Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And the walls came tumbling down.

This is the official "before" shot of the bathroom taken right before we started ripping up the tile flooring yesterday afternoon.

The bathroom actually doesn't look that bad in this picture. However, those of you who have visited our house know just how deceiving this picture is! All of the fixtures (we think) are original to the house, which is 24 years old. Both of the sink faucets were broken and very hard to turn on. Many of the floor tiles were broken and coming up out of the floor. And the tub/shower was like a cave in the wall.

Just 24 hours ago, our bathroom looked like this:

It now looks like this:
My sweet daddy volunteered his time and expertise to the project and is now wondering what on earth he has gotten himself into. The original plan was to replace the shower unit with a bathtub, lay new tile flooring and replace the countertops. However, after the guys ripped out the flooring, they discovered that the toilet had been badly leaking and has rotten out our sub-flooring. NICE. You'll also notice a lovely spot of mildew on the wall that they discovered once the mirror was removed.

Needless to say, this project has now gotten more involved and it will be longer than just a few day until I can share our "after" photos.

The tub yesterday:

Tub Today:


There is now a large HOLE in our floor.
You can see straight down into the bottom of the house...I'm talking down to the dirt floor.

Their goal is to have the bathroom useable by Sunday.
Stay tuned...

Merry Merry

A few pictures from Christmas morning...





I love the way Caroline is looking at the piece of chocolate in her hand.



These last two aren't from Christmas morning, but they were too cute not to share!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Somebody stop me

I just can't pull myself away from this:

I think I'm officially addicted. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of beautifully designed rooms for decorating inspiration.

There are tons of pictures just waiting to share of all of our Christmas fun, but I haven't taken the time to download them off of our camera. In fact, I haven't taken the time to do anything but pour over pictures of bathrooms. Will is taking off a few days of work next week and he and my dad are going to finally remodel our guest bath!!!! (we've been living with cracked floor tile, broken faucets, and leaky tubs for almost two years now.)

We are basically starting from scratch and replacing everything but the toilet and vanity cabinets so I'm dizzy with options. But I need to hurry and decide on what I want because Will is going to start ripping out the old tile tomorrow. I promise to share our holiday adventures soon, but until I get around to downloading them from the camera, enjoy some of the photos I've been collecting over the past week.

Cottage Living

Pottery Barn



Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Minute DIY Gift Ideas

So much to report and so little time to squeeze it all in, so I'll just hit the highlights of the past week.

These two monkeys have been enjoying each other more and more. I get a kick watching them discover each other and the special bond between sisters (not that we haven't had our fair share of battles over toys and the beginnings of some sibling rivalry). But still it is fun to watch them together and the silly things they find to do for entertainment. They can get each other laughing so hard that I'm afraid Caroline can't breathe sometimes!

On Sunday, my mom treated my sister, Anna Cate, and I to see a performance of the Nutcracker. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a camera to the ballet so this was the only picture we have that Will took of us before we left the house.
It was Anna Cate's first time to the ballet and I think I was even more excited than she was. She sat so still through the entire first half, holding my hand, and taking in all the magic. We sat only four rows back from the stage and could see every detail of the ballerina's faces and costumes. As the lights dimmed and the music started, I fought back tears and tried hard to swallow the lump in my throat. I felt so silly to be emotional about a ballet, but it was surprisingly overwhelming to get to share that moment with her.

That's the funny thing about parenhood...the little moments that sneak up on you when you least expect them and leave you feeling humbled and in awe of the gift of your children.

And speaking of children, this little one is growing up way too fast. She suddenly seems so big and grown up to me. We usually have a fire most evenings and put their pj's on by the fireplace after bath time. She looked to0 cute not to take a picture in her lamb towel with her tiny piggies and rosy little cheeks.


