Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thrift Store Gold!

For the past several months I have been looking for a suitcase for Avalyn. It sounds like an easy task, but I assure you it's not! Luggage (even for kids) is expensive and I can't see spending $40 on a suitcase that a kid will outgrow. Enter the thrift store...

I found the coolest rolling luggage, it's pink with black zippers (I love pink and black together), and it has six places to stash stuff (well seven if you count the little pouch that clips onto it). Needless to say I jumped on it when I saw it. All of the other suitcases and backpacks there were marked between five and eight dollars so I knew I would be getting a deal even though there was no price tag on it. I looked it over and it was pristine. As in never used. There were no marks on it, the desiccants were still in it, and it was clean. How lucky is that? When I took it to the counter I asked how much it was an my jaw almost hit the floor when the cashier said two dollars. There is only one imperfection (for me anyway): It's personalized with a name.

Yes, I know Clara isn't Avalyn's name. ^_~

The "Clara" is going to have to go. Sorry to Matt's Grandma Clara, and the folks over at YHL, but I've got to change it. Even if it did say "Avalyn" I would change it. I guess I'm not comfortable having Avalyn's name on her things for strangers to see. I think I'm going to bring it to Alfie (remember the place I worked two years ago?) and see if they can remove it and add a cow or Avalyn's initials to it. Or maybe I'll sew a patch over it... hmm...

Either way two bucks is a steal! I'm super duper excited! I kept bringing it up to my mom today because I couldn't believe it. I looked up the place the bag is from and found out how much it would be to order one and I got even more giddy. I love me a good deal! 

It is from and it is listed at $39.99. The reviews are pretty good, and I will agree with the main complaint: It doesn't stay upright. It's not a big deal to me, but I can see it being a problem for those who spent full price. 

If I wasn't super pregnant (considered full term now!) I would do a happy dance. But instead I will just wave my arms like a crazy person and write a blog post about it. :) My super pregnantness (it's a word) is why I'm so excited. I packed a hospital bag for Matt and me, for Nicolas, for Keith, and now Avalyn's is ready to go! Just in time! Well, technically I'm not due for three weeks, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared!

Has anyone else found a super awesome deal lately? I know I'm not the only one who enjoys going to thrift stores!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Fun!

Some pictures from our Memorial Weekend we spent with my parents at the cottage.

Avalyn in her new swimsuit from Grandpa and Grandma. The hat was a second hand store find! I added a ribbon to help keep it on her head.

Avalyn thought a weed was a snake and was concerned when Grandma picked it up.

Filling up a tube for Avalyn to float in.

Turns out Avalyn wanted the blue tube. Good thing Keith loves his sister.

He wanted a mohawk so I gave him one!

Keith smashed the sandcastle and Avalyn was less than thrilled. "No, Keith!"

My kiddos!

I hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend! We sure enjoyed it!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Living Room Change Up!

With Nicolas on the way (four(ish) weeks to go!) I thought it might be a good idea to have some more space in the living room for baby things. I have not forgotten how much space baby stuff takes up! Big swing, big activity center, tummy time mats, and bouncers to name a few. It also gives Avalyn more room to roam, and I can see the entire main floor this way.

The before picture (remember how Avalyn pulled her drawers down for the occasion?).

Current (Avalyn once again crashed the picture - twice! This is the better picture, since she removed her pants in the other one... my daughter, ladies and gentlemen!)

Current - alternate view.

I like that it's open and we have room, but what I'm not thrilled with is lack of seating and the layout. So, I've already got our next tax return spent!
The couch is from Art Van: $1450
The rug is from $134
The table is from Art Van: $80
The pillows are from Target, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond: $50, $31, and $20 - Mostly using them for color, I plan on making my own.
The lamp is from Target: $55 - Just a placeholder, I plan on looking at thrift stores and garage sales
The chair I already own, just plan on reupholstering it in purple.
Curtains: Already owned
The gray is what the wall color will be, purple, turquoise, and lime will be the accent colors.
I also plan on building shelving units next to the fireplace. I will be busy next spring!

What do you think? I really like it! I know Matt enjoys using tax returns to make our house and arsenal, but I think next year is my turn to spend a little money. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Canon 5D MK III? Yes, Please!

I'm entering the CameraBag 2 Sweepstakes in hopes of winning a kick butt camera!

Here's "My entry to win a free Canon 5D Mk III via @CameraBag 2 ( #cb2giveaway"

This program is pretty darn cool! I used the filter "colorcross alternate" and added a vignette. I'll post the original picture below so you can see what I'm talking about.

