Dec 26, 2012

Grey and Blue Nursery

Let me start by saying how happy I am that Baby Boy #3 held on past Christmas! I was so worried I would either have a Christmas baby or be in the hospital over Christmas. So, if I can just clean up my house today, he is welcome to show up anytime now!

I mostly have his nursery complete. Here is the grand tour...

We started with an 'empty' room...or really a dumping ground for all baby things until we had the room ready to go. You can see how we taped one wall to paint the stripes.

And now the room looks like this:

I really love how it turned out! I was a tad skeptical as we were going but I think it is a cute little nursery. 

My mother-in-law helped with the bedding which turned out perfect. I love the colors and the blue is the perfect pop in the room. I posted about our 'cheater crib skirt' HERE. According to my sister Allison, I 'need a circle' above the crib. You would think she is an interior designer or something! (Check out her site!!) So the last thing I want to do in this room is get a large round frame and put it on this wall above the crib. One day...

These curtains are from Ikea that I bought for our guest bedroom in our first house and were eventually in Matthew's nursery. I changed them up a bit by painting the stripes on them (with the same wall paint I used on the striped wall). I also cut off the tabs at the top of each panel and used clip rings to hang them on the rod. Since I had all of the supplies on hand, this was a free little upgrade and I didn't have to buy new window treatments. AND, Matthew's room had the perfect color curtains when we moved into the new house so I didn't have to buy him replacement curtains either. Awesome!

I made this artwork for above the dresser. I got the idea from a post I found on Hammers and High Heels via Pinterest. (This room was basically a Pinterest project!) So I made up the numbers with a chevron backing on Photoshop, printed them out, and mod podged them to a painted piece of plywood. Pretty easy!

I had this sign pinned on Pinterest as well, but I didn't want to mess with finding a pallet and stenciling the letters. So once again, I pulled out my hand dandy Photoshop and made a poster version. I printed it as a poster from Walmart, glued it to a piece of plywood and then sanded over the poster to distress it a bit.

The shelves in the above picture are from the toy storage we had at our old house that I LOVED and didn't know where to put in the new house. I think the cubbies are perfect in the nursery. I posted about how I painted the numbers on the storage baskets HERE

Another item Brad and I made was a ruler growth chart. I really liked the ones I had seen on Etsy but couldn't justify spending the money just because I was being lazy. So Brad got a board from Home Depot, the boys painted it with the same wall paint (that gallon of paint went a long way!), Brad and I added the tick marks with a permanent marker, and then I used vinyl to add the numbers. I absolutely love how it turned out and it was so easy that I would have been really upset at myself for spending triple the amount of money buying it online.

I can't wait to bring home the baby and change him into all his cute outfits!! (not looking forward to all the dirty diapers...)

I framed the scratch off ticket we used to reveal the baby is a boy at our Stache or Sash party

My goal for this room was to make as much of the decor myself with what I had on hand because we are on a budget. So, without actually tallying up my few receipts, I would guess we spent less than $150 on the room. We had to purchase the fabric for the bedding, a gallon of paint and some plywood. Maybe some other little random supplies?? Everything else was made with what we already had around the house. I like to say I am going 'green' but we all know I am just too cheap to buy new things. :)

That about wraps up the room! Hope Thomas likes it as much as we do. I would guess the next time you hear from me, we will be showing pictures of our new baby!

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Dec 11, 2012

DIY Holiday Gifts - Guest Post

We are down to 14 days until Christmas! Do you have your shopping completed? If you aren't pregnant like me and due in three weeks, then you may not have gotten your presents bought and wrapped two months ago. :) So, to help out, we have special guest, Adrienne from Military Spouse Central here today to share a few DIY Holiday Gifts!

DIY Holiday Gifts Under $25

The holidays are right around the corner, and for many Americans, the jingle of sleigh bells will be drowned out by the ringing of money exiting consumer’s wallets.

From presents and parties to buying that new fancy dress, the holidays come at a pretty penny. Luckily, there are hundreds of quality homemade gifts that you can personalize and make yourself, leading to a decrease in the amount of money you could spend this year.

Here are a few DIY craft ideas to make for someone special or send in a care package that are all under $25:

Mason Jar Lanterns are a great way to let your creativity shine, no pun intended, and are available at most grocery and craft stores. One great gift is the mason jar lantern, which is accomplished by placing stickers all over the jar, spray painting the jar with your favorite color (or white for a wintery theme), and removing the stickers after it dries. Once you’re ready to pack this out, you place a candle, also available at your local dollar store, on the inside and light.

The stencils you made out of stickers make beautiful shapes on the walls and light up any room, and if you want to show off your patriot side, you can buy American flag stickers or use letter stickers to write out whichever branch your spouse is in.

Homemade Ornaments come in all shapes and sizes and are the perfect customizable gift while still being affordable. If you stop at your local dollar store, they usually have packs of smaller, plain ornaments for a $1 or larger ones sold separately.

Now, for the decorating part, make use of the numerous amounts of materials, some of which might even be lying around your home, to use for decorating. You can use stamps, glitter, and even wrap the ornaments with twine or ribbon! What’s easier is that you could buy a metallic Sharpie pen and monogram the ornament for a personal touch. It’s very simple, and looks great.

