Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Reviews

I was excited to receive another of these full-color Biblical biographies for kids. This book, Get to Know King David by Nancy I. Sanders is filled with beautiful maps, interesting facts and informative pictures. In a kid-friendly way, it depicts the life of David in a way that made me excited for the next time I read about him in the Bible. I feel, after looking through this book, that I better understand the lifestyle of those that lived during David's time as king. Fun facts, definitions and pictures make this book an excellent resource. Even as an adult, I was able to gain new details and information. I am excited for my kids to use this to get to know this Biblical character in this way.

I received King David from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

This book was not what I had originally thought it would be - but I am glad that I was surprised. I thought Snack Girl to the Rescue by Lisa Cain would be filled with lots of yummy, indulgent snack recipes. Instead, the author first tells of the lifestyle changes that she has made in her diet in order to lose weight and keep it off. After trying many well-known diets, Cain was looking for something that would work and keep working. In this book, she describes ways to make little changes in the way you approach food that can have a big impact on your life and weight. Even simple tips such as putting your salad dressing on the side, not having a bread/chip basket on the table, ordering grilled instead of fried entrees and substituting a salad for fries at a restaurant - easy things to do that can make a big difference.

The second half of the book seems to be filled with easy to make recipes. One is even titled "A Green Smoothie that Doesn't Taste Like Grass." It seems to be a great motivational book that uses humor to help the reader make lifestyle changes. A lot of the suggestions are super simple and really just common sense. However, the way that the author lays the ideas out in the book makes me feel that I could easily implement some of these things into my life.

I look forward to reading Snack Girl to the Rescue in more detail. I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

N is for Nora and her Nice Little Bed

Although I still plan to add to this side of the room, Nora's sleeping area is looking more and more complete.

My curtains in this room are nothing new. I purchased them from Ikea shortly after we got married. (I think they are now discontinued...but might be available on ebay, etc.) They've decorated my dining area in the apartment, the guest room here, and now Nora's room. While this was strictly the guest room, I highlighted the red/pink berries with a red quilt on the bed. I knew that I wanted the green to be the star of Nora's room.

My mother-in-law sewed this beautiful bedding to compliment the curtains. I took a portion of the curtain fabric and picked out three coordinating patterns. (And I only have this blurry ipad picture to show my choices)

Using ideas from blogs (like this and this) she covered an older bumper pad and created an adorable ruffle skirt.

The skirt is made in such a way that as we lower the crib, we can re-tie the skirt to a different height, keeping it from dragging the floor.

I love that I also have the option of storing extra diapers or outgrown clothes under the crib. It will be neatly hidden beneath the pretty ruffles. The bumper pad is also reversible.

I knew that I wanted to hang a faux marquee letter over her bed. If I was super talented in the electrical department, I might have attempted to make one of these letters with real working lights. It would have made the cutest nightlight. But, a hot glue gun is my favorite choice of tool - so a faux letter was what I attempted.

I purchased a cardboard letter from Joann's ($5 after a 50% off coupon).

I've been holding on to some clearance Christmas ornaments for a few months for this project. They were originally $1 for 15 balls. I think I purchased these for 90% off at Dollar General.

With a regular pair of scissors and a box cutter, I removed the top portion of the N.

Those squiggly cardboard fillers entertained Hudson for a good 5 minutes while I worked on this project.  I also removed the top of each Christmas ball.

This now flat edge made them stand nicely inside the letter.

I laid out my "bulbs" in order to figure out the right spacing. I had originally planned to alternate the shiny ones with the frosted bulbs.

P.S. I love having this extra little painted table in the basement. I can start a project during naptime and easily walk away from my mess. It's nice to not have it all over the kitchen table, having to move it for each meal.

My BFF, Ashlee painted the N white for me. She painted the shelf seen beside the crib at the same time. I am still deciding what will be on that shelf.

In the end, I preferred the look of just the frosted ornaments. I laid them out and drew a little dot with a pencil under each ball.

