Thursday, June 12, 2014

Salvo, NC 2014

We went with hubby's whole extended family to Salvo, North Carolina last week. It was so great to have everyone in one place and it was nice to shake up our routine a bit. The weather was beautiful and the house was lovely. 

Ian trying to stay in the shade. 

Henry double fisting those drinks. Yep, he's our kid. 

Both little boys started pulling up on the furniture and Ian is really into walking with the walker now. I'm so glad, because it would help loads if they could walk a bit. 

It's good to be back, but I'm struggling getting back into the routine. Plus, we had an awesome wedding to go to Sunday night, so it made it even harder to get up the next day ::cough, cough, wine::

Date night!
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend 2014

Our Memorial Day this year was filled with a big house project. And while it's not super high-impact, it is an important part of owning a house. This weekend we stain/sealed the fence.

Yeah, not very sexy, but we needed to get it done. It went really well too. I don't know if we're the only ones out there that feel this way, but sometimes it seems like every little thing we DIY goes wrong. This went perfectly though. It was definitely hard work (esp the power washing) but it looks fabulous now!



I did most of the power washing on Saturday morning and hubby did the heavy lifting with the staining on Monday morning. We also had Jake out of the house at my parents', which allowed both of us to concentrate on the staining while the twins were napping in the morning. 

I cannot even begin to explain how freaking necessary a sprayer is. Do yourself a favor and get one. Worth every penny that we spent on it, which really wasn't that much. This is the one that we bought, and it was great. Hubby did a lot of research and was pleased with his purchase. 

The key to using the sprayer is to coat evenly and keep it moving. I'm pretty sure if we hadn't had a sprayer and just rolled it with a traditional method it would have taken us 7+ hours. This only took us 1.5 hours. So worth it! 

My parents came for dinner when they dropped Jake off on Monday evening. I made this Martha Stewart recipe for chicken and spinach casserole, and it was delicious. This is an easy one to make ahead and just pop in the oven about ten minutes before you'd like to eat. 

And then Henry freaked out because he got his legs "stuck" in the railings. I can't make this stuff up. 

Onward to another week!

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Refinished Bedside Table

It's finally finished! And if you count the sander that I bought as an investment, then the whole project cost only $16, including the table itself!

This project was a great project for a beginner like myself and it has me thinking about what we're going to do when we really start the hunt for a new dining room table. Our current one is on it's last legs and it only seats 6. With five people in our family, that just won't work if we'd ever like to have guests over to eat. But I'm getting a bit off topic here. 

Back to the nightstand. When we transitioned Jake into his big boy bed, we put a small Ikea Lack table that we had in his room next to the bed as a night stand. It was okay, but I really had something else in mind. I wanted a place he could have a lamp that was out of the way and a place for books/water/cars/whatever a boy needs in the night. 

As I was perusing our local ReStore one Saturday, I found it! Fifteen bucks, sold!

As you can see though, it needed some work. No problem, I thought, a little elbow grease will get this looking great. 

So I got started. I had some wood sandpaper and started sanding. 20 minutes in I had gotten nowhere. 

So I packed up my gang and we headed to Home Depot to get an electric sander. 

Boom! All sanded in 15 minutes. Totally worth the money spent because I only ever have hour long chunks of time to complete projects. And every house needs a sander, right ;)

I used some leftover blue paint that we had to paint the legs. Then I flipped it over and used the last of some stain to stain the top surfaces. 

I used the same blue to paint the interior sides for a small pop of color on top. 

I used a spray finish by Minwax to seal it. I was very surprised how easy it was to use the spray. I gave it two coats and let I try for about 30 minutes in between them. 

I then used my Silhouette to cut an anchor shape (I bought the design for $1) out of some gray vinyl I had leftover from another project. Easy peasy! 

Right now Jake's room has a pirate theme, but I didn't seal the vinyl down because I'm not so sure I will want to keep it on forever. That's the beauty of it though. I don't have to if I don't want to!

I'm so pumped to try a bigger piece of furniture next time!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Photo Drop Friday

Boy did we stay out late last night! 9:30. Must be some sort of record, ha. Happy Memorial Day to you, I hope you spend it doing something good. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Around These Parts

It's been pretty low-key around here these past few weeks. This season of our lives is home-based and I'm okay with that. I know there will be times in the future where we're running from event to event and I'm wishing for a quiet day where we watch Robin Hood again and are trapped by different nap schedules. 

