Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday #17 - Matching Metals

I love my display of family photos. I wanted to unify them a little more without going through the expense of replacing all the frames. Enter my new BFF . . .

In no time, I have a new look for my photo display. Now if only I could spray paint the walls!

See what others are tackling today!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Show & Tell Friday - Framed Wedding Invitation

Recently Buzzings of a Queen Bee wrote a post about giving a unique wedding gift: a framed wedding invitation. She inspired me to do a little unpacking and find mine.

My cousin, Nancy, gave this to us as a wedding gift. I love that she embellished it with a beautiful drawing. It's a perfect addition to a few of my little mirrors.

If you look closely, you can see some moving boxes in the reflection still waiting to be unpacked and some fabric swatches on the chair.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thrifty Green Thursday - No Gift Birthday Idea

Green Baby Guide hosts a weekly carnival called Thrifty Green Thursday. I've been reading the ideas for weeks and decided it was time to participate.
We get to go to a birthday party this evening. The host has requested "no gifts", which I love as a concept, but I always feel a little strange showing up without something. I really like the idea of recycled presents or "shopping" your house.

Today I recycled a picture frame to give to the birthday girl. I found an extra picture frame we had packed up and used some left over materials from this project.

I spray painted the frame and hot glued some fabric to the matting. In a matter of minutes, I had a cute updated picture frame fit for a little girl on her third birthday. I also included a picture of the birthday girl with her little friend, Meg.

Another good idea for "shopping" your house, is to encourage your child to pick out one of their toys to give as a present. Have you ever noticed how much fun your kids having playing with other kids' toys!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday #16 - Our Coat Closet All Grown Up

We weren't taking advantage of all the space in our coat closet. We don't have a mudroom, so I wanted to create a space that would allow us to do more than just hang our coats. Here's pictures of the before:

And the after. Just like Kale's changing station closet, I used things from around the house we already had on hand.

I created a "landing" place for the mail, keys and cell phones. The bulletin board holds the items with deadlines or due dates. The baskets up top house baseball hats, phone books and a few manuals (my dear husband can often be found reading his VW car manual).

Bob and I each get a drawer in the dresser for papers and things. There's a drawer for things I routinely put in the diaper bag and my shoes are in the bottom drawer.

The kids have a place for their shoes and socks (a little tip I learned awhile back from a fellow blogger is to have a couple pair of socks where the shoes are kept). Of course, Meg's is the pink one! Their school tote bags are easy for them to grab on the way out the door. I'd still like to put a little bulletin board above the bench for them to display their school work.

I posted the kids' school calenders on the side of the dresser so we can see what they'll be learning about that day. There's also a container in between the dresser and bench to put paper in for recycling. I might tweak it a little more, but overall I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Check out some more great tackles over at 5 minutes for mom.


This is so cool. Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words appearing more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

I took the text from my "Living Green" post and pasted it into the Wordle program. Don't ya love how "Eliminating" is the most prominent word!

Let's think of ways we can use these:

  • design one for each of your kids using words that describe them
  • create a motivational "word wall"
  • use words from your favorite song, poem or quote
  • if your family has a mission statement, copy and paste it into the program
  • use words from your wedding vows
you could
  • frame it
  • create stationary
  • make stickers
  • make t-shirts
What are your ideas?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Miss My Girls

There are still things that catch me off guard. I've gotten very savvy with my grief. I'm pretty good at putting my pain on hold; attending to it when I can't ignore it anymore. Grieving is exhausting . . . but entirely necessary and healing.

Tonight I unpacked a container of clothes. As I was putting them away I saw my shoes. The shoes I wore on the day of Ellie and Kate's funeral. I haven't seen them since that day. I put them on and tended to my broken heart.

I desperately try to imagine Ellie and Kate in my mind as they would be today. I imagine how their voices would sound. I try to picture how they would hold a pencil as they do their homework. Simple things I only have my imagination to give me.

There's a chill in the air - the first of many reminders of that day. Sometimes I need to write - to open up a wound I know will never completely heal. I need my girls to hear my words and see my tears and know they make me proud. They make me strong.

