Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Aprons on Sale!

Merry Christmas! I've missed my blogging buddies here! I'm not back, just wanted to post that I'm putting the aprons in my Etsy shop on sale for Christmas. They're now only $15! They're a perfect stocking stuffer or gift for a little dude or missy in your life. I'll ship the day following your purchase so there's still plenty of time to order before Christmas.

Monday, October 11, 2010

So Long

Well, I'm sad to say that I'm going to say "So long" to this here blog. I have truly loved it. It's been such fun sharing ideas here and I've enjoyed getting to know so many of you that have been faithful to check in to see what I'm up to.

With three little ones, a husband in residency and homeschooling, I'm finding I just can't give enough time to this blog. Writing and taking pictures takes up some of my free time and I just can't spare that right now. I hate to say goodbye since it's been such a fun thing for me. I know I'll come back to blogging one day because I do love it. Meanwhile, I'll join you in enjoying all the other great bloggers and content out there. What a blessing to have such creativity and information so accessible to us through blogs!

Be blessed and thanks for sharing the last year or so with me here.

PS: I'll keep my blog up for reference if there are any posts/recipes you want to look back on.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cowboy Birthday Party: The Decor & Food

We had a joint birthday party this year for our boys since their birthdays are only 2 weeks apart and I didn't have the energy to throw together two birthday parties while toting around a 6 week old. They didn't seem to mind combining the celebrations, though I'm sure that'll change as they get older.

We had a cowboy themed party this year {see last year's construction party here}. We crammed a bunch of friends in our backyard and had a rootin' tootin' good time. First, I'll give you the details on the food and decor.

The guests entered our backyard through our gate. I painted a piece of canvas to make a dude ranch sign.

The kids stopped off at a small table that had cowboy gear for them to grab. The sign says "Git yer gear." I always think dress-up stuff and/or food are the best party favors. I know I don't want another sack of 10 cent toys cluttering up our house so I'm sure our guests don't either. Granted, kids seem to like 10 cent toys so what do I know? Oh, and that sign has a back side that says "Hit the trail." The intention was to flip the sign and lay out the bagged trail mix favors towards the end of the party. Somehow I got distracted and forgot. I didn't realize it until I saw all the trail mix sitting in the dining room later that night. Duh!

We had bales of hay for guests to sit on and The Good Doctor made a pretend bonfire as a centerpiece. I made these WANTED signs out of paper grocery sacks. Aren't our little cowboys cute?
The food was all cowboy-inspired fare.
We went simple with it: chili with fixin's, my mama's cornbread {2 boxes Jiffy mix prepared according to package plus 1 can of creamed corn - yum!}, jalepenos poppers {from The Pioneer Woman's cookbook}, watermelon, chips with salsa, sweet tea, bottles of root beer and horsey cupcakes.The cupcakes were stinkin' cute and an idea I saw here. Check out her blog for better pictures. The sun's glare ruined mine. Boo! As the other blogger noted, they're a little time consuming to make. Thankfully, I had made and frozen the chili and cornbread ahead of time so I wasn't stressed with preparing food and had time for those tedius suckers.
They were a hit with the kids so totally worth the time they took.

Check out these bloggers' great cowboy party ideas:
Elephant Juice
Restless Risa

Their parties were fabulous! I borrowed many of their ideas and found a few more here.I'll share the games and activities in another post.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My, How They Grow!

Do you take monthly pictures of your infant during his/her first year of life? Sadly, I totally dropped the ball on this with Boo. He was my firstborn and I was among the first of my friends to have a baby so I was clueless on the cutesie stuff that people typically do with their infants. With The Noodle I wanted to take a picture of him at each of his month birthdays until he turned one so we could look back and marvel at how he'd grown. And seriously, don't they change so much that first year?! The Good Doctor came up with our monthly picture idea: The Noodle in a bowtie. So we took a picture of him every month wearing a bowtie.
We thought it was adorable.

So for our baby girl, whom we've nicknamed Beans, I decided to make an obnoxiously large flower headband for her to wear in her pictures and "grow into" during her first year. Here's her first month's shot:
She's nearing two months and already she's grown so much. I think taking these pictures is a fun way to hold onto a time in their lives that slips by so quickly.

