Saturday, January 26, 2013

DIY Valentine's Day Photo Shoot

Before I start, I swear... I bought NOTHING for this project and I'm so pleased with the super cute results.  Everything I had was laying around our house somewhere or another.   Gosh, I love projects like that.  One more disclaimer - I was inspired last year for this idea by a photo I found on Flickr, but if you search "kissing booth" on Pinterest, I assure that you'll find a million similar kissing booth ideas to work from.
I started with this crate (~18x9.5x12.5") I found in the basement.  Not sure where it came from, but it wasn't being used, so I figured it'd be ok to paint... and I painted with some extra white satin Valspar paint we had in the garage.  I painted away, but only the parts that would show in my photographs (Yes, I'm *that* lazy.)  I've seen these crates at JoAnn's, AC Moore's and Michaels, so I'm assuming with a coupon, they wouldn't be that expensive to buy.
Next I made the overhead sign, affixing the items with only wood glue (no nails ladies!).  These were all wood scraps I found in the basement. The horizontal piece was ~24"x3.5".  I painted the face of the sign white, along with the two, thin supports  which were ~1.5"x20". (I just painted the front sides, again.  Wouldn't want to get too ambitious, would I?) 
As you can tell from the photo, I used a small hand saw on the support parts (for a neater cut), and on the horizontal sign, I merely scored the wood with the saw, then just broke it over my knee to get that raw, rough edge.  After my paint was dry, I grabbed a sharpie I wrote "Kissing Booth". 

I made a quick pattern and cut some hearts out of felt. I literally just put a tiny dot of tacky glue on the right corner of each heart and over-layed one on the other until it was the approximate length on my crate.  When the bunting dried, I again used a few quick dots of tacky Glue and attached each corner to the bottom of the crate (which would be facing forward on the finished product.)

Time to wedge in the overhead sign.  This kissing booth is not 100% durable, and would not make a good toy to play with, but if you wanted to, I'm sure you cold secure the whole thing a bit better than I did.  Good thing about doing it this way is it's easy to disassemble so you can share it with your friends (because really, it's way too cute not to share, right?)

Yep, I just wedged the thin sign supports into the open slats on the crate.  I had to use an additional cardstock shim on one side to keep the sign from leaning forward.  The other side fit pretty snug.

Now time for your menu.  Kisses.  That's all we were serving.  5 cents each.

I used some red and white cardstock, and then these adorable red and white striped party straws and candy cups I had leftover from my last TomKat Studio order (my go-to party supply shop).  Love that place!  On my sign I wrote (again in black sharpie) Kisses, 5 cents.  Then I constructed the sign holder.

The sign was taped to the straw, a hole was poked in the candy cup and the straw was inserted into the candy cup.  The sign was extremely top heavy, so I took a piece of Playdoh (yes, when all the colors get mixed together, you get gray Playdoh) and Voila!  So cute, right?

Kissing booth complete!...but I couldn't stop there.  I bought (oops, I guess I did end up buying something for this project, after all) sparkly iron-on stuff (what's that stuff called again?) and cut out an X, and O and a teeny, tiny heart.  I ironed them onto 2 of the boys white undershirts and their wardrobes were complete.  Add red lipstick (lots of red lipstick) and we were ready to shoot.
My two cutie pies.

How could you resist this sweet face?

Any one have any nickels?

Needed Items:
1 or more cute kids
small saw
wood glue
craft glue
wood crate
wood for overhead sign:  2 pieces of thin 1.5"x20" for supports and 1 piece 24"x3" for sign
white paint
felt in various Valentine colors
menu supplies (straw, candy cup, colored paper)
ball of playdoh (optional, but helps hold menu sign)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Innocent Wesley Words

In the van this morning, on my way to work (and to meet Papa with the boys), Wesley said in his saddest, frowniest (is that even a word?) sad voice, "Oh. Mommy look. That flag is sad."
"Why, Wes?" I asked.
"Because there is no wind for the flag," he somberly stated.
In light of the tragedies occurring last month, I'm certain the American flag is heavyhearted for reasons far beyond the lack of wind, but with those horrific events passing through my mind, I couldn't help but smile at Wesley's sweet, sheltered, innocent comment.
Although it's one of the scariest things as a parent, I will do my best to protect my children from all the ugly in this world and to help them be and see all the beauty that still exists.

