Friday, April 30, 2010

Sleep Lessons for Baby...the sweet sound of success

We officially have an all night sleeper! Oh how sweet it is. A ten to twenty minute bedtime ritual followed by hours of uninterrupted sleep. The only drawback? Zion being asleep at 8:45pm means Zion waking up at 6:45am. Sigh....but I'll take what I can get.

30 Day Raw Food Fast

So, somewhere in the last few weeks, I got the bright idea that a raw food fast would probably be a good thing for my health and general well being. Tomorrow marks day one of thirty. I figured I would post my progress here because I think this will make me more accountable for what I put in my mouth. I do have to admit that this last week has been like the feast before the famine (so to speak), but I'm looking forward to the next month. I've done raw before, so I know how time consuming it can be, but I also vividly remember how much better I felt everyday. I'm clinging to that memory as motivation. Keep your fingers crossed because I'm going to need all the support I can get....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring Cleaning...the girls' room

Round two of spring cleaning takes me into the girls bedroom. My seven year old and three year old share a room and we FINALLY got them bunk beds. Yay, bunk beds! The bunk beds are really simple and I will probably spruce them up at some point, but for now, they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. With the addition of the new beds I had to rearrange the entire room (well, I probably didn't have to, but I'm OCD like that). There is finally storage space for everything and the room can be easily kept neat. Life is good. I tried to make sure that their shared space is not too "little kid" for Ashni, but still little kid friendly enough for Bijou. I think it works well for the two of them. I think eventually I will build some storage boxes on wheels to go beneath the bottom bunk for storing pajamas, but at the moment they are tucked away in the closet and that works for me too.

The paper lanterns are left over from the Mad Hatter birthday party a few weeks ago.

These little flower shelves are a Goodwill find from a while back. They work for holding small objects like glasses and small artwork.

The art is a mixture of my art, the kids' art and that little mushroom painting (from the Salvation Army)

This white shelf was given to me by a friend and all of the bins are from the Dollar Store (my favorite one stop shop for storage containers). The orange cloth bins we've had for years.

The new play kitchen area.

Next up, my living room/office...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Double Decker

This past weekend was Double Decker weekend here in Oxford. Double Decker is an arts festival held every year in the square. There's local art, music, food, activities for the kids and all of the people watching you could ever want. This year the girls demonstrated some ballet steps with their ballet school. Kids in the audience could participate, so Bijou and Zion joined the party.

Ashni seems to have misplaced her ballet shoes, so she had to go commando.

I'm really proud of the progress the girls have made in ballet this year. They've both been placed in the next level ballet class for next year. The school that they attend typically requires two years of each class level, but each of the girls is being advanced after one year. I am particularly proud of Jena who is the youngest in her Ballet III class this year and had been placed in Ballet IV for next year (I think most of the girls in that class are 12 and Jena is 8!). Good job, ladies. I think I see Alvin Ailey in your future!

Happy Anniversary.... me. Yesterday was my fourth wedding anniversary. Hooray for us! It has been an interesting four years full of transition and change. It has been fun and stressful and joyous and trying and fulfilling and I'm looking forward to a lifetime of more anniversaries. To celebrate, I made a fancy brunch for us all. We had spinach, portabella and Gruyere quiche with fresh berried and whipped cream (all made from scratch. Well, except for the berries because, well, I just don't have those skills). I even put the fancy tablecloth and place mats on the table.

Then the hubby and I got a much needed day without a single child! We drove to Memphis and really just hung out. The hubby really wanted to go to Bass Pro Shops (um, yeah okay). So we did that and got some stuff for him and the girls to go fishing. I equate Bass Pro Shops to Hobby Lobby for outdoor enthusiasts - aisles and aisles of tiny packages of brightly colored "stuff". He had a blast and fulfilled a childhood wish (yes, childhood...). Then we went to The Great American Homestore. This was my default destination. I really wanted to go to Dixon Gallery and Gardens but we left Oxford too late and they were closed by the time we made it to Memphis. We took a short trip to the mall. (I know this all sounds really lame, but we don't have any of this stuff in Oxford and before Oxford we lived on an island and didn't have any of this stuff there either. So yeah, it's lame, but we had fun).
Our actual anniversary celebration was dinner at a FABULOUS restaurant called Flight. The experience was amazing (after we finally found the place, anyway). The food was delicious and the staff was SO nice. I can only rave about this place and can't wait until we go back. The food...I will be thinking about that food for weeks! If you're in the Memphis area (or will be at some point), pop over to their website to check them out and stop in for a bite. You will not be sorry (and there's complimentary valet for their patrons).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sleep Lessons for Baby, Part Deux

Well, it has been a week of no night nursing, no nursing to sleep and Zion going to sleep on her own. Still, so far so good. The one thing that we're still working on is getting her to sleep in her own bed. She is not a fan of her crib, but she does sleep most of the night with us. For some reason though, she has decided that once the sun starts to come up it's her queue to climb on top of me and sleep on my chest. I'm not really sure where that came from, but we'll work on one thing at a time.

