Allison Birth Announcement

It all started when I let Eric talk me into having a drink with him one random evening…the moral of the story is don’t let Eric pour drinks…or perhaps, it’s get snockered to get pregnant because Matthew happened after 2 bottles of wine…#myuterusneedsastiffdrink

So it was no secret that we said we were done having kids. I realized a little too late that I had some serious postpartum anxiety issues after Matthew; add to that some serious back issues, and throw in a case of PCOS (possible infertility issues) and it just didn’t seem another baby was in the cards for us. We tried on and off for about 2 years with no luck and continued going back and forth on whether I could handle pregnancy and sleepless nights again.

But OF COURSE all it took was us cleaning out the basement to get rid of all of the baby stuff, scheduling Eric a vasectomy consultation, and filling out paperwork to start the adoption process for me to start feeling all “off”…

We visited some friends on July 4th last year for a weekend of fun. Except after one sip of an adult beverage I felt like I was going to throw up. And by 10:00 I was curled up on the couch asleep. Fast forward a week or two and it was pretty clear what was going on. I opened the medicine cabinet one morning and there was a pregnancy test just sitting in the front staring me down. It came back positive within seconds and I may have had a full-blown anxiety attack. Thank you Fit Bit…


I also may have called Eric at work and yelled “What did you do?!!!!”. Of course it’s amazing how quickly you can go from “I can’t do this again” to “ooh, look, a baby!”. Ha!

At this point things get fuzzy because I’m pretty sure I spent the next 6-8 weeks curled up on the floor dying. The nausea was unreal. If I did have to leave the house I loaded my pockets with Preggie Drops and Morning Sickness tea bags (I couldn’t drink it, only sniff it. So yes, I was the scowling woman sitting in the back of gymnastics lessons huffing herbs..).


By this point, I KNEW it was a girl. I have great intuition and also knew Matthew was a boy. We actually paid to go to Becoming Mom for a gender reveal ultrasound as soon as we could because Eric was antsy. He was supposed to come with me, but got pulled into an emergency conference call. So we got to send him teasing pictures all afternoon instead of breaking the news…


Matthew tagged along (man, was he a champ and my little doctor appointment buddy throughout–he LOVED going to the appointments).


We had a little scare at the 20 week anatomy scan. After a hour and 15 minute scan (!) they finally let me in on their find of a coroid plexus cyst, with a quick “OMG DON’T WORRY”. My midwife was angry they even told me about it. It’s a cyst of fluid on the brain, but it’s apparently very, very common. They often go away before the baby is born, but even if it doesn’t it can be a common, non-problematic thing. Of course it could also be a sign of Trisomy 13, which is why the in-depth scan was needed. After some googling, I actually felt okay after my appointment, until I got a call 3 days later from the OB who reviewed my chart and wanted to talk about the baby’s heart problems…Thankfully I was proactive, asked a 100 questions, and realized THEY HAD THE CHARTS MIXED UP! Needless to say I demanded another ultrasound for reassurance, but gah! It was also at this point that I really tried to push Eric for a homebirth, but he said we’d have gut the bathroom afterwards and he didn’t want to take that on. I still kind of regret that and seriously considered just having the baby at home, like whoops? But more ultrasounds mean more pictures of the baby!


We did decide to deliver at Family Beginnings, which is about 45 minutes away. It’s a birth center within a hospital, so we kind of got the best of both worlds (natural, family-centered care with only a hallway between in case of any emergencies). Since they don’t even offer epidurals and many other interventions, I didn’t have to stress and advocate so hard for myself this time around. Eric was STRESSED about the 45 minute drive, especially since Matthew was only a 4 hour labor, but I’m happy to say we made it.

I had prodromal labor for about a week before she was born. At my 39 week appointment, my midwife checked my cervix and I was neither dilated nor effaced. At all. Matthew was born at 39 weeks and I was 3 centimeters dilated a week before that. So needless to say I left that appointment a bit discouraged, especially since they wanted to go ahead and schedule a stress test for the next appointment.

