Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Bunny Rescue =)

Our Easter festivities began on Saturday morning with a bunny scavenger hunt.  Serenity loves rescuing animals (yay Diego) so we thought she’d enjoy looking for all her bunnies!  Eric wrote out the clues, and we hid ten bunnies in different spots with an Easter egg filled with three jelly beans.  At first she ate jelly beans every time she got to an egg, and I began to get alarmed, but she was very agreeable about saving some for later and sharing some with Mama and Daddy.  She read all the clues by herself, and found the bunnies too! =)  It was so much fun!  Here are the clues Eric made: 

Bunnies like carrots, go where they grow.
Go to the chair where Daddy makes the bridge.
Go to the stairs where you play ball.
Go to the table where you play Daddy games.
Go to the table where you craft with Mama.
Go to your hideaway.
Go to where you take a bath.
Go to the baby swing.
Super reader, go to the bookclub.
Go to the X-men board game.
Go to where you play play-doh with Mama.

They all led to Serenity’s Easter basket, with was filled with a book by Kevin Henkes, Little White Rabbit, which we love already, colored bubbles (that it’s been too wet to use yet) a slinky, some pixie stix, mini lindt chocolate bunnies, a few more eggs with jelly beans, and a Peep bunny made by Mama!.  She loved the bunny =)  She collected all her animals in the rocking chair, and gave names to those that didn’t have names yet with the help of her Daddy.

Later that day we colored eggs.  I’d gotten a set from Target that included stickers and wings to turn them into butterflies.  Serenity’s favorites were the azul eggs. =)  She did much better this year about not dropping the eggs into the dye, so most of them were edible (for Daddy.)  She played with the butterflies for a long time!  

Green Office Organized and Decorated!

Six weeks to go and one room done!!!  Well, that’s not really fair to say.  They’re all livable except the living room, but I’ve actually finished all the plans I came up with for one room!  And I’m trying not to add to that list at this point, just so I can bask in the done-ness of my to-do list.  So here’s what happened:

This room went from living space to office space.  It gets used SO much more now!  We really didn’t need two couches, so moving the real couch to the main living room and the desks out here is working for us.  And, I feel like I’m more centrally located, so when I check to see who im’d me in the middle of playing legos, I’m only cut off from the game for a minute or two, instead of being back in the blue room.  When I moved the black desk in here, I took care of a few organizational issues my favorite way… New baskets!

That little area in the black table that is actually for a vcr was a magnet for clutter… now it’s nicely concealed in the cute white baskets from Target.  Oh, and I actually wrote on my to-do list to remove the tags from the baskets… both the new ones and ones I bought six and 12 months ago… apparently all I found it necessary to do was rotate them so the tags were against the wall and forget about them.  =) And I got some plastic tubs for the inside so that all the stuff I piled next to the printer was contained.  It’s mostly educational games and toys that we only get out occasionally, like our pumpkin game

I really don’t like any of the woodwork in my kitchen, but I thought of something fun to do with the island.  I bought a white dry-erase board with a nice black frame and used super duper Velcro to attach it to the wall.  Now we have a nice little space to color together!  Serenity’s even getting pretty good at putting the lids back on =)  She’s getting a lot better at writing and making deliberate shapes, but we’re miles away from actual letters and such, I wonder when that happens?

And then the final item on my to-do list for this space… concealing all the cords under the desk!  Serenity’s not that interested in them, but I hated the look of it and I’m sure the new baby would have been curious about that pile of twisty cords and electricity.  So I hung a simple black curtain up to hide them.  It’s just stuck to the underside of my desk with the magic double stick Velcro, so it’ll be easy to take off or take down if Eric needs to work with the cords.  I say Eric because I’m not crawling under there again for at least the next six weeks, it was a tight squeeze ;)  

Monday, April 18, 2011

White Gallery Wall

I wanted to work on the artwork for the big blank wall in this room.  The giant blue canvas looked so lonely!  I had several white frames, plus that giant blue canvas, so I just picked up a few more white frames from Michael’s, pulled out two little white canvases I intend to stamp with my kids handprints, and painted a frame from my collection white.  I love how it turned out!  Of course I used the “hang newspaper on the wall” method to decide on the layout, and then marked right on the paper where I should hang things.  (I asked my husband what he thought about it and he said, “It looks like we have ads on the wall.  He’s a great help ;)  I love how the frames look, and there’s plenty of room to expand as I get more pictures and objects that just have to go on the wall.  So I have all the frames on the wall… anyone want to take bets on how long it takes me to actually fill the frames with pictures?  

