Potty Training? (printable sequence cards)

Friday, October 11, 2019

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Okay, I'm going to start this post with the total truth....

I have no idea what I'm doing.

This past couple of weeks, Monster started taking his diaper off when he woke up in the morning. Then last Thursday I walked into the nursery and stepped into a puddle of pee. Honestly, I was impressed. How did he get it so far from the crib? But that puddle pointed out a truth that I had been avoiding... it might be time to start potty training.

I had been kinda researching because I knew it would be time soon, so I had a vague plan in mind that involved chocolate. Because all good plans should involve chocolate. And I needed an excuse to use this sweet gumball machine I found at Goodwill.


I also really love a good themed basket, so naturally, I put together a potty basket. Gonna have to invest in more potty books. (Shown here: What's a Potty For? by Katie Daynes)


We are trying (and failing) to get him excited about underwear so I got some diapers and undies for Jack-Jack. At this point he just wants Jack-Jack to wear the diaper, and the underwear can stay on the doll's head for all he cares. It's so cute to watch him slowly put it all together, though. He likes to figure stuff out on his own, so I just plan to leave everything accessible and let him mess with it on his own time. (Buy here: doll diapers, doll underwear)


So right now the plan is simple. We try to sit him on the potty right after he wakes up. Getting him used to what this potty business is all about. Celebrate his successes with ridiculous amounts of cheer and chocolate. Beyond that... I don't know. I'm really taking this a step at a time. But I've got my basket, I've got my quarters, and I've got a plastic potty with pee in it. Livin the dream.

I'd love to hear any advice you have in the comments. What worked - or terribly, messily didn't work - for you?


And if you would like to have some of those quirky little sequence cards for yourself, you can download a printable version here.
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Dragons Love Tacos Party

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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I love dragons, and I love tacos, so when I decided I wanted to do something special with my family for my birthday, it really just made sense that we would have a "Dragons Love Tacos" party. (Obviously. ) So that's what we did! (Except, because we are not dragons, we did have spicy salsa. Sh, don't tell.)

In case you haven't heard of it, Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin is a bestselling children's book all about dragons who love tacos. The problem is, while they will eat boatloads of tacos, even one hint of spice will make them spew fire everywhere. This adorable book is written in a casual voice that makes it tons of fun to real aloud.


Of course, if you know me at all, you have probably figured out that what really draws me into books is the illustrations.  This book is no exception. The playful lines and speckled backgrounds make for an iconic style specific to this series.

So speckles were the base I used for my table. Specifically a diy splatter painted tablecloth. Using watered down tempera paint and an old brush, I set out my plastic white tablecloth and started to make a mess. It took some time, but was well worth it. This subtle detail really hinted at the book in a subconscious way.


The place settings were simple but on theme. Everyone got a dragon with their own salsa jar.

To make both the invites and the salsa jars I just used plain white copy paper and colored pencils. The beauty of this artistic style is that you can use your normal sloppy handwriting to create everything! If you are nervous about spacing, I would suggest you lightly plan everything out in pencil first.


The favor/activity for this party is sure to be a hit... Salsa Slime. Using clear glue, slime additive, food coloring and pony beads I was able to create a very satisfying salsa slime.*
*Now with spicy jalapenos. :)

Another activity idea is put out the dragon fires. Use tissue paper to create a small fake fires, then have them throw small blue balloons at it.


I think the really great thing about this party theme is that the food is really a no brainer. Tacos! We always set out our ingredients and let everyone make their own. You can even have dessert nachos! Break some chocolate waffle cones to use as a base. Add plops of ice cream, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles and serve in a bowl. Yuuum!


Pack up their dragons and salsa into a Taco Cave take out bag (created with black marker and craft paper bags), and your party is complete!




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Ten Things

Sunday, September 1, 2019

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I've been really inspired lately to introduce Ro to new (old) music. Frankensteining together this post about a music jar and this post about vinyl from A Beautiful Mess, we've been selecting a new record to listen to every week. Oddly enough, this week's record is a Country Classics record, which includes a Patsy Cline song.

I can't get enough of colorful blankets with huge tassels, such as this one or this one. Maybe I'll just make one myself using this tutorial from Treasure Travels.

Doctor Beth is a stuffed animal doctor who shares her progress as she fixes well-loved treasures, and it just might be the most heartwarming thing I have ever seen come from Tumblr.

This studio from Kalio Chic is what dreams are made of. She described it as working in a giant light box, and I am so on board with that idea.

World of Warcraft Classic was just released, and I am surprisingly quite into it. I started playing WoW during the "classic" time, and there is something about the simplicity of falling into a routine that I already know well that is so relaxing. 


