Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's sofa slipcover wash day...

... which means that it's also fort, mountain, and tunnel building day.

They really should be napping right now... but this is really too much fun... 

(and when I say fun I was thinking about fort building... not laundry :)


slipcover wash day has now inspired curtain wash day.

And then window washing day.

Apparently, all it takes is a little sunshine and warm weather to feel inspired.
That and a little coke. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

For the Kids

A long long time ago I showed you the little bronze owl I scooped up at Home Sense for $4.99.  I didn't love the color so over the weekend I spray painted it a high gloss white.  I can't believe how cute it looks in Eme's room...

Moving right along...

My niece and two nephews were at our house for dinner over the weekend and I didn't have enough little chairs to fit around our little kids table.  Since then, I've been wondering where I could find two more little chairs so that all four kids can sit and eat at the little table.  Well, as Eme and I were out and about this morning doing a little shopping while Caleb was at preschool I spotted these...

(sidenote-- Caleb wakes up every morning and makes his own bed (kind of)... don't know how that happened but I'm definitely encouraging it :)  And... he even places the throw pillow at the head of the bed.  Attaboy.)

These vintage-y chairs were $4.00 each at one of the thrift stores in town.  They are so insanely cute.  Caleb also immediately fell in love with the chairs.  He personally carried them from the car, up the stairs, and into the house.  He sat on the red one for lunch and even offered his assistance in cleaning them up.  Caleb wants them to live in his room... But I think Eme's partial to the yellow one :)

I just love a good find :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tis the season

It's time to let the Christmas festivities start in our house.  This week?  Baking.  Caleb and I have been baking up a storm.  Sugar cookies, muffins, and yesterday-- gingerbread.  My favorite.  I used this recipe.  It is hands down the BEST gingerbread recipe I've ever tried.  And the instructional videos help too :)

So last night I somehow got it into my head that I should pipe and flood these cookies instead of just smearing on the icing-- my more typical approach to icing cookies.  So I got to work... and somewhere along the way I managed to convince Doug to help me.  At one point he looks at me and says, "who really has time to do this anyways?"  I start laughing.  "Obviously me."

As time consuming as it was-- they sure look pretty-- if I do say so myself!

So... now that we've got the cookies... I think it's time to pull out the decorations...  tis the season!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pre Christmas Toy Clean Up

As promised-- here are the new shelves I purchased via craigslist for $50 over the weekend.  They have become the new home to the kids toys in the downstairs family room.  I was previously using an Ikea Expedit storage unit for the toys but didn't like the fact that I couldn't fit some of the bigger toys into the cubes.  These shelves solve that problem!  And, since it's getting close to Christmas I sorted through the kids toys, organized them, and did a little purge of some of the ones they don't need.  And I officially moved ALL of the living room toys down to the basement.  They didn't play with them upstairs... and they were driving me crazy.  So, other than the cars and trucks in Caleb's room and a small stack of books-- all our toys are on those shelves!

So as of last night this room is pretty much bare-- except for the shelves.  We decided to try and sell our old couches since they were too big and bulky for the family room.  I put an ad on craigslist and had people calling immediately.  Within 24 hours someone had already come to pick them up.  Now... I guess it's time to do a little couch shopping :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why I love craigslist so much...

I've loved these white lack Ikea bookshelves forever.

They are simple and stylish.

They are also very functional.

You can put pretty stuff on them... or pile a whole lot of junk onto them!

You can also put a couple together for a custom bookcase look...

But best of all-- they're cheap.  Especially when you find two of them on craigslist for $50 bucks... $50 for a PAIR!  And since they are now discontinued at Ikea-- you better believe I snatched those babies up!  It was probably one of the highlights of my weekend.

And that-- my friends-- is why I love craigslist so, so, much.

Pictures to come.

(all images via pinterest)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Not Everyone Loves a Snow Day

We woke up to snow this morning.  This is pretty much the most exciting thing ever... EVER... for Caleb as we do not often get snow around here.  I ended up digging through all of the closets in a panic this morning-- searching for mitts and snow pants-- knowing that the kids would be playing outside at preschool this morning.

During our drive home after preschool the conversation went something like this:

Caleb:  Mom, do they have snow in Saskatchewan?
Me:  Yup.  A lot of snow.
Caleb:  Well, do they have snow in Quebec?
Me:  Um, yeah probably.  (they do... right?)
Caleb:  How about BC?
Me.  Of course.  Just look outside.
Caleb:  Do they have snow in Lynden?  Oh, I mean London!
Me:  Yeah, I definitely don't know if they have snow there.  London is pretty far away.
Caleb:  Yeah.  It's probably even farther than Disneyland.  Do they have snow in Disneyland?

Then we arrived at home.  Thank goodness!  Caleb and I decided that we should probably have a late lunch and keep playing in the snow.

Emerson however, was not impressed.  Turns out that postponing lunch and sitting in a stroller while Caleb played in the snow was not her idea of a fun time.

She was pretty bored.

She was determined to not have a good time.

And finally refused to even look at the camera-- let alone smile.