One of our big go-tos for lunch is egg salad. It never disappoints and everyone gobbles it up. All of or kids love pickles and mustard, so it's perfect. I put dill relish in it to give it a little kick. 

Yum. Of course, it takes a half-dozen eggs to feed us, so I can't imagine what it will be like in a few years. With three boys, we're definitely going to be keeping that Costco membership. 

If you follow me on Instagram you know we had a tornado warning last week at 3:45 in the morning. So we all traipsed downstairs and jammed into the interior storage space. To say it was tight was an understatement. Luckily there were no tornados, but the wind kept me up most of the rest of the night. 

It also inspired me to clean up that space because we had to throw a bunch of junk out into the family room to fit everyone inside. 

My babies are rapidly becoming little boys. Ian especially has started playing on his knees and for some reason to me, this makes him look less like a little baby. 

Pretty soon all of our guys will be running around and it will be quite chaotic. I'm already breaking up an average of one fight every 15 minutes. Crazy, but true! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pegboards. Pegboards As Far As The Eye Can See.

We spent this weekend wrapping up a project that we've been working on for about a month now. Not that it really took us that long, but with three little guys running around it can be hard to find time to work on it. 

I took the little guys to Home Depot and purchased two huge pegboards and twelve 2 x 2 x 8 boards. I had them cut the pegboard in half width-wise {such an awesome service} and that helped me get it in the car. We measured and cut the smaller pieces at home.

Thanks hubby! 

Because our walls have drywall, we had to create a frame. This allows the pegs to have somewhere to hang behind the board. Hubby found the studs and drilled the screws in to make sure we had a sturdy base. After that we screwed the pegboard itself into the frame. Perfect! And of course, since we had used the two hours {barely} that we have during nap time we had to stop. Ugh. Story of my life. So this got backburnered for a few weekends while life sped by. 

Cut to this past weekend where we were determined to finish one of the many partially completed projects lurking around the house. The garage was getting out of control so we decided to start there. We continued the frame, finding the studs as we went. This is definitely a two man job though, so find a buddy for the work. 

One more pegboard up.......

And the wall was completed. All of this storage allows us to get things off of the floor {helps prevent bugs} and instead of all of our junk hiding away we can easily see it so that I don't buy yet another slider press. 

We actually hung quite a bit of our big items up. Hey, what can I say, we've got a lot of tailgating equipment ;) Go Hokies!!

Another shot of the long pegboard wall.

This picture was actually taken before we completed the long wall of pegboard. The other side of the garage has a fire-wall separating us from the neighbors {we have a townhome}, so there was only a thin strip of drywall to attach a pegboard to. Since we knew that it wouldn't be nearly as sturdy, I chose to organize some painting supplies over there. All of my various spraypaints now live in that shoe organizer. I love those things! Every closet of our house has one on the back of the door and most of them don't have shoes in them. 

So that wraps up our big garage overhaul. I'm so glad it's finished. Not only is our garage in much better shape, it just feels so good to put a check on our to-do list!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Photo Drop

We had a bit of a scary one here last night. We were awoken by the emergency broadcast system on our iPhones. We had a tornado warning, which is highly uncommon for this area. So, at 3:45 in the morning we woke the kids and went all the way down to the storage closet on the lowest level. 

Luckily we were all safe and all of the kiddos went easily back to sleep. I had trouble though :/

Pretty good week, and hubby is home this Friday, so yay! Have a good weekend!

Monday, May 12, 2014

19 {Free or Cheap} Things to Do with Kids in Summer When it Rains

I hope your Mother's Day was fun and perhaps a bit restful. (Ha!)

It's going to get close to 90 degrees here today. I have to admit that I'm not a crazy summer person. I like swimming and going to the beach, but let's face it, getting three kids into a hot, humid car only to get them out again 10 minutes later doesn't sound like tons of fun to me. Give me sunny and 75 any day of the week.

Rainy days during the summer can be such a bummer too. I've put together a list of 19 things you can do with your kids during those summer showers.

1. Go outside and play in it! Of course, if this storm has thunder and lightning I really don't recommend this, but if it's just a light rain, head outdoors. Put bathing suits on the kids and let them play in it. You can even drag out the water toys. Watertables work great in the rain.