A bit of hot glue held them securly in place.

Since this is just cardboard, it is super light weight. Using command strips, I simply stuck the N to the wall above the crib.

I hope to add a simple mobile over the crib, as well. And there will be cute things on that white shelf...soon. I picture a cute hamper underneath.

Little by little, this room is getting finished. I am loving every minute of it. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Nora's Changing Nook

I am now approaching the 33rd week of this pregnancy. I am just days away from the point where Hudson was born in a surprising way. We are recording my blood pressure daily and I am going for weekly check-ups with my awesome doctor. At my appointment this morning, everything looked great!

But I still find myself feeling the need to get everything in place -- just in case Nora decides to arrive early like Hudson did. My family and friends have been great to help me get the nursery looking the way I have envisioned. And, I must say, it is a definite work in progress. So many areas of the room are half-way complete. I've been itching to share with you some of these fun projects.

Finally, thanks to my in-laws and my husband, one corner of the room is ready to go!

Nora's room will still have the "guest bed" in it - so, whoever comes to visit has to get up with the baby! ...just kidding! The room is really too big to just be a nursery. And I hated to lose our spot for friends to stay. Nora can just have a sleepover elsewhere when guests come.  Last time my parents visited, they helped to move the furniture around and switch our cribs. Nora will have the Jenny Lind - and Hudson has a crib that could transition to a toddler-bed, should we reach that milestone any time soon.

I hated to lose valuable floor space - but I knew that I wanted the changing table near Nora. It seems like you have to change a newborn every five minutes, and the changing table makes that a little easier.  I think Jeremiah was the one to suggest putting the table in the closet - and I am so glad! It is perfect! The Diaper Genie even fits one one side of the table inside the closet. The Diaper Genie is a necessity to us, but I love that it can be out of sight!

In order to quickly be able to transform this room into a guest room, I love that I have the option of shutting the doors to the changing area. Many have asked if I will remove the closet doors, but I have decided to leave them as they are. When open, they are not in the way. And I love that they kind of look like shutters.

In order to not have Nora's adorable clothes hanging in our faces while changing her diaper, I asked my husband if he could re-do the top portion of the closet. While my father-in-law was here last week, they worked hard to recreate my idea. They sawed, painted and cleaned up - I'm already making a to-do list for their next visit!

There is now a space to hang her clothes on either side of the changing table. And, this arrangement isn't permanent. When the time comes, we can easily convert the closet back to it's original layout.

I am thrilled with the results! We will add a shade to the light above so that Nora isn't staring directly at it during a diaper change.  I decided that a yarn pom-pom would make a fun, girly, light pull.

Since the area could feel closed in, I decided to hang a mirror on the wall. This will also give Nora something to look at and it will reflect the light nicely.

This mirror used to hang over the kitchen sink in my apartment. Spray paint would have worked so much better on this metal surface. But in order to get the desired shade of green, I went with a little sample pot.

These can be mixed in any color and are usually under $3. It only took a tiny amount to cover the black frame.

I love adding these little splashes of green! The vintage suitcase on the top shelf was my mother-in-laws. It will probably be used elsewhere in the room, but I needed the top shelf to look cute for the closet reveal! The jar pictured holds all the extra diaper creams, lotions, etc. The shelf will eventually hold boxes of clothes that Nora outgrows or extra diapers.

And, I have changed Hudson's diaper on this changing table in the closet just to try it out - it doesn't seem cramped or really any different that it would if the table were out in the room. You still stand the same distance in front of the table.

Since Hudson is not potty trained (and I'm not rushing things in that department), I decided to move my desk (that used to be in Nora's closet) into his room. I need to get another changing pad, since we will be using two.

The changing pad fits nicely on the top along with his diapers. His hamper fits perfectly below. And the drawers are perfect for clothes and supplies that I like to have close during diaper changes.

