For years I have resisted the DIY advent calendar craze. However, when I was presented with a bunch of cool supplies from Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery, inspiration struck and there was no turning back.
I've reached the half way point, yippee! I'm finally feeling better; although, I'm waiting for my appetite to return. It feels strange to not be constantly hungry, but if it continues, I'm sure I'll be pretty happy about it post-baby. Other than hellish nausea, this pregnancy feels so different from my experience with Jude, it's such a trip. I am very grateful that this little one spared me a face full of acne, that's a real score right there; and I've been feeling happy little kicks for a quite a while now. Jason even felt a little kick last night, so cool! That might be my very favorite part of being pregnant.
We had our ultrasound last week. For those of you who don't follow on instagram, want to guess the sex? Here's a hint, a stack of fabric from a recent trip to Joann's:
Yep, it's another boy!
When we had our sonogram they told us everything looked perfect, and I cried tears of joy. Then they told us it was a boy ... they let me go to the bathroom, where I proceeded to shed a few more tears...not so joyful this time. I struggled with whether to admit this second bit publically; I was so embarassed for not just being thrilled to have a healthy baby. But I like to keep it real, and sharing is caring, so I figure it might help someone else with similar feelings. We always wanted just two children. Financially and physically, having babies is tough stuff; awesome, but difficult. So here's the thing, we tried really hard to have a girl this time: Shettles, Chinese gender chart, supplements, finger crossing: you name it, we did it. The universe decided to bless us with a little boy instead.
I had my moment of sorrow; mourning the tiny skirts I wouldn't sew, the tutu clad ballet classes I wouldn't witness, etc...and then I got over it. First of all, I am thrilled to be having a healthy baby. Second, I loved having sisters, and I love the idea of Jude having a brother. Third, we've decided not to make any rash desicsions about family size just yet. Forth, the hand-me down's! All those mama-mades will be worn again. Fifth, I absolutely love having a son, so I know I'm going to love having another one just as much. Sixth, I already got to experience all of the girl stuff with my little sisters. The list goes on and on. But you get the idea, I am so grateful and truly excited to be welcoming another tiny gentleman into our family.
Now if we could just settle on a name ... any and all suggestions are welcome!
I love the idea of a dress up item that is made of natural materials and celebrates the season. Last spring Jude loved his crown of clover, so this fall we decided to make a leaf mask. It was really simple to create and the results, if I do say so myself, are quite stunning. Jude had a blast playing "leaf man" and I think your little one would too!
Want to make your own? Read on for a full tutorial.
fall leaves of various sizes (we picked these off of our maple tree)
thin cardboard (I used a paper plate but a cereal box would work great)
Preserve your leaves. We skipped this step and I wish we wouldn't have because after a few days the mask got all curly and crunchy.
Draw a mask shape on your cardboard.
Cut out the mask, check the eye holes on your little one and adjust accordingly. Punch holes on the sides and add strings to each side with a simple knot.
Using hot glue, apply the leaves. Start with the largest leaves on the outside and move towards the center with the smaller leaves.
I am excited, I found a super simple way to preserve fall leaves! I've tried dipping in wax - it was a hot mess! I've tried wax paper - how did my great grandma get that to work so well? Third times a charm right? Read on to find out exactly how to preserve fall leaves, the easy way!
Step One: Gather freshly fallen leaves. This is the funnest step!
Step Two: Press the leaves between the pages of a heavy book. Wait a day or two. (Note: I've read you can skip this step and nuke them in the microwave instead but I can't vouch for that.)
Step Three: Spray them with acrylic fixative. Lay out your leaves in a single layer in a well ventilated area. Give them a good coating, wait 20 minutes, flip and repeat.
Step Four: Enjoy your handiwork!
I'll be back soon with a few cool ways to use those autumnal beauties!
Today is another installment of The Best Part with Folgers. I decided to share how I cultivate positivity and optimism in my daily life. First, I'd like to say that it does not always come naturally to me. Some days I am inclined to throw myself a pity party because I haven't been on a vacation in years. Or get down on myself for losing my patience with my "challenging" three-year-old again. It's easy to feel like everyday is going to be hard when it begins with morning sickness. Heck, I'm even partial to complaining that our California weather is too nice; I want to wear my boots already! Don't even get me started on what I read in the news. All of these little negative thoughts can add up to one big old bad mood.