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Night Sky Family Night

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

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Sometimes you just need a little party in your life. Like... a dinner party for just your family, nothing fancy, just something a little be more than normal. With that in mind, I created this themed evening for two- myself and Ronan- that was centered around one of my favorite things - the summer night sky.

This night started at the dinner table. Using things that I just had around the house, the centerpiece was a tray full of containers of varying heights holding sparklers, candles, matches, etc. I was going for a textural melody that was also functional. I was enchanted by the colors of these blue enamel camping plates, really I think they are what inspired this whole thing, so I used them as the pop of color among the gray tones. Then I topped off the place setting with a simple star crown that I created with paper and tape, using the same technique you use for a paper people chain.



To stay within the theme of the night, we created a few simple star crafts. Using dark blue tempera paint (created with a mix of normal blue with a bit of black in it), we painted sticks to match the night sky. Perfection wasn't necessary, so even my almost-2-year-old could help with this. We let the sticks dry, then I hot glued them into a star shape. We added a string and hung them up, giving Ronan a chance to point show them off every time I asked him where the star was.



For our second art activity, we painted some heavy paper with the same dark blue paint and glow in the dark paint. I cut both of the papers into stars and put them in a jar to be used later during storytime.



I like to keep themed baskets around the house for Ronan to enjoy. This storytime basket included an adorable starlight that we played with in our forts, the jar full of stars that I mentioned earlier, and a ton of books. The Stars by H.A. Rey is a simply beautifully designed book that is full of information. Moon by Britta Teckentrup is a beautifully illustrated peek through book that goes through the phases of the moon. Starry Skies by Samantha Chagollan was a book with glossy/raised constellations that Ro loved to touch. I particularly loved the Stars book by Mary Lyn Ray. It had a great message, and after reading it I painted a special silver star just to be kept in Ronan's own pocket.


Some other books that were in the basket where Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin HenkesOnce Upon A Starry Night by Jacqueline Mitton, and Faces of the Moon by Bob Crelin.


Because of the simplicity of this theme, there are a ton of other activities that could be easily incorporated to make it a fun-filled night. Backyard camping, firefly catching, sparklers...  I think that anything that makes you get that warm feeling of a classic summer night is the perfect addition.

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Going on a Bug Hunt

Thursday, August 1, 2019

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"We are going on a bug hunt!" I announce to my almost two year old. I am met with a blank stare. Yup, this is pretty much how I expected this to go. I herd him over to the couch and dump out the contents of the bag in my hands. A small notebook, "map," bug examination box and measuring tape fall out. I let him examine everything, the pack it back into his small bag and sling it over his shoulder. "Let's go!" I exclaim, met by another bewildered look. 
In my own bag I have a pile of colorful bugs I had drawn on contact paper while he was sleeping. I put one down and gasped. "I found a bug! Look!" Ronan follows my pointed finger, and his eyes light up. He makes the comically exaggerated "omg" face that I had been hoping for. I tell him to put it in the bag, and he toddles over to grab his discovery.

  

Amazingly, we are able to find most of the bugs before he loses interest.  I put them in the examination box, and make references to what he found all night, being sure to tell Dad when he gets home. 


The next day I ask Ronan if he wants to look at his bugs. We get them out and one by one stick them in our notebook and measure them. (Measuring is one of his favorite activities). It takes about a week to fill the whole notebook, but now he has a book he can get out and look at. When he is a bit older I'd like to name the bugs, or even have him draw them!


Supplies for this actrivity:
contact paper
colorful permanent markers
scissors
a notebook
a ruler
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Mood Board: Retro/Moody/Tropical Kids Room

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

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When I was scrolling through the Ikea website today (as you do) I found the cutest bed. And then I saw this rug that was giving me the same vibes, and then I found another rug that would be perfect for layering with the first one, and then I found the most adorable plant pots, and then all the sudden I was planning an entire room based on this one stinkin bed.

Unfortunately, I've been banned from changing around monster's room before I get the current theme done (logical, I guess) so I guess I'm going to just live in a dreamland for now. And my dreamland is taking the shape of a retro meets moody tropical children's room. Which sounds weird but totally works. And better yet, everything you need to create this dream world (besides paint) can be found at Ikea.


The mirror is an adorable DIY from Mr. Kate. I would use the NISSEDAL white mirror long ways and paint the sun design at the top.

The bed that started it all is the MINNEN bed frame. Pair it with the URSKOG blue tiger duvet cover and pillowcase, the dark blue LISAMARI throw, yellow SOLGUL blanket, and URSKOG white tiger cushion and you've got the purrfect tropical bed.

For lighting I can't help but suggest the yellow GRIMSÅS pendant lamp. It looks like a magical little swarm of bugs or birds. The rugs I selected were the IKEA ART EVENT 2019 rug designed by Craig Green and the yellow LANGSTED rug.

