Monday, January 30, 2012

Project Run-a-Way

Oh it is just never a dull moment around here! Kade spent the weekend with us and I had visions of Valentine fun in the form of kids crafts. When I was a girl I always looked forward to making salt dough Christmas tree ornaments. It is a tradition I've wanted to start with my girls but so far the holiday seasons have proven to be so full that we've not had time to make them before the new year arrives.

Then last week I decided to start a Valentine's tradition with these ornaments. My thought was to make pink salt dough, get handprints from the kids and stamp in the year in an ever-so-cute heart shaped valentine. I pictured them sweet and all perfect, adorning my kitchen or fireplace for years to come where we'd add more in a progression of growing handprints. To our visitors I would say, "We started that tradition with Isla's first Valentine's Day." How sweet, right?

Fast forward to the kitchen and dining room floors I scrubbed by hand just one day before covered in floured footprints. And also picture flour on every imaginable surface in the kitchen. Add in a sink full of floury mixing bowls, cups and spoons. And don't forget the kid's play kitchen sink full of a flour-water mix they found super funny. There was flour all over the dining room table and chairs. Flour on three pairs of pjs, in our hair, on the walls. And at the same time picture two small children giggling (as I beg to no avail, I might add) of them not to eat salt dough for surely they will begin to throw up and my real troubles will begin.

Looking back I can't even begin to determine where this little kid craft went wrong??? It just did and it seemed to do so  in a New York minute. I hastily abandoned all plans for handprints, let them go to town with jewels they had pulled from my craft basket and quickly called for reinforcements. In a flash my astonished husband swooped in for the rescue! He cleaned downstairs while Kade, Teagan and I all had to have baths and wash our hair. It was not even 10:00 am. Go Mom.

But I think it's safe to say the kids had fun and I love what they made. Teagan's of course had to have green and only green jewels. Kade's was a mix of heart shaped glitter and all kinds of colors. He went for a more is better feel.

That afternoon we had a great trip to the park where I caught this picture of my sweet baby girl! I can't believe she is going to be three years old in April!

We wrapped up the day by breaking in our Just Dance 3 and having popcorn and movie night. Toy Story 3 was a hit though it took three nights to watch it with bedtime sneaking up on us each time. 

That's all from us tonight but we wanna say a big
Happy Birthday
to Teagan and Isla's Auntie Joyce in Australia!
We love you and are thinking of you today! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Valentine DIY: Easy Cupcake Liner Wreath

Happy Friday everyone! My mom told me about these cupcake liner wreaths last year and I finally got around to making one. I love that it is an inexpensive and easy way to add a pop of color during the Valentine's season!

The materials you need are listed above. Ilined wreath with fabric first in case I decide to hang it on a mirror above the fireplace later. Next, I took a cupcake liner and folded it together to make a little flower. Then using my glue gun I added them all over the top flat side of the wreath in clusters to give the glue time to cool before adding into tight places. From there I filled in the clusters, the inside rim and the top of the wreath.

I love the way it turned out but will say that in the future I will stay away from liners with black in them. It made the inside of the wreath look too dark in my living room so now its happy home is my French door that gets more sunlight. Another tip is to stay away from lining the wreath with felt. I had a ton leftover from another project and started off with it on the wreath but the glue sticks so much better to cotton fabric.

I hope you'll try this easy Valentine's DIY and post a link when you are finished!

Isla says Happy Valentine's everyone! This is my first and I am so looking forward to February!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Catching Up: Halloween 2011

We were in Colorado for Halloween this year and had an amazing time! Conor and Ann-Marie let us tag along for their festivities and I have to say this was one of my very favorite Halloween celebrations ever. We visited Ryan's cute-as-can-be preschool and took part in the kid's parade through the town visiting merchants who handed out candy.

My little purple fairy! I left her wings at home and we were so grateful that buddy Bridget let us borrow hers for the big day!

This is too exciting!

Isn't Ann-Marie the coolest, ever??

THIS is how happy my little Teagan was to find out our room had been Boo'd while we were out! She loved all the candies and treats!

Our next stop was Cian's school where we got to help our Angry Bird out with his class party! Here he is winning at math BINGO! We had so much fun! They also had a school parade on top of their hill looking over the gorgeous snow covered mountains!

On Halloween night we all went to Christoph and Valerie's house. I love their neighbor's Soul Surfer costume..she came up with it by herself!

