Tuesday, November 12, 2013

a shower of blessings

I have been blessed with a child that loves to get clean. If you say the "B" word around him, the whole world stops and that's all he's worried about from then on out. Lately, since Jonathan has gone back to work, Tobyn and I just shower together, it's the only way I can ever hope to get one. I used to gripe about it, that that was my only alone time, which is true. But I've started to just enjoy the sweet, unforgettable memories we have while splashing around. 

  My wiggly toddler has gotten to a stage where I barely get cuddles due to his never ending energy. But in the shower, he will hold his arms up to me, wanting to be cuddled. There we will stand under the amazing warm water and he will lay his sweet little head on my chest and close his eyes. I know every time that that is a moment God just handed to me as a priceless gift. As we shower cuddled this morning, I almost lost it. I just couldn't imagine my child not having warm water to stand under while he relaxed his little head on my chest. But yet over 783 million people don't have access to clean water, and lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours. 
Those children don't even have clean water, let alone hot water.
 I have been so complacent lately  complaining about the struggles we've encountered in the past few months. But after this morning, and a God given moment with my baby boy, I've realized just how foolish I've been. We have an extremely healthy child, a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and clean, warm water. We are rich compared to the rest of the world. And it's not because we deserve it either. The Lord has blessed us endlessly, and I'm ready to give back to His people. 

  Just as we head into this holiday season, please, as cliche as it sounds, count your blessings. Before you get upset that you don't have the trendiest Christmas decorations, a $1,000 budget for presents or a new dress for that Christmas party, stop and ask yourself, am I truly without? Because more than likely, you aren't. 

Here is a link to an organization that I have loved or years. http://www.charitywater.org/whywater/
They bring fresh clean water to villages and families that need it. I'm going to try and get involved with this organization the best I can with my family. Check out the wonderful things they are doing in people's lives and maybe you'll be led to join in as well!

All the blessings,

Sunday, August 25, 2013

productivity with a toddler in the room

Headfirst in the cat box, eating a shoe, running around butt naked, eating cat food, playing in the toilet.....

Embarrassingly, these are just a few things I have found Tobyn, my 14 month old doing while I was trying to focus on school and get something accomplished.
We've all been there, somedays you just have to finish studying or complete your homework and can't seem to give enough attention to the little precious and mischievous child currently destroying your entire house.
I had to come up with some sort of solution. We have a "third" bedroom that was a music room for Jonathan, (I say "third" because we also have a spare room that is a closed off carport, so technically four rooms. ) So we came to an agreement, his music stuff was out and Tobyn and I 
were "moving" into the third bedroom. The room you see above is now our Play/Study room and also one of my favorite rooms in the house currently.
Not because it's just adorable or anything ;)
but because I can actually be productive in there. 

I just wanted to give you ladies a few of my ideas for putting together a room or even just an activity corner to hopefully help increase your productivity each day. 

1. Have a form of barrier, whether its a door or gate, to help block off an area for you and your little to be while studying. 
Thankfully, we have an extra bedroom, but if we didn't I would just find a way to block off our living room, so I wasn't constantly up chasing Tobyn all over the house every 3 seconds.
2. Designate "your" side of the room, and "theirs"
Younger children may not understand this at first, but if you continue to give them a sense of ownership over "their" side, they will be more likely to stay over their longer and keep busy.

3. Baby/Childproof everything in the room.
This is probably pretty obvious, but you won't feel the need to look up every second to check on them if there isn't anything dangerous in the room, putting your studying mind at ease. So, cover up light sockets, pick up any little pieces on the floor that could choke them and secure anything heavy that could fall to the wall, like bookshelves. 

4. Create a creative and personal play area for your kiddo.
Tobyn LOVES music instruments (just like Daddy), so I brought his B. Parum Pum Pum Drum that we got him for his birthday and his little toy guitar into the room. As well as some books, a big bouncy ball, some foam mat letters, a rocking horse, tent and dump truck. All items that he loves, and plays with often.
** The adorable prints on the wall are Tiny Wall Designs, exclusive, custom, modern nursery prints that I create and have available for download on Etsy. Just click the Etsy tab at the top of the blog :) ***
 5. Create a creative and unique space for yourself.
I only think and study well when I am in a clean, organized space. So my desk is facing our backyard, and stays organized just for me. I painted an old desk I had to match this chair I just reupholstered. Spent less than 10 dollars on the whole desk. This is where I do my best thinking now, because it's me.

6. Teach your child to entertain himself.
This may sound harsh to some, but since day 1 I have daily allowed Tobyn to play alone. Of course I'm in the same room, but we leave him alone to be himself. That doesn't mean we never play with him, we are a very playful family. But there are times in the day where I do what I need to do, and he does what he wants... within reason. This is how I was raised and it allowed me to be to be as creative as I wanted.

