Saturday, July 30, 2011

Making the Princess Fort

The pillow mattress tutorial has inspired me to create a post about the making of the princess fort...so here it goes!

The princess fort is a central hub of activity in our house. Every night, the three of us crawl in to cuddle (we don't have much of a choice in there) and read bedtime stories before Sadie goes to bed. It's a prime "hide-and-seek" location, and Sadie has even spent the night under there on her pillow mattress. We love it!


The basic ingredients are:
- Kura Bed
- Curtain
- Curtain Rod (we used a shower curtain tension rod)
- Comfyness (pillow mattress, pillows, blankets, etc.)
- Bookshelves (or toys)
- String lights


Curtain = Altered shower curtain from Target

Flower Lamp = Perpetual Kid (this was a Christmas present!)
Pennants (just added) = fabric from Joanne. Here's the tutorial. (their current location is like their 15th incarnation...I have pennant placement ADD).

String Lights = Target

(Use the slats - the ceiling of the princess fort is valuable real estate!)

Bookshelves = Kidcraft
Pillow Mattress = Here is the tutorial.

The little lacy ruffly things that you see in the pillow fort is the bottom of the canopy!
Canopy = IKEA - no longer in stock, but this one's cute :)

So there you have it...I think the underneath of the Kura bed has awesome potential. Do it up, kids.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Errant Thought Roundup 36 - GUEST POST

I have loved all of my guest posters, but I gotta say...this ETR guest poster was especially awesome because it was Sadie :). Ok - she didn't type it out by herself, but she was completely willing to give me her "errant thoughts" tonight when I asked for them (and prompted her with the words). She also made it through picking out pictures for most of them (I googled, and she picked the photos)! Unfortunately, the four year old attention span won out by the end, so there are a few photo-less ones, but I still love it!

Please enjoy this extra special preschool rendition of the Errant Thought Roundup by my sweet baby girl!

I love, I love, I hate, I hate,
I like, I wish, for goodness sake...
I hope, I hope, I pray, I pray,
I will, I won't, and for today...

I love pink.
{obviously :)}

I love kisses.
{these were the only pink ones she could find apparently}

I hate stinky spiders.
{me too!}

I hate black stuff.
{oh, Sadie...black is the new black! You'll learn to love it, kid...}

I like flowers.
{take note, four year old boys}

I wish I was on a shooting star.
{I wish I were as well}

For goodness sake I love too many kisses.
{this one made me giggle}

I hope that I be beautiful.
{don't worry, baby girl...you do "be beautiful"}

I hope to paint.
{thankfully she lives in my house...she'll probably hate painting by the time she moves out}

I pray for my toes.
{I don't know why...but whatever. Toes deserve prayer too, I guess! (the toes on the far left are Sadie's)}

I pray for games.
{not for people, not for situations...she prays for toes and games.}

I will do something that is important.
{I believe this with all my heart}

I won't do anything wrong.
{ha! Should I tell her that she will?}

And for today I am going to sleep.
{true...goodnight!}


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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Practicing Contentedness

Although sometimes I fail miserably (and subsequently use unbecoming words), I really do try to put my best effort into seeing the good in every situation and being content in whatever circumstances are presenting themselves at the moment. Despite my usual optimism, however, there are flashes of moments when I feel like I've been putting a lot of funds into the "Bank of God" and I'm entitled to cash in on some "awesome thing" that I totally deserve. Oh...that sounds just as bad typed out as it did in my head. I'd delete it, but I can't 'cause it's true.

I read this post by Steven Furtick today, and realized that I needed a little practice in contentedness. Furtick says that we should express gratitude in prayer before expressing requests and desires, and I thought it was such an amazing reminder, that I gave myself a little challenge. I have a list of "stuff" that I really want and/or feel like I deserve, so today, I listed out those things and then countered them with a reason why I should be thankful in my current season and situation.

Listing these out was a gentle reminder of the fact that I don't deserve anything that I've been given in this life and that no amount of me trying (operative word: trying) to be an awesome human can change that. I feel completely refreshed after this exercise...and completely humbled by how much I *actually* have in life.

