Monday, January 30, 2012

Recently Purchased Pretties

So, I must confess...I'm not above retail therapy. I've been a very good girl up until recently on that front. We've already declared as a family that this year will be a fallow year as we re-build our savings, W focuses on his first year at the firm, and I caring for two little ones which includes a very dependent baby. That trip to Hawaii will have to wait until next year. So these were very small purchases, but fun ones nonetheless. I needed a little bit of pretties in the mail will do the trick.

I'm looking forward to some packages on our doorstep these next few days...
I bought this fabulous card for W for love day. When I saw this, it just screamed perfect! The pipe, the hat, and the saying...fits W to a tee. :)

Theo told me he'd rock this hat if I bought it for him. So did I hesitate to press purchase? Heck no!

We're cooking up something memorable for Mama Judy's 70th birthday so these vintage style envelopes will come in handy. I'll have some extras so I'm excited to mail to friends! How fun to send something in one of these in place of a boring ol' white one.

This delightful little pair proves that sponsorships really do work. Ha. It's my first purchase off someone's blog--there was a 10% discount so I thought "why not?"

What's brightening up your winter?!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Made My Day

I saw this in my Instagram news feed yesterday and was so delighted!

It's so fun to inspire others, especially when they share that with you. And of course, her display is SO much cuter than mine!

Happy Friday, folks!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bathtime Painting

I've been really gung-ho with the activities for E lately. Maybe it's because we have such ample time together and don't want it to go to waste. Or maybe I fear he'll get into mischief if he's not occupied with something that allows him to explore. Or I'll go crazy without something to do. Maybe it's all of the above. :)

Here's yet another one we tried out during a mid-day bath. It was a 'post-rainy day excursion' wash down so it was the perfect time to try out the bathtub painting idea I found here {via my awesome mom who keeps her eyes out for fun activities! Thanks, Mom!}.

muffin tin
large paint brush
shaving cream {I used the classic barbasol}
food coloring

What you do:
Spray some shaving cream into each of the six holes. 
Add food coloring. 
Mix {I used a fork}. 
Let the painting begin.

Another amazingly simple activity that he LOVES. Minimal prep work and clean up. My cup of tea.
Some of the comments on the post where I got the idea said they had problems with the dye and tile grout. We don't have tile in the boys' bathroom so it wasn't a problem. In fact, it all washed off super easy with water. It also shared that they didn't put water in the tub so the child could stand up and paint. I needed to clean E and it's a bit chilly so I added some water into the tub. He sat and painted the tub walls, the water, and himself. Painting himself was a HUGE hit since he's got to keep the paint on the paper when he's painting at the table.

T was left to wonder why he wasn't able to paint too.
And from the first time we did this activity to the publication of this post, E has already painted twice and requested it often.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Best of My Days Update

You may {or may not} remember our adult table favors for Thanksgiving. If not, read here.

W and I have started to fill in our January with a favorite moment from each day. And to be honest, we're both learning that it's a great exercise. There are some days {particular to it being tax season} where we both struggle to come up with something good. Many of W's week day best moments are when he gets to come home finally. 

Sometimes it's dang hard to see the good. A few we had to stretch a little just to come up with something. That's why I look forward to us sitting down for dinner {some days after the kids are asleep} and looking back on the day. And to see how fast a month can go by without remembering! I think we're really going to love having these by the time December rolls around...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Painting 101

We brought out the tempera paints recently. E's painted twice before: once with friends and another time with watercolors and our sliding glass door. It's a fun easel, you should try it! But it's been awhile and he was a bit young then.
I put three globs of three different colors on a large piece of construction paper. I showed him how the dip the brush in the water. Then off he went to paint and explore.

He touched the paper. He touched the water. He touched the bristles on the brush. He touched the paint. {and maybe even tasted it a little}

Love his insatiable curiosity.
And that he's okay with me taking pictures of his serious bed-head. Just keepin' it real.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I remembered an activity that my sister-in-law had her oldest do one visit when I was pregnant with Ez. Although they had a whole bucket full of beans, I've always wanted to reproduce it on a smaller scale. 

In this house, we call T's tummy time "Blanket Time" so E knows that he's suppose to give him space. In lieu of that, I told E he was going to have his own blanket time. He was all over that like white on rice. I grabbed a bag of pintos and some additional fun 'toys' and let him have at it. The only rules: keep the beans on the blanket and these beans were not for eating.

He did all kinds of scooping, spooning, pouring, stirring, grabbing, etc.
Such an easy indoor activity. The hardest part is the clean up..which wasn't much at all. 95% of the beans stayed on the blanket and E likes to help clean up. 
He started gearing up for a tantrum was really bummed when it was time to put everything away, but we put the beans into a zip-lock baggie for next 'blanket time'...which will most likely be happening soon with this week's rain!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DIY Heart Bunting

I got the stomach flu last week! The worst kind..2 am to 8 am. Isn't being sick so much yuckier in the middle of the night? Man, it was so gnarly and almost took me the rest of week to recover from. Bleh.

