Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!! We have been celebrating with friends and family in Canada and loving every minute of it!! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Christmas Countdown...

The countdown is on!! Now that December has hit, the anticipation and excitement of the holiday season is in full swing; travel plans are finalized, gifts are being stockpiled and a sneaky little elf is making each morning magical for our little ones! I have always loved the daily rituals of the Christmas season, advent calendars were always a special treat that my sister and I delighted in every December. Last year I made a special Advent Calendar for Andrew, but it is unfortunately packed away with all of our Christmas decorations in a storage unit in Canada. So this year, we are counting the days to Christmas using these simple number cards...

To make this Christmas Countdown, I cut out number circles and cards using my Silhouette. I glued each number to a card and made a stand out of some twigs we collected outside.

It looks super cute sitting out on the table and Andrew is enjoying changing the card each morning!
How do you count down the days until Christmas?
Looking for a simple DIY Advent Calendar? Check out the one I made last year,
 there is a free printable to go along with it!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A quick thank you...

This morning Andrew decided that he would like to take some of the muffins we made last night to his two teachers at preschool. This is a pretty regular thing for him, he is always so proud to bring them something special and they always indulge his generosity with a big hug. Since today is the last day he will see his teachers before Thanksgiving I decided to wrap the muffins up to make them a little more festive.

Paper bags are my go to for wrapping up baked goods. They are inexpensive and are easily decorated with pretty much anything. For this last minute wrap job, I added some washi tape and twine and then wrote out a quote that Andrew had added to our "thanksgiving tree" the other night 

"I am thankful for Nature School" ~ Andrew

Andrew's little offering was sweet and simple and were reciprocated with big hugs and smiles!

Monday, November 25, 2013

DIY custom holiday labels with PicMonkey

This weekend found me huddled at the computer for hours, perfecting our annual Christmas card. I had snapped a bunch of impromptu photos of the boys while we were out for a walk and was giddy with how well they turned out! I played around with a few of the online photo card makers, but wasn't completely ready to spend a large amount of money on something I thought I could do alone. I decided to try my hand at designing my own Christmas Cards on PicMonkey and was really happy with how they turned out! Once I was done, I uploaded the file to the Staples website and for less than $25 I have lots of cards ready to hit the mailbox!

While I was at it, I designed a simple return address label to add to  each envelope. I thought I would share the simple process with you today!

This is an extremely straightforward tutorial and I'm sure if you have used PicMonkey in the past it will be a little beneath you. However, if you haven't used this great FREE website I hope this tutorial helps introduce you to some of the great features available!

1. Go to PicMonkey, select "Design" and then "Square" from the main page.
2. Click on the "Text" tool along the sidebar.
3. Choose a great font and add your address.
 I decided to add a simple monogramed wreath to our label but there are many fun options in the new "Winterland" and "Santaland" themes. Here is how I created our wreath:

4. Add a wreath from the "Wreathery" in the "Winterland" theme.
5. Top your wreath with a bow from the "Gifts" section of "Santaland"
6. Add your family's monogram by using the text tool (I used the font "Bilbo Swash Caps").
7. Save your completed label to your desktop.
8. Go back to the PicMonkey main screen and select "Create a Collage".
9. Change the layout of your collage by selecting the 4x4 "Square Deal" in the layout section along the sidebar. 
10. Upload your saved label by clicking on "Open Photos".
11. Once you have uploaded your label, drag it into each of the 16 squares in your collage.
12. Save your sheet of labels. 

Printing Labels:
1. Open the JPEG of your label sheet.
2. Select "Print".
3. Before printing switch the "copies per page" to 2.
4. Print labels on sticker paper and cut.

Cutting these labels may be a little monotonous, but if you have a paper cutting tool it goes much faster. If you do not, most office and print shops have one available for customers to use!

I hope to have our Christmas cards addressed and in the mail this week.  I can't wait for our family and friends to begin receiving them!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pinspired Book Storage...

Many of the DIY and craft projects that I attempt are inspired by, if not completely copied from, the wonderful world of Pinerest. I can get lost for hours perusing hand print art and sewing tutorials! The two projects I am sharing today were some of my very first pins... I knew I'd get around to them one day!!

This Hanging Book Display and Ombre Whale Art were quite simple to complete and fit nicely on this narrow wall in Henry's room. 

The book display utilizes a double curtain rod to hang from the wall. It looks adorable and is at a great height for Henry to grab a book to read/toss on the floor. 

