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Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home!

With spring finally here and flowers starting to bloom the girls and I have enjoyed seeing mother nature start waking up. We all love sitting by our front door in the warm sun looking for birds, butterflies, and even bees (since we’re safe inside!). When I was offered the chance to try the new Educational Insights Geosafari Jr. Ladybug Garden I was super excited and I knew they would be, too!
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I made the rookie mistake of showing my oldest the ladybug garden as soon as it arrived – little did I know it does not ship with the ladybugs.  Whoops!  Two weeks and $12.95 later the a box of ladybug larve was delivered to our doorstep.  The girls stayed up a bit later that night as they couldn’t wait to look inside.

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My oldest really enjoyed helping set everything up for her new “baby ladies”.

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We were all a bit surprised to see the larve looked nothing like the ladybugs we’re used to seeing – these looked like tiny little alligators that arrived a bit sleepy.  By the next morning our Baby Ladies were busy eating and exploring their new home.
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Having obviously never raised baby ladybugs before I was thankful the Educational Insights Ladybug Garden came with everything we needed to keep these little ladies happy and healthy.  The terrarium is just as cute as it is functional and features a faux tree for the ladybugs to climb on with a sponge on top for water.  They were shipped with a little cup and cotton rope to drink from in case you didn’t have a ladybug garden, so my oldest wanted to include it for the ladybugs that stayed “downstairs”. They seemed to like this water spot the best.

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Though we often took the lid off to change their food and water, one of the best features of the Ladybug Garden are the 3 “skylights” on top made of magnifying glass. We loved being able to get an even closer look at them from their tree – our youngest liked to check on them many times throughout the day.  She was actually the first to let us know they were starting to pupate into adult ladybugs when she yelled “uh-oh, Mama” upon seeing this…

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Did you know adult lady bugs are ‘born’ yellow? 

A few days later we had 4 adult ladybugs happily munching on water soaked raisins in our ladybug garden but Hubs and I knew the fun was nearing an end.  Tearily, the girls agreed to release them into our daffodils on a sunny afternoon.  We said a few or 42 minutes of goodbyes and took our “Grown Up Ladies” outside.  We held them one more time and let them literally be gone with the wind.

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Not only did we enjoy the experience of raising ladybugs, I love that our girls received a firsthand look at the ladybug lifecycle! They took responsibility in checking our ladybugs had fresh food and water daily and even understood that it wasn’t fair to keep them in a tiny ladybug garden forever.

Enjoyable for adults and kids of all ages, the Educational Insights Geosafari Jr. Ladybug Garden would be a great gift for any upcoming spring or summer holidays, birthdays or graduations since the ladybugs can’t ship in extremely cold weather.

…We spotted a ladybug on the deck yesterday and my oldest is still insisting it was her “Dottie” <3

DIY, home

A Fireplace Makeover!

I can’t tell you how grateful I am this never-ending winter is just about over.  Between ear infections and pneumonia for the girls, bronchitis and sinus infections for Hubby and I and stitches this week from a recess injury for our oldest, I think we spent more days home sick than out and about. One thing I will miss however – sick or not – is the cozy feeling of cuddling on the couch in our family room.

Our family room is our favorite room of our house.  It’s the room where our girls run and play, jump off the couch and like to snuggle and read books. It’s the room where we have family movie nights, indoor picnics and open Christmas presents.  And it’s the room where we all love to sit and warm up by the fire, even the dog!  But it was also one of our least favorite rooms for a verrrry long time because it always felt like it was missing something. We weren’t thrilled with the color of our fireplace brick and thought the height of room made it actually look empty.  Thanks to a lot of late night nursing and Pinterest surfing we came up with a few ideas to give this room a new look!

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Up first, whitewashing the brick! I read thru A LOT of tutorials – painting a wall that you can easily just re-paint is one thing, but brick terrified me… what if we didn’t like the look of the whitewash?? What if I did it wrong and it was all streaky?  It was a spur of the moment decision during a day my daughter decided to take a long afternoon nap… I mixed up a quick can of whitewash (we had a half a can of white paint left that I added water too right in the can, easy breezy) and I just did it. Thankfully we had already taken the time to clean the brick (a very crucial first step that cannot be overlooked!

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Scrubbing Bubbles and/or oven cleaner, a sponge, hot water and lots of microfiber towels are always my tools of choice for our yearly fireplace brick cleaning. They really help the soot to lift right off.

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During my first terrifying attempt at whitewashing, I went brick by as most tutorials suggested and started with a very thin coat until I got the look I was going for.  I closed my eyes and held my breath as I walked a few feet back to admire my work.  Thankfully, it was love at first-completed-brick-sight for me and I wondered why it took me 2398564986294 years to take the plunge.

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We loved the brick for a few weeks but still felt like it wasn’t making the statement we were hoping for.  That’s when thought about adding some kind of wall treatment above the mantle.  We thought about (and priced out) adding tile, airstone, more brick, decorative moulding, you name it, and finally settled on a very simple and cost effective solution that cost us no more than $20… white paint and two 8′ 1×4″ primed MDF boards.  finished-elegance-mdf-composite-boards-10003222-64_1000.jpgThanks to my amazing Hubby who braved the scariest ladder we own we were able to paint the space directly above the fireplace with a white semi gloss and add the two MDF boards on either side with liquid nails and about 8 nails in each side.  The ceiling angles were easily cut by folding a piece of paper to match the angle and then traced onto the boards and hand cut in the garage.

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Last step, we he then caulked the edges and painted everything with another coat of white semi gloss and touched up the gray sides with our leftover Gray Owl.

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At long last, the fireplace finally became the focal point of our downstairs and we loved it!

