Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Boo!

We live in a neighborhood full of kids (and yes, we love it!), and especially as Anna gets older, we get included in more and more of the kids' activities. And apparently Halloween is no exception!

The neighbors have an annual tradition of "boo-ing" each other, where you leave a treat on the doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run away. You include a print-out of a ghost that says "We've been Boo-ed!" and the recipient is supposed to tape it up in their windows to let everyone know that they've been boo-ed for that year so all the kids get a treat. Then the recipient is supposed to do their own boo-ing to two new houses.

I had never heard of this before, but we did in fact get boo-ed this year with festive Halloween cookies. I did it all wrong though and threw away the ghost print out and we didn't boo anybody else, until I got clued in to the game!

A little bird told us that the girls next door to us (Anna's BFFs) were disappointed that they had only been boo-ed once so we decided that they needed another treat. We knew that everyone was gone all day on Friday and since it's hard to be sneaky with a baby and a dawdling toddler, we decided that Friday was the day to do it. I really really didn't want to have to make a separate trip to the store though, so I made some treat bags from stuff we had at home and I think they turned out pretty darn cute! I have no idea if the girls liked them but hopefully they did.

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I made little cheesecloth ghosts to tie to the front of the gift bags, and we raided Anna's stroller treats to include some bags of M&Ms. And Anna added the finishing touch by contributing two of her mini pumpkins!

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The funny part came about when I took the bags downstairs to show Steve and to collect the ghost pictures from the printer. Steve got all excited about it once I explained it and he said that he wanted to help too. So we each grabbed a kiddo, did some reconnaissance work to make sure no cars were in the neighbors' driveway, and sneaked over. Maddie and I positioned the treat bags on their front porch and Steve and Anna drew a big chalk ghost on their driveway that said "You've been Booed!".

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On the way back in, Steve took a minute to show some UT spirit.

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What a fun little tradition and one that we look forward to doing again (properly) next year! Happy Halloween, everybody!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Big Girl Room Big Reveal!

Well folks, it's finally finished!! Easily our biggest project so far in the house, we have had SO much fun doing a room makeover for Anna's big girl room. Our initial goal was to have it finished by her birthday, but obviously that didn't happen, and we are happy we took our time with it because it turned out so much better than we ever could have predicted.

If you don't remember, this is what the room looked like before, as our farm-themed guest room:



And now?

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Ta da!! We love it SO much. And even more importantly, Anna Bean loves it too! She has been quite the supervisor, monitoring the progress of the room, and would always get so excited when we would pick her up and ask her if she wanted to go check in on her big girl room. Anna loves being in her new room and although I tried to make it look perfect in the pictures, this room is very much "lived in"...even getting it cleaned up for pictures was quite the job! It went something like this: clean up, pull out camera, get the camera in focus. Put camera down, move crayons. Get camera in focus, put camera down, nudge Anna out of the way and put the books back. But hey, it's her room, and I'm just happy to get a few good snapshots of it!

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Since we have two girls and we don't know if we will have a third, we wanted to go ahead and build the room for two. And even if we just stick with the two, now they will always be able to have "sleepovers"!

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I am planning to do a behind-the-scenes post once I can scavenge all the pictures off of our two phones, so I will just focus on the fun finished highlights for now.

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The piece-de-resistance and easily our most successful feature is Anna's very own mailbox. Her favorite "chore" of the day is to help me check the mail, and when I saw this idea on Pinterest, I fell in love and I fell in love hard!! Guys, we have had SO much fun with this thing. It's been up for a couple of weeks now, and every few days we will put some little treat in there - a new pack of stickers, a new board book from the Target dollar section or the library used book sale, a fun-size pack of M&Ms...just something little. And then later that day, we'll say, "Anna, I think you should go check your mailbox!" She will RUN upstairs to her mailbox, lift the flap, and then be utterly delighted to find something in there. The smile on her face when she finds something in there is the most priceless part of the day, and I hope that we use this mailbox for years and years and years. Once she can read we will put little lovey notes in there for her, and even her own real mail that she receives so that she can open it when she gets home from school. I freaking love this thing and so does Anna!!

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Today she got glow bracelets and a new Halloween book.

Oh and Maddie has a matching one too, of course :-). We have installed them in the little hallway outside of their respective rooms, both hung at toddler-height!

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The other fun feature inside of the room is the bulletin boards. We had the frames already which Steve handily painted, and they were the last things to get finished because I couldn't decide what to put in them. I wanted them to be something personalized, but we already did the toddler finger-painting down in the playroom so I was kind of stumped. Then, I realized that it would be the most fun to let them reflect whatever current artwork Anna wanted to showcase, so we turned them into fabric-covered bulletin boards. I drew Anna's most-requested artwork for now - a picture of our family and hearts. But hopefully soon we will have some Anna originals up there!

