December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season. May your days be merry and bright, your stockings heavy and your hearts full. I'm going to take some time to relax and spend with my family, but I will be back in the new year. 

Thank you all for the great year.


December 19, 2016

Kaley's Monthly Pictures: Eleven Months

Hi everyone, and welcome back. This is the second last picture I will be sharing, because my baby girl will be one in two days! Can I just stop time now? Please? Pretty please?

My little baby is getting so big and bright. There is no stopping her when she sets her mind to something, and I love watching her think things through. She's our little tornado, and is a joy to watch grow up. And is it ever getting hard to take these pictures with her laying down, she just shoots up and runs away.

She makes us laugh continuously while at the same time so frustrated! I cannot believe the things that she gets into, every day it's something new. And it seems that she is continuously learning and finding ways around our blockades and baby proofing. Braxton was never a problem with this, and is always a practice in patience.

I forgot to include it on the picture, but Kaley had her first Halloween this month! She was too cute when dressed up, and completely willing to ham it up for the camera.

Kaley will eat and eat and eat. She is always willing to try new foods and will actually drink from a sippy cup. This is such a blessing after our picky eater (Braxton, I'm looking at you).

Well, that's all for this month. I'm finding it hard to write about Kaley so late after the picture was taken because I start confusing the months. Good thing there's only one left.


December 15, 2016

An ABC, Guess Who's Three? Birthday Party

Hi everyone, this is a little late but I can't believe Braxton is already three! It's so crazy to think that he was just a little baby in my arms. Now I can barely fit him in my arms at all! He is literally over half as tall as me, and that makes me so sad!!!!!

Braxton was a tough cookie this year when it came to a birthday party theme, I think I went through about five before we settled on an alphabet party. He would love a show for about a month and then hate it forever, usually right after I had the party all planned out. In fact, I managed to get almost all of the decorations complete for a Yo Gabba Gabba party before he decided that he hates that show with a passion. Sigh. But the one thing that has never wavered is his love of the alphabet. Anything with the alphabet on it is a winner in his book, so having this theme to fall back on was great. Though planning a party in less than a month is not what I am used to and I panicked quite a bit over getting everything accomplished. It wasn't my finest planning or decorating, but it definitely got the job done.

Behind the table I made some paper rosettes and pinwheels in a variety of colours, with red, green and blue being the main colours. Just like the ABC book by Dr. Seuss, which is a favourite book of Braxton's. Not so much for Mommy or Daddy though, and has been assigned to the car for road trips. And a quick birthday sign using printed letters on card stock finished the table area off.

These were easy once you got a system down, but there was a little trial and error. Mostly because I did them over the course of about 10 nights and would completely forgot what I did the day before. And the pinwheels used alphabet scrapbook paper and some present scrapbook paper to add some fun pop of colour.

The food, which I forgot to take pictures of, was marked with fun little cards that used the alphabet. This was a little tough to think of foods that didn't all start with the same letters!

We served sandwiches, pizza rolls, vegetables, meatballs and of course cake! And as usual we had way too much food leftover, so guess who didn't have to cook dinner for a few days? That's right, me.

I also made an alphabet banner that was originally to go over the table, but i ended up miscalculating it's length and it ended up being about three feet to long. So instead, I decided to put it over our large front window. I usually decorate this area anyway, so it worked out.

A cute little sign for the treat bags, mimicking the same signs that were on the table completed the decor for the party. Like I said, not a lot of decorations but it still looked great.

The birthday boy was tough to get pictures of this year because he kept trying to run away with everything, but we managed to get a few. Kaley thought it was her birthday and kept trying to open the presents, but we managed to get her occupied with a few envelopes.

It was such a fun day, and Braxton got spoiled as usual. And my silly boy started to love Elmo about a week before his birthday, so his attention was caught with the cards and gift bags. What a sweetheart, he kept thinking the cards were the gifts.

We feel bad when December rolls around because both kids have to wait all year for their birthdays, and then Christmas is right around the corner (especially for Kaley). So they can literally have all their gifts in a 3 week period. But our families are so supportive and loving, and help make this easier by showering our kids with love and attention.

Well, that's all I've got for you guys. It has been so crazy trying to get both parties ready as well as Christmas ready, I can't believe I even remembered to take these pictures!

If you want to see Braxton's previous birthday party themes, you can find them here: A Winter One-Derland, A Wiggly Second Birthday.