Determined to get things moving we headed to a local outdoor mall and walked for a couple of hours that night. The next day, I took some “bonding” time and went shopping “with the baby”. I feel most of labor is mental, and clearly something was blocking me from feeling completely ready. I know I was still terrified of the sleepless nights to come and was still holding on to the possibility that something was wrong with the baby. So we went to buy cute hairbows and dresses, and I just spent a lot of time visualizing and thinking happy thoughts. It may sound insane, but after an evening walk through IKEA that night, I woke up at 11pm with contractions so strong I couldn’t sleep.

Previous nights the contractions started at exactly 7pm and ended by 9pm. They were 12-15 minutes apart and weren’t really painful, but uncomfortable. But these were definitely stronger. I went into the nursery to the rocking chair and slept on and off for a couple hours. The contractions were still 12 minutes apart exactly, so I decided to hop in the bath to see if I could get things going. Within minutes my contractions were 6 minutes apart. After an hour in the bath and contractions 5 minutes apart, I decided to wake Eric.

We had a poll going with some friends and checked in via text to tell them whoever had today was more than likely going to win. After texting back and forth for awhile, I realized my contractions were back to 10 minutes apart, so I bailed out and commanded no one to talk to me.

We called Grandma to come get Matthew. He had the option to come to the delivery, but decided to go to Grandma’s instead. He now regrets that decision. He’s declared that the next person that has a baby has to take him along. 🙂

I was still feeling pretty good and wasn’t certain if we should head to the hospital yet, but with the history of quick labor and the drive, we headed out. Eric couldn’t have been too stressed though because he asked if we could go through Starbucks. And OF COURSE I had a bad contraction and started moaning right as he was ordering. Three ladies came to the window and asked if I needed anything while glaring at Eric. He was just like, “The tea and cookie is for her!”

The ride wasn’t bad at all, only having 4 contractions in the car–MIND OVER MATTER. Ha! But by the time I walked into the hospital, they were back to a few minutes apart and strong. Or so I thought…they checked my cervix and I was only 4 centimeters and my water hadn’t broken…oh wait! Water broke! Thanks, Nurse! OHHH, hello real contractions. Things progressed quickly at this point (2 hours from water breaking to delivery!).

They started the tub for me–I wasn’t planning a water birth, but I did want to labor in the tub. Let me just be clear that while some ladies can wear a bathing suit or gown while birthing, I cannot. I don’t want anything touching me. So I stripped down to all my pregnant glory and hopped in. But I. Could. Not. Get. Comfortable. I was feeling all the contractions in my back, which was horrible. So I finally found this weird crab-walk position in the tub that felt ok and then looked around. I had 2 midwives, 2 nurses, and Eric sitting against the wall staring at me. Um, hello? So I made a joke about feeling like a circus animal on display, and they asked if I wanted them to leave. Um, yes…

Interestingly the water was not helping this time, so I got out and tried to find a comfortable spot. The only thing that felt ok was bending over the sink in the bathroom while swaying and dipping my hips. I remember trying to hold on to Eric’s shoulders during one contraction, then freaking out halfway through the contraction because I was afraid I was going to get fluids on his shoes. HE WORE BRAND NEW SHOES TO HAVE A BABY. WHO WEARS BRAND NEW SHOES TO HAVE A BABY?!

I ended up squatting next to the bed to deliver. I still don’t think my thighs have forgiven me for that. They put the baby on the bed in front of me after the midwife caught her and my first thought was “Oh my God, she looks like Matthew!” and my second thought was “she’s so tiny!” They predicted she was going to be tiny–she wasn’t, but after having a 4 year old, she looked tiny! Eric was smart enough to stay on the other side of the bed this time (after passing out while watching Matthew’s birth).