Be sure to stop by these sites for the tutorials!
Whale Art - Senn and Sons
Book Display - Penny Carnival

Monday, November 18, 2013

*#%* my three year old says...

It's been awhile since I have shared a "*%#* my three year old says", not because he isn't coming out with hilarious statements, but more because his recent interest in "bathroom humour" makes the appropriateness of his remarks questionable. Never the less, here is one I need to document that has nothing to do with the potty!

While playing (a little rough as always) with his little brother, Andrew suddenly starts yelling "oh no Mommy! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to do it!" I rush over to find Andrew covering Henry's mouth with both hands. "I'm sorry Mommy! Don't worry, he will be ok, see he's not even crying!" I pull his hands away to see the usual toothy grin that is plastered all over Henry's face. "What did you do Andrew?" "Sorry Mommy! I made his teeth fall out. See??" He points to a trail of cracker bits down the front of Henry's shirt.

He was quite relieved when he realized his mistake. I love that his first instinct was to hide it, and tell me not to worry!

Here is a little video Andrew insisted I make to send into his favourite TV show, while we were preparing a snack for his preschool class..

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Custom Phone Case...

I recently noticed that my phone case was looking pretty rough. I had only been using it for a few months, but no matter how much scrubbing I did it just didn't look clean! I needed a new case, but was not happy about dropping another $20-$40 on one. Then I remembered that my brother-in-law had given me an extra case, which I had never used because it was too boring... there are too many fun options out there to stick with a plain white case! Motivated to save a little $$ I pulled out my Silhouette and within five minutes I had myself a Custom Phone Case!

I picked a cute design from the online silhouette store, making sure it had nice clean lines that would still look good when resized to fit my phone case. I also cut out an "L" with a pretty font. 

The vinyl was really easy to remove from the paper and stick to the phone case, I even had to shift it once and it lifted easily and reapplied well. 

I am super happy with the way it turned out! So far the decals are staying put, but even if they do begin to lift over time I figure I will just cut out something new!

Linking Up

Monday, October 28, 2013

DIY Firefighter Costume

The Leeper boys are ready for some Halloween fun! Normally this wouldn't happen until a few days before the big night, but we had some exciting Halloween events to attend this weekend, so I got on it early this year. A few weeks ago I shared some photos from previous years and wrote about how Andrew had decided to be a Firefighter this year. He wanted his little brother to be one as well, which I thought was a great idea. I love them in matching outfits and who knows when one of them will start to fight me on it!

I kept the costumes quite simple and very comfortable, as little ones often resist anything restrictive. I got the idea for the jackets from a wonderful tutorial that I came across on Pinterest. This method uses a woman's blouse, altered to create a small jacket and then adorned with ribbon for reflective strips. 

I found the perfect red cotton blouse for Andrew's jacket at the Good Will ($2.50) but wasn't able to find one small enough for Henry. Instead, I picked up an inexpensive red golf shirt ($5.97) at Walmart. I decided not to cut Henry's down the front which makes it a little more baby friendly. 

One detail that I added to this costume is the toggle buttons. I made these out of ribbon, leather cord and black wooden beads. I think they add a nice touch!

Andrew was also pretty insistent that he have a water sprayer on his back. To make this, I covered a juice jug with duct tape and attached some back pack style straps (also made from duct tape) and a piece of foam pipe insulation. I also made a little cone shaped nozzle for the end of the hose. 

We added a little plastic hat from our local fire station and the costume was complete! When all was said and done the costumes cost less than $10 a piece. The boys had fun showing them off at a bowling party this weekend.  Andrew was sure to tell everyone that "Mommy made it all by herself"... he must have known I was proud of the finished product! 

Linking Up

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Simple Knitting Patterns...

The chilly weather has come on quickly and mittens and scarves will be making an appearance very soon! Like every year, the cooler weather and approaching holiday season have me searching for knitting patterns on line and investigating yarn selections at Michaels. Even though I have been knitting since I was a kid, I would still consider myself a novice. I've made my fair share of scarves, a few baby blankets and my most complicated endeavour... some mittens. However, after looking at some simple knitting patterns on Pinterest I think I may actually be able to attempt something a little more difficult!

Here's a handful of what I have found so far. The patterns look quite simple and the projects are super adorable. Click on the link below each picture for the patterns.