Here's my abridged list:

I want a house full (and arms full) of children -- Today, I'm thankful for my one precious child.

I want a house of our own -- Today, I'm thankful for a great apartment in a nice area where I feel completely safe.

I want to be closer to my family -- Today, I'm thankful that they are only a phone call away (and a plane ride, if necessary)

I want my husband to be finished with school -- Today, I'm thankful that we were given the opportunity for him to go back to pursue a career that he loves.

I want to eat dinner out every night (or almost every night) because I'm too tired to cook -- Today, I'm thankful for a refrigerator full of food so that my family doesn't go hungry.

I want more spare time -- Today, I'm thankful for the time that I do have to spend with the people I love doing the things I love.

I want the clean laundry pile to disappear and never return -- Today, I'm thankful that, despite the gluttony that our clean laundry pile represents, my family is clothed.

I want a farmhouse table with a bench -- Today, I'm thankful for our amazing little cherry table that has been our family's end-of-the-day gathering spot since Sadie was born.

I want to write more -- Today, I'm thankful for a blog that gives me a creative outlet not only for making fun things, but also for getting my thoughts on paper (well, electronic paper, anyway).

I want to have disposable income -- Today, I'm thankful that my version of "living on a shoestring" equals never being without any basic need...we coupon, we buy generic, we shop sales, we re-purpose, we re-prioritize, but we have never lacked food, clothing, shelter, or love.

I want the stuff I want when I want it and delivered in the manner in which I want it delivered...is that too much to ask? -- Today, I'm thankful that I clearly have so much going *right* in my life that all of my wants are completely petty.


You should try this...you have a lot to be thankful for too.


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Monday, July 25, 2011

Featured on Ucreate!

I wasn't going to blog tonight, but I just gotta...
I discovered Ucreate today - holy cow...they have like five hundred bazillion followers because they're that awesome. They featured my pillow mattress tutorial this morning, and sent me the sweetest email along with it! (and then started following SD!) I feel so starstruck! I also feel extremely thankful for my friends who send me good ideas 'cause they're the bomb(s)...and my kid reaps the benfits.


Please head over to Ucreate - they have fabulous ideas - you'll be inspired. You can thank me later.

My cup runneth over...seriously.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Paint Sample Garland

Clearly, we've had some fun with paint samples today. We got enough supplies for the Disney countdown and for this garland...yay for free art supplies!

I've been wanting to make this one for a while...it was actually my goal when I went to Home Depot today - we just stumbled upon the Disney countdown idea via serendipity.

You need a big fat stack of paint chips...don't be shy, that's what they're there for:

You'll also need ribbon, a circle punch, and school glue (so that the munchkin can help)

Punch the circles:
Aren't they pretty?!

After we punched the circles, we paired them all up with "friends" as Sadie called them...
The "friends" didn't exactly match, but they were close.

To make the garland, we just paired the friends on either side of the ribbon:

After about every third pair, I had to go back and squeeze the circles together where they had split...once the glue dries a little, they don't split anymore. You can see what the splitting looked like here:

I really like how it turned out...quick, simple, cheap, and a project that Sadie could help with...what's not to love?


I don't know what we're going to do with it, but I'll think of something. In the meantime, here's a pic of it hanging up. Any ideas on a permanent home for it? Maybe wrap it around something? Not really sure...open to suggestions on this one :)



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Make Your Own Countdown to DISNEY!

While we were at Home Depot tonight look for paint samples for another project, I saw the Mickey silhouette paint samples. Did you know these existed?? We're planning our first ever trip to Disney world in just a couple of weeks, so I decided that using the Mickey silhouettes would be a good way to make a countdown!
It took me a while to figure out how I wanted to do this as there are a lot of really good ways to make a countdown, but I finally decided on making a countdown garland (because who doesn't love a Mickey Mouse garland?).

First, I put the colors in rainbow order (OCD kicks in sometimes), and then I sewed them onto the ribbon (being careful not to cover the ears with the ribbon):
Sewing on paper works like a dream!