7. Chunks at a time.
Go into your "room" with your kiddo only when it's play/study time. This consistency allows them to grasp better that "mommy is busy and it's time to play quietly". Talk about the room in exciting tones, as if you are "going somewhere". This stimulates the child's imagination of things to do in "the room". Also, don't expect your child to last for 2 or 3 hours in one room, chances are they will burn out. Try going in for 30 minutes to an hour at a time, then going outside. 

I hope some of these helped you guys out, because they have made a world of difference for me. 
Let me know if you tried this and it worked, or if you have similar solutions. We'd love to hear!
Happy productivity!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

5 tips for throwing (and enjoying) your child's first birthday party

 I posted a few days ago about Tobyn's First Birthday and how wonderful it turned out. I had a absolute BLAST putting it together, it even made me think about starting a party planning business until I realized 1. I live it the WORST place for that right now and 2. That I am not superwoman and can't add anything else to my plate right now. 

But I would not be being honest if I didn't tell you also how stressful putting the party together was. If I hadn't had my humongous family there to help, I would have probably been curled up in the corner crying at 4 am the night before the party. 

So I decided to give some of my tips for throwing a great first birthday party. I mean, I've only done it once, but I learned quite a bit. 

So here goes:

1. If you don't want to spend a ton of money, plan to DIY a lot of everything. 
I went to Lowe's and bought paint like for the walls in the little sample jars ($3 baby!) that way I could choose the exact shade I wanted, then I basically bought everything I needed on discount. If it was the wrong color then painted it with the matching party colors. 
I researched ALOT in the months before his party, I searched for DIYs, cheapest supplies, party ideas, everything. Then I set in place about two months before what was needed before I even started purchasing. 
2. Ask for help
I would have been screwed if my family hadn't been there to help e. Originally I thought I was going to make 7 different desserts to feed 45 people the night before all by myself. My family offered to come a day early to help though, and I'm so glad they did. Ask a mom, sister, aunt, friend, anyone that you know is creative but would respect your wishes. 
3. Draw up plans for decorating before party day
This may sound a little crazy, but I had all these decorations and I didn't want to have to run around the house the day of the party trying to figure out where to put them. So I drew up a simple sketch of where I wanted everything to go. I actually ended up handing it off to family member so it was nice that I didn't have to explain it to everyone. 
4. Make several lists, so you don't forget anything
I made a list for all the food, all the party necessities, a list of all the DIY items needed and then a list of all the actual DIY projects to be done. It kept me super organized and helped me know what still needed to be done for the party in the weeks before. 
5. Remember, this party is for you child and they are going to have fun no matter what. Make sure you enjoy this moment with them.
I did my best at this, but I was running around also making sure everyone was having fun. I did do my best to stay with Tobyn though, and enjoy every moment with him: The presents, the cake.
One thing I'm still kicking myself about is when we put him in his highchair to eat his cake, he was pretty overwhelmed at the 45 people staring at him so we hurried and gave him the cake, totally forgetting to sing him Happy Birthday. Oh well. Kid loved his cake anyways. :)

So, mistakes are going to happen. 
It's life, it's a party, a celebration. It won't matter when they are 20. Just enjoy the day with your family, and do everything you can to make it a great one for you child. That's all that matters.
I hoped these tips helped someone, if they did or if anyone has any other tips please share!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Tobyn!

I wrote a post on Tobyn's birthday about this past year, you can read that here.
Yesterday though, we celebrated his birthday with all our friends and family. 
All of my family lives at least 3 1/2 hours away, but that didn't stop them.
It was a wonderful day!
The theme was elephants, simple and adorable. 
I handmade everything with a some help from family, and all the food was made by my sister and her huge family. Seriously, they were like a catering team, all 6 of them helped in some way or another.  
And it turned out so beautiful!

The cake stand was one of my favorite pieces, did you know how expensive cake stands are??
I wasn't about to go broke for a cake stand I liked, so since the theme was elephants, I made a elephant "pedestal" like they use in the circus. I bought a $13 flower pot  from Lowe's, turned it upside down and painted it with some paint I already had for the party. VoilĂ !

I love all the details from the chevron napkins, to the paper straws. The napkins were from the  Oriental Trading Co. Straws, plates, cups and balloons were from the very affordable Birthday Direct.

You can't see them too well here, but these platters turned out so good.
Again, I wasn't going to pay $40 a platter. So I found four ( two small, two large) gorgeous pale blue plates on major sale at Kirkland's for $.78 a piece! (That's what I'm talking about!)
And then two candlesticks on sale at Hobby Lobby for $2 a piece. I painted those red. 
A little bit of hot glue and BANG. Perfection

Vintage Roasted Peanut Bags from The Sugar Diva, they had elephants on them. So cute!

Nutella Bruchetta is the bomb. Just as a side note, do yourself a favor and make this.
The platter they are sitting on, you can't see very well, but I just bought an out of season plastic platter at Hobby Lobby and painted grey, red and blue chevron, It turned out precious!

