Monday, November 17, 2014

Whatever. I can be crafty. Sorta. (DIY necklace holder)

The oldest kid (12) has amassed quite a collection of earrings and necklaces. She rarely changes her earrings and almost never wears the necklaces. Nevermind all that, what we need is a place to display them all that isn't in a wad of chains shoved into a jewelry box. I gifted her the jewelry box awhile back when she started having jewelry, and she's outgrown it. Obviously I have a standing jewelry armoire as well for all the jewelry I never wear. So we looked and googled and pinterested until we found a good solution.

So we started out with this thread rack from Jo-Ann Fabrics. I specifically went to the store vs. ordering online, because some of the reviews sounded like when shipped they fell apart. The store was running a sale when I was there, so I got this for less than $5.
Jo-Ann Fabrics Thread Rack
 She decided she wanted it the teal color we used on her DIY bracelet holder, so I spray painted it in the 15 degree weather. Wasn't quite as terrible as it sounds, with the garage door closed and gloves, it didn't take long so I didn't freeze to death. And here is how it turned out. I obviously didn't do the best job with the spray but in theory, we can take the necklaces off and touch up the spots in the spring.

It turned out pretty great and since it's not really that heavy and it'll be holding necklaces and not...bowling balls, mounting it to the wall wasn't a big deal either. I'm a huge fan of the 3M Command Strips and I'm forever trying to figure out where else to use them. So I'm using the velcro type picture frame hangers for this project. Here is her dresser area before we hung this. The jewelry box on the left is where they all used to live, and you can see the DIY bracelet holder there as well. I recently bought her a jewelry tray at TJMaxx to hold her many earrings, so she'll pass that jewelry box to her little sister once she's fully cleaned it out.

The dresser BEFORE

She recently cleaned up the dresser two days it's looking pretty nice. And now with the jewelry a bit more under control, maybe it can stay that way for longer.

The dresser AFTER

I need to clean up the shelf above her dresser also...I really never understood that kids are basically packrats. Never wanting to throw things away or donate or clean out. They NEED everything!  I'm mostly kidding, my girls don't LOVE getting rid of things, but they do enjoy the new clean space after they do.

loaded with necklaces
There are 60 posts on this thread rack, which hold a lot of necklaces. I could see adding a second one, and repositioning them so they look right in the space, or even adding a third if it became necessary. It was a pretty easy project once I acquired the rack. Maybe now she'll actually wear some of these necklaces, now that they're visible and easily selected.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Band! Concert!

Last night was the oldest's first band concert of the year. I wasn't sure how that would work out because she caught a nasty cold over the weekend and stayed home sick on Monday, but she was back to school yesterday and feeling pretty good. So off to the concert we went. They played three selections and they did very well.

First up, Tambora!

Sophia Band Concert - Tambora! from Melissa Anderson on Vimeo.

Next up, Hidden World

Sophia Band Concert - Hidden World from Melissa Anderson on Vimeo.

Last selection, Union March

Sophia Band Concert - Union March from Melissa Anderson on Vimeo.

Friday, October 3, 2014

School photos

Fall school picture days have come and gone. I thought for sure I blogged about it, but alas, I have not. The 6th grader had picture day the 2nd week of school, the 1st grader, the next week...not even into the groove of things and pictures are taken. They'll take spring pictures again in March or April of course, and i'll have to get a few of those also.

The oldest. Almost 12. New Glasses.

The youngest. Just turned 7. Shy with the photog.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy Birthday kid!

So the first grader turns seven today. SEVEN! We had a party for her and a few friends on Saturday at a local paint-your-own-pottery place. Her cousins (and sister) came and the three non-family friends we invited came too. It was pretty great. We haven't really thrown her a party since she turned one and it was time. I try not to go overboard with parties, and we haven't with her, but she's the second kid so she sort of was getting...shorted. The oldest had a party at one, six, seven or eight...and so she'll have another this year too probably. But the youngest...she came along when the oldest was nearly five, so..she just didn't get parties after that one year mark. So we thought she was due.

Painting her ladybug

We had seven painters, so we asked them to stick to the $6-$10 price range on the pottery they selected and they were all very accommodating, choosing a penguin, ladybug, cupcake box, bunny, duck and kitty. I thought for sure they'd never get done painting in time to get to presents and cake, but in reality they painted super fast and the party was essentially over after an hour (and we had an hour to go). So we passed out the goodie bags and the girls played with those items while we waited for parents.

