Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Photo 7.27.12


I've got my eyes on you

Monday, July 23, 2012

To Do: Garage Makeover (exciting!)

I'm a sucker for "makeovers" on tv--whether they be kitchens or hairstyles.

In fact, if any of you want to nominate me for the show What Not to Wear, you just go right ahead.  I can pretend to be upset that you are throwing away my 50 Girl Scout t-shirts that I wear to the grocery store.  I can even pretend that I don't want you to cut my hair.  But really, I would love a highlight, some great fitting jeans, and a whole new wardrobe!  I won't be mad at you.  Promise!

Anyway, this past weekend, Matt and his sister and brother decided to do a "makeover" on their dad's garage.  My Father-In-Law is awesome!  He has a giant heart.  Since all of the kids have recently moved and have lots of honey-do projects on their new homes, and John (Matt's dad) has helped each of them, they decided it was time for paybacks.  But the problem was--paybacks are hard to do with him because he can't sit still and would want to help.

But...then John had to have hip replacement surgery.  Ha ha--he would be in the hospital for a few days and then just simply unable to help.

Surprise!  Here comes the kids (and his favorite daughter-in-law....um..ME!).  It took us Friday night until Sunday, but it was worth the effort!  We cleaned out that garage and painted the garage floors....something John has wanted to do for years.

Here is the before picture (with most of the items on the floor already removed and the sawdust gone):


Now don't go telling him I snapped this photo (sorry about the quality--not sure what happened.  Makes it look like it was all a dream...ha ha).  John did make an appearance on Sunday as we put the pieces to the garage puzzle back in place --and was able to direct us to what went where.


Oh John, in his garage, everything has a place.  It's the most organized garage you've ever seen.  So he may have a little to do when he gets better as I know not everything got put back just as he would like.  Hopefully this didn't give him nightmares!

But the after picture makes it all better.



Hopefully John is loving his makeover!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Photo 7.20.12


I'm sexy and I know it


Thursday, July 19, 2012

To Do: Actually Complete Some Pinterest Projects




If you are on pinterest, it's probably pretty obvious that I am addicted!  But I'm telling ya--Pinterest has changed my life!  Sometimes it's the little things --like straining hamburger grease in a bowl lined with foil that I just toss away--that has improved my daily life.  But Matt will probably tell you that Pinterest just creates a longer To-Do list for him!  

I've found tons of good ideas from recipes to planning Parker's 1st Birthday to ways to use my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser!  But even though I pin like 10 new things every day, I really do try to cross some of them off of my To-Do list (or add them to Matt's!)


Here is some photos of finished projects we've recently done:

This one is probably my favorite!  Since we live in a construction zone, pallets are pretty easy to find.  Turning it into a shelf was easy and I love the end result!  I finally have a great display place for some of my favorite pictures (Parker of course and Lake Ouachita in Arkansas).


I may have seen this idea on Pinterest, but I really can't remember.  I know my friend, Sophie, used to have a picture of her first home hanging by her front door.  So building on that cute idea, we hung pictures of our previous 4 houses by our front door to remind us of all our adventures!


I first saw painted burlap door decorations in Arkansas.  Apparently, that trend hasn't caught on in Illinois, but I'm doing it anyway.  I saw a flower just like this on etsy for $35 and $15 shipping.  I dug through my craft closet and my final cost...$0.  OK, so it's not perfect.  Kinda looks like a starfish instead of a flower, but not that I know how easy they are to copy make, I have a more ideas to try later.

When Natalie visited, she wanted to paint burlap too.  After much debating, she decided she wanted an N.  She picked out glow-in-the-dark paint and did it all by herself!  Quite cute I think!  We also tried the bleach pen t-shirts...um...not quite a success.  Harder than they say.  

When Caleb came to visit, I knew we had to find a craft that was boy-approved.  Melting crayons did the trick!  I have to admit, it was cool!  

My final project was a little more time consuming!  I see all kinds of posts about how easy it is to makeover old furniture.  And then my friend, Kendall, used to brag about her easy transformations.  Yeah, you guessed it--not so easy!  But...I didn't think our first try turned out so bad.  My sister-in-law had just moved into a new home, and the older couple had left lots of furniture.  She gave me this bed frame, which I am pretty sure was built by the homeowner, Bill.  I think that family would be glad to know that his work still lives on...just in a different color :)  Painted it colonial red, then distressed it and added some black paint to antique it up a bit.  Ervin Inn is now accepting guests.


