Category Archives: DIY / Crafting

Projects With Nola

Who else loves Target’s dollar section? I am always impressed by the curated items, from the decor to the craft projects. We are on a big dinosaur kick these days which started long ago when CJ took Nola to the Good Dinosaur. So when I saw this cute kit where you find an insect inside an egg I couldn’t wait to do this with Nola. I know what you are thinking, how is any of this have to do with dinosaurs? It doesn’t, but somehow I did at the time. Anyways, it was a fun activity to do. However it was actually quite difficult to chisel away to find that darn insect! Mama had to get in there a couple of times and dig in. Here’s some photos of my cute little archaeologist if you care to see:

IMG_9661 IMG_9664 IMG_9666 IMG_9668

DIY Valentine’s Day Pillow

DSC_0052 copy

Hey guys!  How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?  Life can be ho-hum sometimes so any holiday that comes along I love celebrating.  It’s nice to spice things up a little.  Plus a holiday that celebrates love?!?  Yes please!  So here’s a fun craft you can do in celebration of that special love day!  This craft is a heart pocket pillow that you can also collaborate doing with your toddler if you want.

DSC_0050 copy

Supplies:
– Pillow insert
– Fabric for pillow insert
– Fabric for heart
– Thread to match fabric
– Needle
– Scissor
– Ruler
– Fabric paint
– Paint brush
– Iron
– Sewing machine

Instructions:
1.  Depending on what size pillow insert/form cut (2) pieces of fabric 1″ larger than pillow to make pillow cover.  I had a 14″ x 14″ pillow so I cut out (2) squares 15″ x 15″.
2.  Have toddler paint on fabric.  I used black fabric and had Nola paint with white paint.  I just had her paint a large section of fabric.
3.  After paint has dried, cut out a heart smaller than the pillow cover.  Follow instructions according to what’s on the fabric paint’s bottle to heat set and ensure paint is permanent, mine called for ironing.
4.  Hem around the around the perimeter of the heart to prevent the fabric from fraying.
5.  Next sew heart onto pillow following the hem stitch.  Leave opening at the top of the heart to allow for pocket.
6.  Now you can sew the pillow cover.  Have backside of fabric facing out and sew pillow pieces together allowing a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Leave approximately a 5″ opening to insert pillow.
7.  After pillow is inserted use a hidden stitch with needle and thread to close up opening.
8.  Set out pillow and put a love note and a treat for the special people in your home!

I think this pillow is adorable and since I don’t think it looks like typical Valentine’s Day decor I plan on having it out year round.  And can I just say Nola’s painting, not only does it make this pillow more special, but I love how abstract it came out!!  I plan on slipping some notes and treats to my guy, Nola and guests when they come.  I think it will be a lot of fun!  Happy Valentine’s Day friends!

DSC_0002 DSC_0056

DIY Cleaners & Laundry Detergent

DSC_0009 copy

As baby #2’s delivery date is approaching I have been doing all the necessary pre-baby preparations. Since Nola was over a month early and I had nothing ready I wasn’t going to let that happen again.  Just so…you know…then my husband doesn’t have to go and buy that special laundry detergent and do laundry while I’m in the hospital, or have my amazing friend do my baby essentials target run.  Yes they did those things for me, forever grateful for them!!

Of course one of the things on my list was washing all the baby clothes.  Last time I had used Dreft for Nola, but came across some info that said it still had chemicals that could be unsafe.  I’m not an expert on any of this, nor will I try to be, but what this gave me was an excuse to finally try making my own laundry detergent.  A lot of my friends have gone down this road and I have been curious to give it a try.  Clearly I was very ambitious that day.  I did quite a bit of research on different detergent ‘recipes’ and decided on one that did not include borax.  I heard mixed reviews on if borax is safe or not and since I was going to take the time to try and make a detergent that was completely safe and clean why put something into it that was questionable?

Here is the recipe for the ‘baby detergent':
Large Container to store detergent
4 cups of baking soda
3 cups of washing soda (get at amazon, walmart & some grocery stores)
1 grated Dr. Bonner’s Soap (get at amazon, vitamin stores & target!)

My review on this cleaner is that so far it seems great!  From the peppermint soap it does give off a faint refreshing smell which I appreciate since I love the smell of clean laundry.  Since there’s no baby yet, there’s no spit up to test how good it cleans, but I will let you know!

The next cleaner I made was a multi-purpose cleaner.  I use this one when cleaning my counter tops.  Things I learned when researching vinegar:  1.  vinegar will disinfect, but commercial cleaners will kill more bacteria & viruses  2.  many people say we over-use disinfectants and we underestimate the power of just hot soapy water and elbow grease  3.  Clean surface before using vinegar cleaner  4.  All surfaces are not suitable for an acidic/vinegar cleaner.  That was a lot of info for this simple recipe, but wanted to share with all of you what I learned and thought was interesting when researching vinegar.

Here is the recipe for the multi-purpose cleaner:
Spray Bottle (glass is preferred when using essential oils, but I read depending on the amount of essential oils used, plastic shouldn’t be a problem)
1/4 cup of vinegar
1 3/4 cup of water
20 drops of lemon essential oil
shake before each use

I also wanted to note that though there is essential oils in this cleaner, it still has a vinegary smell, so if that is something you are not all about this may not be for you, or maybe adding more lemon essential oil may resolve this?

