Friday, March 30, 2012

Modernizing the Mantel

With spring upon us I decided it was time to spruce up my very neutral, monochromatic winter mantel. The two self-imposed requirements were to add color and only use items from around the house.  Here is a before and after.

 Winter Mantel

 Spring Mantel

After rummaging through the house I decided to go with an eclectic, layered feel.  It was a bit difficult because my mantel is very thin, but I like the end result.

First, I hung a wreath from the chalkboard.  Surprise, surprise this wreath is actually my infamous burlap wreath I use every season.  I wanted to add some color so I took some old fabric from my stash and cut it into 2 inch strips and pinned it right over the burlap.  Then using felt I already had I cut circles in various sizes to create the flowers.  This wreath is so super easy...I didn't even glue the flowers.  See the white centers those are pinheads.  I simply put a pin in the middle of each flower to secure them to the wreath.  So when I get the itch to have a new wreath everything is completely removable.

This is the only thing I bought for the new mantle.  I saw this idea on Pinterest from A Steeds Life and I created it using Sprik Space Iphone wallpapers and Picnik.  Once completed I had an 8x10 printed at Walmart.  Super fun and easy new art!

On Pinterest I saw a wall hanging with a heart cut out for different states and it inspired me to create a picture using the three states we have lived in together.  I used free printables from Q.A. Designs

And a close-up of those flowers.

Why do I enjoy this stuff so much?  I could spend hours playing around with it.  It's so fun to create something new for each season.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Toddler Busy Bag Swap

In December I attended a toddler busy bag swap.  Before the event invitation I had never heard of busy bags.  Basically a busy bag is an activity in a bag.  They often contain some kind of educational lesson or help develop a skill.  The great thing about a busy bag swap is you select a busy bag and make a bunch of the same bags (in my case 15 bags) then you get to swap bags with other mom's who made different busy bags (in my case I received 15 different bags).

The busy bags were lifesavers during the winter months while stuck indoors.  I tried to space them out and use 1 bag per week.  I would pull one out during Nora's morning nap when Sawyer and I were having one-on-one time.  He loves them because they are new and exciting and he gets lots of attention when we are playing.  Another added bonus is I can usually step away and get a little work done while he is entranced by the new activity.  Then at the end of Nora's nap we put them away (some of them have small pieces) that way the novelty does not wear off as quickly.  Thus far each activity bag has kept him busy for a solid 30 minutes.

There are all kinds of busy bag ideas online.  I'll list the toddler bags we have and try to provide a link for each.
Sawyer stringing noodles, can't you just feel the concentration

I would highly recommend a busy bag swap for any mom who has young children.  I think the next one I attend will be more focused on preschool age children...maybe next winter!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cousin Love

 Sawyer and Gracie dance party
Gracie wants to be graceful, Sawyer thinks dancing is a contact sport

Sweet baby Nolan chilling in the exersaucer 

An attempt at a picture of the 2 boy cousins

Then one night I watched all four of them...we took a walk around the neighborhood...that was a sight too bad I didn't have my camera along though I'm not sure I would have had enough hands to take a picture :)

Once we got back inside we had a little sit down session of the 4 cousins

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nora's Nicknames

I didn't realize someone whose name is a nickname could have so many nicknames created from their nickname (did ya follow that :), but Nora does.

Some of her monikers include:

Nora New (mom's preferred nickname)

Nora Newsker


Nora Newser

Nora Newsa

Ra-Ra (Sawyer's special nickname for his sister)

Girly Goops

Chunky Monkey

Snora (what comes out when I mean to say Nora, but start saying Sawyer)

Not sure what names will stick, but we've got plenty to choose from!

And here is that little lady standing unassisted

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sunny Days

keeping the clouds away...

We have been enjoying the beautiful weather to its fullest.  Every moment we can (i.e. no one is napping) we go outside for a walk, pick weeds, play basketball, play at the park, have a picnic, jump in puddles, or just hunt for rocks and sticks.

Here are some pictures of the kids catching their first rays of sun in 2012:

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I recently attended a wonderful home gallery party. I don't normally post products on this blog, but this business really impressed me.

