Tuesday, July 1, 2014

First Birthday

The theme of the event was based on the illustrations of Art Seiden's illustrations of the zoo
 It was a small-ish party for our rather big family. Since he is the first baby of his generation, I had to come up with a party that wouldn't be a total drag for adults. 
We had a photo booth, since he won't remember how much fun everyone had at his party. 
Everyone also was able to take a soda bottle home as a keepsake, or a treat. 

 The food was simple: peanuts, popcorn, and animal crackers so everyone would be hungry for cake. 

Although my main goal was to NOT stress over the party being perfect- which I managed to succeed! It honestly was perfect. It was everything I had hoped and dreamed for it to be. 

I love you little boy. 
You are my treasure. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Oven Makeover

I LOVE my double oven. I mean, even though it's nearly 50 years old, it still works like a charm, and the thought of replacing it with something "affordable" makes me want to cry. But lets be honest. It was a bit of an eyesore. 
I loved that it was original, and has such a cute retro panel- I just can't part with it. 
So what did I do? I painted it.
 With car engine paint. It's safe up to 500 degrees (which means the outside of the oven would have to be 500 degrees- we would be in serious trouble if that happened.) Engine paint comes in adorable colors for people who have hot rods or vintage show cars! 
 I grabbed this color, and an engine primer for about $10 at a local overstock warehouse. It has been painted for almost 3 months, cooked in a LOT, and it STILL looks great! 
I also changed out my handles! Maybe these will not get caught on my clothes all the time. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nursery Reveal!

Sorry about the weirdness that is a panoramic iphoto, but it helps to get  a better feel for how the room is set up.
Hello crib, my love. This is also the best shot of our crazy Ikea retro light. 
It only casts light in the middle of the room, but we use lamps, and it's kind of nice because I can turn it on and it doesn't bother him while he's sleeping.
The awesome orange gifted dresser, salvaged from storage wars- Alabama, inspired by Tori Spelling's orange and turquoise nursery. A great place to pop color is on a piece of thrifted furniture. 
Some family photos, a vintage game, and some of my art. 
My childhood bestie made me this paper banner for my shower, and I love it on his wall!
You can also see the two tones effect on the top of the dresser here. I decoupaged two different shades of orange tissue paper, since neither matched exactly. 
(the clock is on the floor so I can see it when I'm nursing, but it doesn't have to be an integral part of the decor, because it's not cute, but we already had it.)
These large frames hold pieces of fabric, not posters. The fabric is from the same collection as the orange and green.

 Most of the vintage toys went up high, the rest will soon!
Most of these toys and treasures are from family members, which is super special!!

 My book collection, from my childhood.
I re-purposed the classic glider from my nursery by adding foam and upholstering over the wood. I wanted it to have more retro lines. I couldn't do any permanent adaptations, so the cover does move some, but it is MUCH more comfortable now, which is important since I've spent many an hour in it already. 
Oh and I documented the whole process, but lost the photos when my phone went through the washing machine cycle. here is a similar tutorial from blue house joys- with a better, more complex cover. If you are going to attempt this project, don't wait until the 9th month- your giant belly will be all in your way.
I made all my own bedding, which gives the room a very personal touch. My boppy cover is the Primary Puppy too, because I LOVE it!

I made these cornices from foam project boards my husband collected after a project in his class. Yay free and green! I just pinned the fabric on so that I could reuse the fabric later if I wanted to.
In case you missed it, here are part 1 and part 2 of the nursery evolution!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monster Mash!

I made this super yummy, sweet treat for my awesome neighbors. 

Monster Mash
Recipe Yields: 3 "family sized" bags or 12 small individual bags.
Monster Mash Time: 30 minutes (once the caramel is made)
3 bags of Simply Salted Microwave Popcorn
1 bag of Autumn Mix or Candy Corn
2 Bricks of Vanilla Almond Bark (in Orange if you can find it)
2 Bricks of Chocolate Almond Bark
1 Package of Monster Eye Candies (I found them at Target)
Parchment Paper
Spread long strips of parchment paper on the counter or table. 
Pop the three bags of popcorn and spread them in a single layer on the parchment paper. Reduce the amount of time you pop each bag by at least 15 seconds because the microwave will already be hot. I kept each bag on its own piece of parchment to manage portion control.
I had a jar of salted caramel left over from my Dad's Best Birthday Cake Ever this weekend. Melt the caramel in the microwave if needed. 
Use a spatula to drizzle the caramel over the popcorn.
 Then sprinkle on the Autumn Mix Candy.
 Melt to chocolate according to instructions. (1 minute in the microwave.)
I tried to dye my white chocolate orange, but it changed the texture. It was thick like icing and wouldn't drizzle any more, so it wasn't very pretty. So you can leave it white if you need pretty drizzles.
Drizzle the white/orange chocolate over the candy and popcorn.
Since the chocolate was thin and beautiful, use a fork to drizzle it all over. 
 You could leave it like this, serve it in November, and call it Pilgrim Popcorn. 
Split the candy eye package into thirds.
To add the monster eyes, you will need a glob of chocolate to individually place each eye on. This is when the thick orange chocolate came in handy.
The chocolate will need to harden for a few hours in a cool place, or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then bag up your treats, and share!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Baby Must Haves- My Favorite Things for the First 5 Months

Some of my favorite posts by other bloggers are product reviews.
So these are a few of my favorite things we have used with Yogi, and why I love them. 

