Friday, May 31, 2013

Sun shiny day

The weather was so, so nice yesterday! Here are a few quick photos (which I took with a vintage Hipstamatic setting on my iPhone) of Liam's sunshine-y day:

Helping his mama fold laundry...what a great way to start the day...

A stroller ride to the beach...
(the sunshine was clearly in his eyes in this photo, thus the squinty eyes)

A second stroller ride...

Swinging in our backyard...

Playing in the dirt. He loves picking the heads off of flowers...

And to end the day...he got to eat dinner OUTSIDE on our deck!!

It's gonna be a bright...bright...sunshine-y day...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The great outdoors

My nephew took a cool panoramic shot of the lake on my iPhone...
We spent this past weekend, Memorial Day weekend, at our cabin in the great Wisconsin northern woods! 

I've been going to our cabin almost every Memorial Day weekend since 1989. The only year my family skipped going to the cabin for MD weekend was seven years ago, when my brother Nate got married to my sister-in-law in Iowa

My parents bought the cabin in 1989 from my mom's uncle. I was only 8 years old when we started spending Memorial Days, summer vacations, 4th of July's and Labor Days at the cabin. And the memories are all fantastic ones.....

....trying to sell rocks from my "rock collection" on the side of the road. Learning how to jump off of the raft. Scooping frogs and turtles off of lily pads with nets. Fishing off the end of the pier. Riding the 4-wheeler in the woods on the trails. Walking through the forest in Autumn while the leaves fall onto your head like raindrops. Laughing and crying around the campfire with my family. Helping my nieces and nephews make s'mores for the first time. Watching bald eagles swoop down and pick fish out of the lake with their feet. Hearing the loons make their calls in the early morning. Ice skating in the wintertime....

I look forward to making many more memories with Liam as he grows up at the cabin :) He already seems to love boat rides, playing near the water and walking through the woods, so I think we're off to a good start.

Here are just a few photos from this past weekend. I apologize for the not-so-great-quality photos, as I took all of these on my iPhone instead of my good camera:

Liam sitting on the wooden swing

My nephews, Rylan and Timothy

My niece, Caroline, opening gifts on her 13th birthday!

How did she get to be 13 years old already? Wow, I feel old!

Liam picking up anything he can find on the ground (sticks, mud, insects, etc)

Liam ready for a boat ride! Little kid + life jacket = cuteness!

My two favorite boys

My nephew

Liam and I enjoying a pontoon boat ride

Liam and I with the lake in the background

Have a safe and peaceful week :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Yard work = hard work

Our neighbors' chicken.
It followed me around our yard while I planted flowers the other day :)
We've been spending lots of time in our yard, now that the weather's become more pleasant! There's a never-ending list of things we can do in our yard at any given time. 

Our front yard is almost all landscaping, filled with huge hydrangea bushes, shrubs, trees and a variety of perennials (crocus, tulips, bleeding heart, iris, daylilly, daffodils, decorative grasses, hosta, etc). I also plant annuals amongst the perennials once the weather is for sure going to stay warm. 

One side of our home is also landscaped with large shrubs and more perennials. Then there's a huge landscaped area between our deck and yard, and more landscaping that runs along the entire length of our backyard fence. And along an entire side of our garage. We also have a garden planted along the other side of our garage. Phew!

All of this landscaping + perennials + annuals = much to do! We're always trying to keep up with the raking and pruning and trimming and stick collecting. 

It's really therapeutic to me though. It's a great sense of accomplishment when you clean up a section of your yard and it looks good :) 

When Liam is napping it gives me an opportunity to get outside in the fresh air and just zone out. Plus I get a ton of exercise doing it, and Liam LOVES being outside. He either sits in his stroller and watches us do the yard work, or he'll walk around/sit on the ground and play with leaves, sticks and dirt. 

A few more photos I took of flowers growing in our yard right now:

Front walkway leading up to our house

In front of our chimney

I planted our garden last night. I planted mini pumpkins, which I think Liam will get a kick out of when Fall arrives :) I also planted lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini and we'll be planting a ton of tomatoes once we get the plants. We buy our tomato plants from our neighbor, Jane, because she does such a great job at getting them started. 

As much as I'd love to plant more things in the garden, we've decided to just get the rest at our wonderful farmers market every week. Our farmers market is open on Wednesdays AND Saturdays each week, so it's really easy to just run there with Liam and pick out some fresh veggies.

Our garden. Brown for now. But before you know it,
 it will be full of green yummies!
This is where we'll be getting out tomato plants from --
our neighbor's green house!
I use rocks (that we picked up ourselves from the beach) as garden markers.
I write on them with black Sharpie markers.