Anywho, I knew my recovery was almost complete when I felt up to making this sweet little number.
Heart Bunting!
I have some sticks that we as a family gathered one walk during the summer. I was looking for the perfect two sticks for another project {not quite was right before Theo worked his way out into the world, and I haven't picked it up again...yet}. During our hunt, some other sticks made their way into our stroller. So I put them into a glass vase and onto our cabinet. There they are in the bottom left of this winter decor picture...

When decided how to decorate them for next month, I immediately thought "bunting!" I've been wanting to try making one and welp, we have no parties in the near future for me. So it'll have to be for Valentine's Day then!

mini heart templates 
{I used some of my mom's scrapbook paper that had tiny hearts and cut two out. you could just free hand it}
red cardstock paper
baker's twine in red/white {I get mine here}
glue dots or some other adhesive {double sided tape, glue stick, rolled tape, etc}

Figure out the distance you want your bunting and tie off the twine on both sticks

Trace your hearts with the tops touching and cut them out. Then fold along the top.

Put hearts on twine to get spacing.

Add glue dots to one side and press together. Voila! You've got yourself a pretty little garland.
Totally doable, right?!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Papa Chain

My hubby, W, is an accountant by day. And today marks the beginning of his busy, grueling time: tax season. Ten hour work weeks and eight hour Saturdays. As Elle, my girlfriend's daughter, said as she met her new baby sister at the hospital last week, "Oh, this is horrible!" It may be a cold and long winter for the Swensons {and potentially this blog too!}. To add sticks to the fire, my parents will also be in their tax season. I'll be stranded! So doom-y and gloomy, huh?

Perhaps it's because I've already had my fair share of tax seasons since both of my parents are CPAs. I remember those loooong afternoons and evenings at their office. Talk about developing self-entertainment. And I am an only child-- no siblings to play with. Countless canned soup dinners. My only trips to the snow were with friends. Are you feeling bad for me yet?!? ;)

To help buffer the pain wait, E and I made a countdown paper chain. Nothing special. Just the classic paper strips and tape. He's really been into size, Mama, and Papa sizes. So he named our craft, "Papa Chain." Very appropriate. 
The chain has exactly one hundred links to countdown to April 17th. The last day of the season. W helped me tape it in a very 'high traffic' area of our house so we can see it often.
We decorated some of the links to beautify the chain. E's starting to get a bit more bold in his coloring. It used to be just a few dots here and there on the page.
I'm really excited about having a visual of how much time we have left. I know it'll help me immensely. E and T may be too young this year to understand, but I hope this can be a yearly tradition for us as we prepare for the busy season. And to be encouraged as Papa works hard for us. 
Hopefully, our 'Papa Chain' will help us get through!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tree Stump Table {Crunchy Decor}

I saw this pin this week and had to laugh...

Because W seriously just completed the exact same idea! {well, without the stain, finish and legs} Last month, during our downstairs purge and furniture re-arranging, we took out our coffee table. It was just getting in the way of E's play and we were ready to get rid of it. But, we were seriously lacking places to put our tea {and well, this is winter afterall and tea is a regular thing in this household for all three of us}.
So W's amazing DIY solution? Tree stump tables. He made two. How? I don't know. You'll have to ask him. It was a project he did entirely by himself. But I love the results. They are small, easily move out of the way when we don't need them, and very rustic. 

After reading this tutorial, I may ask him to finish off the pieces. Although, I do really dig the more natural look. Like it's fresh out of the forest.What do you think?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Free Printables

 My house is looking a bit bare these days post-holidays. I'm already wondering when it's okay to get out next month's decorations. Speaking of which.... I'm a sucker for free printables just as much as the next crafty girl. Print 'em and frame 'em--instant seasonal decor! And then they're so easy to store for the next year! Huzza!

Well, I spent an evening looking ahead at future holidays....which, by the way, is a HUGE step for me! Typically I'm throwing them into frames a few days before the day or several weeks already into the season. Thanks to pinterest I can actually look ahead. I know I can't be the only one who now uses it for the default crafty search engine. Might as well become my homepage. I kid. I kid. 

Anyway, maybe you're like me and only have printables starting from Halloween on. So that means there's some major gap-age from here until October. Eek! Here are a few I found {and may or may not have some already uploaded into my Shutterfly account and waiting for a sweet deal like 20% off or free shipping!} Thought I'd share with you, just in case you're in need of a one stop shop too. :)

Love Day

St. Patty's Day 

Spring Fever


mmmkay, that should get your year of free printables rolling! Cheers!