Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Nursery on a Budget

When we found out we were pregnant, I immediately started mentally planning the nursery.  I didn't really have a budget, but I knew I wanted to do it as inexpensively as possible, because I'm kind of cheap.  I ended up spending under $400.  What?!  Yes, I seriously decorated our nursery for less than $400.  And I think it's pretty darn cute.

So, how did I do it?  Well, lots of bargain hunting, lots of DIYing, and a pinch of resourcefulness.  Here's the details.  Well, except without the exact sources, because well, new baby = not much blogging time.  So, if I can't do it in ten minutes while my husband finishes watching Justified or with one hand on my phone, it's not going to happen.

Let's start with the crib.  I did what every single book tells you not to do.  I bought a used crib.  From someone I knew and trusted.  Someone I knew had kept up with all recall information.  That allowed me to score a gorgeous crib for a fraction of the price.  Now I feel like you could go buy a new crib from somewhere around the same price from Ikea.  Definitely functional.  Cost:  $125 (including mattress)

Crib skirt.  Oh, this was a doozie.  My mom sewed it for me.  It turned out to be a gigantic pain of a project.  My sewing skills are definitely not this good.  But it turned out amazingly!  We picked up the fabric on sale at JoAnn's and my poor mom spent hours upon hours sewing it.  Fun fact, the base is made out of table cloths from my wedding.  Cost: $30 (and countless hours my mother will never get back.)

Mobile.  This bad boy took a couple hours of crafting but I think was well worth it.  It's a wire wreath form that I painted gold.  And a ton of coral and gold dots I punched out using two different sizes of circle punch.  The dots are stuck onto thread with glue dots.  And then the mobile is hung with ribbon I already had on hand.  Cost:  $6 (or so)

Chevron art.  I already had all the paint on hand for this.  It just required buying a canvas, taping it off and then painting.  Easy peasy.  Cost:  $8

Tall bookshelf.  This bad boy was free.  My dad built it for me back when I was in college.  It stayed in the nursery for a bit of extra storage space.  I'm envisioning diaper storage and some pretty folded baby blankets.  Cost:  Free

Tree decal.  I picked up this up at Target on clearance upon suggestion from a friend.  I wasn't really sure I wanted it.  Even as I was putting it up, I wasn't too sure.  But now I'm in love.  So glad I ponied up the six bucks and change.  It's the perfect little detail.  Cost:  $7

Gallery wall.  This was super cheap to put together.  The mint canvas with the heart, I made.  The big frame came from Ikea and the name decal came from PolkaDot Wall stickers.  That's probably the most expensive decoration I bought.  The two small pictures were my mom and aunt's when they were little girls and were the inspiration for my color scheme.  The 8x10 frames are also from Ikea.  The small scalloped frame, you guessed it, Ikea.  And still needs a picture put in it...  The 11x13 frame is from Walmart but it doesn't count because I already had it.  Cost:  $60
My changing table/dresser was a gift from my parents.  This project started out as a total disaster.  I found a dresser on Facebook that was $30.  I was going to refinish it.  Well, my dad went to pick it up and it was a total piece of crap.  My mom felt so bad about it that she went on a mission to find me a different one.  Mission complete.  They found a gorgeous dresser and my dad refinished it for me.  And then wouldn't let me pay them for it.  I picked up the drawer knobs on a 50% off sale at Hobby Lobby  Cost:  Gift/Drawer Knobs $18

Rocking chair.  I got it last summer at a garage sale.  I think it barely even counts.  Just to be fair though, I'll count the measley amount I spent on it.  It rode home in the trunk of my car.  I'm classy like that.  Cost:  $8

Curtains.  I picked these up at Ikea for less than $20 for the pair.  They're the perfect layer of texture.  I love them so much!  I got the gold curtain rod at Walmart for about $8.  Not too shabby.  Cost:  $28

Blinds.  Okay, these are from Ikea too.  Are you noticing a trend?  Like maybe a big Ikea shopping trip to complete our nursery?  It may have happened.  So these curtains are amazing.  I just measured my window and then cut the blinds with SCISSORS, yes scissors.  All at once.  Pretty amazing.  And even better....  Cost:  $6 (for both blinds!)

