Thursday, May 30, 2013

Father's Day Ideas

I don't about you, but I still subscribe to the theory that for a loved one, gifts from the heart are worth more than ones from the store. Especially as I come to realize how quickly my little ones are growing and changing. So for Father's Day I like to gift Hubby with something that captures our kiddies as they are now and never will be again. Today I'm featuring two of my favorites.

This set of modern artwork canvases was painted by each of the littles (there were only 2 at the time) and thanks to the use of vinyl letters, I was able to spell out messages each of them dictated. Since Peanut was only 2 at the time, I asked him what three words did he think of when I said, "Daddy". His response was, "Funny Tackle (b/c they play wrestle each other) Porche (Hubby's favorite car)". Belle was insistent that her artwork read, "I Love Daddy." The artwork hangs across from hubby's desk in his office at work hence the crummy iPhone pic.

This second project was one of Hubby's gifts last year. Using each of Belle & Peanut's hand prints along with itty bitty Bear footprint, I added leaves to the branches of a construction paper tree. If you were half way talented, which I am not, you could draw or paint the tree. I framed the piece and it now hangs in our gallery wall.

Two simple, kid friendly projects for the special Daddy in your family.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Graduations & Year End Celebrations

Between preschool, elementary school, Sunday school & Greek school we've been wrapping the year up for nearly two weeks. It all began with Sunday School graduation a few weeks back. 
This picture was taken after a very, very long church service so the less than enthused expressions will have to suffice.

Thankfully though, the kiddies were pleased as punch to receive their graduation certificates from Father Peter.

The next event in the line up was Peanut's End of the Year Preschool Party & Performance. He happily donned his stamped t-shirt for the day's festivities and snuggled up closely to each one of these lovely ladies who make learning positively pleasurable. Peanut is smitten with Mrs. S (in the white jacket) and will do just about anything she asks him too. In fact, he can't quite understand why she isn't coming to the lake with us this summer.

After snacks & photos in the classroom, we settled in for the performance. Peanut happily sang & danced his way through 10 songs including his favorite "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah". Afterwards we all went out for lunch and ice-cream at his restaurant of choice. Hard to believe we only have one more year until Kindergarten!

And yesterday marked the end of Belle's school year. Despite the overcast sky and less than ideal conditions, Belle came off the bus in full summer mode. To kick the season off right, we headed to Rainforest Cafe where we met Hubby for a celebratory lunch.

Tonight is the last day of class for Greek school and the year end celebration is Sunday….then it will finally be Summer around here. If only the weather would get the memo!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mission Organization {Kitchen Edition}

Last week Hubby was on a business trip from Sunday till Thursday. When he's gone, I jump on the opportunity to get some major organizing projects out of the way. Since reorganizing the kitchen is on our 2013 Home Goals, I turned on the TV and set to work emptying ever single kitchen drawer and cabinet. I even tackled the pantry where I found a container of breadcrumbs that expire in 2011…Yikes! Here is a glimpse at some of the before drawers…..a hot mess I know.

We picked up these awesome wooden drawer organizers from Costco for $20 each! I believe they still have them on sale until the beginning of June. These bad boys were my dream come true.

After I carefully sorted through each and every utensil, sippie cup, and platter I used the drawer organizers to help keep things neat and tidy. Here is a look at the same 3 before drawers once my purging and sorting was complete.

I relocated the grill tools and steak knives from across to kitchen to the drawer closest to the deck door for easy access. The middle drawer is for all my serving utensils like ladles, pizza cutters and cheese slicer. The far drawer is full of tools used for fruit & veggie prep: garlic press, lemon zester, orange peeler etc. 

I also created a wine & mixed drinks drawers, baking drawer (pictured below) and a cooking drawer right next to the stove for all my spoons & tongs. The desk drawers also received some much needed organization.

But I have to say my favorite addition is the baking station I created. It make baking so easy now that all my ingredients are located right overhead and not across the kitchen in the pantry. This set up also makes it easier for me to keep inventory of the basics and not over buy.

So that is a quick run down of the kitchen clean up. Happy to have this one out of the way. Slowly but surely things are getting check off the list. The deck has been completed for a few weeks now but the weather hasn't been cooperating for picture taking…fingers crossed I'll be able to share it with you all soon. In the meantime I've been a bust bee inside & can't wait to share some artwork I created, the new living room look and a revamped family room arrangement. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

3 Years

Three years ago today on a scorching hot Friday we moved into our home. The road to get here was anything other than smooth. The seller broke our contract once and then came back to us several weeks later wishing to reinstate the contract (there by "walking out" on the other buyers who he "cheated" on us with). Then, hours before closing, our buyers' buyer decided she no longer wanted to purchase their place because she & her boyfriend broke up….Seriously?!? Thanks to two amazing real estate agents (YiaYia & Bopi) who moved heaven & earth the sale went through & I am blessed beyond measure to be raising my babies & sharing my life with Hubby in this fabulous home.

After closing Hubby gifted me a beautiful bouquet of white roses and this card was attached. I have it framed on the office bookshelves reminding me of how very lucky I am to have him by my side. Happy House Anniversary Hubby!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Craigslist Score {Drapes for the Dining Room}

Last week I mentioned a Craiglist find that I couldn't wait to share with you all. I few weeks back I was scoping out Craigslist to see what the market was for used drapery panels thinking I would list some I had laying around. I came across a listing for 98" x 48" raw silk custom drapery panels. The best part was the price: $25 a piece!!! The lovely lady was switching up her living room decor and no longer needed them.

