Monday, November 29, 2010

The Kid's Playroom...And Where I Found My Inspiration

My vision for the kid's playroom all started with this picture...


I saw this in a Pottery Barn Kids catalog months ago and I loved the colors and the funky alphabet on the wall. I tried desperately to pull random objects to make letters like the ones in the picture but whenever I laid them out...I didn't like the final product. It was just too much clutter for my Type A personality. So...I decided to mix and match some different wooden letters and paint them different colors. The look is a lot more clean, but just as much fun. I LOVE how they turned out in the end...


Once again, I hired my incredibly talented Daddy-O to make me some custom shelves. I knew I wanted them the length of the wall, but since this room won't always be a playroom, I didn't want anything too permanent. So he made me two separate units that can be moved and used elsewhere. He did such a beautiful job, I almost hate having them in the playroom. Ha!

Choosing the colors for this room was easy. It needed to be gender neutral so you really can't go wrong with reds, blues and greens. Plus, my Land of Nod map (which I do plan to frame one day) made it easy to match just about everything else in the room...


I was working on a pretty small budget for this playroom so I did my best to utilize furniture and other odds and ends I had around the house. As you can see above, I decided to take the beautiful storage bench my dad made for our master bedroom (which wasn't being used for anything other than extra blankets) and use it as another storage piece in the playroom. It is the perfect height for the kids to stand at and it holds a TON of toys. Some day I will use it as a bench again, but for now...it works great for the space :-)

The playroom also has a nice closet with storage already built in. The only problem is that the doors to the closet are big and they swing pretty far out. The kids were having a hard time getting toys in and out of it so I decided to have Eric remove the doors. Now the kids can get to everything and I even had room to put Addie's playdesk in a corner for coloring.


Another magazine cut out idea I just HAD to replicate for the playroom was this tree...


I was going to have my dad cut the tree out of plywood, but I decide to get creative one night and painted it on the wall myself. For free hand...I think it turned out pretty well. Dana got me the wooden apples as an extra touch...


The empty space in front of the window in this picture is reserved for the train table that Santa is bringing. That is also why I had my mom make this cute little scallop window valance, as apposed to long panels. They would just get in the way of the table. Gosh...I just can't wait to fill all these little spots with the kid's Christmas toys. God knows there will be plenty :-)

And finally, I am a sucker for wall art. I HATE empty, bare walls. The problem is...wall art isn't cheap. Target has actually been offering some really great stuff at a reasonable price. But by the time I was done with paint, letters, storage bins, my map, etc...I was out of dough for this project. So I had to go cheap. I was able to score some DIRT cheap pieces of canvas from Hobby Lobby and I used these cute picture from PBK as inspiration...


I thought these pictures were cute, but a little too girly (and too expensive) for the playroom. So I did my best at replicating them. Please remember...I am NO artist. But I guess the whole point is to make them look like a child painted them so there you go...mission accomplished :-)




I made three different paintings so that I could hang this last one over the kid's growth charts. I thought it was a cute way to take up some wall space :-)


I am SO happy with how well the playroom turned out. The kids spend a ton of time playing in there and it's nice to have the majority of our toys in one place. It certainly helps me assess how much we have (and how much we don't need :-). I think I need to start a new playroom rule though. For every new toy we bring in, an old toy needs to go out. Plain and simple. Now if only I could follow this rule for my own closet. Ha!

Well there you have it...our new playroom!!! I can't believe it is finally done (aside from the chalkboard wall that will be another project for another day). I have to give a HUGE THANKS to my Mom and Dad for sharing their amazing talents, to Dana for letting me bounce ideas off of her and to Pottery Barn for being the inspiration for almost every room in my house :-) Man I love home projects!! I am officially out of rooms to decorate though so now I just need to sit back and enjoy :-) That is unless anyone wants to hire me out? Ha!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blake is 11 Months Old!!!!

I just realized that the next time I post Blake's monthly update, he will be ONE YEAR OLD!! Isn't that insane? How can this little guy already be so old?!!


The last month I was pregnant with Blake, all I could dream about was this Christmas. I would have both of my babies here, healthy, and ready to celebrate our first Christmas together as a family. I pictured him crawling around, playing with the ornaments on the Christmas tree, watching The Grinch with his big sister, etc. And then this week, I saw my dream come true.

I had Charlie Brown Christmas on for Addie and Blake crawled up and sat next to her. He was playing with a bell ornament he pulled off the tree (I only have safe ornaments at the bottom :-) He was ringing the little bell and Addie was laughing at him. Then she told him to be quiet because Charlie Brown was on. And he listened. They both just sat there watching Charlie Brown with our Christmas tree lit up in the background. It was a perfect picture moment...but I didn't even get up to get my camera. I just wanted to watch my babies in this moment. I might have cried a little...