We love the Starbuck's coffees you can buy at the store, so I just collected the bottles for a few months for a "vintage milk bottle" counter. We offered cold milk, because with all those sweets, it was a must. 

Our "First Year" Window.

We used golf tees to sick balloons in the ground and lined the walkway all the way to the door!

Got this idea over at Life's Little Celebrations. I love it!

 And he obviously had a great time!
This "One" banner was made by me, it turned out so well and was super simple!

It was a wonderful day, but there were some things that worked and some that didn't. 
Things I wish we'd done but forgot.
I'm going to write a post about my First Birthday Party Tips in the near future, so keep a lookout!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

one year has passed.

My baby, he isn't a baby anymore. He's walking, jabbering, laughing. He has his favorite things, foods, people. 
He knows how to say "light" and "uh oh","hot", "dadda", "momma" ( sometimes). 

I have heard it a million times "Don't blink, you'll miss everything". 
I don't think I missed anything, I feel like I honestly can say I did my best to not take one moment, one stage, one developmental change for granted.
I photographed EVERYTHING this year.
But, I did blink, somehow it's a year later. And my sweet baby is 1 today.  
Happy Birthday Tobyn Iver, I hope we can bless you as much as you've blessed us.
We love you.

photography by me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

DIY Wall Gallery

If you've kept up with us, you know we recently moved into our first house. Still a rental, but it's a house and probably 4 times larger than our last apartment. Which means... LOTS of wall space.
I have been trying to spend some creative time coming up with ways to cover these walls, in a way that we love but that is... to be honest.. dirt cheap.
Going out and buying designer art just isn't gonna happen for this one salary family.
So, I got creative.

I started collecting lots of picture frames, from yard sales and family. 
I probably paid a total of $5 for all of these frames.
I laid them all out on my patio and rearranged them around until I liked what I saw.
Then I went to Lowe's and picked up some of their Sample Paint.
I wish some had told me about this years ago. 
It's $2.98 for 8 oz. 
That's plenty for craft projects and perfect because you get to pick the exact shade.
I've been going nuts with it.
I used Sauna, Evergreen and Humboldt Earth from Valspar.
I painted them all different colors, keeping the like colored frames away from one another.

I then decided I wanted more than just pictures in this. 
I had been holding onto these 4 burlap canvases that I had for like a year.
I got them at Micheal's when they had them on sale for like $.25.
I then Googled "Good Four Letter Words" because I was that stumped about which word to choose.
"Home, Love, Live, Pray.. etc." 
I decided since it was by the door "Live" was a great reminder word to get out there and well.. "Live".
So I painted them on. No real strategy to that.
I also had that old key that was given to me, it had daisies on it originally but I decided to paint over it and hang it up here since I am always loosing keys. 
I also had two types of cloth I was given from a family member as well, I thought they would do well on this wall. They had some of the colors from the color scheme, but not all, so it was perfect from keeping it looking to "matchy matchy."
Then I threw it all on the wall, rearranging some as I went to make it work better.
The Photography in the frames is mine. It's pictures I've taken over the past three years that I always wanted to frame, finally I am. :)


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tobyn's First Halloween

Mr. T- Rex :)

My sweet baby..
I love my guys!

Look at that that Terribly Adorable T- Rex :)
He was too cute for words. 
We dressed him up and took him to our town square Trunk or Treat.
We debated on 'Trunk or Treating' then we realized how stupid we felt, because it was obvious we would be the ones eating the candy.
So we just walked around proudly with our little dino man.
I'm curious...does anybody else Trick or Treat with a little baby? 
Do people give you the candy or funny faces?


Saturday, October 20, 2012

my perfect pumkin

We are horrible parents.
We put our child in a pumpkin.
But you know what?

He loved it!
He was perfectly happy in there.
I swear I could eat up his perfect little self.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

thank you beautiful weather!

It is my absolute favorite time of the year!
I'm a chilly, falling leaves, sweaters and boots kind of girl!
All of this beautiful weather has inspired me to paint some landscape pictures, ones that I saw over on The Rooster and The Hen blog.
This is just a sneak peak of what the finished product will be, once the bedroom is done.
 I have so much wall to cover in our new house. It's unreal. I better get to painting.....


Thursday, September 20, 2012

3 months of joy... free house cleaning printable.

My baby is getting so big.
I enjoy waking up every morning to his big smile.
He is such a morning boy. :)

I'm working on my cleaning skills, as far as keeping up with and taking care of a whole house.
It's a lot different than an apartment.
I try to keep it clean and have it clean for when Jonathan gets home, because he deserves that, but I'm not perfect.

I tell you what, Pinterest has been such a lifesavor. I am also learning and improving to cook. Pinterest is my go-to for everything.

Here is a link to a free printable that has really helped me out with getting my cleaning and housekeeping under control:

Also here is the link to my Organization Pinterest board, follow if you'd like ;)
Pinterest Organization Board