Before... doesn't that canvas look lonely?

This method is soo much easier than trying to lay it out on the floor!

My helper =)  She loves tools!

Still to come…  a capiz chandelier for the corner with my recliner!  It’s actually here but I just can’t figure out where any of the joists are in my ceiling, so I’m waiting patiently (ok not that patiently) for help.  And then I need to recover that yellow piano bench… but that’s been on the to do list since the piano came.  Hopefully I get it done soon! I get the feeling I'm running out of time... =)

Blue Room Evolution

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that we were playing musical rooms in our house =)  Things are finally coming together!  We moved our bedroom from upstairs into the actual master bedroom of our house, which is painted a blue that I love.  It’s really nice being next to the big closet and the bathroom we actually use, who would have thought!   In order to change it from an office to a bedroom, we had to do a lot of rearranging. 
Before... I don't have a great pic of the room as an office!  Basically a biiiig desk and toys.  Then the piano came.

The office furniture moved out, and then our bed came down.  I had a crazy time trying to fit our piano, bed, and blue recliner all in this room.  It’s even harder when you’re eight months pregnant and really not supposed to move the big furniture even though your brain is telling you it MUST move. But finally I got a layout I love, and the room is all organized.  So now it’s time for the fun part, new projects!
We get a lot of help with projects =)

Looks pretty nice... but then we had to deal with the recliner!

Furniture layout disaster!  The chair totally blocks the door... and drove me crazy.  Eric and Serenity didn't really care =)

Much better (still messy)

I really wanted that chair in the corner, so glad it fit!

Of course I didn’t like the bedding with the wall color, so I got this new set from  It’s great!  I still need to get new sheets for it, but I picked up a set of plain white jersey sheets from Target today so that’s nearly done.  I had to rehang all the artwork once we finalized the room layout. 

And now, to reveal my biggest project for this room: a gallery wall!  This post is really long now though so I'll add it to the next!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How to Adapt Adult Board Games to a 2 Year Old

How to Adapt Adult Board Games to a 2 Year Old

So last week my daughter discovered our game cabinets.  (I wrote about how we built them in under our stairs here.)  For some reason she had only gotten into the cabinet I filled with her own toys up to this point, but now she has discovered the joy of Daddy’s games.  We have a ridiculous number of board games, and now that she’s started she seems determined to try them all.  Surprisingly, a few of these games have turned out to be great fun for her!  So here are a few of our favorites, and how we adapt them for someone who doesn’t really follow rules yet.

Set:  This card game was the clear winner.  She nearly plays it right =)  The point is that there are cards with four variables, 3 different colors, shapes, patterns, and number of objects.  You make sets with either the same attribute, or all different, like one of each color, but all with two solid diamonds.  She loves to find sets!  She’s always been big on matching colors, and she’s in heaven when she can dig through the cards to find matches.  She even knows what she needs to look for, like if she has one green squiggle and the three green squiggle, she goes hunting for the two green squiggle.  It’s great for color matching, shape matching, patterns, and so much more! 

Dominoes:  We have the colored set of dominoes, and the games we have come up with for this are hilarious.  I tried to show her a basic Mexican Train, where you start with one domino and match the ends to make a long train.  She loved that, and had me count how many tiles were in her train over and over.  In Spanish, for some reason.  Then she decided that “Catorce” (the fourteenth tile in her train, ironically the 10/3) was special.  She pulled it out and said, “Oh no, my train is broken!  It won’t go!”  So we started doing a lot of role-playing with the dominoes, with Catorce as the star.  We made bridges, rivers, paths, houses, and boats.  And then she found the double seven, which we now call Pinky Pinky.  She needed her diaper changed, and food.  So much random, open-ended, creative playtime!  It was great! 

She loves all the card games we have, and even a regular deck of cards is great for matching.  We also have chess, and Chinese checkers.  Although I have to sit with her the whole time when she’s playing with the marbles, it’s great practice for hand-eye coordination, and she loves matching the colors to the diamonds.  So far she hasn’t tried to eat them, but I am not about to leave her alone with them anytime soon. 

She also likes the games with little figures, like our Star Wars game and X-Men. 

The day she pulled Apples to Apples I figured that she would look at the cards for two minutes and move on.  But no, she decided it was great fun to read the cards!  She sounded out words like Wicked and guessed Octopus for Outrageous.  So, Apples works as toddler flashcards as well. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Closet Organization!

