Today is the Day!

Today, we will get to meet this little girl...

I'm being induced at 8:00 this morning!

Gifts for the Baby, Big Brother, & Big Sister

The past few weeks we have been frantically getting ready for the arrival of our baby girl.  You could say I am in full blown baby panic mode!

To help the kids prepare for our new bundle of joy, we took them to Build-A-Bear Workshop to make a stuffed animal to give their baby sister.

They picked out this pink bear, which they later named Molly!  They each made a wish for the baby & put in a heart after filling her with stuffing.

Then, they fluffed & brushed her to make her look her best for when she meets her new owner.

Now, Molly is patiently waiting for her new owner, in her new home!

We also got the big brother & big sister some gifts, which we will give them at the hospital when they come to visit.

Zeke will get book & a game with a note from baby sister that says how much she can't wait for him to read & play with her.

Elie will get a Princess Belle cup & a Tangled CD with a note from baby sister that says how much she can't wait to dress up like princesses & dance with Elie.

Hopefully, these gifts will make the older kids feel special, despite some of the changes that they will have to deal with once we bring the baby home! 

Did you give gifts to your older kids after having a baby?  

Ladybug Birthday Gift

My daughter got invited to a birthday party for a little girl that loves to explore the great outdoors.  She even created a club for her friends called, "The Adventure Bug Club".  We put together this little gift for her that she will hopefully enjoy!

I picked up the Ladybug Playground in the Science section of Hobby Lobby.  It was $5.99, but I used a 40% off coupon I printed from their website to save some money.  My son got one of these for his birthday, & we have been taking care of ladybugs for a few weeks now.  It is so fun to watch them walk around on the vines & even upside down along the dome!  They seem to be doing well, as we feed them raisins & keep a moist paper towel inside to keep them hydrated.

We threw in a little box of raisins, which I spruced up by making a label from the computer that reads, "Ladybug Food".

To extend the ladybug theme, I found the "Bug Bites Kabob" candy from Dollar Tree & some bug stickers from Hobby Lobby.

I hope this little explorer likes her gift!  Do you have any gift ideas for nature lovers?

Quick Change

Does anyone remember that magic act on America's Got Talent called "Quick Change"?  The magician would quickly throw a cover over his assistant, & within seconds, she would have on a different outfit.  It was pretty amazing, although, that was pretty much their entire act, just different outfits every time they performed!

Today, I am sharing a quick change of my very own! 

I bought these dining chairs a few years ago from Value City Furniture, with the plan of adding slipcovers to them.  Time & money got away from me, & they ended up sitting in the dining room for a few years, looking like this:

{Naked Parson Chair}

I really love the look of linen colored slipcovers, but knowing the people that would be eating in the dining room, I figured a light color wasn't the best option.  (& also, I couldn't find an inexpensive linen slipcover!)  I found a great deal with these slipcovers from QVC for only $24.53 for two!  I decided to get them in taupe.

And...Abra Cadabra!  Here's my quick change:

{The chairs are much more comfortable clothed!}

Here's a reminder of what the dining room looked like with naked chairs:


And, here they are fully clothed:


The dining room is definitely coming along!  Click here for more dining room progress!

Thrifty Decor Chick

Flowers On the Wall

Since I am still having trouble conceptualizing my style, I couldn't figure out what to put on this big empty wall in the dining room.


I thought about adding shelving & placing random dishes & accessories on them.  I also thought about doing a plate wall.  I wasn't sure if either of these looks would go along with the style I was trying to create in this room.  I also didn't want to spend a lot of money on a large piece of artwork.

In the end, I decided to go with pictures, similar to my entry art.  I went to Microsoft Office Images & typed "flowers" into the search engine.  I chose to limit my search to large photos.  Then, I simply found the images I liked & printed them as 5x7 prints.


I used some $3 frames with mats from Wal-Mart & figured out the arrangement on the floor.  Then, we made lots of holes in the wall (via trial & error, level, measuring tape, hammer, etc.) until we got it right!


I love the pops of color these photos bring to the room!

Valentine's Day

I know Valentine's Day is over with, but I thought I would share some of the fun we had celebrating our love for each other!