Lamps.  This is another example of me being cheap.  There was a light fixture that I looooved.  But I felt like it was silly to spend that much on a light fixture that I might not use that much.  And silly to pay an electrician to come run wiring for an overhead light when lamps would do just fine.  See, cheap.  So, I pulled an old "Work with what you've got" and just had my dad spray paint lamp bases that I already had.  Then I grabbed a bottle of gold craft paint I already had and a Q-tip and just painted those cute little dots on my lamp shades.  Cost:  Free

The small bookshelf I've had for years.  Either my dad or my grandpa built it.  All the books came from my baby showers.  It's great to have lots of teacher friends!  And the adorable elephant was a Christmas present from my sister-in-law.

 Since I like spreadsheets, here's a breakdown of the costs and where everything came from.
Crib/Mattress$125.00Garage Sale
Dresser/Knobs$18.00Hobby Lobby
Rocker$8.00Garage Sale
Gallery Wall$60Walmart, Ikea, heirloom
Tree Decal$7Target
Paint$70Sherwin Williams, Amour
Chevron Art$8DIY
Crib Skirt$30.00DIY

 And there you have it.  A nursery for under four hundred bucks.  Not too bad. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Oh baby: the first month

I came into this whole motherhood thing without much of a real clue. I never babysat babies as a teen. The closest I came was watching a toddler. So I read lots of articles and asked lots of questions but nothing could have really prepared me.  I love this tiny person more than I could have imagined. I'm also constantly shocked by the things I do now without even thinking. 

I like lists, so get ready for a list of the surprises and things I've learned. 
-childbirth will be nothing like you imagined or planned. And that's okay, get used to it. 
-quit being stubborn and go for the epidural, you're not a damn pioneer woman. It will be totally worth it.  You will wish you had gotten it earlier. 
-bodily fluids are going to be everywhere. No matter your best intentions. If it can come from a baby, it will be on you. Probably all in the same day. 
-You will become shockingly efficient at diaper changes. Except when you're not and pee goes everywhere. 
-buy more than one changing pad cover. Oh the pee. Or throw a cloth diaper down to save the changing pad. 
-nothing may ever go how you had planned it ever again. And guess what, it's okay and you won't even care any more. 
-have a variety of sizes if baby clothes. Even the small ones. Even if you think your baby will be big. You might shock everyone and have a petite little baby. 
-Go with your gut. If something worries you, call the pediatrician. That's what you pay them for. Google is good too, but don't scare yourself. 
-Even if you're 100% planning to breastfeed, have formula and bottles on hand. Remember how things don't always go as planned?
-if you're planning to breastfeed and it doesn't work out, don't beat yourself up, it's really not the end of the world. Even though it may feel like it. 
-stock up on tissues. You may cry at the drop of a hat. Over ridiculous things. Or while cooking hamburger. 
-snuggle the heck out of that baby. They will be the sweetest thing you ever saw. 
-people will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. Screw that, stare at and hold your sweet little one while they sleep if you want. Do whatever makes you happiest. 
-stock up on stretchy pants. Whichever kind you like. You will dress cute again, but now is the time for stretchy pants. 
-appreciate your significant other. They make you crazy but they're also on your side. Hand over the baby, drink a (tiny) glass of wine and go take a bubble bath. You need to take care of yourself too. 

Speaking of taking care of myself, the baby is sleeping so I'm going to go back to staring at her cute little face. And then I'm going to get some sleep myself  

Monday, January 19, 2015


Well I've been busy growing and having a baby. Our sweet little girl will be three weeks old tomorrow. I can't believe it!  But after a months long hiatus, I'm back. Or at least back enough to show off our nursery. It's quickly become my favorite room in our house. I'll be back later with all the details, but for today it's just pictures. iPhone pictures because let's be honest, it's easier to snap a few quick pictures with my phone in one hand and the baby in the other. 

