Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Things You Do

Whoa, I feel like I blinked and now October is nearly over, and I don't want to let it go by without our monthly update on the little dudes. It's funny, statistically speaking, this is one of my least popular posts, but it is hands-down my favorite one to write.  I guess it all comes down to the reason that I blog - and it is really and truly to have a record of our lives.  Of their lives. 

 Jack: I think we are going to sign you up for gymnastics.  I taught you to do a forward roll and you mastered that in no time at all, but to my horror you have kicked it up a notch.  You can now do this crazy thing that can only be described as a front handspring - but you land flat on your back.  Do you know how terrifying that is for a mother?  So yes, I think gymnastics could be good - you still get to do insane flips, but you will learn control and safety.  I will just start stockpiling anxiety medication now.

Luke: You are walking my man! Sometimes you are running.  You started to walk the week of your birthday, and then the week after that you just took off like you had been doing it your entire life.  It still surprises me to see you walk past - usually you are holding your favorite red shoe.

Jack:  You are SO excited for your birthday party (4 days away now).  You really get it this year, you know that people will be coming here, that there will be cake and balloons.  I know that even if the day is rainy you will have a wonderful time, so I am so excited too!

Luke: You are talking up a storm.  Well...in one year old terms anyway.  You newest vocabulary additions are 'hot' 'blub-blub'(fish), and 'downstairs'- you point to the stairs when I get you out of bed.  It is precious.  I didn't believe it the first few times, but it is definitely a new word!

Jack: You recently learned about germs, and how they can be different places and that is why we wash our hands.  While we were at Mimi's house you opened the garbage can and peered inside, then asked "Mommy! Are there germs in here?!" It was cute to see you on a germ hunt - although I think maybe you misunderstood the germ thing in general? 

Luke: You still aren't sleeping well! You little punk! I don't know how a person can be as sweet as you are without some solid sleep.  Bonkers my boy.  Bonkers!
Jack: We went to a Covered Bridge Festival with Grandma, and she bought you some corn to feed an Alpaca.  A lady from the paper snapped your picture as you did so, and the next day - there you were! A big ol' picture in the newspaper.  You better believe I saved a copy of it for your memory box!

Boys: It has been a pretty wild month, but you two are troopers.  There a lot of things that you don't know or understand, and it always reassures me to see your sweet personalities in the midst of other 'grown-up' troubles.  Daddy and I are both so incredibly proud of you two, and we are so grateful to have this wonderful little family (even if you two still refuse to take a family picture!!).

Monday, October 29, 2012

Brace Yourself

The Gnomes are coming!!

 They both loved their "big bellies". Although I have a suspicion that Luke just wanted to eat his.
We had fun.  Yes we did. 

If you would like to see previous costumes, you can find them here:
2011-Train Conductor & his train 

Did you/your kids dress up this year?  Drop me a link in the comments if you would like to share!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kitchen Progress

Let's get back to touring the progress we have made in the new house, shall we?! Between birthday parties and all things fall, I have kind of lagged on getting to all the rooms here.  This week I finally tackled the kitchen.  Which is funny because it was one of the first spaces that I made plans for

Starting point:
I hemmed and hawed over painting the cabinets, but you know what? I just can't do it.  There are a few reasons, the first being that this is not my house, and while I have permission to do anything I want, that seems to cross a line.  The second reason being that they are actually nice cabinets.  They are a cute style, and they are in really good shape.  The third reason is that the drawers rub against each other. and there is just no way they would keep a nice painted finish. 

So - plan B was born.  I have been thinking that I would like to really brighten the space up, so I knew I would end up going with white or cream on the walls.  I also knew that I really wanted to do SOMETHING with the backsplash.  As I mentioned before, almost every surface in this house was painted with flat paint, including the backsplash area.  This was a mess.  I mean, there is just no way to clean it.  I am a messy cook, and the previous tenants were apparently very messy cooks as well.  Months of staring at someone else's tomato sauce splatters will start to get to you, you know?  
  That is after I have scrubbed it repeatedly.  After almost 4 months, I had had enough, so I got to work.  

Tuesday I primed the walls and painted the ceiling. As much as I hate painting ceilings, it had to be done.  The ceiling in there was a high-gloss gray, and it was just awful.   Matt was gone for all day on Wednesday, and I really wanted to surprise him when he got home, so I worked my little tail off.   During the boys naptime I squeezed in two coats of white paint, and then I blocked off the kitchen while that dried for the rest of the afternoon. 
Once the boys went to bed for the night I moved everything from the counters out onto the dining room, did a third coat of white just to make sure the coverage was even (See a certain someone sneaking down the stairs to check out what I am up to?).  The white paint brightened the space up SO much.  It's very cheery now!
The little striped curtain I made out of some old fabric I had laying around, and actually have yet to make one for the other window.  I will get there eventually! Also, I think I have mentioned it before, but I am not a big fan of having stuff on our counters, I find that extra stuff just collects crumbs, so I try to keep the counters pretty clear (we do use a dish rack, but I put it away under the sink when we aren't using it).
Here is the view looking out toward the dining room (the window looks out onto the front porch).
Like I said - I'll get to the curtain someday!