After lumbering onto the bed (not the easiest thing to do after squatting for 3 hours, pushing a baby out in 3 pushes, and still having the baby attached to the umbilical cord), she latched on and nursed right away. Like STRONG latch. Wide awake. And she peed on me. Twice. Spoiler alert–she pees on me ALL THE TIME. I also remember the midwife telling me I had no tears and me telling her to check again. Ha! I had a labial tear with Matthew (who knew that could even happen?) and I was convinced I had to have torn this time because the midwife had her hand in the birth canal holding a cervical lip out of the way while I delivered. Bodies are amazing things…

I kept her with me for at least 30-45 minutes while they cleaned the room, then they asked if I wanted her weighed and measured–8lbs, 4oz, and 21.25″–not so tiny!  This was some amazing bonding time, but I was glad to hand her off. They were worried I was hemorrhaging because I wouldn’t stop bleeding. I also hadn’t eaten anything since 6:00 the previous night, and hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in a week. So yeah, *I* almost passed out this time. After they took the baby I couldn’t even sit up. The good thing about natural care is no one panicked, they were just like honey, order some food. And a lot of it! I ordered a meal for both Eric and I and ate both of them plus food I had packed. Ravenous, I tell ya.


They did give me a shot of pitocin to try to stop the bleeding, and gaaaaah the pain was horrible. Every time she latched on, I’d have contractions so strong I’d get nauseous. And then I’d have to go to the bathroom. So I’d hobble to the bathroom with a baby latched on. #secondtimemom (For the record, no hemorrhaging. My body was just DONE with the whole pregnancy thing and was kicking the remaining fluids out like crazy).

After ordering food two more times, we turned in for the night. The nurses checked on us at 9pm and said they wouldn’t come back in until 6am. Heavenly! And then Eric and I woke up at 1am and thought the baby was dead because she was still asleep. So I woke up and nursed her and then the nurses woke us up at 6. So yeah, WE GOT A SLEEPER!

That morning we packed up to go home and got moved to a traditional hospital room (out of the birth center) while they did the routine bloodwork. And OMG this is where things went downhill. Her bloodwork came back showing mild jaundice, so they couldn’t discharge her. Matthew had a more severe case and they told us to take him home and put him by a window. We used the on-call pediatrician since we were so far away, and she was a moron. If I ever see this woman on the street I will have to resist beating her. So after a bunch of drama that I can’t even think about without getting angry, and an extra night in the hospital, we made it perfectly clear that if they didn’t discharge her we were leaving anyway. This came after they told me I had to start discharge because I had no medical reason to be there, but the baby would have to stay. Ha. Hahahahaha. Um, no. Try me, people. Try me.


Oh, and this is all going down on Easter Sunday. So we missed Easter with Matthew. And my birthday. And a beautiful sunny 75 degree day, where said jaundiced baby could you know, be OUTSIDE IN THE SUN. And to prove I’m not just being dramatic, our pediatrician apologized that this happened to us and was outraged along with us…gaaaahhhh.


Poor Matthew had a crazy weekend, but after Grandma brought him home and everyone stopped gushing over the baby, he looked at me and whispered, “Is it my turn to hold her yet?” And just like that, everyone was smitten.





Well, Well…

The prodigal blogger returns. I didn’t exactly plan a 2 year absence, but I suppose that’s what happens when I forget to check the email account for my blog account and kind of sort of let everything expire…including the grace period for my backups…So yes, I also lost like 18 months of posts. Nothing imperative, mind you. But I may have had an internal meltdown about the DAYS and DAYS of work lost, all formatting, and not to mention I’ve now completely forgotten how to do any bloggy-stuff). It took a little nudge to get back into the swing of things…okay a BIG EPIC ADORABLE nudge…SPOILER ALERT–IT’S A BABY! And Lord knows I have to be fair and blog this child’s life–I’d rather avoid psychologist’s bills in the future. 🙂

20160325_182207238_iOSSo a quick rundown for all 7 of you still with me here…since I last posted, we’ve moved back to Cincinnati, done some back-breaking projects, traveled a lot, realized we’d rather spend our money on vacations than projects, Matthew is almost five (5!!!!), and got a surprise 9 month project…


Yes I mowed the grass at 39 weeks pregnant not-so-secretly-hoping to bounce the baby out…

So stay tuned to catch up on 3 months of adorable baby shenanigans and some hilarity from the Elder Child who begs me daily for his own YouTube channel…


Like Mother, Like Son

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know when you planned me, you had wonderful visions of your genes melting together into a beautiful symphony of academic achievement, workplace domination, and mild-mannered bliss.  Instead, I fear it’s a cacophony of shenanigans.  Couldn’t you have at least ensured I missed out on Mommy’s ridiculous facial expressions?  I blame you, Father. I blame you.


