Thursday, September 25, 2014

Memory Station - Let's Get Organized!

"Command Centers" seem to be all the rage right now.  They're great to help keep people organized.  Now that I have a preschooler (*sniff sniff*), I too needed something to help organize the impending chaos.

Introducing my....drumroll please....Memory Station!

Yes, I said Memory Station.  Why, you ask?  Because I refuse to be commanded by anyone.  Especially a wall.

We had this empty space on the side of our cabinets right next to the garage door.  Perfect spot for some organization!  For me, I wanted to have a place for our weekly menu, to do list, grocery list, calendar and a place to keep Redmond's school info.  I also added a key holder, small corkboard, hooks for the kids jackets and something to hide/keep all of their shoes.  I love how it turned out!  And, it was fairly inexpensive to do!

I already had these frames lying around (which are quite inexpensive).  I just used my printer to print a very basic menu template (Eat It) and another sheet for the to-do (Do It) and grocery (Need It) lists.  Cut them to fit the frames and Ta-Da!  I just use a dry erase marker to write on them.  Easy peasy!

I purchased the dry erase calendar at our local Meijer.  After school starts is a great time to stock up on this kind of stuff - everything is on clearance!

I ordered the cork board and pushpins From Amazon.  I was so stoked about the cork board.  It is the perfect size!  The pushpins are super cute too!

For the hooks, I just used Command hooks.  Easy to take down, easy to put up.

Don't you just looooove it when you find something that is just!?!?  I sure do.  And this wicker trunk/seat was  Seriously.  When I saw it at Target I knew it was coming home with me.  After I broke out my tape measure and made sure it would fit first, of course.  I love the way it looks.  Oh, and it's good at hiding piles of shoes too.

The monogrammed key holder may be my favorite thing.  (I made it, btw ;)

Lastly, I found this basket at Hobby Lobby.  We keep a folder in it with all of Redmond's school info and throw in any mail or other important Scholastic book orders.  Remember those!?!?

So, there you have it.  My Memory Station.  Oh, and did I tell you that I did all of this by myself!?!?!?  It's true.  Jason went away for the weekend and when he came home - ta-da!!  I love it!
How do you stay organized?  Do you have a Memory Station at home?  Lets see it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Autumn Leaves Candle Holder

Watch out y'all! I'm getting crafty!

I love that I have the space to decorate now!  Since fall is probably my favorite season (even though evil winter is right behind it), what better time to start than now?? 

These were easy to make, super cheap and super cute! I had everything on hand except the leaves and the ribbon.  I found both of those at the Dollar Tree.

Here's what you'll need:

Glass Jars - something with a wide mouth works best
Fake (or real) Leaves - I found these at the Dollar Tree
Festive Ribbon - Another Dollar Tree find!
Votive Candles - I am in love with flameless candles.  I buy some whenever they're on sale.
Jute String - burlap would be cute too!
Modge Podge
Sponge Brush
Hot Glue Gun - not necessary, a different type of glue would work too

Here's what you do:

But a piece of ribbon that is big enough to wrap around the mouth of the jar.  Glue it to the jar, putting the seam on the back of the jar.

"Paint" a leaf with a thin layer of modge podge on a leaf and stick it inside the glass jar (if using a real candle, I would recommend modge podging the leaves to the outside of the jar - no need to burn the house down!).   Use the sponge brush to gently push the leaf onto the glass.  Continue until the jar is covered with the leaves.  Allow this to completely dry.

While the modge podge dries, tie a piece of Jute string around the ribbon at the top in a bow.  Phew!  That part was tough :)

Apply another coat of modge podge to the leaves to seal them in.  Once this is dry, place candles inside the jar and enjoy your cute new candle holders!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monogrammed Key Holder

One thing we desperately needed in our house (and for our new Memory Station) was a place to hang/store our keys.  I searched a little but couldn't find a key holder that I really liked.  So, what's a girl to do?  Make her own of course!

All it took was a quick trip to Michael's and I was ready to rock!  

Here's what you need:

Wooden Letter - just make sure it's at least 1/2 inch thick
Screw Hooks - I'm sure there's a more technical term, but that's what they are ;)
Paint - spray paint is easiest

Here's what you do:

Paint your letter (and your hooks if you want).  Be sure you get every angle. 

Once your letter is completely painted and dry, mark where you want your hooks to go.  I chose to do six hooks, but four probably would have sufficed.  Drill into your marks with a drill bit slightly smaller than your screws.  Use your muscles!  Screw those babies in.

Voila!  Hang and admire your gorgeous handy work!

I'm linking up with the Inspire Me linky party over at Liz Marie Blogs!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


How can it be time for my little man to go to school!!?!?!?  It seems like it was just yesterday that he was placed in my arms.  It was just yesterday that we all oohed and aahed over his chubby cheeks and faux-hawk.  Just yesterday he was a squishy tiny baby.  And now?  Now, he's in school.  Oh man.

I'm shocked, surprised, amazed, but most of all, proud, of how he handled his first day of school.  He was so excited!  He bounced down the stairs this morning ready to go!  He got to wear new clothes and new shoes and carry his awesome new backpack.  He is such a big kid. 

He was so excited.  I was concerned that his enthusiasm would fade once we actually got into the building and it became real to him (and, who are we kidding, real to me too!).  Jason got him out of the car and Redmond grabbed his hand, started running and yelled "hurry daddy, we can't be late!"