The last cleaner reminds me of febreeze.  It has that lovely lavender smell and it’s great to use right before guests come over or if you just want your house smelling lovely.  I have used this on my furniture, carpet and read this also would be great sprayed on your sheets.

Here is the recipe for the fabric/upholstery spray:
Spray Bottle
1 tablespoon of baking soda
2 cups of warm water
10 drops of lavender essential oil
shake before each use

As you can see these recipes are so simple a young child could do this, so very easy, just how I like it!  And you most likely you may have these ingredients lying around.  Let me know if you give them a try!  I have to admit some days for me it’s fun trying to experiment and try new things, other days I like getting stuff from Honest Company.  Either way I’m trying to make more healthy decisions for my family, everything in moderation is what I keep telling myself!

Christmas Activity Fun

Hey guys!  Hope you all are surviving this Holiday Season and able to enjoy this special time.  To be completely honest this week has been a rough one for us.  CJ got food poisoning so was out for a couple of days and then Nola got a nasty cold.  A toddler who can’t breath out of their nose = no sleep for anyone.  I also had a whirlwind scenario where our shipment of christmas postcards got misplaced during delivery, which slightly upset me then I kind of was like, ‘ok I guess I don’t have to worry about addressing them all!’  But they were located the next day.  And to top it all off I’m on this last minute project freak mode recruiting CJ along the way to help me (he just informed me I’m the worse person to work with btw, i’m like what????? he’s probably right, poor thing) which results in us being up in the wee hours trying to complete everything.  It’s a complete whack job of a life over here these days.  BUT on the flip side we realized how we take our health for granted and so thankful for the bodies God has given us.

Despite all these misfortunate events we are still trying to do as many fun Christmas activities as possible.  Most of these activities occurred last week before everyone got sick.  We were able to make and decorate salt dough ornaments for the Christmas tree.  Went to a special breakfast to see Santa at the Heidel House.  And our sweet friends came over to decorate ginger bread houses.  Please note that if decorating ginger bread houses with toddlers it would behoove you to have the houses assembled ahead of time.  Toddlers have no time to wait for frosting to dry.

This week we have watched a lot of Christmas movies.  Nola’s favorite is the old school Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  I can’t help but love the elf who wishes he was a dentist, bless that little elf’s heart.  And don’t get me on the misfit song, it is so good.  I have to make some cookies for church and plan on passing them to our neighbors as well.  Sadly I can’t have my little helper assist because of her nasty cold and what’s weird is it makes me sad.  She’s my official ‘try to’ dump all the measured ingredients in the mixing bowl.  Guys what am I going to do when she leaves for college, I mean come on, I’m sad over here because she can’t help me make cookies?!  I’m a lost cause.

Here’s photos of some of the activities we had been up to if you care to see:

DSC_0005 DSC_0020 helping decorate her own little tree! photo (6) photo (7) DSC_0053 DSC_0059_2 IMG_5108 IMG_5098

Thankfully we are all on the mend and ready for more fun Christmas activities to be done.  Also a side note, but worth mentioning, around this time (34 weeks) when pregnant with Nola I was in labor!!!  Crazy to think about that.  We can’t wait to meet this sweet baby.

Keeping It Real Here During the Holiday Season

Hey Guys!  Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We have so much to be thankful for this year and amazed by God’s love and undeserved blessings He keeps pouring on our family.  We were able to spend time with my Husband’s family this year in North Carolina.  It was great catching up with everybody and Nola had a wonderful time.  For all of you who have both sides of your family living close by you are very lucky!!  Visiting family or hosting during the Holidays are all great things, but it involves a lot more planning and work.  I sometimes get envious, not going to lie.  The great thing was we celebrated Christmas early and it was just as fun, even if it was a month early.  Good thing because we are really starting to think that our Christmases’ need to be celebrated at our home with our little fam bam.

We decided to drive (why oh why are flights so expensive during the Holiday season!!  shaking fist up in the air) but we couldn’t have asked for a better drive to and from and Nola was amazing!  The trip back however, I feel kind of did me in emotionally and physically.  I was so tired and just felt overwhelmed with all the stuff I wanted to do for the Christmas Season.

Christmas Cards, getting and decorating the Christmas tree and putting together the advent calendar are pretty time sensitive things that either need to be done NOW, in my opinion, or it just doesn’t pay to do, especially with the baby coming.  So when we got home I got busy and felt stressed getting those things all together.  What helped me cope with the things I wanted to accomplish before Christmas was we scaled back on family activities we were hoping to do for advent, our tree is more of collaboration of what we had on hand have versus the vision of what I hoped it would be and our advent calendar starts on December 4th.  That’s my life friends.

Honestly one thing I have going for me is I normally don’t stress about those things and was surprised how I was feeling.  Can I blame being in my third trimester?  :) I hate that I let it get to me like it did and take away from what this Christmas Season is all about.  For some advent activities we are donating to our local food shelter, bringing items to Ronald McDonald House and going through clothes and toys to donate.  I would love any other suggestions on activities you do with your kiddos on teaching them the meaning of giving and serving.  To be fair since Nola is only 2 she is a bit young to fully understand all of this, but I think it’s still a great thing to start young.

Thanks for letting me vent a little and I hope you all are enjoying this wonderful time of the year and OK scaling back if you are starting to feel stressed out!

Here’s a photo of our Nola girl that Uncle Matt took while we were in NC.

Nola