Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A WINTER THEMED BABY SHOWER

Back around Christmas my sister enlisted my help to plan a shower for their expecting friends at the end of January. After lots of pinning and guessing what this couple would like I finally found inspiration in the after Christmas clearance aisle at Target. How could I pass up all these glitter bottle brush tress at half off? The idea for a "winter" themed shower was hatched.

My budget was exactly $200 and believe it or not stayed with in that up to the dollar - It was a mix of stuff I had on hand (the buffet wire baskets from Hobby Lobby and mini lighted tree), Target clearance, and Cort Rentals (pumps and cups). The main attraction was the hot cocoa bar which funny story...it ended up being a 70 degree day which is crazy for a Seattle January.

The "snow" is just cotton balls strung and glued on fishing line and attached to the ceiling with transparent tape. To stay with-in budget and not overwhelm guests I kept the cocoa bar simple with packaged marshmallows (stick up after Christmas!), candies, and of course Pirouline cookies. For the actual cocoa I went with classic and salted carmel. So good!

As i've thrown parties over the years i've learned to grab fun white serving dishes at Tjmaxx when I spot them and hold onto things like wood rounds and a good cake lady! I also love that these days Target has really beefed up their craft aisle and you can now find anything from bakers twine to mini chalkboards there!

What do you think of my Winter Baby shower? I think it's my most favorite party yet!

xoxo melissa

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A CONSTRUCTION PARTY FOR ROBIN

Yes it's true - I am officially breaking radio silence to tell you about Robin's "Construction" themed 2nd birthday! I don't even want to talk about how he is two already. When did that happen?

This last year Robin has been all trucks, trucks, trucks, and motorcycles. I am actually yelled at in the car if I don't slow down to a snails pace as we pass construction sites full of tractors and other machinery. So I figured there was no way we couldn't do a construction themed birthday party this year. With a quick search on our favorite invite site Tiny Prints we found the perfect invited to draw inspiration from! Who knew you could do a sophisticated construction theme?

This is one of my favorite parties to date. Do I say that every time? It really was and do you want to know why? Because it was so low budget but still looked like I spent a ton! I did most my party prep and shopping right in my own garage and Tim's work. My favorite touch was the blue prints Tim brought home of an old high school, perfect for a table cloth. Maybe I should have been an architect because all the lines and doodles made me all swoony. I ordered the cones, bins and construction hats on Amazon for a great deal, stalked Costco and Craigslist for reasonably priced trucks, and used Etsy for the finishing touches like the food labels and circle garland. Those tool belts? $0.75 cents each at Home Depot and it just took a few more dollars on felt to really personalize them - Each kiddo took one home with a construction hat.

With scraps laying around, I had Tim mimic the framing of the house on the invitation as our centerpiece, now the kids loving having it around for play. For a good toddler approved activity I filled a large Rubbermaid bin with lima beans and little contraction vehicles with a basket of Robin's eco friendly trucks to pull out as well. Of course I made sure to rope it off with caution tape, also adding a "2" to our door to greet guests. Plates and etc were so easy - I just went with good old construction colors black, yellow and orange. Pinterest was a gold mine for ideas - this party theme seems to be huge these last couple of years and every thing seemed low budget and easy to DIY. I took some inspiration here and there but really loved dreaming up my own ideas and seeing them through. Did I mention that i'm pretty proud of this party?

The cake of course was made by the same gal who has been making our cakes since Stella's first birthday. At first I pinned tons of cakes that were "deconstructed" with tiny vehicles but then I figured with everything else going on with the table it would be too busy. I went with a simple exposed layer cake that was dirt colored haha. The whole party turned out simple and perfect! I didn't go crazy trying to plan and perfect everything and Robin was all smiles the whole day. I think every gift he got had wheels of some kind and he was pretty excited about that - the boy loves to make a good truck, tractor or motorcycle sound.

Throwing boy parties is so much fun! I can't wait to see what he is into this year for the big t-h-r-e-e!

xoxo melissa

Monday, June 23, 2014

A PINK AND GOLD BABY SHOWER FOR BRITT

It's amazing what some gold spray paint and a circle cutter can do to bring together a baby shower on a budget!

At the beginning of this month I had the pleasure of co-hosting a shower for my cousin Britt and her baby girl Brynlee. Just like me, her sister and her have an eye for style and detail so we all had fun dreaming up this shower. Like always I started with the invite to draw inspiration from - We were instantly in love with the "touch of gold" invite by Tiny Prints. Their selection continues to wow me with beautiful styles added weekly. What an opening statement it makes to send out such a gorgeously crafted and detailed invite! 

Then, with a quick peruse of Pinterest we added dollar store animals and spray paint to our shopping list. That paired with some shiny textured pink and gold circles we were pretty much set on the decorations. We added little details here at there with the welcoming chalkboard, "are you my mother?" guest book, and some strategically placed lace. Peonies were also in no short supply as they can make anything an elegant affair. As always my favorite hosting detail is to put cutlery in mason jars with ribbon or other flair - it add the perfect finishing touch. A baby shower doesn't have to cost hundreds of dollars to be memorable! 