If you choose to make a few smaller ones, you could always put them in an inexpensive vase, garnish the vase, tie off with a ribbon and give it to a loved one. Also, when sending ornaments for a care package, it’s best to opt for plastic and avoid the odds that your ornament may break. Other best practices for care packages can be found in this short video.

Cookies-in-a-Jar is a personal favorite. Not to brag, but my family knows me for my gingersnap cookies and frequently asks me for the coveted recipe. So, instead of giving away your secret recipe, send it in the mason jars we talked about earlier.

You could use this for any baked good, of course – from cookies to your famous quick bread recipe.  All you have to do is measure out all the ingredients, layer them one by one, and add a little decorative tag for the finishing touch.

Personalized Calendars are a fun option, especially to send your spouse if he or she is deployed. Although this one requires the use of a computer, it’s still a very thoughtful, personalized gift that truly shows that you care.

Typically, any Walgreens or Walmart (any store that has a photo department) offers a photo calendar where you upload pictures, pick your theme, and order it online in no time. Calendars range from $10-$30 for the most part, but you can usually find a few online deals to ensure you’re spending less than $25!

Also, if you go through a local store, you can avoid shipping charges and just pick it up yourself. Another great place to make a photo calendar would be Michael’s Photo Creations  or another scrapbooking store. These are wonderful gifts that really show you took the time to create a special, personalized calendar for your loved one.

Homemade Lamps can be a fun project, especially if you have someone on your gift list that enjoys having a drink now and then. With this, all you need is a lamp kit, found for under $10 at Walmart and usually includes a shade, a bottle and access to a drill.

Drill a hole in the side of the bottle near the bottom and be very carefully so you do not crack the bottle. From here, run the wire through the hole to the top of the bottle, where you can hot glue the bulb fixture in place, and voilĂ  you have a great accent for anyone!   

The holidays are special times that are filled with traditions and being together with the people that mean the most. Whether your loved ones are able to be with you or serving overseas, creating homemade gifts are the ultimate way to show them what they mean to you. From favorite recipes to a memory-filled photo calendar, there are many ways to create the perfect personalized gift that will cost you $25 or less, but will leave them with something special that’ll last a lifetime.

Adrienne May is a military spouse, mother of three and featured author for Military Spouse Central, offering news and tips to an active social network of over 100,000 military families. Follow her on Google+ or tweet her @AdrienneMay.

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Dec 10, 2012

Camp John - A 4th Birthday Party

My sweet John turned FOUR earlier this month. You may have heard some distant crying at the beginning of the month and that would have been me. So, to celebrate my baby growing another year older, we had a fun camping themed birthday party with family and friends. So, if you haven't figured it out yet, that is what today's post is all about!

To start off any party, you know I had to whip up a cute invitation:

I tried to slyly convince John we should have a 'family only' birthday party (Matthew's was so fun with just family!) but he really wanted to invite his classmates this year. I really think he is loving his new school and new friends so I just couldn't say no to him! I am sure lots of moms have the dilemma of the toddler invite list. It can get HUGE pretty quick- family members, classmates, playgroup friends, family friends...YIKES! We just had to cut the list somewhere which is so hard! But, I digress...

We happen to live about 5 minutes from Lake Grapevine where they have day sites which were PERFECT for a camping party (and FREE!). John loves to go throw rocks in the lake (sounds boring to me! guess it is a boy thing) and climb on the big rocks. Plus the scenery is pretty nice for a birthday party! However, it was SOOOOOO windy the day of John's party. So that means all my cute party ideas, and cute party decorations I made, went out the window, couldn't set up the tent we brought, and I couldn't even put out the cupcakes because they would have blown away. This was all a little disappointing because I had ideas in my head of everything set up cute but the wind won out. Oh well!

One of the favors we had was a canteen for each guest. I set them out on the table next to a water jug so they could use them during the party. I got them at Oriental Trading and then put stickers on them that I made at home.

Here are a couple pictures of the kiddos hanging out, throwing rocks in the lake, and eating some yummy hot dogs. We had gummi bears (grizzly bears!) and the kids LOVED them!

One of the cute set-ups I had in my mind was a craft table so the kids could do a 'camp craft'. I made this sign (which of course couldn't be used due to the wind) and thought I would set up all the supplies on a table.

We still did the camp crafts, but it just wasn't set up beforehand. The kids didn't mind- they had fun painting their pinecones or making bird feeders. I had favor bags ready for them to bag up their works of art and take home with them. 

We had all the supplies to make s'mores but I figured it was too windy to try to make a fire suitable for roasting marshmallows. Another grand idea that was thwarted by the DANG WIND!!!

After the party, the boys had a little camping experience in our backyard with Daddy. It was the CUTEST thing I have ever seen! I hung out for a little bit with them but then headed back inside since this 9 month preggo lady wasn't about to sleep on the ground! As I suspected, they lasted about an hour and then the boys decided they would rather sleep in their own beds. Brad was not about to argue with them so that was the end of their first camp out!

Last but not least, I made up this thank-you cards to look like post-cards. I actually finished writing the thank you cards last night and they are ready for the mail! 

So, another fun birthday party for the books! John had a blast and I think the rest of the kids did as well. Now we can get ready for the next big event...the arrival of baby #3 in just THREE WEEKS.....

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