Friday, April 18, 2014

Daisy's First Easter Egg Hunt!

Today, Daisy experienced her first official Easter egg hunt with a small group from our church. The hunting was divided into two groups: older and younger kids. 


For Daisy's age group (younger kids), they just spread the eggs over the lawn for the kids to collect. I expected a mad dash collection, but most of the kids walked past several eggs before ever picking up one for their baskets. 


I had to coerce Daisy to collect eggs. At first she wanted to open each egg as soon as she picked it up. I told her to open them later. Then, she didn't want to touch the eggs on the ground because they were dirty (they had grass stuck to them). Then she got distracted by a fun chain-link fence. Eventually I said, "Find the dirty ones!" and that gave her enough motivation to gather up some eggs in her basket. 


She collected about 12 eggs. Most were filled with candy, which she actually didn't know what to do with. I let her eat a Hershey kiss, which ended up all over her face, but that was cute too. (She later ate two more on her own (unsupervised) since she now knows what they are). 


I was impressed with the variety of non-candy treats in the eggs. Other than chocolates and peeps, parents filled their eggs with teddy grahams, crackers, stamps, stickers, and little toys. We brought eggs with Easter-themed erasers and Hershey kisses. I also considered mardi gras beads and plastic rings from the dollar store. 


A great time was had by all!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Springtime Updates

I can't believe it has been three months since I last posted. Yes, I can. It's been crazy around here with changes on deck and chaos on stage. Here's a brief update from the last three months in two parts.

Part 1: Three events, one from each month: 

1. In February we drove up to Acworth, Georgia to visit my sister and brother-in-law over my birthday weekend. We ate at fun restaurants and basically spent the weekend lounging indoors and playing at different local parks.
This is literally the only picture I took the whole weekend. 


We also watched Austenland, which I absolutely adored. I think I actually liked the movie better than the book, which might be a first.


2. In March, we did a family beach day. I only know that this happened in March, because of the date on my iPhotos. It was really fun, and Daisy wore this:


And this happened five minutes after we got into the car to come home: 


3. In the beginning of April, Zane and I celebrated six years of marriage. My parents watched Daisy overnight, and Zane and I spent the day, evening, and next morning kid-free. We ate lunch at Greek Village in Lake Mary, got pedicures in Sanford at Aruba Nails, shopped a little, walked around downtown Mt. Dora, and ate dinner at The Lost Parrot. The next day we had breakfast at Keke's and went putt-putting on i-drive. 

I highly approve and recommend all the restaurants we visited. They all scored high on my restaurant-rating list (price, taste, atmosphere, service).

Zane at Greek Village


These were all fun things to do without a toddler. Plus, we wanted to enjoy the sights of Orlando, because...

Part 2: ...we're moving to Tampa next month! 


Zane has been in the process of becoming a nurse for the past two years, ever since Daisy was born. He applied to two different accelerated bachelor's programs and was accepted into both of them, because he's a genius. We weighed lots of factors and decided to take the leap and move to Tampa.

We're quitting our jobs and selling our house. We have had two offers already, and it's only been on the market for a couple weeks. We're in the process of accepting one of those offers. 

It's been very surreal and strange preparing to leave my job of six years. I haven't fully accepted it yet and will probably reflect on this whole experience in later months. I have mixed feelings of excitement for finally getting to stay at home with Daisy and FOMO (fear of missing out) of all the good things at my job with my coworkers, with whom I have really enjoyed working. 

Zane starts classes mid May. The program is intense, but he'll graduate with his BSN in August 2015. I'll be staying home with Daisy, and my goals for the summer are potty training, toddler bed, and swim lessons. We'll see how it goes. 



This is all the special stuff happening. It's mixed in with our day-to-day, which has consisted of opposite work schedules, attempting to fit in friend time and maid-of-honor duties, Etsy shop work, and general life stuff like chores and family time. Hopefully with my new stay-at-home status, I can blog more frequently and share my crazy daily adventures with you.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Halfway Through January Thoughts

Hello! Happy New Year. We're more than halfway through January, and I just realized my last post was before Christmas. That's no good. There's much to say, so here's the breakdown:


Family


We had a great Christmas. I hosted Christmas morning breakfast and made an egg casserole with cauliflower instead of hash browns (it was good, but didn't taste like hash browns). Daisy loved her kitchen, even though she doesn't know what it is. I can still hear her tiny voice saying, "Thank you, mommy!"


