Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter Weekend

My camera is now back in my possession (thanks Jamie!!)  Time to rewind... let me share a couple of pictures from Easter weekend, because I know the grandmas, grandpas, aunties, and uncles would like to see a few new pics of the kids.

First highlight of the weekend-- Doug ran out to Home Depot while Caleb was napping during the afternoon and picked up some rope to make a tree swing for the backyard.   It's taken a while for Caleb to get the hang of it, but the swing is proving to be a big hit.

I had to try it out too... of course.

Second highlight-- Easter egg hunt at Grandma's house..

Cousins... now everyone sit still for the picture... all look the same direction... and smile.  Yeah right.

Something tells me they're way too distracted by the treats in their baskets.

Look up here!!

And here Caleb it telling Eme to keep her hands to herself... as politely as possible.  Of course.

One day sweetie, you will get to have treats of your own.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Light Show

Maybe you've noticed... maybe not... but when I take pictures around the house I try my best to make sure the light fixtures are not included in the photo.  Why?  Because we haven't gotten around to replacing any of the original light fixtures.  The original ones-- for the most part-- are pretty uninspiring.

However!  After cleaning out my closet a few weeks ago (and selling a bunch of old clothes on craigslist) I had $100 burning a hole in my pocket!  I decided it was time.  Time to put a light fixture in our room that I love.  And love it I do!!

Ummm... yeah, so I still don't have my camera... hence the iphone photos.
Aren't they pretty though?

Now... I know you're all wondering... what could possibly have been there before that was so offensive?

I've said it before... sometimes aesthetics are more important to me than practicality.  A ceiling fan is a completely practical choice for a bedroom that gets stifling hot in the summer (all 6 weeks of it).  But what if that ceiling fan is NOT aesthetically pleasing and is NOT practical?  Unfortunately this fan is not only ugly to look it, it also doesn't work.  I've tried to use it during the hottest of hot days for the past 2 years but the fan just does not move any air in the room, and when it really starts to go fast it starts to shake and rattle like you wouldn't believe.  I used to lie awake in bed at night listening to it get all wound up fearing decapitation.  So, I am not sad to see the fan go.  for the 46 cold weeks of the year I will enjoy the beauty of my new light fixture, and for the remaining 6 hot weeks of the year I will sleep in my cool, quiet, decapitating fan-free basement guest room.

While I'm at it... why don't take you on a light fixture tour of the rest of the house?

First up, the hallway.  I've got a PAIR of these staring at me everyday.  So offensive.  So inappropriate.  Enough said.

Would you believe me if I told you that I've actually paid money... real money... for a light fixture that looks identical to this one in Caleb's room?  Doug and I had a light fixture like this one in the bedroom of a basement suite Doug and I rented a long time ago.  For some reason, when Doug makes the bed he likes to give the sheets a good snap when he shakes them into place.  One morning he snapped those sheets like never before and snapped the light fixture into two pieces.  So off we went to Home Depot for a replacement.  So sad.

This one's in the entryway of our house.  Doug and I have quite different feelings about this fixture.  When Doug looks at it he thinks "now there's a perfectly sensible light fixture that does an adequate job of lighting our entryway."  When I look at it I think, "now there is an unattractive fixture that looks like it it came straight from the torture chamber of a medieval castle."  I don't know why but it just gives me that vibe.  I don't think Doug's going to let me change it anytime soon.  Maybe if I find the most amazing light fixture for an amazing price... like $5.00... he'll go for it :)

And finally, the dining room.  I really have nothing against this one.  It's semi-attractive, it's does a great job of lighting the room... most people would like it.  I guess it just doesn't give me that feeling of WOW!  It's not a WOW kind of light fixture.  I want WOW when I sit in my dining room eating hot dogs as my kids throw food on the floor, gag, and then throw up their dinner.

What I really want is something like this from Restoration Hardware.  I think that the worst of dinners could be made better by a light fixture like this one.

Only problem is, I don't have an extra $500 in my budget for the RH light fixture.  Shocking... I know.  If anyone knows of a light fixture that looks like this but is a MAJOR deal, please let me know!  And if anyone would like the purchase any of my pre-existing light fixtures, please... let me know :)

But if you had your eye on the decapitating ceiling fan, your sadly out of luck.  It's already found a new home at the dump.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another weekend project idea for you... a few days early.