 Did you plant a garden this year? What did you plant?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Glass and goop

I recently started a craft club with some of my girlfriends in Sheboygan. The purpose of the club is for us to be able to get away from our homes (and our chaotic lives) once a month and do something crafty and creative! 

On one Monday each month one of us will host the club at our house. The host decides what craft to do, buys the materials and then instructs the craft. We also have drinks and dessert (both are mandatory of course).

I hosted the first official craft night two weeks ago and I think it was a success! We enjoyed crafting and talking, and had some drinks and dessert.

I decided that we would create glass garden flowers using recycled glass plates, saucers, cups, dishes and candleholders. My mother-in-law's friend had given her a glass garden flower as a gift a while back. Her friend had found the idea on Pinterest. As soon as I saw her flower I thought to myself "I need to make some of those!" I just thought it was so cool. And then my mother-in-law surprised me with one for Mother's Day, so I had a sample to show the girls before we started making them.

Here's how we did the craft:

I went to two local thrift stores and picked out inexpensive plates,
saucers, etc. to use as the flower parts.

It was fun playing around with the variety of different colors,
textures and patterns of plates and cups. 

This one is a combination of an old flowery china plate, a vintage plate, a
candle tray and a porcelain teacup.

Wine bottles and beer bottles were used as the stems of the flowers. But first I had
to soak them so I could get the paper labels off.

Here are the clean bottles, drying.

I displayed all of the plates & cups I found on our dining room table
so the ladies could pick out what pieces they wanted to use.

We used 'Amazing Goop', a clear contact adhesive and sealant made
specifically for gluing glass. It's also weatherproof, which is very important.
I found the glue at Hobby Lobby in the glue section.

The morning after craft night.... still drying on my kitchen table...

Here's the one that my mother in law gave me as a gift for Mothers Day.

Here's a large one that I made during craft club.

Here's a small one that I made during craft club.

Things that made me smile last week:

I hosted craft club at our house :)

I enjoyed sitting for two hours getting my hair colored and cut - it was like a mini vacation!

Liam ate cereal with a spoon, out of a bowl, all by himself

I got a bunch of perennials planted in our front yard

Liam wasn't feeling well, which sucks, but we snuggled a lot, which was nice

We helped paint five rooms in Matt's grandma & grandpa's house

We hung out with all of our awesome neighbors


Have a peaceful week everyone!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Marvelous moms

"What is a mom but the sunshine of our days and the north star of our nights."
                                   -Robert Brault

I can't believe that I experienced my 2nd Mother's Day this last weekend already! Wow does time fly. And I must say, this year's Mother's Day was just so much different for me than last year's. I obviously loved Liam last year just as much as I do this year, but this year I feel like I love him just SO much more! It's amazing how love can just grow and grow and grow. I am so fortunate to me the mama of this little cutie pie:

And I'm fortunate to have the mom that I have :) She is loving and caring and always listens to me when I complain/cry/rejoice about things. She's funny, smart, strong minded and strong hearted. And I wouldn't trade her in for any other mom! I love her just the way she is. Thank you mom, for being my mom.

And I'm lucky to have a great mother-in-law as well. She is kind, honest and always puts everyone else's needs before her own. And she mothered the man that I fell in love with, so I can't complain! Thank you, Carol, for being you.


So....Matt and I had been working on a TOP SECRET project for Mother's Day this year -- gifts for both of our moms. And now I can finally reveal what we made! They're not finished yet (we wanted the moms to tell us how to finish them), but here's a little looksy:

Homemade Mileage Marker Arrows

Matt made a bunch of arrows out of leftover wood from our kitchen remodel.
Then we painted them in three different colors - a light aqua, an earthy beige and a cream .

Here they are, ready to be personalized.

I bought stencils and outdoor craft paint from Hobby Lobby.

Here they are personalized with 1) the names of places that are important to
our moms and 2) the distance from their home to the place

These are some of my mom's arrows: Lambeau Field, Pocono Mountains,
Madison and the Apple Store!

These are some of my mother-in-laws arrows: Hawaii, Jamaica, St. John and Lambeau Field.

We weren't sure if our moms would want these arrows attached to a pole or a tree, similar to the photo below, or if they would want them hanging on rope.

Once the moms decide how the want they want them displayed I will be sure to post photos of the finished products.


Things that made me smile last week:

Liam and I went for a nice long walk with my friend & her son

Matt was out of town, so I picked up a gyro and a piece of baklava
 from a local food cart for dinner - yum!

Liam giggled while playing outside with his cousins

We went yard-saling with my sister-in-law and niece all day, in the rain!

I picked tulips and daffodils from our flower gardens

We scored an awesome weathered teak table & chairs from an estate sale

We celebrated Mother's Day with our moms at their homes,
 and then at our home in the evening