On Tuesday morning we enjoyed a little Christmas party with our Bible study (aka The Baby Girl's Club) Have I mentioned that we have eleven girls and only three boys between us?
This picture cracks me up. Carrie, it looks like you and I are twinkies - white shirts, matching earrings, and did I mention I was going to wear a scarf that morning until I threw on the necklace at the last minute? And Leslie, it looks like Callie has been taking lessons from Caroline on the Hairy Eyeball Stare. ;) And Lil, Lucy Mills looks like a precious little baby doll in her smocked dress with bright eyes for the camera. Of course everybody's baby was somewhat looking at the camera but Caroline, who seemed more interested in Lucy Mills at the moment. And Jessica, we missed you and Benson too!

This is just half of the kiddos. The other ones were in pre-school that morning.

And let me tell you what a crafty bunch of girls they are! I thought these were great DIY holiday gift ideas to share in case somebody is still needing some last-minute inspiration.
Nikki made each of us personalized holiday soap. She said that she just used regular bar soap (Ivory) and carefully scraped the I V O R Y off of the side. Then placed the sticker on the soap and dipped it in some Gulf Paraffin Wax (you can find it at Wal-mart or any craft store.) She made each of us some with both red and green stickers and they look so cute sitting out in our guest bath!

Carrie made each of the little ones these precious crayon rolls. They are perfect for keeping in your purse or diaper bag. The elephant fabric she used is adorable and (I think) from JoAnns. I found this tutorial online for anybody who is interested in making one.

Leslie made each of us a bag filled with these too cute to use gift tags. I'm so jealous because she has a Cricut and makes all kind of cute stuff with it. Now I just have to fill them out and actually put them on my wrapped presents.

And as our little gift, Anna Cate helped me make these flower clips to give to each of the little girls. I know some of them are too young to wear them now, but they'll be able to enjoy them soon enough! They are also really cute as pins. You can pin one on a purse or cardigan for an extra little pop of color. I was going to take pictures to post a tutorial, but then remembered I already shared this one on my old Crafty Little Chick blog.

And one last DIY gift idea to share. This one if for my grandparents, who I'm pretty sure don't check the blog, so I can share this gift before Christmas! Grandparents are so hard to shop for because they have everything they need/want. This year, we are giving them all a membership to a "Photo of the Month Club." Each month, they'll receive a new picture of the girls in the mail.

I wanted a little something more to give them on Christmas than just a card explaining their gift and I saw this idea for making a calendar using a picture frame in the Martha Stewart Magazine. Perfect! Now they have a place to put their monthly picture.

I just used one of the $1 frames from Michaels, painted it blue, and then modge podged some scrapbooking paper to the front. I also added strong magnets to the back so they can hang them on the fridge. If you click on the link above, the Martha Stewart website already has the calendar pages available to download and print from your computer.

Can't wait to share more DIY Projects after all our Christmas gifts have been opened!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Season's Delight

Recipe for one cozy romantic evening:

A crackling fire

Twinkling tree lights

Your current favorite Christmas music
Click HERE to listen

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Christmas Star

After the girls went down for naps
yesterday afternoon, I scrambled to put together a tent in their playroom for our afternoon Advent activity. Does anybody remember the magical tent in the little girls' room in the movie The Holiday?

These were the only pictures I could find online and if you've seen the movie, you know these don't do justice to just how magical and whimsical it looked on the big screen.

This is the vision I had in my mind of what I wanted to create and in thirty minutes, I managed to drag Will's ladder inside and suspend a wooden dowel from the ceiling using some ribbon and tacks. I then draped one of our queen sized white sheets over the rod and tacked it up on the wall. Some left over white tree lights and some blankets and pillows made the tent quite cozy.

I made a star from tinfoil and hung it from the center of our tent. And on the chalkboard on the wall wrote this verse:
When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. Matthew 2:10

When the girls woke up and discovered their surprise, the first thing Anna Cate wanted to do was get the baby Jesus and bring him into the tent...along with "him mama and daddy."
We spent the afternoon reading all of our Christmas books and learning about the star that appeared on the night Jesus was born.

This post would not be complete if I didn't include this picture. She is the queen of silly faces and this look is one of my favorites!

