Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Somebody's watching...So, Make Each Moment Count!

I'd love to tell you that I always spend my days at home with the kids doing well-planned, educational activities. I'd love to tell you that we always eat balanced meals, my kids never watch tv and that my house is super clean. I'd love to tell you that the toys are always organized and in their place. But that's not how it is.

Especially during the winter months, we have watched a lot of Buzz Lightyear and Daniel Tiger. We've eaten the same quick meal over and over again. And my living room often looks like a daycare - toys covering the floor.

But last night, I decided that I wanted to try to be intentional with the moments I spent with the kids. Hudson woke up early...he must have sensed my plan and wanted to get a head start. So, when he requested eggs for breakfast, I was happy to cook them.

As we sat eating our eggs and toast, I realized something. I tend to put my scrambled eggs on top of a piece of toast and eat them together. Little did I know, Hudson was watching my every move. Before I knew it, he too was trying to balance his eggs on top of his toast. As I helped him eat his breakfast like I was eating mine, 4,000 thoughts ran through my mind.

What other behaviors or habits is he picking up while watching me? Will he copy my bad attitudes and lazy moments? What things could he be learning if I would just take the time to teach him?

Sunday morning, as I packed Hudson's nursery book-bag, I came across his verse card for the month of January. I just said it with him a few times, and before breakfast was finished, he had memorized the verse. When we came home for lunch, I tried the verse again...and he still remembered it. I had been selling him short! He is capable of much more than I thought...and that means I need to take a little more time to teach him.


I realized that being "intentional" about my time with him meant more than just planning a few activities...It meant making each moment count.  It meant that I was making decisions, all day long, that I wouldn't mind my kids copying. What a responsibility! I think this little realization made me a better least for today. I really tried to make each moment count. And by the end of the day, I was worn out!

As we played with Play-doh, I tried to teach him to roll balls and snakes.

I tried to remind him that we put things back where they belong when we finish playing with them. And we sang a few songs and built a few snowmen in the process.

We practiced naming shapes as we used our cookie cutters too.

He was so proud to tell his dad that he had made a snake today!

Since we had emptied an egg carton this morning at breakfast, I decided to use it for lunch. After rinsing it out, I filled the little sections with finger foods.

It was fun to watch him decide what to eat first. Naturally, the Captain Crunch was gone before anything else.

He counted each spot. And when we prayed and thanked God for our food, he called out the names of each item.

I have to give my sister credit for this idea. I had seen her fill little plastic eggs with foods for Pippa.

She used this tactic to introduce her daughter to some different foods. Eating new foods outside and out of plastic eggs helped Pippa to try everything!

Hudson ate almost everything (there were a few tortellini pieces and a couple raisins left). We will definitely try this again! I might even pick up a colorful ice cube tray to use.

As I took Nora's four month pictures this afternoon, I prayed that the Lord would help me as I invest in my daughter, as well.

She is growing faster than I want her to! At her check-up yesterday, she weighed 15 pounds 11 ounces and was 26.5 inches long! She is off the charts for her height, measuring the length of an average 8 month old!

We love to watch her learn new things. She loves to have her ankles crossed, like a little lady, and she is rolling from her belly to her back now.

She loves her big brother, watching his every move.

As he told me every letter on her shirt, she never took her eyes off of him. He can make her squeal in laughter, and he thinks that is the coolest thing. This also made me think that the cycle continues...what Hudson learns from me, he will pass on to others. Someone is always watching!

Once the baby was done with her pictures, Hudson laid down in the basket and said "Baby...waaaaah (fake crying)....need hairbow!" He was pointing at his head and adamant that he have a hairbow. He wanted to look just like the baby. He told me to take his picture too while he was pretending to be the baby. "yeah...I baby...waaaaah"

I am so glad that the Lord picked me to be these two awesome kid's mom.

I may have to remind myself quite often of the need to be intentional. Trying to make each moment count sure wore me out today...but it also felt like one of the most rewarding days I've had in a long time. I'm ready to try it all again tomorrow. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pom Poms are my New Winter Decor

The other morning, when I was up earlier than I wanted to be, I decided the house looked kind of bare after removing all the Christmas decorations. I've now decided that yarn pom-poms are the perfect after-Christmas item to add to your home. Here's how I came to that conclusion.

I started moving around decor items. Using what I have or "shopping my house" is always way cheaper than running to the store.

I had made this pom-pom garland for a MOPS meeting, and it seemed more wintery than Christmasy. Kind of like snowballs, I guess. I was glad that I hadn't packed it away. I might make some green poms for a garland in Nora's room.

It was easy to make and even easier to drape across the top of my hutch.

You can find all kinds of videos showing you how to make pom-poms on forks or your fingers. But for these pretty big poms, I used my pom pom makers (purchased here). It makes a uniform pom everytime. (And there are videos showing you how to use these contraptions too).

To make the garland, I threaded some of my favorite baker's twine (buy it here...) onto an ordinary sewing needle. Then I simply strung the poms, in no particular pattern or order, onto my twine. I didn't knot the thread in between poms, so the poms can be re-positioned easily.

And once you start making these poms on the pom-pom makers, it's really addicting. So, I just started making and making them with cream yarn, using the bigger blue pom-pom maker. And all of a sudden, I had enough for a wreath.

I had seen this wreath in an Anthroplogie catalog some time back. It was my inspiration.