We got inside, hung up his backpack, and once his teacher opened the classroom door he headed in and didn't even turn around.  No tears, no whining, nothing.  He just walked. right. in.  I seriously cannot put into words how proud I am of this kid.  SO PROUD!
 We had a minor meltdown at pickup...we failed to mention that, although mommy and daddy dropped him off, just mommy would be picking him up.  Poor guy was so sad that daddy wasn't there :(  But, I had a way to cheer him up.  He requested Mac & Cheese for his celebratory lunch, so I took him out for lunch for not only Mac & Cheese, but for French fries too!


We're halfway through our first week!  He absolutely loves going to school and I love hearing about his day!  He's making new friends, learning new things and just having a great overall experience.  Can't wait to continue watching him learn and grow!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Here lately....

I know I've been posting about what's going on in our world lately....moving, camping, etc.  But, I thought I'd post an update about the kids.  They're almost 2 and 4!  TWO and FOUR!!!!!  Slow down time, you're moving toooooo fast.

The biggest, most exciting thing going on right now is that Redmond is starting preschool in one week.  Yes. You read that right.  Redmond is starting preschool.  In one week.  Wowzers.  His open house is tomorrow.  Tomorrow.  Eek!  I can't wait for his stories he'll tell after school.  Can't wait to hear about his day and hearing about what he's learned.  And let's not forget about all the cool pictures and projects he'll bring home. 

It's an exciting time, but it's going to be quite the transition.  For all of us.  This will be the first time he'll be away from his momma other than spending time with his grandparents or close family friends.  There's going to be tears.  Lots of tears.  From Redmond.  From me.  From Ashlyn.  Daddy might even shed a few.  Poor Ashlyn, she may have a harder time than Redmond.  She adores her big brother.  He adores her right back.  They're the cutest.

As for Ashlyn, she's been in speech therapy for a couple months now.  We were never too concerned about her speech, but we could tell she had a significant delay.  We had her evaluated by the state and, she was, in fact, delayed by about 6 months.  However, they won't begin speech therapy until children are at least 2.5 years old.  Glad I wasted 2 months to have her evaluated!  But, we have an amazing family friend who is also a speech therapist.  She gladly offered to work with Ashlyn once/week and it's been incredibly beneficial!  Ashlyn is averaging one new word a day!  She makes us so proud each day - and I am forever grateful for such a wonderful person to take time out of their week to help her. 

The kids are at such a fun (and frustrating!) age.  They play together so well, but fight just like a brother and sister should.  They are each others best friends and that makes me so so so happy.  I love that they have each other.  Both of them have incredible imaginations and such amazing little personalities.  They're so much fun!
Now, our days are filled with soaking in the last few warm days, working on our new house and gearing up for two birthdays!  I can no longer say I have two can I have a four year old and a two year old!?!?!? 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Camping Adventure!

Jason and I love camping, but, we haven't been since our first anniversary when I was four months pregnant with Redmond.  Well, until now!  We decided that the kids were old enough and we'd give it a try.  We went to someplace we had already been before - a KOA in Muskegon, MI.  We may have been a little ambitious picking someplace three hours away for our first trip, but it turned out to be a great trip!

We left right after lunch on Friday so that the kids could nap in the car on the way there.  Thankfully, they didn't disappoint....
I spy a Doodle....
Once we (finally!) arrived, we got the tent set up.  The kids thought the tent was the coolest.thing.ever!  They probably would have been fine with just playing on the air mattresses all weekend!
Our little daredevil!  No fear!

While the kids played in the tent, Jason got to work building a fire so we could get dinner made.  The kids were so excited to make pizza and pies over the campfire.  And, let's be honest, Jason and I were pretty excited about it too.

After dinner we went out to explore.  I remembered there being a huge inflatable pillow when Jason and I had been here years ago.  I knew the kids would love it.  I (of course) was right ;)  It took Ashlyn a few tries to get on it, but no surprise that she mastered it in no time.  Great way to burn off energy!
Bedtime was a bit of a struggle.  The hopes of the kids sleeping soundly so Jason and I could enjoy the fire and a beer (or two) were quickly diminished.  Too much excitement and everyone in one tent does not make for great sleeping arrangements :)  But, we all finally fell asleep!
Saturday was a day full of fun!  We started by cooking breakfast over the fire.  Once we were full we ready to go on a hike!  There was a nice hiking trail around the lake. 
Hikes are the perfect time to play peek-a-boo ;)
We even found some railroad tracks!

No big surprise that the kids needed a bit of a break from walking.  I was ready and equipped with my carrier and Jason was equipped with....well, his shoulders!
After our hike it was time for some swimming!  It was a little chilly for me (does that mean I'm old!?!?!), but the kids loved the water. 
After the beach, it was time for lunch and naps.  Thankfully, Ashlyn laid down and took a nap without a fight.  We let Redmond skip his nap.  He had been asking to ride on the dune-buggy type bikes that you could rent at the campground.  We figured this was the perfect time to do this with him.  He loved it!
We spend the rest of the afternoon loading up the car and taking trips to the jumping pillow and playground and hanging out by the fire (with squirt guns!).  Since we were just planning on waking up the next morning and heading home, we decided that we would load up the car after Ashlyn's nap and leave around bedtime.  Then, we could all sleep in our own beds and get a better nights sleep. 
We cooked one last meal over the fire for dinner (chicken sausage and potatoes), had s'mores for dessert (deconstructed s'mores for Redmond - too melted marshmallows were toooo sticky :), jumped on the jumping pillow one more time, got pajamas on and hit the road.
Since he skipped his nap, Redmond fell asleep almost immediately.  Ashlyn, on the other hand, had lots of stories to tell before she could drift off to sleep.  I got a little on video...