Do Not Disturb

So I'm sure lots of parents have this problem, but my kids have no concept of knocking on the door before coming into our bedroom. It seems to be one of those things that they need to be reminded of every morning and as the day goes on their memory gets foggier and foggier. I decided to make a couple of door knob hangers to gently remind small people to knock before entering (or to not knock and go away).

I got a couple of wooden door signs at Hobby Lobby (for a whopping $.47 a piece) and some cool scrapbook paper. A quick Google image search and some cutting and pasting in Word and there you have it. (The cloud paper is for my mother. I am forcing her to make her own. You may notice that there is no picture of her completed project...)

I figured while I was at it, I would make one for the kids' door. We have an open door policy in our house when it comes to their room, so there's no need for a "please knock" reminder. Instead, their sign lets them know if it's quiet time or play time. Hopefully this will help keep the peace when the baby (or Bijou on those rare occasions) is napping.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I got a Blog Award!!!!

Amy over at Peppertowne has graced me with this lovely Sunshine Award. Peppertowne is a great place to find all things refurbished, reconned and recycled into fabulous functional goods. We also share a love for great thrift store finds. I feel so special, thanks for thinking of me!

I think I'm supposed to say a little something about myself here...
I'm still pretty new at this whole blogging thing. I've been at it about 6 months now. I am a freelance artist focusing mostly on portraits, but lately I think I am becoming the local dog portrait artist (I've been in the starving artist category way too long, so if painting dogs will put me into a new category, I'll take that). I have four wonderful daughters that inspire LOTS of kid centered projects. I guess I'd fall somewhere between crunchy granola hippie mom, tattooed rocker mom, homeschooling mom and soccer mom (I have to drive a minivan). Do with that what you will....

Alrighty, I would like to pass this award on to...

Stef at Oops...There Goes My Mind. Definitely the place to stop by if you are in need of a good chuckle. She makes my day.

Cheri at I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar. Her blog is full of inspiration and great photography.

To accept your Sunshine Award: post the award on your blog, link back to us, and pass it on to other blogs you love.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sping Cleaning

Since the warm weather seems to be here to stay (finally), I figured I'd hop on board with this whole spring cleaning myth I keep hearing so much about. I admit it, I am NOT an established house keeper. I collect clutter, but in my defense my clutter tends to turn into the fun projects that I share here with all of you. What would my life be without my random piles of collected crap, right?! Well, honestly, I would like to have a neat house. I love looking at the photos of well decorated, impeccably clean homes filled with put together moms and stylish kids. But more often than not, my carpet has Cheerios crushed into it, our dining room table is perpetually sticky or covered in paint, there is no noticeable surface to my desk and I couldn't tell you the last time our bed was made more than two mornings in a row. BUT I am trying to live more like the mother of four and less like a frat boy. So today, I thought I would share the project that has been the thorn in my side for months. I'm not proud and under normal circumstances would not share this sight with any human being that had not previously seen me in, say, my underwear, but we're all friends here, right? So here it is, my closet.

Somewhere beneath the pile is a floor. I know it's there because we probably would not have moved in if the closet hadn't come with a floor, but I couldn't tell you the last time we actually saw the floor. But I did it! I tackled the closet and it may have taken me days (DAYS I tell you), but I found the floor. Not only did I find the floor, I got rid of massive amounts of outgrown baby clothes and cloth diapers, found articles of clothing that I forgot I had and created room to actually move about freely in there. There is ample space in there now for my clothes, my husband's clothes AND the baby's clothes.

I'm going to master this grown-up thing if it kills me!! (But hopefully it won't)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sleep lessons for baby

So, call me a wuss, but I have never been able to handle letting my little babies "cry it out". It just seems cruel to me. Because of this, I haven't been able to answer in the affirmative when asked "oh, is she sleeping through the night yet?" before any of my girls hit 18 months. I realize that some of you may be picking your jaw up from the floor at the thought of not getting a full night's sleep for at least 18 months and I honestly have to admit that it really can become a pain in the...well, you can insert any appropriate body part you want here. I can assure you that my older girls sleep peacefully through the night and have for quite a while, but Zion, she's another story. She's only 14 months old and theoretically I have another few months before the night wakings really start driving me nut, but I've decided to try something a little different. I am teaching her now to go to sleep on her own and in her own bed (keep in mind that we co-sleep, so her bed is attached to our bed). Today is day two and so far so good. Yesterday she'd get up, I'd lay her down, she'd get up, I'd lay her down, she'd cry, I'd shush, she'd get up, I'd lay her down and so on for about a half an hour (which isn't bad when it comes to my girls). Tonight, she only cried for a few minutes and then laid there until she fell asleep. Maybe she's a fast learner or maybe I'm more patient than I used to be or maybe she's just exhausted at the end of the day from battling the slings and arrows of being the youngest four. Whatever the case, I'll take what I can get. Keep your fingers crossed for continuous restful nights from now on!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My very first tutorial

A couple of friends have requested instructions for the freezer paper stencils and as I think the written instructions are confusing without images, I decided to do a little tutorial. So, yeah, here we go:

Materials (also known as stuff you're gonna need):
freezer paper
razor blade or exacto knife
acrylic or fabric paint
sponge or stiff brush
something to stencil (of course)

So this is the image that I chose to do. I'm using the smaller words because it's going on a onesie. Words can be a pain because you have to keep up with all of the little cutouts from letters like "o", "e", "b" etc. So, keep that in mind when you are deciding on an image.