Once they were sewn on, they looked something like this:
(I love that this color is called "Sunny Spot")

After sewing, I wrote the numbers on the silhouettes (I started from one and counted up...just in case I had counted wrong)

We ended up hanging them on Sadie's bed because we're going to do "how many more bedtimes until we go on vacation?" Each night after story time, we'll pull off the biggest number of our countdown (the stitch I used is wide enough that the paint sample pulls right off the ribbon like perforated paper).

Once we get to "one more bedtime until vacation starts" there should only be one little Mickey left!

Hopefully, this will be a good way to visually represent how long it's going to be until time for our trip to Orlando.

We're excited already!

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Sobbing at the Train Station

  • 7:45am - Drive to the city today to bring new pool cues and Hawaiian leis into the office (couldn't take those on the train)
  • Work a lot
  • Celebrate the 105 degree weather by hosting Hawaiian Shirt day at work.
  • Order ice cream for our entire team
  • Don't get to eat the ice cream because I don't feel well
  • Decide to go home early...it's ok to check out if you're not feeling well, right?
  • Head to the train station to catch the 2:25. Catch it in plenty of time.
  • Ride the train to the 'burbs
  • Notice that my phone battery indicator has just turned red...no worries, I'll be home soon and can charge it.
  • Get off the train at 3:00 - walk to the parking lot with the crowd
  • Look around the parking lot for my car
  • Realize I DROVE MY CAR TO THE CITY TODAY.
  • Gasp...alarm the poor man behind me.
  • Walk back to the platform so that I can panic in peace.
  • Call Eric and leave a voicemail telling him what's happening...listen to my dying phone beeping in my ear throughout the voicemail.
  • Pray that the battery last long enough for me to make arrangements to get out of the train station.
  • Check the train schedule on my phone. No more trains until 4:00pm.
  • Realize that this has happened to me on a day when the heat index is 113 degrees.
  • Argue with God: How is this happening??? I don't feel well, my phone is almost dead, I've just ridden a train home and left my car in the city, the next train isn't for a full hour, it's the hottest day on record, I can't get in touch with my husband, I'm nervous I'm not even going to make it to Sadie's school in time to pick her up...
  • Sit on the green bench and sob like a moron. Pretty sure that makes me slightly left of sane.
  • Call a friend at work to see if she can help. (pray my phone stays alive). She calls a cab for me. She says the cab can take me to the city and I can get my car. Ok...good idea.
  • Eric calls - I sob some more. I don't know if he can understand anything I'm saying. He suggests picking up Sadie in the cab and having the driver take us home. Ok...good idea.
  • Sob. Feel sorry for myself. Repeat.
  • Find out that the taxi isn't going to be at the station until 4:00pm. Yay for sitting outside for an hour in five bazillion degree heat!
  • See the taxi driver arrive just as the train to the city arrives. Ask him to take me to my daughter's school.
  • Realize that I don't have a car seat.
  • Decide it doesn't matter...I'll just belt her in.
  • Ask the driver if he takes a card? Nope. A check? Nope. Great...pit stop at the ATM it is.
  • Listen to the driver tell me how much he despises the company I work for. So pleasant.
  • Arrive at Sadie's school...try to quickly prepare her for the fact that we're taking a taxi home...you can't just spring stuff like this on a four year old.
  • Get into the taxi.
  • Crown myself "Mother of the Year" as I buckle her adult sized safety belt and tuck it under her arm a la 1987.
  • Stop at the grocery store to get cash from the ATM
  • Pay the cab driver $22 for going a total of 4.8 miles. Decide that this travesty adds all new meaning to the term "highway robbery."
  • FINALLY walk into my house at 4:25.
Eric walked in the door at 6:00pm, and the first words out of his mouth were, "Do you thank God every day that you're his very favorite?" Apparently, the interstate that I would have taken to get home is a complete disaster today. There is a helicopter parked in the Eastbound lane (toward the city) and the westbound lane (toward home) is a parking lot.