Mark & I don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day as a couple...since having kids, it has become a fun little family holiday.  My husband usually humors me & goes along with my ideas, but doesn't take part in the planning or preparation, so imagine my surprise when I came downstairs to this:

Some how, he had managed to sneak out of the house & pick up heart-shaped donuts, a rose for me, the baby (the reason the two roses are surrounded with Baby's Breath!) & Eliana, & a toy car for Zeke. Although, it may seem like a small gesture to some of you, this made the kids & I feel so special!

{Chocolate Cream Filled Goodness}

You might think a five-year-old would have no interest in flowers, but our daughter loves hers!  Here she is dancing with it:

Okay, so I guess it's a little hard to tell she is dancing with it in this picture!  She has also given her flower a sticker from the grocery store!  Yesterday, it was wrapped in a blanket & this morning I walked into the family room to find it wearing a hat!

Sadly, the other flowers have taken a hit, but I'm okay with that, since she is enjoying her flower so much!  Oh, & please excuse the messy background!  Just keeping it real!

To make lunch a little more special, I cut the kids' PB&J sandwiches with a heart shaped cookie cutter & included a small jello heart.

I love these Ziploc containers for holding the kids lunches!  Since I usually pack a lunch for my son in the mornings, I have started making Elie's lunch at the same time, even though she eats it at home.  It is a huge time saver & she can easily get it out & start eating if she gets hungry a little early.

Mark was only home for a couple of hours after school, so we did our Valentine hunt before dinner this year.  I hid hearts with words on them around the house.  The kids had to find all the hearts, put them together to figure out the clue, & then go find their Valentine baskets based on the clue.

Since our Valentine's Day was packed with a dentist appointment, parties, & basketball practice, I decided to pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (yep, it was time for a marathon grocery run too!).  We also had heart-shaped jello jigglers, strawberries, green beans, strawberry milk, & heart-shaped Little Debbie brownies for dessert.  I had seen the idea to use chocolate to write a message around the heart somewhere, so I decided to do that to make it a little more unique!

{Dinner by candle light with my two little sweethearts!}

Not bad for a quick Valentine's meal!

So, do you celebrate this holiday as a couple, or as a family?  Do you have any fun Valentine's Day traditions?  I'd love to hear them!

Gifts for my Sweethearts!

Usually our Valentine's Days are spent celebrating the whole family.  We have fun with meal times by eating a lot of foods that are red or pink & shaped like hearts (pancakes, jello jigglers, sugar cookies, strawberry milk, etc.).  We also eat dinner by candle light & use fancy plates & glasses.  Afterwards, the kids go on some sort of a hunt for Valentine goodies.
This year, I cut out hearts with different words on them.  While the kids are preoccupied, I will hide them around the house.  After dinner, they will have to find all the hearts & de-code the message to find the where-abouts of their Valentine's gifts. 

Here are the gifts they are getting for Valentine's Day this year:

I got all of Zeke's gifts at Dollar Tree... a word search, calculator, yo yo, sweethearts candy, Frog Lays Eggs experiment, & a Growing Pet Flamingo.  (I'm not exactly sure what those last two items are, but I guess we'll find out!)

I got Elie a sun catcher (from Hobby Lobby), bubble bath (from Dollar Tree), sweetheart candy, nail polish, lip gloss, & girlie nails (from Family Dollar).  The Girlie Nails are fake fingernails for little girls.  I thought they were cute for playing dress up & maybe encouraging Elie to stop sucking her thumb!

I put their gifts in these heart-shaped baskets I got from Dollar Tree a few years ago.

So, how do you spend your Valentine's Day? 

Our Valentines

Each year, since the kids have been in school, we have made Valentine's cards for their classmates.  I was planning on showing ones from years past, but apparently, I never took pictures of them!  Oops!

Thanks to Pinterest, I was able to pin a bunch of ideas for Valentine's Day, & here are the cards the kids chose to make for their classes:

Zeke chose to make these Valentine's, which say "Have a TOAD-ally awesome Valentine's Day!".  I made them on the computer, cut them out, & had him sign them & glue on frogs from Dollar Tree.  I saw the idea from Crap I've Made & she actually even has a link to print them, but I wasn't sure if it would print okay on the red paper I had already bought, so I made my own.