Doesn't the edited picture look like something from the 1980's? Now I'll be able to take a picture of my kiddo's at the lake and make them look like the photos of my brother and me in the album at the cottage. Maybe I can even make my parents do a double take and fool them into thinking a picture of Avalyn is a picture of me. Eh, probably not! A parent always knows. ;)

Here's the link to the sweepstakes. There's 33 minutes left! I would have posted it earlier had I known!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

My Mother's Day was pretty nice this year. Usually I spend six hours in the car because we have to pick Keith up, but this year we were about fifteen minutes from home when Avalyn got sick. I had to turn the car around and get Avalyn home and cleaned up (as well as the car seat and her clothes), and Matt went on his own to pick up the boy.

He also picked up something else.

A new computer! Needless to say I was shocked. It's made for graphics and has a quad core so hopefully it will be able to keep up with me and photoshop! Yes, of course there are already finger prints on it. *Sigh*

I also got yoga pants (because I'm too big for the waistband of my other pants), and a nice little card. :)

I also packed Nicolas's hospital bag. There's some burp clothes, a receiving blanket that my mom made, a couple different outfits (who knows how big he'll be), a music box (mostly hiding it from Avalyn in there), a binky (also hiding from Avalyn), and his baby book.

Pretty sure this won't close.

It won't stay this neat.

Also, on Mother's Day, before we got in the car for that fateful, smelly, trip, I took pictures of the work Matt did outside. Finally right?

One tree gone. The tree in the upper right is next (it's dead).

Five more tree's gone. Seriously, I'm not thrilled with cutting down trees, but it had to be done.

Avalyn about thirty minutes before the vomit car incident. She loves Daddy's garden.

Matt removing another tree.

So, it was a good day (puking aside), and we got a lot done (I super-cleaned more of the house... definitely nesting!). Also, over the weekend my baby girl hit another milestone. She's 23 months old now! She'll be a full fledged two year old in less than a month. And soon after that (or before, who really knows?) she's going to be a big sister.

I got her floppy hat at Once Upon A Child for two dollars, and added the ribbon today to keep it on her head. And it keeps those pesky mosquitoes away (sort of - one got her on her right eyelid and it looks like she got in a fight. Poor girl!).

Anyone else have a nice Mother's Day? Or alter an article of clothing? Are mosquitoes this insane everywhere or is it just here? It's insane. Like walking into a big black cloud of biting and nastiness every time I go outside!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mushroom Festival

This weekend we went to the Mushroom Festival in Mesick. It's something we've done every year since moving up here. Keith has always loved it and Avalyn seems to be a big fan, too. This year we met some friends there (they just moved here from California - talk about a huge climate change!), and they brought their adorable kiddos with them. No surprise, it was a hit for them, too.

We have never taken part in the parades, horse/tractor pulls, carriage rides, contests, or tournaments, but the kids do like the carnival rides and the flea market. As do we! Every year there's a breeder at the fair who is selling Dachund puppies (at $400 a pup - wow!), and they are so cute! I'm not one to buy from a breeder though, I have an affinity for shelter dogs. So, as we do every year, we passed on the puppies. This year the man asked if he lowered the price if we would be interested... thankfully I have a built in excuse this year. Insert the belly rub and, "Can't this time, we've already got a baby on the way." Boy, does that come in handy. Nope, no beer for me, *belly rub*, "I'd like to pass on the fetal alcohol syndrome." Thanks Nicolas, you are making it very easy to turn things down! And turn things down in a way that can't be considered rude. Breastfeeding helped with the not drinking and passing on things as well. Apparently you can't be over 21 and dislike alcohol... Who would have thought peer pressure would continue past high school. No one tells you it's harder to say no to family than it is to say no to friends or strangers. But I digress...

This year Avalyn got to go on her first fair ride and played her first carnival game. I'm so proud of my fearless baby girl! I can't wait (well I can) until I can take her to Cedar Point and we can go on roller coasters together!

Keith was impressed by the bees. I kept my distance.

How cool are these belt buckles?

It was a warm and sunny day. Absolutely perfect!

Who doesn't love Elephant Ears? Mmmm!

Avalyn loved the ducky game. Of course she wanted to keep all of them.

Keith won an inflatable sword.

Heading towards the rides!

Avalyn loved the whale ride, and Keith was man enough to sit in the pink whale Avalyn chose. He didn't put up a fight at all... even though he hates pink. That's a good big brother.

All aboard the train!

Keith clearly enjoyed the bumper cars, whiplash and all.

Avalyn loved the ponies! 

Keith wanted to go back to the bumper cars.

Keith and Treston having a sword fight.

Can you believe Treston is only three? He's so tall! But then, Keith is short for being almost ten.