I had originally thought maybe I would do beadboard on the backplash, but even that was more of a financial commitment than I want to make to a rental.  I loved the idea of having some texture back there, and then it dawned on me that I had recently seen an advertisement for textured wallpaper.  It's washable, it's paintable, and it is pre-glued.  And for a price tag of $19 it was more in line with what I am willing to invest in a rental!  Turns out - I LOVE IT.  A lot.
 For me, it is just the right mix of noticeable and subtle. 
 I was terrified to actually make cuts and hang it on my own, but I did it, and I only messed up one cut around an outlet.  It was an easy fix though, and it isn't noticeable at all.  I also shocked myself on said outlet, so when people say turn off your electric, TURN OFF YOUR ELECTRIC.  I've never claimed to be a genius.
It makes a huge difference in the room.  Huge. 

Lastly, I hung a cute little collection of blue and white plates on the large empty (but bright!) wall.  
 My mom gave me three of them (and yes, one is broken.  Thank you Luke), and the rest I had been given by my sister, and Aunt.  The white oval plate with the blue writing is kind of just in there as a place holder.  It is the lyrics to our wedding song, but I don't really like the finished product.  I plan on adding to the wall as I find more blue and white plates in thrift stores.  I think it will be fun to watch it grow.

So there you have it, that is what I have done in the last few days!  I had just wrapped it all up and cleaned up my mess when Matt got home around 11:30, and it was very surprised! He likes it, and it was nice to do something like this to surprise him. 

How about one more before and after of that backspash?
Clearly it is my favorite part!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What's all this Hullabalu?

A few weeks ago a sweet representative from Hullabalu contacted me about sending out a product for the boys to enjoy.  Generally, I say no to reviews, but this time?  I couldn't resist.  Have you seen these stuffed animals?  Oh the cuteness.  Jack has been talking about 'hinge-hogs' lately, and wouldn't you just know they have the sweetest little hedge hog named Victor!

Last week we ran some errands and when we returned Jack was pretty excited to see a bright blue box on our porch. 
 (Sorry about the smily face, the dog was....well...you know).
 He kept saying "what is it?!"

 A HINGE HOG!!! Needless to say, he was pretty darn excited to not only get his very own package in the mail, but for it to contain one of his current favorite animals.  He and Victor became immediate buds...
And Victor sure makes a great pillow!

Hullabalu is launching next year, but for now you can check out their line at this link.  They have some very precious little buddies there. 

Thank you, Hullabalu (and Chelsea!), for making my big guys day! Victor has already gone all over town with us!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Family Pictures 2012

You know how sometimes things work out a little differently in your head than they do in real life? 

I did that last week.  I thought to myself 'Self.  You should take your own family pictures.  And you should include the dog.  How hard can it be?'

Haha. Ha.  Hahahahahaha.  Stupid Bekah-of-four-days-ago.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.
 So anway....the pics weren't awesome.  Not by a long shot.

Every time I set the timer and ran back to get into position the dog thought I was playing and started jumping around, and then Jack caught a wild hare  and started making faces. 
I mean, the kissy lips are cute, but not really what I was hoping for, you know?

This next one probably would have been the best...but a certain someone once again bombed it.
Thanks kid.   

Oh here is another one that would have been good, but...
Oh yeah, Jack was HIDING BEHIND A TREE.  And then he had an emotional breakdown when he realized we were out of gummies. 
Oh dear.

And then.  AND THEN! We found an awesome covered bridge just minutes from our house and wanted to take a picture in it.  This was going to be it, I could feel it!

Until we saw that a precious little dog had been hit on the side of the road. 
Awful.  (He didn't actually see it, he was just mad because we decided not to go in the bridge, and we didn't want to tell him the real reason we turned around).

So then, we went home, ordered a pizza, and called it quits.  I'm thinking this will just be our Christmas card this year...

...it's fitting.  I mean really, I don't think anyone can bomb a photo session like we can bomb a photo session, you know?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Me Make Fire! Arrghh!

I had a very neanderthal moment earlier this week where I felt quite advanced because I, Rebekah Jane CountryMouse, made fire.

What's the big deal you ask?   With the flick of a lighter we can pretty much all do that these days.  No no no, I made kid-friendly fire.  Because what is a Camp Out without a campfire?  Matt and I went back and forth about how to have a little fire here for the party, and - well - we came to the conclusion that three year olds just can't be trusted with an open flame.

I know.  It's pretty cute, right?  I am kicking myself for not taking in progress pictures, but it was one of those crafts where I finally had a few spare minutes from the boys and I was on a roll with the creativity, you know?  You just don't mess with that.

If you haven't worked with felt before, you should give it a try, it is seriously one of the easiest things to make kid stuff from, and it is cheap, cheap, cheap.  (You can see my felt Easter eggs here).  You do NOT need to be a fabulous seamstress to do this.  I am a disaster with a needle and thread, and I managed.  I only made myself bleed once!

