Thursday, December 27, 2012

Choo Choo

So this present (a train board) was inspired by younghouselove.  You can see their version here.  Griffin loves trains and I know someday he'll love to build his own tracks and creatively set things up how he would like them, but for now he's a little too young/uncoordinated to keep the track together on his own.  With that in mind, I scored a wooden train set on craigslist for $10, bought a piece of light plywood and some felt and got to work.

First I covered the plywood with green felt and my handy-dandy staple gun.


Then I had this as a blank canvas.
Next, I set up the track using as many of the pieces as I could, and making the track as interesting as I could.  Like I said, I'm sure Griffin will someday be much more creative than I, but for now, he's got a little somethign to work with.
Then I just hot glued them all to the felt.  I could have gone the screwdriver route, but hot glue seemed a little quicker and less invasive.  The hot glue can even come off if and when Griff decides he's ready.
 
Then I took what pieces (trees, animals, guys) I had and added velcro to the bottoms of them.  I was hoping that the velcro would just stick to the felt.  Not so.  A minor fail in a pretty awesome train set.
 

Finally, I added some water (blue felt) to the board for some color.
And then I hid it away, where Griffin saw it twice before Christmas--whooops!  At least he really wanted to play with it when he saw it:), in fact he had a meltdown when I wouldn't let him play with it.  Yay...proof he'll like it!:)
The verdict, he loves it.  He grabs my hand and says, "downstairs, train," to bring me downstairs to play with the train!  I'm already excited about making his birthday present...which is just a few months away!  More Christmas stuff to come, but for now, I hope you and your family had a joyous time celebrating the birth of our Savior!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Go Meet Santa

On a mild Saturday in December (pre-snow), Nate's work had a party set up for kids to come meet Santa.  So we headed to downtown Wayzata, and made a pit-stop at the Wayzata Depot.  Griffin had a blast running up and down the tracks, though they were quite problematic for tripping.

 
 While we were there we managed a few family photos (thanks to my step-dad and mom) and even ended up with one for the Christmas card.  Though it was not my favorite photo of the year, it was the only one in which all three of us, plus Cooper were looking at the camera.
 

 And no, this is not his "I'm cold face," it's his "I'm trying to smile for the camera face."  Modeling is apparently not one of his strong suits. 
 
Then we headed in to Nate's office and tried to meet Santa.  Griffin was all talk on the way there, "Go meet Santa!"  And then when it was time to meet Santa, all we could muster was a little interest in touching his beard.  Oh well, maybe next year!
 

 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Festive Wreath

I try to add something new to my seasonal decor each year, without going totally overboard.  And while I loved the wreaths that Katy and I made last year, our new storm door prohibited me from putting it up again.  Though I realized after the fact that I put last year's wreath outside the storm door....ohh well.  Time for a change.
I wanted to use some yarn and felt I already had, so I took a trip to the fabric store and got a plain Styrofoam wreath shape thing and some clearance red and white flowery things.
I wrapped the Styrofoam in a grey-ish yarn, hot gluing it along the way for longevity.
Then I used some red and white felt and made a few flowers and hot glued them on.
And finally, I added bits and pieces of the clearance flowers to spice up the felt flowers.  Oh and a red bow to hang it!

Puuuurty huh!  Best part is that it was less than $10! Deck the halls!



Friday, December 14, 2012

Guest Post: Home Renovation Safety

I've never had anyone want to guest post before so it was very exciting when Brian Turner contacted me about writing a piece on home safety concerns during renovations.  Since safety is and should be the #1 priority when completing home renovations and other projects, I jumped at the chance to see what he had to say.

Home renovation projects offer many incredible benefits, from lower energy bills to updated amenities. Not only do they improve the look, feel and functionality of a home, but they also increase its resale value. Unfortunately, many homeowners are unaware of the potential health hazards lurking behind walls, under floorboards and on rafters.

Those who renovate older homes must be extremely diligent about locating and removing hazardous materials. Homes that were built before the 1980s are likely to contain asbestos, lead and other toxic substances. While some of these materials are safe if they are left undisturbed, renovation activities can
damage them in a way that poses dangerous health risks.

Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Development
When asbestos is cut, sanded or otherwise disturbed, it releases tiny toxic particles into the air. If breathed into the lungs, asbestos fibers can embed in the lining of internal organs and cause cancerous growths. Lung cancer and mesothelioma are two significant diseases caused by asbestos exposure.

Lead Exposure 
Lead is another hazardous material that is often found in older homes. It is more likely than asbestos to appear in homes built before the 1980s. Lead was once widely used in house paint as well as water pipes and other plumbing.

Like asbestos, lead paint is generally safe if it is undisturbed. Home renovations, however, often involve sanding and scraping old paint. The lead in paint chips and dust can cause serious health problems if it is inhaled or ingested.

Minimizing Renovation Hazards
According to the University of Nebraska extension service, homeowners can reduce the health impacts of renovations by hiring a home inspector prior to demolition and construction. Removal of asbestos, lead and other toxic materials are best left to professional contractors and abatement companies. Protective clothing and work gear is essential in older homes. Finally, choosing safe and organic new materials will prevent health hazards in the future.

