Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

This year we jumped on the bandwagon and made heart shaped crayons for Valentines Day for the girls' classes.  I had a huge stash of used crayons that had been collecting in my classroom for quite a while.  The girls and I peeled (I used a razor to cut the paper lengthwise down the crayon and they peeled the paper off), broke, and melted them in a silicone heart shaped pan.

Here are my helpers.  I think they liked breaking the crayons the best.

Monkey is giving out crayons with Dora Valentines.

Lil Bean is giving out crayons with paper hearts taped on top.

How are your little ones celebrating Valentines Day?  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Room for a Boy

I've been busy "nesting" for the last week as we prepare to adopt a little boy.  You can read more about that here.  We still don't know when our little guy, who we've been calling Little Brother, will actually be ours, but we're hoping it will be soon.  

I thought I would share some pictures of Little Brother's room.  This room was the nursery we brought our girls home to and then became the guest room when we moved the girls into the Princess room.

I found this quilt at Target and instantly fell in love.  Our Ugly Doll OX matches it perfectly.  Fortunately, it was on clearance and I got it for a great price.  Unfortunately, it didn't have a coordinating bed skirt.

The pink changing table pad will be replaced with blue or green as soon as I can get my hands on the right fabric.  I spent a long time painting the castle on the wall 5 years ago and haven't decided if I can really bring myself to paint over it.  I'm also itching to make roman shades, but again, I haven't found the right fabric.  

I'm picturing roman shades with a fun fabric like these:

I can't wait to paint the furniture midnight blue.

 I love the blue furniture in this picture:

If I muster the courage to paint over the castle we'll probably go with a vintage baseball theme.  The old glove was my husband's grandfather's.  My whole family are Cardinals fans so I'm sure I'll find a way to bring some birds in.  :)

Here are a few more pictures that inspire me:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

$5 Chair Covers

I have a little problem.

OK, four little problems.

My dining room chairs.  {{Shudder}}

They are gross.  

This morning I sat in syrup leftover from Lil Bean's french toast breakfast.  I couldn't take it any longer.

Enter $5 canvas painter's drop cloth from Lowes.

I used a large paper to draw a pattern of my seat.  I cut out my pattern allowing an extra half inch on all sides for a seam allowance.

 Each seat cover was made up of three pieces.  The top piece, one long rectangle (3" wide by about 51" long) to wrap around the left side, front, and right side, and a smaller rectangle (about 3" wide by 13" long) for the back.  The back flap is shorter to leave openings for the chair back.   I forgot to take pictures as I was working!  Please forgive me!

Drop Cloth Chair Covers

I simply hemmed the long edge of the side pieces before stitching all of the pieces together.  In just a couple of hours I made four seat covers!  They make my chairs look like new!

Drop Cloth Chair Cover

The best part?  When my little monsters wipe their ketchupy fingers on them or spill milk on them (it will happen) I can throw them in the washing machine.

I almost sprayed them with water-proofing spray I found under the sink (made for outdoor gear) but my husband stopped me and warned me it might not wash well.  Does anyone have experience with this?  What about Scotchgard?  

DIY Magazine FIles

As soon as I decided to tackle organizing my home office I realized I needed more magazine files.  I already had a couple on hand but I needed a few more.  I went looking at a couple stores nearby and surprisingly couldn't find any cheap, basic, magazine files to match the ones I already had.

Then as I was doing laundry it dawned on me.

I already had boxes the perfect size to make my own!

I traced my existing files and cut the tops off of the detergent boxes.

A couple coats of spray paint...

And I'm organized!  You can see my entire office here.

Bye Bye Nursery

 This is the picture I took of the third bedroom when we moved into our house.  Love the formal curtains and tan trim, don't you?  ;)

A little over a year later we were expecting our first baby and the third bedroom became a nursery.  The walls and trim got fresh paint.

My husband built an amazing crib.  I sewed the crib bumpers and skirt.

Hubby also built a changing table to match the crib.  I took down the big heavy curtains and sewed lighter curtains to match the crib bedding.

I spent hours and hours painting a castle on the wall.  We also hung some puppets to complete the fairy tale theme.

Both of our girls slept and played in this room for the first year or two of their lives.  Now they share the larger Princess bedroom.  The nursery slowly changed into a guest room and the crib was disassembled and moved to the attic.  Now this room is undergoing yet another change.  

The nursery is becoming Little Brother's room!