Not only is it super cool looking, and has 5 different rocking patterns, our favorite part is the size. I love how small the footprint is. It takes up about as much space as a dinner chair on the floor, so you can easily move it from room to room if you need to. It also assembles and disassembles so easily we take it apart and travel with it.

Yogi went from total screaming panic at bath time to loving it -instantly- when we introduced the washPOd. He has loved EVERY bath he has taken in the washPOD. Even as a teeny tiny baby he couldn't fall forward easily, so he felt warm and safe like a womb, so no crying. He is still bathing in it... plus you could use it to wash the car or mop with once your babies outgrow it. 

Aden and Anais Bamboo Swaddle Blankets
The. Softest. Baby. Blankets. EVER. The regular ones are nice, but the bamboo ones are amazing. I can roll them up tiny in my purse, and I may rock them as a scarf this fall... don't judge.

Bouncy Seat + Ikea Wooden Baby Gym
This bouncy seat was bought on consignment, but he was quickly bored with the attached toy bar. He LOVEs his Ikea baby gym though. The toys are pretty high for a baby laying on the ground, so the bouncy seat helps him reach them. Sometimes I hang other "stroller toys" from the bar. This is usually where he hangs out when we are eating. 

itzbeen Timer
I used this so much the first few weeks when I had no concept of time, nor the brain capacity to keep up with when I had fed, changed, or put him to sleep. I also used it to keep up with how often I needed to take my pain meds while recovering from birth. It can illuminate in the dark, and even be used as a dim flashlight. It was nice to not have to open an app in the middle of the night or give my phone to whomever was up with him.

Peg Perego Pliko Switch Stroller & Peg Perego Primo Viaggio
My Peg Perego carseat is super safe, which was my biggest concern, and it's cute. I spoke with a carseat expert about which car seats were the safest and this has the same safety standards as the Britex Chaperone- but I liked the PP colors better. It hooks into the Switch stroller when the stroller seat is removed and can face forward or backward. The seat (the green part below) can lay all the way flat, and has a little net that comes up over the snack tray to create a pram. I am a sucker for a baby in a pram, but I wasn't sure how often I would use it as an accessory, so nice to have this one built in. This stroller is super sturdy (as you can see above) and you can balance bags, a grocery basket, or bolts of fabric on the handles and it wont tip over. You can fold it with one hand, and it unfolds quickly. The handles adjust in length, which works well for us because I am 5'8" and WD is 6'3" and we end up kicking most strollers when we walk. It also has a place for a second child to stand and hold on. 

Britex B-Agile

Sleek and Small. Perfect for walks or shopping. It has a great single hand fold and folds up quickly and pretty small. Very easy to navigate on many surfaces. (I plan to jog with it because the front wheel locks, even though it's not a jogging stroller- but I'm not a real runner.)

I have an Ergobaby too, but this has been the easiest to carry Yogi in from birth. I love babywearing, because sometimes your baby wants to be held and you just need to get stuff done, but sometimes it is a little too hot for it in the south in the summer. It touches the ground when you put it on, which grosses me out when I'm in public, so I try and put it on before I leave. 

Air Purifier
This air purifier runs 24/7 in Yogi's room and has since a few weeks before he was born. He almost never has a boogie, but always gets congested when we stay at other people's houses. Our room is next door, which means WD and I also have noticed the benefit of the purifier in our room. 

Rock N Play Sleeper
We borrowed this from my bestie. It was perfect when he was sleeping in our room for the first two months, but also lightweight enough to move around the house when you need to. The angle helped with his reflux, and he still naps in it occasionally when I need to clean his room during nap time.  

Circo Footy Pajamas from Target
They unzip from foot to neck, which means you can unzip just their legs, and do not have to get the baby all the way naked when you change their diaper in the night.  Brilliant!

Miracle Blanket + CoCaLo Perfect Swaddle
Baby Houdini has to have a double hardcore swaddle to stay swaddled. The miracle blanket goes on first, then he is swaddled in the CoCaLo which has strong enough velcro he rarely escapes the combo. I never tried a Woombie, but he was able to get out of every other swaddle by the end of the first month. I know you are going to feel like your baby hates to be swaddled, but they aren't aware of their arms and they flail them around and hit themselves in the face at night, which obviously makes them wake up mad. He has only been sleeping unswaddled for the last two weeks because he wants to suck his thumb, and now sleeps in 2 layers of pajamas and a sleep sack.

