Monday, August 31, 2015

Bits of Life Lately

proof that they really do love each other
garden picked tomatoes and basil, and my hand painted ceramic from Thrown Elements Pottery
Black Tie Wedding attire
& you guys ... my dress - Target
Date Night Nature Walk in beautiful Barrington
A grainy, blurry family movie night selfie
I know.
Blair's first ball game ... Made it to about the second inning
Shameless celebrity selfie with the talented Jordin Sparks ... love her new album!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

DIY Magnetic Chalkboard

What I had hanging iny kitchen "Before":
And our new Magnetic Chalkboard "After":
With my son starting kindergarten (I know...what!) this week and the past few days in the 60s, I am all in super amped up back-to-school and organization mode. Just completed this DIY project (that was kind of hanging over my head for a while) to help bring a little more aesthetically pleasing organization to my kitchen slash life....I love the idea of a magnetic chalkboard because they serve a double purpose of being able to hang all.the.things that clutter my life kitchen - invitations, calendars, pictures, Landon's beautiful art work, school notices/reminders with magnets, as well as give you the ability to write your own notes, to-do's, quotes, lists, reminders, or even full fledge calendar with easily erasable chalk. With a stainless steel fridge, I had no place to hang all these things, and looking to buy my own in the large size I wanted was hundreds of dollars! SO I made my own and it was really so easy and think its such a great project to share because you can make for not just your kitchen like I did, but think it's also a great idea to hang above a child's desk, in a home office, or play room.  Total cost of making this in this large size was about $45
Here's What You Need:
- a Frame. I bought my frame from Hobby Lobby (their backless frames are 50% off every week, so this one was normally $70 that I got for $35). Mine is a 24x 36":
- Sheet Metal. I bought mine from Home Depot. They actually carried sheet metal in exactly my frame's size so it worked out, but they will cut for free if you ask them to nicely in their tool rental section :)
- Chalkboard Paint. Because the magnets will work great against the metal you don't need a magnetic primer. Chalkboard paint can be found right in the paint section at Home Depot or Lowes.
- Roller/pan. I used the small one, any size will really do. Just don't use a paintbrush. The roller allows for the most even-tone coverage.
- Optional wood backing. If you buy a backless frame like I did you might want to get some additional wood backing for more support. You can put the painted sheet metal in without it, but the guys at Home Depot helped cut me down an additional thin wood backing to provide a little more support/baking, which I am really happy with. If you buy a frame that already had a backing you can use that. You will also need Bracket clips or nails to nail in the backing.
- Mount. Any mounting hardware will work.
1. Paint your sheet metal. Wait for each coat to dry completely before painting another coat. I did a total of 4-5 coats.
This picture above is what it looked like after the first coat- even after the second it will still have some metal showing through, make sure you let dry completely before you start your next coat and do a good 4-5 coats.
2. Cut down sheet metal to size (can have them do this for you at Home Depot), and insert into frame.
3. If using a backless frame, cut down wood backing to size and nail in to secure into frame.
4. Hang mount according to package directions.
5. Hang up your new magnetic chalkboard and de-clutter your life and get organized for the school year!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Life's A Beach

A few pics from our new favorite (secret) beach spot, a small lake about 5 minutes from us. Soaking up our last few nights of summer before school starts next week:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Sacred In The Crazy

Make me a servant
Humble and meek
Lord let me lift up those who are weak
And may the prayer of my heart always be 
Make me a servant 
Make me a servant
Make me a servant today

I have found this to be the ONLY song Blair likes to be sung to her. It somehow completely calms her down and every night I rock her to sleep in my arms singing it softly to her. Once we were finished breastfeeding I got really sad thinking we wouldn't have anymore bonding experiences together, but sitting in this rocking chair lulling her to sleep with this song ... it does something in my heart and it reminds me that every day I am called to be the best servant I can be to these little people. 
Sometimes this work can feel unimportant and frustrating and so tiring. But these moments, quietly singing this song to a beautiful, sweaty sleeping child sticking against my chest, is sacred.
All you mamas out there, keep on keeping on. You are doing hard, hugely important work. We wouldn't know the sacred without the crazy... And it always comes, usually right after we can't take it any longer :)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Homemade Popsicles

Trying to beat the heat in these dog days of summer (that we are finally experiencing after a month and a half of rain almost every day!), and spending many days at the pool, having picnics and playing water games outside, and making and eating our own homemade popsicles. My kids love popsicles, and I used to always buy them from the store, but they have so much sugar and unnecessary ingredients in them. Even the ones marketed 'healthier' still contain a lot of unnecessary, inarticulate ingredients, and most of these are actually really expensive once you find out how easy and cheap these are to make yourself.
Last summer I picked up these popsicle molds at the Dollar Store and I've been making our own popsicles with these since, and you can too -- it's soo easy, and so much healthier for you and your kids!
Here is a recipe for our favorite, Cran-Apple Yogurt Pops made with R.W. Knudsen Family's Just Cranberry Juice. We love R.W. Knudsen Just Juice brand because they stand by wholesome ingredients without any artificial flavors or preservatives - they are made from organic single-fruits, with no added sweeteners and completely sweetened 100% by the juices straight from the fruit, and they taste absolutely delicious.
What You Will Need:
- 1 (5.3 oz.) container vanilla Greek Yogurt
- 1/3 cup cranberry juice (R.W. Knudsen Family Just Cranberry Juice is our favorite)
- 1/2 cup cinnamon (or regular) apple sauce (Santa Cruz Organic apple sauce is our favorite)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 4 (3 to 4 oz. disposable cups and wooden craft sticks (If you don't have popsicle molds)

1. Place yogurt, juice, apple sauce, and agave in blender. Cover and process until smooth.
2. Divide evenly into cups or popsicle molds. Cover cups with foil. Insert wooden stick into center. 
3. Freeze 3 hours or until firm & enjoy!
There are so many other easy variations to making your own popsicles -- you can literally blend in any fruit you fancy, or cut out the blender and mix in chopped fruit pieces. & if you are having a lazy day, you can just pour in orange juice, or half OJ half cranberry for a quickie. 
Check out more delicious and healthy summer smoothie recipes here - and for some more toddler meal and snack ideas check out this old post.

*Disclaimer: I have received R.W. Knudsen juice products to facilitate my review but the review and all opinions contained herein are 100% my own.
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