Toddler Easter Basket Ideas

The LAST thing my one year old needs is chocolate or candy. He has enough energy to power our house, so I know he’s better off without the extra caffeine. I wanted to get my little man an Easter basket this year, since last year he was barely a month old, but I was determined to make it simple and practical.

Instead of using that messy grass stuff that would be found in my house until Christmas, or worse, in his mouth, I used green tissue paper to stuff the bottom of the basket. It still gave it the grass effect, but was fun for him to play with momentarily and WAY less of a mess. I also wanted it to be small so that it wasn’t overwhelming for him and didn’t break my bank. I stuffed the basket with plastic Easter eggs (which he hasn’t stopped playing with since he discovered them), books, yogurt melts, and a green frog stuffed animal that he gives precious hugs to all the time. Again, I wanted simple, cheap, and cute and I feel I achieved that. You can too!

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A few eggs in the basket to show the green tissue paper instead of the messy grass stuff.

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He couldn’t decide what to play with…so all of it at once!

Birthday Party In a Box

Let’s face it, no matter how old we get, we still love getting birthday cards in the mail. Well, I know I do at least. What if you didn’t just get a card this year? What if you received an entire birthday party in a box? Feelin’ like a kid again, huh?

My sister is one of the greatest people I know. She lives 9 hours from me, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be with her on her birthday this year. I decided to send her a party in a box, because I knew her three kids (ages 5, 3, and 2) would LOVE celebrating with her and it took a little less planning on her part and a little more enjoying! She deserves it!!

I tried to use all of the same theme of decorations. I found a wonderful colorful polka dot pattern so I used that as much as I could and then used other colorful patterns for everything else.

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Here’s what I included in her box:

-Brownie mix

-Candles

-Sprinkles

-A “Happy Birthday” Banner

-A table cloth

-Plates and napkins

-Party hats

-Noise makers

-A wrapped birthday gift and card

-A personal bottle of wine [her favorite part, I’m sure ;-)]

She loved it and had a fun party with her sweet little family! If you have a relative or friend you can’t be with on their birthday, maybe this is something you could do for them. Share your twists on this project, I’d love to see them!

forest theme nursery.

As promised (even though it took me almost three months), I am posting pictures of Isaiah’s forest-themed nursery. It’s not like I’ve been busy lately or anything…

I got the inspiration for this theme from the material used on the crib skirt, valance, and bench pad cover. I fell in love with it when I saw it at Joanne’s. We actually got the last of it, because they are no longer making it. My husband and I enjoy the outdoors, so this theme seemed perfect for us, plus it’s gender neutral so if we ever have a girl it will work for her as well.

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We went with all espresso colored furniture. I think it really brings the forest theme together. The dresser is from wayfair.com and the glider and bench are from Target.

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My sister made the awesome clock. We made the side table tree stump (found here!) and the lamp (post coming soon for that). And of course I had to decorate with my favorite book as a kid, “The Giving Tree”.

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An up-close look at the painting I did, which has the bible verse responsible for our baby name choice.

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A better view of the book shelf bench. The pad cover was made by my wonderful mother. The middle cubby has a few small toys in it. It will be so sweet to see Isaiah sitting on the bench reading his books one day.

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I absolutely love this part of the nursery. The crib is from a second-hand furniture store (we are proud of that too – not ashamed of saving money) The crib skirt was made by a family friend. She is a master seamstress, so she did that and the valance for us. The yellow crib sheet (found at babies-r-us) matches the yellow bunny in the material (it’s difficult to see in the picture). The breathable mesh bumper pad was from Target and the owl musical mobile is from Wal-Mart. I made the wall hangings above the crib.

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An up-close look at the name plate I made with materials all from Michael’s craft store. I bought the letters, painted them white, hot-glued them to the tree stump, hot-glued the owl to it, and attached a wall hanger on to the back (one of those claw-looking things).

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A closer view of one of the picture “frames” I made (again, materials all found at Michael’s). To complete this project, I bought the tree stump and a package of tiny cloths pins. I painted them green to match the theme and add some color and hot-glued them to the stump. It doesn’t get much easier to change out pictures. Once we get some professional pictures of Isaiah done we will replace the maternity pictures with those.

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One more view of this side of the room to show the shelf my husband made with the monitor and picture frame. The wicker hamper was a gift from my sister. It goes perfect with the theme of the room.

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Just another look at the wall hangings.

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The shelf was extremely easy to make. We bought another one of those tree stumps from Michael’s and two shelf holders from Lowe’s. I stained the holders with a dark stain to match the furniture. My husband then cut one of the sides so that it would sit flat against the wall. He nailed the holders to the stump and then attached it to the wall. I plan to switch the picture in the frame out eventually as well.

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The final side of the room is the changing table. I ordered the tree wall decal off of Etsy. The dresser is from wayfair.com, the changing pad and cover from Target and the fox diaper holder was a gift that went too perfect in the room not to use!