Baby Banz Sunglasses and Ear Muffs,
Infants are especially susceptible to hearing damage from loud noises because their skulls are thinner, according to the Women’s and Children’s Health Network. Prolonged or sudden exposure to loud noises [over 80 decibels] can damage parts of the inner ear -- the area responsible for hearing -- such as the outer hair cells, inner hair cells and nerves in the inner ear. Damaging even 1/4 of these cells can cause hearing loss, according to The Children’s Hearing Institute.
Read more at LIVESTRONG.com
I know Yogi will do enough damage to his hearing as a teenager with headphones and car speakers, but he is not even old enough to react and cover his own ears yet. We downloaded a decibel reader app and have found even eating at a restaurant, when you have to raise your voice and lean into the conversation the surrounding sound is usually above 80 db- the level where permanent hearing loss in infants can occur. He wears these to sporting events, church, sometimes in restaurants, and if I feel like listening to loud music in the car.
His sunglasses also help him to be able to see at football games and when we are outdoors. They also keep his eyeballs from getting sunburned. 
 I love all the products I have tried from the Honest Company. I read Healthy Child, Healthy World before I got pregnant, and it changed the way I viewed many everyday products. I HIGHLY recommend it if you are concerned about chemicals and their effect on our health. The author partnered with Jessica Alba to create this line of products. They have a great monthly bundle for diapers and wipes or household products. We receive the household products bundle, because we cloth diaper, but when I travel and have to use disposable diapers, these are my first choice. I also took a pack to the hospital with us. 
(More about Cloth Diapering in the next post)

We also love our video monitorSophie, Mama & Papas Snug, Oball, Sleep Sacks, and Motherlove Nipple Cream (for the first month of nursing- life saver.)

ALSO PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make your family get the whooping cough vaccine (preferably at least two weeks before you are due.) The vaccine is good for 10 years and is the same as a tetanus shot. We made anyone who wants to hold our baby get vaccinated. Yes, they will think you are crazy, but babies usually get whooping cough from a family member who does not know they have it (it's often misdiagnosed in adults because the symptoms can appear mild like bronchitis or even a cold.) It is life threatening for a baby and they can't even start getting vaccinated until they are 2 months old, but it takes 3 rounds before they are safe from it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Evolution of the Nursery Part 2.Fabric & Furnishing

Armed with a retro theme in mind, I started the fabric hunt next. I knew I would be sewing my own crib sheets, curtains, and changing pad cover, so the fabric would be next on the list of priorities. 
Michael Miller's Primary Puppy, and Out n' About Retro Road Signs by Caleb Gray for the sheets with accents from Jenn Ski's Mod Century collection. 
From there I picked my paint color. 
A weird thing happened while I was pregnant- I became very indecisive and insecure about my design choices- which contributed to the blogging hiatus. It took me two days to decide on a paint color for the nursery. I knew it would be an almost white, barely there color, but it would dramatically affect every other choice. I finally selected the perfect shade of light green. And then, while sitting in the living room, I held the swatch up to the wall and realized it is the exact color of my living room- no wonder I liked it. 
I'm usually the painter, but since WD didn't want to be around the fumes of even low VOC paint, he painted the nursery for me!
When we went to get the paint the Behr sales rep was in the store, and he explained that low and no VOC paint is only low & no while it's untinted. The tint has VOCs and the darker the color, the more tint required, and the more VOCs added back in. Very interesting!
A quick trip to "the happiest place on earth," Ikea, and an awesome dresser given to us from my cousin Roger, and we were ready to start furnishing. 
I painted the back of these book shelves* with 2 $2 jars of tester paint before assembling them. 
Then I primed and painted the dresser with an orange paint I had in my oops paint stash. 
The lined drawers made it so happy and perfect. 
I added a coat of Polycrylic for some shine, and left it to dry.
The next day I returned to find the whole top of the dresser and part of the sides looked like it had  been painted with crackle finish paint. OH NO, NO, NO! 
My mom suspects that it was probably cleaned with some sort of oily furniture polish in its original life, which reacted with the Polycrylic. 
Well even if I re-painted it might still crackle again, and we were only guessing the Polycrylic caused the reaction, it may have only sped up the inevitable. 
So I primed the top again, and decoupaged varying shades and sizes of orange tissue paper squares to the top. The side closest to the crib is still crackled, but since you can't see it, I didn't worry about it for now. 
Here is the beginning of it coming together around March. 
*Although I LOVE my bookcase wall and it has been a tremendous help with storage, it has taken a LONG time for the pressed-wood-toxic-chemical smell to dissipate... like 6 months with an air purifier running in there 24/7. If you live in the kind of climate where you can air them out outside or in the garage I would highly recommend it. Since we try and avoid anything with a chemical smell in our house, as much as possible, I know I am more sensitive to these smells than most people. WD doesn't smell it, but boys never smell anything. 

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