid (blindfolded of course).



I wanted something for the kids to do between the bounce house and going outside so I printed some free coloring pages from Pinterest and then Amy (One Good Name) designed the cover. I put markers and crayons in mason jars.

 

Cake time!! Eli's cake was of course Polar Express and Annie's smash cake was a sweet pink ruffled cake.

I love that the cake had a golden ticket with his name on it. Eli gasped when he saw it. 






At first Annie didn't know what to think about her cake and took her time delicately sticking a finger in the icing and then licking it



But soon enough she realized how delicious it was and loved it. She might have thrown a little fit when I took it away from her to cut some pieces off.


 All of the amazing banners were done by Looks Like a Party. Which definitely saves me a lot of time! 


Then it was present time!


Then outside to play! 



Both Eli and Anniston had such a good time. Of course Annie didn't understand it all completely but Eli was beside himself all day. All his friends in one room was like heaven to him. 




It was such a wonderful day. It was actually  my 31st birthday and I got lots of birthday wishes for myself as well. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my own birthday than celebrating my two precious babies. We had so many friends and family come out to love on our babies and celebrate their new age, what a blessing it was!

Happy birthday Eli and Anniston. Let's do this joint birthday thing for as long as possible because now I'm done party planning for a year. HOLLA!

3/11/15

A Bit of Housekeeping

It's been almost two years since I got a new blog look (thanks so Jessica) and I had her add the tabs at the top because I planned on updating them. 

Then I procrastinated and put it off.

Then I kind of quit blogging and debated whether to quit for good. 

Then I decided I would miss it too much and started posting more often.

Yet the tabs remained untouched. 

So now i'm working to actually put text in them.

The About Me and Scentsy tabs have always had information in them although they desperately need to be redone. Now that Annie is a week away from one I should really add her to my story on my About Me. 

I did add a video to the Scentsy tab which is something I've wanted to do for awhile. You can check it out here:


I've also added a column on my blog to the right of the most popular posts according to blogger. This is based purely off of the number of hits each post has received which is why the last post of "basketball and snuggie" is on there. Believe me there is nothing monumental in that post unless me proudly modeling a blue Snuggie is monumental. But because I put "snuggie" in the title I'm assuming a lot of people found that post when really they were wanting a basketball themed snuggie.

I apologize if that is how you stumbled across this blog.

Hopefully I will get around to updating the "popular posts" tab, which clearly I should just rename it "posts I like the most" because I will be the one choosing them.

So really this is nothing important, just a bit of housekeeping.

Except now I realized I really miss that snnuggie. Those really were an amazing invention. I wonder where that thing went.

And now I'm wondering since I said "snuggie" so many times if this will become my new #1 most popular post? Do people even care about the snuggie anymore?


3/9/15

Happy Fourth Birthday Eli

This morning I woke up before Eli got out of bed which is a rare thing. Usually he is up ready to go around 6:30 or 7:00.

I was in the kitchen when he walked out of the bedroom (our bedroom, ahem, he'll sleep in his bed for more than 3 days in a row someday right?). As soon as he walked out of the bedroom I started singing happy birthday to him. Today is his fourth birthday. FOURTH.

I went over to him, bent down to his level and gathered him in my spare arm (Annie was occupying the other). As I did this I could smell his hair and his skin and suddenly I had a quick flashback to that morning four years ago.

It sounds so dramatic and a I'm on the verge of "crazy mom" here but it really happened. For a brief moment I was back in that hospital room, staring at my son. I was waiting for the rest of the world to wake up so that I could share my news with everyone else. I hadn't slept one bit because I literally could not take my eyes off of the blue eyed bald baby boy in front of me.

Everybody else in the world was living their life as usual but my life had been changed. I walked into that hospital as one person and walked out a completely different person. I had no idea I was capable of loving another person as much as I loved that six pound eight ounce baby boy.

Four years have passed and that baby boy is now a preschooler. A preschooler who acts in a typical preschool sort of way. We have fits and battles over eating dinner and many many nights of fighting over where to sleep at night. He is my child that I get to experience my firsts with.

My first baby. My first one to potty train. My first one to send to school.  My first one to use my "mom voice" with and my first one to apologize to when I feel I was a little too hard on him. My first one to do so many other things that this life will bring.

As he grows older I do not want to treat him like a baby. I want to be a guiding force in his life of teaching him how to live life in this world. But I hope as he grows older I never, ever forget that feeling on March 9th when I became a mom for the first time.

We had a wonderful day of celebrating Eli. We met Luke for donuts, then I took Eli and let him pick out a birthday balloon. Later he got a cake pop from Starbucks and we ended the night with presents and pizza. He was VERY excited all day and pretty hyper (I'm sure the donuts and cake pop didn't have anything to do with that).

He has been so excited about turning four but I had no idea he had given it so much thought. Throughout the day he would make comments about things he could do now that he is four....

Shortly after he woke up he said "well I'm four now but I still can't whistle"

When we were getting in the car to get donuts he said "I'm four now don't I sit in the front seat?"

