Wednesday, February 29, 2012

IKEA kids table re-do

I love being able to mix in adult pieces and spaces in with kid spaces in the main living area of a home. I think you can really achieve the best of both worlds when it comes to having a kid-friendly room without making it entirely a playroom.  I bought this IKEA kids table for $20 a few years back and it has migrated around the house.   Logan's reading and writing ability is developing so rapidly, and he loves practicing writing words.  I wanted to give the kids a space they could go if they got the itch to be creative, and not have to wait for me to get out paper/markers/etc.

Enter IKEA LATT Table. It is solid pine frame with a fiberboard top.



I told Logan he could choose the colors, and he went with black for the table, and a light blue for the chairs.  I went with RustOleum Universal Satin Spray Paint in Black. The can is great since it has an ergonomic nozzle (read: user friendly), and the product itself rocks because it is a primer and paint in one (read: less work for me!).  I took my opportunity on Sunday to get this project started because it was over 50 degrees outside. Holla! 

A couple coats of paint and we were looking good. 


{Notice the snow on the ground. And 53 degrees. Crazy weather}

Logan requested "some green" to be added to the chairs, so rather than increasing my workload with taping and painting, I did some Mod Podging! 
(Is podging a word? no?)


So I got some paint swatches, cut them into squares (removing the color information) and Mod Podged those suckers straight to the tops of the seats. It took quite a few coats, and in retrospect, I should have hot-glued the corners down first, but in the end it turned out cute. 


Finally, I bought Martha Stewart Chalkboard paint in black from Michaels with a 40% off coupon, which meant that little bottle was under $4. Not bad. I painted about 3 coats with a foam brush, and in about 24 hours was left with this fun table top. 


Doesn't it look inviting?


I put a $2.50 Target dollar bin bucket, with smaller $1 buckets that house crayons, markers, paper, stickers, a calculator, some English/Spanish flash cards, a box of colored chalk and a rock. Yes, a rock. Why? Because my kid likes rocks.
 And my kid rocks. 


Gettin' busy. 


By the end of the first night, the table looked like this. 


And I love it! That is exactly how it SHOULD look. Fun, creative, and whimsical, and now I want to chalkboard paint all sorts of hard surfaces throughout my house! 

And there you go. Under $40 from beginning to end, and *maybe* and hour total of work.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Danger!

So this interesting event happened a few weeks ago, and despite the embarrassment this will cause my dear husband, I still have to share it here. because it is funny.

Since I breastfeed our bambinos, there is not much the hubs can be in charge of in the nighttime hours. When a wee-one wakes up, he is not looking to Daddy for comfort. He wants one thing, and one thing only. A boob.  So, Daddy has always been in charge of nighttime diaper changes (in those early days) and baby-retrieval.  So even now, (and yes, I realize these babies should be sleeping completely through the night) when a twinkie wakes up for a snack and a snuggle, it is the job of Daddy to get up, get the baby, and bring him to me in bed. That is service, let me tell you.

So a few weeks ago, I heard a baby crying (can't even remember which one, is that bad?) and I started the normal ritual of poking the husband and saying "Bri. Brian. Get up. Go get the boy. Brian".  Nothing. I got nothing in return. I opened my eyes to find Brian sleeping in an odd position - one knee up and the other leg crossed over the knee. Weird, right?! So I poked harder, and spoke a bit louder "BRI! Brian! The baby. He's crying. GET UP!".  So Brian grumbles, moans, and goes to step off the side of the bed and that's when it happens... he falls to the floor like a ton of bricks. just disappears off the side of the bed and literally shook the floor. I shot out of bed yelling "WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?" and my dear husband is laying on the ground complaining that his leg was asleep and he couldn't move. I began laughing, of course and he in complete seriousness exclaims "I COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED!".  This caused me to laugh even harder to the point where I could no longer breathe, and I couldn't help but ask how, in the world, could he have been killed, to which he replied "I could have fallen out the window".

And people think I am the dramatic one.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Salt Dough Fingerprint Pendants


We worked on Valentine gifts for about a week.  We made salt dough and I had Logan and Eliza make bowls to give to their Dad's and fingerprint pendants for Eliza to give to her mom and, well, I of course had some made for myself! They turned out pretty cute. The salt dough is 2 parts flour, 1 part salt. Mix with a bit of water to get it to the consistency of playdoh. I gave the kids total creative control with making their bowls.  They helped me cut out the pendant shapes, and of course, provided their fingerprints before baking. I put everything on a cookie sheet and baked at 250 degrees for several hours. When cooled, everything was painted. This was most definitely their favorite part of the activity! 

The Day of Love

Holidays become different when you have kids. and way more fun.

I had high hopes for Valentines Day this year.  Brian and I celebrated a few nights early with a post-kids-bedtime dinner to ourselves of steaks on the grill, baked potatoes and asparagus. It was divine. and quiet. and I didn't have to get up from the table a SINGLE TIME. This was huge, people.

Valentine's Day morning started with a nice "LOVE breakfast" of muffins and more at Logan's school.  My guy spent 40 minutes eating a blueberry muffin.  I snagged a photo of what Logan told his teacher that he loves the most.
I love you too sweetie.


I began preparing for the kids' Valentine's Day lunch a few days early. I steamed and pureed an organic beet in the Beaba baby food cooker. Note: beets turn your hands red... for about a day.

I used the Weelicious.com recipe for Beet Pancakes and renamed them for the day to Heart "Beet" Pancakes, which Logan totally loved.

