Friday, December 2, 2016

James' First Birthday

My goal is to type up this entire post without weeping and sobbing over the fact that my little baby is now one year old and is actually growing up. Ugh, I barely made it through the first sentence without tears. I blame it on an emotional pregnancy. 
I will, however, avoid going into the blah, blah, blah, over how much I love him and how he has changed my life immensely. If you're a parent, you already know the indescribable feeling. If you're not, there are no words that can actually encompass the experience of having a child in your life for one year. So let's get straight into his little celebration. 
This year, James' birthday fell on Thanksgiving day. We were lucky, and crazy, enough to have my entire family visit for the holiday. Which means that James was lucky enough to spend time with all four of his uncles, three of his aunts, both sets of grandparents, and his cousins on his birthday. 
Dancing with his cousin Addy, both 2015 babies, but born 11 months apart. 
We decided to truly celebrate James' birthday the Saturday following Thanksgiving. I didn't like the idea of combining celebrations, we felt James deserved a day dedicated to entirely himself. 
On the day of his party, James strolled from room to room, welcoming guests, and socializing with everyone. The fears I had about him being shy and needy with a house full of people were completely unwarranted. 
I was most excited for him to eat his cake. We had been patiently waiting to introduce him to sugar until his first birthday. We are some serious sweet lovers in our house so we just assumed James would be one as well. 
He was completely unimpressed, disinterested and possibly even repulsed by the idea of eating cake. 
I should have realized that he wouldn't want to dive into it face first because the kid hates getting his hands messy {I guess he is my child in some respects}. So we do not have one of those amazing "cake smash" photos of our one year old with a face full of icing and a smile of pure, sugar high, joy. We have this... taken just second after Brit took it upon himself to smash James' face in the cake. 
He did, however, enjoy the fun sound it made when Brit slapped his hand on the cake. But that's pretty much the only thing he enjoyed about it. 

So that is the very brief recap of our little man's first birthday celebration. To be honest, we are still recovering from the exhaustion of hosting and celebrating. I kind of just want to sleep until Christmas... 

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! 

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

DIY Advent Calendar

Around this time last year I was nesting super hard. And I created a nice cozy nest of DIY projects such as the Nursery Art, Wooden Blocks, and this incredible advent calendar. Now, don't get me wrong, creating your own advent calendar is totally doable and you do not need to be a crazed prego to achieve it. Today I want to share with you how I created ours, but also how to create other simple advent calendars as well. 

I was inspired by this House Advent Calendar from Pottery Barn {no longer available}, however, like most things from Pottery Barn, I felt that it was overpriced and that I could make one similar. 
I used some plywood leftover from a furniture shipment we had received. It's cheap wood, but it's thin and easy to cut, and we had tons of it. I created a design and did some crazy math that makes my head hurt even thinking about it now. 
This one is a bit clearer
5 x 16 inches = five pieces at 16 inches in length. Each piece is about four inches wide
I didn't want basic cubes, I liked the uniqueness of each opening from the PB piece, hence the numerous cuts. You could easily make this a lot faster by having three main rows and five or six columns. But again, I was nesting so I needed everything to be as difficult and detailed as possible. 

Brit used his table saw to do each cut. The wood we used was only 1/4" so we could have used a hand saw easily, but because of the numerous cuts the table saw was a lot faster. 
Once the pieces were cut, I put them together to ensure everything would fit nicely. The one teeny, tiny thing I forgot about when measuring each section was to leave room for the actual wood. Meaning, when I measured I didn't account for the 1/4" the wood would take up. Oops. I actually only needed to cut down the four 15 inch pieces to make everything fit. Thank goodness. Lesson learned. 

I used Gorilla Wood Glue to adhere each piece together. The glue dries fairly quickly and the wood is so light it was easy to do it all at once, versus one piece at a time and wait for dry time in between.

Once the frame and cubbies were complete, I took it outside to apply two coats of spray paint. 
I used Rust-Oleum's Colonial Red spray paint. 
Of course I ran out about halfway through. I had used the paint for a previous project and forgot to buy more, hence the half painted frame in the photos below.

I filled each cubby with boxes made from my silhouette cutter. The boxes come together easily after the cutter prints them, just apply a little glue and you have a box. If you don't have a Silhouette cutter, or you don't feel like messing with creating your own, you can snag these little gift boxes from Amazon for under $6. 
Once I had the boxes in the cubbies, I numbered them, again with cut outs from my Silhouette. Simple number stickers are a great alternative. I finished spray painting the frame and applied the numbers. Here's the finished product! 
I filled each box with candy as well as a Bible verse from birth of Jesus. As James and baby number 2 get older the boxes will start to get filled with toy cars and army men, or whatever little boys play with these days. But for now, Brit and I will just enjoy eating delicious chocolate candy. 
This is by far my very favorite DIY project I've ever completed. The advent calendar alone means so much to me, but also being able to look at this each year and know that we made it {with some inspirational help from PB} just warms my heart. 
I scattered the boxes so they're not in sequential order, as per Brit's request. He likes the added challenge I trying to find the correct box. 
Photo taken last year. We still have pumpkins on our front porch... don't judge. 
If you want to make your own and want to make it within the next two days, as the Christmas countdown begins on Thursday, here are some very easy alternatives you can create for your family. 
Envelop Advent Calendar
Popsicle Sticks
Brown Bag Countdown
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and aren't feeling too bombarded with holiday festivities yet. 27 more days until Christmas... :) 