I've also taken yearly pictures of Boo waking up in his bed on his birthdays. We'll see if I can manage to snap one every year until he's 18. I'm sure he'll be less amused with the idea in a few years. For now he cooperates!

Do you take monthly pictures of your infants or fun yearly pictures of your children? If so, I'd love to hear your ideas.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Catching Up

Wow! We've had a busy couple weeks with family in town, celebrating the boys' birthdays, and starting back up with our school year commitments. Sorry for the silence over here but more posts to come soon!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our Schoolroom

We started our first year of official homeschool last week. Hooray! More on our curriculum and our routine later. First, how about a peek into our schoolroom? I mentioned a while ago that we were turning our study into a schoolroom for the kiddos. Because of the location of the room {you can see into it as you enter the house}, I didn't want it to look to "school-y" with primary colors and giant calendars and displays everywhere. I wanted it to mesh with the rest of our house. I'm pleased with how it turned out, especially considering we bought very little to transform it.

So, here it is!

There's quite a bit crammed in there because we needed to accommodate several non-school things like my husband's medical journals and textbooks, our filing cabinet, and our desktop computer. Thankfully it doesn't feel cramped despite all of those things. I think the wide doorway and big window help.

How about a little tour?
First, we have our computer desk. My husband uses our old PC here for work occasionally and Boo uses it for computer games {}. I'd love to get rid of the desk chair {that I've had since college} in favor of something smaller that can tuck under the desk when not used.
In another corner we mounted corkboard squares and framed them with trim {that I still need to caulk and paint...grr}. It's a great place for the kids to display their craft projects and schoolwork. You know how they want to hang up every single thing they mark with crayons? Well, now our fridge can look tidy and we won't run out of magnets trying to display their creations. Below that is a lime green recycle bin we stash all of our paper scraps in until trash day. It mostly gets filled with junk mail.
The left bookshelf stores most of our school needs. We have a shelf with all of the books included in our curriculum, plus my school schedule binder. Another shelf has magazine files that hold workbooks, paper, teacher's guides, etc. I bought these at the Ikea in Houston and lugged them home in my suitcase a few months ago. I can't wait until our Ikea opens next year. It's a homeschooler's dream. Anyways, the magazine files were less than $0.50 each! I labeled them using chalkboard ornaments I found at JoAnns and white paint pen.

We have a shelf dedicated to all sorts of supplies: glue, paint, stickers, pipe cleaners, etc. I sorted those in labeled Tupperware boxes. The wooden box in the middle {from JoAnns} has our stash of flashcards that we've collected from the Dollar Spot in Target. I love those flashcards and we use them a ton. Read more about that here.
On our filing cabinet in the middle, we keep our fish, Flip, and a small set of drawers that holds scissors, glue, construction paper and markers. Those are things we use the most and are easily accessed by the kids. I painted the front of our old hand-me-down filing cabinet with chalkboard paint. We just keep the chalk in the upper grooves on the cabinet drawers and The Noodle can entertain himself drawing on it if I need to help Boo with schoolwork.
The Noodle isn't one to sit and do one thing for a really long time. {Granted, he's only 23 months old!} With that in mind, I dedicated the bottom two shelves of the right bookshelf to things he could get out and play with on his own. We have a stack of wooden puzzles, a few cardboard puzzles, a basket of letter magnets he can use on the filing cabinet and some foam puzzles and letters all within his reach.

The other wall of the room has an ottoman I found at a garage sale and recovered. There's no real purpose of it being in here right now but it's been a great spot to sit and nurse baby girl while we're doing school. It may get ousted if we start feel cramped in there. Oh, and the door in the middle is to a bathroom. Can't tell you how helpful having a bathroom close by has been with a potty training toddler! It's not much of an interruption to take him potty.