The perfect shower food on a hot day? Light snacks like wraps and readily available fruit and cool veggies. The tasty infused waters even became decorations of their own. I'm drooling a little just looking back over these photos - yum!

Congratulations to Britt and Brian, we can't wait to meet Brynlee!

xoxo melissa

Friday, April 18, 2014

OUR NEW BEHAVIOR AND ACCOUNTABILITY CHART

The summer bug has the bitten the kids a little early this year and taking a toll on their behaviors. Tons of whining, complaining, bickering and being bored. It has been especially tough still trying to acclimate to me working again and the hectic schedule that brings so we're all a little on edge and grouchy. Things have to change!

After a quick search on Pinterest I immediately found a behavior chart that was really appealing on Oh My Gluesticks. It looked easy to follow for all three girls (10, 6, and 4 y/o) and it was super easy to make. I used color scraps around the house and picked up a $3 foam core board from Target. You can do whatever you want for the clips but I used clothespins, round wood coins, and letter stickers. I still need to hang it with ribbon but I made it with the idea of it being mobile in mind.

Rowan responded really well to the marble jar system last time we did it so I was excited how visual this new system was with a little marble jar action on the side. A chance to be accountable throughout the day with a big prize at the end of a couple of weeks (hopefully). However this time we're choosing to do special time rewards like ice cream dates and late bed time versus a toy. We started this on Monday and can't wait to report  on the results!

Here is how it works…
  • Each day everyone starts out on "good job" for a clean slate.
  • Kiddo moves up one space for each good deed or moment.
  • Each time they hit "awesome" they get 1 marble in the jar.
  • Any bad choice immediately jumps down to "oops" for a first warning.
  • Violence gets an automatic 5 minute timeout.
  • They have to earn their way back out of warning and consequence area with good moments.
  • Lose of privileges can include - screen time, play dates, a toy, etc.
  • If a privilege is lost before 3pm it is lost for the day. If it is lost after 3pm it is lost for the next day as well.
  • They don't have to repeat consequences on the way up, it's just the concept of learning to be conscious of their behavior and earn their way back up.
  • If kiddo is in any green space at the end of the day they get 5 additional marble in the jar.
  • When their jar is full they get their pre-choosen prize. Ice cream date, more screen time, late bed time, etc.
  • Example of "good" moments: Doing whats asked right away, completing self care without asking, being punctual when getting ready to leave, helping without asking, being tidy without being asked, or being extra kind to someone.
  • Examples of poor choice moments: Whining, violence, not listening, not cleaning up after themselves, and saying mean things to one another.

We are also trying out screen time bucks (printable in link) - I'll report more on that later but for now we are going with a strict no screen time Monday and 1.5 hours a day for the rest of the week with possible exceptions weekend evenings. With Zoe I plan to pay out her full weeks allowance of screen bucks Tuesday and let her budget her time as she sees fit. I think it will be a great learning experience for all of them in different ways and hallelujah to no more brawls over the iPad.

I got a ton of positive response when I posted a picture of our chart on Instagram. I would love to hear if you try this out and if you make any changes to adapt to your family's needs! Of course what works for one kid might not for the other but we're all in the crazy race together and can use all the help we can get!
xoxo melissa

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

HIDDEN ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS - PROGRESS

Major Progress: We still have some ways to go before I can say the project is complete but for now all of the major stuff is done and the kids are moved in and loving their new space!

I gave Tim the deadline of Stella's birthday to have the room most of the way done and useable. This project ending up going way above the budget we had mapped out in our heads so that slowed the progress down a lot. It was hard for us to commit to dropping a lot of money into something that wasn't super important on our house to-do list, like a patio or garage organization is. Tim really came through on this project and blew me away with the results considering this was his first time ever doing a lot of the craftsmanship involved. He had to sheetrock, tape, mud, texture, and paint a ton of weird angles in a cramped space and he did a great job! He even laid some gorgeous laminate flooring in there!

Some major to-do's left are moulding, caulk and paint door trim. We need to add Ikea book ledges, art prints, and are still deciding what to do with the angle under the very bottom of the stairs. Tim couldn't work a piece of laminate in because of the angle so we are talking about building a book case or bins into the bottom or closing it off with sheetrock. I have some ideas of baskets, pillows, and blankets I want to add to cozy the space up and we also are on the hunt for a small flat screen tv/dvd combo to hang in there. We have the perfect one in our room so that might mean an upgrade for us!

Tim had turned a living room outlet around into the room so I picked up the perfect hangable lamp at Target. I put a call out of Facebook for a cheap to free crib mattress and Rowan's friend's mom came through with a super nice one, perfect for the space. I spruced it up with a chevron sheet from target and some pillows from around the house.

Approximate spending so far:
Sheetrock $66 at $11 a sheet
Mud and tape $20
Texture $60 at $15 a can
Flooring (laminate, underlayment, tools, etc) $80
Paint $7 oops paint from Lowes
Outlet and light $25
xoxo melissa