Matthew (the disappointed one)

Happy Monday!

Munchkin Meals: Taco Night!

We have taco night once or twice a month around here.  I love how easy it is to throw this meal together, yet how festive, fun, and filling it is! <–How’s that for alliteration?!  Best of all is that after laying out a variety of topppings, everyone can choose what they want, and I don’t feel like a short order cook.  We like traditional tacos, but it’s so easy to switch it up with different meats, toppings, and spices.  Is it a toddler approved meal? Yes! What kiddo doesn’t like scooping their own fun foods onto their plate? And heck, I’ve yet to meet a kid who doesn’t like tacos. Matty (now 22 months) is all. over. the. place in terms of eating.  Lately, he’s been really into breakfast–eating a huge breakfast, then wanting little else the rest of the day.  There’s still a few key things I can count on him eating, though–like tacos!

Of course, I add a few tweaks to make it healthier along the way.

Taco seasoning used to be a big fight around here.  Hubby swore he hated it, but he also complained that plain meat was too, well, plain.  He said the packaged seasoning is too salty, and he’s right (not to mention the MSG, preservatives, and in some cases artificial dyes).  So a few months ago, a friend pinned this recipe for DIY taco seasoning, so I gave it a shot.  It worked perfectly, though I did think it needed a bit more salt (weird for me to say since I don’t add salt to much)!

Healthier Taco Recipe

  • 3/4 lb. ground lean turkey
  • 1/4 lb. ground beef (**Just adding a bit of ground beef helps take away the turkey flavor, and gives it the appearance of typical ground beef.  This is important if you have a husband/kids who freak out about ground turkey for whatever reason ::cough cough, not pointing any fingers:: even though it’s healthier)
  • 1 c. finely chopped kale and/or spinach (this shrivels up nicely and you can pass it off as parsley 🙂 )
  • 1/2 c. finely shredded carrots (this isn’t as easy to pass off as “oh, it’s just seasoning…”
  • Brown meat over medium heat (add carrots during this step)
  • After draining, add greens and stir
  • Add 2 rounded tablespoons of seasoning and 1/2 cup water
  • Reduce heat, stir occasionally over a few minutes, then enjoy!

**I usually make 3-4 batches of this (since I use wonky portions of meat), then freeze it. It lasts for a few months (at least), and is easy to thaw in the fridge and heat back up in the skillet.

Serving Ideas

Don’t forget–a “topping bar” makes it even more toddler friendly!

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded Cheese (even just having a variety of cheeses could be a fun way to switch things up)
  • Lettuce (if you’re trying to cut calories, using a large lettuce leaf as a shell works well)
  • Corn (I like oven roasting frozen corn for about 10 minutes with olive oil and seasoning, but usually it’s just the microwave variety…)
  • Sour Cream (Hubby nor I are big fans, but Matthew tried some at Grandma’s and seemed to be a fan)
  • Hard or Soft Tortillas
  • Chips instead of shells
  • Rice
  • Beans (we’re partial to black beans cooked with a bit of cumin)

Pssst. I’m looking for a healthier taco shell recipe.  Preferably something super-quick, or something that can be frozen.  Any tried and true ideas?

Munchkin Meals is a link-up hosted by Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life.  Ever in need of a fun, healthy meal or snack for your kiddo? Click on over to find loads of ideas all put together by other Mamas.

Play Room Inspiration


Before becoming a Mom, I sometimes scoffed at people who created elaborate playroom for their children.  Make them go outside, I thought, or keep everything contained to the their bedroom, or don’t buy so many toys! Hahahahaha. Oh, you learn so much once you have a child.

Play rooms are great! Fantastic! Everybody should have one!  That being said, we’re currently working on turning the never-used family room into a full-blown playroom.  We have some bigger toys, like our IKEA slide, a play kitchen, and a train/activity table that just keeps getting moved around  because we can’t find the perfect spot for them.  I also want a place to do some more structured activities and crafts with Matthew, as well as have some crafting supplies that he can sit and do independently.