2. Stickers. Dude, my kid could play all day with stickers. Whenever I spot a cheap set, I put them back for when I'm in a real pinch with nothing for him to do. Just make sure you get them off of their clothes before you wash them. I've ruined a couple of pieces of clothes this way.

3. Paper Bag Challenge. Give them a paper bag and ask them to collect 5 things around the house that are blue/have spots/made of wood/whatever your child is learning about.

4. If your child is trustworthy, you can give them a camera and ask them to take pictures around the house. You can even give them a theme, such as things that have rainbows on them.

5. We have hardwood floors in the main living space of our house. I use blue painter's tape all of the time on the floor. I make "balance beams," letters and shapes. When Jake was learning his shapes, I would call them out and he would run and stand on the appropriate one. Gets energy out too!

6. Let them have a "carwash" in the kitchen sink. Pull up a chair for them to stand on (keep an eye on them) and let them give their cars, baby dolls or whatever a wash. Alternatively, you can do this in the bathtub.

7. Speaking of bathtub, break out the goggles and some interesting waterproof toys and let them look at them under the water. Bonus points for a snorkel set!

8. Practice with scissors. Let your little ones cut up magazines or even the Sunday ads. They'll have fun looking at the pictures and it's good fine motor practice.

9. Have a bunch of mason jars laying around from Pinterest projects that never happened? Yeah, me too. Put them to use! Squirt some washable paint inside, add some marbles and screw the cap on tight. See what kind of patterns you can make with the marbles rolling around in there.

10. Put on a talent show. Every kid loves singing, (no, it's just mine?) so take some video of yours doing their thing and watch it together. Jake could sing 400 rounds of Old McDonald if we let him.

11. Did someone say McDonald's? Hey, you gotta eat, so why not find a fast food joint with an indoor play place and let the kids run off some steam while you kick back with a sweet tea.

12. Jake loves to help with any kind of cooking, so I try to keep basic baking supplies around. Making these cookies would be fun and yummy.

13. Dry erase markers on windows or mirrors. You can draw funny faces on your own faces on the mirror. Make sure you supervise this one closely!

14. Make a fort under the dining room table. Pillow + blankets = a great hiding place.

15. The dollar store. Give each kid a dollar and see what they can buy with it. Alternatively, you could have the buy "gifts" for each other. When you get home, you can have them wrap them up in newspaper and exchange them.

16. Write letters to out of town family members. For children with pre-writing skills, this could mean coloring a picture to enclose.

17. Indoor obstacle course. Use couch cushions, chairs and anything else you can find to create a course inside the house.

18. Go to your local library. So many people overlook this great resource in their community. Ours has morning story time, but they also put out toys and the kids can hang out afterwards. Bonus: this can be a great place to meet other mom friends.

19. Dance party! You can turn on anything your like, but I'm partial to 80s pop or Disney movie soundtracks on Pandora. It will get everyone's blood pumping. I usually do this while I'm cleaning, so hand the kids some Swiffers and get a little help!

Hopefully this list will come in handy this summer. After all, there's only so many times one can watch Frozen (or Robin Hood at my house) before you want to scream!

All Kinds of Things
Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Photo Drop

Another week come and gone. Up this weekend, finally finishing up the Little Tykes climber and of course, Mother's Day. We always keep it low-key. As long as I don't have to make any meals (or clean them up, amiright?) I'm a happy mama. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bring Them A Meal

Last week one of my best friends had twin girls. They're in a very similar situation that we were in when our little guys came along; they have a two year old and now two little babies. They were born at 37.5 weeks, and everyone is healthy, so they all came home from the hospital within three days. Such a different experience than what we had, but I'm so thankful that everyone is doing well.

We all know how hard it can be to get dinner on the table when a new baby joins a family, but with three kids under three years old, it can be darn near impossible. I wanted to bring a few meals out to them because I know with our nap schedules (I'm trapped!) it might be hard to get out there once a week for several weeks in a row. Enter bulk freezer cooking. 

When one of my friends has a baby, I also like to send some breakfast along with a dinner. When we had Jake it seemed like getting meals together was so tough in the beginning, especially breakfast. Ove of my mother's friends brought a gift basket to the hospital and tucked inside was a yummy artisan breakfast bread, along with jam and creamed honey. Just thinking about that easy meal, a slice of bread smothered in the spreads is making my mouth water. It was such a lifesaver when I was trapped under a nursing baby. 