Thought I'd pass along this idea just in case anyone's looking for a fun DIY project this weekend!  This time around I decided to post the idea a few days early-- just in case you need a few days to gather supplies and such.

I saw this do it yourself art on the blog me oh my!  How fun and creative is this?  She has a step by step tutorial on how to create this for your own home.  What I love about this (besides the fact that it looks great) is that you can totally customize the message on the sign-- you can make up your own message or use some great lyrics, a saying, or a verse that's special to you.

In other news, I am currently camera-less... I left it at Toews HQ during family dinner on Sunday night.  If anyone residing at that house (I know there's a lot of you living over there these days!!) are heading to my part of town please feel free to drop it off :)  Until then... I shall have to get creative with this blog of mine!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Going all Granola...

So I was shopping for groceries yesterday (bet you can't guess where) and found myself in the cereal aisle.  I've never been a big cereal eater... but lately I've found that it's the easiest way for me to enjoy my  new substitute for milk-- almond milk.  So I'm looking for a yummy cereal option and reading the list of ingredients of every box (a new habit for me) and am starting to feel concerned at first of all... how many ingredients there are in a box of cereal and secondly... that I don't have a clue what half the ingredients are!  I left the aisle empty handed and resolved to make my own granola.  I grabbed a few bags of nuts (not peanuts) and other items that I thought might work in homemade granola and headed home.  I really don't know why I don't make homemade granola more often... it's so good!  This morning I whipped up a batch while the kids were running around the house, toys flying everywhere. I used this recipe.  It's easy.  It's delicious... especially with almond milk.  And... now that I have homemade granola, I think I'm going to have to try making homemade granola bars too :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Making a Headboard

I've been sleeping well lately... enjoying my new headboard :)  This week Doug finished making the legs and late one night (it was actually that day... the one with the hotdogs and the hockey game) that I heard the sound of power tools coming from the basement.  Doug was putting the finishing touches on the frame so we could move it upstairs.  I just love our late night projects :)

Our inspiration was the Colette bed from Crate & Barrel.  I love the way it looks, but not the price tag.  Seriously. If I had an extra 2 g's kicking around I'd renovate my kitchen... not buy a bed.  I knew we could make a lookalike for quite a bit less.  So I showed the picture to Doug and asked if he could build the frame for me... he was up for the challenge.  A couple of weekends ago Doug and I worked into the wee hours of the night to upholster the headboard.  We had fun.  At one point Doug may or may not have asked me to shoot him with the stapler.  Apparently he wanted to know what it felt like.  But as he was standing all the way across the garage facing the wall waiting for the blow he decided that he really didn't need to know.  Even though it was late and we were acting way too immature, we still managed to get er done.  I think it turned out great!

Here are some of the details.  I decided to go for a warm grayish sand colored linen.  I like the texture and warmth that it brings to the room.  My pictures really don't do the color justice-- the lighting situation in there is terrible (it's currently exposed hanging wires from where to old ugly fan used to be-- another story for another day) and really, I'm not an expert photographer :)  Our old Ikea Hemnes had served us well for many years (and will continue to work in the guest room)... but I like the way that our room is beginning to move away from being all matchy-matchy.  Nowadays it's all about mixing it up!!

We used nailhead trim in a brushed gold to define and outline the edge.  I'm really liking the way it highlights the curve of the headboard.

Now that it's done I can happily say that DIY-ing your own headboard is a much better deal than purchasing a ready made one for $2000 (duh).  Here's the breakdown of the costs:
  • lumber to build frame-- free-- Doug used some scraps from the garage
  • 3/8" sheet of plywood to cover the surface-- $13.50
  • 1/2" foam-- got on a 50% off sale at Fabricland-- 4 meters at $3.50 a meter
  • batting-- $10.00
  • inexpensive fabric to line headboard before upholstering with the more expensive linen-- 2 meters at $3.50 per meter
  • linen-- 2 yards at $20.00 a yard-- purchased at Fabricana
  • nailhead trim kit-- $20.00
  • lumber, stain, and hardware to build and attach legs to bed-- free-- it was already in the garage
Grand total?  $104.50.  I like this price tag a whole lot better than the $2000 one.