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 We also knew that we needed some kind of bookcase in the room. Anna absolutely loves to read with her mommy and daddy, so I wanted to create some kind of little reading area. The only problem is that the room is kind of small, so space is at a premium especially with the two beds in there. I looked at dozens of bookcases online and the second I saw this dollhouse bookcase, I knew it was the one I wanted!! It has just enough space for all of Anna's favorites, and still gives her enough room to play. Those dolls in there now are ones that I had as a little girl - they had been a gift from my grandmother. I was delighted to find them in a box of my old stuff and I am so happy that I have a little piece of my childhood to pass down to the girls. Anna loves them - they are frequent stroller riders! And that giant bean bag is awesome - it's easily big enough for me and two little girls, and we've already spent many an afternoon sitting in it reading every book in our collection.

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The closets are more functional than anything. The polka-dot drawers house the odds-and-ends of a toddler's room - diapers, shoes, pajamas, hats, tights, etc. Right now Anna's stuff is in one closet and then we are using the other closet as Anna's dress-up/costume closet, but it will be Maddie's closet if they end up sharing a room. The other really functional part of the room is the windows - they are fully covered in blackout liner, and then the curtains are also lined with blackout liner. Anna needs the room DARK for her naps and these windows definitely do the trick! I also intentionally left the floor bare - I want it to be quick and easy to clean!!

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Pinterest also saved the day when it came to artwork for Anna's room. I had already more than maxed out the decorating budget by the time I started looking at all of the walls, so I knew whatever I did had to be cheap. I turned to Pinterest to try to find some printable artwork and it didn't disappoint! I found the subway art printable there, and it's so perfect for Anna and the room that I literally squealed when I found it. I also found the bird printables there, and after a quick enlargement in Photoshop and some positioning on pretty scrapbook paper, I had the artwork I needed and it looks adorable in the room!

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I think that's just about it for the finished walk-through - do you guys love it?? Like I said, I will do a behind-the-scenes tour of it once I get a chance to get all the pictures together. The room was very DIY-heavy and I think you will enjoy seeing what all we (and by we, I mean Steve) managed to do in there!

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In the meantime, here is a source list of everything we bought...I think I got everything but if you are curious about something that I forgot, don't hesitate to ask! I bought most of the new stuff from Target because I bought pretty much everything online (who has time to shop anymore??), and I wanted it to be easy to return, and I got a little bit of a discount with my Target debit card.

Paint Colors - Windwood Spring by Behr (blue) and Benjamin Moore Basic White
Bed Frames - inherited from the lake house so maybe Pottery Barn Kids? I don't really know
Bedding - Macy's
Bird Artwork in between beds - Target
Alarm Clock - Target
Jewelry Box- Target
Closet drawers - Target
Wall Clock - Target
Dollhouse Bookcase - Target
Bean bag - Target
Lamp - Target
White frames for the printables - Target
Closet door mirror- Walmart
Polka dot box spring sheets - Walmart
Polka dot curtains - Overstock
Bed rails- Amazon
Pink blankets - Amazon
Pink wire basket - repurposed from guest room but originally bought at Queen of Hearts Antiques
Pink drawer knobs - Amazon
Mailboxes- Home Depot

Friday, October 19, 2012

Two Pretty Pumpkins

Steve's fall busy season is finally over, so he was able to take a day off of work to spend the day with us. Actually, he took two days off of work, but yesterday was spent brewing this year's batch of pumpkin beer, and also an amber ale. Definite necessities for a successful fall season, don't you agree?

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Anyway, we decided our main fall outing this year would be a pumpkin patch, and my friend Susan recommended a little place up near Gainesville called Kinsey Family Farm. I looked up the website and when I saw that you could feed the animals, it was an easy decision!

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We had a BLAST, and I am so happy that we went there. As soon as we get out of the car, Anna was so excited and kept saying "Punkins!!! Punkins!!!!" as she saw the barn full of pumpkins and gourds. The farm provided wagons and Anna greatly enjoyed her ride around while we picked out a pumpkin and saw the animals and took ourselves on a tour. They had a big table full of the miniature pumpkins, and without me prompting, Anna handed me one and said "Baby's!". Cue my mommy heart melting :-).

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We bought crackers for the barn animals and we also bought food to feed the catfish. In the petting barn they had cows, goats, and geese, and we probably could have spent another hour there because Anna was so interested in them. She helped feed the cows from the safety of Daddy's arms, and apparently geese are funny because she just sat there and laughed at them for several minutes while yelling "Ducks!!! Ducks!!!!".

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We also bought tickets for the hayride, which winds all around the farm including a stop at the lake to feed the catfish and the ducks. Anna enjoyed feeding the fish but seriously, those are some ugly creepy fish, haha.

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The thing that impressed me the most about the farm was how immaculately kept it was. All of the paths are neatly graveled and level. The animals were some of the healthiest-looking animals I've seen at the local farms, and their enclosures were also very clean. The rows of trees were beautiful to look at, and overall it was just a very pleasant place to spend the day. The employees were very welcoming and friendly, and were very happy to take our family picture for us. Apparently they host Christmas festivities and sell Christmas trees and I would love to go back and visit for the holidays.

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We came home tired and happy, with loaves of pumpkin and apple breads, a big pumpkin for the porch and a few little pumpkins to add to Anna's collection. And most importantly, I am so happy that we were able to spend the day as a family out in the fresh air, with plenty of fun memories and cute pictures to show for it :-). Happy fall, y'all!

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This picture arranged itself purely by accident but I couldn't resist taking a picture, too cute!

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