Isla was an angel for Halloween! She had on a white tutu borrowed from big sis and the prettiest little wings. We went to three houses before heading back indoors. It was too cold for a southern baby!

Teagan and Bridget had so much fun trick-or-treating together...but they got a little sidetracked at this house where the cat inside was way more intriguing than the candy!

My very sleepy Angel Baby. Isla says goodnight everyone and stay tuned for our pictures of our trip to the zoo next!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our Trip to Colorado

Brian, Teagan, Isla and I took a trip to Colorado...all the way back in October! Yes, October. It was a short trip and oh, there were so many friends we wanted to see but didn't get to. Still, I am so, so, so grateful for this group of friends we did get to hang out with. I truly mean it when I say we love them with all our hearts and miss them SO much!! I am just posting the pictures now because when we returned from that trip we all came down with virus after virus, colds, ear name it and we had it. Then just as we were lifting our heads out of the fog the holidays came flying in at super sonic speed. I felt like I was posting away and couldn't keep up with all the fun activities we had going on.

So now I have a ton of pictures to post from October through November including this trip, Halloween, an awesome time at the zoo and Thanksgiving! And did I mention I like to take pictures? Hunnnnnnnnnnndreds of pictures. We lived in Colorado for about eight years. It was just amazing getting back there and feeling like not a day had past since we saw them last! So I snapped, snapped away. Here are some of my favorite shots:

Three of my favorite girls: Michiko, Ann-Marie and my baby Isla. We met a bunch of friends at the coolest park the morning after we arrived. Luckily our visit fell in between two crazy snowstorms! We got great weather while we were in town.

Big guy Cian! I still remember holding him as a baby in the hospital!
He's so big now but just as cute as ever!

Sweet little Stephen, Brian and Michiko's son

And his brother Sean. How cute is he???

Super cool Paul who is French!
Just like mom Valerie he's got style...check out the cool pants!

I love this shot of the kids in front of the barn door.
Teagan with a bunch of boys...Daddy beware!

Leo, Ryan, Paul, Cian, Sean, Teagan and Stephen

Our godson Ryan!We stayed with him and brother Cian. The kids had such a blast playing and became fast friends. This makes my heart so happy: the second generation of friends between our two families. Conor and Ann-Marie were our little matchmakers years ago! 

I have BIG love for this family!

Sweet Kelly and baby Maeve who is just a few months older than Isla.
 Don't you just LOVE that name?!

Hi Maeve! I see so much of your sister Bridget in you! Isn't she precious?

Ann-Marie with baby Isla!
Another family I can't get enough of! Bridget is closing her eyes (no doubt because I totally interrupted their lunch to get this pic)!

Marty, Maeve, Kelly and Bridget

Da girls! Oh this makes me homesick!

Ann-Marie, me, Kelly, Aileen, Rachael, Michiko, Valerie and Renee

My dance partners! Up to no good, no doubt.

Valerie and Ann-Marie

Kisses girls!!!

Ann-Marie, me, and Rachael

Happy Is: Seeing old friends that make us smile!

Out on the town Halloween night!

Three Amigos

Conor, Brian and Vince

Aileen, Rachael, me, Kristen and Ann-Marie

Teagan and Cian weren't so keen on me taking pics nut Ryan totally let me capture lots. I can't wait to share our Halloween pictures in tomorrow's post....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Easy-Peas-y: DIY Baby Food

It is a rainy, cold Sunday here and we are staying cozy inside. I thought this would be a great time to share some tips for making your own baby food! I used to be so intimidated at the thought of this until Avril, my sweet and most amazing sister-in-law from Ireland showed me just how easy this is!

Now I would never go back to premade baby food...unless in a pinch. It's happened and we don't get too crazy over it. But if given the chance we'll always go with the homemade option. I get to control what goes in my babies' tum while saving a ton of money. Hurrah! And you can too with just a few minutes every week or two. It's even easier if you have a couple of essential kitchen tools which I'll cover below. Ready? Off we go!

The first step is to base your purees off of your pediatrician's recommendation for introducing foods.
At nine months old Isla's at a fun stage where she has been cleared of any allergic reactions to various foods. She is even eating table food. So now instead of purees with one ingredient we are using our creative juices to combine lots of fun stuff!

