Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nesting During the Third Trimester

Linking up with Rachel this week for Five Favorites!

Over the last couple of weeks I have frantically increased "nesting" activities. Just in case you are unfamiliar with the term, at some point during pregnancy, usually the mother is overcome with intense desires to clean areas of her house she has never seen before, declutter boxes previously untouched from two moves ago, and/or embark upon numerous crafting projects she has never tried.

Since I'm a classic procrastinator, it's no surprise I'm attempting to pack it all into the final few weeks of pregnancy.

In no particular order, here have been some of my most recent and favorite nesting activities:

1. Clean: Specifically scrubbing every lower cabinet in my kitchen. I should probably preface this with: I'm not a particularly good housekeeper and therefore, have probably never thought of scrubbing down the outsides of said cabinets. I'm pretty positive it's never been done since we moved in last year. I handed Teacup a cloth so she could "scrub" with me (meaning, I could keep an eye on her), and proceeded to crouch in my kitchen with my large, 9 month pregnant belly for the next half hour to forty minutes cleaning my cabinets. All the while thinking, "Why am I doing this?" "Who am I?" and "I CAN'T stop! Must finish!". I've also been pretty diligent about staying on top of my cleaning schedule (which I'll share with you all someday).

2. Declutter: We have a spare bedroom. Or, well a spare room. But it wasn't very spare. In fact, you could barely move in it. My sister is graciously planning on staying with us for a few weeks after baby arrives, and I wanted her to have her own space. Last weekend, Jeremy cleared out all his tools from projects worked on over the last year, and the painting supplies we will not be using to paint the hallway (le sigh) before baby arrives. I then purged, purged, dusted, and vacuumed. We moved furniture. It still has a ways to go as far as decorating and further purging, but it's now a liveable space.

3. Pack: So last pregnancy, nesting never really hit me. I was still working at the bank and very tired. I think I had two days max of deep cleaning I accomplished in Teacup's nursery (that was never actually used). This time, I think I've done more in the last month than I have over the past year! And, I actually have a hospital bag this time. That probably doesn't sound very impressive, and I suppose it's not, but with Teacup, I didn't have my bag ready. In between contractions I crawled around the floor tossing things into a bag. I suppose I'll have to come up with a new distraction this time.

4. Organize: I've had a home binder for a couple years now, but I never used it consistently. It also wasn't very well organized. I've started plans to revamp it and have been scouring Pinterest for free printables that fit my needs. However, instead, I'm generally just typing up and designing my own lists using PicMonkey. Jeremy also got me a printer, so I'm all excited to print out lots of fun pages (and probably clutter up my house with paper I don't need in the process...).

Via Target

5. Craft: Many of my non necessary nesting activities consist of crafts. Instead of doing dishes, packing, or watching my birthing video, I worked on a beaded rosary. The intention is to have a few more finished and sell them at our Christmas Craft fair or give them away as gifts.

I've added chain between the Our Father beads and crucifix. 
Also, I'm creating a liturgical binder to help our family celebrate the different church seasons more intentionally. Each day has a different saint, and I'm collecting stories for each one. Each month we will pick five saints to do something special to celebrate: a meal, craft, or movie. This way, I'm hoping I won't get caught off guard when major feast days, novenas, and you know, things like LENT or ADVENT creep up! If this all sounds a bit over the top because I only have a fifteen month old and another yet to make their appearance, it's kind of a big project and I have a lot to learn about the different saints and seasons myself, so I thought I'd get a headstart.

And here is an edited photo of Teacup's Easter photo shoot!

That's about all I've been accomplishing. Thanks for sticking around ;)

Have you ever had any strange/fun/exciting nesting projects? Let me know in the comments! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

7 Quick and Easy Projects!

Linking up for 7 QT's this week with Kelly!

Today I'm going to share seven quick and/or easy projects that just about anyone can do at home! I'm either in the middle of these projects, or have finished them. I'm not a particularly productive or crafty person, so really... anyone can do these!