Quiet Time Once Again

Besides hockey (see my last post), there seems to be a lot of things returning to our lives.  The most exciting for us (yes, even more exciting than Buffalo Sabres hockey) is NAP TIME!

(Happy Dance x's 100!)
We recently separated the boys bedrooms (stay tuned for photos) and things are going way smoother than we expected.  They just turned 3 in September and haven't been napping (in our home, at least) since around 18 months of age.  They desperately needed naps, but they just weren't happening. ...until now.
Apparently, when you are the only kid in a quiet bedroom after lunchtime, it seems that there is only one thing to do. Sleep.  Why didn't we do this separation sooner?
 (Answer: Mom needed a craft room, even though she didn't ever have time to use it.)
Drool all you want on that pillow, kid. Hallelujah, nap time gods!
Hindsight is 20/20, but we are definitely loving our daily 2+ hours of new-found parental freedom.  Whether I'm washing dishes, folding laundry or napping myself, I'm not going to lie...
It's absolutely glorious!
Another exciting thing about the separation is that both rooms are getting major updates.  The spare/craft room is almost complete - it is now a fireman/firetruck-themed room for Wesley.  That's what he asked for so that's what he got.  We're just glad he didn't go with his other obsession... garbage trucks.
Snuggling in his fireman room with with Bob the pink bear, Wes takes an afternoon siesta
with his new "circle pillow and blanket."
The nursery where the twins have both been up until now will soon be getting it's makeover (*sniffle*) into an outer space-themed room for Andrew.  Goodbye baby blue walls, hello planets, aliens and rocket ships!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Buffalo Hockey is Back!

Go on and judge. What real man doesn't take his choo choo blankie to a national sporting event?
It may appear to others that we reside in an athletic world of letdowns, but if there's one thing Buffalo has besides Superbowl losses and Stanley Cup almosts, it's team spirit.  After months of unsuccessful negotiations and the potential wash of an entire season, an agreement was finally met between the NHL and the Players Association.  Buffalonians, full of hockey hope and desperate for Stanley Cup glory, came out in full force last night for an open practice of our beloved Buffalo Sabres.

Fans in full force, I tell you.
Over 10,000 people.
At a practice game.

Filled with excitement for the short, but non-extinct season, we ventured to the Sabres arena for the first time ever with the boys.  The practice was free to the public (if you don't include the $40 in popcorn, nachos, beer and water we spent) and I wanted to be sure they could sit still long enough before actually spending money on seats for them at an upcoming game.

They. Did. Awesome.

Sure, they were more mesmerized with the 'trombone' (read: zambonie) than the actual game, but their eyes never left the ice.  Andrew even spent part of the game commentating on what he saw happening down on the ice.  Example: "...and then that guy hit it, and then he slipped, and hey look, he's going backwards and now he's going forward, and when is that horn going to blow again?"  (Yes, he said that and then some, all in one breath!)

Now I am not one for football (regardless of team), but I sure love hockey.  I'm excited that our boys did as well as they did and I can see us going to games as a family for years to come.

                                     Let's Go, Buffalo!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pronunciation vs. Overall Confusion

I always wondered, before I had children, if the parents of kids in my life were annoyed with me when I spoke "kid" with their children.  Examples would be me saying "doggie" instead of "dog" or "tubbie" instead of "bathtub."  Fast forward to my own opportunity at motherhood and I still occasionally do this, but now there is a twist that has popped up.  Word pronunciation vs. complete confusion of an actual word.

Here are some examples of pronunciation issues we are working on:
 - The letter R in words is often difficult for the boys to enunciate.  Take the word TRUCK.  Sometimes they say KWUCK, sometimes TWUCK, but if you slow them down and have them sound the TR out, it ends up sounding something like TROYCK.  Words like these, I'm always willing to break down and work with them on the correct way to say it.
 - S's were always a problem for me as a child (I guess I had a lateral lisp before hours and hours of speech classes) and I can see this same issue popping up with the boys - the pronunciation, not the lisp. SCHOOLBUS is usually KOOLBUS unless I stop the boys, make them slow it down and say each sound SSS-KOOL-BUS.

