Thursday, June 29, 2017

Lighting Updates

Hey friends! Are you gearing up for a fun 4th of July weekend?  I sure hope it doesn't rain the entire time!  Last year it was borderline chilly on the 4th...and this year it could potentially rain. 😬 This crazy Midwest weather keeps us on our toes.

One of the first things we did after we moved into this house was update the lighting.  Changing the light fixtures in a room can make a drastic impact on the decor.  There are so many lighting options available out there, it's usually pretty easy to find something that is reasonably priced.   This house came with all of the original 1978 fixtures...and they were not exactly my taste.  I debated painting some of the fixtures to give them a more modern feel, but after looking around and realizing that I could get a whole new fixture for not a lot of cash, we decided to just say out with the old, and in with the new!  I did end up selling the original fixtures at a garage sale, so I'm happy that they will be refinished (or not) and have a new home!

Above our dining room table, I wanted something a little bit on the larger side as a focal point of the area.  I have been loving the metal, rustic looking orbs, so I knew I wanted something along those lines.  I ended up finding this one at World Market and it was perfect!  They periodically have sales, so I got a great deal and it instantly transformed the feel of the room with very little money.

In the breakfast nook, I wanted something a little smaller and slightly more traditional because that area and table are both smaller.  Choosing a fixture that is too large would have taken over the space and dominated it.  I fell in love with this one from Pottery Barn...but it was $400.  Since we weren't sure how long we would keep the original kitchen (we had grand plans to completely remodel the kitchen.....and 2 years later we have yet to do anything, 'cause you know---life happens) I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a fixture that we might soon change out.  So, I went searching for a different fixture.  Low and behold, I found the total dup!

Can you tell the difference?  Me neither.  Except that the light from is less than half the price of the Pottery Barn one!  Here is the link to the Overstock light

And, the last major light fixture we changed was the entry way.  Our entry way is very small and narrow.  What is now a half wall, was originally a full wall that created a strange, narrow hallway leading to the front door.  We knocked it down halfway to open up the room and create less of a boxed in feel.  Ideally, we wanted to remove the wall completely, but there is tile in the entry way and hardwoods on the rest of the we would have had to match the 40 year old hardwoods and completely refinish the flooring in the entire house to have them all match.  That was not something we wanted to tackle at the half wall it is!  Because the space is rather small, I wanted something dainty.  I loved this lotus pendant!  It looks so cute up there and I love it even more when it's lit.

I hope you all have a great day!  Be safe and have a fun 4th of July!  Until next time....

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My FAVE No-Bake Energy Bites

I love a good energy bite!  We have them available pretty much constantly in this house.  Known by other names like granola balls, energy balls, snack bites, power bites, etc, energy bites are super convenient for a number of reasons.  I store mine in the freezer and they keep for months...not that they ever last that long.  I eat them for a quick breakfast on the go, or for an afternoon snack.  And I have also used them as a supplement for an after dinner sweet fix!  Hey, it's better then the frozen cookie dough I am actually craving.  Both of my boys like them too, so they come in super handy when we need an easy little bite to eat but don't have time to sit down at the table.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

How to Potty Train Your Toddler Without Losing Your Mind

I recently took on the challenge of potty training my youngest, and to my surprise, things went pretty smoothly.  I'm definitely no expert in the field of potty training, considering I've only had to do it twice, but I thought I'd share what worked for us in hopes that it might possibly help out someone else who is struggling!

Wait until the child is ready
This seems pretty obvious, but I know there are some parents out there who have a certain age in mind to get their kiddos out of diapers.  Don't get hung up on that.  I actually waited until Beckham was over 3 to even attempt potty training.  Some over-achiever parents might judge, but let them judge away.  If waiting a few more months will save you power struggle arguments and temper tantrums, then JUST WAIT!   Kids will show you signs that they are ready: becoming more independent, hiding to dirty their diaper privately, showing interest in you using the toilet, and being bothered by wearing a dirty diaper are a few of the common ones.  Believe me, I get it...after changing diapers for 2+ years you are anxious to move on, but waiting until they are ready will serve everyone well in the long run.  Now, I'm definitely not saying every child should be 3 years old, because there are lots of kids out there who are ready a whole heck of a lot earlier.  I am just advising to pay attention to signals from your child instead of getting hung up on a certain age.