I'll admit that I secretly love this new cozy little spot in our house and if Will wouldn't have thought I'd totally lost my mind, I would have curled up under the tent last night with a blanket and a few magazines of my own after the girls were in bed. ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Advent - Week 1

Here we are one week into December and I haven't posted one single thing that we are doing to celebrate the Christmas season! I set a goal for myself this year to have all of my Christmas shopping done before December 1st so that I could spend the entire month doing special things with the girls and avoid the Christmas crazy frenzy that can so easily sneak up on me during this time of year.

By the last week of November, I had made my list and checked it twice and all of my holiday shopping was DONE. I highly recommend that everyone try this at least once. No crowded malls or crazy traffic to endure. And I am loving the slow pace I've been able to take with the girls just enjoying the Christmas spirit and focusing on the real reason we celebrate.

This year we started a new tradition by celebrating advent with a Jesse Tree.

Each night we have a family devotion about a different part of God's plan for His people leading up to the birth of Christ. The concept of the Jesse Tree is based on Isaiah 11:1, and the prophecy that the Savior would come from "the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit."

We gave Anna Cate and Caroline a new Bible on December 1st and have been using it to read our stories from each night.
(I love love love this children's Bible. If anybody is looking for a good one, this it it. It paraphrases scripture for little minds better than any others out there that I have found and the illustrations are beautiful and very engaging without looking too cartoonish. )

After Will reads us the story for the evening, Anna Cate gets to hang an ornament on the Jesse Tree. I found the tree at Goodwill for 50 cents and we are making up the ornaments as we go along. Maybe next year I'll be better prepared!

It is by far my most favorite part of each day. After the girls have been bathed and are all warm and sweet smelling in their little footy pajamas, we all curl up together on the sofa and listen to Will read. Anna Cate is a hoot because each night she asks us if we can read Jonah. She has seen the whale ornament and really really wants to hang it on the tree. I don't think we get to Jonah until Dec. 21!


Instead of the traditional advent calendar, we are using some garland I made several years ago with scrap booking paper. Each morning Anna Cate gets to open a new envelope and inside is a little note with something special we get to do for the day.


My goal was to blog everyday in December to share each day's activity. Ha! Instead, maybe we'll just hit the highlights each week.

We had a fireside picnic in the den, while playing our first board game as a family. All I can say is maybe we need to give "Chutes and Ladders" another year before attempting that again. ;)

Caroline getting to eat her first "snack." A baby rice cake. Must be good, just look at that face!

Anna Cate and I made special shirts for the girls to wear when we went to pick out our Christmas tree.

While I sewed two of these...

She sewed this. A reindeer face, an acorn, a bottle nipple, and some fuzz. Nice.

One afternoon, we made gifts for the birds in our yard using pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed. We hung them outside of our kitchen window so we could watch them while we eat our meals, but so far we have seen no birds enjoying their Christmas goodies.


Caroline taking a little snooze while Anna Cate worked on her bird feeder.

My sweet Aunt brought these pancake molds to the girls and we were going to make them Saturday morning for breakfast before heading out to get our tree.

Unfortunately, they didn't turn out as cute as the ones on the package. Lesson learned: Never tell a two year old she is getting reindeer pancakes until AFTER you have tested it first to make sure it works!

I tried preparing her before she sat down at the table that they didn't work very well, but that we would try to make them again soon. Of course there was no reasoning with her.

"I want the reindeer pancake Mama" she cried over and over and over again when I put this down at her place.
Will finally blurted out, "That IS a reindeer, he just got hit by Santa's sleigh."
Nice Will, really nice.

That explanation hushed her up though and she happily ate her breakfast.

On Sunday afternoon we decorated our tree.

along with the rest of the house.

Anna Cate's most favorite holiday decoration this year has been the nativity scene.

Each morning she gets baby Jesus out of his manger and proceeds to wrap him up in her doll blankets. Apparently he is crying because he is cold and her job ALL DAY LONG is to rock him and keep him warm. The first thing she asks Will when he comes home from work is if he will build us a fire so she can warm the baby Jesus. Oh my oh my oh my. I'm trying to keep a vigil eye on his whereabouts because I really don't want to be having to buy a new baby Jesus when she looses this one.

We'll continue to document our little adventures maybe I'll find time before another week goes by to share all we've been doing!