The plant is the Ficus Elastica in the RÅGKORN 12.5" pot. The two other containers are the yellow SOMMAR 2019 plant pot (pictured three times because it's just that cute) and the SOMMAR 2019 picnic basket.

I think that the Meet the Tiger book would be such a perfect addition to this space, and the LUSTIGT loom is just awesome.

And there you have it! Obviously there are a ton of other things that would match this room perfectly, (I mean, just look at this other rug by Misaki Kawai, and this BILD love poster) but I have to sleep sometimes so I'll end this daydream here.
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DIY Simple Cardboard Doll House

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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I've been dreaming of owning one of these Magnolia dollhouses since I saw them last year. I love the simplicity, the clean lines, and the fact that it looks like when my kid decides to sit on it (because he will) it won't break. But, while reasonably priced for a dollhouse, I can't bring myself to buy one for our family. Without knowing if he would be interested in playing with a house without an attached garage, and, let's be honest, knowing that it would be more for myself, I just couldn't click the "add to cart" button. But make one? That I can do.





Supplies: 
cardboard
duct tape
paint
box cutter
scissors
hot glue gun (optional)

1. Cut off one side of the box and tape it to the bottom to give your house a sturdy base. I taped the bottom flaps of the remaining sides to the underside of the base.

2. Cut the two side flaps at an angle to support the roof. I marked off one using a straight edge, then cut it. I used the first cut off triangle as a template for the remaining 3 edges.

3. Create your roof. I used two pizza boxes taped together, leaving a quarter of an inch between the two edges to make folding easier, and also to act as a hinge so the roof could be folded.

4. Tape the roof to the angles you cut, tape it over the remaining long flap. Secure the roof by taping it to the flap underneath it.

5. Plan out where you want your windows and doors to be. Use a pattern to draw them on, then a box cutter to cut out where the glass panes would be. I modeled the shape of my windows off of the Magnolia house, with a larger lower pane then details on the top half. If you are going to cut the windows in your door, be sure to cut out the window before making the cuts for the door (three cuts, leaving one long side attached to the house).



6. It's time to paint! I painted the walls and ceiling with a flat white coat. You can add interest easily to the roof just by playing with the texture, which works best with a high gloss paint. I knew I wanted my roof to look metal, but I played around with making shingles by repeating a half circle pattern, starting from the bottom. Once the white paint was dry, I painted the door, windows, and trim black to make them stand out. The floor was created with a very light brown and white, which I would dip my brush into without mixing the two colors together, giving the floor a wood grain effect. The last step was to paint the "lawn" green.

7. To give the windows more definition and to add a touch more detail to the house I made window and doorframes which I painted the same color and then hot glued on. Totally not necessary, but I do think that extra step adds some charm.



And there you have it, my mother's day present to myself, a simple farmhouse.


Or, if you're my son, a super cool garage.



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Ten Things

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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This apartment feature of the home of  Naomi Kahn on Man Repeller has me swooning. Can we just talk about that "we're all mad" neon light? As if I needed another reason to want one!

This felt children's book made by Elsie on A Beautiful Mess is so freaking creative. The tutorial looks pretty simple, too. We are currently letting the Monster's hair grow, so maybe I'll make like a ... glam metal, elf boy, Viking version of it. 

Charleston, SC is on my list of places to visit. With some of my favorite artists calling the town home, I knew the art scene there has to be so amazing. My thoughts gathered further proof when I found this tour of a gorgeous coffee shop attached to the Gibbes Museum of Art. I want to leave, like, now.

I'm vowing now, the moment we move into a house big enough to house it, I'm getting a Nugget Comfort set. My child already bounces off every piece of furniture we have in the house. I might as well buy some pieces specifically for that purpose.

This balloon chandelier by Oh Happy Day has basically set the whole tone for my birthday daydreams this year. 

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Inspire Me: Emma-Leone Palmer

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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Okay, I just could not get through this week without showing you guys the amazing light infused paintings by London based Emma-Leone Palmer. She has painted quite a few breathtaking works in the past (like the entire "Paint Play" series) but these pieces stopped me in my tracks and made me want to dive into their world.

I've seen many light-based works before (thinking of the talented light manipulation photographers you can find on Instagram) but there's a somewhat surreal quality to Emma-Leone's works that take these paintings past typical light manipulation and to a more magical place.



From a distance, the pieces look like they are incredible realism. But when you look closer and start to lose yourself in the work you realize that the brush strokes invoke a sense of movement that can only be found in paintings. Without the rules of realism, the works are given the freedom to manipulate reality to best highlight the subjects themselves. This is not to say that there is a single brush stroke within the piece that is placed without thought: Even the smallest details, such as the strands of hair that escape the mass to frame the face, have a sense of purpose for the composition as a whole.



