Monday, July 29, 2013

Closet Do-Over

I returned to work from maternity leave at the same time that we moved into our new house. So, at the time, the focus was to just get boxes unpacked and stuff put in the right places. That meant that some things a lot of things ended up just stashed in a closet or corner of a room until I found the time to organize it the way that I wanted. As someone who is totally obsessed with organization you can imagine the stress this has put me through! Slowly but surely though I am making our house a home. Last week I decided it was time to tackle Addie's closet. For a three year old she sure has a lot of clothes, however, she is always wearing the same outfits. I finally realized it wasn't so much because they were her favorites. It's because she just grabs what is on top her clean laundry pile!

Time to do something about this mess!

When we first moved in, to help try and stay organized, I hung up her canvas clothes hanger and put her old changing table in it to add some extra storage space. 

I started by taking out the hanging system that the builder installed and replaced it with a bookshelf from her old nursery. I picked up two shower curtain rods and installed those between the shelves and wall. This doubled my hanging space and added the shelf storage I was craving. Dress up outfits, play clothes and the daily essentials (PJs, undies, socks) are all at Addie's level so she can dress herself easily. Finally, I stashed all of her doll accessories in the big pink bin and placed it in her closet as well. The bin can hold up to 120 lbs so it doubles as a bench for her pretend vanity!

This will have to do for now. Once she gets bigger and her clothes get heavier the shower curtain rods will not be strong enough. That will be a good excuse for us to convince daddy it is time for a dream closet make-over!

Next up - hanging her pictures and wall decorations. Then I think we might have at least one room in the house 100% completed! 

Love & Hugs,

Saturday, July 27, 2013

DIY Light Canopy

We had so much fun last weekend celebrating our five year wedding anniversary and renewing our vows with friends & family. You can read about that here. We kept it simple with a rustic country theme and used the natural surroundings as the basis of our decor. To glam it up a bit we built our own light canopy. It was a super easy & and an affordable way to add some sparkle and create a more defined space for the event. 

Step 1
You'll need to make a run to your local lumber store for some tall pieces of wood. We picked up eight 8' posts, but ended up only using 4. They were less than $2 each. I had my husband saw the bottoms into sharper points (like a pencil) so that it would be easier to get into the ground. 

Step 2
Decide on the type of lights you want. White, multi-colored, dangling, etc. You could even use paper lantern or other fun lights - anything on a string will work. Make sure you have an extension cord long enough to reach your canopy. 

Step 3
I recommend setting up your table/chairs or whatever it is you are putting "under" your canopy so that you know for sure where it is all going. Next, connect your string of lights and lay them out on the ground exactly where you want them to be once they are elevated. Hubby helped me hammer the posts into the ground. 

Step 4
Finally, using a staple gun, secure the lights to the top of the posts (be sure not to puncture the wires with the staple gun...and do not plug everything in until you are all done!). If you are only using 4 posts the lights will dip a little bit but in my opinion that just adds to the look later at night. If you prefer more crisp lines then I would suggest using all 8 posts. Finally, run your extension cord to the lights, plug it in and voila! 

 Love & Hugs,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Christmas in July

I took some time on Monday to take Addie to Santa's Village. We needed a little mother daughter time and it was the perfect place. She was tall enough to go on just about every ride. She LOVED the roller coaster...that's my girl! 

For $1 we bought some apples and Addie fed the reindeer...real reindeer!!

A ride on Santa's sleigh gave us a bird's eye view of the whole park. 

Comet, or is this Dancer?

And of course, the true meaning and story of Christmas. I'm glad they include this in the park. 

Now I'm feeling festive and already looking forward to Christmas! I am excited to decorate in the new house and I've already started to brainstorm DIY gifts from the kiddos! Merry Christmas in July!

Love & Hugs,

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"We do, again!"

Yesterday was our five year wedding anniversary.
July 20, 2008

July 20, 2013

We celebrated with close friends & family with a rustic country themed dinner party, during which we renewed our vows to one another and our beautiful children. 

For decor, I chose colors that would really pop against the natural background of my parents' house up north. In an effort to keep it simple & casual I used these great Mara Mi paper plates that I picked up at Target a few months ago. Clean up was a breeze - which meant more time in the presence of our company around the fire listening to some good tunes. 

For dessert I assembled brown paper treat bags with graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate for s'mores around the campfire. 

Yellow & gold spray-painted chipboard letters added another pop of color. The blue mason jars are from Addie's birthday party last year. A paper dollie and some colored twine wrapped around gave them a whole new look. For favors guests received a stationary set stamped with deer, a common sighting in this neck of the woods! 

I stamped the leftover dollies with deer and used them as place settings. They doubled as coasters during dinner! I used mason jars and Starbucks' Frappuccino bottles wrapped in cardstock as vases with an assortment of flowers in yellow, orange and pink. Addie was a big help assembling them for me! 

A big thank you to all of you who celebrated with us! Thank you for being a part of our special night. 

Hope you all had a great weekend!
Love & Hugs,

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gone in 3.5 seconds...

 Is anyone else going through this with their toddler right now?

One minute, she is my sweet & kind, lovey-dovey three year old who wants to help change her brothers diapers, play with dolls or dress up and cook dinner by my side. The next, she is throwing whatever happens to be in her hand to the ground, hitting the air with her fist and swelling with tears and frustration. All you-know-what breaks loose and its usually over something that you or I would think is silly: I hand her a red cup, not a blue one; I brush Rapunzel's hair with the wrong brush; I skipped a stair walking up the steps; or in the case of the picture below, another kid saw her picking flowers so they too stopped to pick flowers. Apparently, Addie thought she was taking home EVERY flower in the park that day.  