Thanks again for reading along with my kids, hopefully I will be able to get back to crafting and household updates again soon.


November 24, 2016

Kaley's Monthly Picture: Ten Months

Hello, hello everyone. And I have to say, holy am I late posting this monthly picture! I have had the pictures ready for a month now, I have just been lazy and busy doing other things. Oh well, better late than never!

I don't even know where to start with this little girl! She is so happy all the time, and is always making us laugh. She's friendly and such a sweetheart to everyone, including people she's just met. Even on her worst days, you can usually get her laughing and being silly again.

It's starting to get hard to take pictures of her because she is trying to do all the things so fast that she is constantly falling and bruising her poor little face. She actually has a shiner and a black eye from a recent fall into a coffee table as I write this. And the only way I can think of to stop this from happening is to bubble wrap my entire house. She just wants to GO.

She is so curious and wants to be part of everything. Naps are hard to come by in the afternoon anymore, she just can't miss anything that Braxton is doing. Her favourite toys are now soccer and "basket" balls, and she loves carrying around ball pit balls. She loves to throw the larger ones around and chase after them. It's stinking adorable.

And everything is a prize and edible. Doesn't matter what it is, it can be eaten according to Kaley. The amount of dog hair and leaves we rescue from her is just hilarious some days. It's rare to get an outdoor picture where she isn't putting leaves into her mouth. 

That's it for this month since this is such a late post, and I have her 11 month pictures coming up. I think I am confusing and combining the months, everything is just going so fast. Hopefully you will come back to see what's new with Kaley for her 11 month picture. And she's going to be one in less than a month! I'm so excited and distraught that she's getting so big.


November 11, 2016

Triforce Tray Update

Hello again everyone and welcome back. See, I told you I was doing stuff. It just gets so hard to get on the computer anymore without having a child in my lap "helping" me type things. It's better to just not play that game.

I don't think I ever mentioned it here, but anyone who knows us can tell you that we are a gaming family. Luis is a gamer, he enjoys playing video games of all types. I am a part-time gamer, I will play or watch Luis play a game that I am interested in. We have games that we play together, and games that we play individually. It's not for everyone, but it's what we like to do. Everyone likes different things, this is our thing that we do together.

A few years ago we had a gaming related incident that involved a broken controller and a broken tray that I used in the basement to coral the remotes and controllers. These incidents are completely related. 

The broken tray has been sitting in our crawlspace for years while I tried to figure out how to fix it or what I was going to do with it. I decided it would be nice to use this tray on the couch when we are having a snack so that we don't have to lean over to the coffee table. I know, first world problems. And since we have redone the basement with gaming related decor, I thought it would add a nice touch to incorporate this with the tray as well.

I thought long and hard about what I was going to put on the tray, whether it was going to be a recognizable symbol from a game or from a show. We love having game related things in our basement that most people will think is just nice decor, but people who play the game will get what it is about and appreciate it more.  In the end I chose this triforce symbol because it was easy and is from a game that I love and have played many times myself. I like easy crafts, makes it that much more satisfying when you finish it quickly.

First I sanded the tray lightly, then I did a few coats of spray-paint in a glossy white to cover the finish. I was hoping that I could cover the crack with paint and not have to do anything else. Unfortunately the crack was extremely noticeable, so we had to come up with another plan.  

I couldn't really get a good picture of the crack with the white paint, so I took a picture of the bottom to show you the crack and the previous finish. I couldn't find my before picture of the top of the tray, and don't mind the toddler foot. Though Braxton's foot makes this tray look huge if you thought that was my foot.

We decided to use the same kind of wood that we used for our coffee table update, but the oak instead of MDF. This stuff is fairly inexpensive and is easy to work with. I think this sheet, which we only used about two thirds of, was roughly $8.

Luis cut it to fit inside the tray and used clear paintable caulking to fill in any gaps. The inside of the tray is angled, so cutting the wood to fit perfectly was almost impossible.

Once the caulking set for a few days, I gave the tray another few coats with a semi gloss white paint. I did the whole tray, not just the wood insert and this helped blend the two paints together. The spray paint acted as a primer for the old stain colour, so it worked out perfectly.

Once the base paint was finished I traced the triforce shape onto roughly the middle of the tray. I cut out a cardboard triangle to use as a stencil, and the triforce is just four triangles. Easy peasy. I used a Martha Stewart gold paint to fill in the triforce and it took about 5 light coats to get good coverage. 