Dedicate at least 3 days of your life to nothing but potty training
I realize this isn't feasible for some of you who work out of the home, but I feel that after 3 days, the kids usually have a good grip on their new life without diapers.  Try and attempt it over the weekend and plan on being home-bound for the time which you are training.  It's so much easier and less stressful to run to your own bathroom every 10 minutes vs sprinting through Target with a cart full of frozen food in hopes of making it before an accident happens.  

Push the fluids
Their entire lives, they have been able to use the bathroom whenever, wherever.  So, you have to retrain their little brains to pay attention and stop subconsciously peeing.  This is a new concept for them, so it takes a lot of practice to change the old habit.
The more they drink, the more they pee, and the more they pee, the quicker they will get the hang of using the toilet instead of the diaper.   We don't drink a lot of soft drinks, but for those first few days, I let him have Sprite, orange juice, apple juice...basically all of the things that are usually considered treats.  He will drink a sip or two of water when I hand him his canteen, but if I give him a cup of juice, it's gone in a flash!  You could always water down the juice if you are concerned about sugar intake.  Again, the more they drink, the more they pee...and peeing a LOT is the goal the first few days!

If possible, let them be naked, at least for the first few days
With my first born, I quickly learned that if anything was down there around his bottom, he became very confused and just assumed it was a diaper that he could pee in.  After a few days of accidents, we decided to just let him run around naked (at home of course) and it totally worked!  If nothing is down there to catch the pee (or poop), then he was more easily able to recognize that he had the urge to use the restroom and he needed to locate the toilet.  When it came time to potty train my youngest, I planned to wait until the weather was warm enough that he could just be naked for a few days.  We stayed home for 3-4 errands, no parks, no playdates.  Our only exception to the rule was dropping off and picking up big brother from school.

Reward the positive and let the accidents slide
Remember that their entire life has been peeing/pooping in a diaper, so try not to get too upset when accidents happen.  They WILL happen.  Try to focus on rewarding the times when he/she uses the potty the right way.  We used a sticker chart to track his progress.  Each time he peed, he got to put a sticker on the chart (He earned 2 stickers for pooping in the potty), and when the chart was full, he got to choose a prize from the prize basket.  Our chart only had 12 stickers on each page to complete it, so he was able to earn prizes fairly quickly, which then motivated him to continue doing what it takes to earn more stickers!  Get cheap little prizes from the Dollar Store, or since my little guy was into tractors, I ordered some little ones from Amazon and wrapped them up individually.

Some helpful tools:
Puppy pee pads--These come in handy in the car.  When we had to go pick big brother up from school, I didn't want to put a diaper on to confuse him, but I didn't trust that he wouldn't have an accident.  If you put a pee pad down under their bottom then it saves you from having to wash the carseat should an accident happen!  
Potty books--We like this one and this one.  I started reading them to him a few months before I was ready to attempt potty training.  Once we started training, I kept the books in the bathroom and we would read them while we were waiting for something to happen...because sometimes you just have to be patient.  ;)
Reward chart--The charts I used for Beckham were leftover from when Chase was potty training, so they aren't available anymore.  But, here is a similar one!
Rewards--Get whatever you think will motivate your child.  I found that the instant gratification of opening a physical gift worked better than "we can go to the movies next week".   I purchased these and these
Little Urinal--We inherited a similar one as a hand me down from a cousin.  My older son was a little on the short side and had to use a stool to reach the toilet, so he loved this pint sized urinal!  But, my younger son wasn't really interested in peeing in it.  He could reach the toilet and preferred to use it, I think because he wanted to be like Daddy.  Like most things in life, they have very different interests!
Built in Potty Seat--This is super handy because you don't have a separate child potty seat to take on and off...just lift the seat for yourself, and lower it for the child!
Potty stool--to help them reach!