Thank you Brian for the great reminder of the care we need to take in preparing to do safe home renovations!  For more information, visit his blog!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Twizzler

Like many of us, Griffin has his own little idiosyncrasies.  Well, one to be exact.  He twizzles the back area of his hair when he's: tired, drinking milk, comforting himself, reading...basically anything that doesn't require both of his hands.

It is the most prominent post-nap.  Here's a good view from the back....

 Here's a different view, from the top down.
 I can't even remember what view this was, because it is so long and twizzled it doesn't really make sense any way you look at it!
 Here's another top down view.  As you can see the twizzle spans nearly the entire back side of his head.  There's no telling what kind of damage his first haircut will do to him, but don't worry...it's not quite time for that yet....

Monday, December 10, 2012

Leave it to Griff

...to look cute amongst the leaves.  Fall was beautiful here in Minnesota....
...and yesterday we were reminded of how beautiful winter can be.
So before we dive in to white winter wonderland pictures, here are a few last lingering fall pics.
What I enjoyed especially about our mild fall was the ease of being able to play outside.  A quick jacket and sometimes practicing hats and mitts was all we needed (unlike our first adventure in deep snow yesterday!)
Griffin still mowed, golfed, and "ran fast," all over the yard almost every day.

He even tried to help with some seasonal chores:).

Checking in on our pumpkins was a daily adventure as each day the squirrels would get further and further into them, splaying their seeds everywhere.  Griffin picked up some funny phrases, "Hey squirrels, stop eating our pumpkins!"  and, just simply, "squirrels eat our pumpkins."

We really made the most of fall, but after being reminded of how beautiful Minnesota is when covered in a thick layer of powdery snow, we are pumped for the fun that this next season will bring!



Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Tuff Halloween

We're getting there....writing about October 31st in December is not too bad:).  This year for Halloween, Griffin was a Tuff Guy.  And a Fire Fighter.







In Minnesota, due to the possibilities of weather for the holiday, you kind of have to have options.  For example, it could be the biggest blizzard of all time (circa 1991) or it could be like both last year and this year and be 50 degrees.  Too bad Griffin is probably wasting all of his mild weathered-Halloweens as such a youngster.

Last year's Halloween was for show.  No trick or treating...but this year, we actually hit up about 5 houses.  Griffin even learned to say, "Trick or Treat!"  The bad thing about only going to your 5 closest neighbors is that they all know you and invite you in.  Had we gone to someone's house we didn't know, Griffin would have been none-the-wiser and probably would have walked right in and made himself at home.




Griffin's favorite part of his costume was his mustache.  If you ask him what he was for Halloween, he'll tell you, "mustache." And we all got into the spirit.  Unfortunately you can't tell from the pics, but Nate and I are also wearing tattoo sleeves, in case you ever need to borrow them....we've got 'em.

Meme even got to stop over for a quick tuff guy pic.
Here are the tough guys after treking through the neighborhood sorting and counting their loot.  Griffin got to eat one tootsie pop (aka "sucker ball") and he loved it.  I think he still loves fruit more, but he knows that dada will cave and give him a sucker during Viking Football Sundays.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chalking it up

This was one of my first projects for baby girl's room.  I've had this chalkboard paint for like a year and everytime I see it I'm reminded of all the projects I want to do but haven't yet.  So I decided to start small.  I found an old frame.  A green one with a picture of my high school girl friends from our senior spring break cruise together with our families.  Needless to say, it was time to swap it out.



I quickly primed the green frame.
And while that dried....
I got out the chalkboard paint, and painted a quick coat.




As you can see, it would definitely need a second coat.  The brush strokes were very visible.
Then I sprayed the frame grey and used some blue painte's tape to make a diagonal stripe design.



Once I was done painting, I sprayed what was visible, yellow.
And here you have it....a spruced up old frame made into a chalkboard for my baby girl (whose room will definitely have a lot of yellow and grey hint, hint!).  And there are more projects where this came from...I can't wait to use more of the chalkboard paint!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Girls Night Out (or In)

My high school group of friends is unusual (in a good way, hear me out).  A few of us married our high school sweethearts and many of us have stayed in very close contact throughout college, most moved back home and we have continued to see each other on a regular basis.  
 
We used to do girls nights or at least happy hours on a semi-regular basis...
 
Since babies have entered the picture, the girls it seems, tend to get a little more left out.  It's easy for guys to sign up for Thursday night softball, or organize a tee time, it's a lot harder to plan time with the girls, kids or not.  
Recently we've been trying to be better at it.  We've gotten together at a few of our hosues for girls nights over the last few months, and everyone brings something to share!  Babies are welcome, it's up to the discretion of the mama:).  Then the kids can play, we get caught up and the guys may even get a happy hour out of it!
 
In addition to girls night in, we recently had a "Baby's out, Mamas Night Out," to celebrate recent additions to the growing group of little ones.  Babies were not invited and the guys were on deck for the kiddos.  We went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate Meghan and that baby Madeline is out!  It is so important to set time aside for time with just the girls, and we had so much fun.  My girl friends are so great and so supportive of each other....one more thing to be thankful for.