That's all I have for now!  Hope everyone has a great Easter weekend.  I plan to spend the weekend reflecting on the importance of Easter to me-- the cross, the resurrection, and God's goodness.  I also plan to spend some time outside in the yard (come on sun!!), maybe have an Easter egg hunt or two, and I'm definitely going to have lots of quality time with these three...

I know you're all thinking-- how did I get Caleb to sit still for the camera?

Easy.  Bribery.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One of those days

Just keeping in real here tonight.  Can I tell you about yesterday?  It was one of those days...

The day began with Doug coming into our room.  He woke me up with the following question, "uh, hun... how do you get blood stains out of the couch?"  Great.  Apparently Caleb had a nose bleed first thing in the morning.  I gave some instructions and rolled over.  By the time I woke up there were no stains to be found... yay!

Mid morning... it looks like a nice sunny morning.  I decide to take the kids to the park.  I'll admit... I don't love the park... but I decided to pack them up and take them anyways.  We got there... within minutes sunny skies turned to black ominous skies.  It hailed.  We ran for the car.  I decided to redeem the morning by driving all the way across town to a Starbucks with a drive-thru.  One grande soy vanilla latte please.  I proceeded to drive around town in the hail and rain drinking my latte while the kids sat quietly in the back of the car.

Afternoon... Doug called and told me he'll be working late tonight.  Awesome.  I'm feeling totally uninspired to make dinner... so I ask Caleb what he wants to eat.  Hotdogs and noodles.  Sure, why not.  I make hotdogs and noodles for dinner and watch my usually picky dinner eater hoover hotdogs like he hadn't eaten in days.  Three times during dinner Caleb stopped and profusely thanked me for the delicious dinner.  All I could think about was dinner last week when I had to force him to swallow the steak he kept gagging over.

Then I decided to give Emerson a few small bits of noodles to gum on.  She proceed to gag on one tiny piece and threw up her ENTIRE dinner all over herself and my kitchen.  I then spent the next half hour cleaning up puke, spaghetti sauce smears, and sticky dried on noodles.  My kitchen smelled like hotdogs.  Then I bathed and pajama-ed (new word... you heard it here first folks) the kids.  Then I saw myself in the mirror... oh gosh.

Then Doug came home earlier than expected... yay!  We packed up the kids and and spent the evening with friends... watching the Canucks get slaughtered (I don't really care too much about that one... but it seemed to fit with the rest of the day :)

Today?  New day.  Wanna know what made it great?

This little Easter lamb.

Caleb teaching Emerson some of his favorite Boowa and Kwala songs on the computer.  They sat there together for quite a while... Caleb singing... Emerson stone faced.

And then I found this gem on my camera.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The three little baskets

I love Superstore because...
  • Caleb gets a free snack (cookies at the bakery)
  • Caleb gets a free lunch.  I let him sample every deli meat imaginable before selecting the usual... turkey for me, ham for Caleb, and hungarian salami or some other equally manly lunchmeat for Doug.  We've been eating a lot of sandwiches around here lately.
  • the carts are big enough to hold Caleb, Emerson in her carseat, and all my groceries.
  • The ramp.  I always stand on the cart and ride part way down the ramp.  I should feel shame... but it's just too much fun.
  • There are just way too many things that entertain my kids in that store-- case in point-- announcements over the loudspeaker.  The voice from the sky amazes and baffles Caleb every time.
  • There are other people there that entertain my children as I'm pushing the cart along.
  • I can shop for clothes... for the kids and for myself.  Not for Doug... nothing in the store-- or any store for that matter-- fits him.  We shop online for him :)
  • And finally... I can usually find something fun for the house :)

Sidenote... I totally acknowledge the fact that I seem to blog about Superstore alot (see here and here).  Fact is... I spend a lot of time there... for the above reasons.

Back to the point of this post... a few days ago I spotted these awesome canvas storage baskets... a set of 3 for $19!!  I had been looking for some sort of attractive storage solution for Emerson's growing collection of toys, so I threw them in my cart and took them home.

The smallest one holds her living room toys.

