[Old] Backyard Upgrade

Searching through hear archived posts really is kinda fun. A little reminiscing on a random Thursday morning.

This is the time we updated our back “porch”. I use the term lightly because it was just a small slab of concrete when we first started, and grew into a real outdoor hangout space before we left.

For Christmas one year my dad got with Stephen and the guys built a pergola for us. It was something I had talked about off and on and my dad followed through with my words and made it happen!  The ONLY downside to that amazing gift is that we couldn’t take it with us when we moved…  Thinking about it now, our new home really could use a little outdoor oasis upgrade


Digging the post holes was quite the workout because of the rocky soil we had in our yard.

Do you see that muscle in my left arm?! Wowza! I wonder what I was doing back then…

-cutting, building, you get the idea-

The pergola of homestead drive – before I cleaned the gross porch floor and we added a swing and expanded the porch to the left with concrete and added a table and chairs. I really miss that back porch, it was used all the time.

(From just before we moved, when we listed our house in fall of 2014)

We had to cut down the giant oak tree because of a lightening strike that killed the tree and was rotting/dropping branches, and the girls loved playing on the leftover stump!

I love me a good outdoor expansion project. Especially when it involves my hubby and dad making it happen ;)

Acorn PSA

Overall I really like bugs. The girls are fascinated by them and they provide a lot of fun and interesting toddler discussions.
We love the outdoors. We spend most our days in the fresh air. It encourages so much curiosity and imagination. Watching the girls experiment, explore and create is motivating as a parent.

The other day Sarah and I went outside to collect some sticks. We were going to do some Christmas projects, and I love to use natural (and free!) elements.

After we made a few ornaments Sarah was still wanting to make more things. We ventured back outside and collected a bucket of acorns.
We have a yard full of oak trees, so the acorns are overflowing.

We gathered all our goods and went inside where Sarah made rows and streets glueing acorns on paper.

Then today something happened.
The acorns sat in a bucket last night, awaiting the next project. Elanor found it and dumped it into a Christmas bag she found. Then back into the bucket (she loves dumping and filling things). At one point I heard her drop all the bucket contents on the floor so I ventured into the kitchen where I began singing our “clean up song”. While I was picking up the acorns I saw something yellow’ish. I stopped, looked again and saw several small off-color things. They were larva. Somewhere between 5-10 little tiny crawly larva. 1 was moving and then the rest slowly started “waking up” and moving. I immediately stopped Elanor from helping clean up and went to grab my dust pan. Actually that’s not true, I grabbed my camera and THEN the dust pan. Sarah and Elanor both wanted to see the crawly subjects, which I made them stand a good distance away for.

I took a few pictures after cleaning up all the acorns and sticks, trying to figure out what the things were.
I swept them up and threw them away and then Stephen notified me he found another pile of deserted acorns with tiny things laying around.
I have since swept and vacuumed several times.
I keep getting that gross itchy scratchy feeling on my skin.

So consider this a friendly Public Service Announcement, from my home to yours – don’t trust the acorns.
And if you really want some, for crafts, decorating or what not, save yourself the time (and want-to-puke-in-mouth feeling) and buy a bag from a friendly acorn-safe craft store.




Our original craft area setup. Pre-larva invasion.


New Room

Just before Elanor was born we decided to switch Sarah’s room and Stephen’s office. 2 cribs and 2 kids, it made sense to move them into the bigger room. My sister helped me paint a simple tree on the wall, changing up the plain walls just a bit for a more kid room feel.

Well, it turns out kids don’t spend much time in their room in the first few years. It’s just more space to make a mess and throw all  the clothes out of the dresser drawers.

When Stephen changed jobs last month, oh ya by the way, Stephen changed jobs last month, we decided to do yet another switch-a-roo. It was a great decision because he will be working from the home office when he needs to do computer work and phone calls. One recent a Thursday I dropped the girls off at a friends and spent the afternoon making the swap.

Well, I guess before I show you a photo or two of the girls new room setup, I could share some pictures of the room they’ve shared the past year and a half.

This was their room before all the crazy (read: messy) switching around.

From the hall you walk in and see Elanors bed straight ahead


This is a panoramic view from the door


Sarah’s bed and a pile of unorganized clean laundry



Closet and coat/dress-up hooks


Now there’s plenty of storage for Stephens work equipment and a lot less children-having-fun noise from the other side of the house.

