Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A sleek wreath

This month's Crafty Club was hosted by my friend Erin, and wow did she go all-out on preparing for this craft! We made some shabby chic style wreaths and I think they turned out great. 

Erin purchased smaller Styrofoam craft wreaths at Hobby Lobby, and then created some larger/wider Styrofoam wreaths using pool noodles & duct tape (very creative I must say). She let us choose between a smaller or larger wreath. I chose to make a smaller/narrower one. 

Erin bought an assortment of yarns for us to wrap around the wreaths. I chose the three colors below: grey, a mustardy yellow and white.

And then we started wrapping and hot gluing....and wrapping....

....and wrapping some more....

 ....until I got the whole thing wrapped up!

Sarah added a little chevron section to her wreath. Love it.

For the finishing touch, Erin showed us how to create flowers using strips of burlap. I chose to use grey and off-white burlap. Then I glued them onto my wreath in a cute little bunch.

Andi, so proud of her wreath :)

Janine showing off her masterpiece....

Finishing 11:00 at night!
Time flies by when you're having fun.

Here's my finished wreath, with flowers and all. I haven't decided where I'm going to hang it yet or how I'm going to hang it. One of my options is to use this cute little chevron burlap ribbon, below:

Or a wider chevron burlap, like this:

I'm sure it will take me FOREVER to decide where to hang it (or set it) because that's just how I am. But once I do decide I'll be sure to post a photo of it!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ye olde stamp collection

I finished another small little crafty project for Liam's future "big boy" room. As I've mentioned before, his room is going to have a map/world/travel-y vibe to it.

I was looking through an old bin of childhood stuff that my mom dropped off at our house a while back. I found my old stamp collection from when I was in elementary school. Yes, I collected stamps. Yes, it's a bit dorky. But I bet I can find numerous other people out there (you know who you are!) who also collected stamps in the late 80s/early 90s. And for the record - if you still do collect stamps I think it's totally cool, not dorky :) 

Anyways...I found a page of state stamps. I'm not sure where I got all of these from? But I had somehow collected stamps from 18 different states. I love them because they're all so different and the colors give them a 'retro' feel.

Instead of storing them away in a bin in our basement again I thought to myself "why don't I frame these cute little guys and hang it in Liam's new bedroom." It definitely goes with the theme AND someday when Liam understands what stamps are, he'll have a piece of my childhood to look at as well :)

Here they are....

Aren't the colors kind of cool?

I fixed them to a thick gray piece of scrapbooking paper using foam squares. It gives them a little lift from the page.
And then I put the finished product into a white shadowbox that I found in our basement (I bought it at Michael's a few years ago). 

Thanks for letting me share.... :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Feeling mappy, again

Liam's new "big boy" room is going to have a world/map/travel/transportation vibe to it...if we ever get it done!

This past Saturday we added two coats of white paint to all of the crown moldings, floor trim and doors. With our house being over 100 years old I feel you can never have too many coats of paint on the walls & doors & trim (because I know there's lead paint buried under there somewhere).

The first crafty project I completed for his room can be found here: Feeling Mappy
The second crafty project we've been working on for his room is this giant world map:

We bought an already-laminated map at Office Max and some thin foam sheets at Home Depot. We glued the map onto the foam using a spray adhesive (it didn't work so well, but we're just gonna go with it).

Then Matt made a lovely frame out of some primed trim we bought at Home Depot a few years ago. We'll add a coat of fresh white paint to this as well:
Please ignore all of the junk in the background. This is my messy art room in our basement.

I bought some map pins at Hobby Lobby so we can place a pin everywhere Liam travels :)

I'm excited to show you the finished product once we get it all put together. It will be hung somewhere in his soon-to-be room...which is also a work in progress....

Friday, January 10, 2014

Our Top Ten Toddler App Picks

Liam is obsessed with playing games on our iPad.

I know there are studies out there that say toddlers shouldn't be playing on iPads or iPhones or other devices, but I am his mom and I make the decisions around here!

He doesn't even use the iPad every day. But if he does use it we have set rules. He gets to use it once per day, and I limit his use to 30 minutes. Matt or I sit with him the entire time and help him with the games. Although, I must say, he doesn't need much help after he's played a certain game once or twice. Nor does he WANT the help! He will actually push my hand away and say "no mama" if I try to help him too much. Either he's turning into a bossy boss or he's just wanting to become more independent. I'm hoping it's the latter :)

It's amazing how quickly kids learn how to use the electronics. I never realized it until I had a kid of my own. Liam knows how to turn the dang iPad on and swipe the bar to get to the menu. Then he swipes through all of the apps until he finds the "Liam's Games" icon and clicks on it. Then he picks out the game he wants to play all on his own -- he remembers which apps are which. Yikes!

Since many of my blog readers have kids and know quite a few of you have iPads or iPhones, I thought I would share Liam's favorites with you (keeping in mind he is almost 2 years old). I know there are a gazillion apps out there and it's sometimes hard to find the right ones for your kiddos. So here are our top 10 picks at the moment. I say "at the moment" because they are always changing.

1) Pepi Tree by Pepi Play
Matt and I both love this game, as does Liam. It is my top pick. It's just SO cute and the music is great. There are six different levels that revolve around a tree, from the treetop to underground. The critters are adorable and the levels are do-able. Recommended for ages 5 and under.

2-5) ABC House, ABC Aquarium, ABC Go and ABC Wildlife by Peapod Labs

All four of these apps are great and keep Liam busy for the entire 1/2 hour sometimes. Kids can click on any letter A-Z and it takes them to pages with words that start with the chosen letter. Then on each word page there's an activity for the kids to do (watch a video, coloring, etc). I think it's a great learning tool. Recommend for ages 5 and under.