I was hemming and hawing over the curtains and a month passed. The listing was expired, but I still had the seller's contact info so I dropped her a line. The panels were still available so I scooted over to her place last week and happily procured drapes for the dining room makeover.

And the only thing better than getting custom drapes for pennies on the dollar is when you can hang them on a rod that was free! When we moved into the house this curtain rod was in one of the bedrooms. For some reason I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it so I stashed it away in the basement until yesterday.

I am loving the look & how my recycled drapery rod blends seamlessly with the trim. There is a lot more going on in this room (not pictured) so I didn't want a distracting curtain rod. I am contemplating trimming the leading edges of the panels in ribbon/ fabric to help frame the windows. What is there now is just a placeholder cheapo ribbon I had leftover from Bear's birthday party.

So that is my most recent deal! How about you, any great garage sale/ craigslist/ flea market finds?
Peanut has his Preschool End of the Year Performance today and then it is officially summer for the little guy! Happy Friday everyone!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Call Off the Dogs

Puppy fever has hit the B house. Belle was bitten by the bug a few years back, but now it has gone to a whole other level. Since the idea isn't completely implausible, Hubby & I opted to embrace the potential  family expansion and place some demands on the kiddies. If they want to get a dog, Belle & Peanut need to demonstrate consistent mastery of 3 skills: listening (& acting if necessary) the first time; meeting their responsibilities (chores, homework, adhere to mission statement); take care of themselves (dress self, follow bathroom routine card).
Every day they will receive a sticker, placed in the corresponding column, for each trait they demonstrated. This will help give them a visual sense of where they excel and what areas could use some work. When the kiddies have BOTH received stickers 26 days out of the month for 3 straight months we can begin to explore the world of dogs. Until then, the ball is in their court.

The littles have responded surprisingly well to the challenge. In fact, the morning after we discussed the chart Peanut came rushing downstairs, wearing a proud grin and dressed in a backwards shirt and shorts to declare, "I'm dressed and brushed so can we go get the doggie?" I couldn't help but give him a big hug while explaining it was going to take quite a few months of getting "dressed & brushed" before any doggie would be coming home.

And just for humor here is a list of dog names compiled by the kiddies:
  • Maxi
  • Brutus-n-Knuckles (yes all one word)
  • Dinky
  • Scoutie
  • Snowflake
  • Summer
  • Mr. Fluffy Pants

And if you thought agreeing on a name would be the tough part. Here is a visual representation of each family member's expectation:

Belle: Cute, cuddly Golden puppy

Peanut: An exact replica of Bestie B's dog, which is improvement because he use to want to steal their pup.

Hubby: A little puppy that grows into a big, protective pooch. This cutie is a German Shepard.

Me: A dog that is small, smart & good with children.

This is one instance where I'm actually grateful for my kiddies' bad habits and propensity to pass the buck. At their current rate we're 6 months to a year away from any four legged family members. And, let's be honest, when Momma's ready for a dog….the family is ready for a dog & this Momma isn't there yet.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fretwork Pillow Tutorial & Tips

Last week I posted about my love of fretwork. Well I am happy to report that my DIY fretwork pillows look pretty darn chic and rang up at a whopping $10 a piece. If you are interested in trying your hand at a pillow or two the picture tutorial below should give you the general idea of how I went about it. If you need specific questions answer just let me know:)

A few tips:
  • If using stitch witch, adhere the corners first & then iron the entire strip. When I ironed on my first strip the weight of the damp towel cause the originally straight line to become crooked. 

  • Use Steam A Seam rather than Stitch Witch because it will not move once placed on the pillow thereby eliminating the need for tip 1 & granting you a cleaner result.

  • If possible, adhere design onto pillow without the fill in it. Since my project was for outdoor use, my pillow was not a slipcover but it would have been an easier process if I could have attached the tape to a flat surface.







Monday, May 20, 2013

Turning Green

On Mother's Day, Belle gifted me a hand painted pot & flower seeds. We set to work planting the seeds and dreaming up the beautiful flowers that would spring forth. Truth be told, I was quite certain all we would end up with would be the same sad looking pile of dirt. Then last night when I went out to water look what I found.

I was so excited I had to restrain myself from running upstairs and waking Belle from her sleep. You see I haven't been able to grow anything from a seed (despite countless efforts) since I was Belle's age & sprouted a lima bean in class. To this day I vividly remember the ziplock baggie, wet paper towel & spouted bean that made up my first attempt at gardening. I also recall the great sense of accomplishment I felt….a feeling that it took nearly 30 years to duplicate. I am hoping this is a foreshadowing of things to come. Perhaps our garden will actually yield veggies this year…perhaps:-) 

How about you? Do you grow flowers or veggies from seed? Or perhaps you are in PKA (Plant Killers Anonymous)? Let me know which end of the spectrum you fall on.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Teacher Gifts: A Piece of Cake!

Next week is the last week of school for both of my kiddies and they will be toting cake plates festooned with a pic monkey tag for each very special teacher.

Best part of all, these sweet pedestals were only $7.99 at my local HomeGoods! Since I need a total of 10 teacher gifts, between the two kids and all their activities, these were a fabulous buy.

How about you, summer knocking at your door? Any great last minute teacher gift ideas?