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One part of the room I didn’t show is just the closet door (boring), BUT on the wall beside the closet is where this beauty hangs. I love it so much, because the tree was painted by a family friend, but then at my baby showers, everyone placed their thumbprint and signatures on it to create the leaves. It turned out so great and it is something I will always cherish.

Hope you enjoyed seeing Isaiah’s forest-themed nursery as much as we enjoyed creating it!

DIY Thank-You Gift Idea for Labor and Delivery Staff

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I was days away from delivering our baby boy when I realized I had nothing to give to the staff at the hospital for all of the wonderful care they provide (at least from what I’d heard). I love giving gifts, so I came up with this easy, inexpensive gift. I know it’s not much, but it showed the staff their hard work was appreciated! And it really was!

I bought a big bag of the “fun size” peanut M&M’s and made cut-outs that read, “Thank you for taking care of our little “peanut” and taped them on each bag. I gave one to anyone and everyone that dealt with us while we were in the hospital, from L&D nurses, to recovery nurses, to my doctor that delivered the baby. They were all so excited to receive them.

Trust me, if you have time to do something like this before going into the hospital, do it. It will make their day just a little bit better just by getting something small like this. And they really do work their tails off with a smile on their face.

And who doesn’t love getting chocolate?! This is just an easy way to show your gratitude.

diy tree stump side table.

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We are so close to being done with Isaiah’s forest-themed nursery. Now that I’m on bed rest, I have had time to work on many of the projects I wanted to do. It won’t be long before he is here so we don’t have much more time to get things ready. I’ll post pictures of the entire room once the curtains and crib skit (being made by a family friend) are complete.

I can’t take much credit for this project (other than the idea of it!), because my sweet, hard-working husband did most of the work…okay, all of the work. I am so thankful for his willingness to help! When we decided to make Isaiah’s nursery a forest theme, the first project I thought of was a tree stump side table to go next to the rocker for when we are in the nursery rocking him. My husband’s parents had a huge tree fall in their background during a storm in the fall so it worked out perfect to snatch a piece of the stump being cut up! We stored it away for a few months to let it dry out. This is really important, because it makes the process of removing the bark a bit easier. The longer it dries out, the easier the bark comes off.

The first step, as you can guess then, was removing the bark. My husband did a fine job at this by using a hammer and a pick. It took a bit of time  to do it this way, but it looks so great with the bark removed and I was very pleased it.

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Nerd alert with the glasses…but really kids, safety is no accident. Wear protection! 🙂

After all the bark was removed, we (sorry there I go again) he sanded it down to make a smoother looking finish. This is best done with an electric sander…doing it by hand would take much longer and just plain stink. So I suggest borrowing one if you don’t have one.

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The final step is optional, but something I feel really brings it all together…staining. Since all of the furniture in the nursery is a dark espresso color, I wanted the table to match. The stain is “English Cherry”, made by Minwax, a popular brand you can find almost anywhere. Whatever stain color you choose to use, it will look darker when you first put it on, but it will lighten up quite a bit as it dries. Don’t worry if it seems insanely darker than you wanted, it will look great!

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It took almost 3 days for the stain to really set in and dry completely. I waited almost a week to put it in the nursery, because I was afraid of stain getting on the carpet. Use your best judgement when deciding if it’s done or not. Every stump is different.

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Now I can’t wait for Isaiah to get here so I can rock him and use this adorable side table that cost practically nothing to make…except maybe some of my husband’s valuable time. 😉 But I absolutely love how it turned out! I’m obsessed and go into the nursery at least three times a day just to look at everything coming together finally!

Good luck if you decide to give tree-stump-side-table-making a try. It’s totally worth the effort!

bathroom vanity makeover.

Once you become a homeowner, every weekend is filled with projects to get it to look the way you want it. One of the first things I wanted to do to our new home once we were somewhat settled in, was to re-do the vanity in the master bathroom. The color of the wood was terrible and I knew I  didn’t want to have to look at it everyday, so I decided all it needed was a little TLC. I sanded and painted it, replaced the hideous gold and silver knobs with new ones from Lowe’s (our 2nd home now), and spray painted the hinges, so we didn’t have to buy new ones.

Here is the before and after picture of the vanity:

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Isn’t it so much more pleasant to look at it? Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I love it. My husband liked it so much that he asked me to do the guest bathroom vanity and the kitchen cabinets too. Yipee for me. Really though, I am happy to do it, because I can’t stand the look of them right now. Of course, I won’t do those in blue, too.

Here are the details and cost breakdown for the project:

  • Vanity paint: Blue Bayberry – Olympic ONE Interior Latex, Flat ($10 for a quart)
  • Knobs: Brushed Nickel ($1.50/each – $10.50 total)
  • Spray paint: Satin Nickel – Rust-Oleum ($7)

I spent a total of $27.50 and that is very reasonable for a quick DIY project that completely changes the look of a room. Now I just need to change out those ugly faucets and it will be just the way I want it.