The medium sized basket is for the ever growing collection of junk that accumulates in the kitchen.  Collect and conceal... that seems to be my M.O. when it comes to kitchen clutter.

The largest basket had yet to find its calling... until this morning.  When I was in the shower Caleb decided to pack for our trip to visit Nana and Papa.  He was quite excited to show me what he had packed for the trip.  Toys, books, his Wii remotes, a random box stolen from my bedside table, and believe it or not... his toothbrush AND toothpaste.  We've taught him well Auntie Trish :)

I was given strict instructions to not touch it.  Apparently everything in there will be needed on the trip.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that we're not leaving for Nana and Papa's until July.

The basket is still packed sitting in the living room :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pre-Easter Fun

Let me first start by thanking those that participated in the "paint the table" poll.  I loved reading everyone's feedback-- unfortunately I am still hopelessly undecided :)  In the next few days I'm going to try and decide where the table will reside in the house-- that will hopefully make the decision making process a bit easier!

Well, over the past few days we've done a few Easter-ish things.  First up, I decided to bake paska.  I try to make it every year at Easter.  This year, however, I tried my hand at dairy free paska!  Instead of milk, cream, and butter I used soy milk and dairy free margarine.  I tweaked my mom's fantastic paska recipe-- it's truly the best recipe ever.  I'm totally unbiased when I say that :)  The verdict?  Still delicious.  Really though, what doesn't taste delicious when topped with icing and sprinkles?

Emerson had her first taste of paska.  She loved it.  I've been giving her bits of bread and rice lately and she will sit for the longest time trying to pick the pieces up.  So cute... she's still very unsuccessful.  What we have noticed is that she definitely uses her left hand more than the right.  Look's like we're two for two in the lefty department!  Doug is rejoicing.  If the kids get his height and my lefty-ness we're going to have some killer volleyball players on our hands :)

On Saturday I had three extra chickies at my house.  To keep them busy we had an Easter candy/craft party.  We made these cute little chicks.  The kids had scissors, glue, and paper flying everywhere.  If I had an extra set of hands Emerson would have been able to make one too... she unfortunately had to sit on the sidelines in her Exersaucer watching the other kids craft it up.  I don't think she really minded all that much.  In the end, the candy/craft party was a smashing success... the kids liked the craft and had some pretty great sugar highs going on.  They all crashed just in time for nap time... perfect.

These little munchkins got to do a bit of paska taste testing for me.

They approved.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Not White

So I have this side table sitting in my downstairs guest room.  I picked it up (correction.  Doug picked it up for me) at MCC a couple of months ago.  I think it's got good bones.  It's solid wood, the drawers slide in and out like a dream, and it's the perfect height for a bedside table.  Did I mention that it was only $15 bucks?  Side note, everything I seem to buy from MCC has the $15 price tag... strange, no?  Anyways, I don't love the color.  I want to paint it.  My first thought was white, of course.  I already have white paint at home... easy.  Lately, however, I've been thinking that a different color could be more fun.

(Please don't look at the headboard... it's still not finished!!)

So over the past few weeks, I've been on the lookout for some colorful table inspiration.  Here are some of my favorites.  

I like yellow.  I really like this little number... especially the ring pulls.  
I actually really like a lot things in the room that this yellow table resides in, you should really click on the link and check it out.

This bright yellow table caught my eye at Home Sense a while back.  Yes, I take pictures in Home Sense.  It's become one of my favorite past times since acquiring my new phone.  It may not be as fun as buying things, but it's cheaper... if I can't take it home with me I might as well take a picture :)

I love this green.  And that mirror...

How about these cheerful blue ones?  I like the glossy finish.

And this grey blue number caught my eye.  That table looks so familiar.  I'm pretty sure everyone's grandma has a table like this in their basement.  If you have one, you really should paint it :)

And of course, I'm loving this pink table.  Seriously, I would have never thought that I would be attracted to a hot pink dining room table, but it's awesome.

Life in the Fun Lane

So now... what to do?  What to choose?
What's your pick?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Almost there...