The finish of the gold paint isn't flat, I chose to let the gold paint have different tones so that the triforce looked a little more metallic. It would have taken another 5 coats for the gold to be the same flatness, and I think it would have made it look a little boring. This way, it has more depth. And once I was happy with how the gold paint looked I gave the whole tray a coat of semi gloss Mod Podge. This will seal the tray against any spills or condensation from drinks.

I am so happy with how this turned out. It's nice to have the option to use a tray for snacks and drinks after the kids go to bed. Or even for entertaining, not that we do that a lot anymore. Kids are exhausting.

Hopefully this gives you guys some inspiration to update things the way you want to. It doesn't have to be the latest trend or look a certain way as long as you like it and it functions for your family. For the longest time I struggled with what I thought I should do and what I wanted to do. In the end, I need to let what makes us happy be what's in our house. We have to live with it, not anyone else.


Linking to: 
Tatertots & Jello - Link Party Palooza 12/16/16 
Ginger Snap Crafts - Wow Me Wednesday #288 

November 4, 2016

Kid Friendly Coffee Table Update

Hello everyone and welcome back! I have been busy getting things done, now comes the hard part of actually being able to edit the pictures and write a post. You'll have to bear with me, as you have been all year. The busy season is about to be upon me, and I don't know what I'll be able to get done or show you guys.

But today I have a kid friendly update to solve the "what to do with the glass inserts" in your coffee table problem. We struggled after Braxton was born with whether to buy a new coffee table or not. Ours was in great shape still, but had four glass inserts that we KNEW were destined to be broken if left in the table. We just couldn't justify spending upwards of $300 to replace a perfectly good coffee table.

Enter a cheap piece of wood and some paint.

Luis found a solution with thin MDF boards that he cut to size to fit in the inserts. It didn't look too bad, but after two years they looked like they were super dirty all the time. There were tons of food and water spills that you could plainly see, and they couldn't really be cleaned. I decided to paint them white and add some fun kid elements to each section.

In the above picture I had painted three of the four inserts with a white outdoor door paint. I know it's unconventional, but I needed something that would repel liquids and I had it on hand. I'll save myself $20 whenever I can, and this paint worked perfectly. You can see some of the staining on the unpainted insert.

Once these were painted and ready I headed to Micheals and grabbed these paint pens and a set of stencils. These paint pens are so much cheaper than the Sharpie versions, and actually worked much better in my experience. And I chose this stencil because it had letters, numbers and shapes. Perfect for kids.

I chose to use each section as it's own learning tool, four sections with four things to learn. Letters, Numbers, Shapes and Colours. I used pencil with the stencils first and just eyeballed everything. It's not perfect, but it works. I wasn't too concerned because it's such a temporary solution, the glass will come back once the kids are old enough. I just wanted something that would look nicer than stained wood.

I struggled at first with how to do the colours section. Big shapes with the colours written on it in a different colour? Try to incorporate shapes and colours together? In the end I decided to spell the colour out with the actual colour. I think this worked out the best because know they can associate the word (and spelling) with the actual colour.

I think it turned out great and more importantly the kids love it. I did the shapes first, and I wish I waited as I don't like how they turned out. But honestly, Braxton doesn't care and it's not worth the sanding, painting and re stenciling.

After the paint pens had cured for a few days I just put a thin layer of glossy mod podge over each board to make sure that the paint doesn't run when water gets dumped all over it. It's going to happen, let's not kid ourselves people.

And that's it! I know my coffee table looks amazing with bumper pads all over it, but those things are life savers. And eventually the plan will be to paint the actual coffee table because it is so beat up now. The stain is almost gone in some places, and the pads are ripping the rest up. Once we are ready to put the glass back in the table, I will start that update.

Hopefully this gave you guys some ideas for saving a glass insert coffee table for when your kids are a little bigger. Is wasn't too hard and took a small amount of effort, and it's a great way to incorporate learning tools into a room without making it a playroom.


Linking to:
Ginger Snap Crafts - Wow Me Wednesday #284
Naptime Creations - Great Things to Make for Kids 1/31/17
eighteen25 - Show and Tell #14 

October 3, 2016

Kaley's Monthly Picture: Nine Months

Hello every and welcome back to the next set of monthly pictures for Kaley. I know not everyone likes looking at picture and updates of other peoples children, but I feel it's nice to have these things documented and it's even better to share them.

