It's True: Kitchen renovations take over your life...

Monday, March 31, 2014
It is the last day of March, the second week of spring (not that today's sleet is telling of the new season) and I haven't blogged at all.


Because my life has been consumed by the home renovation project that everyone swears at under their breath... The kitchen.

The heart of the home... and our's has been in shambles (or some form of chaos) for the last three weeks.


Though I (still) can't share a final "after" shot, I am happy to show the cluttered before and give you a hint at few details that are changing. :)

We decided to keep our cabinets and appliances, but everything thing else is changing.

Rusted sink and corian counters- gone.

Cracked ceramic tiles- see ya! 

Brass patina-finish chandelier- your days are numbered, too.

Stay tuned for all the specifics about what we love and what I would do differently!

Ottoman just 2 naptimes!

Thursday, February 27, 2014
I am so excited to share my latest naptime project!

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I scooped up this ottoman at my local thrift store on Monday.

Hello, 80's chevron beauty.  

There was a matching overstuffed granny chair to go with it... but I apologetically told the sales person that I wasn't taking that as well...

I knew I could easily recover this ottoman, and I could tell by the cushy feel that the insides were in good shape.  No bumps or lumps.  The best part of this find was the price- just $9.99!

Needless to say, while Lu napped on Monday afternoon I immediately went to town skinning this dusty old beauty.  I don't have professional reupholstery tools (nor will I ever, since a couch would be way beyond my comfort zone!) but armed with a screwdriver, scissors, and hammer I managed to get the old fabric, staples, and batting off in under an hour.

Yesterday morning I quickly spray painted the wooden legs with a coat of high-gloss white and while it dried Lu and I took a trip to the fabric store.

I decided on a black & white zebra print that was on clearance for $7 per yard.  I would never put animal print in any other room in our house, but Lu loves zebras and this ottoman will live in the playroom for now.  Plus, at this price, if I hate the zebra stripe in a year I can change it and not feel a bit guilty!

I bought 1.5 yards and during Lu's nap this afternoon stapled some extra batting I had and the fabric to cover the ottoman.  There are a million tutorials out there on how to re-cover an ottoman without I won't bother with the details.  Just think of it like wrapping a present and stapling the underside. Easy easy.

Final product for a playroom ottoman at just over $20... Perfect.  

Of course, Lu loves the "saaawft zeebie" fabric too and went to town sitting and playing on this new seat after she napped.

In case you're curious (which of course, I was!), here are some zebra ottomans I found online.  Not a single one for under $100!

Transitional Zebra Ottoman-$166, Zebra Cocktail Ottoman-$699
Zebra Delrey Ottoman- $349, Abbyson Living Zebra Cube Ottoman- $136

Have you ever seen something at a thrift store and then decided that you needed it?!  Please share!

Picture Book of the Week: Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park

Saturday, February 22, 2014
Hi friends!

One of my weekly outings with Lu has been to our town public library.  For several months we were attending baby class, which she loved but has since outgrown.   Now we just go and check out 6 or 7 picture books to add some variety to her permanent faves at home.  Without fail, each week she gravitates toward just a couple of the books I chose and we read them over and over and over again.

The funny thing is, it is so hit or miss picking books from the shelf, and so often the book I think she'll love most we only read once.

Since it is so difficult to know which books she is going to like, I thought it would be fun to share them so you can have fewer "misses" and more "hits" when you check out your local library or children's bookstore.

This week's favorite: Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park.

The book is about a mom and girl fixing a Korean dinner.  The pictures are vibrant and show a lot of action, something new for Lu to point out each time we read it.  The text is like the title sounds- bopping rhyming words.  The meal may be Korean, but the basic idea of preparing a meal and then eating as a family is universal.  I honestly didn't even mind reading this a dozen times. :)

I hope you enjoy reading this to your munchkin too!

Toddler-Approved Tuesday: Broccoli Cheese Soup

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Over the past few months I've come to realize what most parents of toddlers already know: toddlers are extremely opinionated.

Lu has an opinion about everything these days.

The food she likes (and will soon dislike).
The snack she wants.
The cup she wants her water in.
The book she wants to read.
Even the clothes she wears.  Seriously.

Given her ever-changing list of likes and dislikes, I thought it would be helpful to chronicle the things she does approve of and share them with you.  Who knows, maybe your youngster will approve as well... And if not this week, maybe next, right?  From now on, Tuesday posts will be dedicated to all things toddler-approved.

To kick it off, here is a recipe I used to make Broccoli Cheese soup for myself and Matt one night for dinner.  The next night Lu chowed down on the leftovers.  I was thrilled!  The recipe an easy alteration of this one using what I had in my fridge.

Broccoli Cheese Soup (4-6 servings)

1/4 cup butter
1 small onion diced
2 small heads of broccoli, lightly steamed & chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup cornstarch

Melt the butter in a large pot.  Add onions and cook until soft, seasoning with salt & pepper.  Add the broccoli, cover with chicken broth and simmer about 10 minutes.  Next, mix in the shredded cheese (really, you can use any kind) and stir until melted.  Add milk.  In a separate small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water until combined.  Add to your soup and stir until thick.


Fighting Cabin Fever with an 18-month-old

Thursday, February 13, 2014
In the last two weeks we have been snowed-in twice.  I know we aren't alone in feeling like winter has overstayed its welcome...

Snow days have a completely different meaning from what they once were as a child-free teacher.  Now, a snow day is a day stuck inside without a chance of running the usual morning errand and me grasping at anything to keep Lu's spirits up.  Sledding is out of the question until the snow stops.   I can't blame her for being sick of her toys by the end of the day.  I am too!  

Here are a few things that have saved us...

Artsy mornings!  

Lu has been big into coloring with crayons, but we just started using watercolor paints (finger paints were not a hit...).  Doing art in place of our usual morning outing keeps the day from getting monotonous. 

These Melissa & Doug Paint with Water books are great.  There is dried paint on the top of each page and you just need a wet brush.  Genius. 

Introducing something new.  

At Lu's 18 month ped visit last week her doctor suggested getting a potty now so that as soon as shows the signs that she is ready, the potty itself will be familiar.

Hello, potty.  

I pulled this out and bought myself a good 20 minutes of Lu investigating something new. 

Lastly, dance party.  

No photos here since I was swinging her around in my arms!  

Her 2 favorite adult songs right now are "Ho, Hey" and "Happy."  She likes the repetition and sings along like a champ!  (Toddler radio doesn't happen on a day like this or I might lose my mind.)  :)

Please share any tricks you have to keep a toddler from getting cabin fever! 

And...Happy Valentine's Day Eve! 

Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design