Well-- turns out that all she wanted was lunch.

Hooray for broccoli!  I love broccoli more than snow!!

Oh Laundry

Don't you just love it when you FINALLY get around to putting away a mountain of folded laundry-- only to discover that your laundry baskets are already full of dirty laundry waiting to be done.

Guess that's what happens when you do the laundry on Monday and only get around to putting it away on Friday.  I hate doing laundry.

And I'm really glad it's Friday :)

** Update-- just walked into the laundry room to discover yet another basket of clean laundry that I forgot to fold.  Seriously!!!  **

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Now there's an idea

I've mentioned this before on the blog-- but one of my favorite ways to make Caleb's bed "cool" is by covering his box spring with a fitted sheet.  He doesn't have a bed frame to hid the unsightly box spring and bed skirts can be a little too girly.  Since I have many many fitted sheets for his bed (he's four-- what can I say-- many many fitted sheets are needed) I regularly change the look of his bed by changing the sheet covering the box spring.

A while back we had stripes.

The last few months have been dots.

And today we have yet another look.

Yesterday I found this fantastic idea on pinterest... UPHOLSTERING a box spring!!  How cool is that?  You can find the instructions here.

I don't think I'll upholster Caleb's box spring since I do like being able to change is up whenever I feel like it.  But, I am contemplating doing the box spring in our bedroom to match the headboard we upholstered a while back.  Hmmm... I'm liking this idea.

Well-- if anyone's looking for a project to do over the weekend-- here you go!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Favorite Things

Alrighty-- in no particular order... here are a few of my new favorite things.

Number one.  Chocolatey Mint tea from Superstore.  I drink coffee all morning long (caffeine needed in a bad way).  In the afternoon I switch to drinking tea.  During the cold rainy season you've gotta have a mug of something hot nearby to survive.

Number two.  

Baking soda + vinegar mixed with food coloring + eye dropper + a four year old = an hour of fun

Got the idea from here.

Sidenote-- in no way was this activity a teachable "scientific" moment in our house-- it was done strictly to have fun, make a mess, and occupy my four year old so that I would have some measure of sanity between the hour of 4 to 5 pm.  And if I'm being completely honest-- I really couldn't explain why the vinegar made the baking soda all "fizzy" and such anyways.

But look at how much fun it was...

Number three.  I got my hair cut and moved into stage four of my post pregnancy hair.  Are you not familiar with the four stages?  Let me enlighten you.

Stage one:  crazy, crazy, amounts of hair.  It's a good thing I don't leave the house in the weeks following the birth of a baby because it literally takes me half an hour to blow dry.

Stage two:  shed fest.... buying Drain-o in bulk... I start texting my hairdresser pictures of the hair balls I pull out of the shower drain with messages saying "is this normal?"  "does this look right to you?".  Seriously-- I lose an insane amount of hair. 

Stage three:  regrowth.  worst. stage. ever.  Half of my hair is one length... the other half is an inch or two long.  I spend my days trying to hide my new set of mini bangs and nasty sideburns.

Stage four:  I finally break down and get bangs cut to hide the mini bangs.

I am now at stage four... hence the bangs.

Wow, that is a really really big close up picture of my head.  Kinda wish I had taken a picture of my haircut the day it was done-- not the unwashed bed head I decided to leave the house with three days later.

Number four.  Taking the kids to Chapters.

Starbucks, book browsing, and a fantastic selection of awesome home accessories = fun for me.  Trains, toys, kids books = fun for the kids.  It really is a win win situation for us all.

I'm thinking I'm going to do most of my Christmas shopping here this year...

And that my friends-- concludes today's list of favorite new things.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today's Etsy Picks

I had big plans for today-- plans to get out with the kids and enjoy this warm sunny November morning.  But instead we're stuck at home because of this...

Yup.  Tis' the season... asthma season that is.  Caleb's a pro when it come to dealing with his asthma episodes-- he's a real trooper-- but on day one of an asthma flare up I like to stick close to home.  So, I've been doing a little Christmas shopping online this morning and found all kinds of fantastic things on Etsy :)  I've been admiring some of the vintage charts and prints from this shop and thought I should share a few of my favorites.  All of these prints would be super adorable in a kids room or nursery.

First up-- birds.  Aren't they so stinkin' cute?

You know I like fish.  You could put it in a little boy's room-- or your bathroom if you want to keep them for yourself like me :)

Okay, I was totally laughing out loud when I found these dinosaurs.  Caleb would freak out if he saw them.  Instead of hanging a Dinosaur Train poster-- how about these fantastic dinosaurs?

I'm thinking that most little boys wouldn't object to airplanes.  I wouldn't object to these ones either.

This vintage BC poster is pretty cute.  If you live in the area you should snatch this one up!

Now, I've never been one to think that cacti are cute-- but I happen to thing that these are the prettiest cacti I've ever seen. 