I love that Blake and Addie are buddies. I love that she takes care of him and watches out for him, and I love that he can't wait to see her every morning. I know this won't always be the case. I know there are plenty of sibling fights in our future. But for the time being, I am lucky that my babies love each other and want to be around one another. If only I could bottle this love and keep it for them when they are teenagers. Ha!

So...my little Blake is another month older, and another pound heavier. 21 pounds to be exact. He still dislikes sleep and wakes up 1-2 times a night. But that is MY fault...not his. I enable it because I know that (a) he will go back to sleep once I nurse him and then I can get back to bed and (2) the faster I go to him, the less likely it is that he will wake his sister. I should have nipped this problem a looooooong time ago but I didn't. Coulda woulda shoulda...as they say :-) So now that the weening process has begun, I am hoping that once he is done nursing at his first birthday, we can start a little sleep training and get this bugger sleeping the night. Here's hoping right!!

In addition to sleep, Blake also dislikes eating these days. He is just too busy to stop and eat a meal. He likes eating on the run. He will stand at the kiddie table in our kitchen and eat a whole bowl of apple chunks. But he won't eat them sitting in his high chair. He will eat an entire container of YoBaby yogurt AND a cheese stick if I am holding him on my hip. But he won't eat it in his high chair. The boy just wants to move and groove. I wish I could shy away from a meal like that. Hahaha!

And speaking of moving and grooving...Blake is SO ready to take his first step...but just hasn't done it yet. He pulls himself up on anything and everything and he will stand unassisted. But just when it looks like he is about to take a step...he reevaluates the situation and drops to his knees because he knows he can crawl faster. And boy does that kids crawl FAST. You can't blink an eye these days without finding him in another room. This makes me nervous for the day he starts walking because there will be no stopping him. So take your time Blakey boy...mommy is in NO rush for walking :-)

And finally, I am happy to report that Blake is finally saying his first words!! He has been saying "da da da" for a while but I finally heard him say "ma ma ma" the other day!! He also says "hi" (although it comes out more like "hi-ya") and waves. It's pretty darn cute if I do say so myself. For the most part, Blake is the happiest, friendliest baby and loves everyone except Santa. But hopefully he will learn to love him as time goes on :-)

Well that's all I have for my little peanut this month! A month from today we will be celebrating his first birthday and with that will come a very special post. But in the mean time I have a lot of work to do on this snowman party. Can't wait to show you guys all the great things I am pulling together. It's going to be so much fun!!!

Eco-Friendly Sunday: Free Shipping, a Sweepstakes AND a Giveaway!!

Happy Sunday friends! Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, Eco-Friendly Friday is coming to you a little late this week :) Sorry!

But no worries because I have a lot of great stuff to share with all you online shoppers! For starters, Reuseit.com has FREE SHIPPING on all orders of $50 or more by using coupon code THANKS50 at checkout. Reuseit.com doesn't offer free shipping that often, so be sure to head over and start your Christmas shopping today.

And speaking of Christmas shopping...how would you like to get your ENTIRE online order from Reuseit FOR FREE???!! Today and tomorrow, Reuseit.com is having a fabulous sweepstakes...


Can you even imagine getting all of your eco-friendly Christmas shopping done AND having your entire bill picked up for you?!! Just remember...you have to place your order today or tomorrow to be entered into the sweepstakes.

And finally...if the sweepstakes doesn't pan out for you, I am giving away a $25 e-gift certificate from Reuseit.com to one of my lucky readers!!!!! Just be sure to head over to my reusable gift wrap post and leave a comment. I will select a winner this Friday.

Well that's all I have for you today friends!!! Happy Sunday and Cyber Monday shopping!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Day Success!

Turkey prep started early around the Davis household...which is why Di made sure to stop for Dunkin Donuts coffee on the way over...


When Addie heard the commotion in the kitchen, she came running out of her room yelling, "Happy Turkey Day!". I told her she looked like a turkey with that crazy bed-head :-)


Eric was there to lend a hand too as the official taste tester...


Di and I spent all morning in the kitchen getting ready and then when these two turkeys were ready for their nap...we decided to take one too :-)


When I first decided to start hosting Thanksgiving at our house, I was worried that I wouldn't enjoy the holiday as much. I was worried that the stress of hosting would make the day less fun. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Hosting Thanksgiving is SO MUCH FUN and I look forward to it more every year. This was the first year that Addie was just as excited I was :-)


Blake was having fun too...as always :-)


Aunt Dana was there with Uncle Kevin and the kids this year which made the day extra special.


And here is the annual grandma picture :-)


And the annual turkey picture...