Trent and Teegan (I really don't know if I spelled his name right).

Danielle is one happy mama, you can tell. :)

I'm proud to say I made sure Avalyn had a lot of sunscreen on, but I'm not so proud to admit that I forgot to reapply mine. My arms, face, and chest look like a tomato. And it hurts like crazy!

Call me tomato arms.

Did everyone else have a good weekend? Anyone go to any fairs or get awful sunburn?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I must be nesting...

So, the past two days I have been holed up in my sewing/laundry room (slash utility room... ugh) working on a new canopy for Avalyn's jogging stroller... and while I was doing that I decided to organize and clean... excessively.

First, let's start with the stroller. Here's the before picture.
Notice how the canopy covers nothing? What's worse is when I walk with it the thing flips back all on its own. Very annoying!

I also added a five point harness. I did this a while ago (as in over a year ago) but I strengthened them quite a bit since my daughter is so much stronger now.

From the back. Totally adjustable. Like the lone sandle in the background, and messed up rugs. That would be Avalyn's doing.

So, I went to Joann's and bought a yard of laminated cotton ($17.99 per yard, not exactly cheap), and a quarter of a yard of clear vinyl ($2.39 per yard, much better!). I didn't need any bias tape since I'm using the leftover fabric of the old canopy to line the new canopy with.

First I marked where the old canopy was and added  about eight inches in the middle. Nice big canopy!

Next was actually cutting and sewing it all went well, no issues really. Until I tried to get the metal rod back into the original fabric. It was all kinds of sticky from whatever adhesive was used to keep that rod in there. So, I used the old canopy fabric to make a new place for the rod.

You wanted to see it. ;)

Here's the finished product. What do you think? I really like it!

View from the top - yep I added a little window!

 If you can't tell from the two pictures above, my laundry room/sewing room is a freaking mess. It doesn't help that I haven't done laundry in a week, so I have sorted piles of clothes all over the room. I'll give you a few before pictures.

The Staples box contains socks that don't have a match, the stuff on top of the dryer is random junk that came out of pockets... you know rocks, acorns, money, sorcerers wand, sunscreen, coke bottle (yeah, I wish those last three were jokes). Also, that's where the detergent, fabric softener, and stain remover are. There's really no good place for them. I need shelves, or better yet: cabinets!         

Here's the after. Not a lot better, but it's an improvement. I put the stain remover and fabric softener on the ledge behind the washer, the other stain remover is positioned (rather precariously) behind/on the dryer and ledge. I kept the detergent on the dryer for easy access. It's hard to reach the ledge for every load of laundry with a giant 34 week baby belly in the way! The curtain is a leftover from Avalyn's room. I actually like it down here. I was thinking of painting the room a really happy yellow and these would look nice with that.

Here's some inspiration for what I want it to be:

I like the idea of a bulliten board, or peg board on the wall the sewing machine is on. Love the open shelving, too... and the hanging lamps. Can I just love all of it? I don't have the original source of this one, but I found the image on Pinterest.

And I will certainly be making a curtain to go around the ugly that is the furnace. Check out the before and after of this laundry room on her blog. I found the image on Pinterest but the blog post has a lot more pictures!

Here's the layout right now, then what I want it to be...
In the second picture I replaced the hot water heater with a tank-less hot water heater that will mount on the wall, moved the central vac over by the furnace, and added shelves to the wall with the window. I doubt this will ever happen as seeing I want to put a bathroom downstairs eventually... guess we'll see.
Okay, back to reality... Here's a picture of my messy sewing table. Totally not able to work there easily. And yes, I was "watching" Grey's Anatomy on Hulu when I was cleaning. Anyone watch the newest episode? I can't wait til Thursday!

Why hello, messy table. You are messy.

My thread cabinet - this is where thirty percent of my thread was.

This is where the other seventy percent was... nice huh?

This this the blank wall next to the furnace. I hung a poncho there... yeah, I don't have a clue as to what to put here. The switches make it sort of hard to work with.

Clean! I managed to fit all of my fabric in a tote, all the thread in the cabinet, and all of my odds and ends in the storage slots on my sewing table. The hamper and backpacks on the floor need a home, and that cord that's all rolled up needs to be put in the garage where Matt is going to put ends on it for the generator. It's too heavy for me to carry, so it's waiting patiently for him!

Here's a nice little summary of what's going on in here...

My many spools of thread. I have like a billion of each color (if a billion means three to nine spools of each).

So, am I nesting? Or is this something anyone would do if their room was this messy? I also scrubbed the floors and vacuumed... and scrubbed the washer and dryer... and the walls... It's not just me, right???