I find it is important to remind myself not to take it too personally. She is going through a phase in which she has to learn about her emotions, recognize what makes her feel good or bad, happy or sad, fulfilled or frustrated and eventually she will learn how to deal with her raw emotions by developing coping mechanisms.

Until then, Keep Calm & Mommy on. Take deep breaths, speak slowly and softly, offer hugs and attention when needed and redirect as much as possible. Turn any moment you can into a teachable moment, but at the same time learn when to give your child some space.

I taught Addie to count to three when she is feeling frustrated. I usually count with her (because I'm equally as frustrated) and it helps us both to take a step back and then we can more productively move forward. The other day I walked into her room right after she finished reciting, "One, two, three...I'm taking care of me." I asked why she was counting and her response was, "Mommy, I was just so frustrated that I couldn't find Tinkerbell's shoes. I counted and now I am going to look aga---OH! Here it is mommy!"


But, as you know - there are still going to be those rare occasions when there is no rationalizing with your teeny tot. Accept it. Embrace it. Keep Calm. Mommy On.

Have a great weekend everyone!
Love & Hugs,


P.S. Leave a comment below and share your tips & tricks for talking your toddler "off the ledge."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Support The Busy Budgeting Mama!

I'm writing to you all today on behalf of Natalie, The Busy Budgeting Mama. She has a rocking blog complete with fun DIY projects for the house & kiddos, recipes,real life mom stories we can all relate to and more! She is a wife and beautiful mama of three. I've been a big fan of her blog for a long time now and am excited to "introduce" you to her today to share her latest (and greatest) project. Natalie recently wrote a book, "Mommy Has an Angel." Here, in her own words is why she wrote the book:

"[For] those mamas who are grieving the loss of an unborn baby.. or a child..
or a parent or best friend. My mission is to bring healing to moms who
find themselves in the same places I have found myself.
My hope is that this book, with it's simple message will bring
a mother peace late at night while she reads to her child.
Sometimes the night is the hardest part of grieving."

After watching Natalie's video here I immediately wanted to help make her dream a reality.

One of my best and most amazing friends, B, lost both her beautiful sister and loving mother. They both fought their diseases so hard and were so brave. Through it all B has shown nothing but kindness to the world.  A few months ago she gave birth to a healthy & totally handsome little boy, and she is now the best mommy in the world! After hearing about The Busy Budgeting Mama's book I knew that I had to be a part of this, in any way I could, to help B and any other mom who has experienced loss.

Click on Natalie's graphic below and it will take you straight to her blog. Scroll down and check out her video (and then make sure you have at least an hour because you will get lost in all of her amazing posts!).

Happy Tuesday everyone!
Love & Hugs,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Staying Motivated

I find the hardest part about my workout routine is staying motivated to keep with it. Between the weather, the kiddos, working on the house, working full time, family coming & going and keeping up with the day to day tasks it is really easy for me to say, "Eh, I'll just run tomorrow."

But, I don't.

Before I know it two, three, sometimes four days have passed before I hit the gym or the pavement again and I'm right back at square one. What's a crazy busy mama to do? A good friend and colleague of mine reminded me today that it takes 3 weeks to form a habit. That's 21 days. So, to kickstart (again) my exercise routine I'm committed to getting up early for the next 21 mornings to squeeze in my workout before my hubby has to leave for work and the babes wake up. To stay motivated I used Pic Monkey to  create some digital reminders to keep me focused on the end goal (knock off the last of these pregger pounds!). 

You can use them too! Save these images as your phone backdrop, computer screen saver, on your iPad, pin them to your fitness board on Pinterest, etc. and they'll be a constant reminder to you to keep your fitness goals in sight and to stay on track. 

No more excuses. 

Keep trying - follow the 21 day rule and get into a new healthy habit!

You CAN do this!

Specifically for moms - this one is to remind all you mamas out there that it is okay to devote some time each day to your health & well being. After all, a healthy & happy family need a healthy & happy mommy. 

This last one is my pick for my phone - which doubles as my morning alarm clock. My alarm goes off and this is the first thing I see - a reminder to get my butt out of bed and into shape!

Help hold me accountable! Follow me on Instagram @keepcalmmommyon for the next 21 days for my morning workouts. Want to join in on the fun? Post a pic from your daily workouts to #getfit21.

Love & Hugs,

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Strawberry Fields

We took a little time the other day to visit Four Corner's Farm in Newbury, Vermont for some strawberry picking. Addie had a great time looking for the juicy red ones and even Mase got a kick out of the farm animals. 

We are back home now after a great long weekend up north with family. Looking forward to some more vacation time later this month so we can head back up.

Love & Hugs,

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

Project Organization & Free Printable

With the kiddos spending some time with Oma & Grandpa this week I find myself flying solo and extra motivated to tackle projects around the house. I’m a “make a list and cross it off as you go” kinda girl and before taking on any big project I need to be organized. That is where my project list comes in handy.

Printing several copies to keep on hand allows me to very easily organize multiple projects, including my deadline for completion and budget, with a list of things to do and buy. At the bottom I list websites, print pictures off Pinterest, or cut & tape images from my favorite magazine. 

What big projects do you want to accomplish this summer? Download the free printable below to get yourself organized! I'd love to know what project, big or small, you use it for in the comments sections below. 

Click link above to download free printable