I honestly can't take any credit for the turkey. I am there while Diana prepares it so by default I am included in the picture. But really...one birdie is hers and the other is Eric's. There is always a secret competition between the two birds. Oven roasted or deep fried. This year, the deep fried bird got a liiiiiiitttle crispy. Here we are giving Eric a bad time...


I mean...clearly our turkey looked more delicious...


But in the end...the joke was on us. Eric's crispy bird was just as delicious and the voters called it a tie :-)

I think it is safe to say that no one enjoys Thanksgiving more than this lady...


My Grams always gets in the spirit and this year, she made pumpkin pies from scratch with FRESH pumpkin from Di's garden. YUM!!!!! She loves making pies, but she loves eating turkey more. Here she is drooling over the feast :-)


I think everyone enjoyed their meal...



Especially these two!!! We started a new tradition this Thanksgiving and it's one that many families already have. The kiddie table!!! Although, I doubt many kids have a kiddie table as fancy as this one :-)


And...someone VERY special got to celebrate his very first Thanksgiving!!!!!


He wasn't into eating that night, so instead he hung out with Nolan. These boys are just too cute together.


The kids partied and kept us busy all night long, but when the crabbies set in...


We knew it was time to call it a night. Well...for the kids at least. All the grown ups sat around drinking wine and looking through the sale ads in the paper :-)

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already over. I feel like summer was just yesterday and now it's the CHRISTMAS SEASON!!! WOOHOO!!! Now I won't get made fun of for having my tree up and listening to Christmas music :-) The house looks so great this year and I can't wait to post pics. But that will be another day friends. Eric and I had a fabulous date night tonight (we saw Harry Potter and it was AWESOME!!). So now we are going to sit and relax by a fire. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So Very Thankful

Every year, I realize that I have more and more to be thankful for. Some things remain at the top of my list, like my amazing family, my supportive friends, my loving husband and my two beautiful babies...


I am thankful for these things every single day. But then there are things that I often take for granted, like my husband's job, my teaching position, my education, my ability to be a stay-at-home-mom, my health and the health of my family, and most importantly...my freedom. I need to remember to be thankful for these things every single day because there are so many people who are not fortunate enough to have these blessings.

And on a less serious note, I have lots of other things that I am thankful for this year.

* My sister-in-law Diana's garden and all the canned veggies, fruit, sauces and pies that she has shared with me this season :-)

* My brother Ryan's photography skills and all of the time he spends taking pictures of the kids. I also need to thank his assistant Meagan for being there to help :-)

* My sister-in-law Dana's medical knowledge. She is my on-call nurse and I have used her service MANY times this year :-)

* My Dad's carpentry work. I am so freaking SPOILED to have such a talented man in my life that can take a magazine cut-out and turn it into a work of art.

* My mom's crafting ability. The woman has logged some serious hours knitting, sewing and quilting things for me this year and I am SO very grateful for her talent and willingness to spoil me :-)

* My husband's patience. In case you didn't know...I can be quite a handful sometimes. I am a total drama queen and the fact that Eric can deal with this and still tell me he loves me every day is amazing :-) I am a lucky girl.

* My baby boy's smile. That little bugger can brighten even the darkest of days and I love him so much.

* My baby girl's sassy little attitude. Sometimes her sassy attitude gets her in timeout, but other times its the thing I love most about her. She is fun, energetic and my favorite person to talk to these days. I love her to pieces.

You see...I have a TON to be thankful for this year. I could continue this list, but I have some Turkey Day prep to start. So in the meantime, why doesn't everyone leave a comment with some of the things they are thankful for this year?! I would love to see what's on your list!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Family Fun: Part 1

This past Sunday, we celebrated Thanksgiving with Eric's family. In case you haven't noticed from this blog, there are a total of 7 KIDS, 3 years and younger on Eric's side. Nia is our oldest at 3, Addie and Audrey are next at 2 and three quarters, Brennan is 2, Nolan is 1 and a half and these two buggers are 11 months...


This was Blake and Cole's first Thanksgiving and they had a blast!


Believe it or not, these two little guys ate better than the rest of the kids combined. Here I am holding my little butterball after dinner...


And here I am with my other little man...


Thanksgiving dinner would not be the same if it were not for these three chefs. My aunt-in-law Sue, my uncle-in-law Dave and my mother-in-law Patti never disappoint when it comes to Turkey Day dinner. YUM!!!


And chef Dana is an EXCELLENT dishwasher. Ha!


After dinner, the kiddies had plenty of energy to burn so the "babysitters" helped us out. Here is Sarah playing with her favorite girl...


Nia and Addie made sure to provide a little mood music...


While Brian gave "fly boat" rides! Here's a babysitting tip: when you have a house full of babies and toddlers looking for something to do...break out the Rubbermaid container...