Look at this proud boy!  He should be proud!  He earned each and every one of those stickers!

I keep my kids in a crib longer then most people do...Chase was 4 before we converted him to a big bed.  Because of that, I do still put pull-ups on Beckham at nighttime.  Considering he can't get out to use the restroom, I haven't even attempted nighttime potty training yet!   But whenever we do, I'll let you know if I have any groundbreaking revelations regarding the subject!  ;)

***Some of the links are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission.  This does not affect the price you pay, but it does help me maintain my blog, so thank you!

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Bucket List

Well, call me a slacker because I should have gotten this post up at the BEGINNING of the summer. Buuuuuut, obviously that didn't happen.  #bloggerfail.  However, I thought instead of scrapping it altogether, I would go ahead and post it because maybe some of you need a little inspiration after being home with your kids for a month or so now.  Maybe, just maybe, some of you have crossed off everything on your summer bucket list and you need some fresh ideas!  (ahem, overachievers!) And if you don't need any fresh ideas, then you can just breeze past this post because obviously you have your shit together, unlike me.  ha!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

DIY Flag Pallet (And Some Other Patriotic Crafts)

Happy Flag Day!  Did you even know it was Flag Day?  Well, it is.  This has been ingrained in my brain for the past 36 years because my brother's birthday happens to fall on Flag Day.  (Happy Birthday Drew!)  Every year, despite the ninja turtle party he probably wanted, my mom would decorate in red, white, and blue and put sparklers on his flag-inspired cake.  I'm thankful my birthday doesn't fall on any sort of holiday!  It allows for a little more party variety ;)

At any rate, the 4th of July is right around the corner, and I wanted to share some fun red, white, and blue DIY's with you!  I found this super cute pallet style flag DIY in one of those Lowes catalogs that comes through the mail.  I don't even know if they send them out anymore, but luckily I was able to find the instructions online for those of you who want to duplicate it!   Gosh, I just really love the internet!  Anything you want is just a few clicks away.  I am always looking for large items to decorate my mantle, and this one is perfect.  I distressed mine a little bit, but you could keep it crisp or get crazy with the sandpaper for an even more distressed/farmhouse-y look.

That vase with the sunflowers in it was a steal from the Target Dollar Spot this year!  So cute!  And then, I just stuffed some burlap ribbon in a tall glass vase and stuck some flags in it.  Easy peasy.

If you don't already follow me on Pinterest, you should!  What are you waiting for?  (wink wink)  I don't have a ton of things pinned to my 4th of July board, but there are a few things on there that I've already tried and have turned out really cute!  One of my faves is SUPER easy and fun for the kiddos...and it will give you a memento to keep and use as a decoration each year.  This firework canvas is made with drinking straws!  Genius!

And how fun and EASY is this idea?  Spray painting stars on your grass would be so festive and fun if you're having friends and family over for a BBQ.

Check out my 4th of July Pinterest board for more inso!

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Monday, June 5, 2017

May Roundup

Hey friends!  I am trying something new, which is exciting, but I'm also a little nervous about the learning curve!  I thought I would try and do a monthly roundup of outfits I post on social media so you would have one place to come and look for inspo and also shop the look if you are interested.

I wear a mix of old and new items, so if something is old, or sold out, I will do my best to try and find a similar item so that you can put the look together even if the items aren't exactly the same as what I'm wearing.  I love seeing what other people are wearing so I share some of my outfits (on days I actually get dressed) to hopefully provide a little bit of inspiration for you to try something new with your existing wardrobe as well as show you what's trending out there in the stores I frequent.

So, underneath each picture, there should be a "shop my look" section with each individual item shown.  You can scroll from left to right if there are more items that don't fit on the screen, then just click on the item you are interested in and it should take you directly to the retailer!  (Hopefully!  Fingers crossed I did this correctly)

Ok, here we go!

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