Saturday, November 23, 2013

Madeline's Birth Announcement

I have to say that making Madeline's birth announcement was so much fun, and so was the newborn photo shoot to get the pictures.  I know I've said it 100 times, but I'll say it again - there is nothing greater than having a sister who is an AMAZING photographer!  She knows how to capture just how small and fragile they are, and how precious and sweet.  I love it.

So without further ado, here is the birth announcement for our sweet and precious Madeline Grace.

We are beyond blessed by our two sweet girls.  Its funny because I never imagined my heart could be so full.  I'm reminded everyday how lucky I am to have my girls.  I still can't believe Madeline is 2 months old already, and I promise to do that post soon. 

If you're a mom struggling with infertility, know that I am praying for you.  I've been down that road; I've traveled that journey; I understand that heartache.  But know that the Lord's plan is always greater than our own...this baby girl is proof of that! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kitchen Makeover!

Y'all know that I have been dying for a kitchen makeover, kind of like a kitchen facelift.  I love my little house, but I have always hated the kitchen.  There is great functionality, but I've always hated how it looked.  Well my dear husband PROMISED that I could have my kitchen makeover before Madeline was born, so this summer I knew we had to get to work.

My budget was $2000, but my secret is that through amazing friends and family who were able to get us some fantastic discounts, I had a FULL kitchen facelift for only $1300, including a new range vent, sink and faucet!  If you include the new stovetop we got about a year ago, then it was only $1800!  Now that is what I call staying on budget!

Here is the before! It was awful.  The countertop was a nice quality laminate but it also was the backsplash.  The color was nice neutral beige, but the red hues in the cabinets made it look pink.  Maybe you're different than me, but I wasn't so keen on pink countertops.  The sink was only 6" deep, which means I couldn't hardly wash dishes without water getting everywhere. 

So here was the plan.  Instead of replacing the countertops (because they were in great shape), we had a contractor come in and use epoxy paint to create a neutral stone look.  At only $300 for the full kitchen, it saved us a great deal of money!  At the same time, we had the laminate backsplash removed.

Next step was to paint the cabinets.  I still don't know how we did it, but we painted the entire kitchen in only a weekend!  We used Sherwin Williams ProClassic water based paint.  It was amazing!  It had the great quality of oil based, but drys quickly like a water based.  It was a huge time-saver and I loved the result.  Of course we sanded and primed them first.  Another huge time saver on this was a paint sprayer.  We removed all of the cabinets and drawers and while I was inside painting, Brant was spraying all of the doors & drawers. 
Primed and ready for the 1st coat of paint!
I chose the paint color based on the countertops.  I looked for a darker color because I didn't want it so light in color that I had to repaint the walls.  I chose a Sherwin Williams color Down Home.  I LOVED the way it turned out. It worked to well with the countertops.  Here is a closeup! 

 And the last step, the tile backsplash.  We wanted another light and neutral tile color, but I wanted a "pop" so I added some small 2x2" accent tiles.  We chose Daltile Brixton in the stone color.  Brant and I decided that a diamond pattern was great to add some elegance.

And then it was complete!  I have to tell yall that I LOVE my new kitchen.  It feels so much more open and bright.  The darker cabinets made it feel so small, but now anymore!  With all the finishing touches, here is my new kitchen!

 Want to see a side-by-side comparison??? What do you think?  Do you love my new kitchen, too?

Monday, November 4, 2013

She's A Big Girl Now

When we found out that Madeline was going to be a girl, I knew that I would keep the nursery the same and Emmalee would get a "big girl" room.  I wanted to make her big girl room a special place for her - a place that she liked and enjoyed playing in.  So I made the decision to let her make the room her own.

First, I had to pick out the bedspread.  I picked 3 different spreads that I liked, each having their own color scheme or theme.  Then I let her pick the one that she liked best.  She chose the American Sweetheart, which just happened to be my favorite!  I adore all the colors in it and its not too "girly," but still contains some pink so I was able to use several of her name and "E's" from her nursery.

Part of making this room her own was letting her help create things in this room.  She helped create pictures for the wall and she has a craft line that she can hang her artwork on.  Everyday she makes projects at Ms. Kim's house during their "school-time" and this has been a great way to reinforce the letters, colors & numbers she's learning.  

A lot of the decorative items in her room are ideas that I found off pinterest.  They were so great, and simple.  I posted on a "5 on Friday" about some of the projects I wanted to do and you can see it here.  Here are some close-ups of handmade items in her room...

Here's what we did.
1.  I found some beautiful scroll brackets at Canton before Emmalee was born.  I got some crystal knobs and wood and Brant made this shelf for her nursery.  It's perfect to hold the letters for her name.  I knew this would be something that I wanted in her big girl room.  This piece cost us a whopping $15 to create.