We spent the weekend after Christmas in St. Augustine with Zane's family and had a great few days of rest, relaxation and quality time.



Daisy discovered the joy of riding on Daddy's and Uncle Stevie's shoulders.


Entertainment


We saw Frozen on New Year's Day. Have you seen it yet? It's sooooooo good! I don't normally like kid movies, but I loved this one. It's a cutsy Disney princess movie with deep threads running through the story line. Fear, love, redeeming relationships - it was good. Plus, the music was incredible. Indina Menzel for the win.



I read The Book Thief in a matter of days. It's the story of a German girl in WWII in Germany. I normally avoid Holocaust stuff, because it's depressing, but I let myself experience it, and I don't regret it. It's a fresh new [to me] perspective on a hard reality of history. It gave a glimpse into what everyday Germans experienced during the Hilter years. I totally recommend it.

Two words: Battlestar Galactica. We finally started it and are currently obsessed. Don't tell me what happens. Just know that if you haven't tried it yet - it's good. That Portlandia Battlestar skit is hauntingly true. It's on Netflix, if you dare.

Products


I have super thick hair and a history of trouble with shampoo. I tried no shampoo (because that's supposed to be good...?). I've tried Paul Mitchell. I've tried about every brand you can get at Target. The waxy/oily residue could hide in my long hair, but with my new short haircut, it's way too noticeable. My hair stylist recommended Redken, but I ignored her because I thought she was just trying to sell me stuff.


Then one day I washed my hair really well, blow dried it, and it was still oily!! Furious, I went out to Ulta, bought her recommended shampoo, used it, and WOW! I'm a believer. It took all the waxy build up out and left my hair light, feathery and, well, clean! It's worth the money for me.


Hope you enjoyed this little update into my dream life. Happy half-way through January!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Upcycled TV Stand to Play Kitchen

Ever since I first saw this idea, I've wanted to do it. Take an old piece of furniture and make it something beautifully useful in a different way than it's first intended purpose. I immediately created a pinterest board just for DIY play kitchens. 



It took me about a year to finally do it. I made this one for my daughter who will be 18 months at Christmas. She's probably at the youngest age of truly enjoying it, so she might not freak out on Christmas morning (she still doesn't understand Christmas), but she can enjoy it for years to come. 

Total approximate cost: $30.00 
Total approximate hours of labor: 14

My super handyman dad and I did it on the weekends over several weeks. I did the planning, he provided the tools and expertise, and we both did the work. 

1. Acquire a piece of furniture. Most of the tutorials I saw online used nightstands. I looked for the right nightstand, but I kept coming back to the door thing. I really wanted a cabinet door, so I kept looking until I found this TV stand on Craigslist for $10. Done. 


2. Oven Hinges. The first thing we did was take off the left door and remove the hardware. We added hinges to the bottom. My dad had small hinges in his collection of stuff from the beginning of time, so that was $0.00 for me. 


The door had a magnetic latch on the inside. We moved it to the center of the "oven door," so it could still magnetically keep the door closed when in the closed position. 


2. Sink Basin. Next we measured and cut the hole for the sink basin. 


I bought a metal brownie pan (sink basin) from the thrift store for $.80 and a "J" (sink faucet) at the craft store for $2.49.


3. Divider Wall. We cut a small square out of plywood to be the divider wall between the oven and cabinet. We nailed four small blocks to the plywood board and screwed those blocks to the upper and lower shelves of the TV stand. 



4. Backsplash. The TV Stand came with a swivel top (shown in the "before" picture). First thing we did was take off the swivel top and discuss different ways to use it. We considered drop leaves, but settled on using it as a backsplash. We had to fill in existing holes with wood filler. Once that dried, we added a little shelf to the left side of the backsplash that will be over the stove part of the counter. 