This picture shows off two of my very favourite kitchen tools. First there is my rice and veggie steamer from Crate and Barrel. This is six years old and we use the steamer several times a week. I couldn't manage without this in my life! Next is (seriously ya'll) the BEST veggie peeler. Ever. It comes as a set with a julienne tool from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Believe me when I say for the last two years it has gotten a workout. Still going strong even in an Irish home filled with a love of spuds!

This morning I made a puree.
 1 kiwi, 3 apples, 1 pear and 1 cup of spinach

This is my food processor. Oh how I love you Food Processor. A constant friend.
But no worries if you don't have one of these. A blender works just as well.

One tip is to use the water from your steamer if you need to thin the puree out. 

Hey! It's Teagan's favourite color!
Sometimes my two year old will ask to have some of her sister's food just as she would eat applesauce!

These containers are handy dandy for freezing your foods. We got them at Buy Buy Baby.
I have also seen moms use ice trays for this.

Next I made spinach and carrots with a cup of lentil soup. Lentils have a ton of protein and iron. I love getting bags of lentils from the dry bean section in our store. Ours come with a seasoning packet so to make soup you just add water! Easy, right? I also throw in celery and carrots or whatever else I have on hand.

Ok, maybe it looks awful but let me assure you that your baby will L.O.V.E. it!! Isla had this for lunch and went bananas for it!

Some of our other favorite combos include:

*avocado and banana
*apple, pear and banana
*sweet potato and carrots
*Irish Beef stew with veggies
*peas, spinach and sweet potato

If you still need inspiration for how to combine different foods there are a ton of great books on the market for making your own baby food. We love this by Annabel Karmel.

I had to post a picture of this quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") and brown rice mix from Costco. Quinoa is packed with fiber, calcium, iron and folate so I was delighted to find Teagan and Isla love it just as much as I do! We haven't convinced Daddy just yet. But he's missing out because it is amazing so give it a try!

Happy pureeing everyone! And if you have a baby recipe for us to try please leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Valentine's Decor Fun!

Happy Friday everyone! We are getting so excited about Valentine's Day here and thanks to Pinterest I have mucho inspiration for the season. We have lots of indoor ideas to share and it's been fun seeing Teagan's reaction as she comes downstairs each morning to find a little more decorated. But I'm not finished just yet so that will come in a later post. Today I wanted to share the felt wreath I made for our front door. It's inexpensive and super easy!

This is my first attempt a DIY (do-it-yourself) post and I have to say:

So forgive the mismatched fonts and lack of a whole lot of pictures here. For now I
will direct you to an awesome tutorial at Domestifluff that will give you the scoop. Isn't that white wreath beautiful? I so wanna make this after Paddy's Day!

My two cents to add is that I used chalk and a 1/4 cup measuring cup to make my circles. The chalk comes off the felt easily and they were the perfect size to finish the project.

A rough rundown on price for this would be $4.00 for the wreath, $5.00 for ribbon with a ton left over for future projects, the felt is .29 each and the pins were $3.50. But I steal my sister's Sunday paper each week and have three coupons at 40% off to use at Michael's, Hobby Lobby and AC Moore. By the way, does your Michael's accept AC Moore coupons? Ours does and I love them for it!

Here is some more scoop on our outdoor Valentine's look....

I have to wrap up with a sweet Valentine picture of Teagan from 2010! Oh she looks so little bitty to me here. I just can't believe the change in one short year. She was so happy that we were about to head off in her wagon to deliver Valentine's to the kids on our street!

More to come! Have a great weekend!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Poppie!

Today marks a very special day for us! It is Poppie's 73rd birthday!! Woo Hoo!!

We love you so much Poppie and wanted to take a moment to tell you how life just wouldn't be the same without our Jim! We can sum it up with just a few of your "isms" that bring a smile to so many of us. Let us start off by saying it's a "wonderous, mah-velous, amaaaaaaaaaazing" kinda day celebrating YOU! "And isn't that somethin' Mo-reen???" Now, for good measure make sure you have some fettitu-chi alvarado today!

Here are some of our favorite moments from last Easter when you and Nana Mo came out for Teagan's second birthday, the holiday and Isla's birth. I can't believe how little bitty Teagan looks here!

Your heart is so sweet and giving, Jim. I will always count you as one of the biggest blessings in my life. So many of us cherish you and that great, big, wonderous heart of yours. You always make me feel loved, always safe, always adored. And I am so grateful my girls have gotten to know and love their Poppie's shoulder too! There's nothing like it in the world. We hug and kiss you from The Deep South.-Brian, Michelle, Teagan and Isla