My daughter is almost 8 months old and I'm still decorating her nursery-- I really need to pick up the pace.  Soon she'll grow out of her crib  *tear* and I'll have to start all over again.  Well, I finally got around to putting something up on the bare wall above her change table.  I was stalling on this one, because I wasn't quite sure what to do with it.  Finally I decided to just find things around the house and create a cute little gallery wall.  And here it is... an almost free mini gallery wall for Eme's room...

I know you're all thinking... almost free?  How did you manage to pull that one off?  Well I happen to be a bit of a picture frame junkie.  I don't buy expensive ones... I have a problem with buying cheap ones.  Over the year's I've developed quite the stash.  I find cute little frames at MCC for $2.00 or $3.00 a piece, I find them in the as is section of Ikea... and let me tell you, there's a reason why they're so cheap.  They always need some major care-- sanding, painting, new mattes, new hanging hardware... lots of TLC.  In this arrangement of frames the only one that was purchased for full price was the big one.  I had it sitting around in my stash for a couple of months so it got to make its way into the collection.

Next I had to find some really cheap stuff to put into those frames.  Here's what I found.

To the left... a painting Caleb did during our at home morning art class.  And at the bottom, some super cute butterfly stickers I found at Walmart.  They were seriously 8 for $4.00.  I have a few left over if anyone wants to make their own butterfly art.  The two pictures in the middle are some pictures I had blown up and printed at London Drugs in black and white.

To the right... more butterfly art.  And the hot little pink number is a free printable from here.  I got the idea from 6th Street Design School.  I just downloaded the image and printed it off on my own printer.  The blog has other free images you could use as art for kid's rooms-- just click on the "freebie" label and print until your heart's content!

And now, some lessons learned from the process of creating this gallery wall:

1.  A painting project is NEVER as easy as you think it will be.  It is way harder.  It will take way longer than you anticipate.
2.  Always prime first.  Especially if you're using really cheap "gold" frames.
3.  Never spray paint in sub-zero conditions.  The finish will crackle as it dries.
4.  Oil paint can cover anything and make it look great.  I tried latex paint first.  The finish kept chipping and scratched really easily.  I finally switched to oil paint it finally gave me a nice glossy durable finish.
5.  My husband is a genius with a tape measure.  I never hang pictures in this house because Doug can do it 100 times faster than me and does a way better job.  For this one, he just took a quick glance at the arrangement I had on the floor, asked me where I wanted it on the wall and within a matter of minutes had the wall of frames hung PERFECTLY-- only using his tape measure and some quick math.
6.  Never start to hang a picture wall in your child's room 5 minutes before bedtime.  As fast as Doug is, Emerson was in quite a cranky state by the time we had finished up in her room.
7.  And lastly, never assume that your child will appreciate all the effort you put into her room...

Since I already had the frames this gallery wall was pretty cheap to create.  I paid $4.00 for the butterfly stickers and $7.00 to have the two pictures printed.  Grand total?  $11.00.  Not bad.  I may add more pictures to the wall over time and switch up the art in the frames, but it certainly does the trick for now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Well hello there...

Don't you just love it when your friend who is babysitting your kids also happens to be a photographer?

I sure do :)

Thursday, April 07, 2011


I can't stop playing with this app on my phone.  Even the world's worst photographer can take cool pictures with Instagram.  I had fun with my phone while sewing yesterday.  Remember the cheap sheet set that I hacked for Emerson's room?  Well I've left the pillow case and the original fitted sheet intact, but managed to make the crib sheet (see here) and now a couple of throw pillows (my specialty) out of the flat sheet.  With a bit of maneuvering I think I could probably make one more thing out of the leftover fabric... I just can't let it go to waste!

I made the covers to fit the Ikea inserts... my favorites.  But I made the covers fit a bit snugger than the pre-made covers you pick up from Ikea... I don't like mine to be baggy... I like a tight fit!   I also decided to do two new things this time around.  First up, instead of putting in zippers I made envelope pillow covers.  Way easy... especially since I was able to use the edges of the sheets that were already pre-hemmed.

And since this material is pretty lightweight and has the tendency to fray easily I decided to try out the serge stitch option on my new sewing machine.  It worked like a dream...

Eme received her first sewing lesson...

The pillow in her chair looks so fresh and pretty for spring.

I'm getting tempted to put those pillows in my room for a while...