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Slow and Steady Organizing

If you've been following along for a while you may have noticed that I pretty much stick to the same method of organizing, remove everything from the space, purge, and then return things in an orderly fashion. This works best for me and provides me with the most sanity. However, I realize this isn't necessarily what's best for everyone and it especially isn't working for me right now. 

I'd love to be able to dedicate a couple hours to organizing our closet and cleaning out unwanted clothing but I just don't have time. Can someone please teach me the trick to adding 6 more hours to the day without cutting into sleep time? I feel like one of you out there must know the secret and I need it!! I will pay you in cookies and hugs. Until someone shares their secret, I have to adjust my method of organizing. 
How often do you sift through your clothes with an internal monologue that goes something like, "hate it, too tight, too loose, too ugly, too old, hate it, hate it, hate it..." I can't be the only one, right? So about a month ago I decided instead of just pushing past each item I "hated", I would actually do something about it. 

Step 1: Remove it!
Instead of pushing through pieces of clothing that you know you don't want to wear, take it out of the space. Set it aside and don't look at it for a while. Remove the item without thinking too long about it. If it's that shirt that you always ignore because you know it just doesn't flatter your figure, remove it! 
If you have known me any time in the last 5 years, you have seen me in this shirt. A former favorite, it is stained, damaged, and wrinkles if you breath on it {obviously}. It's time to go bye-bye. 
I moved everything to the floor of our guest room. Whether you use a guest room or a small corner of your bedroom, just find a space to remove the clothing from your day-to-day life. Get it out of sight {and out of mind}.

Step 2: Schedule a Donation Date
Put a date on your calendar to donate everything you collect. You can either schedule a date to take items yourself, or use a service like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, who will pickup your items from your home. I find having a company pick up my donations is so much more effective. Otherwise the items will either sit on the floor in a room, or sit in the trunk of my car for weeeeeeeeks. Having a pick up date also helps to hold you accountable. If you know someone is coming to pick up donation goods next Thursday, you're going to ensure you've got enough to actually give them! 

Step 3: Sort Through the Pile
This time can be a bit challenging. What you don't want it to turn into is a reminiscing session of all the items you set aside. Go through everything and try to remind yourself why you put each item in the pile in the first place. Go through with the mindset of cleansing and try to not put anything back into your closet. 

While sorting through everything, you can make several piles. I typically make two piles, one for donations and one for items to be sold or sent to ThredUp {or similar sites}. I've talked about ThredUp on here before, so in short, it's a site where you can send your clothing and they will pay you for the items they keep. It typically only ends up being a couple dollars per item, but it's better than nothing! 

Step 4: Say Bye-Bye
Get rid of it! Everything you set aside can now be donated, given away, sold, or burned. Whatever your method is, just get it out of your space so that you closet is only filled with things you want to wear and that make you feel confident and beautiful. I mean that makes perfect sense, right? Why on earth would I hold on to something that makes me feel insecure, frumpy, ugly, or just not myself? 
I was a little nervous using this new method to clean out my closet, I didn't think I'd be able to get rid of very many items. But you guys, I was able to remove 80 items within one month {this also included outerwear for our hall closet}, which is equivalent to what I normally donate each year! 

So if you feel like you just can't find the time to dedicate to cleaning out your closet, that's ok. Take it one day at a time, and within a month you may just surprise yourself with how much you're willing to part with. My closet makes me so much happier now, and although I still struggle trying to figure out what to wear {a lot of which has to do with the tiny human inside me :) :) } I am able to find something suitable much faster and without nearly as much stress or frustration. 

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Little Post, BIG News!

Hi guys! So I have a nice organizing post for you all pretty and ready, except for one tiny little hiccup, it's not actually ready yet. BUT I do have something else to share with you this week....
Yup, we're expecting our second little boy in May 2017! James is excited, I swear. So things are about to get a little hectic in this house. 

Moms, I'm calling out to you, moms of boys, moms of two or more, moms who have survive the first year, moms who have survived the first week, help. How do I do this again? I mean, I know it wasn't really that long ago {trust me, the memories of trying to put pants on 9 months pregnant and the recovery after James are seriously super fresh in my mind}, but I would LOVE advice, tips, survival guides, anything you did that helped. This is seriously my favorite part of being a mom. I love hearing how other moms, OR DADS, did it! So please, comment, email, snail mail, whatever you prefer, but TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!!