The lights themselves are treated in such a way that they give the work an almost supernatural vibe. My first unchecked thought upon seeing "Thalassa" was "oh, this girl uses magic to spin light." The neons guide you around the painting, giving your eyes a path to follow while still contributing beautifully to the entire piece.



The color palettes chosen for each piece are fantastic. Using an on-theme rainbow of colors, Emma creates shadows that you can get lost in and highlights that will steal your gaze. She utilizes the lights to create stretches of skin that have no actual "skin color," opting instead for vibrant hues straight from a 90's rave. This results in stunning pieces that leave you simultaneously in awe of the work and hungry for a sugary treat.






If you would like to follow the evolution of this series (it's kinda obvious that I will be), here are Emma-Leone's links:





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10 [bullet journal] Things

Sunday, February 10, 2019

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I've been keeping a steady bullet journal for two years now, which, if you ask me, is a small miracle. I summed up what bullet journals are and how I use them in this post last year, so this time I'm going to tell you about my top ten bullet journal supplies.

The most important thing is a good notebook. My favorite (obviously) are Field Notes notebooks. I go a little over the top and use a new notebook for each month. It really helps keep my creative juices flowing. I've learned that my themes have to vary from month to month or I just get bored.


Notebooks pictured above: Field Museum x Field Notes (sold out),  Expedition, Lunacy Edition (sold out), M x L x B x D Edition (sold out), custom painted rainbow mess, Cherry Graph, Coastal Edition (sold out), Campfire Edition (sold out), another MxL..., XOXO 2018 Edition, and Abercrombie and Fitch x Field Notes.

The second thing you need? A good pen. These erasable pens are my absolute favorite.

Really, truly, a pen and a notebook are all you need to set up a bullet journal. But there are a few other things I find myself using time and time again.

Need some help setting up? The creator of the Bullet Journaling Method has come out with a book. You can buy that here.

Because I use such a small book, I use sticky notes to add info to pages constantly. I personally really love the bright colors of Post-It sets like these.

Since I've started journaling like this I've found myself collecting unique office supplies. One supply I use in every journal (mainly to mark where my daily log is) is paper clips. I love the color of these gold ones, and these dinosaur ones are just so playful!

Along the same lines as the paper clips, I often tape tabs onto pages that I keep re-visiting. This set from Michael's is colorful and cute!

I sometimes need a pick-me-up in the middle of the day, and I've found that sticking a photo of my little monster on the front page of my journal is just want the doctor ordered. For that, I usually use an Instax camera.

And to stick the various things into my notebook (it's seriously like... a scrapbook/collage/doodle-fest in these notebooks) I usually use washi tape, purely for the cuteness of it all. You can get washi tape at pretty much any craft store these days, but I really love the colors in this set.

Sometimes I need something a little more sturdy to put my mementos from the month in, and that's where stickable pockets like these work really well.

If you're planning to switch journals a lot like I do, you're going to need a box to put them in. Field Notes has a really nice one that I've been eyeing for a while. I keep my journals in a simple box from a craft store that my sister wood burned a label and date into, and it looks awesome on my shelves.

As I said before, starting a bullet journal is as simple as having a pen and notebook. But as you go along, you might find that you need a few more things to keep everything organized. The only rule I have for my journals is that they reflect the things I'm into at that moment. My final goal is to capture how I'm feeling. Oh, and to help me not forget things. :)
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Love Bug Bouquet

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

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How cute is this little bouquet? I really wanted a simple DIY for this Valentines, and I think I've hit the mark. This project took me, from start to finish, about 30 minutes. And with minimal amounts of glue involved, it is a great project for kids.



Supplies:
Thick Colorful Paper
Straws (ones with super bendiness are best)
Ribbon/String
Pencil
Markers
Scissors


Step one: Cut out your flowers.
I wanted my boquet to have a whimsical look, so I drew the flowers on the back freehand and then cut them out.

Step two: Add your slits for the straws.
To insert the straw into the flowers, you are going to need two quarter-inch to half-inch wide slits in the center of the flower. To do this, I did the old "fold it a little bit in half and cut on the crease" trick.

Step three: Add your straw.
Bend the straw, stick it in the slots, and work the flower up the straw until you've got it where you want it to be. 



Step four: Make your "love bugs."
The bugs on these flowers are hearts that have been folded to make them look like wings. I drew hearts on construction paper, added a pattern, then cut them out. Tip: the easiest way to draw small hearts is to color a little oval at an angle, and then add another one on top, having the lower half overlap (where you want the point to be). You can see the first oval in the picture above.

Step five: Glue on your bugs.
I folded the hearts in half then glued half of the heart down, giving the bug some body!

Step six: Decorate your vase.
I added a few ribbons and a tag that said "Hugs from our Love Bug." Put in the flowers and voilà: A cute, whimsical, and inexpensive Valentine's gift!



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