Every now and then I need a reminder that regardless of my present circumstances, I'm held.

My friend Heather sent me a blog post referencing this verse today before my little commuting adventure...I think it pretty much sums up my thoughts on this day:
"See the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:10-11

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Best Laid Plans...

I really want to do an Errant Thought Roundup tonight, but it's going to have to wait until tomorrow. We just found out we have a leak...apparently the folks above us have a plumbing issue that they don't know about...I'm going to take care of that. Meanwhile, please enjoy:


Yours in Rainbows, Lollipops, and Unicorns,

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WOTHAITHM

That's my new acronym for: "Work outside the home AND inside the home mom." I can almost pronounce it (except for that tricky "THM" at the end). You just wait...it'll catch on. Wothaithm's of the world unite!

Before I tell you about my personal mommy journey, here are my thoughts on SAHM's: They are the hardest working people on the face of the planet. (I know because I used to be one....ya know...for a couple of months). They do more everyday than most people do in three days combined, and working with children for an entire day is like riding a roller coaster 17 times...it's fun at first, but by time number 15, you just wanna puke and lie down. And then, masochistically, you're ready (sometimes even excited) to do it again the next day!

I get asked constantly if I work outside the home. I'm pretty sure I get asked that because I do projects with Sadie. In fact, a parenting website in South Africa just posted an article with my blog highlighting the fact that I was "homeschooling [my] preschooler." How 'bout that? :) (I was very excited to have even gotten a mention on that site, by the way, and I'm extremely flattered that they assume that I'm a SAHM).

I work outside the home because my darling husband is in optometry school right now, and if I didn't work outside the home, we would be starving. And living in a cardboard box somewhere. Without cable. Racking up student loans. I don't tell people how exhausted I am anymore because people got tired of hearing it. I find myself feeling overwhelmed by life more often than I find myself feeling comfortable in it (I'm working on that).

Here's an (extremely) abridged peek at a typical day in my world:
6:00am - up and at 'em! (wrestle with a preschooler for the entirety of the morning routine)
7:25am - take Sadie to school
7:46am - train to the city {read a book}
8:20am - arrive at work (wrestle with co-workers for the entirety of the day)
8:20am - 5:10pm - manage an office of 250 people (and growing!)
5:17pm - train home {read a book}
6:00pm - arrive at home (assuming Eric picks Sadie up from school)
6:15pm - 7:00pm - whip up a 10 minute meal and eat it...
7:00pm - 8:00pm - DO SOMETHING WITH SADIE
8:00pm-8:30pm - bedtime routine (jammies, pottying, story time, etc...you know, more wrestling)
8:30pm - Sadie's bedtime
8:40pm - 11:30pm - Sit. Blog. Talk to my husband. Catch up on work (if I must). Clean something (but not everything). Feel guilty about the friends I didn't call and the blogs I didn't catch up on. (Yay guilt!)
11:30pm - Drag myself to bed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

The 7pm-8pm hour is very important to me. A couple times a week, I reserve that hour for movies. Because, let's face it, I'm kinda tired, and movies are easy cuddle time. The rest of the time, we do some sort of activity. After 9-10 hours at school every day, you would think Sadie would be tired of "activity," but as it turns out, she apparently has that endless supply of energy that abandons us when we become teenagers...We draw, we write, we color, we paint, we sculpt, we cook, we do something off of the "101 Things" list {wink, wink}...it doesn't matter what we do, we do it together because I despise the thought of allowing someone else to do all the cool stuff with my kid every day while I get stuck with the discipline and potty time and tooth-brushing struggles. I refuse.

I would never claim to have the market cornered on stress-free creative parenting (mostly because I'm pretty sure I have the market cornered on overly-neurotic frazzled parenting). If you're a "wothaithm," though, I have a couple of sacrifices tricks for increasing the number of hours in your day...

**WARNING** these tips aren't glamorous. They're whatever is the exact opposite of glamorous. If you want a glamorous way to get hours back, here it is: quit your job AND hire a personal assistant.