I am blessed. I now get to put away my shoes and tuck in three beautiful children. I also get to talk to Ellie and Kate in my prayers and see them in my dreams. Good night.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday #15 - The Playroom

The baby woke up especially early this morning and was being a little loud. Instead of taking the chance of waking up every one else, we went down to the basement. This is what I found . . .

In our last house the playroom was right beside the family room so it was easier to see when it was a disaster. In our new house, the playroom is out of sight in the basement.

I thought this was the perfect motivation and opportunity to start back with Tackle It Tuesday. I have big plans for this room, but for now a good picking up is in order. The baby cooperatively played on the floor while I put things away.

I didn't have time to hang pictures, and there's still some organizing and purging to do, but it's a good start. Now I know I should check in on this room a little more often. Have a great Tuesday.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Changing Station Closet

After seeing this photo from Pottery Barn Kids I was inspired. I wanted to try and recreate this functional space in Kale's closet. The price tag for this look is a little over $1500 . . . . on sale.

Isn't it lovely . . . so coordinated, organized and outrageously expensive. I used things we already had on hand and created a changing station in Kale's closet that has everything I need in arm's reach.

Not quite PB kids ready, but for $0 I'll take it! The shelves were installed by the previous owners, the dresser was mine as a child and I made the bulletin board awhile back.

A few baskets and containers and we're done. When we get around to painting his room, I would like to paint the inside of the closet as well. It's amazing how much larger his room feels now with the closet doors taken off.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Greener Lunch Box

Yesterday over at Blissfully Domestic I wrote about packing a waste-free lunch for your kids. I bet if you looked around your house you'd find all the elements needed to create a lunch with little to no waste. Just in case you don't have what you need, I wanted to show you some of my favorite finds.

Hero Lunch Bags - All Star Organic Cotton Lunch Bag

  • 100% USDA-NOP Certified Organic 10oz Cotton Canvas
  • Cotton is chemical and pesticide free
  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Machine washable, (designed to shrink a bit) line dry
Laptop Lunches/Bento-Ware

  • Cool modular design featuring five reusable microwave safe food containers
  • Creative and economical system for helping parents pack wholesome, low-waste meals
  • Designed for kids - incorporates fun colors and a puzzle piece design
  • A fashionable, sustainable alternative to wasteful, single-use containers that saves you money

  • Wrap - N- Mats

  • Replaces wasteful plastic sandwich and snack bags
  • Made with Fair Labor/Fair Wages
  • Food safe, PEVA liner that wipes clean
  • Eco-Print design printed with vegetable based dyes

  • Sigg Water Bottles

  • Smart, stylish, safe alternative to polycarbonate plastic sippy cups
  • Tested to ensure 0% leaching of any substance - no trace of BPA, BPB or any phthalates
  • Taste neutral, resistant to fruit juices & energy drinks with no scent transfer
  • Lightweight, unbreakable bottle Swiss-engineered from a single piece of aluminum

  • Fabkins Cloth Napkins
  • Adds a personal touch to a waste-free lunch
  • Makes mealtime more fun and special
  • Helps teach good table manners
  • Gets kids involved in saving the environment

  • Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    Vanity Bench Makeover

    As a teenager I sat at this vanity bench to apply my electric blue eyeliner (on both upper and lower lids, of course). I rolled my hair with hot rollers and sprayed more hairspray than I care to remember. I contemplated my teenage life and tried to figure out the girl whose reflection stared back at me daily.

    Years before my mother and aunt sat on the same vanity bench in a room they shared. Oh, how I would love to know all the secrets this little bench holds. It's a little wobbly and probably not as comfortable as it once was, but the memories are comfort enough.

    Our vanity bench has had a good life and served the women of my family welll, but a little girl who has a tutu dust ruffle needs a little something more.

    This was my first experience with spray paint . . . . but it won't be the last. I was able to transform this piece for around $10. The fabric was on some crazy super sale at Joanne's for $1.19, I splurged on the trim and spent $5.34 and the spray paint was $3.44.

    I did this after the kids went to bed. Honestly, it took me longer to gather all the materials in one place than it did to complete it. I'm going to attempt a makeover on the vanity soon, but for now I'm very happy with how this turned out. I hope my little girl will be, too.

