Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dog-Safe House Plants

Here are a few dog-safe potted plants for your home.

Sources of information:

Baby Shower Game - How well do you know the parents (free download)


Enjoy this free printable download, suitable to play as a game at a baby shower or a baby sprinkle.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

More Words

19-Month-Old Kiddo

Since my 18-Month Kid Update only a month has passed, yet the kiddo has learned so many new words! I'm really trying to remember the words he learns and the order in which he learns them... My own mother does not remember what my first words were, other than that "your first word was probably Mom." True, she didn't have the power of blogging back them :).

So, here are the kiddo's current words, with the "new" words he learned this past month in orange (his favorite color).

  • Words: dog, dad and daddy (which was his first word), mama, cat, wow, yeah and ya, bottle (although it sounds like “baba”), mine, ball, no, more (although it sounds like “mo”), uh-oh, go (and “go up,” “I go,” etc.), milk (although it sounds like “miii”), hi, yay, mhmm, car, bookRock (by which he means "I want to watch FraggleRock on Amazon Prime"), eye, foot, and bye. He can also nod his head “yes” and shake his head “no.”
  • Sentences: “Hi dog” (his first sentence), “No, mine,” “Go up,” “I go,” “Go away” (which he says to our dog when the dog gets too close to him), "Go now," and “Go out.”


Baby Poll PDF - Free Download

I couldn't find a baby delivery pool online that was exactly what I wanted so I made my own. Feel free to use this too!

PNG version (above).

JPG version (above).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Teal & Lime 5-Day Do-Over: My Living Room

First, a nice glossy after pic...
AFTER photo

Now that I've got that out of the way, here is what happened when I took Jackie Hernandez's (AKA Teal & Lime's) Five-Day Decorating Do-Over. I won't get into all of the steps since you can buy her book (it is her method after all), plus this post is more about what happened to me when I used her method of no-cost decorating.

Day 1 (in a nutshell)
First, pick one room. Do NOT try to do more than one room, seriously. Make a list of all of the decorative items in the room. Next, circle the items that do not seem to fit in.

  • For my room, I cirlced the rocking horse, the Marimeko flower pillow, the tiny bunny rabbit pillow, and the painting of a winter tree.

My pre-cleaning BEFORE photo

I eventually did clean, just look at the after photos!

This dark blue throw blanket is actually staying in the room, but it's in the laundry now, so add it to the after photos using your imagination

Day 2 (in a nutshell)
Use Jackie's Decorating Staples Checklist and cross out items that you seem to have too many of. Then, remove a few and look around your home for some items with more variety to add to the room.

  • For my room, I noticed that I had a bizillion square pillows, and also quite a few family photos. So I removed a couple of pillows and one family photo. I added a vase and a couple of sculptural items (in my case, a couple of decoy ducks).

Day 3 (in a nutshell)
Use Jackie's Decision Tree and the list you created on Day 1 to evaluate each item in your room. Remove anything that is not beautiful, useful, or meaningful.

  • For my room, I noticed that the bar I set for "beautiful" was actually pretty high, and so I was able to remove things that I thought were pretty, but not as pretty as the items that remained in the room. The same goes for the bar I set for "meaningful."

This is more of a MID-WAY photo than a DAY 3 photo

Another MID-WAY photo - note the absence of the toy chest in favor of some dark blue IKEA trunks that the kiddo can actually reach into himself

Day 4 (in a nutshell)
Do NOT rush out and buy things. Instead, write a "wish list" of items you would like to add to the room. Revisit the list in a couple of weeks - you may be surprised to find that you no longer want all of the things that are on your list.

  • On my wish list I put silver frames, less-sheer curtains, and a ceiling light. When I "shopped" my home on Day 5, I actually found some curtains that would work that were being stored in our guest bedroom.

Okay, and maybe a new gaming system is on the wish list too (XBox One, we covet you)

Day 5 (in a nutshell)
Choose a fresh accent color to add to your room, and add it in at least three places (e.g. in a throw blanket, in a pillow, and in a piece of artwork) by "shopping" your home for things to add to the room. Optional: Remove an existing accent color from the room.

  • My existing room colors were light green, gray-brown, pale blue and dark blue. I tried to add either white or red, but I did not have quite enough things elsewhere in my home to add. So, I'm still going to tentatively try to add more white over time (I did add a white lamp and curtains that had thin white stripes). But the biggest change for me, I think, was removing light blue. I had already bought a replacement rug and a replacement coffee table before taking the Five Day Challenge, so this was still no-cost decorating for me. The rug change was purely pragmatic - the blue one shed too much. And the coffee table change was also purely pragment - toys and books were getting stuck under it, plus it had sharp corners and I have a kiddo running around.
Yep, I clearly did not stage this AFTER photo

Note that I added more light green to this room, shown here via the green vase; although changing the curtains actually made a huge difference to this room, this is apparently the only AFTER photo I have that shows them

That white nightstand is just temporary - I'm tackling one thing at a time here

These are the two pillows that I loved, so they stayed (again, totally not a staged photo)

As I mentioned before, I added more of the light green accent color

This room feels very livable to me (and I'm not drowning in pillows, although having one more pillow couldn't hurt)

Yes, we have an exercise ball in our living room - that is just how we do

Notes:
I know there is not a lot of art on the walls. I am getting around to that, I promise. Some previously ordered blue bins to corral the books below the TV are also on their way.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Eighteen-Month Kid Update

First shopping mall ride - He chose the cop car!

Kiddo's Size
  • At 18 months, he weighed about 26 lb. 13 oz. (83rd percentile), and he was 33 inches tall (75th percentile). To me, he looks stocky but in a cute way.

