Sunday, May 20, 2012

Things I love more than I should

Don't worry--this isn't going to be a sappy post about loving my children more than life itself, though of course I do.

We have spent our weekend cleaning and catching up on laundry, so we've got no DIYing to post. I would, however, like to spread the love about a few household things that bring us a lot of joy by making life easier. This is not a sponsored post. I'd totally sell out for some scratch, but so far no one has offered. These are simply G-family staples.

Let's go at this cheap to fancy.

1. Finish Quantum PowerBall dishwasher tabs

Stick one in the liquid dispenser and call it good. Our dishwasher-ble glassware has never been so clear and gorgeous.

2. Fabreze Air Effects

This is a sensitive topic, but when has that stopped me from yapping? Occasionally there are disgusting smells emanating from the G house. Diapers, a sippy cup of milk lost under the couch for a couple weeks, tiny man feet. I don't think you all need me to go on. Fabreze Air Effects combats it *all*. My fave is "linen and sky." What could smell fresher?! 

3. Janitorial dust mop

This isn't the exact one we have, but it's close. I picked ours up at Home Depot on an in-the-mood-to-spend-money whim and have never regretted it. BABs*, as I call her, is a daily player in the G house.
4. simplehuman's smudge-proof stainless trash can

Who would have thought a container that collects garbage could make life fabulous? It closes quietly, it's easy to wipe down, and best of all, it doesn't show fingerprints. A mother must have invented this because I'm not sure why anyone else would assume kids love to touch trash cans. WTH, kids? Freaking weirdos.

5. Roomba!

Oh iRobot 560 Roomba Vacuuming Robot, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

As long as Roomba is charged and his bristles are clean, he's ready to do the dirty work for us. And with 3800 square feet and four chickens, there is a *lot* of dirty work. He's also like the household pet my children can't have, thanks to my heinous asthma and allergies.

*SALTY LANGUAGE ALERT: big-ass broom

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day done got DIYd

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there! Our day has been mostly wonderful. It all started with a surprise from my chickens. I awoke to little vignettes of kidly love. Here's an example:


What you're seeing is a hanger, an abused sequined sash, and a toilet paper roll (saved from the recycle bin) with the word "Happy" written on it. It is attached to the hanger with a ponytail holder. Hello, fabulous! My kids DIYd the hell out of that party streamer!!

Then we had coffee milk all piled up together on the porch swing.


Thaaaaaattttt's right--BG and I turned our attention from the ballroom to a little quick-and-dirty porch DIY over the last few weekends in an attempt to mark off Item 4 from my new year's to-do list. The weather has been warm but wonderful, flowers are in bloom, and mama got the itch to create container gardens.

Last Saturday, my little guy and I hit the local nursery for an assortment of greenery and flowers. He picked out the baby Candidum, saying, "These are handsome! Just like me!" I don't know how anyone could resist that. We also got sweet potato vine, salvia (I will have to be on the look out for Miley Cyrus!), asparagus fern, blue bubble plants, wee Vinca, Bee Balm, hen and chicks, and lavender.


Young W and I potted the goodness in these planters from Crate and Barrel. My vision was to mix low, medium, and high with bright colors and a green background. I think they turned out OK!


^Do you see that bit of color peeking in on the left? That is our new Oriental Weavers Sphinx Caspian olefin rug from Wayfair. I limited my search to cheap and cheaper and am thrilled with the colors and quality!

For seating, BG installed the real piece de resistance (both of this blog post and our portico), the International Caravan Iron Patio Sun Ray Porch Swing, also from Wayfair. I told him all I wanted for Mother's Day was to enjoy my new swing. He over-achieved and got to it last night. Two eight-inch hook thingies from the local improvement store hold the swing in place. He drilled a guide hole and then screwed them in. When the going got tough, he used a screwdriver as a crank to do a lot of the work for him:


I thought that was pretty schmart. BG and all his brains are pictured above.

Our little dude is just as in love with the swing as I am. We celebrated all BG's handiwork with several minutes of chillaxing in the breeze.


The kids couldn't wait to get out there for breakfast. There will be many mornings of porch swing coffee milk in our future. And on that note--it's sangria o'clock, and I know just the place to end the day.

**Thanks for the photography, BG! I appreciate that you don't hate taking pics like I do, can rock your work camera like a pro, and don't bi%ch too much when I ask you to upload pics for my bloggy use!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Spring chicken

Lil C turned 2 on April 23, and we hosted a birthday brunch. Why brunch? When I asked what she wanted for her birthday, she replied gleefully, "Tan-takes!!!" Pancakes are her favorite.

This party post isn't about a proper project, but it was a lot of fun and was a little crafty, so I thought I'd share.

Since brunch is a mid-morning event around here, I went with a roosters/chicks theme. I commissioned a rooster applique t-shirt, which C wore as a pajama top. My buddy Kristin at etsy's V. Lou Textiles does the most gorgeous applique and silk screening work. I highly encourage you to stop by her shop. Here is the finished product. Could you die from cuteness?

Since we have four little chickens of our own and I never want our friends to feel obligated to buy FOUR gifts per year (ugh!), we invite families based on kid ages after the first big bday, where everyone is invited. We had four non-family kiddos at this party and then cousins and nieces/nephew plus the bday girl's siblings for a total of 13 children. I needed a craft that even itty bitties could feel good about with limited input from their moms whose busy hands were filled with mimosas. And, friends, isn't that what brunch is really about? I landed on the idea of fabric markers and placemats. I traced roosters for the kids and let them do the rest of the work. It was a hit!


I set up a pancake buffet, having made a huge batch of pancakes the night before, using this recipe but subbing vanilla almond milk for dairy because of C's allergy. I simply reheated the pancakes in the micro in a couple of batches then set them in a chafing dish to stay warm. The fixins were two types of syrup; fruit including strawberries, blueberries, and bananas with brown sugar and cinnamon; sweetened shredded coconut (I was surprised at what a hit this was!); miniature chocolate morsels; powdered sugar; and of course whipped cream. Lil C blew out two candles stuck in the pancake stack of her dreams.

To supplement the pancakes, we had a potato-cheese-bacon dish, biscuits, juices, coffee, and something else I'm forgetting now. D'oh!

After all the noms, the kids played an upside-down-bobbing-for-donuts game <--at this point, I should just commit to writing this entire blog post in hyphenate. Jeez-a-loo.

Here's a pic of the near-victor. In a last minute upset, my first-cousin-once-removed, the sweet guy to the left, just out of view of the pic, won.  He was gracious and shared his prize--sugared gummy bears--with all the participants.


The party was short and syrupy sweet, and the birthday girl had a super happy day. So far 2 is looking really good on her.