2.  I love that the girls' rooms have window seats and I enjoy making them a focal point.  To help make this simple red curtain pop, I used an idea from Pintrest to create this pennant banner to go across the window.  This was made with white cardboard, scrapbook paper, and ribbon - it was that simple.  I adhered the banner to the curtain rod with two bows and I honestly LOVE the touch it gives to the room.  Cost, MAYBE $3.00!!!

3.  If you look at the picture of the dresser area above, you can see that the mirror over the dresser was much smaller than the width of the dresser.  I loved the mirror and wanted to use it, but I needed something to help fill the space.  I found simple thin wood frames for only $2.99 each at Micheal's.  I spray painted the wood, then took the scrapbook paper used for the banner and simple adhered it to the back of the frame.  I absolutely adore the color this brings to the wall and fit perfectly over the dresser.

4.  This is one of my favorite parts of Emmalee's room, mainly because she helped create them - her button pictures.  I just happened to be at Micheal's when they had little containers of buttons for only $1.  I got a small set of craft paints and canvases, heated up my glue gun, then we got to work.  Again, this was another Pintrest idea and I spent maybe $15 on all of the materials.  Emmalee is so proud of her artwork and loves showing all of her friends what she created. This was a super fun project for us to do together.

I have to admit that I truly enjoy how this room turned out.  I feel like it took forever for it all to come together, but now it is one of my favorite rooms in the house.  Emmalee loves her room too, which was so important to me. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

5 on Friday

Emmalee was incredibly laid back and only cried when she was hungry.  She was one of the easiest babies I have ever known.  Madeline is different.  Madeline is a momma's girl and loves to be held by her momma.  She fusses quite a bit in the evenings and loves nursing, so it can make life and mothering a little more different than it was when Emmalee, not to mention the fact that I'm still trying to be a "hands-on" mom to Emmalee.  Having 2 is completely different than having 1, that is for sure! 

So today my 5 on Friday is all about the things that is making my life a little easier and manageable.

The Swing

I have the Sung-A-Bug Craddle and Swing and I LOVE it.  One of my favorite things about this swing is that it has a power cord that allows you to plug it into the wall so if you use it for hours at a time (as i do) then you're not constantly worried about having to buy stock in Energizer!  The swing also has several speed settings and can swing side to side, or you can switch it to a backward/forward motion setting.  Emmalee and Madeline both are "swing-babies" so this is one of my ultimate must-haves for baby.  I can sit Madeline in her swing just to "play" and look at the birds, or she'll nap here, so for me, this is one way that allows me some hands-free time.

SwaddleMe Blanet

  The swaddle blanket is my new BFF, y'all.  Emmalee was an incredible sleeper and I just swaddled, or tightly wrapped, her in a receiving blanket.  But Madeline is a wild-hands sleeper - she flails, like many babies do.  So I tried the swaddle blanket.  At first, she hated it and would scream.  Well, come to find out I was doing it wrong.  Once I watched a few videos and learned to tuck her hands down under her bottom, things improved - literally over night!  Now, Madeline loves being swaddled and sleeps GREAT!  She has consistantly (for almost 2 weeks now) slept for one 6 hour stretch, wakes and eats, then goes back to bed for another 4-5 hours.  So, I love the SwaddleMe blanket and it has greatly improved our quality of sleep! 

Moby Wrap
My personal choice for an infant carrier is the Moby Wrap. I was given a Boppy (sling style) carrier before Emmalee was born and she hated it, so I got the Moby.  Emmalee and I both loved it, so I've continued using it with Madeline. Since Madeline loves being held, especially in the evenings, I've been able to put her in the Moby and make dinner, fold clothes, play with Emmalee, etc.  It is definitely on my Favorites List! 


Although Madeline doesn't have colic, I love Gripe Water.  It seems like Madeline ALWAYS has the hiccups - she had them 3 or 4 times a day while I was pregnant with her and she still has then a few times a day.  So, I always have a small bottle with equal parts tap water & Gripe Water that help so much when she has the hiccups, and can be a life saver when she is gassy. 

My Crockpot!!
I LOVE my Crockpot, and if you have ever read any of my recipes, then you know I will cook just about anything in it.  This thing has been incredibly helpful in getting meals on the table.  I can put dinner on to cook in the morning (when Madeline naps the best), but can still have a reasonable dinner on my table with little effort by 6ish during her fussy period.  Its great, and I've been discovering so many great new recipes while I've been at home!  

So, what are some of the tricks or things you have up your sleeve to keep your life manageable with a new baby at home?