Luckily, focusing on just a few good things, no matter how small, can turn the whole thing around.
1. Get outside. Nothing improves my mood, or that of my preschooler's, like fresh air. It can be as simple as sipping coffee on the front porch or as thrilling as an impromptu trip to the beach. When in doubt, go out.
2. Give thanks. When we focus on what we've got we worry less about what we might be lacking. For me, the easiest way to make gratitude a habit is by keeping a gratitude journal. I also try to catch myself when the "I wants" and "why me's" crop up, I stop what I'm doing and think of five things I'm thankful for. Sometimes this is a bit of a "fake 'til you make it" exercise, but it often helps almost immediately.
3. Pay it forward. Positivity is easiest to find when you work to create it. It can be as simple as smiling at everyone you meet, as easy as paying a heartfelt compliment. Or you could take it a step further by volunteering your time or resources to a good cause.
What tips do you have for focusing on the positive? Does it come naturally to you or do you have work at it?
The Best Part is an online community that’s dedicated to brightening your day—every day. How? By spreading optimism, one share at a time. The Best Part posts inspirational stories, encouraging quotes, good news and other upbeat items on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—and encourages fans and followers to share that optimism with their friends. Because when optimism is shared, it grows, making an even more positive impact on our world. Check out what others are sharing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Okay, I am as excited as the next gal for the upcoming joy that is the holiday season. In fact, I can't resist all the awesome ideas on Pinterest and I already have a pretty long list of winter to-makes. But, it's still fall folks. And fall is my favorite. I love the changing leaves and the call to craft without the Christmas frenzy. Plus, Thanksgiving is such an awesome holiday, all about gratitude and food. I'm not ready to trade in my pumpkin spice latte for an eggnog one just yet. So here at small + friendly we are going to savor the autumn season a bit more before switching into snowflake and holly high-gear.
See those beautiful leaves? I've got more than one project in the works for those beauties. But today I thought I'd share a fun process-based art project that turned out surprisingly pretty and fallish.
This little project couldn't be easier to set up: Dig into that wine cork stash, grab a piece of cardboard, a bottle of good old Elmer's, and let your little one get building. I ended up putting a pool of glue on a paper plate so that the corks could simply be dipped and stuck.
Once the glue dries, extend the fun with paint in a fall palette. Jude really enjoyed this simple project and I imagine older children could create some pretty elaborate sculptures.
I hope you'll join me in savoring this crisp and crafty season.
I am super excited to share the costume that Jude and Jason and I made this year. So without further adieu, I present you with the DIY Space Robot:
Jude originally wanted to be an astronaut and while I thought that was a great idea, this morning sick mama did not want to commit to that much sewing. So, gathering inspiration from Jude's current favorite little golden book, Robots, Robots Everywhere!, I suggested a space robot instead. He loved it, score!
We already had the awesome robot mask, a dress up gift from a friend, so all we had to do was make the box.
The box (size small from Home Depot) was easy to cut with a craft knife. With one large hole for the head, two small holes for the arms, and almost the whole bottom cut out, you've got your base.
We used modpodge to cover the whole thing in foil and reinforced the edges with chrome duct tape. Good old dryer vent makes the perfect robot arms. Jude and I painted a "space map" and half styrofoam ball "buttons" while Jason installed an on/off switch.
Under the costume he is wearing black thermals, perfect for chilly trick or treating. And his "moon boots" are actually his grandma's snow boots with the toes stuffed.
The best part for me is seeing how much he likes it. Even though he can't sit down or move particularly freely, he is all about it. Perhaps it's because he can still manage to get candy to his mouth without any trouble.
I hope your Halloween is full of treats!
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I was gifted a copy of Robots, Robots Everywhere! but all opinions are my own (and Jude's).
I've got a few really fun and easy Halloween crafts on Classic Play, perfect for a little last minute crafting. With little more than a brown grocery bag and black spray paint you've got yourself a really cool spooky tree. And how about a few mini bats to adorn said tree, or perhaps a ghoulish bun? No costumes allowed at school? No problem, bend the rules with these awesome monster rings.
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