Kiddo's Favorite Things
  • Activity - He loves going for walks. If he sees his stroller, he will go to it and demonstrate that he wants to go for a walk with the stroller. He also loves feeding his pets snacks and meals. I think he likes the feeling of taking care of other living things.
  • Animal - He loves his pets (dog and cat) and can now say "dog" and "cat." He also loves to point out other dogs, everywhere, so I think it's safe to say that his favorite animal is dogs.
  • Book - He is not as interested in reading books as he once was. He still likes his "My First Colors Books" (book 1 and book 2) a lot, particularly the purple page, and also Goodnight Moon.
  • Color - Max likes to wear the color orange best (which is ironic because his dad does not like the color orange). To draw with, he also prefers orange, but also light metallic blue, and purple. I think part of his disinterest in drawing with his former favorite color, yellow, is that it does not show up well on white paper. Gramps gave the Kiddo an amazing Easter gift, a full set of 152 Crayola Crayons! This set is awesome because it gives him a lot of colors to choose from. These are also the normal-size crayons, not the big chunky ones for little kids - since the Kiddo likes them, I'm very happy.
  • Morning Naps - He only reliably takes one nap, which is in the morning at about 10:30 a.m. He sometimes takes an afternoon nap too around 3 p.m., but not always.
  • Security Item - He loves his fuzzy green lion blanket.
  • Toys - Since the arrival of the crayons, the Kiddo has not shown as much interest in his other toys. He has a little green truck he is rather fond of, and he likes his toy soccer ball. He can now say the word "ball."

Serious Kiddo

Kiddo's Abilities
  • Words - He can say the following words, in order starting with the ones he says most frequently: dog, dad, mama, cat (more often than not he says it twice, "cat-cat"), wow, yeah, bottle (although it sounds like "baba"), mine (usually said emphatically), ball, no, more (although it sounds like "mo"), uh-oh, go (and "go up"), milk (although it sounds like "miii") and hi. He can also nod his head "yes" and shake his head "no."
  • Sentences - His first sentence was "Hi dog." He has also said "No, mine."
  • Questions - He can answer questions such as "Do you want to feed the dog?" or "Do you need changing?" (as in a diaper change) or "Do you want to go to bed?"
  • Commands - He can follow commands such as "Go show dad" and "Put that in the recycling." He can point to his mouth, eyes, ears, nose, feet and hands on command. He can reliably give high-fives if you ask him for one, but he still seldom waves goodbye.
  • At the Playground - He can now run, which he does frequently. He can also go down a slide by himself. He can climb some of the stairs at a playground by himself, depending on how high they are (which he does so that he can go down the slide again).
Kiddo's Personality
  • It's a little hard to tell at this point. He loves coloring, which is a good thing, and he seems to have good fine motor skills for his age, so hopefully he continues to enjoy art. He loves animals, which is also a good thing. And he loves us, which of course makes me very happy. He seems to be pretty easygoing and happy most of the time.
Major Life Events, Age 12 Months to 18 Months
  • Tragically, the Kiddo's other cat (the black and white one) died. At first I thought the Kiddo did not notice, but then when his remaining cat (the orange one) was boarded at the vet for a couple of days, he freaked out. I think he was worried that now the orange one was gone too. Of course his orange cat returned... I think the Kiddo thinks his black and white cat will come back some day too.
  • The kiddo went on his first plane ride - he did not cry on the flight, and slept a lot. I was very proud of him.
On the Plane Ride Home


What I've Learned About Parenthood So Far
  • The most surprising thing is how much I'm enjoying parenthood. Not everything is fun (the gross parts like dirty diapers are especially un-fun) and it does take a lot of energy. But comparing parenthood as it is now to how I thought it would be, it's more fun than I thought it would be. I thought I'd be secretly counting down the days until my kids are old enough to move out, but instead I'm cherishing all of the time we have and clinging onto every moment of it. Although I want to encourage my kids to be independent, and spending alone time with my husband is still something I like doing, I am also going to find it really hard on those inevitable days when my kids start to go off and do their own things and leave me behind. As an older parent, I know I'm not going to have as many years to spend with my kids or grandkids as I'd like to. I guess what I'm trying to say is that parenthood is a lot a sweeter than I expected.

The Quickie Smokey Eye

Using this tutorial, "When There is Smoke...," from Maskcara, I created the eye makeup shown below.



Cara's Steps:

  1. Use a large fluffy brush and a neutral color, and sweep the color all over the eye lid as well as along the lower lashline. Cara recommended using a bronzer as the neutral color instead of ordinary eye shadow.
    • I used my usual Physicians Formula bronzer and I only put it on my eye lid (not below my eye). This didn't impart enough color for me - I either need a darker bronzer or less of a suntan.
  2. Use an eyeliner pencil on the top and bottom lashlines.
    • I used a dark brown Lancome liner.
  3. Using a small eyeshadow brush and a dark-colored eye shadow, go around the top and bottom and smudge the liner.
    • I used a dark brown Lancome shadow.
  4. Using a medium-sized eye shadow brush and a soft (light), preferably shimmery eye shadow, highlight the arch of the eyebrow by sweeping the color directly below the eyebrow.
    • I used a light pink, slightly shimmery Lancome shadow.
  5. Add mascara.
    • I used a black Mary Kay mascara. Then I spritzed the entire look with Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Primer Water to set it (I'd love to try the Urban Decay makeup setting spray, but I got the Smashbox version in my May Birchbox so that's what I had on hand).
Voila.