Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016

Is it really Halloween? More like - is it finally the real Halloween.  These kids have been to more Halloween parties than I can count.  I mean, I love that they get to wear their costumes so many times, and get to stretch out the season as long as possible- but we already have more candy than we know what to do with!

Friday was an amazing day.  Nearly 70.  So, we moved our pumpkins to the driveway for some carving!  We had 4 pumpkins that we were carving, so we each got to pick our our design. Henry and Zoey both drew faces with really small eyes... so in order to make the eyes small enough, Nate got out the drill.  Well, using the drill only 2 times was not enough... so their pumpkins had about 20 eyes each.

This year was the first Halloween in our house- so I wanted to stay home and meet as many people with young kids as we could.  Nate took the kids out to trick or treat.  This is the first year that we have not just driven to a few friends/grandparents houses; and the kids were SOOOO excited.

Henry was so excited to be Kylo Ren, because he has the coolest lightsaber.  Zoey wanted to be a rainbow unicorn.  Without much luck finding one to purchase, I got out my sewing machine and glue gun.  She loves that thing and I am pretty happy with how it turned out too. 

 One lesson from this: carefully consider the color of your kids Halloween costume.  Henry's is all Black, did not even think about the fact that no one would be able to see him at night until a few nights before Halloween.  Luckily some glow in the dark tape helped.  Zoey's unicorn was all white.  The first 3 Halloween parties she wore her costume to involved Cheetos. And girl loves Cheetos.  With  sparkly felt and feathers, this thing cant be washed.  So some spot cleaning had to do.  Next year, I will think twice about the color they are wearing. 

 A little pre-dusk photo of our pumpkins family of pumpkins.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fall in Minnesota

If you are from Minnesota, people always ask why you live there... and many times the answer is 'for the summers'.  And while I love summers here, I LOVE fall. We have been taking advantage of the unusual warm-ish fall weather around here.

 A new pedestrian bridge opened not far from our house, and early one morning we went to check it out.  It was a bird watchers paradise, until two loud kids started running up and down (oops). 


This year, Nate's Grandma had HUGE pumpkins that we brough home... but we still needed to hit up the local nursery for more pumpkins and the corn pit.  I swear- if I knew I could keep the animals out, I would have a corn pit in my backyard.  These two played in it for over an hour, and only got out when we made them.  And it is less messy than sand... although the next time that Henry went to the bathroom, there may have been a corn or two that fell into the toilet... heheh.

We also took a long weekend and headed down to Kansas City for Nate's Cousins wedding.  The first 3 days were spent at the Great Wolf Lodge.  These kids love the water more than anything... and Nate and I and his parents had fun too.  In fact, I didn't pull out my phone for a single picture until we were leaving...so this is what I got;  a mid-wolf-howl picture.

 Some back yard color one morning; grass growing in, leaves turning color, Zoey was just out of this shot on the swings...love.

Our friends had the first annual yard game/beer Olympics.  Every couple had to dress like a country, so I made skirts kilts so Nate and I could go as Scotland.  The setting was so beautiful that I had to share (or I just wanted to show everyone Nate's legs in a skirt)

We are in full Halloween swing this week; pumpkin carving, candy eating, costume party going fun. I will share home made costumes next week.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Find #1

So- I hate having things on our fridge.  But we always do. Birthday party/wedding invites, coupons, and school reminders.  I have been searching for a better solution. Like a mini command center- a pretty one- to hang on my kitchen wall.  And then I found this... pretty sure I need it in my life.  Do I buy it now, or put it on my Christmas list?


Monday, October 17, 2016

Dining/Living Room Update

I am really loving how our dining room is coming together.  When we moved in, there was literally one piece of furniture in here, and for a few weeks I thought we would wait to touch this room until we re-did the main floor.  Now that we have made progress on this space, I am so glad that we didn't wait.

As I said, when we moved in there was one cabinet in here... there was not even an overhead light.  and this is how we are sitting now. 

From this angle, it looks like there are no windows in this room, but I promise you, there is a ton of natural light.   What I love most what this room is that is has been collected over time, from different styles and time periods.   We bought this light from crate and barrel.  These are the chairs that we got. The table and the bookcase are both Craigslist finds.  The leather chair was given to us by family friends- and is now the best seat in the house.

I am still working on filling the bookcase... but I am seriously loving it.  It was more than I usually spend from craigslist, but it is totally worth it.  I am also loving my new snake plant. 
You can see from this view, the dining room is to the right of the entry way.  The wall on the left of the picture is the kitchen.  This cabinet was the one that we had from our previous house.  

From the dining room, here you can look back into the kitchen.  Some of these walls will eventually go away. 

So, still need to paint these walls and hang art on this part of the room... but who cares when there are those windows!

Eventually, there will be a fireplace where the TV is now... I CAN NOT WAIT.   Oh, and look at my fiddle leaf fig.  He is pretty happy there :)

Looks back at the full living room.  It is a little dark.  Again, more work to be done, and some blue carpet to get rid of...baby steps. 

I didn't know how much we would use this room, since we have our table in the kitchen area, and have a family room downstairs.  And while we use this room less, I actually like it that way.  I can have a fall table-scape without having to take it down for each meal. And I can read a book without worry about sitting on granola bar crumbs.  And I can stare out the windows in peace :)  I can't wait to curl up by a fire in the winters to come.