The breakfast I send is quick and easy for mom and is especially wonderful for those moms who are nursing. Oatmeal is a go-to breakfast around these parts, and it reheats beautifully. My recipe is simple for even the busiest mornings, because you get it started and then literally walk away from it until you're ready to eat. 

Stove Top Oatmeal

- 4 cups of water
- 2 heaping cups of rolled oats 

Bring the water to a boil in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Pour oats into boiling water, stir, and put the lid on. Turn off the burner. Let the oats sit for 16-17 minutes. Voila! Oatmeal!

I package up some berries and honey and boom, instant breakfast for the new parents. 

The other meals I sent are meant to be for dinner, but hopefully there were enough leftovers to provide a lunch too. I used these recipes:

I started by chopping up all of the veggies needed for each of the recipes. I try to prep everything ahead of time when cooking. This prevents me from running into issues where I'm all out of an ingredient mid-cooking. 

It was a lot of chopping, so I listened to/watched Zoolander. Thank you Netflix!

One of the ways I try to make it easier for the new mom is to put all of the meals into containers she can recycle/throw away. While this isn't exactly the most earth-friendly method, it makes it easier to clean up and she can use the meals as she sees fit. This way she can dole out these meals all in one week or save them until she needs them. 

The dollar store is great for aluminum trays. Two for a dollar? Yes, please!

The soup and the slow cooker meal both went into freezer bags. For the Slow Cooker Proven├žal Beef Stew, I put the meat in one bag with the beef broth and then all of the other ingredients (except the tomato products) in another bag. I sent the other tomato ingredients along in the cans. 

Notice the sticker on top of the bag? I put that on each of the meals. They are simple directions to follow to get the meals on the table. 

The last piece of the meals was bread. I bought several loaves of French bread, cut slices into it and buttered it. Then I wrapped them up in foil and wrote directions for heating it up. Bread can be easily frozen until you're ready to eat it. 

Food is a great way to help out a family with a new baby. Not having to worry about what's for dinner can give mom and dad time to nap, do some laundry or spend time with an older child. I hope I helped lighten the load for my friends and that they're enjoying their sweet babies (and maybe getting a little sleep too!)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Weekend Happenings

We had an extra day of rest this weekend with hubby taking Friday off, but as usual, we used it to get some things done around the house.

We searched high and low for a fan for living room. The main living level of our house is one big room. The house was pre-wired, but we needed to install the fans and lighting on our own. We put ceiling fans in all of the bedrooms pretty much right off the bat, but we've been stumped as to what we wanted in the living room. At first we were leaning towards a drum light with no fan. After having lived here for a full year we realized that a fan would help circulate air throughout the whole house. 

Had our budget been unlimited, I could have found what I wanted lickety-split, but alas, it is not, so the hunt was on. Lots of fans look like they belong in bedrooms and we definitely did not want that. It also had to be at least 60 inches so that it wasn't swallowed up by the room. 

We love it! It helps to be married to a handy guy that just happens to have a degree in electrical engineering. The fan went up fairly easy, although hubby did say that the instructions were much more streamlined on our Hunter fans in the bedrooms.

She's a beauty! Don't judge the clutter crapstorm at the top of the Expedit. I can't make up my mind about the lamp situation. 

2. My parents bought Jake a Little Tykes climber. That thing has been tough to get together. Like, it's still in the backyard and has been shelved until next weekend tough. We're almost done, but we had to walk away from it for a little while for our own sanity. 

3. The Kentucky Derby. My horse didn't win (dang), but mmmmmm, bourbon.

4. Our littlest guys have super sensitive skin. I guess this means the skin on their head is sensitive too, because they both had cradle cap this weekend. We cleared it up pretty quickly, but they got some haircuts by mama, and well, let's just say that there's a reason you pay those people through the nose at Cartoon Cuts. Butchered, I tell ya. Oh well, you live and learn. We'll be going to get them cleaned up professionally at the end of the month. I was just trying to get some of the weight of the hair taken off. NEVER AGAIN. Kids are gross. 

It was a great weekend, and I'm ready to get this week started!