Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Easy Toddler Games

As some of you may know, I stay home with our son and feel very blessed to be able to do so.  I love to watch all the advancements he makes everyday, and how those challenges he overcomes become second nature to him within a week. He is starting to walk really well and I'm finding it even more difficult to keep up some days :) He has always been a child who wants to be entertained. I remember even as a little infant we would have to walk him around for hours it seemed like because if you sat down with him he gets bored and started to cry. We would do things like take him to Bass Pro just to overwhelm him for a while and make him sleep!! As he has gotten older, he wants even more interaction. We have seemingly thousands of toys but once he has figured out all the buttons he's bored and hardly will touch it again. Yet, a simple pot and spoon may entertain him for 30 minutes! It can be exhausting trying to keep him entertained and happy so I am so thankful my mother-in-law gave me this new book.  It is called "The Toddlers Busy Book" by Trish Kuffner, and I have found all of the ideas work so far!! Bub loves to figure things out. He will watch me flip a switch and then mimic me by doing the same thing.  This morning he found his toenail clippers and went to my feet and tried to clip my nails for me :) So one of the ideas she had in the book was to clean a milk gallon out and find assorted things to put in the gallon. Always making sure they can't be swallowed but can be placed through the neck of the carton. She recommended close pins ( which I couldn't find anywhere at the store) so we had some craft sticks and they seemed to work fine for him. You could also use scraps of colored fabric, or small toys for older children. He loved it!! He would put all the sticks in the carton one by one and tip it over to pour them out again. So simple but so fun :)

There are all kinds of great ideas in this book! Most are for an older child but here are some other good ideas.
Take an egg carton and turn it upside down.  Poke holes where the eggs set and put in close pins. The child can have fun taking them out and putting them back in.

Yummy finger paints: make up a batch of vanilla pudding and color portions with different colors. Let the child finger paint with it on a plate or highchair tray....this one would be a mess but fun!! You can do the same thing with different flavors of jello!

Take small toys like bugs or frogs and hide them around the yard for a fun scavenger hunt.

Take small toys and tie a string around them. Tape them to a highchair and let baby pull up the toy and throw it back down again...Im going to use this one while im fixing dinner tonight :)

He also loved a game where we would tie a string around a stuffed animal and I would hide it in a couch cushion or under the couch but leaving the string out. He would pull and pull until the toy came loose and would pop free!

Take a long length of rope and place it on the ground in a squiggly line and let your child balance along the rope without falling off.

Just some fun ideas to keep the day busy. If you stay home you know that from 6am-8pm is a REALLY long time to keep a toddler entertained. I would highly recommend this book just to make play fun for both of you again!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All aboard the name train!!!

I am so excited that my husband got a new job at the railroad! It is going to be such a blessing for our family. I have been trying to nail down a theme for my sons first birthday party and when we heard the news that Daddy is a railroad conductor it pretty much decided the theme for us....TRAINS! So I have begun searching the internet for great ideas. There are a bunch out there. I found a name train that I really wanted to get for him. But it was about $35 and I really just wanted it for a centerpiece....a little expensive.  So me and my mom went to hobby lobby and put our brains together. I found all the items I needed for about $8 and then paint was another $ grand total...about $10!! And this train will perfectly match his birthday party!

Here is what I started with:

One wooden train premade from hobby lobby
2 wooden cutouts of each letter of Ethan's name.
Two packages of wheels
1 package of hub caps wooden
a package of small wooden dowels
paint colors needed

I painted up all of the parts. I even painted the insides of the wheels and hub caps. This took a little longer than expected so thank goodness Ethan took a longer nap :)
Then I measured up from the bottom of each letter 1/2" and drilled a hole that was slightly larger than my 1/8" dowel rods. 

I ran the dowel through both letters making little cars out of each letter set. Then I added the wheels and glued the hub caps onto the ends of the dowels. I am so happy with this cute little train! I think it is going to look great as a centerpiece at his birthday party!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Living Room Evolution

You know you are a designer when you have only lived in a home for 5 years and have changed your living room 228 times in that five years :)  Our living room has changed many times with the same furniture but now we finally got NEW furniture!! Its so wonderful!  It was time...the old stuff was falling apart! Here is a look at how the living room looked when we moved in

Notice the trim in the corner where we had replaced the windows in the house and didnt get around to replacing the trim for another year or two.  Thats just how housing projects go it seems :) I used to make new pillows for every season and change the picture over the couch as well.  Don't have time for that anymore!

Here is a picture of the living room for Fourth of July :)  I went to my Aunts house and she supplied me with all these crafty items she made for the fourth...for free! So I came home and decked the house out.  Boy I am not missing that 300 lb TV from these pictures.  It was so bulky! I didn't want to buy a flat screen at the time but you have so many more options with one!

Now here is the picture we took for the relator.  I went through and cleaned out a TON of my crap.  I love my stuff but sometimes it just needs to go!

Now for the grand finale!! Here is our new furniture complete with a toy chest ottoman that is already almost packed full! I love this couch because it is comfy, you can clean it, and I don't worry too much about it getting ruined. I will probably redo the living room again when I dont have a child under the age of 10 and get something that tickles my design bone a little more but this works for our life now.  Right now all we have to be concerned with is what works for the little man in the house!

 You can see our new recessed lighting in this pic...I LOVE IT! Should have done that 5 years ago! And when life gives you a piano, it is the perfect height for a tv! :)  This is my Granparents piano that has been handed down to me. It is one of those pieces of furniture that you have to hold onto for life, even if your living room is the size of a shoebox :)  Ethan loves it when I play for him!

