17 February 2013

Our Week - 2/11/13 - 2/17/13

Madden and Mariah have been getting along so well this past week.  I catch them playing together, making each other laugh, etc.  It's so cute.  I sure hope it's something that continues :)

Mike was such a sweet husband and father this week - for Valentines day he got his girls some special gifts, which included lots of chocolate. 

Mike and I have gotten really good at making up yummy dishes from the random things we have on hand.  For example, yesterday we whipped up a grilled cheese with turkey, bacon and avocado on Texas toast!  YUM!  It was better than any sandwich we could have bought and used up some avacados that were almost going to go to waste!  It's amazing what you can throw together with ingredients you have on hand.  And obviously save the money you would have spent to eat out.

"I can't go because I stopped, Mom"

I guess that's an accurate statement, right?? :)

Grandma & Grandpa Hopper's 60th Wedding Anniversary

My grandparents hosted a lovely get together for our family to celebrate 60 years of marriage.  What an amazing milestone!  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Machine Shed and then went back to their home to open gifts and spend time with family.

In early January, a couple other family members and I had the idea of putting together a memory book as a surprise for my grandparents. We had everyone (children and grandchildren) send in special memories they had with their parents/grandparents over the years.  I volunteered to put the book together.  It was a fun project and worth every single moment of my time.  I could see the happiness and joy in my grandparents eyes when they opened the book and began reading through the memories.

It was a wonderful gathering.  So great to see family and give our love and congratulations to two very special people!

Sometimes I let the kids do my housework ;)

Curtain Rod with Distressed Frames

I am still trying to get rooms and walls in our house decorated since we moved in this past September.  I think it will always be a work in progress, but right now we have too many BARE walls that are desperate for decor!

A while back I bought a double curtain rod with the intention of making this cute book sling for Mariah's room.  Well, when we moved and she got her new room, she had MUCH more space and plenty of room for a bookshelf.  Thus, a sling was not really needed.

When I came across the curtain rod in the closet the other day it immediately made me think of the cute projects I have been seeing on Pinterest for a while with the picture frames hanging from the curtain rod.  It got me thinking - maybe that would be a fun way to dress up a blank wall!

I choose the little wall between the closets in the master bedroom for two reasons - it was an awkward little space that needed something and it isn't a high traffic area where I would worry about frames hanging out away from the wall.

Lately, I've really enjoyed "shopping my home".  In other words, looking around at the items I have (in storage, closets, or even something being used elsewhere), repurposing it, and using it in a new place.  I also like to shop second hand stores for certain items - like picture frames!  It's the perfect place to find cheap frames - they are just begging for a quick touch up or a coat of paint to make them new again!  A couple weeks ago I had picked up 3 frames - 2 5x7's (99 cents each) and 1 8x10 ($1.99) with the intention of distressing them.

The idea was born: Hang the distressed frames from the curtain rod!

I had never tried to distress wood before so I spent some time doing research and came across a tip to use vaseline to help with the distressing.

Here's the process I went through.

First, I painted the frames a dark color (black) as this was the color that I wanted to show through once it was distressed.  One thin coat is fine, it doesn't even have to be a full coat.  I used acrylic paint and it worked great!

Once dry, I applied the vaseline to the corners and various places on the frames (wherever you want the distressing to happen)

Then I painted right over the black and vaseline with the top color (I chose an off white).  This took a few coats to fully cover the black and achieve the color I wanted.  Let the paint dry in between coats.

Soon after the top coat was applied you could begin to see the spaces with the vaseline underneath start to separate.  Once the top coat was dry (I let it dry overnight) I VERY lightly sanded the areas where the vaseline was applied until I achieved the look I wanted.  I finished with a clear coating to seal it.

Next, Mike helped me install the curtain rod on the wall and I cut 6 ribbons to the desired length (based on where you want the pictures to hang), melted the ends (to ensure they would not fray) and looped it through the frame before I put the glass and photo in place.  

I tied the ribbons in bows around the curtain rod and that was it!

I love the depth!

The distressed look was EXACTLY what I was hoping for :)

EASY project that makes such an impact!

I was nervous that the double curtain rod might stick out too far (since all the examples I had seen used a single rod), but it turns out I actually LOVE that the bigger frame sticks out further than the smaller frames.

The best thing about this project is that it is so versatile and will be super easy to change out photos or even add additional frames without putting any new holes in the walls.

I bet you have a wall in your home that would be perfect for this project, too! :)

11 February 2013

"Wheelie" Sweet & Easy Valentines

With Valentine's Day just a few days away I wanted to be sure the kids had some cute Valentines to pass out to their friends.

My plan was to keep it simple and fun - luckily the kiddos let me have free reign on their "theme" this year.  I have a feeling my ideas will be vetoed in the years to come ;)

I came across both of the ideas on Pinterest, but put my own spin on them using some of the supplies I had on hand.  Both projects took just minutes to do and cost very little.

Madden's "Wheelie" Cute Valentine

Boys and their toys!

This was the perfect Valentine for Madden and BONUS it doesn't result in a sugar high - just a sweet little toy car for his Valentines.