BEFORE:

 AFTER:



 Hmm...wonder what will be next on my To-Do list??

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To Do: Top 10 with Caleb

Last week we had Matt's sister's middle child, Caleb, come live it up at the Ervin Inn from Sunday to Friday!  Boy oh Boy...this 5 year old boy had fun!  

Even though Aunt Sara entertained him all day long, he couldn't wait every day till Uncle Matt got home.  Caleb has lots of questions.  Lots!  If it wasn't "What you doing?", then it was probably "How much longer till Uncle Matt comes home?"...even if the answer was like 8 hrs!  


It was a busy, busy week but here's the Top 10 highlights:

10. Little Helper
Caleb rarely left my side.  But that's ok--he was a good little helper.  He loved to push the stroller, had fun gathering groceries, thought he was big stuff helping Matt mow, giving Parker toys and nearly every bottle, helping with bath time, etc.   He even asked me once if he could wash the dishes!  But like 99 times a day, he asked if he could pick up parker.  He got pretty good at not only lifting him, but also putting him back down (often about 1 min after picking him up!).  Proud to say--No injuries!





9. Fun at the Farm
We've already been to the zoo together before, so this time we went to the Fon du Lac Farm.  It was a quaint little petting farm with slides, animals, an old schoolhouse, duck pond, and more.  Caleb was a little timid petting the animals, but despite it being a hot day, we had a good time here.  






8. Just Jump
Looking for a fun place that would wear Caleb out, I took him and our neighbor, Finn, to Monkey Joes.  They jumped, and ran, then jumped some more, and ran some more!  


7. Swimming
Finn and his mom, Christy, also joined us one afternoon at the pool.  I was so glad she showed me this awesome place, and the boys had a great time showing off their swimming skills.  Parker loved the water too!





6. Let's Cook
If you are going to stay with me for a week, you can bet I'll put you in the kitchen.  One morning, we "painted" our toast (use food coloring in milk).  


The next morning, Chef Sara whipped up Mickey Mouse pancakes per Caleb's request...though he asked where the cherry was--geesh!  


No doubt the funnest cooking project was turning Rice Krispie treats into paint brushes.  Caleb was so proud of them when we took them to grandma's.



And just for fun, we had to introduce Caleb to pizza delivery!  


5. Construction Zone
Living in a brand new subdivision, there is construction everywhere!  Perfect for a boy who loves machines!!  The first day, he cracked me up when he pulled out his chair to watch the bobcat prepare the neighbor's yard for sod.  He made a friend too, giving the workers bottled water. :)


Matt took Caleb and Finn to the school construction site behind our house to check out some CAT equipment.  


And we got to watch them dig a foundation, as well as pour concrete.


4. Art
I admit--I'm a girl and I love crafts!  Caleb wasn't so sure about the slime we made from glue...


But you could see him beaming to the moon after we completed our melted crayon canvas art!  (In front of his favorite spot...the dirt hill in our backyard)



3. Dragon Ride
On his final night here, we took a drive down to Pekin to ride on their special dragons on a small lagoon.  Caleb was very excited!  Can you tell by his smile?


Matt--not so much!  Since I had to hold Parker, he got stuck doing all the work on the paddleboat.  Caleb made a deal and said he would steer!


2. Bike Rides
Somehow I didn't manage to capture a photo of us riding bikes.  Crazy, since this was a daily highlight for Caleb.  In fact, if you ask him what his favorite part of the week was, I guarantee you he will say "riding bikes and going up the big dirt hill."  Yep, he's all boy!  As soon as I put Parker down for his morning nap, Caleb would ask if we could go outside and ride bikes.  As soon as Matt came home, he wanted to know when we could go ride bikes.  We never rode long enough!  But...we did use the bikes to teach him the difference between right and left!  And so far, since Caleb left, we haven't rode our bikes again :)

1. Parker Honey
But the #1 highlight of the week for Caleb was getting Parker all to himself.  Caleb loves babies, but his "Parker Honey" is his buddy.  Even after a week, he wasn't sick of Parker.  And Parker just lights up when Caleb comes in the room.  I hope these cousins always remain best buds!

To Do: Parker's First Half Birthday

June 28th was a big deal at our house.  June 28th was Parker's first birthday party...it was his half birthday and all!