Though I do feel like maybe I need to try to get a Braxton related photo shoot going, since everything has been pretty Kaley heavy lately. Maybe if I can get him to sit still long enough that I can actually take a decent picture of him. I'll see what I can do, but I make no promises.

September 19, 2016

How to Deal with Pesky Ants

Hello everyone and welcome back! I feel like I never get to post anymore and I don't because life is just so busy. There always seems to be something going on, or something coming up. My crafts and the things I have planned to make always take the back burner. But things could be worse! Today I have a post that's a little different than my normal quick craft, recipe or picture of my adorable kids. I thought I would share with you guys a recent problem and the solutions that I found, and maybe I can save you the trouble of having to search the answers out yourself. 

I'm not sure if this is a problem that everyone has this time of year or if it's just us, but it can be said in one word: ants. Does anyone else have a battle waging against ants this year or is it just us? We cannot keep them from coming into the house and I have been trying to find non chemical solutions for inside the house so I don't have to worry about the kids. Just a warning that this post will not have many pictures, but bear with me.

I found that they were coming in through a tiny gap in the front door and found a line of the buggers straight to the kitchen. I didn't stop to take a picture because I was busy vacuuming them all up. But just when I got them all I would see another line on the move. First I tried to use a liquid ant bait outside the door where the kids could not get to it and people wouldn't carry it in with theirs shoes. This is what I used, and have had luck in the past in the basement. It's the same thing as an ant trap, except its a liquid that you place where they are coming into your house or on the ant hill itself. Since I couldn't find the any hill, I chose the house.

Raid® Ant Killer Liquid

This stopped them for about an hour, and once all the liquid was gone (either from the ants or because it started to dry up) they started their march right back into the house. Cue the angry face emoji here.

So off to Google I went and tried to find a few ant deterrents or killers to keep these guys from coming into my house and trying to move in. I found a few all natural or chemical free methods and I though I would list them here and if they work.

1. Vinegar

I know that vinegar is a good way to kill ants, especially if you pour it directly onto the ant hill. But I always feel bad for pouring what amounts to acid right on the ants, so I don't like to do it unless it's completely necessary. I read however that vinegar is a great non chemical way to disrupt the trail that they follow, so I was game to try that. 

After watching them for a while I knew the trail and poured a generous amount of vinegar all over the line and around it. I did kill a few ants (which I do feel bad about), and this worked for a little while. But again, once the vinegar dried the ants just followed the same trail right up to the house. So to me, this little tip was a bust. And a waste of perfectly good vinegar that could have gone on my french fries.

2. Baby Powder (Talcum Powder)

I also read that baby powder is a great ant deterrent and will keep them from entering your house because they won't cross through the powder. I just happen to have a ton of baby powder so this seemed like a great one to try. I grabbed the baby powder and sprinkled a generous amount all over the threshold and around the doorway. 

This actually seemed to deter them from coming into the house, even though it looks terrible. Hallelujah!  And please ignore my horrible front doorway that I know needs some serious TLC. It's those "other" things that pop up I swear.

But they were still coming right up the baby powder and looking for another way in. I knew I needed to stop them from coming and that meant I needed an option that would kill the colony.

3. Baking Soda & Icing Sugar

The first thing I read was to mix equal parts of baking soda and icing sugar and place near the ant hill. I tried this and it was a big fail, they just went around the mixture and kept on coming. I remembered my mom did something similar and after a few questions was told that you had to mix water into it and then set it out for the ants.

Once I did this the little buggers went right for the sweet mixture and stopped their little march to eat.

Apparently baking soda reacts with the ants stomachs and kills them, and when mixed with icing sugar to attract them they cannot tell the difference and will eat all of it. As well as taking it back to the colony for everyone to eat. Sorry little dudes, but I can't have you in my house. After all of my many attempts they seem to have stopped coming into the house and the colony probably be killed from the raid and baking soda. Again, I do feel bad but there are only so many things you can try.

The original article is here, in case you wanted to try a few other methods. But these were the three I tried and what worked for me. Hopefully this will help you if you have any ants that are trying to move in. And if you have any other non chemical ways that work for you please feel free to share. I could use an indoor option to add to my ant busting arsenal.


August 31, 2016

Kaley's Monthly Pictures: Eight Months

Hello one and all, and as always welcome back. I'm so happy to have been able to share a few recipes and crafts in the last few weeks. It's nice to get a little normalcy back into my life, hopefully the kids don't go and change it all up on me again.