Happy Birthday cake (with her cousin)

Party goers

She got some great gifts and had a great time with her friends. The cake was delicious in spite of my having to ask the bakery to change her name from Laxi to Lexi. It should be a rule in cake and engraving...allow the customer to PRINT the words they want.  And Sunday she and her sister put together the two Lego Friends sets she got, and we got out the Doh Vinci set and she's decorated a cute little vanity/storage piece.

All in all a great weekend. And then Sunday night her nose started getting stuffed up (and her sister's too) and she woke up feeling awful on her actual birthday. I drove her to school so she could sleep in a little...and she threw up in the car just before we got out. So home we came and she's been relaxing and watching TV and waiting patiently to open the rest of her presents from us tonight.

Happy Birthday kid!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Birthday loft

So my stepmom is a dumpster diver. It sounds weird, but she works (and used to live) in a college town so the students are always throwing away things that should not be thrown out. She brought home a perfectly good folding table - worked really well for the garage sale, as well as some sort of old-fashion-y small suitcase things for the girls to store their art supplies or whatever. Very cute stuff.  Her latest acquisition is a loft bed. A metal frame PBTeen loft bed. Whoever discarded it threw away all the bolts that held it together, but for $12.50 she and my dad assembled it in their garage. And they offered it to the 7yo. We weren't sure if she was old enough for it, I don't want her to fall off, and she has a tendancy to puke when she gets a cold, so how difficult would it be for her to get down, get to a toilet, get to a puke bucket in those doesn't happen as often as it used went for it.  Her room is only 10x10 so a loft would really open up the space for her. Her older sister has a loft that her dad built for her which is equally heavy and a little more bulky. This one is also not quite as tall so she wouldn't be quite as close to the ceiling as her sis.

The loft came home two weeks ago and she LOVES it. Dad has build a nightstand shelf that sits over the top rail so she can store a book, water bottle, her clock and tissues and whatever else girls need high up in the air at night. Its super heavy duty and the gray finish goes fine with her purple room. All dumpster dives are allowed now, it sounds like an odd practice- but what a score!
loft pre-shelf

Thanks Grandma C!

We replaced her ceiling fan with a light fixture and bought her a clip on fan to keep her cool. We'll also buy her a wall mounted fan in the spring when it warms up again. She loves it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Simple Things

We moved into this house in 2001 and so it has all oak trim and woodwork, a lighter honey oak. It's nice, but not quite a current trend. It also has all brass doorknobs and brass trim on the fireplace. Last weekend we decided it can't be that difficult to just spray paint the gold parts of the fireplace, right? Right!

Before (both top and bottom trim was brass)



The fireplace now looks like its always been trimmed in black and we'll probably tape and protect the glass and surround and spray the rest of the box to make it all look like new.  We should have done this years ago...when we started remodeling other areas of the house.  Next up, doorknob replacements! Slowly but surely!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Summer, School and a Smart Kid

So, summer is over. We've been on vacation, it's been a difficult summer. I don't really want to talk about it right now. Maybe when it's a distant memory and we've overcome some of the hurdles in our way right now..maybe then I'll talk about it. Anyway, we went on vacation to the Iowa State Fair and was mostly fun. The first grader had a really great time.

We went to Adventureland first and the first grader rode two roller coasters pretty much all day. Until the adults with her could no longer stomach another lurching ride. She's just brave and grown up, in a flash.

Of course there's face painting at the fair, which I promised we could go straight to so they'd have paint all day long. They loved it.

We also discovered the oldest needed glasses. I took her to the eye doctor and while we were waiting she was looking at the letters on the mirror/screen and reading them oh so very wrong. I was surprised...and I guess I'm really glad that flute lessons showed us she needed glasses. The left lens is prescription, the right is not, but I imagine as she ages her bad left eye will bring down her good right eye. Heh. She looks great in them.
She couldn't stop grinning when she got the glasses.
It's been a long summer. It's been beautiful weather, but not really great for swimming, until today, when it's super super hot. Today 91F, tomorrow 72F...honestly I'm glad they're back in school and learning and scheduled and in a routine. Next summer will be better.