And now I'm back to baby snuggling. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

On Being Pregnant

So, I have to say it…  I almost feel like I should whisper it so as not to a) jinx my so far very pleasant pregnancy and b) anger those who haven’t had such a pleasant go of it…  But I love being pregnant.  I mean sure, the first trimester, all I wanted to do was lay on my couch and sleep.  And now I’m completely grossed out by Mexican food and chicken.  I find that to be troubling, but whatever.  I can live with it.
But, I’ve felt good.  I’m still sleeping pretty well.  I haven’t gotten nearly as fat as I expected I might.  My grandma says I have a glow.  I mean, I’ll take it.  And maternity pants, seriously, we’re in a committed relationship.  Do I really have to give them up when this gig is over?  They are amazingly comfortable!  Why are more pants not made like this?  I mean, other than yoga pants.  My cravings haven’t been too insane.  Sure, I’ve eaten like six fun size bags of M&Ms today, but that really counts as like 1 ½ real bags, right?

So yeah, I like being pregnant.  At this point, I feel like I could definitely do this again.  And man, the decorating.  I love the decorating.  It’s making my heart so happy.  People keep telling me the nesting is going to set in and I just stare at them blankly.  I think I’ve been in a permanent state of nesting since we bought our house.  Pretty sure it’s just in my blood.  I’m okay with it.  But I’ve looooved putting together the nursery and seeing how it’s all coming together.  I kind of want to squeal a little over it.  I restrain myself, mostly.

I’ve loved seeing my bump grow.  And even more feeling the baby move more and more.  I haven’t exactly loved people’s opinions on my growing bump.  I’m not sure why exactly pregnancy is free reign for everyone else to put their hands on my belly (not okay!) and to comment how big I’m getting.  I’m not a touchy person by nature, if we’re not hugging friends (and believe me, those are a select few) you should not be touching my belly.  Co-workers, definitely not!  Same goes for commenting on someone’s size.  Unless it’s later to say “Oh my gosh, you’ve gotten so skinny!” or, “You look great!”  You should probably be keeping that, along with your hands, to yourself.  Now if we’re related or close friends, a kind comment is fine.  My husband’s sweet grandmother told me I was just getting pregnant straight out.  I will take that!  That fits all the criteria:  we’re related and it was sweet!

Now, as for the whole baby arriving thing….  That part is terrifying and I just try not to think about it too much.  So what if I’ve only ever changed two diapers in my entire life.  And they were the diapers of a two year old who stood up the whole time.  Details, right?  I’m pretty sure we can figure this out.  There’s always Google.

But, I’m excited to meet her.  I can’t wait to see what she looks like.  And what her little personality is like.  And when she’ll even come!  Planning for Christmas is super hard!  She’s due Christmas Eve, so I’m really curious when she’ll actually make her appearance.  Man, it’s all so exciting.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why I've been MIA

So, it's been a hot minute since I've been around.  Well, it's kind of a big deal.  In April we found out we're expecting a baby.  We found out in the middle of my super busy work season -- during state testing, graduation and senior event prep, fall enrollment -- all that crazy stuff a school counselor does in the spring.  I was also offered (and accepted) a new job.  So, it was kind of a crazy spring.

I was consumed with that early pregnancy exhaustion where all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and watch TV.  So, basically nothing got done in our house throughout the spring.  Summer finally hit and we kicked it in high gear.  The room that used to be our office got cleaned out in preparation to become a nursery.  And the whole house got a top to bottom purge.  We're slowly getting ready.

But with the new job, and all the baby preparation, there hasn't been a lot of time for anything else.  And now that we're just over a month from our due date (Christmas Eve!!!) I thought it was about time to fire things back up.