Also - my dog adores it.  He basks in it's warmth.
The price breakdown comes to - are you ready for this? - a whopping  five dollars!  Sheets of felt are 3/$1 at Ben Franklin Crafts, and I used 4 red, 2 yellow (they were out of orange) 3 brown, and 6 gray. 

The fire is made with four red sheets, cut in an identical flame pattern, then sewed edge to edge in a square shape.  I then sewed on the yellow flame (NOTE: I should have done this first, it was a pain in the butt). Then I realized I forgot to buy any stuffing, so I ripped open an old pillow and used that.  It worked.  Once it was stuffed I used a fishing line to sew down the middle to give it enough support to stand on it's own.  Because I am planning on letting littles play with it, I didn't want to put anything like wire in it that they could potentially hurt themselves with. Then I just sewed the bottom shut.  It was incredibly easy, it just took a little tweaking to figure out exactly how to do it.

The "logs' are toilet paper tubes.  I sewed felt to fit over it like a little sleeve, then stuffed the tube with stuffing to make it a little more sturdy, and then just closed it up with a brown circle of felt.

The "rocks" were the easiest part.  I cut a large oval, did a large running stitch around the edge, plopped in a wad of stuffing and pulled it tight.

Seriously the whole thing took maybe an hour and a half, with breaks to wrangle my children.
I love that in all my pictures there is always a stray something in the background.  Today it is a gourd.  Of course it is!

So there you have it.  WOMAN MAKE FIRE! Jack hasn't seen the finished product yet, so I am excited to get his reaction to a little campfire he and his buddies can play with at his party!

What do you think?  It is passable as a campfire right?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Embracing the Camera - with Mustaches

It's been a while since I linked up and embraced the camera.  For those of you new to the idea of 'embracing the camera', it is all about getting IN pictures with your man, your kids, your dog, whatever - just making sure you get on the other side of the lens every now and then. The most recent pics I have involving myself are a cute series from Luke's fiesta
 A few people have asked how I got Luke to keep the mustache on.  MITTENS.  No really, they just can't get a grip on things with them on.  It's the same way I get him to keep hats on. 
 That's not to say he didn't try.  Also - side note: best baby mittens ever come from Joanne Fabrics.  They are in the little $1 bins near check out.  We have tried oodles of mittens.  Oodles I tell ya! And these are the only ones that have stayed on for both of my boys!
I love how victorious he looks in this picture!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Party Prep: Round 2

That's right, ANOTHER party is looming on the horizon for a certain little fella who is pushing the big OH-THREE.  He totally knows that it is coming up too, every time I do anything he asks if it is for his party. 

If you would like to see his other parties, you can click here for this 1st birthday, and here for his 2nd.  For the first time, we will be having the party here at our house.  I am so nervous, because I have never, EVER, had a party at any of our homes.  The most I have ever had was when people came over to meet Luke right after he was born! Where will everyone sit? I have no idea. The floor?

Nevertheless, I finally got the invitations out last week, so I wanted to make sure I got it up here as well (we all know I am going to lose the actual invite, so this stands as a record for us).
I learned my lesson about having outdoor parties in November after his first birthday party (40 degrees - brrr), so I am going to try to turn my house into an indoor campground.  I've got some ideas, but I am also hitting some snags (like seating). 

Feel free to shout out ideas in the comments! I love a good brainstorming session!

P.S. For anyone interested, I made the invitation mainly in Picmonkey, printed it on cardstock, slapped a stamp on the back and sent it out postcard style. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Little Pumpkin

Over a year ago I won a precious little owl hat for Jack in a giveaway, and with that precious little owl hat, came THIS precious little pumpkin hat.

Luke and I had some fun with it today.

Dressing kids up in ridiculous hats is at least a quarter of the reason I became a parent. 

Probably more.

I kid! I kid! Sort of. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Smile

It IS Friday right?  Man, this week has been ROUGH.  But - if this eight seconds doesn't put on a smile on your face, you probably need to go back to bed. 

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Succulent Cupcakes : A basic How-To

The fun thing about having kids with birthdays that fall a month apart is that as soon as one birthday is over, the next is looming on the horizon! Not to mention Halloween falls in there as well.  Oy.

But anywho...those succulent cupcakes turned out to be a bit hit with people at the party, and here online, so I thought I would post a very basic how-to for anyone looking to make their own.  Now, I want to be very clear that this is not my original idea - I first saw them here, but there is no mention of how they are made. 

I toyed around and had to figure them out by trial and error.  ALSO - there have been cases of trace amounts of lead in some terracotta.  That particular case was made in Mexico, and ours came from Germany, but I didn't want to run any risks, so I decided not to bake the cupcake in the little pot as I had originally planned.  Your call I guess.

That said,  all these cute little cupcakes entail are chocolate cupcakes, green icing, and open star icing tip, and - secret ingredient here folks! - a donut hole.

I did try doing the little succulent in all icing, but it smooshed down over the cupcake.  It was not pretty. So I ate it. 

I found that if I cut the bottom off of a donut hole to make a nice flat edge, then secured it with a dollop of green icing, I could then ice all around the donut hole to get the little Succulent shape.

Some of them looked a little more like bushes, but you know what?  I think they turned out pretty good!

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