I’ve been pinning ideas for awhile, but here’s some of my favorites.

playroom inspiration

1.  Childhood 101 2. No original pin 3. Playful Learning 4. Pottery Barn 5. Apartment Therapy 6. No original pin

Check out much more inspiration on my playroom Pinterest board, and follow along while you’re there!

Things To Do:

  • Kid-friendly art above mantel (to cover TV mount & jack from the TV that went into the Man Cave)
  • Kid-friendly accessories for mantel and built-ins
  • Arts & crafts supplies storage
  • Off-season book storage
  • Art above play kitchen
  • Play kitchen storage for foods and utensils
  • Art table & chairs
  • Way to display Matty’s art
  • Reading nook
  • Place for big-ass slide
  • Still room for roaming/spinning/jumping/toddler shenanigans
  • Rug to cover bare floor
  • Refinish train table surface (we bought it used and it’s a little beat up/warped)
  • Touch up paint from previous art on walls and tv mount
  • Caulk trim and touch-up nail holes from when it was rehung
  • Curtains

We have a very small budget for this project–I’m thinking I’ll only need to buy a rug, curtains, and supplies to build a small table.  Hopefully we’ll stick to our budget this time.  We’ll see. 🙂

Any favorite play room inspiration pins?  Play room must-haves?

Matty Moments: Crazy Boy

Matty Moments

Normally I feature some of the amazing things Matthew is saying lately.  While we have gotten some great words of wisdom from him lately (Come on, Daddy! Pee pee garage!), I thought I would clear up the misconception that Matty is always a calm, collected, sensitive flower that never makes a peep, is always engaged in activities, and causes no mischief whatsoever.

Exhibit A:

He’s better at make-up than I am.

Exhibit B:

One wonderful morning as I’m stepping out of the shower, Matty comes running into the bathroom yelling “clean”.  He grabs a roll of TP and runs back out of the room. At first I just nod and smile, until it sets in that he is TRYING TO CLEAN SOMETHING UP.  So I run after him.

Let me explain.  He tried to put soap in the dishwasher.  When he spilled that, he got dish soap to try to clean that mess.  When he realized that was a bigger mess, he realized he needed paper towels. Since he can’t reach paper towels, he got TP.  Of course, paper towels get used with spray cleaner, so he sprayed the soap puddle first.  As I intervened, he realized, “Duh, this is a floor mess. We need a mop” (which has yet another type of spray cleaner attached).  All I could do was laugh.  I mean, it was good thinking, and I’m thankful he  tried to help.  But how exactly does one go about cleaning 4 different types of soap off the floor?  Only after scrubbing and mopping and scooping and wiping for 20 minutes did I realize I was still butt naked.  I apologize to all of my neighbors. And yes, he had pants on when I got in the shower.

Exhibit C:

This was taken at 12:30 at night.  Need I say more?

Exhibit D:

I’m not sure who is the bad influence here.

Exhibit E:

Matty’s volume and activity level 90% of the day.

** NOTE: Ignore that horrible mess. We’re in the process of turning that room into a playroom–sneak peek alert!– and everything is getting piled up.  Such is life.

Farm Sensory Box

farm sensory box

With the start of Summer and outdoor weather, I thought the sensory  box would be put away for awhile.  But alas, Rain-a-geddon ensued so we needed to find some new indoor fun. Or rather, just upgrade some fun.  Last Summer I built Matthew this barn and farm, and I added a sensory box and toddler-approved game this year.

Sensory Box

farm sensory box activity toddler


  • Popcorn for the base (already had)
  • Schleich animals (our animal of choice)
  • Tractor (a gift from Grandma!)
  • “Hay bales” (TP tubes cut in half)
  • “Stables” (Melissa and Doug play food crates)
  • Mini scoop (already had)

Total Cost: Free 

** I already had all the materials, but I suspect you’d be able to put this together for around $10-$12.  A large jar of popcorn kernels runs about $3 at Walmart, and these animals are also a good choice.)

farm sensory box

farm sensory box

farm sensory box

farm sensory box


farm books

1. Sheep in a Jeep. Matty is obsessed with jeeps right now. Sheep in a jeep? Oh my.  It’s on constant repeat around here.