And those are my favorite Etsy finds of the day!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A House Call

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I've been helping someone who's been doing a little renovating these days.  That someone, happens to be my fantastic sister in law Rosanna who is in the midst of a major renovation with her new husband.  Over the past few months their house has been torn apart (as in no wall left untouched-- actually... no wall left at all) and is now almost finished.  Now, I really like to help out friends and family with decorating and such-- but I also try to not spam them with all of my ideas and opinions.  But, when I start getting texts and messages that say things like: "SOS!"  "What color do I want the grout to be???" "On my way to the store, stand by." "satin nickel or satin chrome?" "I need you!!"  and "HELP!!!" I happily intervene :)  So, over the past few weeks I've been helping Rosanna source and shop for tile, lighting, hardware, vanities, faucets, and paint along with our friend Andrea.  And let me tell you-- I have been having fun.  A LOT of fun :)

Well over the weekend Doug and I packed up the kids to go check in on the progress and help out with a few last minute details as they were finally moving into the house!  Doug was needed because he's been the one installing the kitchen, and I just really wanted to take a peek at the progress.  The kids definitely were NOT needed-- they just made a mess and played Angry Birds.  While I was there I managed to snap a few pictures of the almost completed renovation.  Wanna take a sneak peek?

Hello... gorgeous kitchen.  I wish I had before pictures to show you-- but believe me when I say that this is quite the transformation.  Let's just say that this space wasn't a kitchen a few months ago-- it was a dining room, a wall, and a hallway.

Now keep in mind that not everything is quite finished yet-- and they had only moved in the day before (hence the burnt out light bulb, unfinished skylights, missing outlet covers).  But is this not a pretty awesome kitchen?  It may look like a custom kitchen but it's actually from Ikea.

Not every Ikea kitchen looks this good-- but it does when my hubby installs it :)  He reconfigured some of the cabinets and built the most amazing 10 foot island.  I would live at this island if it was in my house!!

Going for Ikea cabinets is definitely budget friendly.  But when you pair Ikea cabinets with other fantastic finishes you get a custom looking kitchen for a much better price.  Let me show you some of the details that really take this kitchen to the next level...

Last week I found this fantastic polished marble backsplash and it really is a show stopper.  It looks amazing with their beautiful quartz countertops.  The polished surfaces really reflect light in the space-- which is important since there are no windows in this part of the house.

Check out that wall of pantry cupboards.  Ikea didn't sell pantry cabinets in the right depth for this kitchen so Doug ended up cutting them all down to size so that they would fit perfectly.

One of my favorite things in this kitchen is the cabinet hardware.

When we saw the Duluth pulls from Restoration Hardware we knew they were THE ones.  Aren't they fantastic?  We only ordered the RH hardware for the pot drawers and instead picked up knobs in a matching satin nickel finish from Home Depot to help balance the budget a little bit better :)

Now... can you spot the extra cabinets that Doug added to the back of the island?  I'm pointing it out to you with an arrow...

Yeah, that one.  That teeny tiny cabinet is for James' stuff.  Kidding!  I'm sure Rosanna will share at least one other cabinet with him :)  Instead of supporting the overhanging island countertop with bar brackets Doug came up with this solution.  He took two upper cabinets and built a base to make them the same height as the island and also cut them down to be the right depth.  These cabinets were then installed on either side of the island as supports that look a lot like columns.  Instead of putting hardware on the doors we picked up some push latches so that the cabinets would blend into the island.  The only thing this island needs now are some fantastic bar stools.

Oh and the pendant lighting was a good find.  We found them at a Vancouver lighting store, but they can also be ordered online from the Home Depot in two different sizes.  I thought that they looked similar to these lights from Restoration Hardware-- but they were a fraction of the RH price :)

Storage is a bit of an issue in this house (isn't it always?) so some bookcases were needed for the living room.  Instead of having custom ones built, Rosanna picked up two Ikea bookcases, had them "installed" like cabinets and had the fireplace mantel built (by my brother in law Erik) to fit in between so that it would read as one unit.  The fireplace still needs to be painted out in the same color as the bookcases and the shelves and doors need to go on the cabinets but I think it's going to look pretty fantastic when it's all finished!

We found this gorgeous lantern style light fixture for the stairway.  Love it.

Here's a sneak peek of the floor tile in one of the bathrooms that's still a work in progress.  Isn't it gorgeous?

Here's a peek at the other bathroom.  We selected some pretty economical tiles for the floor (12x12 porcelain from Home Depot) and for the wall of the shower-- those white shower tiles are probably the cheapest tiles available at Home Depot.

But then we added a band of marble mosaic tile to make it pretty.

And there you have it-- a little sneak peek at this renovation project Doug and I have been helping out with.  There have been many many people working to make this project a success-- but I'm just going to give a quick shout out to my brother in law Erik and his company for their awesome finishing and tiling work.  If you're thinking about renovating and are looking to hire someone-- they do pretty fantastic work.  And-- Doug's pretty amazing when it comes to building and installing kitchens-- just saying :)

When everything else is finished I'll have to go and take some more pretty pictures when everything is perfectly styled-- but for now I hope you all enjoyed the tour!

** If anyone want the source info on any of the tile, fixtures, paint, cabinets, or hardware-- let me know.  I'd be happy to send you the details! **