Then we have our completely-made-up-words that only sound remotely similar to the words they are representing.  I must admit, most of these have become guilty pleasures to my ears, and I find myself using the twin-concocted words INSTEAD of the real words (and this appears to be contagious - Dan and I both do it, along with both sets of grandparents! The words are just too cute to forget.)

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:
 - Just this morning, Andrew asked me if he could watch "STROYberry Pancake".  Although I was thrilled that he focused on properly trying to pronounce the "STR" part, he threw in Pancake instead of Shortcake and I had to chuckle.  Of course, I will now be referring to her as Strawberry Pancake.
 - Sadly this year, the boys were able to clearly pronounce "Christmas Tree." All last year, it was referred to as the "GA-FUNK-A-FEE" and I was secretly hoping they'd still call it that!
 - Then there are our words for berries.  Raspberries and blackberries, to be specific.  This is where the entire family (grandparents, included) have actually changed what we call these two fruits.  RASP-BEE-DOHS (think Homer Simpson for that last syllable) and BLACK-BEE-DOHS.  It's just so cute how it rolls out of their mouths, I can't bear to break the adorable bad pronunciation just yet!
Mr. Rasp-bee-doh Fingers!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Time to Update

Amist the hustle and bustle of the month of December, my husband and I came up with the brilliant idea of updating our hideous fireplace and the wall surrounding it (because who wouldn't want to do a mini re-model during the busiest month of the year when you are more than likely to have guests upon guest visiting.)  Now, I LOVE this fireplace and we use it all the time, but the fact that it's off-centered drives me slightly crazy.  Top that with a practically non-existant mantel (it's like 2" deep) and a hideous teracotta/neutrals stone backdrop and I was ready to take a sledge hammer to it on our closing day.  (Oddly, my bff has a thing for geology, and she informed me she loved the stone wall and was going to be sad to see it go).
This is what the scene looked like when we moved in.  I know, I know...blech.
In walks Pinterest.
Although I wanted to hire a mason to completly re-do the area (completely remove ~2.5' of the wall from the left, including a closet on the other side of this wall, and maybe add some subway tile around the fireplace unit), I managed to find many options for working with what we had;  the wall we had, the fireplace we had, and the money we had (...or didn't have.)
Slowly changing the colors in our home from warm neutrals (see the beige-y wall behind Dan in the pic below?) to cooler neutrals, we decided on a color scheme and took a risk doing everything on our own (including painting the entire room to go with the new fireplace wall).  My husband was nervous. Really nervous. He kept telling me (before the primer went on) that once he started, there was no turning back.  I just kept telling him that it couldn't look any worse than it already did.
Dan starting with the primer. No turning back now...

A coat of primer.  A coat of paint.   The wall was done.  Now to tackle the fireplace insert.

We got some high-temperature paint for the fireplace unit and permanently removed some of the facade's decor (I absolutley DESPISE brass). We painted the room's walls and now we are almost finished. We are still on the hunt for the perfect piece of wood to make a new mantel, but I went ahead and decorated our almost completed project (with our almost mantel) anyway.

Here's another shot while I transition out of Christmas mode and into winter mode...

So far, I love what it looks like!  Maybe it's not perfect, but it's WAY better than it was before.

Since the holiday decor came down, there is now a huge pile of wood neatly stacked to the bottom left  and I bought an old window frame to make my winter mantel decoration.  Do you like it?  I LOVE IT!
Stay tuned for a post on our bedroom update (I think I mentioned re-doing it about 2 years ago) and on the boys' rooms.  That's right!  I said ROOMS.  Thats rooms with an S!  We've separated them into their own bedrooms and they are loving it!

What we used:
Primer: Kilz - make sure label says it's ok for masonry
Fireplace high-temp spraypaint: Stove Bright (from local fireplace store), color Charcoal
Fireplace stone wall: Valspar satin finish (from Lowes), color Ston Mason Grey
Walls of room: Valspar satin finish (from Lowes), color Bay Waves