Elie chose to use glow bracelets & make these Valentine's that say, "You make my heart glow!".  I found the idea at The Teacher Wife & she also has a cute printable for these!  (I really wish I would have noticed that before I bought the red paper!)  Hers are much cuter than mine!  Anyway, I just made them on the computer, printed them, cut them out, & had Elie sign her name & tape some glow stick bracelets on the back. 

We always give the teachers & bus drivers candy bars wrapped in festive paper.  It's nicer than giving them a kid card, but not as extravagant or expensive as a gift.  (Right now, I am trying NOT to eat the extra candy bar that's sitting on the counter!)

So, what are your kids handing out for Valentine's Day?  Do you buy cards or make them with the kids?  I'd love to hear some more ideas!

Simple Centerpiece

Last week, I told you that this picture inspired the centerpiece on my dining room table:

Well, here is what I came up with as the everyday centerpiece for the table:

I added my homemade table runner, a mirrored candle holder, glass hurricane & pillar candle, & finally, some faux boxwoods from Michael's.  The boxwoods were about $8 each, but I used a 40% off coupon on each of them (bought at separate times), making them a much better deal!

Simple, classy, & great for everyday!

Hiding Imperfections

Our dining set was a cheap purchase from Craigslist.  When we bought it, two years ago, we had full intentions of stripping off & replacing the damaged veneer.  I still hope to do that some day, but don't think it's probably a good idea to do while pregnant or nursing.  (I'm the stain & poly person in our household!) 

Here are some of the flaws I'm talking about:

Since fixing it isn't an option right now, I decided to cover up some of the flaws by making a runner for the table. 

First, I grabbed some cheap fabric from Hobby Lobby. 

Then, I cut it to size, double the width I wanted, & folded it in half with the right sides together.  I did a quick stitch along the long cut edge, & one of the ends.  Then, I turned it right side out & hemmed up the other end, followed by a quick ironing.  The whole thing maybe took 30 minutes to make & I am a horrible seamstress!

Here's how it turned out: 

{Ignore the wrinkles!}

You'll notice that I placed the runner along the width of the table, rather than having it run the length of the table.  This was because that is where the really bad flaws were that I wanted to cover up.  I am very happy with my quick cover up!  It definitely serves it's purpose!

More Molding

To begin our dining room makeover, Mark framed out the windows, added more chunky chair rail & wainscoting, & we painted the room.  I don't want to reveal too much of the room, but here are a couple of pictures.

{New paint, chair rail, & wainscoting}

The paint color we chose was just a shade darker than what we painted in the entry, and is Dusty Trail by Olympic Paints (from Lowes).  

{More Chair Rail & Framed Windows}

I'm not sure why this picture turned out so dark.  The colors in the first picture are more accurate.  I'm hoping to do a tutorial for how to frame windows when we do it in the nursery.  Also, if you would like to learn more about the process of installing chair rail & wainscoting, you can see my post here.

Here's a look back at where we started:

Inspired Dining

We are in the process of giving our dining room a makeover (and a plethora of other "nesting" projects).  Before I show you some of the changes we've made in the room, I thought I would show you some of the dining rooms that have been inspiring me during the process.

I love the neutral colors of this dining room with the pop of hot pink flowers & pillows.

My favorite features in this room are the accent wall, mirror, & pops of green.

The colors in this dining room are so beautiful & cheerful!

The simple design of this dining room help the architectural features of the ceiling & window shine.

I love the colors in this dining room (especially the built-ins), with the pop of color from the flowers, & I wish those chairs were in my budget! 

This gorgeous dining room inspired the centerpiece on my table, but you'll have to wait to see it!  (& those chairs...again!)

More of my "dream" chairs & pretty geometric drapes.
Source: via Wendy on Pinterest

The colors in this dining room are so beautiful! 

I am having the hardest time finding a neutral, geometric fabric at an affordable price!  I'd love something like the pattern in the chairs below.
Source: via Wendy on Pinterest

So, which of these is your favorite? 


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