2. Let’s Go To the Farm. We have two copies of this book. Both gifts. Both givers know a little something about kids. We’ve read this book at least a few times a week for the past year (at least).  It’s a lift-the-flap book, so we keep a copy in the car for road trips or restaurants.

3. Chicks and Salsa. I had to review this book for a college class years ago, and I loved it. It’s hilarious. I didn’t quite know if Matty would get it, but I guess it really is all about how excited the reader is, because it’s one of his favorites now, too.


  1. Try these Montessori inspired nomenclature cards.
  2. Matty is loving this farm-themed game on the Kindle.  We’ve been traveling a lot–so he’s soaking up the app time lately.  He’s actually learning too–he surprised me the other day by pointing to a picture of a moon and saying “creshent” (crescent). Play on, Buddy. Play on.
  3. Of course, we listened to Old MacDonald a lot. A lot.  We have this download with this version of OMD, which gets a little silly at the end.
  4. Farm Picture.  I printed two each of a variety of farm-themed coloring sheets.  I cut out certain parts of the picture, such as the tractor, barn, animals, and crops, and colored 1 copy.  On a large sheet of paper, I glued the remaining uncolored copy. Then we matched and glued the colored parts onto the uncolored outline of the pictures.

farm activity toddler

toddler farm activity

toddler farm activity

He’s still loving farms and farm animals (and tractors!!!)–any recommended activities?

Montessori Inspired Farm Animal Cards

montessori animal cards printable

Nomenclature cards, or 3 part cards, are prevalent in the Montessori method of learning.  Essentially, each card contains a picture, and a label of the picture or concept to be learned.  One card normally keeps it’s label attached, with a matching card having a detached label.  Learners can then practice matching pictures together, as well as labels to pictures, with self-correction in place since they can check their work against the attached label. There’s numerous uses, but the main purpose is to teach vocabulary (or names of concepts).  There’s cards for different types of animals, parts of a flower, planets in the solar system, life cycle of a frog, etc. etc. etc.

nomenclature cards presented by The Little List

The interwebs abound with printable options (The Little List has a great repository), and there’s some very beautiful professional options (albeit a bit pricey and usually on backorder!).  I fell in love with these cards months ago, and have been looking for a similar option ever since.  I really love how the pictures stand out on a white background–that way learners aren’t distracted by things in the background of the picture and they know exactly what they should focus on.  I finally realized I was going to have to make my own, that way I could make them exactly how I wanted, and I could add to the card collection whenever I wanted (and still have them match!).

That’s easier said than done, considering the options of free pictures.  I finally sat down one Saturday and devoted the entire day to photoshopping some free clip art to remove the backgrounds in order to get these the way I wanted them (please ignore that the lamb has no feet…).  Upon printing them, I thought they did need a little pizazz though, so I matted them on scrapbook paper before using laminating sheets (I like these).

animal cards

Then it was time to play.  First, we went through each picture, flashcard style, to learn the name and talk about the picture.  Then I laid out 3 cards and asked Matthew if he could find the animal from his basket that matched the one on the card (we have all Schleich farm animals, though Toobs are a great choice, too). Uh, yeah, of course, Mom.

montessori nomenclature animal farm cards

So I laid all the adult animal cards out, and he went to work making matches. He thought this was great fun. Like the highlight of his day great fun. Some were slightly difficult, mostly because the pictures weren’t exactly like his animals–like a German Shepard dog card and a Golden Retriever figurine.

montessori nomenclature animal farm cards

I chose to make a set of mommy & baby cards, so then we talked about the names of baby animals.  I asked him to match the mom to the baby.  This took some more skill, but he really enjoyed the challenge.  Most of the baby animal figurines are new additions to his collection, so he was also very excited to explore those.

montessori nomenclature farm animal cards

After playing a few times, I put them on the shelf in the living room, so he could play again whenever he wanted, and he has! We’ve recently begun playing simple Memory using only 2-3 animals (mom and baby combo).  As he gets older and recognizes words, I can trim the bottom off to have him match the name to the picture or the animal.

 montessori farm animal cards printable free

Been looking for your own set of farm animal cards? Click here to download this set of 8 animal moms and 8 animal babies.  The quality isn’t the best, but you know, cows don’t need front hooves anyway. 🙂

nomenclature cards montessori farm animal cards free printable download

Note: Feel free to link to this page, but please no sharing the download on your own site. Enjoy!