1. Homemade Ranch Dressing

I'm always coming across delicious looking recipes that only call for a little bit of ranch dressing. We aren't terrific about eating salads around here (shhhhh), so dressings usually get wasted or just sit in the fridge for years.... Also, I have a friend who is allergic to MSG, or autolyzed yeast extract, and it's found in most Ranch Dressings. Therefore I was super excited when I came across this recipe to make my own homemade ranch dressing with spices already in my closet! You can make as little as you need for the specific recipe. Plus, it's delicious and creamy (not low fat- sorry y'all). I store the premixed spices in a little container and just add a tablespoon to 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayo and a splash of milk

2. Paint a Ceramic Figurine

This was so ridiculously easy, it really shouldn't qualify as a "project". We have been very slowly putting together Teacup's bedroom (so sad... it's only taken us 12+ months). She has a little elephant theme going on, so I wanted to find a small elephant I could paint pink and put up on the shelves we just installed. My mom recommended searching thrift and antique stores, but it's kind of hard bringing a toddler to one of those places. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I found a ceramic elephant at Target! I cleaned him off with rubbing alcohol, found the perfect, acrylic, pink paint, and did two coats over two nights. Took about ten minutes each night. Bam, Done! Perfect, easy decor.

3. Learn to Crochet
Learning to crochet has been on my to do list for a really long time. I have some really talented friends that have offered to teach me, but it's just hard to find the time. Crocheting is perfect when you have little ones because it's easy to pick up and put down and you don't have to worry about any sharp little pins lying around like you do when sewing. I have a sewing machine, and I still intend on using it, but the production of taking it out, cutting and ironing all the pieces, and clean up is a several hours long affair. Also, crocheting is cheap, cheap, cheap compared to investing in a sewing machine.

I'm not very good at crocheting yet, but I plan on doing lots of practicing. I used Pinterest to find a couple tutorials. Here is the one I'm mainly using. All I'm aiming to start with are a few washcloths, and then eventually I'd like to move onto a blanket, scarf for hubby, and maybe someday figure out hats, mittens, and booties :)

Single Crochet: After practicing! Look, it looks like a square! 

Single Crochet: First attempt at a swatch. It's growing and growing ;) 

Double Crochet: I'm still working on figuring this one out...They keep curving into a rainbow shape. 

4. DIY Abstract Herringbone Artwork

Once again, supplies for something like this are really affordable. I found a 2 pack of canvas at Walmart for under $5, and paints for $0.50 to $1.50. I followed this blog's tutorial. I will note that you should probably follow their advice and use white spray paint for the top layer. The acrylic was a bit thick and got under the tape, so that is why my edges aren't as crisp. Although, for a first attempt, I'm pretty happy with it and I had a lot of fun painting!

5. Make a Paper Banner

And then use it for multiple things! I didn't spend anything on this project because I already had all the supplies in my craft stock (although I am a bit of a craft hoarder). Twine, scrapbook paper, ruler, scissors, and a stapler are all you need.

I've also seen people sew the paper onto thread and that looks a bit more finished, but once again, I'm a little too lazy to drag the sewing machine out for that one.

We used this little banner at Teacup's birthday party and then I used it in her birthday photo shoot I did in our basement.

6. Bake Some Cookies

This recipe is the bomb! Plus, I already had all the ingredients in my pantry. I make the recommended amount and then freeze half of the dough before cooking. Take it out and let thaw for about a day before scooping out the dough. Also, cook cookies until they look barely done, take out and let sit. They will be the perfect chewiness!

7. Photo Book

There are lots of sites to do this, but I use Shutterfly. It's a good idea to make a book ahead of time and then wait around for a really good coupon. Sometimes they even offer free books on the small size! If you do want a larger book though, it does not convert to a smaller size easily without altering all your pictures. So just keep that in mind. I did an 8x11 book for Teacup's first year, but I think I'll do the 8x8 sizes for family vacations and watch out for those coupons ;) For Teacup's larger hardcover book, I used a $20 off coupon, free shipping, and waited till the books were 40% off.

So there you have seven easy projects anyone can try! What projects are you currently working on?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter! Alleluia, He is Risen!

Happy Easter to you all! Just a quick post since today was very busy and now my brain is a bit foggy.

We went to 8:30 a.m. mass, which is EARLY for us, as sad as that sounds. Teacup slept the entire night in her crib last night, which was a wonderful Easter blessing.

Here is our little family shot that needs a lot of work. I'm planning on taking pictures of Teacup in her Easter dress this week. She wasn't the most cooperative today.

We had some friends over for Easter dinner. I made a spiral ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls, and Jeremy made a chocolate pudding pie.

Teacup and some of her basket goodies

Then we put on a little Easter egg hunt for the kiddos! It was more of an egg gather since I sort of just threw the eggs in the yard, but they had fun anyway.

I just love this kid's eyes! 

I hope you all had a very blessed and happy Easter!