Stay tuned for more updates...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Backyard Progress

One of the best things about our new house was the backyard.  We back right up against the nature preserve, so there is no house back there, just deer, turkeys, fox, and the occasional owl.  However, the old owners had let it get a little out of control, and the space was not that usable.   These pictures are AFTER my father-in-law cleared out about 20 dead trees.  That big oak tree was hidden behind smaller, dead trees.  Our goal was to create a flat space around the oak tree, to have more usable space for us and for the kids to play. 

After a few weeks of clearing, we got to start building the wall!  Note, all the bricks for the retaining wall.

Of course, any chance to use power machines, and the Nate and his dad were all about it :)  You can see how it is starting to flatten out.

Seriously, these things each weighed 60 lbs, and there were over 16 pallets of then.  I wanted to cry when the delivery truck showed up. 

It took about 3 straight days to get all the bricks laid out.  It was a ton of work, and I was sore for days!  The baby deer (left) and her mom decided t check out the new flat area.
After we were all done with the bricks, we laid some seed on the hill.  We will lay sod on the flat area in the spring, after the dirt has settled over the winter.  We also purchased a playground off craigslist.  There are swings that will also be added to this area.

Here are some pictures to give you a better feel of the lay of the land:


There is still some cleanup to do come spring, but I am so happy with the outcome.  This was by far the biggest project we have taken on... and we could not have done it without my father-in-law!  We are already huge fans of the pay area, and we have plenty of more ideas to enhance the fun.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The kids bathroom currently- the good, the okay, and the weird

Henry and Zoey's bathroom is 'unique'.  There is some very fun features that will be so fun to work with in the short term.  In the long term, we will most likely renovate to include a shower in the bathtub and tile all the way up those walls.

One of the more unique things is the bathtub.  Not only is the color turquoise - but the the tub is at an off angle.  I don't really understand the weird angle.  It does give a little more storage on the sides for the kids bath toys and maybe adds an inch of length.  It is nice and deep, I the kids love to 'swim' during bath time, and I have even taken several baths.  Overall, this is a weird but good feature.

The tub is actually really nice and solid.  When we renovate, I am guessing that we will keep the tub, getting it coated white and add tile walls to have a shower in there as well.  I don't really mind the tile on the floor, but it is nothing fun- its just okay.  This tile is on the floors in all three of our bathrooms, so I think I will want to mix it up at some point. 

Like much of the rest of the house, there is wallpaper on these walls as well.  And like the bathtub, the sink and toilet (you can see the very corner on the right side of the picture) are turquoise.  Bonus: toothpaste is fairly camouflaged in a turquoise sink.

My least favorite part of the bathroom are those lights.  I mean- don't get me wrong- I LOVE that there are pendant lights in the bathroom- it seems so fancy, and not something that I would ever think to put in a new bathroom... but these lights are bad. Cheap gold plating, plastic 'glass', and all around gross looking.  I cannot wait to replace them with something much cooler... because who doesn't want sweet pendant lights in their bathroom. 

Closer up of the lights and wallpaper- for your viewing pleasure :)

This winter, I plan on removing the wallpaper, painting the walls and the vanity.  And I have already been searching for fun, unique pendants to replace these. I am trying to think of ones that will work in the short term, with all the colors going on, and the long term, with a fresh bathroom.

So, that last one is a little bit of a curve ball... it is a little out there- and not likely something that will fit in the bathroom after we renovate, but I just kept coming back to it... so I had to include that. But my favorite one is the star pendent.  So fun, and the reflection would probably be amazing!  That is likely the lights I end up with... but until I am ready to work on the bathroom, I can keep searching for all the fun pendants!

Any other fun pendants you have seen out there? Share them!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Summer 2016

This summer has been a whirlwind of fun!  

Between enjoying our new house, time at the lake, hanging with friends, t-ball and biking- there has been little time of anything else.   This summer, we dropped the precious nap time.  While I used to love weekend naps- not having napes actually made our summer that much better. We played hard and then fell asleep hard!
The days are the lake were amazing.  I think that we have reached the easy years.  Overall, the kids can go with the flow more, they get excited about making plans and are easier to calm if they do get upset. 

We signed up for t-ball, and unknown to us, 6 other of Henry and Zoey's friends from school were all signed up too.  They had so much fun!  There were several trips for ice cream after getting all sweaty and dusty.

Our annual spring trip to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum- always a good time.

PSA- the small size icee at the movie theater is still bigger than your toddler's head.  We loved Finding Dory, Zootopia and Secret Life of Pets this summer. 

For the 4th of July, I said up at the lake for the whole week with Henry and Zoey (Nate had to work for a few days)- and it was wonderful.  Relaxing, perfect and fun!  All of the weekends that we were up north managed to be sunny and nice. The sad news, we sold our jet ski. It was a fun experiment, but just never worked well. Nate shed a little tear each time a jet ski would drive past. Overall, the summer was amazing!

Those weekends that we were not at cabin, we biked to the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.  Always started with a cinnamon roll from Great Harvest.

While interior house projects have been light this summer- we have taken on the largest landscape project ever!  Our yard was a little less usable this summer, but we plan of fully enjoying it for the years to come. I will show you more next week.

We did get to enjoy a few meals and fires outside.

While I am sad summer is over, I am ready for fall.  I feel like fall is a little like new years. A fresh start.  I got more organized, the kids are learning again, windows are wide open, and the leaves are turning colors.  There always seems to be little more free time, and now I wont feel guilty about tackling indoor projects.

Look for more in the coming weeks.