He also told me that now that he is four he won't throw fits anymore. That lasted until noon.

Right now he is being tucked in bed by his dad who is reading him his new Curious George birthday book. I would say it's been a great day!

This previous year of his life he grew up so much, not only did he become a big brother but he become more independent in so many ways. I can't wait to see what this next year holds.







3/4/15

{Repost} What Scares Me Most About Having a Second Child

Over a year ago when I was still pregnant with Anniston I wrote a post for the What to Expect website.

I wrote about my thoughts on becoming a mom of two and Eli becoming a big brother.


Recently I remembered that I wrote this post so I went to find it on my blog to read it and see if things were really like I thought they would be or if they were completely different. When doing this I realized that I never actually put the post on my blog but just linked to it on the WTE website. I like to use my blog to keep record of our lives, and my emotions leading up to giving birth to my baby girl needs to be recorded. So I am going to copy and paste that post below. Nothing new here.....basically this is for myself. 

However after reading it I decided that I most definitely need to respond to myself. So I will write a followup to this post tomorrow. I need to respond to Megan of the past for sure. 
_________________________________________________________________________________

{Originally Posted November 26, 2013}


Right now I'm sitting on the couch catching up on some of my favorite things on the Internet. Sitting right next to me is my two-year-old son, Eli, who is drinking his favorite drink and watching one of his favorite TV shows.

Yes, we are one of those crazy TV-watching families. I recently had a friend tell me that her son's reward for good behavior is an hour of television a day. I think Eli and I would both go crazy if we only watched an hour of TV a day. I'm just being real. We like TV in this house. Yes and Amen.

Eli just woke up from his nap. He usually goes down around 2 p.m., wakes up around 4 p.m., and then we enjoy a bit of time together on the couch before our evening schedule begins and we get up and start dinner. Cooking with Eli at my side "helping" me is one of my favorite times of the day.


I've already been honest about our TV time so I'm going to be honest here — motherhood right now is easy. You read correctly, I actually said easy. Don't get me wrong, the house is a mess, I haven't showered yet today, and we have plenty of full-on, knock-down-drag-out two-year-old meltdowns that I'm sometimes sure our neighbors can hear happening. But despite the full meltdowns that happen more often than not, we've got a good thing going. We have a groove, and it's, dare I say it again... easy.

And sometimes, while we are enjoying our quiet moments or easy moments like a peaceful dinner time when Eli is feeding himself and actually eating food instead of throwing it, I let my mind drift into the scary area, the area that says "Everything is easy and you are about to THROW A NEWBORN IN THE MIX" and then I start to get scared.

Please hear my heart here: I am so excited about our baby girl that is on her way. I see newborn babies around me and I get teary-eyed thinking about holding our new baby, kissing her nose, and watching Eli fulfill his role as a big brother.

But then, because it's what my mind seems to do best, I let it drift into those "scary areas" and I remember the sleepless nights, the somewhat painful and sometimes inconvenient breastfeeding sessions, the mysterious crying that turns you into a baby detective trying to detect just what is causing the crying. Yes, those are the scary areas.

And then I start to ask myself questions that have no answers:

Will it ever be easy again?

Will Eli feel like I neglect him?

Will I be able to love this baby like I do my first baby, Eli?

AM I CRAZY?

While I can't predict the future, I am fairly certain I know the answers to these questions. I know I will love this baby like I do Eli. I know that there will be hard days but we will find a groove again. And, I know there will probably be a bit of adjustment time for Eli. I also know for certain that I am crazy, but that's what makes this whole thing called life fun. Despite the crazy moments, we keep marching forward.

So I remind myself of all those things, along with Eli's first days at home. It was hard when Eli first came home, and yes there were moments I wanted to stuff him back in my belly because things seemed more simple when he was just rolling around in there kicking my ribs. But at the same time I couldn't for a second imagine or remember what life was like without him.

Through sleepless nights, and long feedings, and moments of complete chaos, he became my magnificent obsession. And now, I get the privilege to experience that type of love again. Motherhood won't always be easy, but it will be one of the most rewarding and joyous things I will do. With my husband by my side as my cheerleader, I get to experience motherhood, the ups and downs, easy and chaotic moments and everything in between. And that is worth all the "scary areas" in my mind.


So for now I will enjoy the easy moments we have, with excited anticipation of baby sister who is coming soon. Knowing that even though our easy days might be put on hold for a little bit, just like we did with Eli, we will find a groove and before you know it our regularly scheduled TV watching time will resume. Yes and Amen.

3/3/15

Meals Last Week

This past weekend our family had so much fun spending time together.

It was a cold weekend full of lots of ice and snow. Church was canceled so we just hunkered down together and enjoyed our time inside.

We also enjoyed a bit of time outside playing in the snow and sledding down a neighbor's drive way.  Obviously Annie and I didn't stay outside near as long as Eli and Luke but it was fun to all go out there for a little bit.