This little spot at the top of my stairs (we have a split level entry) has been a work in progress. While I was pregnant, I was always working on random little projects. I couldn't sleep well but didn't really want to do housework. ha. And that's how this painted canvas came to be.

I had several large canvases (read about their origin here). Once night, I painted over the crazy design on the canvas. I printed some letters out from a Word document, cut them out and traced them onto my canvas. I roughly (not neatly) painted the letters, then outlined each one with a sharpie (because there was no way I could paint that neatly...I'm no artist, but I can trace). 

I have always loved this verse from Psalm 91. I memorized a good part of this chapter in fifth grade Sunday School and can still quote it today. My teacher had these awesome illustrations to help us learn the verses...and it worked. (In fact, I wish I still had a copy of those illustrations). I love surrounding myself with Scripture. What a comfort! The feather image is copied from my MOPS workbook cover

The peg coat rack came from a trash pile at an old elementary school. They were selling furniture and lockers, and they let me have these pegs for free. A fresh coat of black paint dressed it up nicely. Since I don't have a foyer, I thought it would be a great place for guests to hang their coats. 

The wreath, is a straw wreath form from Hobby Lobby. Using the 40% off coupon, this wreath cost a little over $2. It is a 14 inch wreath. I left the plastic packaging on the wreath because I didn't want to deal with the shedding straw pieces.

After I made the poms. I attached them to the wreath with 2 straight pins each. T pins or the U shaped hair pins might hold the poms more securely, but I wanted to use what I had on hand. 

I maybe should have wrapped the wreath in fabric or yarn first, to hide the straw. But since my poms are cream, it isn't too noticeable. I didn't cover the backside in poms so that it would lay flat against the wall. This would be cute using different colors of yarn as well.

I'm pleased with my pom-poms. They are easy to make, cute and kid-friendly!

How do you decorate after Christmas? 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

No-Sew Baby Headbands

Every once in a while, I need a cheap but practical project that I can complete in 30 minutes or less. Nothing too involved, but something that I am proud of upon completion. 

Last night, I made Nora several headband bows. Sure, my bathroom floor needed scrubbing and I could always do dishes...but my baby needed some cute accessories. And I needed to feel like I could actually complete something I started! 

I had seen this style bow on a friend's little girl. She told me she had just purchased the fabric and tied it into a bow. So, one Sunday morning, Nora needed a pink bow. I dug through my fabric stash and found some cute striped knit. After cutting a long strip, I tied it onto Nora's head. 

I love this style for several reasons. My baby doesn't have hair on top. So, this makes her receding hairline less noticeable. And Nora has a pretty large head...those elastic bows leave an awful line/indention that can't be healthy. This knit fabric didn't leave lines...and if it gets too small, I can easily retie the knot. 

But pink and white stripes only matches so many outfits. Yesterday, with coupons in hand, I ran to the fabric store. Even without the coupons, I would have spent less than 40 cents per headband. 

I bought 1/8 yard pieces of several knit fabrics (stretchy t-shirt-like material). These cuts cost around 75 cents each. 

At home, I cut the length of fabric half, giving me two strips that were roughly 4 inches by 32-ish inches. The lady cutting my fabric gave me a 5 inch cut for each piece of fabric. One was even wider, and I was able to cut four strips from it. Each of these strips would make one headband. If the fabric was bulkier (didn't lay as flat in the bow as I would like) I cut the strip in half...2-ish inches x 32-ish inches.  

I love that this navy and gold knit has different patterns on each side...two for one!

As you can see, there is no exact science here. If your baby's head is bigger or smaller, just adjust your cuts accordingly. The knit fabric won't really unravel. So there is no need to hem the edges. And the edges kind of roll up, hiding any crooked cut lines! I love a project I can't really mess up. 

On this yellow fabric, I accidentally cut the strip too short. But I liked the results of just tying a double knot (instead of a bow).

And you can see that these aren't tied too tightly... I might have to retie this one...

I imagine these will also look cute tied around Nora's head when her hair is in a messy bun or pony tail.  In fact, I might even make one for myself!

And the next time I get rid of a knit shirt, I might try to make another headband from the fabric! Oh the possibilities! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

When I Fell in Love with Mercury Glass

A few Saturdays ago, I fell in love with mercury glass. I've known about it and seen it around, but I never really thought it fit my style. But I have since changed my mind.

It all happened when I was invited to a friend's beautiful house for brunch.

While everyone else was filling their plates, I was snapping pictures around her house.

I am now on the look-out for a silver tinsel tree like the one in the picture above.

Her decor was adorable. Her food was delicious. It was such a fun morning.

She makes and sells cakes and macaroons. And her quiche was the best!

She had mercury glass candle sticks on the table. They were so pretty twinkling in the morning sunlight. And then...I spotted this little mercury glass mason jar candle. (She said she got it at Kohl's).

Yesterday, I took a mini-vacation to Target in order to finish up some Christmas shopping. There, on a clearance end-cap was a large mercury-glass-looking jar. I grabbed it up, looking over my shoulder to make sure others weren't trying to snatch up this awesome find. (PS, there were two more at the Hixson case anyone else is now in love).

I brought it home, added a small votive candle and some greenery and tied a bit of baker's twine around the mouth of the jar.

A rusty snowflake ornament was the last little touch I needed.

The warm glow makes me giddy.

I am wondering if I can DIY some of these jars since you can buy a mercury glass spray paint. I'll let you know if I give it a try...

Until then, I'll keep smiling at my large shiny jar.