This was my desk that I used during Jr High and High School. It will be a great transitional piece of furniture for Hudson. When we originally hung the peg board here, I knew that a desk would probably end up in this space eventually.

Back to Nora's Nook...The space under the changing table is ready and organized too. I loved having the orange tool box to hold Hudson's diapers. It was easy to grab and looked a lot better than the plastic packaging. Nora's diapers fit nicely in this old doll cradle that my PawPaw Covey made many years ago. The old 7 Up pop crate holds Nora's shoes underneath. And the three baskets were a thrift store find. They worked great for Hudson's sleepers, hats, burp cloths, etc. That way, during those middle of the night spit ups, a clean sleeper was easy to grab.

A metal card file got a little coat of that green paint, as well. One drawer holds diaper creams while the other holds her socks. Q-tips are in the little dotted creamer.  This Jenny Lind changing table that my mother in law found set out for the trash has served us well! (Read about the painting of the crib and table here.)

I am thrilled with Nora's nook and can't wait to finish the rest of her room.

Oh, and I rolled up her swaddle blankets into a magazine rack I had on hand. I loved those large muslin swaddle blankets with Hudson. I found some for a super good deal on Amazon recently here (2 for $12.50) - after all, Nora needed some girly ones!

I knew that I wanted these blankets in an easy-to-grab place.

I'm so thankful for all the help we have received lately! Every cut board, painted frame, sewn fabric and vacuumed carpet are greatly appreciated!

I couldn't do it without help! I can't wait to show you the rest! And I can't wait to bring Nora home to her room!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Reviews

I love a big colorful cookbook filled with yummy recipes to try. The Homesick Texan's Family Table by Lisa Fain had this pregnant mom's mouth watering just while looking at the cover. Filled with recipes to create feasts from Texas, this book already has several pages marked of recipes that I will be trying out soon (starting with Buttermilk, Bacon-Fat Flour Tortillas...yum!)

I was initially afraid this book would just include your average Tex-Mex recipes - but that is not the case. It is filled with foods that feel southern as well. The book includes Breakfast and Breads, Starters and Snacks, Salads and Sides, Chilis, Soups and Stews, The Main Event, Sweets, and Accompaniments. There appears to be something for every pallet and every occasion.

I love the connection the author makes between food and family. Seeing her stories and photos throughout the book make me feel like I have family in Texas. I am sure any former Texas-dweller would find this book comforting. Each recipe starts with a little descriptive paragraph. Usually, the author is telling of her memory with the treat.

The glossy pages and photographed food in this hardcover book left me wanting to plan our dinner menu for the next month. I do wish there were photos of every recipe mentioned, but you will find plenty of foods that are shown in vivid, yummy detail. The serving size, ingredients and directions are clear and easy to follow.

I am so glad that this book was on my doorstep, awaiting my review. If you are interested in these yummy recipes, you can find more info here.
I received this book from Blogging For Books for review.

I was equally excited to receive a copy of Get to Know Mary (A Full-Color Biography for Kids) by Nancy I. Sanders from BookLook Bloggers for review. This glossy paged small book for kids is the perfect layout for understanding Mary and the times she lived in. Filled with maps, pictures (of food, animals, houses, money, etc.) left me feeling that I learned things about her life that I didn't know before. It will be the perfect type book for my kids to study and gain a better understanding for "Bible Times." The little definitions of Bible words throughout the book are also helpful. The words used in the definition are easy to understand. I hope to get more of these books for other Bible characters.

Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering, once again, was an entertaining read. When I read her first book in this series, I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining her writing was. For some reason, the cover art on her books always makes me think that I am going to be bored with the storyline. Yet, every time, I thoroughly enjoy it.

I love following the same characters in this series as well. They feel like friends, at this point. The element of romance woven into each mystery is great. I love when a book is mostly mystery with a hint of romance.

I received this book for review from Bethany House. I am always grateful, because I know that I can read their books without a fear of inappropriate behavior being mentioned or bad language being used.