I am hoping to post pictures of the entire house soon, once we get a few more minor projects completed! Stay tuned.

DIY ‘operation game’ halloween costume.

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween, because I love how creative people get with their costumes. It’s the homemade ones that make people have to think a little bit and make you laugh. We saw a lot of good ones this year.

This year, my husband and I went as the “Operation” game from when we were kids. He went as the surgeon and I went as the game board. We made all of the pieces and even added a ‘special’ piece that isn’t in the original game. Instead of making the bread basket that goes on the tummy, I made a baby in the womb piece. It was a good way to incorporate our baby without making him the focal point, because I’m not showing a whole, whole lot yet.

Here’s how the costumes looked:

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I bought a (somewhat) skin color looking shirt for about $5 from Wal-Mart. I made the pieces by drawing them on white cardstock, cutting them out, and then taping them to red construction paper. After that, I used velcro to attach the pieces on to my shirt and jeans, because I didn’t want to ruin my clothes by sewing or gluing them. The one on my head I taped to a clip and put it in my hair and it stayed on the whole night. Lastly, I painted my noise with red face paint to resemble the light bulb the game has that goes off when you touch the sides.

For the surgeon, we just bought scrubs from GoodWill for $6 all together, borrowed a stethoscope from a friend, got a mask and gloves from my work, and he carried around a pair of our tongs to look like life-size tweezers.

At the end of the day, both costumes costed us about $15, we were comfortable in them, and got lots of compliments. Success.

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween! Baby Leachman got his first Reese cup….or two or three. Don’t judge..

Happy Halloween! Mine's the goofy looking one...if you couldn't tell.

Happy Halloween, from the Leachman’s! (Mine’s the goofy looking one…if you couldn’t tell.)

our gender reveal!

Yesterday was one of the most exciting days so far in the pregnancy. Not only did we get to see the baby for the first time since it was seven weeks, but we found out we are having a BOY!! We could not be more thrilled with the news. Of course, we would have been equally as excited with a girl, but it’s just being able to call ‘it’ a ‘he’ now is the best feeling ever!

We knew we wanted to find out the gender before the baby came, but we didn’t necessarily want to find out at the doctor’s office. We didn’t want  to do a gender reveal party, but we still wanted to do something fun and (somewhat) original. We think we came up with this idea, but I’m sure it’s been done.

Before the appointment we purchased two tubes of acrylic paint (light pink and light blue) and a baby pumpkin. We had the doctor put the paint color of the gender in a box we painted up all cute. After the appointment we went to a nearby park and opened the box to reveal the color and painted our pumpkin! We had so much fun doing it this way and we even got to capture our reactions on a video!

Here are some pictures:

Gender Reveal

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Gender Reveal 2

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We cannot wait to meet our baby boy, Isaiah! Praise the Lord for new life!

nightstand makeover.

When my husband’s grandmother passed away almost a year ago, his dad gave us a small table from her home. It’s an antique and very fragile. You can’t put a lot of weight on it and it isn’t in the best of shape. That all doesn’t really matter though, because it’s special to us. It means something to us and it’s been apart of his family for a long time.

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I didn’t have a nightstand at the time, so I put it on my side of the bed to hold my book and phone. Over this past year, it had gotten even worse. The top was chipping off more, it was almost two different shades of brown, and the legs were extremely shaky. I tightened the legs and added some glue to the base to make it sturdier, but I knew it still needed a little bit of a makeover.

I bought some white spray paint and had some ‘jade’ colored spray paint left over from a previous project, so I was set. I sanded the entire table down using a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I had an electric sander, but was afraid it’d be too rough on the old table, so I did it by hand.

After I was done sanding, I wiped it down with a damp cloth and let it dry for a few minutes. Then, I began to spray paint just the top of the table white. I did several coats and let it dry. Next, I painted the base ‘jade’. I did three coats before I decided it looked even all around. I let it dry for about an hour. Finally, I did one last coat of each color. I let it dry again, but this time for several hours to be safe, and as to not stink up our apartment with the smell of paint. We all know how awesome that is.

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It’s not much, but I love it! I’m very excited I was able to keep this sweet little table from my grandmother-in-law, but add a touch of modernism to it. It’s perfect!

side-by-side comparison

side-by-side comparison

yarn wrapped beer bottle.

There’s a really easy way to put any type of empty bottle to good use: wrap it in yarn! All you need is a bottle, ball of yarn, a hot glue gun, some flowers, and about ten minutes. That’s it! It’s a very simple, yet tedious process of wrapping the bottle with yarn. Start out by gluing the top of the bottle and wrap tightly until you reach the bottom. Glue again at the bottom of the bottle and cut the yarn.

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The type of yarn I used is my favorite. It has a blend of cream and tan colors and gives off a beautiful shimmer color from a distance.

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I absolutely love it on our mantel. It’s the perfect addition and sits next to the window pane mirror I made a few months ago.

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