This project made me realize that
1) We have too much stuff, and
2) I need to dust more often

Here they are the first night in the new-old room


Then Sarah pushed Elanor’s mattress over so they could sleep together, which is super sweet, so I obliged.
this is actually how they sleep most nights


That photo is actually very similar to what they look like right now. Sleeping soundly…zzz… until I crawl into my bed, then Sarah will almost instantly wake up and tell Elanor to wake up so they can both come into my bed and sleep OPPOSITE of that photo above and somehow take up my entire queen size bed between the two of them. #parenthood

The rest of the room is empty except for a stack of books I need to get rid of and their white dresser in a corner. It’s nice how much I was able to get rid of while making this transition. Bye bye massive pile of girl clothes 12 months and below. I have more than 1 car load worth of stuff to donate, and it sure feels good to clean out unneeded clutter. I sure enjoy a good cleanup.

Date Night

Stephen and I had a date night this past weekend. One of my great friends from church has a sister that does Painting Parties. She does them for birthday parties and the like, and offered to do one to raise money for our church mission trip. 2/3 of the money went to the fundraiser, so basically she gave everything she made, I doubt her cut even covered all the supplies. I say that because people, we went through a lot of paint. That’s a large canvas, and mixing paint colors is fun. I get why Sarah likes to make such big messes now.

The event was held at a local coffee shop, so not only did we get to paint, but we drank delicious drinks and got to support the small local business man. That’s a win-win-win folks.

It wouldn’t be a post, especially an art-based one, without some pictures, so here we go. Remember – this is our first painting experience, so don’t get those expectations high. Also, if you don’t wanna see my oh-so-exciting step by step you should just scroll all the way down.


Check out those mad circle skills!



Let there be sky!


and grass…


what’s a space of grass without an initial-etched tree


I snapped some photos of Stephen doing his artsy thing


Check out that concentration


My candy colored tree. Apparently I’m craving Valentines candy…


The right side felt too open so I added an extra tree…


Our finished products


Our Painting Party Group Shot

painting party

We both had a lot of fun. It was cool to see how we were all painting generally the same thing but they all came out so different.

The experience makes me more excited about continuing art with the girls. It’s so expressive and individualistic. I also think it would be a wise move to start investing in buying paint in bulk. It’s also time to make Sarah an art smock. I made one for my niece for Christmas and I’ve been slacking since then. Once the sewing machine gets put away the projects seem to stop. I should make a dedicated craft space… Yep, I’m adding that to my to-do list. Gees, I need to end this, I keep giving myself more things to do.

Here’s to a craft-filled, to-do list accomplishing, art-filled week ahead!

A Grey, Yellow & Chevron Baby Shower

This past Saturday we threw my sister, and future niece, a baby shower. It was the first time I’ve done something with a theme and it was a wonderful success.

Miriah and Jeff are decorating baby Addison’s room grey and yellow with chevron print. We decided to follow their lead and do the same with the shower. Miriah is a high school english and debate teacher so I thought it would be fun to use chalkboards as the writing backdrops. I was beyond thrilled (and crazy relieved) that Miriah liked the combination.

This was the shower invitation (with a few details removed).

I got the invite off etsy & got them printed & mailed through winkflash.com

We arrived at the shower location early that morning to setup all the little details and prepare the food on sight.

Instead of doing games I decided to go the craft route. Miriah is crazy excited about dressing her little girl up in bows, so I decided to run with that knowledge. We had a bow making station and also a onesie decorating table. We made a few examples to place on the tables and everyone did a fantastic job letting their creative juices take over.

Here are the pictures I grabbed before and after the shower. I got a tad busy and didn’t get any pictures during the event, but thankfully my mom had a friend snap a few with my camera during the gift opening and of people at the crafting tables.

This was the first table when you walked in. My friend Sara did this at her wedding and I love seeing it on her wall every time I visit her home. I have been waiting for an occasion to use it and I loved how it turned out.

I got this tree off a google image search and then personalized it a bit
It says “Jeff loves Miriah” on the tree

One of the tables we setup.
Instead of giving advice (which is usually silly) I asked the fellow moms to give their favorite mothering tradition

For door prizes I made these Herb Jars with Starbucks gift cards
We had 4 in all & I really loved how they turned out.

Instead of people winning a prize for a game I would ask a Miriah-related question to get a winner:
1- Who shared the same birthday as Miriah’s due date?
2-Shared the same middle name as Addison & Miriah?

