Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sorting: Colors

Sorting Objects: 2-5 yrs. old
"Sorting objects according to size, shape, color, or ohter physical properties is a wonderful activity that challenges young children to pay close attention and to make some logical choices" (Tim Seldin)
I had purchased some felt for a project. My oldest daughter found it and decided to lay it out and sort her blocks by color. She did this without anyone around. I thought it was a hoot.

So the next day I got out more of a variety of colors and we sorted buttons.
My youngest daughter (24mo.) didn't love the activity. But I know my oldest daughter did at this age. I didn't push it. She enjoyed playing with her buttons and did try sorting a bit.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Spray bottle fun

We had so much fun with spray bottles today. I bought two of them at the dollar store. And here's what the girls did with them:
  • "painted" the wood fence with water
  • played tag with water. The girls chased mommy and baby to squirt us and vice versa. Oh what a kick they got out of this.
  • Walked around the yard spraying and cleaning
  • Experimented with turning the button to see how it can mist and squirt like a water gun too.
  • And whatever else you guys came up with. You were outside playing for a long time :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Letter Factory

My daughters have never been very interested in letters. They don't care much for the ABC song and don't know it thoroughly. I have always wanted to do a letter of the week, as seen on many websites and blogs. But they've never seemed interested and so we haven't ever done much.

I don't think it's crucial at this age to make sure they "know" things like this before school. I believe they'll get it someday and this time should be spent on making learning fun. I believe it's all about the process rather than the end product. (Something that doesn't come natural for me in my own life, but has come natural as I focus on things with my kids. hmmm...)

The week after my oldest daughter turned 3 we rented "The Letter Factory" DVD from the library. They loved it and watched it several times that week. Everywhere we went my oldest daughter would identify letters and tell us the sound. My youngest daughter followed her sister and did it too. In less than a month they could identify all of their letters and all of their sounds. My youngest is still working on a few, but my oldest has them down-pat. I'm blown away. She can also write several letters too. WHAT?!?! Thank you Leap Frog!

So pick this DVD up from your library or get it at Costco. I saw it there for $7.99.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Nursery: Cost Breakdown

This room was done on a budget! I tried to use what we already owned. When I did purchase things I tried to first buy it second-hand or make it myself. I was lucky and had some pretty amazing gifts for this nursery too!

I wanted to create a room that would represent my children. I love vintage, simple, clean decor. I had a look I was going for but I didn't want to spend a lot of money. So I improvised and got the same look I was going for but for much less. I did need to buy a big dresser since this room doesn't come with a closet and I needed a crib for my daughter. Both big ticket items.

In total we spent: $296.25

So here's our cost breakdown

dresser: $55

dresser hardware: $18

lamp: $3

IKEA white frames: $10

Mary Poppins art: $7

basket for diapers: already owned

vintage toys: already owned

Total: $93

Crib: already owned

bedding: gift from fantastic sister-in-laws, umm ya, they are the best!

Total: $0

Pom poms: $3

IKEA white lanterns: $8

Total: $11

Chair: $8

Paint for chair: $3 sample from Lowe's

Bookshelves: $6

Paint: $3

Books: already owned

Total: $20

Nightstand: Already owned

Hardware: $6

Ukrainian martroyshka: already owned

Frame: already owned (added fabric)

Temple: .25

Framed picture of the Savior: already owned

Total: $6.25

Embroidery Hoops: $8 at Hobby Lobby

Fabric: $20 but have LOTS left over

Hat stand: $5

Paint: $3 sample at lowes

Hats and Boa: already owned

Total: $36

And not pictured: crib and mattress...which broke on us afterall. But it's still in the cost of the room: $40

Paint for crib: $20

Total: $60

Paint for the stripes on the walls: $50

Painting supplies: $10


Monday, September 13, 2010

Yard Sale Finds

Look at my Amazing FINDS

Here's what I found today:

This desk was found at yard sale. It's perfectly sturdy, and has great potential!! I'm crazy, I know. But I can't wait to bring life back to this beautiful piece of vintage furniture.
I think I'll paint it light blue and it will go in the playroom for the girls to do their art work.

sweet little owls: These will look great in my daughter's room. They can hold pens, flowers, craft supplies, oh the possibilities are endless.
twine: .10cents-I need this for something I'm doing in my daughters room today. Perfect!
Vintage WELL MADE rolling pin. Heavy Duty awesomeness!