Trace your image onto the freezer paper. You can see through the freezer paper easily. Okay, if you've never seen freezer paper, it's matte on one side and glossy on the other. Trace on to the matte side.
Using your blade or knife, carefully cut out your image.

I was going to cut out all of the little openings in the grommets of the shoe, but I decided to spare my sanity.... Remember to keep up with the cutouts for your letters (if you do letters).

So once you've cut out the image, this is what it looks like. I decided that I wanted a star on my sneaker instead of a heart.

Now, place the stencil glossy side down onto the surface of your object to stencil. I put the iron on the cotton setting because, well, the onesie is cotton. Use whatever setting is appropriate for the fabric you are using. Press the paper with the iron. It only takes a few seconds for the paper to stick. Make sure that it is secure all over or it will come up when you start painting.

I'm using regular acrylic craft paint because it's what I have. You can wash it a gazillion times and it'll never come off (trust me). You can use fabric paint if you prefer.

Use a piece of cardboard inside your shirt or whatever to keep the paint from soaking through to the other side. If you forget, you will get paint EVERYWHERE. I forgot here, but remembered before I messed anything up.

Use your sponge to cover the entire image with paint. You can use more than one color if you'd like, but I stuck to black for the sneaker.

Some instructions say to leave the stencil on until the paint dries, but I need instant gratification. I rip that bad boy off as soon as it's sufficiently covered.

Okay, so the shoe is on the back of the onesie and the wording in on the front. I opted to do the letters in red.

Paint thoroughly....


Voila, take two!! Rebel Youth onesie numero dos!

With awesome Chuck Taylor on the butt. (oh, I added the stitch detail with a brush)

So hopefully that helps everyone to make their own fabulously unique shirts, bags, pants, and whatever else your little heart desires. Alright then, go make some stuff!!! And send me pictures of what you do!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rebel Youth

Tonight was my night to lead the project in our local craft circle at the library. So, I chose to do freezer paper stencils. There were only one or two people in the circle who'd done freezer paper stencils before, but everyone was really pleased with their finished products. I wanted to do a little something for Zion mainly because little clothes are so flippin' cute and because I really haven't done any clothes for her yet. I think this onesie turned out really cute. I think I will make one for each of the girls.

My little rebel youth in her robot sneakers.

Rebel....without a cause!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Really? Another awesome find?

Yeah, another awesome thrift store find! It has been a good week. We found these canisters at the Goodwill today. They were $7.99 for the set and the lids are STEEL!! Yay me!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fun Thrift Store Find

I haven't posted any good thrift store finds lately, so here you go. On a little impromptu trip to the Salvation Army the other day I stumbled upon this little case for $3. I had no idea what it was or even how to open it.

Fortunately, I was curious enough to figure out how to open it instead of just walking away. Oh how glad I am I opened it! I love all of the colors and the little wooden spools and it came with pinking shears - good, heavy, solid metal pinking shears like my grandmother used to have! Mmmmmm, love it....

Nature Walk

I felt the need to get out of the house today and be beneath the trees and in the grass. So I took the kids out on a little hike. I really didn't have anything planned, but I packed a couple of notebooks, pens, the magnifying glass and of course the camera. We actually didn't use anything that we brought except for the camera. Immediately by budding geologist (Ashni) began collecting rocks and my future photographer started her photo documentation of our trip. I decided to let the girls lead us on a few trails and we were temporarily lost, but it turned out to be a great hike. I finally figured out how to tie Zion on my back, so she slept the entire way. Unfortunately, when you tie your baby on your back, you can't see how uncomfortable she looks until you come home, put the pictures of your day on the computer and scan through them. We'll get her on there better next time.

This is the trail that we walked that brought us back to the main trail.

The kids love this bridge. It's not the strongest bridge in the world, so we have to stay towards the center. Ashni is making sure she is exactly center.

Jena's pictures of moss on old railroad tracks. We also found a huge rusty railroad spike

They kids found this frog. They have great eyes because they had to point it out to me several times before I could see it. So that seemed like a good time to talk about camouflage.

They were fascinated with these plants that looked like little umbrellas. I don't know what they are, but they were everywhere.

Zion getting tied on. She doesn't look convinced.

JP (Jena Phoenix)

This is how I usually carry Zion. It can get tiring on that one shoulder though.

Okay, so looking at this picture I see where the fabric slipped so I can fix that next time and she will at least look a little more comfortable. She slept like a rock, so I guess she was okay.