Here are my personal top 5 ways to feel like I have more time in my day (PS - I can *never* do all of these at the same time. I'm really lucky to do two of these successfully at a time...see tip #5):

1. Live on less sleep. It's the number one thing that allows me to do all of the things I need/want to do during the day. Despite my love for sleep (10 hours is like - perfect - for me), I have realized (begrudgingly) that I am just as productive after 6-7 hours a night.
2. Give up TV. I work for a cable company...I bet I could get fired for that kind of blasphemy. I try to watch about 3 hours of television per week. If you don't blog (or journal, or read, or do sudoku puzzles) then you gain back some hours for tv time, of course.
3. Resolve to clean when you can clean. I don't want your house to become a monster (remember when my house became a monster that time I got sick? OMGosh), but don't stress over the laundry. It's behind a closed door - no worries. If you do the FLY Lady thing, I am super impressed with you. I did it for a few months and loved it, but I am now happy with able to tolerate my clean laundry pile (meanwhile, I know the value of a sparkly sink!).
4. Prioritize. What is the most important thing in your life? What does your time commitment indicate is the most important thing in your life? What message are you sending about your "top priorities" when you consistently put your "low priorities" above them? Put the most important things in the most important spots.
5. Be excellent...not perfect. Perfection is impossible. If you're comparing your "behind-the-scenes footage" to someone else's "highlight reel," you are setting yourself up for disappointment. We all naturally put our "best of" moments on display for the world, but we know that it's a "best of" moment. What we don't realize is that the super-exciting life that someone else seems to be living is *ALSO* a highlight reel. We've all got a reality to come back down to. Do you drop the ball sometimes? Do you wonder why you're stuck cleaning a mysterious sticky spot on the kitchen floor while you're friend is "jogging on the beach with J-Lo" this afternoon? Congratulations - you are certifiably normal. You should do your best to keep it that way.

I think you have to find what works for you, right? For the foreseeable future, I'm going to keep working outside the home AND inside the home...and I'm going to keep desperately seeking balance in both.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Get Your Bathtub Clean...

I am going to let you in on a little secret. You are going to feel like you're cheating on your bathroom scrubbing if you try it, but I'm pretty sure you're ok with that. If you have a moral aversion to taking cleaning shortcuts, please discontinue reading here. If you want to cheat, keep on readin' sistah (or brothah?).

We usually use Scrubbing Bubbles in our tubs...
No offense to that cute little sponge brush thing, but I've found a better tub cleaning solution and I'm pretty sure I'm never turning back.

I have officially decided that the most awesome way EVER to clean your bathtub is with {drumroll, please}: Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner Clinging Bleach Gel...this one:
Clorox® Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Clinging Bleach Gel
{clouds part, angels sing}

Do you remember when I accidentally dyed my tub yellow (sort of on purpose)? Guess who has two thumbs and a white-again tub? THIS girl.

Squeeze the gel cleaner all around the perimeter of the bathtub and a little on the bottom for good measure. Make sure to mix it around your tub using a sponge or your (gloved) hand so that you don't get zebra stripes when the gel runs down the sides (clean stripe, dirty stripe, clean stripe, dirty stripe...). Run a little water in the bottom of the tub and swish the bleach gel in the bottom around a bit.

After about a half hour, scrub the tub (with the water still in it). Scrub it like Martha Stewart is coming over tomorrow....or like you brush your teeth on the day you're going to the dentist. Scrub the sides (where you squirted the gel), scrub the bottom, scrub the corners...

Drain the water out completely, and then run cold water. Use the sponge to help rinse the entire tub (and scrub stubborn spots if necessary). Rinse until you're satisfied.

Now email me and thank me for the most awesome bathtub cleaning advice you've ever received. Go ahead - I'll wait.


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Swirly Art Update

Just framed Sadie's Swirly Art - and then I stuck a bird on it (because that's the thing to do, ya know). The bird will eventually leave and become part of another project, I'm sure, but Sadie loves it for now (mostly because it's pink).



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