December 30, 2013

Christmas Vacation Recap

As 2013 comes to a close and we get ready to roll into 2014 we also have to say goodbye to the wonderful time we've had celebrating the holidays and relaxing at home together this Christmas break.  Brandon and I always take extra time off work this time of year so we can make memories as a family.  Plus Brandon is about to head into his busy season and we pretty much won't see him until May - so we try and squeeze a lot in.  I have to admit that I have been terrible at taking photos lately.  I am just enjoying my time with Ella so much that I don't want to get behind the camera too much and miss it.  Here is a glimpse at what I was able to capture these past two weeks.

Helping decorate.

New favorite activity: sledding.

Least favorite activity: Santa.

Another favorite: playing with our new nativity.  Thanks Grandmas.

Christmas Eve Eve family movie with teddy bear and a little hide n' seek.


Always wanting to play outside and learning how to walk in the snow and new boots.

We had so much fun celebrating Christmas with both our families and friends.  Ella doesn't understand the concept of Christmas but she sure does love any time she gets to spend with her grandparents, aunts and uncles and the gifts weren't too bad either.  She also loved listening (and singing and dancing) to Christmas carols.  I cannot wait to watch her continue to grow and discover the wonder of Christmas.  I am already thinking about how to make Christmas special and magical in both the Santa, commercial aspect but more importantly how to not let that overshadow the celebration of Jesus's birth and the significance of His birth in our lives.  I know there are so many differing views in the Christian world on how to celebrate Christmas and we are comfortable allowing our children to believe in Santa and everything that comes along with that but I also want to be extremely intentional about implementing traditions and activities that also allow our children to celebrate Jesus's birth in ways that are just as special and magical - because it truly is a miraculous, magical event.  So as I take the next year to pray and think on this I'd love to hear how you celebrate.  What traditions and activities are part of your Christmas?

Basement Remodel

I absolutely love our cute, little house but it is no secret that we are quickly outgrowing it.  Since we are not ready to say goodbye to this house we thought it was a good time to expand into the basement and FINALLY finish it.  

Here is a peek at what it looked like pre-remodel.

It is a great space.  A giant square with center stairs.  We have decided to finish half of the basement as a family room and play room and leave the other half as much needed storage.  I would have loved to finish the laundry area too but there are low ceilings and venting and piping hanging down in that area making it really impossible.  We are however adding a full bath behind the stairs.  Due to budget we are putting that project on pause and we are going to focus on the living space.

Here is how it looks after phase 1: framing.

As you come down the stairs to your right will be a wall with a door leading to the unfinished half of the basement (aka the storage room).  The left side will be open with a railing overlooking the family room.

This is the view from the bottom of the stairs looking left into the family room.  The wall on the right will hold an entertainment center with a couch.

To the right of the stairs will be a closet and behind the closet and the stairs the bathroom.  The open space to the right will be a craft/play area.  I am hoping to put cabinetry along the back wall with a counter and open shelving above.  I hope to leave a space open along these cabinets so I can place a stool and create a little work/sewing nook.  My fear is my craft space will get outrun by the need for more toy storage. Only time will tell.

Here is another view of the back wall where I hope to place the cabinetry.  To the left you can see the wall and door for the eventual bathroom.

And here is a view of the front wall with the stairs to the right.

And a final view of the staircase with a scary sight of the mountain of storage behind it.  

I am SO excited to have more family space.  With our second on the way it will be very nice to have more space to stretch out and play.  I am not sure the timeline on this project but I do hope to have it finished sometime in February.  That is just my wild guess.  And I don't anticipate it to be perfectly furnished and styled by then because we are really trying to do this on a budget.  But it will be an open, clean and carpeted space perfect for a busy, curious toddler and her blissfully weary parents.

Phase 2 starts tomorrow: insulation and drywall!

Christmas continues for me.  

December 27, 2013

Baby #2: 16 weeks

Time to start tracking the baby bump again.  Last time I had a spring/summer pregnancy so I kept track of the weeks with chalk on the brick side of my house.  It was fun and I made a sweet little photo book for my first born, Ella.

Also can we please note how with this pregnancy at 12 weeks I look 24 weeks pregnant.  So scary and no it's not twins. 

It's funny, at 16 weeks I still look 24 weeks pregnant.  It appears the only thing that grew in the last month was my butt and thighs…sigh.  I am blaming that on the holidays and hoping it doesn't continue.

In better news we find out the gender of the baby very, very soon.  I cannot wait to make our big announcement.  Stay tuned!

December 21, 2013

NEW ADDITIONS to my Etsy shop!

It is kind of strange timing but I've added a whole new and different section to my Etsy shop.


I am starting small with just a few to see how it goes but I have many, many prints and party printables in the line-up just waiting to be added.

So head over to Sweet Pea Knits (and prints) to check them out.

December 8, 2013

DIY: Photo Blocks for Baby

Ella loves looking at pictures of herself and her family; she also loves playing with blocks.  
So I decided to combine the two and make photo blocks of her with all her family members.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles even her pup Lola and her house.  It was so easy.

I bought several wood blocks from the craft store - Hobby Lobby to be specific.  Each block is 2" x 2".  Then I cropped and printed my photos in 2" squares.  FYI - I like to print on basic printer paper.  I personally don't like the thickness of photo paper and never feel that it adheres as well to the block.  For these four blocks I needed 24 photos but I recommend making more than four blocks - they are so fun.  Cut each photo out a little smaller than 2" and decoupage them onto the blocks using Mod Podge glue.  It takes several coats to get a smooth surface and you have to work in stages since you are covering the whole block but these took me less than an hour to complete and Ella was playing with them that same day.

There are so many fun things you can put on each block.
- typical alphabet
- words/names
- landscapes and familiar places around town
- animals
- Holiday themed blocks (Christmas, V-day, Easter)
- pictures of your child depicting different feelings (happy, sad, surprised…etc.)

I am sure you all have so many other ideas too.  And since we are so close to Christmas you could also turn a few of these into ornaments by attaching string.  

Hope this gave you a little inspiration!  Happy crafting!

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