Anyway, for those of you who love the details, I am somewhere between 12 and 14 weeks along {doctors say 12, I say 14, and with my all medical expertise I'm pretty sure I'm right...}. We did the Progentiy test, simple blood test for any genetic disorders, and were able to find out the sex chromosome: male. Feeling super, super sick but just started taking Diclegis so hopefully that gets sorted soon. So far it's actually quite different than with James, there are some similarities but very few. 

I just had to share this series of photos with you all. So Brit was actually away for business when I got the news we were having a boy. He insisted on waiting to find out until he was home so we could celebrate together. So I baked him a cake and used blue icing for the center. I mean, what better excuse to have cake, right? 
You guys, it was seriously, the cutest thing! I mean, I think he is a little excited. 

Ok, that's my "little" post, sorry I rambled on a bit. I hope you all have an amazing weekend!! See you next week :) 

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, November 4, 2016

CEO Mommy: Decorative Wooden Signs

Have you ever seen a project on Pinterest or Etsy and just thought to yourself, there's no way I could ever create that! But also felt that paying $45 for something so simple seemed a little outrageous? That's actually exactly how I felt about these wooden signs. And not only did I feel completely incapable of creating them, I was about to teach others how to do it. 

This month's CEO Mommy class created adorable wooden signs and, spoiler alert, it was so successful! We started out with a simple piece of wood and ended up with these personalized signs! 
Here's how: 
Supplies: 

Supplies to hang sign: 
  • Drill
  • Jute + two pieces of tape to thread jute through holes
Don't let this list of supplies intimidate you! I promise it's so much easier than it looks! 
If all of the cutting, sanding and staining intimidates you {totally understandable!!}, Michael's also sells these simple wooden signs you can paint your words or phrase onto and get the same design {various sizes available}

Step 1: Sand 
After the wood was cut, we had a piece of wood that measured 1x8x11.5. I sanded the wood down on each side. I used an electric sander because I was sanding several pieces at the same, but if you're only sanding one piece sand paper will work just fine. 
Before and After staining, not sanding. Sanding isn't that magical
Step 2: Stain
Staining wood is so much easier than most people think. You can use either a clean rag or a brush. We actually used these brushes to stain the wood. Wood stain does have a strong aroma and can be very difficult to clean off hands and brushes. I recommend planning to throw away whatever rag or brush you use and possibly wearing gloves if you have them.
To apply the stain, brush a thick coat of stain covering the wood completely. Make sure to stain the sides as well. Once the wood has been covered with stain, leave it for 10-15 minutes, depending on how dark you want the stain. Once you return to the stain, wipe away the stain that was not absorbed by the wood {we just used a paper towel for this}. 
Leave the wood for approximately 24 hours before beginning to paint on it {for the class, I had stained several pieces prior to the class for participants to use. They were able to stain a piece of wood, then take the blank piece home if desired}. 

Step 3: Design
We used stencils I created using my Silhouette cutter. If you don't have a Silhouette printer, you can print a word or phrase from a regular printer then cut it into a stencil. 
We used a piece of chalk to trace within the stencil, this way if you mess up at all it can easily be wiped away with a damp cloth. 

Once the design is complete, go over it with paint or a paint pen. 
You can either stick with white, or get creative and incorporate different colors. 
You can finish here, or make it a hanging sign by adding some rope. 
Step 4: Hang Sign {optional}
To hang the sign you will need to drill two holes and thread the rope through. Mark on the wood with a piece of chalk approximately where the holes will go. 
Then drill a hole {we used a 7/32 sized drill bit}
Don't worry if the wood splinters a little, you will be tying a knot over the hole so any little splits won't be noticeable. 
To thread the jute {or rope} through, wrap a piece of tape around the tip to prevent it from fraying. 
The rope should easily thread through leading with the taped end, you may need to pull it a little to get it all the way through. 
Measure however much rope you'd like then do the same on the other side. Tie a knot to secure the rope, then cut the access. 
The great part about these wooden sign is they can be reversible! Several moms also painted the backside of their sign to celebrate different seasons. 
Again, I am amazed at how creative these mommas are! Every design turned out incredible! So, do you think it's something you'd try to tackle? Think of all the possibilities 
Here are the few that I created, I promise everyone else's was WAY better than what I did! I just forgot to take pictures of theirs. 
Add a little flare to the commode 
This is actually the back of 'The joneses" sign pictured at the beginning of the post 
Note: While at times I do share affiliate links on my site, I do not have any relationship with Home Depot or Michael's. I do not receive any compensation for linking to their sites. While I definitely think that would be amazing, I currently share links to their sites to provide you all with the supplies and products I truly think are best and are at the lowest prices I've been able to find. 

Thanks for visiting!