I'm in love with these old glass knobs. But the other 2 on the other side don't match. So I think Anthropologie and their knob goodness is calling my name!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Nursery: The Table My Dad Built

I love this room so much because almost everything in it is homemade or thrifted goodness. This was made by my dad when he was in high school. He's amazing! And it's still in practically perfect condition today.

So you want to know the sad truth? I almost had my mom sell this for $5. I don't have a lot of sentiment for "things". This had been sitting in their garage for years so I convinced her to get rid of it. Someone called my mom to buy it and my mom backed out last second. THANKS MOM!!! I came to my senses and realized (years later) that I NEEDED this night stand.
We gave it a coat of white paint, replaced the hardware the same new sleek hardware as the vintage dresser in their room and breathed some life back into this beautiful side table. And now it's such a treasure to me. How could I have thought to get rid of it?

This is one of my favorite paintings of Jesus Christ. And it adds so much peace to the room. I wanted a picture of Jesus at eye-level to the kids, so this works out perfect. The temple next to it was found at a yard sale.

I found this wooden martroyshka doll while in Ukraine. I knew I had to have it for when I had a little girl of my own one day. It's a treasure to have in the nursery. The paint glistens and sparkles and inside is the most beautiful sounding bell. C and O love to play with this fairytale Ukrainian toy.

The frame mat is covered in fabric from my sister-in-law's store

The Nursery: Yellow Chair and Bookshelves

Chair was from the thrift store.
We sanded it a bit, primed it and painted it yellow. I love that M was so into this painting job that she almost painted the entire chair herself. Her priming paint job wasn't the greatest but it adds great character to the chair I think. I love to see the clumpy spots and know M had her hand in it.
I made the bookshelves from plans on Knock Off Wood. They cost less than $10 to make and I love that the books are forward facing, rather than binding facing.

This blanket was made by my sister-in-law Julia. She made it 14 years ago for her baby girl and gave it to us when we had our first baby. I love it and it matches the room perfectly.

The Nursery: Embroidery Hoops and Hat Stand

A "Tragic" Story
So I had high hopes to find a crib like this one in Norah's Nursery. That yellow, vintage-style crib was perfect. I fell in love. SO instead of buying a new crib for C (18mo. when baby brother was born) I bought one second-hand. I made sure it wasn't on the recall list and that it was in good shape. And then I sanded it a bit. Gave up on that because sanding it took way too long! then I primed it. That was my first problem. I used water-based primer instead of oil-based. Bad idea! So learn from my mistake to always use oil based primer on wood (it had a shiny surface and needed some primer to grip onto). So I primed it with both. It took hours. Then I started spray painting it yellow and decided it was going to take about 20 cans of yellow spray paint. And I'm not kidding! At $3 a can would have cost me way more than my thrifty self wanted to pay.

So I spray painted it white instead. In the end it cost me $70 total for the crib, mattress and paint. And 2 months later it's BROKEN! It broke. Over 20 hours of work on that crib, and it's gone. Ugh. So now C is on her mattress on the floor. We're so "montessori"

But for the fun part: Vintage embroidery hoops filled with modern vintage-style fabric.
Pearl Bee came up with this tutorial. And it was an easy project! And I mean super-easy-anyone-can-do-it-No sewing required EASY. The idea came from Ohdeedoh.

I didn't want this to be a theme room but I did want to add a touch here and there of Mary Poppins. Thus the umbrella fabric.

And everyone who knows Mary Poppins, knows a proper place to hang a hat is on a hat stand! So I bought this vintage one and C and I painted it red together. We hang all of her fancy hats and fancy boa.

The Nursery: The Crib and Bedding

Three of my sister-in-laws made our baby's bedding. They are all so talented and generous to us.

Becky made this amazing quilt. It's even quilted with stars. Amazing! It has beautiful fabric, binding, everything.

Sara made these gorgeous bumper pads. Seriously! She made those. Amazing.

Look at the ties. So stinkin' cute.

And Julia made two sheets. One is warm flannel from Sara's shoppe and the other is from her own quilt shoppe. They are the greatest crib sheets! They fit perfect.

And I made these pom-pom's using this tutorial. The white lanterns are from Ikea.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Nursery: The Before and the Dresser

The Bright, Simple, Vintage, Homemade Nursery
That is C and O's new nursery in a nutshell. And I'm in love. I can't help but walk by their room and just smile. What a cheerful, clean, peaceful, nursery.