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We’ve since flanked the sides of the fireplace with two white framed over the door mirrors from Target and the wall finally looks and feels “finished”.

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Let’s look again at the evolution of our favorite room:

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If you’re thinking this fix sounds too good to be true I assure you it really was as simple and inexpensive as it sounds!

Have you whitewashed an outdated or dark fireplace? I’d love to hear about it and see how it turned out! I know a few friends who have taken the plunge themselves after seeing ours and hearing how easy is really is, maybe they’ll be brave enough to share their photos below, too :) 

Uncategorized

A Homemade Valentine

As slow as January felt I can’t believe Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Hubby and I are hoping to sneak away for a few hours for a lunch date this weekend to celebrate but the main focus this week is on our girls; our oldest LOVES Valentine’s Day.  The house has been decked out in pink and red hearts for weeks and she’s been counting down the days till it was time to do one of her “all time favorite things”… making valentines!  I can’t say I blame her, I look for any excuse to craft and especially with glitter!

A few weeks ago we found small valentine paddle balls at the Dollar Store that she decided were just perfect to share with her pre-K class this year. Made of plastic, they had a solid red back that I was going to have her sign her name on in black marker, with a few hearts of course.  This weekend we realized my easy breezy and less work for Mom plan didn’t actually involve her making anything, so it was on to Plan B.  Thanks to a very late afternoon coffee and a few sleepless hours that night I decided to design a printable to attach each paddle ball to that she could color in herself!  A few hours on the laptop and a quick trip to the printer and my little peanut was as happy as she could be cutting, coloring and crafting up a storm.

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We decided on, “Valentine, you’re a HIT with me”… get it?!?

After a little Pinterest surfing I learned my text wasn’t quite as creative as I thought but I still love that these allowed for a bit more creativity than ones purchased in the store.

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They also made for a good few hours of fun as my daughter wanted to personalize each one with her friends favorite colors.  I love how thoughtful little ones can be at such a young age.

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Once finished, I helped her tape a paddle ball to each one and put her valentines in a cute little box for her to deliver to her classmates.  Every morning she’s asked if she could bring them in, she just can’t wait for tomorrow!  Of course I couldn’t sit and help without coloring a few of my own so she and her sister will be getting their own special paddle balls tomorrow as well.

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Want to make your own paddle ball valentines, too?! I’m including my printable that you can print on heavy cardstock and have your little one cut and color on their own.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Food, Life

Super Bowl Sunday Monday, v.2019

Like most, one of our New Year’s resolutions each year always revolves around eating healthier.  So it should be no surprise that we start planning our Superbowl Sunday menu in early January and continuously tweak it as the weeks without some of our favorite foods go on. It’s always our first official cheat meal of the year!

SuperBowl Sunday v.2019

  • Taco Dip
  • Bacon Macaroni and Cheese from The Salty Marshmallow (a favorite of ours!)
  • Sausage Balls
  • 2 plain slices of pizza for the girls
  • 2 chicken ranch slices of pizza for us
  • tortilla and potato chips
  • wings for him
  • a chicken caesar salad for me
  • and the most delicious cinnamon buns ever made by a local bakery

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This year we let our girls each add their own item to the feast, let it be known that “ice cream sundaes” and “bananas” were not something Hubs and I would have chosen, but I must say they made for a sweet ending to our celebration.

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I also must note though we thought we were making less than in previous years (see 2012’s here) we have way more leftovers than we imagined… our healthy eating eyes were much larger than our bellies this time around.

On today’s menu you ask? A smoothie for breakfast, protein shake for lunch and a salad for dinner with a planned 3 mile stroller walk during the baby’s nap…

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Hello… it’s me

I was wondering if after all these years you’d still read me….

See what I did there?!  I’ve actually been spending the last few nights thinking of the best way to transition back into my blog after an almost SIX YEAR absence (yikes!) and all I can think of is to give a little life update and jump right back on in, so here goes…

In the last 6 years all of the majority of our weekend renovation projects have taken a bit of a back seat since we’ve added 2 sweet girls to our little family.  I’ve spent at least a solid third of those almost 2200 nights sleeping in a chair, orrrrrr maybe not at all (food allergies, reflux, total elimination diets and newborn “normalness” are all to blame for that one) but I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (all hail the miraculous dock-a-tot and co-sleeping).  I’ve also traded in my tiny, carefree, sun-loving convertible for a mini van that I actually love – I still can’t believe the space we have for allllll the things we schlep back and forth for even a trip to the grocery store.  What also helps me love it is that said convertible is merely “hibernating” in the garage… And I’m starting to finally feel like a real, live “grown-up”.

I’m the most tired I’ve ever been in my entire life… and I’m also the happiest :) But no lie, being responsible for these sweet little humans is the hardest thing I’ve ever done!  Though I love how my life has changed in ways I never even imagined my main goal for 2019 is to try and carve out a little “me time”.  I’m trying to be realistic and start small – with a 5 and 1.5 year old I realize there are only so many hours in the day – but I’m aiming to find time for a little luxury here and there.  Believe it or not, I’m actually luxuriously laying in bed now as Hubby is handling bath time and I’m trying real hard to ignore the two big piles of laundry next to me that still need to be put away. I’ve only been called in 3 times so far tonight, ha. I’ll take what I can get!

I’m looking forward to updating the good ol’ blog again with some fun DIY projects (my
to-do list is SO long), family & kid friendly things: think toys, vacations, etc. (…you thought we were big Disney fans pre-kids…) and everyday randomness I hope you and enjoy and I don’t want to forget.  Thanks for giving me another chance!

….At least I can say that I’ve tried ;)