Aren't these great? Let's see if I can actually finish one of them before it's warm again!
You can find much more on my new Pineterest board 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

{Organized} Yogurt Station ~ Honey We're Healthy

Greek yogurt, topped with fruit and nuts is a fabulous snack.  I just love the "flip cup" options you can buy at the grocery store, but their cost adds up, so I organized a Yogurt Station to help save some $$! Today I am sharing the details over at Honey We're Healthy! Megan's blogs, Honey We're Healthy and Honey We're Home, are absolutely inspiring and I am a big fan! I am just thrilled that she is sharing my work with her readers today! Be sure to hop on over and check it out!

If you have stopped by from Honey We're Healthy, welcome! I'd love for you to take a 
minute to look around and follow along by clicking on the links below!


Monday, October 21, 2013

How I convinced my 3 year old to love salad...

Getting enough veggies into my little man has always been a challenge. Andrew is almost 4 and seems to be getting pickier every day! Up until a few weeks ago he would eat cucumber, red peppers and carrots and could occasionally be bribed convinced to eat cooked broccoli and asparagus.  I know this is pretty common at his age, and was pretty happy that we had a few reliable veggie options. However, we were recently enjoying dinner with friends and I couldn't get over how quickly their little guy devoured his salad. My friend assured me that this was a new phenomena and gave me a few ideas for how to introduce salad to Andrew. I followed her advice and sure enough, within a couple of weeks Andrew was emptying his bowl and asking for more!

Here are her tips along with a few I found to be successful!

1. Introduce one new ingredient at a time - The first few times I made a salad for Andrew it was simply lettuce and red peppers. I made sure to hide some of the peppers under the lettuce so he would have to dig around to find them all.

2. Keep the dressing coming! - As adults we worry about using too much salad dressing, but for kids it may be necessary to entice them to try something new. Even if they are simply using a carrot to get the dressing into their mouths, if they eat that one carrot once the dressing is gone they have taken a step in the right direction. 

3. Ditch the fork - encourage your child to eat their salad with their fingers, it's much easier and fully exploring the new foods might be necessary before they pop it in their mouth.

4. Don't chop the veggies - kids lose interest fast and if their veggies are sliced, rather than chopped, they will hopefully take larger bites before they call it quits. 

5. Add some cheese - this is really a no brainer, cheese makes most things a bit tastier!

To get started, I presented Andrew with some salad a few times a week. At first he picked out what he liked, leaving the lettuce behind. I slowly added some other veggies and he didn't seem to mind that they were mixed together (previously a serious offence). After three or four days, I watched as he held a large piece of lettuce, licked off the dressing and then took a big bite (I didn't say a word but celebrated my small victory on the inside!). Now that he has become more comfortable with salads I have stopped adding the dressing and cheese. Some days he will request it, but more often than not he doesn't even notice that it's missing! 

Maybe I need to get out more, but right now watching this little man eat a whole 
salad gives me a huge sense of satisfaction! 

Linking Up!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A cozy learning nook...

Hello!! Today, I am excited to share with you one of the first (and only) decorating projects I have completed in our new home! It is a cozy little learning nook that incorporates a few simple DIY projects, some dollar store finds, and an ikea purchase or two!

Our new house has two floors with a pretty standard setup,  bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs, kitchen/dining and living room down. The staircase connecting the two levels is split, with a sizeable landing at the halfway point. There is a great built in bench or "niche" on this landing, that I was at a complete loss for how to decorate.  It is at the perfect height for little fingers, so a "no-go" for anything breakable or "toddler tempting". 

We had been here for a few weeks when the perfect purpose for this space came to me... a learning space for Andrew! We have the stairs gated at the top and the bottom which means Andrew can work away without being tormented by his eager little brother. 

I picked up an outdoor cushion that fits nicely at one end of the bench and added a couple of Ikea throw pillows to create a nice place to cuddle up with a book. I also used two Curtain Wires from Ikea to hang these adorable alphabet cards that I found over at The DIY Frau. The colours in these cards are wonderful, bright but muted, and I used them as a pallet for the rest of the space.

I hung a few little pails for Andrew's art supplies and made a simple art display out of clipboards and scrap booking paper (you can find the tutorial for this project here). 

When Andrew is working on some art or practising his writing, he kneels on the floor and uses the bench like a desk. He squirms around quite a bit when he is tying to focus on a learning activity, so this is a good alternative to a chair. 

I'm not sure if Andrew really appreciates how cute this space is, but that's ok, 
I can love it enough for both of us!!

Linking Up...