Diengie (DNG), a local mom and daughter business, makes bags but these are not your everyday run of the mill carryalls.  According to their website, "Diengie means 2 in an Indo-Pacific language and this number represents what Diengie is all about--rescuing castoffs and giving them a second chance."  They make everything from wallets to purses to huge reusable grocery bags that are made from coffee bags and re-purposed fabric.  Plus they are super stylish and each one is unique!

Beyond the beautiful, eco-friendly, high quality products this team has some awesome goals.
  • Build their business based on Biblical principles
  • Employ single moms and teach them a marketable skill and help them provide for their families 
  • Locate in a low-income area
So if you or someone you know likes stylish, unique, eco-friendly products check out their website or etsy site.  They don't post all of their items online (as each one is unique) so if you want to special order a specific color you can!  They also make great gift items such as cup wraps and keychain loops which are perfect for moms on the go.  I have the latte loop and it is so functional!  I can just put my keys around my wrist as I get out of the car. No more fumbling around for my keys when I'm juggling a baby in one arm, grocery bags in another and a toddler who could bolt at any moment :)

I was not paid or perked to write this post, I just think their products and mission are awesome!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Will the real Mr. Schenk

please stand up

When we dressed our little man in blue jeans with a tucked in plaid shirt and a baseball cap we realized he was a mini version of his grandpa Schenk.

Ironically he is also playing with his farm toy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Update {Bathroom Remodel}

The bathroom remodel is moving along slowly, but surely.  It's literally a Saturday only project.  Thankfully we have the luxury of closing the door and not worrying about it the rest of the week.

Last weekend, Kyle put up new drywall on 3 walls.

This weekend he applied the joint compound and tape.  He didn't quite finish so he'll pick up that project next weekend.

Next up is painting.  We still need to find a vanity.  I've been searching to no avail...practicing patience :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Model, My Muse

When we found out we were having a little girl (almost exactly 1 year ago!) one thing I was super excited about was all the fun girly stuff I could make for her.

And now she is finally big enough to wear some of my creations!  Here is our little one wearing my take on the Warhol Dress from MADE.

And for those who need to see it to believe it, this is also proof that she is pulling up and standing.

It's so much more fun to take pictures of sewing projects when you have your very own model.  Not only is she my little model, but she is also my muse.  When I pass a cute fabric at the store I love thinking of ways I can use it for Nora.  This fabric is one I've been obsessed with and I decided to use it to make my first skirt.  The great thing about this skirt is 1) it's super easy 2) the elastic allows it to be worn for several seasons, she won't be growing out of this for awhile.  It was created using the Simple Skirt tutorial from MADE.  I also made the baby legs.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sawyer Update

As Sawyer's personality continues to blossom I wanted to record a few things I don't want to forget...

When you ask him what color his eyes are he responds "blue" every single time.  His eyes are a dark brown...wishful thinking I guess

He has finally figured out his colors so wherever we go he shouts them out.  It's a great distraction when we're shopping I just say a color and have him search for it.

Sawyer's never been attached to any particular item like a security blanket or a stuffed animal...but he is now...he's obsessed with carrying around his Elmo and Yo Gabba Gabba DVD cases.  He doesn't need to watch them he simply wants to hold the cases ALL DAY long.

He has started praying without our assistance.  It's too adorable, he will bow his head, clasp his hands and say "thank you for momma, dadda, and Nora. AMEN."  He will do it in the middle of dinner, while he's playing, or as a stalling tactic :)

He is really starting to play with other kids.  He is most social when it's just him and one other child. Often times in a big group setting he tends to stick to himself, but when it is only him and one other friend he has a blast playing with cars, jumping around, racing, finding sticks, playing hide-and-seek, etc.

He adores his daddy.  One of his current favorite activities is to go somewhere with Daddy because he gets to ride in Flash (daddy's truck).  He also likes to "help" Kyle by holding a flashlight while Daddy's working or playing with his tools.

He also stills loves his mommy time. Specifically in the morning or right before bed he wants snuggle time.

He is at the stage where he will repeat what everything you say.  The other day I said Sawyer you are a hot mess.  He said, "No! Momma a hot mess."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Following in Daddy's Footsteps

I think we have 

another Royals fan

and she's just as cute as the other two!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

This is how we roll...

Daddy's stocking cap over the eyes

Yo Gabba Gabba and Elmo movie in one hand

and a laptop in the other all while walking the "dog"