The next step is organizing the closet… I’ve made a few plans for that so far.  First I bought these plastic tubs to hold her folding clothes.  She’d outgrown the baskets I used for her baby clothes, and the new baby can use those anyway.  I’m not 100% sold on these, but they are at least organized for now and they block the corner on that silly shelf that everyone seems to bump into.  I also bought a big 18 gallon tub to hold the hand-me-down and off-season clothes she hasn’t quite grown into yet.  (Thanks Kelly and Raegan!)  I went through everything while I was at it and packed away all the clothes that she’s outgrown and hung up her dresses in matching hangers… yes, pregnancy OCD strikes again.  Although I usually do hang her clothes in rainbow colors, I don’t usually go to the trouble of spacing them evenly like this… so it was worth a picture. ;)   (Oh, and notice the important fire escape ladder)

Making this whole organization thing more fun, Serenity found me while I was trying to decide what clothes she'd outgrown and what of the 4t stuff we'd just gotten from Raegan would fit her... and so we had an impromptu fashion show.  I think she tried on everything twice!!!  I especially loved it when she began her outfit by wearing just her pink boots and diaper =)  She eventually added a dress and pink jacket but for a while it was all about the boots.  Then she discovered a polka-dot nightgown... and decided it went great with a polka dot swimsuit... and then later I found her in polka dot pants too.  Believe it or not, there is also a pink polka dot skirt underneath all that!  =)  

I plan for the second bar to be dress up-clothes, with a tub for the hats and such underneath.  Then on the right side will be her dollhouse when it’s not on rotation in the corner I’m dedicating to a “big toy”

I added the dress up clothes!  It's so nice to be able to hang some, the tub that now just holds hats and accessories was enough at first, but her costume collection has grown like crazy!  I love that she enjoys it so much =)  You can read more about the cape, and bird wings here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

ABC I love U art!

I saw this picture here at and knew Serenity HAD to have it for her room.  She’s been obsessed with letters since her first birthday.  I made it in photoshop and framed it, super quick and easy.  I just typed in the letters in a simple font, duplicated the layer, and then colored the top layer pink and the other purple, erasing the letters that I wanted to have in purple.  Then I used the heart shape tool to draw the heart over the o, and clipped in digi-scrapbooking paper from The Shabby Princess.  It's not hung yet but it's ready! 

And here is the updated to-do list with all my lovely checkmarks!  Getting closer!
1.)    Paint and finish new secret room
2.)    Paint Serenity letters
3.)    Remove Closet doors and paint trim
4.)    Make some sort of art display, maybe clipboard
5.)    ABC I love U art
6.)    Hang letters and lanterns (probably above wherever I decide the bed goes.  Oh, and the bed has new pink sheets!!!)
7.)    Organize closet
8.)    Get hinges for dollhouse door
9.)    Consider new chair or other seating???
10.)                        Sew and dye curtains
11.)                        Paint bookshelf pink and secure to wall (Now think I’m going to buy this**)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Purple Room Toys

Here’s a glimpse of my plan for the right corner of her room.  I can’t stand a lot of clutter, so my general plan is to rotate in her toys, especially the large ones.  So in the right corner of her room, I have several choices for what to put out.  Right now we have her book club tent which I made her for her second birthday.  But when she stops playing with that, I can put her dollhouse here, maybe on her little white table.  Or we can set up her table for tea party time!  (Which happens nearly every day at our house. =)   The book club folds flat for storage, her dollhouse also fits on the right side of her closet or in her secret room, which is where she wants it now, and the little white table also has a place downstairs it can fit.  So nothing is cluttered and she gets a little variety in her toy selection too.  I find she spends a lot more time with toys that disappear occasionally. =) 

Oh, and I got her name letters hung!!!  So since we decided against adding another chair, and we bought a bookshelf, all that is left to do in her room is to make curtains and make some sort of art display!  And then I can start to imagine new things.  Like a rug….

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Purple Room Stage One!

We had moving day!  Serenity is officially moved into the purple room now.  She loved every step of it, from discovering the new pink sheets that I’d purchased for her bed (from Pottery Barn Teen, I love that I could just order fitted sheets since that’s all I really needed.)  to the crazy new collection of star lanterns on her ceiling!  She particularly liked the one with the moon cutouts, and then she said the flower one was her favorite.  I may eventually light these, but that is still a major debate as I don’t want to deal with a ton of cords all over the place, especially not near her bed.  I still need to hang her newly painted name letters over her bed but under the stars, but it’s a good step! 

