Monday, November 10, 2014

Favorite Things For Baby (Part II)

Man those babies change a lot in one year! My last list included items for the first six months of life, and most of those items I loved don't even apply anymore, so I wanted to pick up where I left off and highlight the things I loved for 6 months +! (A few obvious items we are still using and loving: Diaper Genie, Changing Pad and Music & Books.)

Bath Seat: I had to order this via Amazon from Israel, because (let me get on my soapbox here) apparently American parents can't be trusted to use this item safely. That said, if you can manage to sit on the bathroom floor and watch your child while they're in the bath, I highly recommend this seat. Its the same style I have a gazillion bath pictures of myself as a baby in. I tried using the Bumbo in the bath, but had a tendency to float and soak up water. 

Sippy Cups: Still searching for the unicorn on this product. Literally every single one says it doesn't leak. Literally every single one I've tried does leak. If you find the magical non-leaking sippy cup, I would LOVE to know.

Immersion Blender: Something many people have already, I didn't, but I loved using it while making food for Luke. Luke was able to eat most of the foods I cook already, but I really really appreciated and was inspired by the recipes and overall organization of this book, The Baby & Toddler Cookbook.  The toddler recipes are even great for myself and Cody. Easy, yummy, and with hidden nutrition. 

(Side-note: we only just recently had to upgrade to a chair mounted booster seat! No bulky highchairs needed!)

Squeeze Pouch Foods: I know that's probably not the official name, but all you mommas know exactly what I'm talking about! These are the perfect on-the-go (or tired days) meals! There are so many options and blends, from yogurt & fruit to vegetables & fruit all the way to grains & you name it! Check out the regular snack aisle instead of the baby food section for comparable and more budget friendly options.

Teething: I had a few options for teething toys and every time a new tooth was coming, Luke liked different things. Our rotation included the standard cool gel teething rings, gum massager/vibrating teether,  teether ball and just a simple wet, knubby washcloth. 

Nightlight: Our doctor suggested this as a way to help Luke self-soothe himself at night. For me, and many adults, pitch black is the way to sleep. But for babies, this isn't always the case. We've all had that feeling where you suddenly wake and it takes a second to figure out where you are. Just a glimmer of light will reveal the familiar outlines and shadows from the crib point of view. Worked wonders for us!

And the rest of the baby stuff...well its awfully fun, entertaining and exciting but at the end of the day, Luke loves his tupperware just as much as the musical whatamacallits!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Busy Board For A Busy Boy

Cody and I really enjoy making gifts whenever we can. For Luke's first birthday we settled on crafting a busy board. Plywood, paint and random hardware is all you need! 

We may still add things here & there or swap items out, like adding a bike bell, photo or mirror behind the door, etc. We measured the plywood out to fit underneath his bedroom window, 3' x 2' . Primed with Kilz, and sprayed with two coats of Rustoleum Glossy Deep Blue. Cody came up with the idea of a big bold stripe, so a quick taping and spraying of Rustoleum Glossy Safety Red took all of 3 minutes. My Dad has all kinds of random hardware around his shop, and was happy to donate to the cause! Luke loves playing with it, and tasting it, and climbing on it... And we're thoroughly entertained by the entire scene of it.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

DIY Coat Rack and Halfway Projects

I feel like I have twenty projects started but nothing quite finished! Please tell me I'm not the only distracted DIY-er. We've been really busy over here, and its been a lot of fun but ready to tie a few of these things up! We finally settled on a paint color for our family room & hallway (the latter still needs to be painted). We chose Edgecomb Gray by BM and continued Popcorn White by MS for trimwork (Luke's room & bathroom also sport this color). Square footage wise over half our house is newly painted, two years later,  but still very much enjoyed! We still need to paint the hallway (but at least the color is chosen!), our bedroom and the kitchen. 
Flip-flopping on colors continues for the kitchen and our bedroom. But we'll get there. The first two photos are before painting, the third shows our subtle but refreshing new wall color!

Family room painting all started with a new lamp shade. I've been feeling an urge to go more into the blue tones in this room, so I started with replacing our very red & yellow lampshade. Hidden and hoarded pillow covers came out of the closet and then I was ready to make a paint color commitment! I've also had a few of those crown molding style picture shelves in hiding, and I am playing with arrangement for that big wall. In addition, I'm painting our picture frames white. 

LOVING the blues. 
But oh yeah, here's the coat rack. 

I've (also) had these knobs for a while, waiting for the perfect spot. I originally thought they'd go on a dresser drawer revival. I picked them up when a nearby Pier1 was doing a remodeling sale, so they were $0.80 each! SCORE. Cody cut a three foot long 1x4 and I painted it with Dusty Miller by Glidden. 

Once dried, Cody jumped right into helping me calculate the ideal spacing, we settled on six knobs, 3" apart. He made perfectly pre-drilled holes for the knobs and halfway drilled the back for flush sitting washers. I'm sure there's more technical terms for this, but it never occurred to me that the washer would impede on a nice flush mount to the wall.  Once everything was secure, he snipped off the excess length of each knob and leveled it out on the wall. He even filled the screw heads holding it to the wall with wood putty & touched up the paint. Lucky girl right here. We hung it at 5' off the floor. High enough for his jackets, but also low enough for (eventual) art hanging above. 