Exciting things are hopefully coming on the blog.  I think I have some great ideas of a bit of a turn for the blog.  But I'm back.  And very soon, terrifyingly soon, we'll be a family of three.  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Best Healthy(ish) Cookies I Ever Made

I've been having mad chocolate chip cookie cravings lately.  And apparently this child will be satisfied by nothing but chocolate chip cookies.  Not fruit.  Not just plain chocolate.  It had to be chocolate chip cookies.  When I bake, I try to do it as healthily as possible, especially now since it's not just me my food choices effect.  So I like to make lots of substitutions.  One of my favorites is swapping out applesauce for oil/butter.  It's amazing and I seriously can't even tell the difference.  My non applesauce loving husband can't either unless I tell him.

So I set about to make chocolate chip cookies yesterday morning.  Well, to be more exact, I mixed them up in the morning and baked them in the afternoon.  And here's the thing.  I hate making cookies.  Or I used to.  And I finally realized why.  It's the mixing.  Mixing sucks.  But when you just dump it in your stand mixer, amazing.  So maybe I realized I don't really hate making cookies, I'm just lazy. 

And now I'm shutting up and telling you how to make these amazing cookies.  They are approved by me, my husband, this child that is still under cover, and my adorable nephew.

Healthy-ish Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup natural applesauce (I buy the little individual cups and just dump one in)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla (I just used a tiny bit of vanilla because I was almost out and these were still delicious)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups old fashioned oats (these are the only kind you should ever buy in my opinion.  It's what I use for breakfast, even cooked in the microwave they're amazing and less processed!)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 (if you're baking your cookies now, if not, leave it alone and preheat it when you're actually going to bake your cookies so you don't burn down your house leaving your oven on all day).  Cream together butter, applesauce, and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Add flour gradually (unless you're using your stand mixer, then just dump it all in and let'er rip.)  I like to mix the baking powder, soda and salt into my flour ahead of time so it combines better.  Mix in oats.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Drop by the spoonful onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake 11-13 minutes.

Makes 4-5 dozen cookies.  Now, the number of cookies it makes is not exact, obviously.  I don't use a cookie scoop.  I just scoop them out with a cereal eating spoon.  This makes a perfectly lovely size of cookie.

Now go make these cookies.  And enjoy them with a tall glass of milk (skim is my choice!).  They are baby approved!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Living Room Update

Well, I've been sort of stumped.  I had some changes I wanted to make to the living room but I just couldn't come up with what I wanted.  I knew the mantle area needed some updating, but I was stuck.

So, this is what we had going on.
Well, a while back anyway.  It was the best picture I could find.  It was fine.  But the mirror had been up there as long as we've lived here and I was ready for something new.  That's when my next problem came into play.

My dad made me this great wooden toolbox, exactly like the one my grandpa had carried when he was a construction worker.  So, it's very cool.  And I love it.  I just didn't know what to do with it.  I finally grabbed some white hydrangeas at Hobby Lobby and some floral foam and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  So I switched that out for the mirror on the mantle.
Pretty good, but it still needs something...  And if you're curious, that's a pheasant tail you're seeing over on the left.  My husband went hunting in South Dakota a while back and for this year's Christmas present I had his pheasant (that had been in my deep freeze for the past year) mounted.

So, the other day I was at JoAnn's picking up supplies for the cupcakes I'm baking for my sister's wedding and I saw these giant letters.  I knew I needed one.  Amazing and cheap.  I just didn't know where it was going to go or how I was going to jazz it up.   My brilliant husband says "Why don't you put it up above the fireplace"  Oh man, that's exactly why I married him.

I painted the whole thing gold with some craft paint I had on hand.  Then I grabbed my mod podge and gold glitter and headed to the deck.  The deck is the perfect place to glitter.  No glitter trail in my house.  I don't know why I never thought about it.  After my glitter had time to dry, I shook off the excess, my giant H came back inside the house to get hung on the fireplace.  I just used a 3M tab.

Have I mentioned I love summer vacation?  I've gotten so much done, it's great!  I'll be back soon with more of my summer projects.