Here is the bed all made… or as made as I imagine it ever will be.  Her monkey blanket is here, as well as the Dora pillow I made while waiting on construction to finish.  I also added her pink teddy and purple unicorn because they matched the colors.  But in case you think that’s just something I do, let me assure you that my daughter refuses to go to bed with non-matching things.  If she decides it’s a night to sleep with her yellow duck, Quack, or her blue teddy, we will be getting out her flower pillow and butterfly blanket, which have primary colors in them.  She is completely obsessed with matching, which is hilarious and fun!  

Secret, Clean, and Empty! All fantastic words =)

Today was a fantastic day!!!  I got to DUST!!  Dusting is always bizarrely satisfying for me, but between nesting and pregnancy impulses and the fact that the dust was an inch thick due to the construction, I was in high heaven!  Dad finished Serenity’s new secret room that he was building in the little attic space behind her closet, so we finally started emptying the purple room to get it ready for her!  Eric and I dusted, vacuumed, and I directed traffic as he moved all the junk that had collected in that room to slightly more proper locations. 

The new secret room is amazing by the way!  It’s even better than the first one!  The entryway is higher so I don’t have to crawl in, it has bench seating on one side, and there is a window!  Dad truly outdid himself this time.  She loves it already!  Her initial reaction to the room was to jump all over it yelling, “I’m bouncing in my secret room!!!!!!” (All those exclamation points are necessary, believe me. =)  We’re trying to call it the hideaway to distinguish it from the old secret room, but I keep slipping.

Even Serenity helped dust!

View of the secret room, and the closet doors are gone!

Nicely Painted

All the mess Eric had to move...
And so, another checkmark on the to-do list!  Oh, and while we had the white paint out, I took down the closet doors so we could do touch up there too!  So make that two checkmarks! Tomorrow I will be able to post about decorating!!! Or maybe even later on tonight ;)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Secret Room! 2.0

Serenity’s Purple and Pink room is starting to come together!!!  The first and biggest change was adding a new secret room in the attic space behind her bedroom.  My dad, who is an amazing carpenter and loves projects just like I do, designed and built it for her.  It’s even more amazing than the last little nook he built into the attic, because it has a bench seat AND a window!  (and fully insulated, air conditioned, with electricity =)  And the door is just enough taller that I can get in without crawling, which is so nice.  Serenity is going to be thrilled!  Once she goes back upstairs… I may have emphasized a little too strongly that she was not to go upstairs while Papa was working because there were dangerous tools.  She listened, but now she won’t go upstairs at all unless I walk in front of her =)  Oh well, better safe than sorry!  The first coat of paint is going on the new room as we speak, and once that’s done there’s nothing stopping Serenity’s big move into the purple room!  Here’s the list of the other plans I have!

Serenity’s New Room:
1.)    Paint and finish new secret room
2.)    Paint Serenity letters
3.)    Remove Closet doors and paint trim
4.)    Make some sort of art display, maybe clipboard
5.)    ABC I love U art
6.)    Hang letters and lanterns (probably above wherever I decide the bed goes.  Oh, and the bed has new pink sheets!!!)
7.)    Organize closet
8.)    Get hinges for dollhouse door
9.)    Consider new chair or other seating???
10.)                        Sew and dye curtains
11.)                        Paint bookshelf pink and secure to wall

I got to dust and vacuum up there this afternoon, it was really cathartic.  I love cleaning, especially now =)  And oh baby, organizing is next!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

More Superhero Photo Backdrops

Photo Board:
The second photo backdrop was a little more complex to make!  My dad and I bought a huge piece of plywood and painted a picture of all the Super Readers in their Why Flyers.  Then my Dad, using his jigsaw, carefully cut out oval shapes for the faces of each Super Reader.  He added hinges so that we could put the faces back.  (that was in case there were pictures with fewer than four children, so there wouldn’t be creepy headless Super Readers.)  The windows turned out to be my daughter’s favorite part, all the little kids preferred the front side of the photo board to the back. =)  Dad built a simple frame out of two by fours on the back to make it more stable, and added feet to make it stand up.  It was a big hit!  And it’s still hanging in my backyard, and she still loves visiting the Super Readers =) 

** Here’s my best tip if you want to have your own photo booth for young kids, set up a mirror so they can see what they look like.  They were much more excited to poke their head through the window when they could actually see themselves as Superheroes!  For more party details, check out the original post for the Super Why Birthday!