I typed up the phrase using photoshop and printed it out on cardstock, then stuck it in a plastic sleeve with a little dollar store car (3 pack for $1!).  

These were "wheelie" simple and fun!

Mariah's Sweet Arrow Valentine

Cupid's arrow was the perfect place for a heart shaped chocolate candy.

I used this printable and added the chocolate and a glittery heart sticker to fancy it up.  Then I stuck the whole card in a plastic sleeve to give it a nice finished look.

Easy and adorable! <3

10 February 2013

Our Week - 2/4/13 - 2/10/13

So, this past week was a good one.

Madden has two loves right now: phones (iphone, toy phones, banana phone - doesn't matter!) and cookies.  This kid spots a phone from across the room he HAS to have it.  Same goes for cookies.  I can't say I blame him on the cookies, though!

Mariah has been fighting sleep like crazy lately.  We start our bedroom routine around 7 with baths and pajamas and then hang out watching cartoons until about 7:45.  Madden goes to bed with no problems, but Mariah will be in her room reading, playing with toys and roaming around for HOURS.  I mean, when Mike and I go to bed (around 10:30) - she's STILL UP.  And that means, come 6:30 AM we cannot wake her up for anything.  She actually asks us for "10 more minutes of sleep".  Um... 2 going on 16?  I didnt know we had a teenager here!  Lately shes been changing her outfit as well, so we find her in strange clothes in the morning when she finally gets herself out of bed...

Mike was a huge help this week (he ALWAYS is, but even more so over the past few days).  I was fighting a sinus infection earlier in the week, so he did a LOT with the kids, including getting up with one or the other in the middle of the night.  He's a trooper.  I'm lucky he puts up with me! ;)

I attended a basic camera class on Saturday and learned SO much about shooting in manual.  I've had my DSLR camera for over 4 years now and FINALLY feel like I learned enough to put it to proper use.  Right now I take all my blog post photos with my iphone (quick and easy!), but maybe when I get more comfortable with my real camera I will get better pictures on here!

We formed a train in the living toom this afternoon using our kitchen table chairs (Mariah's request).  We all took our seat on the "train" and Mariah headed to her front "driver seat".  She turned around and said:

"Hello and welcome to my train!  Thanks for riding with me, guys!"  

Valentine's Day Cookies!

We made heart-shaped sugar cookies and decorated them with red and pink icing and lots of sprinkles.

Mariah had a blast with it!

I was actually surprised with how well she did - this girl can squeeze out icing and pour sprinkles like no one's business.

I love that some of the cookies have her special touch :)

We also put together a plate of cookies to take to Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Hopper for an early Valentine's Day/Anniversary gift!  60 YEARS OF MARRIAGE on Thursday (Valentine's Day!)

Kids watching cartoons and eating their valentine's day cookies

04 February 2013

Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  But, like most people, we rarely have time to enjoy a good breakfast with the busy-ness of our weekday mornings.

I like to be prepared with granola bars or yogurt on hand for a quick grab before I walk out the door, but I'm always up for trying muffins and things I can freeze and heat up before I leave in the morning.

I saw this post for breakfast cookies that had me pretty intrigued.  I was really drawn to the recipe because the ingredients were completely normal, but NO added sugar.  That makes me feel a little better about eating a cookie for breakfast!

They are PERFECTION!  The kids enjoyed them, too!

I even got a chance to try out the Silpat baking mat my mom got me for Christmas.  LOVE it!

Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies
Adapted from Our Family Eats
Makes 18 cookies

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place bananas, vanilla, butter, applesauce, and yogurt in a large bowl.  Stir to combine.  In another bowl add flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder.  Stir with a whisk to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well.  Add chocolate chips to mixture and gently stir to incorporate.

Drop cookies onto baking sheet using a large scoop, leaving 1 inch between each.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until center is well set.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

03 February 2013

Our Week - 1/28/13 - 2/3/13

Yet another busy week around here!

Mariah was home with the flu for a couple days.  After a few days of fever spikes and exhaustion, we were so happy to see her return to her normal self!

Madden has become quite the talker lately.  He seems most talkative when he first wakes up in the morning.  This kid will babble on and on in his own little language!  Mariah seems to understand what he's saying, but she won't tell us! :)

Mike ran his first 5 mile run on Saturday!  So fun seeing what you are capable of when you set a goal!

I finally added some items to my etsy shop that had been sitting empty for quite a while.  So fun :)

Mariah's famous phrase lately: "Just two more minutes!"  Usually this is in reference to watching cartoons before bed or playing games on the ipad.  It sounds great and all, but the problem is she doesnt quite understand the concept of time yet :)

City Tournament

Today Mariah and I headed to the bowling alley to watch dad in the CIty Tournament.  Mariah was definitely more interested in checking out the vending machines and games vs. watching daddy bowl.  She also found a 2 year old and 3 year old friend and had fun playing dolls and coloring.  We only lasted about 2 games, but it was fun to watch daddy and cheer him on!

Madden sprawled out on the floor playing on the keyboard.
This little guy is growing up so SO fast!