I usually choose brushed nickel for hardware finishes, but I might let this little bit of brass slide under the radar. For now, I'm really loving our more functional entryway! 

And then there's this little guy.. It was a floor/wall heater. We never used it or connected it underneath the house, so it was (fairly) easy to pull out. Just big and bulky and awkward. So now we have sheetrock and hardwood floor patching to keep us busy this weekend. All in all, it just feels so good to be working on the house together so I can handle empty walls and a jerry-rigged plywood floor! Luke thinks his new little passageway is pretty fun though, we might just keep it open as a kiddie door. Joking. It's blocked off with dining chairs :) 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Weekend in Mendocino

Every now and then you get a moment to just press the pause button on life and soak up the moment you're in. Cody and I got to do just that last weekend for our sixth wedding anniversary in Mendocino! I've been that broken record (that won't shut-up) about wanting to explore the area for years now. Cody heard my cry. And he answered with a beautiful, unforgettable, and amazing weekend! My mom and sister-in-law quickly jumped at the chance to have Luke all to themselves. Two nights away from Luke was a little shock to my system, but they're both already asking when we are leaving again!

It really is just as gorgeous as you've dreamed. Redwoods, crystal clear waters, cliff-side beaches and sandy beaches, scrumptious coffee shops and bakeries, fresh seafood and cozy accommodations.  We stayed at the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek in the tiny town of Little River. They have a variety of room and cottage sizes depending on the space you need, very sweet place to stay! We drove around quite a bit planning the next trip (while still enjoying the one we were on!), most likely the next visit up there will be camping. But we also would like to stay at the Searock Inn and Stanford Inn based on their location and views. That's how you know you love a place though right? When you immediately miss it even though you haven't left yet! 

We also drove up to Ft. Bragg (about 10 miles north) and loved exploring Glass Beach and the surrounding beaches. Most of the glass at glass beach has been worn down to actual sand and (more than likely) collected by visitors but it was still fun to comb through the pebbles. Beautiful views, cliffs and tide pools to climb around on. Most of the coast here is open to explore as you please. Love that! 

Based on my perception, there are four state parks within ten miles of highway (everything is off highway 1), but I am never 'map accurate', so just know that there are four state parks like really close together up there. Two have camping, Russian Gulch & Van Damme, and the other two are great for hiking, viewing, photographing, biking, you get it.. Since we are tent campers, either Russian Gulch or Van Damme would suit us, but if you have a trailer of any sort, Van Damme is your better bet as the sites and inner roads are a little more spacious. 

We splurged on a fancy schmancy dinner Saturday night at The Albion River Inn for our anniversary. The most amazing dinner I've ever had. Really. Seriously. Have you ever eaten your fill of shrimp, crab, halibut and salmon? I can now say I have! The waiter even passed my husbands straw test. Every time we go out to eat, he orders a soda, but he plunks the straw in my drink because he doesn't like drinking through a straw. He's been waiting for years for a waiter to notice and not place a straw in his drink on the refill. So if you're out there, thank you Mr. Waiter for noticing. It put the cherry on top of your already stellar service!

 I highly, highly recommend checking this place out! Even during peak season (July & August) it was not hardly crowded! I mean I think for the locals it was probably swamped, but being from the Bay Area it was like we had the place to ourselves! I'm probably leaving a million tips and details out, but my brain is too scattered right now to list them in any sort of helpful order. Can't wait to go back and add to the memories!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Roadside Yard Art & a Planter

On my neighborhood walks, I passed this abandoned cardboard box over a couple of days. It felt safe that nobody cared for the spilled contents, so I took the liberty of picking up this rusted out light fixture.

After a good scrubbing with warm soapy water, I primed (Rust Tough Enamel Spray) and painted it up. I have a decent collection of sample paints, so one of those became my finish coat (Dynasty Celadon by Behr).

I may repaint it a darker color, or roughen it up with some sandpaper, but for now its a nice addition to our fence decor. 

A few months ago, Cody and I (well mostly Cody!) added a planter to the side of our backyard. We picked a variety of drought tolerant flowers since this area is mostly full-sun. So far, I haven't killed them off! Garden confidence is definitely building over here. The hearts are from the flea market, a vendor made these with wine barrel strappings. I may paint them, I may not. Decisions, decisions..

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Keepsake Quilt

I guess all quilts are keepsakes though right? I mean hopefully, assuming you love it truly and deeply? In my quilting spree, I had another baby girl on the brain.. My friend Ashley's daughter Edith! Except this time around it wasn't girly pink in order, Edith shares a woodland room with her big brother Byron. So the challenge was to create a feminine, woodsy quilt. Yellow, white and green it was!

This quilt was made in twin size and used a lot of the fabric I've gathered and stored. The quilt top was made of four rows alternating squares and rectangles and a few fillers and appliqued squares for extra visual interest. I found the perfect soft yellow flat sheet in queen size for the backing and binding. I again hand tied this one together. One of these days I'll break down, buy the walking foot and expand my horizons. Until then, here is the princess herself! 

Isn't she just precious?? Her mother says it makes the perfect play mat while she grows into it! Win!