6) Puzzle Farm Imagination Adventure by Eggroll Games
This one is really cute. Kids move the puzzle pieces across the screen to complete farm themed puzzles. Once the puzzle is complete kids can click on the farm animals, etc and they make cute noises. Great for toddlers.

7) Grandpa's Workshop by Fairlady Media
This one is pretty cool. The grandpa guides kids through various workshop related activities, such as cutting wood, painting a stool, gluing together a broken garden gnome, etc. And the grandpa is very encouraging, often saying "great job" and "give me a high five." Recommended for ages 2-6.

8) Magical Music Box by Kidoteca
This app plays a variety of songs in the music box style. Kids can turn the handle to play the song as fast or as slow as they want. You can also switch it to automatic, which is great to calm your kid down before nap or bedtime. This one is recommended for  babies and toddlers.

9) Cute Food by SB
Kids pick out a place mate, plate and object to "decorate" with over 200 pieces of fruits and veggies. Very cute, educational and creative. It's a bit advanced for Liam, but he still enjoys moving the fruits and veggies around the page. Recommended for kids of all ages.

10) Cute Baby Flash Cards by United Worx
I really feel this app has helped Liam learn some words! He loves flipping through the cards himself. This is a simple, cute app recommended for ages 6 months-3 years.

Okay - so now I would really like to know, what are YOUR favorite kid apps at the moment! If we all share our favorites with each other how wonderful would that be!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Filling up the honey bear

The days of the summer farmers' market are long past...and it seems as if we're entering into an arctic freeze. But luckily we have the Sheboygan Winter Farmers Market to provide us with the pleasures of summer, just in a "different" way (examples: tomatoes are canned instead of fresh and local lettuce is grown in a greenhouse instead of a garden).

I wanted to share what we bought at the market yesterday because all of it just looks so yummers.

Our next-door neighbor makes these salsas herself and sells them at the market. Made with heirloom tomatoes, peppers, onion, lime juice, lemon juice, cilantro, vinegar, garlic and salt. Hey, I know what all of the ingredients are!

Yeah...Matt ate half of this jar already. Also made with organic heirloom tomatoes.

Matt persuaded me to get this lamb steak. I'm honestly not a huge lamb fan, but I'll give it a whirl. This is from a local Wisconsin farm called Settler Farm Lamb.

OMG this honey is so good. Matt prefers orange blossom honey (but orange blossom honey is always imported from down south). I prefer clover honey. Liam will pretty much eat honey with anything (he would seriously dip pickles in honey if given the chance). 

We bought a quart. It filled up our honey jar, our honey bear and there's still 1/2 a quart left in the cupboard.

This syrup is super local as well. Our neighbor's boyfriend tends to the syrup on this farm. Liam is obsessed with this syrup as well.

This cool hippie couple persuaded us to buy some of their freshly hand-dipped incense sticks. Matt and I both love the smell of Nag Champa. We like to place a stick in our fireplace at times, or we're stick them in the grass in our yard during parties for a nice little scent.

All of the above items cost us around $45. That may seem like a lot of money for some salsas, meat and sweet toppings, but when you really think about it, it's not too bad. At the grocery store $45 will buy you a few bags of Tostitos, some cases of soda and beer and some ice cream. And how long will those items last? Maybe a week or two? And how healthy are they for you? On another note, I know that $45 can buy you a decent amount of food if you're a smart shopper, such as a package of chicken breasts, canned veggies, some fresh fruits and a couple gallons of milk. But those will also be gone in a week or two.

Considering the items we bought, I'm predicting the salsa will last a couple of weeks in our house (ok...who am I kidding...Matt will probably down both jars all by himself within the next week), the meat will make a good 2-3 meals for our little family, and the honey and syrup will last us a good 6-9 months. Part of the reason the syrup and honey will last us so long is because we use LESS compared to syrups and honeys we've bought from grocery store. The local syrup and honey just taste THAT much better because they're not filled with sugars & artificial flavorings. And the incense will last us a good year.

Other that knowing we're eating locally grown & made items, it feels great to buy from local people.

Do YOU have a winter farmers market in your town? What are your favorite items?

Friday, January 3, 2014

As the months go by

One of my favorite gifts I received this Christmas was from my sister-in-law Nici. She made me a perpetual calendar journal! Have you seen these calendar journals before? I've seen them on Pinterest and thought it was a really cool idea. They come in all different types of shapes and designs, such as:
From the Design Sponge blog
From the Joy Ever After blog
From the Lucy's Lampshade blog

This is how they work: At the end of each day you write a short tidbit about something that happened on that day (a meal that you cooked, a birthday you celebrated, a new park you explored, or just a thought that you wanted to write down). Then you place the card to the back of the stack and there's a fresh card to write on the next day. Each year you add something to the appropriately dated index card, so as the years go on you can look back and see what you did exactly one year/two years/10 years ago on that day :)

Here's the one that my sis-in-law made for me:

She bought a plain house-shaped recipe card box and told me I can decorate it however I want :)

She stamped a month & day on each index card...

...and then separated the months with Wisconsin themed postcards.

Hello from Wisco!

Here are my first two entries.

I'm so glad Nici gave this to me. I really do enjoy writing down little moments that occur each day. I attempted doing this with the "Daily Smiles" entries that I used to post on this blog, but it got away from me (oops)! So I look forward to, once again, writing down little personal mementos that I'm sure to cherish as the years go by. Thanks Nici!

Does anyone else have one of these? Do you love it? Like it? Dislike it? Please share.