I recently shared our good news about being selected to adopt a little boy.  As we go through the required steps to bring him home I have been busy preparing his room.  I'll be sure to post more as the room comes together!

Our Adoption Story

Before Ryan and I were married we decided we wanted to eventually adopt and/or foster children.  There are so many children in state custody in desperate need of good homes.  According to Child Welfare Information on September 30, 2009 there were an estimated 423,773 children in foster care.  That's a lot of kids needing love.  We feel a strong calling to do what we can to help those children.

Fast forward.  We got married and I gave birth to two healthy baby girls.  About a year after our second daughter was born we started talking about our plans for more children and the conversation kept turning to adoption.  

In the fall of 2010 Ryan and I began the process of becoming adoptive parents through the state's department of human services.  It took about 8 months to complete the required classes, background checks, home study, and paperwork.  Then in June of 2011 our adoption case worker called with the good news that we were officially approved!  

As exciting as it was to be done with the approval process, we knew it could take years for our family to be matched with a child.  And since we wanted a male child younger than our own the window was pretty small.  But I had faith that the right child would come to our family at the right time, and I was willing to wait.

Here's a little info in case you aren't familiar with the foster care system.  Usually, when children are taken into custody they are placed in a foster home while the parents are given time to improve the situation.  The main goal is to reunite children with their parents.  Sometimes reunification isn't possible and parental rights are terminated and children are changed from foster to adoptive status.  This process can take years.  Since we are adoptive parents, but not foster parents, we cannot be given a child until parental rights have been completely terminated and the child is in adoptive status.  

So imagine my surprise when I got a call from our case worker last week.  

We have been chosen to adopt a little boy!

Earlier this week we met with two case workers to go over all of his information. {For security reasons I'm not going to share any details.}  After talking with the workers and reading the very large file we have decided to proceed with the adoption. 

The next step is to meet with a therapist to go over his file again.  This is standard procedure to ensure we understand everything in the inch-thick, somewhat-confusing file.  

Which means more waiting.  Which is much harder to {patiently} do when you know there is also a child waiting on you!

After we get that meeting out of the way we'll be able to meet our little guy!  And then it won't be long until he becomes part of our family.

We are so excited!

So for now we are preparing the girls for a little brother and preparing the house for another little person.  Over the weekend I cleaned out the former nursery-turned-guest room and have been transforming it into a boy's room.  The girls keep asking when their little brother is coming.  They tell us about all the things they will teach him and show him and share with him when he comes.  

This is definitely an exciting time for our family and we feel so blessed.  I know the next few months will be a whirlwind of emotions and activity.  

I can't wait to begin this new chapter!  Thank you for letting me share my story with you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Corner Office

My home office is located in a little corner off of the dining room.  Almost a year ago I posted about my office and how I organized it.  At the time I was happy with the space because I was happy to just have a home office.  However, as time progressed the office kept getting messier and  messier because it wasn't functional.  And there was too. much. stuff.  Just staring at me.  Making me crazy.  So I spend a full day going through everything.  I removed most of my craft supplies.  I moved some things to a closet.  I got rid of a lot of stuff.  

And it felt good.  

Until all the dust left me sneezing and itching.  

After a good cleaning I brought in some bins and baskets to organize and hide all of our stuff.

This little corner gets a lot of natural light through the skylight.  

The baskets hold stationary, envelopes, and paperwork. 

 I already had two magazine files and since I couldn't find any more matching files I made my own.  They hold paper, magazines, pictures, and the kids' artwork that I'll eventually put in books.  The framed photo and vase are from our honeymoon in Costa Rica.  

I kept a couple of jars for office supplies and small electronic pieces and plugs.

I'm really happy with the space now that I got rid of the clutter and put things away in baskets and bins.  It has taken me almost two weeks to get this post written and my office is still clean!  Its amazing!  A little organization can go a long way.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fun Crochet Hats!

This year for Christmas I got out my crochet hooks to make homemade gifts for my nephews.  I wanted to make them fun and unique hats.

Dragon and Owl Crochet Hats

My 4 year old nephew loves all things dragons.  I was able to find this pattern and modify it to fit my beginner skills.  I don't like to study patterns so I started with a basic beanie for both hats.  

Dragon Crochet Hat

And just for fun I made a beard hat for my brother-in-law.  Here's a picture of my husband modeling it before we mailed it.  Not perfect by any means (ended up being a little big) but fun none-the-less.

Men's Beard Hat

I'm still hoping for some snow days to stay home, snuggle up, and crochet some more.