Saturday, February 22, 2014

"Tot school" - a resource

Hey friends! I have been using this blog as a learning resource for several months and I really want to share it with you too! Have you heard of it? It's called 1+1+1=1.

The author of the blog is a mother and former school teacher. She uses the term "tot school" as a "focused time each day for the tot in your family, exposing early learning skills through fun play" (her words!). I loved this idea. Audrey is so intelligent and I'm always looking for new ways to engage her in learning and exploring new things. But, as a first time mom, I sometimes need outside inspiration! For me, this blog is a treasure trove of ideas and information on how to engage Audrey in fun ways that did not feel forced or like work.

There is soooo much information on the site, I can barely get into it here, but I'll show you a little bit of what I have been incorporating from it for Audrey.

We use the free alphabet printables every weekday to practice letters. Audrey has known her ABC's for a while now, but this is just good reinforcement and also teaches her what each letter sounds like, and words that start with that letter (again, some of these she knows, but not all of them). I print the sheets out and stick them in heavyweight sheet protectors and Audrey writes on them with dry erase markers, like the website suggests.

While she's coloring, I just say what the letter is and make the sound "G is for goat g-g-goat!" She just listens to it while she picks out colors to use and we move through the sheets, and then most of the time she will repeat it after me. I'm also starting to incorporate the shapes and numbers printables from the site too. Audrey knows her shapes pretty well, and sometimes she gets her numbers, but she doesn't take a great interest in them, so I'm hoping some of these fun resources will help.

We also use these dot markers (another suggestion from the site). Audrey loves these and it keeps things interesting if she gets bored with the markers after a few minutes.

We've also made some pretty fun sensory bins, and this site has so many amazing ideas for them, here! There are literally more sensory bin ideas than I could ever execute, but it's fun to look and do the ones I can! Honestly, I would kind of like to raid this woman's home for all of her amazing supplies! Haha.

Here's Audrey playing with her favorite sensory bin. She calls it her "oceans" bin. You can't really see what's in it from this picture, but it's full of blue and green marbles and glass beads, sea animals, rocks, shells, etc. She loves it! Sometimes we count the marbles, or sort them, or just have pretend play with the animals. 

I'd really encourage you to check out this site for all it has to offer! I've barely touched the surface with all the resources and suggestions! There are even things for older kids too (up to kindergarten, I believe). 

While we are at it, let me know if you have any favorite websites for getting your little one engaged in fun ways to learn and explore!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Furniture makeovers around the house

First off, if you follow me on Instagram, you might know that I have strep, again! I'm feeling much better today, than I was yesterday, though! While I sit on the sofa, I thought I'd finally share some furniture makeovers with you!

I've done all of these makeovers since we've moved in. These won't be full tutorials like I usually do because for the most part, the makeovers were very simple! I will direct you to previous tutorials where I used similar techniques though!

First up, is a gorgeous buffet I found on Craigslist. I think I paid about $150 for this piece. It is heavy, solid wood and I just couldn't get over the gorgeous detail on it.



I love, love, love this piece and how it turned out. I knew that I wanted it to be blue, so I picked Cool Dusk by Behr. I just gave it one good coat of paint (no priming), let it dry, then glazed it, using this method. After the glaze was dry (it only takes minutes), I distressed it with a sanding block until I was happy with the look. I gave it a final coat of Varathane Polyurethane in Satin to protect the finish. I rubbed Rub n Buff in Ebony on the original hardware to make it more dull.

Next up is an old coffee table we have had for years. I had been looking into play/coloring tables for Audrey online, when it dawned on me to just paint this one, and use it for that. It worked out perfectly! My first instinct was to paint it white, but when I thought about how much wear and tear it would get from crafts, coloring, and things like that I decided not to. I used the same blue as I did for the dining buffet. After all, her favorite color is blue! She was pretty excited when she saw it for the first time, and said, "Mommy made it blue for you!"



I used the same exact technique for painting and distressing this table as I did for the dining buffet above. The chairs are antiques from this Etsy shop.