Since my niece, Natalie, was visiting (and thanks to inspiration from my friend Lindsay), we decided to go all out for this birthday celebration.  You only get one First Half Birthday!

Natalie hung streamers (like everywhere possible!) and had us styling with party hats. 



It wouldn't be a birthday party without cake.  So Natalie and I made a cool watermelon looking cake (cut in half of course) and homemade ice cream...yum!  (We didn't have any candles so those will have to wait till Dec 28).


Another niece, Jennifer, and her fiance, Mike, also came across town for the big party!


I think Parker was excited for his First Half Birthday!




Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Photo 7.13.12


Too cute for words

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

To Do: Week with SuperNanny



From the day he was born (ok, even before that!), Parker had a #1 fan...our 11 year-old niece, Natalie.  So we came through on our promise to have her come stay with us with summer for one whole week.  Natalie's magic touch when Parker was colicky gave her the name "SuperNanny."  And a few weeks ago, we put those nanny skills to the test.  Right here on Sesame Street!


Ask Natalie about her week, and I bet she will tell you about her really Cool Aunt?  Why?  Because...

Cool Aunts let your brother, Nathan, only stay for the weekend, but you get to stay with your Aunt, Uncle, and new baby cousin for a whole week by yourself! No parents! No brother!


Cool Aunts are totally grossed out when you capture the frog from the window well, but let you call it your pet for a few hours.  Natalie named it Hermit (Kermit's cousin...hello...this is Sesame Street people) and later released it in the neighborhood pond.




Cool Aunts let you do whatever you want with the baby.  Natalie got a true workout carrying the 18lber up and down the stairs, all around the house, outside, etc.  She tried so hard to get him to sit up on his own!



Plus, Cool Aunts say "yes!" every time you want to change a diaper or give Parker a bottle!



Cool Aunts let you have complete control of the tv remote (except at 7am)--even letting you watch the same episode of Good Luck Charlier over and over again if you really want.  (Did you know she is having a boy?)

Cool Aunts take you shopping every day!  Sure sometimes it was to the grocery store or to make a return for me, but Natalie loved to push the cart through the stores...though I'm a little scared that she will be driving a vehicle in 5 years :)


Yes, they have a CAT playground at the mall here :)

And when Cool Aunts take you shopping, she buys you lots of cool stuff!  Sweet little Natalie deserved a few rewards for her work this week!  Sparkly sunglasses, lockets to share with her 2 friends (she's been looking for these forever she informs me!), tye-dye nail polish, and yes, darling shoes that she kept showing off to me!


Cool Aunts let you take naps when Parker naps...because that baby is taking away your beauty sleep!


Cool Aunts make meals that kids like, and introduce you to Tacos in a Bag!


Cool Aunts make sure the week include lots of crafts!  We made bleach pen t-shirts, a painted burlap door hanger that Natalie designed, and a modge-podge American Girl bulletin board.  There was lots more we wanted to do, but we just ran out of time!



Cool Aunts take you on the bike trail...and we rode 5 miles!  It wore Parker out!



Cool Aunts take you to the splash pad so you can take Parker in the cold water for the first time.  He didn't love it, but didn't mind it as long as Natalie was holding him.




Cool Aunts make sure the days are packed with fun activities, like jumping at Monkey Joe's.


Cool Aunts let you make homemade ice cream (and even your favorite flavor--cake batter).  AND, then we made a special watermelon cake for Parker's Half Birthday (another blog of his birthday to come).



After returning Natalie back to her home near St. Louis, this Cool Aunt just laughed when Natalie and her friends used Parker to play a game of Hot Potato.   (If he cried, you were out!)


Cool Aunts let you decorate Parker's stroller for the neighborhood 4th of July parade and walk uphill, super-fast, when it's 105 outside :)


Cool Aunts may be nervous when you take Parker into the swimming pool, but you would never be able to tell.  


But most of all...Cool Aunts are married to really Cool Uncles!  Because we all know that whenever Matt was home, Natalie was full of smiles and giggles and crazy adventures (even riding in Parker's bike wagon thingy).



We truly had such a good time having Natalie around.  There is no doubt that Parker loved the extra attention, and I loved the extra help!  She could hardly wait till Parker woke up from his morning nap so the fun could begin!  I think I had just as much fun as she did!  And I'm starting to think that IF we want another kid, it may be a good idea to wait 10 years so Parker can be the helper!  Kids can be kind of handy to have around sometimes :)