On Saturday night Eli, Luke and I stayed up late in the living room, piled up on the couch watching television. It was a rare moment because we are usually in bed early getting ready for church the next day.

Luke and I later recalled how we both had similar thoughts about how Eli is turning into a big boy. For some reason in that simple moment of couches and blankets and tv movies the same thought ocurred to us both.

It was a wonderful weekend. It was nice to slow down and spend time snowed in together.



We are supposed to get more snow tomorrow, then we should head into spring. I absolutely love snowy days and the cooler weather, but it's March now, after this last snow I'll be ready for Spring!

Meals Last week:

Monday: Tomato Basil Soup:
This is a recipe I found on Pinterest several years ago and it has never failed me. It's a favorite around here on a cold night.

Tuesday: Baked Potatoes
I had some baked potatoes in our pantry I wanted to use before they went bad, so I cooked them in the corckpot and then made up some taco meat and we had some taco baked potatoes. Have you ever cooked your potatoes in the crock pot? I recently tried it and won't do it any other way. So easy!

Wednesday: We ended up having a busy night so we just picked around the kitchen and found stuff to eat.

Thursday: Skinny Taste Taco Chili
Another Skinny Taste winner. I really didn't intend to make this on this day, but early on I decided I wanted a crock pot meal so I went online and found this one and we had all the ingredients. It was great!

Friday: Buffalo Mac n Cheese
I love this meal. Really I just love anything buffalo related. This recipe is great because it's not too spicy so everybody enjoys it and then I had all my extra buffalo sauce to my own serving. Mama likes it hot!

Going into this week (well really we are almost midway through it) I am trying to refrain from any chili type recipes. I find I am making A LOT of chili and I'm getting really sick of it. I just think they are so easy to throw together! So here's to maybe something a little different for dinner this week!

3/1/15

Top Five Shows

I love TV.

I'm sure I've mentioned it many times here on the blog. I think I've even talked about how freshman year I'm pretty sure I was the only person on my dorm floor to have cable TV.

College freshman are usually poor but somehow I found money to pay for cable television because clearly it's a necessity in life. And by finding money I mean I asked my dad and he paid for it because he also believes in the power of cable.

I just love getting caught up in a good show, it's sort of an escape for a little bit. And I might add that I get a little too attached to shows and characters. This could be a flaw of mine.

Netflix is like a dream for a TV acholic like me. Being able to binge watch TV shows and find new shows to love and watch from the beginning to end? TV heaven.

Well tonight on Facebook a good friend of mine who also shares my love for television asking a profound question that got me thinking.

She said she and her husband had been discussing their top 5 favorite shows and she posed the question "what are your top five favorite shows?"

This was hard for me because clearly I have a lot of favorite TV shows, but I decided to go with the shows that came to my mind first. I also felt if a show was going to be on my list it needed to be one that I could (or have) watch from the beginning to end over and over.



1. One Tree Hill
I cannot explain my love for this show. It is cheesy and unrealistic and sometimes the acting is pretty bad.....but I absolutely love this show.

2. Grey's Anatomy
I started watching this show in college and continued for many years. Shortly after Luke and I got married several of the main characters left the show and I felt like the show had lost its steam so I quit watching.Then after Annie was born I started watching again to keep me awake during those late night feedings. And I was hooked again. But this time I kept watching past all the character exits and much to my surprise it stayed good. I think it really is one of the best shows ever. Shonda Rhimes sur is good at what she does

Sidenote: I recently read that Shonda Rhimes was the writer of Crossroads the Britney Spears epic film. I was SHOCKED.

3. Friday Night Lights
If you haven't watched this show start it immediately. I think it's a show that everyone loves. Clear Eyes. Full Heart, Can't Lose.

4. Desperate Housewives
So I'm kind of shocked that I'm including this show on my top 5. I knew I loved it but I didn't realize I loved it with a top 5 kind of love until I decided that is where it belonged. This is another show I started in college. In fact a group of girls and I would meet together on Sunday nights where we would have bible study and then we would watch Desperate Housewives together. Not on of my finer moments in my spiritual walk.  It's not the most conservative show, but I feel like it goes deep on a lot of topics and doesn't stay surface level. Plus it's really funny and the early years were so well-written.

5. Reba
Have you ever watched Reba? Hands down one of the funniest shows ever. It was highly underrated and I blame this on the fact that it wasn't on a primtime channel. Is CW considered primetime? I don't think so. I still watch reruns all the time and laugh out loud every single time.

Honorable Mention:
Dawson's Creek - just because. Who doesn't love Dawson's Creek.

I asked Luke what his would be. He does not share my love of TV but his list was:
1. Wonder Years
2. Seinfeld
3. The Cosby Show
4. Cheers
5.....I actually can't remember and he's asleep and I doubt he would want me to wake him up just to get the answer.

So now I have to ask what would your top five shows be?

Go with what comes to your mind first! I'm so intrigued. And maybe I'll find a good show to watch. Or re-watch. Or maybe I just need to quit watching so much TV.