I am sharing Kaley's 8 month picture today, and I'm started to feel like time is moving twice as fast not that I have two kids. Seriously, where has this year gone? In four month I'm going to have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. Crazy town. But back to Kaley's picture and update.

This girl is hilarious, and I mean absolutely belly laugh hilarious. She is the biggest ham ever, loving to be the center of attention and getting people to laugh at her. She loves having her picture taken and usually gets me laughing while doing so. The faces and noises she makes are adorable, especially when she's off playing by herself. She's extremely independent and is very good at entertaining herself when she needs to. There is a path of destruction in her wake, but she's very happy while doing it.

She started really crawling this month and we were so not ready for this. She can literally crawl clear across the house in about two minutes, and has gotten very quiet while doing so. This is impressive since almost our whole house in hardwood and laminate. It seems like every two seconds you have to move her from somewhere she's not allowed to be like the dogs water dish or Rokko's dog crate.

And she started pulling herself up onto everything. Everything, even if it's not stationary. Poor girl has more bumps and bruises than Braxton, and that's saying something. It's getting hard to keep her out of Braxton's things and his snacks because she just crawls after him and pulls up where ever he is to bug him. Kaley may or may not have already tried Cheerios and is a cheerio fiend with a slight addiction. If a Cheerio hits the floor, you can bet Kaley will find it in about 4 seconds and eat it before you have a chance to stop her. 

And the sleeping is awesome compared to Braxton. He woke up every two hours until he was a year old to eat no exception. Most night Kaley is up only once and is starting to become a full night sleeper. She goes to bed around 6pm and wakes up around 6am, with a possible 1am bottle on some nights. This is so nice, because I don't have the option to nap like I did with Braxton.

This little girl has definitely made our lives much more interesting and we certainly have our work cut out for us. Poor Braxton is still trying to adjust to all the new changes, and has no idea that she's going to get much more mobile in the coming months.

That's it for this month. I'll be back again for another update after Kaley turns nine months old. Thanks for checking in each month and watching  our little girl grow with us. A year will be here before we know it.


August 27, 2016

Zucchini brownies

Hello everyone and welcome back! Good thing you're here because boy are you in for a treat! Today I am sharing a recipe for some really yummy healthly-ish brownies.

A few weeks ago I asked Luis to bring some fruits and vegetables home from the farm stand that he drives by on his way home from work. He said they had zucchini and I was in, because who doesn't love zucchini bread? Well I definitely wasn't expecting what he brought home. They were two for a dollar and this was one of the ones he decided to bring home.

Sorry for the iPhone picture, but I had to share this with a few people and it's the only picture I managed to take. And yes, that is a bunch of bananas for size comparison. I ended up with 8 and a half cups of grated and drained zucchini. Holy man was that a lot of work, and I don't plan on doing that again anytime soon. Seriously. Though probably the best fifty cents ever spent by my husband.

So off to Pinterest I went and I came across this zucchini brownie recipe and it seemed like a much better idea than bread. It only used 1 cup of grated zucchini, so I ended up freezing the rest in 1 cup portions for future recipes.

The original recipe calls for using a 9x9 baking pan, but I used an 8x8 pan because for the life of me I cannot find my 9x9 pan. So I adjusted my baking time and it was 40 minutes instead of the 25 minutes until a toothpick was clean when tested.

This was much more cake like for a brownie than I usually make, and I loved it. You couldn't even tell that there was zucchini in there, which is the best way to sneak vegetables to those who don't like to voluntarily eat them. Luis brought a few to work and the guys loved them and didn't believe that they were zucchini brownies, and one guy actually preferred these as well. Quite the compliment to this recipe. 

I love brownies, and this was a nice way to make a healthier version for my family. I didn't even make the accompanying frosting recipe included with the original recipe, though I think that would have made these a one sitting treat. And like I said before, what a great way to sneak some vegetables to your kids or spouse that won't eat them any other way.

I have a feeling this recipe will start to be my go-to brownie recipe when zucchini is in season. I'm sure this could be made even healthier with a few substitutions, and maybe one day I'll try that. But for now I'm just going to enjoy the fact that there are "healthy" brownies in my house.

Do you guys have any zucchini recipes that are to die for? Please share them because I need to use this zucchini up! 


Linking to:
Ginger Snap Crafts - Wow Me Wednesday #286
Tatertots & Jello - Link Party Palooza 12/16/16 
Two Chicks and a Mom - Funtastic Friday #112 
eighteen25 - Show & Tell #13