After months of working on this room it's done. Or just about...curtains and a couple pillows will add the finishing touches. Hooray! We bought our first house this year and I'm just getty that I get to decorate it anyway I want. For months it sat bare with just a crib and a nightstand. It's not that I didn't have anything to decorate with. I just needed to brainstorm and come up with my plan.
So after a couple of weeks of planning and coming up with an inspiration board (pictures of other nurseries and ideas I loved) I painted the walls, and got busy on my thrifted/homemade room. I went off this room from The Anderson's and added from there. Wow is she talented!

So here is the "before" picture. I had already started on the taping. But you can see that the room is plain and the color is a neutral muted-green. Which was a fine color. I just needed to spice things up a bit.

The nursery doesn't have a closet. So I knew I needed a big dresser. I scored this heavy duty, vintage dresser from a thrift store. It is such high quality. They don't make dressers like this anymore.

It was a light yellow color and had fantastic hardware. I was so tempted to use the hardware. It was pure vintage-awesomeness. But in the end I went with a more clean, sleek hardware choice.

And here is the dresser refinished. I sanded it, primed it with oil-based primer, painted it white, and replaced the hardware with a more modern, sleek look.

We all know that my kids' favorite lady is Mary Poppins. I didn't want a theme room but I did want to incorporate her into the room a bit.

I made this piece of art for them.

Mary Poppins used to look like this (don't you love that umbrella fabric?!) but the frame mysteriously broke when I was spray painting it white. Ah well. I like the new-improved Mary Poppins better anyways.

I got this lamp from a yard sale for $3. It was a gold base. I spray painted it white and recovered the lampshade with Michael Miller's "Red Joy" fabric. And what a joy it is!

And those dolls!!! Those were mine when I was a baby. Seriously VINTAGE stuff. Humpty dumpty and and Little Miss Muffit are great additions to the room. Humpty has a bell inside and Ms. Muffit has a squeeker inside. C can't get enough of them.

Ikea frames. I covered the mat's with fabric

The End.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Super Mom Disclaimer

A sweet mom of 2 close little ones wrote me an email recently asking all sorts of great questions. She was feeling overwhelmed as a mom (as WE ALL do at times). I answered back with as honest responses as I could. I wanted so badly to help her to not feel overwhelmed. She was relieved to hear that I'm not super woman and said that it's encouraging to know other women struggle too at times.

So this is a super mom disclaimer that I, nor any other mom out there, are super moms. And doing projects with your kids is NOT what makes someone a good mom! I just happen to find doing crafts with my kids one of my favorite things to do! But many moms don't. That's OKAY. Some of the best moms I know don't enjoy it either. Big deal! They are still amazing moms.

We have all been given different talents, experiences, interests for a purpose. I know we all feel at times that we're not "doing" enough. But my sister once reminded me that just being there with and for my kids was enough. It's true!

Remember blogs are only a teeny-tiny part of someone's life or day. I share that because it's easy to compare our whole lives to other people, even when we know so little of their lives. And I believe Satan would have us do that to cut us down and think we aren't great moms. When in fact we are! Remember “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

So I hope you'll enjoy this blog, but remember that behind all of the fun activities you see here there is still the mundane cleaning, the bills to pay, the student loans to worry about, the THREE kids' diapers to change a million times a day, the whining, etc. etc. going on in this house! But through it all there are some very specific moments in the day that make it all so wonderful and worth it. And I sure like capturing, remembering and sharing some of those wonderful moments.

Here are some of my favorite speeches illustrating a successful mother:

And Upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit
Mothers and Daughters
Mothers Teaching Children in the Home
A woman of Faith

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baby Shower Idea

This baby shower was a mix of different groups of friends. Many guests didn't know each other.

I'm not big into shower games and either is Rach (the new mommy). So I brainstormed and came up with the idea to applique onesies at the shower for her new baby boy Ryland.

We hung the onesies from a twine clothesline and guests could start a onesie whenever they wanted (and if they wanted).
The finished product. They all did a great job!

I took them home, sewed them, then sent them to the new mommy. Sewing at the shower would have been too much.

The tie one is my favorite!
The pants with the star (above) and the car (below) are on the bum part of the pants. Cute!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Water Table

I've had plans all summer to build a water table. But until I find the time this worked perfect. We used our Ikea wood table and chairs and then I bought a large tub from Lowe's. The container is made of thick plastic and is typically used to mix cement.