Then we attached the backsplash to the kitchen using three sturdy wooden panel/stick things screwed to the back. (As you can see, I'm using my carpentry lingo). 

5. Hardware. I bought a bag of wooden wheels from the craft store for $4.00 for the oven and sink knobs. I went back and forth about different options, but the wooden wheels ended up being $.50 each, so they won. 

Hardware and structure done. Ready for paint!

6. Primed and Painted. I used the paint leftover from painting my bathroom earlier this year. I purchased acrylic craft paint for the detail-painting on the stove, oven and sink faucet for about a dollar each. 

Starting the first burner on the stove top (that black blob)

This was a faux-wood TV stand, so we had to sand the finish off, then prime it for the paint to stick. My dad sanded and primed the whole thing, and he said it took him about an hour and a half, because he has a fancy schmancy sander. 

Future oven door and cabinet door. 
Painting it took me 3-4 hours with multiple coats. I spray-painted the knobs and used a brush on the rest of it. A few days after it dried, my dad sprayed a satin finish polyurethane top-coat over all of it. 


7. Curtain. I have lots of fabric leftover from Etsy projects and hand-me-downs, so I used some scraps to make a double-sided curtain. I adhered it with velcro, so it can be changed and washed easily. Plus, it gives the kitchen two different looks. 


I also bought one special pretty cabinet knob for $4.00 for the cabinet. That was my one splurge in this entire project. I'm sure you can see why - it's so cute!


The final product: 


Each of these steps included several sub-steps. This is just an overview of the job, but I've found great detailed tutorials online if you're thinking of taking on a similar project. Check out my DIY Play Kitchen board on Pinterest for more inspiration and tutorials. 


Those cabinets are empty right now, but on Christmas morning, Daisy will open gifts from her aunts and grandmas to fill this kitchen up! Everyone's giving her kitchen-related toys. I can't wait for Christmas morning! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Disney at Christmas

Disney at Christmas is one of the great things about living in Orlando. We have gone to Disney three times in the past week! I love Disney at Christmas, and this year was no exception.


Animal Kingdom Christmas Tree



First we went to the Spirit of Aloha dinner show at the Polynesian resort with my coworkers for our office Christmas party. It was a fantastic show (especially the Samoan fire dancing), the food was really yummy, and we just had a great time with friends. There was lots of laughter, which made it extra fun.


Other than the fire twirling, another highlight in the show was when Zane got chosen to participate. He shook his tail feathers and even incorporated some Macarena moves.

 

A couple days later, we met Zane's family at Downtown Disney to eat at Raglan Road. This was our second annual Christmastime dinner there, and the girls LOVED the show. Daisy was stomping and dancing in the dining room, while the Irish step-dancers clogged on stage. They were fantastic.

Daisy's cousin captivated by the dancing. 

And, oh - my - goodness! Have you had their bread pudding? I'm not usually a fan of bread pudding, but you HAVE to try it at Raglan Road. The vanilla cream and caramel sauce combo is freakin' amazing.


Lastly, we took Daisy to Animal Kingdom today. She's really into animals right now, so we chose to use our free tickets there this year.


It was a gorgeous day, not too hot or cold. Daisy liked the animals on the safari ("girass!" (giraffe)) and the Lion King show ("rahr!"). She fell asleep right before the Finding Nemo show started, which was good, because she needed a nap, but kind of sad, because it was an incredible show. That was my favorite part of the park. Wow. It was amazing. It was better than a Broadway show and only lasted 40 minutes. 


In true toddler/baby fashion, she was equally entertained by petting sheep as she was by playing with the leaves on a bush. She wanted to sit on every bench in the park, and only let Daddy carry her if I was holding her hand too. 


By the time the park closed at 6pm, we were all wiped out. We picked up a Christmas dumbo stuffed animal ("Dummo") for our Christmas toy collection and headed home, our Disney holiday 2013 shenanigans complete. 

Merry Disney Christmas!