We set this up for the two little ones that were attending
(we printed letter sheets to color that spelled Addison’s name)

The onesie station.
We had directions written out with stencils that I cut beforehand.

when people finished a onesie they hung them on the mantle to display them

I want to quickly note that I am a wife and mom of two little ones on a single income, and hosting a shower like this is quite possible, it just takes planning and bragain searching. I found the blank onesies for a great price at Ross & TJMaxx (cheaper than Target & Walmart). For the bow station we got felt pieces and bought flowers from the ribbon rolls, but only got 4-5 of each, which made for less than 1/8 of a yard of ribbon. We were surprised how much we saved doing that. Rather than buying pre-packaged flowers that cost between $3.99-$8 a package! Like I said, planning and searching is everything when it comes to a shower with craft tables (when on a budget).

Okay, back to the details…

Kelley made the perfect diaper cake which we used as a centerpiece!
(Those are a few of the onesies & bows made during the shower)

My youngest, Elanor, did a test run in a gift while we were setting up that morning

The food spread

I made the banner for the cake and I will just tell you – buy one off etsy, or commission a friend!
That thing took FOR-EV-ER!
It’s embaressing how long it took me. I was gonna do 2 rows but ran out of time.

Just in case you are curious, I made the banner out of paint strips & cut the triangles with a stencil I made

Miriah, how did I not get a picture of just you?! Party planner fail! Hopefully you snagged one and I don’t know it yet…

A print for Addison’s Nursery
(thank you internet for this free printable)

(you can see some of the completed onesies in the background here)

Thank You Cards are always a great present

When Miriah told us she was pregnant I made her a “Pregnancy Survival Kit”, so I followed that lead and my sis-in-law helped me make this bin.

A Hospital Survival Kit
(these gifts are a blast to make!)

Mom next to her sisters Patty & Diane

Wall Hangers that Miriah had been eyeing at Hobby Lobby

Her diaper bag filled with other fun goodies

Paige & Kaley made the trip over with our Biloxi family

Our awesome sis-in-law, Kelley!

The bow making station
with Mariah, Tina, & Kelley working hard

Sweet friends from church
Melissa, Dahlia, & Jordan

The onesie making table

Aunt Diane & Elanor

Aunt Patty with Elanor and her granddaughter, Kaley.

Just a few of the completed bows
(my favorite bow tutorials are here, here, here, and here )

The thumb print tree at the end of the shower

I forgot to get a group picture, and these are the only ones I got with the guest(s) of honor

This was one of my favorite gifts to my sister
(my friend Sara gave me this idea (and the same journal too!))


I keep a journal for both my daughters, and my sister is a great writer,
so I know one day Addison will get this back filled with a beautiful account of her life that she will cherish forever.

Well there you have it, a picture and information packed baby shower wrap up. My biggest love language is Acts of Service, and looking back while making this post I think this shower portrayed that pretty well. It was an absolute blast to see how everything came together.

We have less than 2 months until my newest little niece arrives and I can not wait to hold her in my arms.

A Simple Jeans Refashion

It’s been a little over 2 months since I had Elanor and I have reached that size where my pregnancy jeans don’t fit and my pre-pregnancy jeans are… well, let’s just say small.

After dropping Sarah off at Mothers Day Out this morning I made a quick stop at Goodwill to try and find some in-between jeans. After trying on a few racks (and finding out what size I am NOT) I left with 2 pairs of pants. I’m wanting jeans I can wear with my boots or flats, so the skinny jean/tight ankle look was what I was searching for. 1 pair was just that, and the other was a wide straight leg. My mom helped me fix that problem right up. There’s nothing a mom and sewing machine can’t fix ;)

I actually thought to take a before picture so I could share the transformation. Check it out.


the after

Skinny leg (still post-pregnancy weight) American Eagle jeans for only $5.89

They (and 1 other pair I got) fit perfectly with boots. I’m slowly getting used to this skinny jean fashion… just in time for it to probably go out of style ;)

After a successful day of jean re-fashioning the girls and I picked up Stephen and on our way home the car decided to die on the interstate. We were on the I-10 bridge, which if you are local you know it can be a crazy fast and dangerous spot, and the lights started to dim. We JUST made it off the bridge and Stephen pulled off onto the shoulder.

About 40 minutes later my dad picked me and the girls up and took us back to my parents house. Stephen waited for the tow truck and is figuring out a game plan as I type this. Hopefully it’s an easy fix. Our car has really been giving us a run for our money the past year… thankfully it’s always been an easy’ish fix.

I sent him this picture and then he facetimed with Sarah just before she went to bed. Modern technology can be incredible at times!

I guess I will get to try out my new jeans tomorrow since I didn’t plan on staying the night away from home. Pray we have an easy (and cheap) car fix tomorrow!