A little note about this area of the kitchen...I had originally planned on getting a large china cabinet/buffet to go here, but the idea of Audrey having her own little space here was just too perfect. She spends time here every day, snacking, playing, painting and coloring. I store all of her art supplies and some "supervision only" items (like sensory bins), and learning time activities in the white cabinet. That piece used to be in her room (you might recognize it), but I added the doors back on, and painted them with chalkboard paint. I also plan on painting the wall to the right with chalkboard paint so she can have easier access to it.

The gold framed cork board on the wall used to be a painting (another treasure from my Aunt Ange), which I just covered in stick-on cork board. I use it to hang Audrey's artwork, and she loves seeing her own creations on display!

A quick and easy project I did for Audrey's playroom was just to paint this old bookshelf.


After: (Sorry, but I definitely did not tidy up before taking this picture! Real life!)

I literally put a coat of gray paint that I had leftover from our townhouse on this and called it a day. I didn't even do a protective top coat. Normally I don't recommend skipping that step, but I wanted to get to use this piece right away, and I wasn't too worried about it getting naturally "distressed". 

Last, is probably my favorite piece so far. This came with the dining buffet. The Craigslist seller was selling them together and it was such a good deal that I just couldn't pass it up. I knew I'd use this piece somewhere even though I came across it accidentally while locating my buffet! It's just so pretty! It reminds me of something from Beauty and The Beast.


Don't you think?! :)


I decided to put this in Audrey's room and paint it Enamelware by Martha Stewart. I gave it one coat and lightly distressed it with a sanding block before giving it a final coat of Varathane Poly in Satin. I rubbed Rub n Buff in Antique Gold on the original hardware. The pretty garland on it is from the Etsy shop, Project Paper. I just love this piece in her room, it's so pretty and feminine and we use it to put all of her special pictures, books and trinkets in. 

So that's what I've been working on since we've moved in...besides general decorating and unpacking! Yes....still unpacking! 

My next furniture project will be to give our cane dining chairs a makeover (something I am dreading because it's going to be a big project!). You might have caught a glimpse of them in the photos above. I will keep you posted when those are in the works! If you'd like quick and "real time" updates, be sure to follow along on Instagram. It's much easier for me to share a picture there than to do a blog post mid-project:)

Hope you are all having a great week so far!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Well, hi.

It's been longer than I thought it would be since my last blog post! Things have just been crazy, but in a good way. Well, except for a week and a half that we were all sick, including Audrey! It was rough, but thankfully we are all feeling better (for the most part!).

I really wanted to get these Christmas pictures up earlier, but oh happens! I still want to share them, even though we are now closer to Valentine's Day! I think Christmas is good all year 'round:) Actually, I only have some Christmas Eve pictures to share. Apparently I took too many pictures on Christmas day and my computer doesn't want to download them from my camera! How aggravating!

We had such a fun time celebrating our first Christmas here. My mom was able to come and so was our niece, Katelynn. My dad was supposed to come, but the airport lost his passport when he checked in for his flight, and it has yet to be found. I's the craziest thing I've ever heard! I was pretty upset that he couldn't join us, but we still had a nice holiday with family that was here.

Hope you enjoy the little snippet of our Christmas Eve!

Our family tradition is to have a big family dinner on Christmas Eve, and then Christmas day is usually spent in jammies, just opening presents, relaxing and eating leftovers. Mmmm...writing all of this has me wanting turkey dinner now!

Don't worry...just apple juice for Audrey! :)

We got her a tent and surprised her by setting it up in her room on Christmas Eve! She slept in it!

A little story about the tinsel on my tree. Normally, I would never put it mom did every year when we were growing up, and I thought it was the ugliest stuff ever! But, she did it because she grew up with her dad putting it on their tree, so it was a very nostalgic tradition for her that reminded her of her dad. She always told us stories about how he would hang it so perfectly and meticulously, and how beautiful and festive it looked when he was done. So, I thought it would be a fun surprise to put it on our tree to surprise her, since she was spending Christmas with us.

Here's one of my grandfather's trees from my mom's childhood. So pretty! 

Well, now that I've shared a bit of our Christmas, I can move on and show you some things I've worked on around the house. That is...if my camera will decide to cooperate with me! 

You can always follow along on Instagram for every day snippets too!

Have a great weekend!!!

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