And this first grader of mine, is smart as a whip. Obviously all parents think that of their children, but I got confirmation today from her teacher. They've done reading assessments and she came home to say she read at a 2nd grade level, which I wasn't surprised to hear. She's been reading Junie B Jones   over the summer...but it turns out she's actually PASSED the 2nd grade assessment, so she's really closer to 3rd grade reading skills. So she'll be taken out of her class four times per week for 20 minutes with a special teacher that will challenge her in reading. I couldn't be more proud.

Face painting at the state fair. Elsa of course.

To be fair, the 11yo is also very smart and a really great reader, she just wasn't this far ahead at this age.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Deck Expansion

The husband has been working on this for the last three weeks, pretty steadily. Our house was built with a 10x10 wood deck, which works ok to hold a grill and a small table. But the weather has been so perfect lately, we thought it would be really nice if we had more space to sit and maybe even entertain out there.  It's not 100% complete, we still need to trim the 4x4 posts and add a top rail to the stair rail, and potentially stain all the non-composite to match, but generally speaking, it's usable. And we LOVE it.

Also as a sidenote, we put in a paver patio down below the deck a couple years ago, which we use, but the sun beats on that spot in the afternoon so it's a little difficult to use. This new expansion shades that area now so it's much more usable. 



I also spray painted the small iron table and chairs I had up top and I'll show those in a later post when they're placed. I went with a teal-blue seabreeze color and I love it. I'm hoping to find or make some small cushions for the chairs so they'll be even more usable. I also have a ton more pictures of the process this deck took, but I haven't quite figured out how to embed just a slideshow into a blogger post, so I dunno if that will happen.

UPDATE: I downloaded picasa and used that to create a youtube slideshow video of the process of the deck build.

TDC Before and After

Bedroom art

I hunted for a long time for artwork or photos to go above my bed. With the newer furniture and new bedding I wanted to choose something that went well with all of it. I didn't want anything too crazy and I didn't want to have to explain anything abstract. I also decided that photos wouldn't be the best idea, because those would be outdated pretty quickly. So, I was reading Linda's blog about her experience with Prowl and figured I'd give it a try.  I got a lot of really great ideas about what to put there, how to make it matchy or not matchy and then I saw these and knew that was it.

My bedspread is green, brown and cream, the walls are cream and my curtains are brown, so finding this comforter set was awesome. And now, these wall art pieces match the starburst pattern I have on the bed perfectly.  I love how simple it is and how well it goes. Now I just need to find a way to pad the back of them a little bit so rumbly thunder doesn't rattle them so much :)

Next up, dip dying my lamp (maybe!?) and an attempt at long term meal planning.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer catchup

Really, truly I am the worst blogger. I always believe summer will be fun and relaxed and slow. It is not. Summer is a mad rush to do as much fun things as possible, while still working and doing home improvements and anything else you can't fit in during the school year. I really think I would hate (and my children would) year round school, but sometimes it seems like it'd be a little more predictable for planning breaks and vacations.

So far this summer we've done nothing. We'll be taking vacation in August and then we'll likely visit the state fair and/or an amusement park. The oldest really wants to horseback ride again, so I need to look into that. We're expanding our deck, which is looking amazing and we're trying to get into the pool as often as possible - which has been difficult with the coolest July ever.

I'm subscribed to the HGTV Handmade channel on Youtube, which has given us a few cute ideas for storage and display items this summer. Here's the bracelet holder the oldest and I made, it was fun and cute and pretty easy. I also spray painted my iron table and chairs that were on the upper deck, but will now be a beautiful sea breeze blue/teal and moved to below the new deck. I'll get a picture of that when it's all done.

Two paper towel rolls, a dowel cut to length, platform

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Don't Stop Believin'

We've just had a general music concert and a band concert for the oldest. She is not a fan of the singing class, but loves playing the flute.  Feel free to watch the other videos in the channel. I've done some catching up today...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Speaking of too grown up...again

Finally got back the Kindergartener's spring photos. I swear, it's some conspiracy between the photographers and my cute kids to force me to buy all the pictures. Fine. They win. She loves this shirt with it's tank top under and the pretty flowy top.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

too grown up and beautiful

We got back Spring photos for the oldest today. She is so beautiful..and she looks so grown up. I'm a little afraid of our future with such a pretty smart girl.