Halloween of 2012

This is a wee bit belated, but I figured better late than never…


Stephen and Sarah were Mario & Luigi. His request, and I obliged him ;)

My shirt said: What? It’s a Beach Ball!  I told everyone it was an optical illusion.

We had a fun night at our church’s Trunk-or-Treat. Sarah played in a bounce house for the first time and LOVED it! Overall, it was a successful evening. Sarah’s costume was nice and simple. Only needing to get overalls and eyeliner made it easy for me, and easy was this prego’s only option at the time.

Hope you all had a great Halloween, almost 1 month ago… haha. Have a great evening!


A Few To-Do’s

Thought I would show you a few photos of some items I have on my to-get-done-ASAP list.

With the weeks quickly passing by I am no longer able to ignore my randomly placed piles of crafts and projects that I have lying “out of reach of a toddler” around the house. Our kitchen table has been hidden under a sewing machine, empty frames, and random fabrics for far too many weeks now. It’s time to get my crafting/project/decorating list dwindled down. Let’s view a few of these items, shall we…

Nursing Shawl Fabric:


Update: As of Tuesday we can mark this sucker off the list! I was inspired by this nursing shawl that cost a pretty hefty penny. I found the (what I think is) identical fabric at JoAnns marked down to $10, and used a lovely 25% off coupon WITH a gift card my sweet hubby got for me. So not only is this project now complete, but it was F-R-E-E!

Next up: Initial Wall Letters



I’m still deciding how to decorate these. My friend Ashely got us the “E” and covered it in diapers for a cute and very useful gift. I couldn’t resist going to get an S so each girl could have a letter on the wall. Now to just decide on how to cute-ify them…

( This next one is just an inspiration picture, not one from our home )

Chalkboard frame/Bin Storage


We have this same storage unit from Target. It is currently in the play room and I’m trying to decide if we should move it into the girls room or not. The chalkboard frame on the wall is also something I’ve been drawn towards, but not positive if I’m gonna follow through on. I guess this “To-Do” is making a decision on yes or no for both ideas…

Most recent addition to the list…

Elanor’s Baby Blanket:


This idea was inspired by my friend Sara. She made her daughter a blanket for the hopital and I LOVED how personalized it made all their first pictures together. This fabric is by designer Anna Maria Horner, and I just can’t get enough of her work, so I decided to bring some into our own home. Let me tell you, once you start looking up fabric online it can be addicting. I’m glad I was able to find exactly what I was looking for instead of settling for something I only somewhat liked from JoAnns. Hooray for etsy.com!

I really liked the idea of having something cool, wintery, and also warm and personal just for Elanor to have in the hospital. This go around I’d love to have pictures of our baby in the hospital with a sweet blanket, not the hospital white with red & blue lines blanket that they provide you with. It’s a warm cotton flannel, so it’ll be perfect for when we leave the hospital too. Now I just need to use my sewing machine and make it ready and put it in our hospital bag (which I should probably start packing as well…)

Homemade Onesies:


I have a pack of plain white onesies and some RIT dye that I’ve got to combine in a pot of hot salty water. This photo above is of a onesie I actually did finish. Let’s hope the fabric-dying goes as well as I’m hoping.

Well there ya have it. A list of some of the things I’d like to accomplish this weekend. Let’s hope Sarah cooperates and let’s me get my craft-on. Poor girl is cutting her last 2 bottom teeth and has been a little extra clingy. Thankfully it’s the weekend so Stephen is here so she can rotate between the two of us! I sure do love the weekends!

Happy, cool weathered, weekend.


The Girls Room: Step 1

When looking over saved posts I found this little doozie that I thought I had posted months ago. I know it was months ago because my sister and I completed this project before she started back at work in August. Oh how time has flown!

Since we are having another girl we have decided to switch them into the bigger spare room and make Sarah’s bedroom into a play/craft room. We stuck with the tan walls and are adding some personal touches to spruce it up a bit. Before we move any furniture in we needed to decorate a bit and a wall accent was step 1. Here it is.



Ri and I had a few ideas we found online and free-handed it from there.


We drew it on with a pencil and then painted it in with some leftover primer I had on hand. After all, a free project is my favorite kind :)


That’s the view from the far wall. The tree is on the left and front when you come into the room.


I FINALLY bought some curtains this week, so hopefully we can move the bed in there and get Sarah used to the new space so she’s plenty comfortable before Elanor gets here.


Hope you like it. I’ll be sure to show you how it looks with the curtains up and the furniture in place. If we’re lucky I’ll get that done in the next few days… (cross your fingers!)