Here is the recipe:

1 Cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
3 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
2 Medium Beets, roasted & pureed (about 3/4 Cups)
1 1/4 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Large Egg
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
1 Tsp Vanilla extract


Of course, since we are an egg-free house, I had to substitute the egg with some flax powder mixed with water. What a fantastic and healthy trick! I also didn't have any greek yogurt up in here, so I used some plain yogurt instead. I had purchased one large beet, which made plenty of puree. 

The results were fabulous, and to say the kids loved them is an understatement.  The heart shape. the color. the yumminess... they were huge fans.  Plus, I have the remaining cakes in the fridge that we have been popping in the regular toaster for breakfast every morning since.  I don't really care for regular pancake syrup, so we have been drizzling a little amber agave nectar on top which is scrumptious. 



I also made my little loves some "I love you Berry much" smoothies.  Milk, banana, frozen berries, yogurt and blend. We like ours served in cute mason jars. 


Logan came home with a bag of love notes, candy and toys from his buddies at preschool for the first time and it brought back memories of making mailboxes out of old shoe boxes for Valentine's Day and being so excited to receive the cardboard pink and read notes. Now, thankful to Pinterest, Valentine notes have become quite the creative rave. 

We worked on Valentine gifts for about a week.  We made salt dough and I had Logan and Eliza make bowls to give to their Dad's and fingerprint pendants for Eliza to give to her mom and, well, I of course had some made for myself! They turned out pretty cute. The salt dough is 2 parts flour, 1 part salt. Mix with a bit of water to get it to the consistency of playdoh. I gave the kids total creative control with making their bowls.  They helped me cut out the pendant shapes, and of course, provided their fingerprints before baking. I put everything on a cookie sheet and baked at 250 degrees for several hours. When cooled, everything was painted. This was most definitely their favorite part of the activity! 

We gave the munchkins their gifts from us. Logan got a new game for his LeapPad (Mr. Pencil - which he was super excited about), and the Twinkies got Twin Seahorses. These things come with magic pixy fairy dust from a faraway land of preciously sleeping children who sleep a long and wonderful slumber because can I tell you something? Since the night we gave them this glowing, music playing wondrous delights of heaven they have slept a MINIMUM of 9 hours STRAIGHT. 

Let me repeat that.

Nine. straight. hours.

I mean, yea. This hasn't happened before. This is a long time. Do you know how much sleep Brian and I have gotten this week? Possibly more than the entire month of December. I wish I were kidding. 

They love these seahorses. Love. 

And I love these boys. 











We celebrate our love for these three every single day. But I must say, devoting an entire day to doing little things to show them how special they are to us was wonderful. 





Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bathroom art

I have this bathroom. It is the most used bathroom in the house since it is the only one on the main floor of the house. However, it is small, has no windows, and has a serious identity crisis. I have painted it... well, let's just say it has been painted a few times. *cough* four times *cough*.  And I still hate it.  Since I don't have the dough to do everything that I want to do for a full-on makeover, I have been changing little details here and there.  My favorite bathroom in the house is the boys' bathroom upstairs (more on that later), and since I did some new crafty stuff for that room this weekend, some art suddenly was free to roam the house! So a large black framed photo of a black and white image that I took is now in crisis'd bathroom, and I had a second black frame that needed something to balance the other side of the room. I switched out a towel hook for a more kid-friendly (think independent hand-washing), lower to the sink hook, and did some spur of the moment kid art feature the 3 little loves of my life!

I am diggin' the result. Best part? It serves as a friendly reminder from the germaphobe mommy of the house. Me.


Parker-friendly treats

Since my wee little guy says no to eggs, (more on that here) I have decided to start testing out cooking and baking foods that would normally require eggs with egg substitute.  While researching, I found that flax powder mixed with water can pretty much serve as an egg substitute in most baked goods. Score! Healthy, full of Omega-3's and good for the heart.

We love a good banana bread in this house, so when I found a vegan recipe for banana bread, I did a little tweaking and made it today. As you can see, it was a huge hit. The loaf is half gone already.


Recipe (with my modifications): 

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup unsweetend applesauce
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
handful of raisins (or you could use dates, nuts, dried fruits, etc)
2 tbsp flax seed powder with 6 tbsp water (mixed and let sit for 2 minutes)

Preheat oven to 350

Mix flax with water and set aside. Mix applesauce and banana in a separate bowl and set aside. In large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients. Add flax mixture, and banana/applesauce mixture and pour in greased loaf pan. Bake until knife comes out clean (probably between 35-50 min). Resist urge to add more liquid or over mix. The mixture will be thick.  

Egg-free, milk free, sugar free and oil free. 

This bread came out super flavorful, not at all dry, and tastes amazing with a touch of butter or even some jam. Yuuuuuummmm. And my little Parker? lip-smackin' egg-free goodness to that little guy!

Enjoy! 


Friday, February 10, 2012

Sometimes you just feel like watching what you want to watch!



Yesterday afternoon I had a brief period of time where all kids were napping - my three boys and the two little girls that I care for during the week.  I took this opportunity to watch some DVR and work on editing some photos.  It wasn't long before Logan woke up (he is pretty much outgrowing naps anyways) and per usual grabbed a snack and curled up next to me.  I happened to be watching Ellen.  I look over at Logan and this is what happened. 



video

Anyone else have a 4-year-old who loves Rachael Ray as much as mine does? I ended up finding an episode on DVR with Buddy Valastro (aka Cake Boss), where he and Rach were making PB&J cupcakes. Right up this kid's alley. He went from weeping to cheering at the television.  Who knows, perhaps my boy will be a chef one day! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hoot!

Isn't it funny how owls can be so cute when they are for kids, but let's be honest, real owls are kind of fierce! 

Exhibit A

Right! 

Luckily, these cutie little owls are nothing even close to fierce. 

Photo property of HartFelt by iHart



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