We've been on spring break and such also, maybe i'll get around to posting about that someday.  It's just so busy with work, and both of them in school.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Too much snow

The snow can stop now. This is too much, we are officially out of places to throw it. The husband keeps having to adjust the snowblower to throw higher and I don't think it can go much higher. We're out of room. We're done. And it's supposed to ice/snow Wed. night again. The kids are never going back to school (snow day yesterday, they're back today) and they'll end up going to school until July.

The snow banks are taller than the trash cans

The snow has just about taken over the mailboxes

The dogs have to have a path shoveled and they still don't want to go.

Friday, January 17, 2014


I am fairly sure...let's say 80%...that my 6yo has been abducted and replaced by a completed different child. Starting in late September and up until last week, I was driving her to school. She had motion sickness and was throwing up on the bus, she even threw up in my car a couple times when I started driving her. This week, I kept her home sick on Monday - we were both sick really - so she could fight her cold just one more day. Tuesday it was super windy and cold, so the roads got a little slick. So there was a two hour delay for school. I suggested maybe she wanted to try the bus, since she slept in and had plenty of time to be ready. She agreed.

She has ridden the bus every day since.


This morning, I took her to the stop (it's four houses down the street, which is awesome) and when we got there her neighbor friend came as well. The 6yo turns to me and says "you can go now".

See, clearly she's been replaced.

I have no words. I am both super excited that I don't have to drive her, super excited that she's growing and learning and comfortable with her friends, the bus (her Grandpa drives it), and school...and I'm also sad, just a teeny tiny bit..that she doesn't need me quite as much anymore.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Terrible Blogger

I am really terrible at this. Most of the time I feel like whatever I might have to say isn't worth saying out loud, or in writing, because no one cares about it but me. So then I talk myself into not writing anything and end up with a blog that hasn't been updated since November. Well. Sorry. How about a general catchup...

We smoked two turkeys for both sides of the family on Thanksgiving which was delicious and fun. I went out that night with my aunt-in-law and mother-in-law for some black friday..or brown thursday as I prefer to call I bought a couple small gifts but didn't find much and fighting the people was not worth it. I did find the perfect comforter set for my bed though, on sale, at JCPenney. I love it. It's the Galaxy 10-pc Comforter Set and I did NOT pay that price for it. It looks fantastic on my bed because the walls are the cream color and my curtains are the brown..and green is my favorite color, so it's perfect. I almost didn't buy it, but my cohorts convinced me I could always return it if it didn't work vs not buying it and it going out of stock or something. So they were right. I love it.

Christmas was crazy. We planned to smoke about 16 pounds of pork shoulder for a large husband-side dinner/birthday/Christmas but the weather cancelled those plans. So we still smoked some pork, the gathering was just smaller. Still delicious. The husband's sister and her husband and toddler came up from GA to visit and it was really great. To see them and see how big she's getting. I got a Hoodie Footie from the husband and some really nice silver hoop earrings. The girls got me more socks (I love socks for some reason) and bath&body soaps. The girls got what they've always wanted, Deluxe Webkinz accounts and stuffed Boo animals, among other things. It was a great week.

New Years was uneventful, the kids spent the night with the grandparents, and we played Final Fantasy XIV most of the night. On New Years day we headed over to the in-laws to watch a bowl game (Go Hawkeyes! they lost.) and do some puzzles. I love doing puzzles, I just never make the time to do it.

School break started a day early due to snow..and was extended by two days due to super super super freezing temperatures. It was -40F here at some point with the windchill, -27 was a little crazy. So the kids stayed home, the rest of us worked and they finally went back to school last Wednesday.

We tried a new restaurant with some friends recently - saturday night - which was really great fun. However, I woke up at 230am on Sunday with what I think was food poisoning. I don't know whether to blame the pork belly from the restaurant or the frozen yogurt from the dessert place. Either way, I'll be avoiding both for awhile. After three days of queasyness - which feels disturbingly like morning sickness - today my stomach seems much better. So Monday I stayed home sick, and I kept the 6yo home as well because she's working on a cough/cold. Tuesday it was super super windy here, which was freezing some roadways, so school was delayed by 2 hours. So the 6yo agreed to ride the bus, since she had plenty of time to get ready and read and play beforehand. So loved it and Grandpa loved getting her hug when she got off. So this morning, she wanted to ride the bus again...and she did. So it's possible (shhh don't jinx it) she might be fully ok with school now. I'll still drive her anytime she feels like sleeping in a little, but it was really great to see her ready and happy to ride the bus with her friends. Now if she could just stop catching colds from all of them.