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    Going Green in Preschool

    Davis and Meg started preschool last week. They don't take a lunch to preschool. Instead the teacher assigns a week when the kids are responsible for bringing in a snack. A snack should consist of something to eat and drink. Believe it or not, both my kids had snack the first week of school.

    I did my due diligence and read through the parent handbook because I assumed there would be "snack rules". Sure enough, there was a whole page dedicated to snacks. The second paragraph begins, "ALL SNACKS MUST BE IN UNOPENED, COMMERCIAL CONTAINERS".

    I understand and respect the health department's need to keep "home-baked" goods at home. Believe me, I don't want the kids' preschool to be closed down. I also understand the dangers of bringing peanut products to school.

    I'm guilty of buying commercial "non-organic" snacks on occasion. Sometimes a girl wants a handful of Goldfish, but I guess I wanted to set a good "green" example to start off the school year. I was determined to find a commercial, organic snack that didn't contain peanut butter or wasn't manufactured in the same facility as a peanut product.

    It wasn't all that easy to find and it certainly wasn't cheap, but it made me feel good. I was also encouraged by the fact the teachers don't want juice boxes to be brought to school. Their reasons may be different than mine, but it's a little less waste filling up their trash cans. They also send home a canvas bag for the kid's to bring their snack in for the day.

    Birthday celebrations will also be different for the kids this year. The administration has asked parents not to bring in sugary treats. Instead the birthday boy or girl can donate a copy of their favorite book in honor of their special day. I really like this idea and applaud the staff for trying something new and different.

    Now I just need to work up the courage to implement a recycling program. How are you handling snacks and recycling for your kids?

    This is my September submission for the Green Moms Carnival hosted this month by Surely You Nest.

    Friday, September 5, 2008

    Bye Bye Doll Doll

    My mom is heading south today.

    The love and gratitude I have for her can't be measured. Having the opportunity to watch her care for my children is a privilege. They love her and will miss her terribly. I'll miss her a lot, too (not just because she does my laundry and watches the kids for "date night"), but because I enjoy her company. I'm blessed to have her as my mother and the grandmother of my children.

    She'll be back in 6 months, and we're already counting the days!

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    Thrify Finds for $29

    Yesterday I loaded up the car for a trip to Goodwill. Did you know Goodwill doesn't except children's items? Go figure! So I ended up taking them to Lutheran Missions. While I was waiting for the nicest fellow to unload my car, I did a little shopping.

    I've always wanted a soup tureen. They just seem so grown up, but they're expensive so I've admired from afar. Now I have my very own and it's making me think of Fall and all the delicious soups I need to learn how to make. I should be able to handle soup, right?

    The glass jars are part of my master plan to have a beautiful pantry like the ones you see in magazines - you know the ones - pantries without opened goldfish bags, stale pasta and baby food containers.

    I love my thrifty finds. I'm a happy little green decorator!

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    Blissfully Domestic Relaunch

    Blissfully Domestic is relaunching today with a great new online magazine. It'll be your one stop shop for all things blissful and domestic!

    There are 12 channels ranging from the latest buzz in Hollywood to living a healthier life. You can also find great recipes and stylish ideas for feathering your nest.

    One of my favorite bloggers,
    Simple Mom, is the editor for Digital Bliss, a great resource for all you bloggers out there.

    I'll be contributing to the Healthy Bliss channel with articles on green living. Come check out Blissfully Domestic anytime during the day for fresh and fun information.

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    Not Your Mother's Dust Ruffle

    I am not a crafty girl.

    I am not a girly girl, but my 2 year old is.

    After reading posts from inspiring bloggers like Kimba and The Nester, I attempted to do something crafty for my little girl. I made a dust ruffle out of tutus, ribbons and butterflies!

    Here's Meg's bed before (please ignore the peach walls, we haven't had a chance to paint yet):

    I used 4 tutus I found awhile back for $1 a piece, a few little paper butterflies from Michaels, some pink ribbon and a LOT of hot glue.

    Here's the finished product. I think she's pleased. It was a lot of fun, but I'm afraid I started something . . . Davis now wants a "robot skirt"!