I think it is safe to say that Brian burned off every calorie he ate. Those kids would not leave him alone!!! But like every party, my cousin-in-laws Brian, Jenny and Sarah did an amazing job entertaining the kids and we appreciate it more than they know. The kids love spending time with them too :-)

It was a great night for everyone and it makes me look forward to being with them again on Christmas. But before that, I have to prepare for ANOTHER Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday. We are hosting again and I am SO EXCITED to have my kitchen helper (a.k.a. Diana) back to help me. She was with her family last year so it will be nice to have her expertise in the kitchen. We have a lot of great food planned and I can't wait to see how our turkeys turn out. YUMMY!! On to Thanksgiving Part II!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Two Happy Anniversaries

Two very special couples are celebrating their anniversary this month!

These happy newlyweds just celebrated their 1st anniversary on November 7th....


It's hard to believe that their wedding was already a year ago!!! I was huge and preggers and still danced my booty off. Megan and Ryan had the most beautiful November wedding day in history. It was warm enough to walk around in strapless dresses and the photographer got some of the most beautiful fall photos. It was such a wonderful day!

So to celebrate this milestone anniversary, the happy couple headed off to New York City. They did some sight seeing, took in a Broadway show, went for a stroll in central park and indulged in all kinds of yummy food. Now that is my kind of anniversary trip :-) I told them they were smart for traveling now because some day...when little kiddies are running all over their house...trips to NYC won't be as easy :-) I think they both had a fabulous time.

Happy First Anniversary Meg & Ry!!!!!

Another couple celebrating an anniversary this month is my brother Adam and my SIL Diana...


.Even though Adam and Di tied the knot 4 years ago, I remember the wedding like it was yesterday. It was a destination wedding over Thanksgiving weekend and it was SO MUCH FUN! There are a lot of great stories from that wedding...like the infamous "ring incident"...but I'll let Di tell that story on her blog :-)

Adam and Diana just got back from their anniversary trip too! Their trip didn't involve Broadway shows or fancy restaurants. Theirs involved guns, camo, and some really cute boots :-) Diana and Adam went on their first deer hunting trip together and they had a BLAST!!!!! I am really looking forward to seeing all the pictures of Di in her camo :-)

Happy Anniversary Adam and Di!!!!

I gotta admit...I am a little jealous of all these great vacations. Well...I am not exactly jealous that I didn't get to spend 12 hours freezing in a blind watching for deer...but I am jealous of all the fun and alone time these couples had. It makes me want to plan something fun for our 5 year anniversary next year! But where should we go? Hmm...something to think about :-)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Eco-Friendly Friday: A Green Christmas

I am just going to admit it. I LOVE wrapping paper. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing a bunch of beautifully wrapped presents sitting under a Christmas tree. But at the same time, nothing brings me more disgust than seeing the piles of wasted paper laying all over the living room when Christmas is over. When you think about it, wrapping paper really is such a waste. After all, it is about the gift inside isn't it?

So if we can put aside our love of wrapping paper this Christmas and try to find alternatives (even if it is only for a few presents) we could save a TON of waste. And with so many fun and creative GREEN alternatives this year...our presents can still be just as beautiful.



Or their Santa style bags...


Reuseable gift bags like these are fantastic because they come in a bunch of different sizes and they can fit all sorts of odd-shaped gifts. And of course, you can always spice them up with a cute ribbon or bow :-) Buying everyday reusable bags is also a great option, especially since they can be used long after Christmas is over.

Reuseit.com actually has a fantastic instructional video on how to wrap gifts using reuseable gift bags and shopping bags.


But if you don't have the patience or desire to use bags, another great option (that I am personally a HUGE fan of) is giving gifts unwrapped in a cute basket. We all know how I feel about these great baskets...


But if you are not looking to spend that much on the basket part of your gift, look for some great market baskets like these...


You can find market baskets like these all over the place (I have seen them at Michael's, The Container Store, Pier 1, my local grocery store, etc.) and they always reasonably priced ($1.99-4.99). Even if people don't have a need for a market basket in their home, they can always keep the basket and reuse it for a gift of their own next year!!

And finally, if you just can't resist the urge to use wrapping paper and gift bags, try to find some recycled products like these from The Gift Wrap Company...


The Container Store carries almost the entire line of these bags, boxes and gift wrap and you can find them online now.

So you see...we don't have to be wasteful this holiday season. There are a lot of other great alternatives out there, as long as we are willing to be a little creative. Please feel free to leave a comment with all of your other eco-friendly giftwrap ideas on this post and who knows...maybe Santa will pick a winner next week for a special surprise :-)

Happy Friday!!