Pssst…I’m linking up for Montessori Monday @ Living Montessori Now. Click on over for other great Montessori-Inspired ideas.

Sun Room Reveal

sun room

Done, done, done, done, done! After a little window cleaning and paint touch-ups, we finished up the sun room this weekend. Surprisingly, we got the entire thing done in about a month (including a whirlwind wedding weekend and Eric traveling a week for work). Ironically, it’s the first room in the entire house that’s 100% done.  You see where our priorities are. 🙂

As a reminder, here’s where we started. Giant spiderwebs, broken doors, disgusting carpet, mildew, broken window treatments, the works!


And here’s where we are today:

sun room decor renovation

sun room, decor

sun room, decor

sun room, decor, bar cart, cabinet sun room, cabinet, summer to do list, storage


 sun room

sun room table, decor

I love how much of this is DIY, like the table, cabinet, storage basketsflooring, and even the art.

I even updated a few things, like these lanterns…

and this vase.  It was just your basic glass vase, but I painted the inside with metallic gold spray paint.

It’s also functional for everyone in the family.  Eric and I have a nice lounging spot.  We can also entertain in the space and have a place to put drinks and snacks without grubby little fingers reaching it :).  Matthew even has his own little space.  We left the far corner empty-ish after seeing how much fun he had rolling balls, spinning in circles, and riding his car.  The ottoman is empty now, but I anticipate it holding more toys.  Under the table is a bin for balls and the most-played-with toys.  In the cabinet drawers are things like bubbles and extra chalk.

It wasn’t just cosmetic work that needed done.  We cleaned the gutters and fixed some flushing on the main roof that was directing water to the ceiling–creating a small drip inside.  I also think we went through 3-4 tubes of caulk.  On top of that, we had to thoroughly clean everything–the rail on the sliding door had at least 10 years of crud caked in it.

The best part about doing an outdoor space upgrade in July is that for the stores, Summer is already over, which means everything is heavily discounted.  We picked up 5 new throw pillows–all 50-75% off.  Even the patio plants were discounted as low as $1 at Lowes. We did splurge on the sectional, but it was totally worth it. 🙂

I have to admit, having this room done and accessorized just the way we want has taken it from “this is the house we live in” to “this is really starting to feel like our house.”

DIY Ice Cube Puzzle

ice puzzle

With the days heating up and a little one who is slightly afraid of water (at least at first!), I’m trying to come up with creative solutions to stay cool.  He’s very much in an “ice” stage right now, including singing “ice, ice babies…doo doo doo doo da doo doo”. 🙂

ice puzzle activity toddler

I picked these ice cube trays up at Hobby Lobby back in April-ish for just a couple dollars.  I also got letters, but since he’s loving numbers and counting right now, I decided to focus there.

First, we filled them up.  I wanted to use colored water to make it a bit more fun, but didn’t want to use artificial dyes (because he inevitably did taste them!)–so strawberries and blueberries it was!  Then we did a little fine motor skill practice.

After an overnight in the freezer (although they freeze in just an hour or so), it was on to the next step.

I dumped them all out, and he immediately went to work putting them back in.  I stepped in occasionally to ask if he could find “2” or correct him from trying to stick “8” into the “3” slot.  I was impressed with how into this he was, how well he could get them to fit into the mold, and how many times he wanted to do it (4 or 5).

By this time it was melting, but I wanted to occupy him a bit more.  So I grabbed our trusty roll of paper, and we did a little ice painting.  Unfortunately the colors weren’t strong enough to really show up well, so I added a blob of purple finger paint to the mix. I mean ice and painting–does life get any better?

diy ice puzzle toddler activity summer