Lastly is the table and chairs. I love this! We ended up cutting down the legs on our old kitchen table. The tabletop is big enough to give the kids plenty of space to work without disturbing each other. The chairs are from garage sales and I'm still finishing painting them all the same color. I love having a table that is kid-sized. It's big enough for me to sit there with them but perfect for them to be comfortable. I didn't want them learning to write while sitting on their knees at a regular table. Oh, and the rug is a cheap one from Walmart that we previously had down in our basement. It's easy to get play-doh off of and I don't fret about them painting or doing other messy projects over it.

So, that's the tour! I'll be posting soon about the curriculum we're using and what we've learned one week in about routine, etc.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Easy Infant Headband

Our baby girl is growing so quickly. It amazes me. Why does it seem faster with each child? Hopefully my incessant picture taking will help me capture all of these fleeting moments of infanthood.

Anyways, baby girl was blessed with some hair straight off the bat but not enough to don any clips or bows. I hadn't stocked her wardrobe with infant-sized headbands so I was looking for an easy and inexpensive way to accessorize her cute little punkin head. Tights did the trick! They stretch, they're soft, they don't fray, and they come in a variety of colors....perfect!

So for a couple bucks I bought a pair of brown tights and started snipping away. I made a dozen little brown headbands for her with just one leg of the tights. I figure it'd be good to have several since they'll stretch over time with use.

I've just been clipping on some of the cute hair clips she received as gifts.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hanging Out: A Tribute to My Clothesline

All I wanted for Mother's Day this year was this retractable clothesline. I know, lame. But I couldn't have been happier when my boys gave it to me. I love it!

My mom hung out our clothes on the line growing up. We were the only people I knew who did that. Other than the stiff towels and jeans, I never thought twice about it. But I do remember being completely embarrassed whenever my great aunties from New Zealand visited and their giant panties were flapping in the wind for all the neighbors to see. {We lived on an acre of land and there were no fences to hide the line.}

Having a clothesline in sunny, dry Colorado is even more efficient than in hot, humid Texas where I grew up. Here my clothes dry within an hour or so and our sun is so bright that my cloth diapers have never been whiter.

In fact, cloth diapering is what really motivated me to get a clothesline. After over a year and a half of use, The Noodle's cloth diapers were starting to retain an odor despite all sorts of attempts to get rid of it. The first time I dried them on the line, the smell was totally gone.Another awesome benefit of line drying is the cost savings. We've noticed a considerable reduction in our electricity bill. We've only used the dryer a couple times all summer and what a difference that makes!

I'm sure some people would consider hanging their clothes out to be a time-consuming hassle. I've actually found that I'm more productive and on-top of my laundry chores than before. The kids want to be outside playing in the yard all of the time so it's easy to be out there with them hanging out clothes. And when the clothes are dry, I fold and sort them in the basket as I take them down. I had a tendency to let dry clothes sit in the dryer all day {or longer} waiting for me to fold them and put them away. Now I do it all at once.

The only disadvantages I've found so far are dealing with unexpected rain showers {though that very rarely happens here} and towels so stiff they could stand up on their own. The remedy for the towels is to throw them in the dryer for five minutes once you bring them in. No biggie.
I love the particular clothesline we got too. It's mounted to the side of our house and pulls out to clip onto a tree in our yard. When I'm not using it, I retract it. You wouldn't even know it's there when it's not pulled out. No big poles or lines to look at. It has 5 lines which is great for accommodating several large loads of laundry at a time.

As for pegs, my clever Hubby suggested I make a fanny pack type apron to hold the pegs in.

Please ignore my 9 months pregnant belly in this photo.

I made this one using two placemats I found on clearance at Target. Random but it does the job perfectly and the thicker placemat material makes it really durable. Although the boys initially had been offering to hold my bucket of pegs for me as I hung out the clothes, I'm sure their enthusiasm would have tapered after a few weeks. The dorky fanny pack was just what I needed.

So, do you have a clothesline? What are your thoughts on line drying?

If you want to read up more on the benefits of line drying, check out these articles:

I was not reimbursed for my opinion regarding the Sunline brand of clotheslines. I do not have any connection with the sites referenced above and may not support specific agendas promoted by them. I simply found the line-drying articles there to be helpful and informative.

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