 Here is a floral arrangement I made with flowers partially from the dollar store, and some from Martins 40% off!! I already had the chest which has been the dogs toy chest for years but decided it was time for it to serve a worthy purpose in the home.
Hope you had a good time in our living room! Sure is fun to look back and see how things change...hopefully for the better. Has your living room changed?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring time Update!

As you probably know, we are still trying to sell our house.  Any buyers out there???? PLEASE??? I have been going over all the rooms trying to figure out what would help sell it a little better.  Since we have had such beautiful weather lately, we have been outside a bunch! I was looking at our back porch and noticing how sad it was looking.

I had some leftover foam from another project and had been looking for something to do with it.  It was too small to make cushions with, or was it??? I decided to cut my foam up and see what happened! I cut the foam pieces in half longways and then pieced them together to make a large enough piece for a cushion.

I used my trusty hot glue gun to glue the pieces together.

Then I made the cushion covers and stuffed the foam inside. Are they prefect??? NOPE! Are they good enough for my dogs to get mud all over them this spring?  YES!!!

I also made a flower arrangement with flowers from the dollar store.  If they blow away, at least it was only about $5 to make it!!!
Heres just a funny picture of Missy under the blind looking outside. I love the shadows around her hair :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wiggleworm Baby

Do you have a wiggly baby?  Our little man has become more and more difficult to change the older he gets. Today I was changing his diaper and he almost completely flipped over on me when I raised his legs to wipe! I decided that I would quit fighting him and secure his changing pad!  My changing pad came with the security belt....can't say I ever use it...ok-I admit-I cut it off :)  I never walk away from him and if he was just secured to the pad what good does that do? It didn't come with any way to secure the pad to the dresser.   Now we bought him a beautiful new bedroom set and I was really skeptical about making any marks to the top of his brand new dresser.

 I had bought sticky Velcro and of  course it never really sticks to what you want it to.  It came apart within minutes and I knew that wasn't going to work.  So I attached two straps to the backside of the changing pad with my sewing machine.

 I used a leftover scrap of pleather...since I knew that stuff is strong! I then attached the straps to the backside of the dresser with two short screws.  Yes I had to make holes but I didn't mind since they were on the backside no one will see.

 It is SO much more secure now!! He can wiggle away and he won't get anywhere! The cover still fits on it since I put the straps towards the inside of the changing pad leaving plenty of room for the cover to attach to the corners of the pad.   Hope this helps some of my new mom friends out there :)

 Also I stole an idea from my cousin's nursery...I had an extra scrap of fabric, and instead of looking at the stark white mobile I covered it with matching fabric to the curtains! Looks so custom :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sheet Curtains

My little baby has become such a better napper!!! When I first had him, I swore that people were lying when they said that babies slept all the time...mine didn't!! I am trying to get him used to taking a long nap in the afternoon.  If you know us and our house, having too much light is not something you will ever hear me complain about.  This is the darkest house I have ever lived in! We have enough windows, I just think that the way the house faces makes for poor natural lighting.  But of course, Ethan's room is the brightest room in the entire house. That makes for not so great naps in there. He has really become accustomed to sleeping in his crib which is wonderful, but I just can't lay him down in there for naps because he doesn't get a full rest like he needs (and mom needs :).  So I have been trying to think of a way to make inexpensive curtains. I wanted to keep the natural light in there for 98% of the day, but when he naps I wanted to have the option to close the curtains. So the closet searching began. We are not big users of the top sheet on our bed.  Whats that for anyway? Its not thick enough to add warmth and its just one more thing that gets rumpled up at the end of the bed by morning. We usually just make the bed without it these days.  So we have 5 unused sheets that are just sitting in the closet. I decided to make them into something useful! I took one queen size sheet, measured to both ways.  It was longer one way than the other. I took the longest dimension and made that my top and bottom hem.  I cut off the top of the sheet so you wouldn't see that.

Then I folded my sheet in half.  I cut along that fold.

  Then I took one of the pieces and folded it in half again. I also cut along that fold and did this again on my other piece of sheet.

This gave me four pieces.  I will admit I would have liked to had more fullness and probably should have quit being stingy and just used one sheet per window...but stingy is how I do it!  I then hemmed up any bare edges.  For the edges that were already hemmed from the sheet, I just left those alone....less work the better! Then I tried to iron out the "sitting in the closet for 5 years" wrinkles....tried is the key term here. In a perfect world, I would have washed them first and then hung them but who has the time!  I remember when I worked at the JCPenney Home Store, I had little old ladies come in and tell me they would wash and iron their sheets every week.  WOW.  I'm glad that is one tradition that hasn't stuck around. Anyway, I was able to finish one window in about 45 minutes and the next window is on tomorrows to do list.

They look really thin in the picture but actually it cuts the light in half when they are closed.  I think this would be a great project if you really like a bedding set but can't afford the way.too.expensive.matching drapes.  You could buy the matching sheets and make a set yourself!  I almost made my curtains from a really cute stripe sheet set we have, but I couldn't bear to cut them up just yet. I know at places like Big Lots you can buy a queen size sheet set for around $20 or less.  My cost for todays project...FARRREEEEEE!!!!  I bet we are the only house on the block that has 350 thread count curtains!! Don't be jealous :)

Beyond The Picket Fence

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Candlestick Potential

I saw this candlestick and knew amidst the lovely green paint that this had potential to be cute!!

 I spray painted it black to look more like rod iron and used some simple floral wire to tie on the wreath. I keep intending make things up and sell them but I keep liking them too much!! This is another project I think I'm going to end up hanging onto. I can see this sitting at the end of our piano as it is now, or on a fireplace hearth. Its about 2 ft tall so it adds great height! I love these projects that only take about 10 minutes to see the final result :)

Beyond The Picket Fence