DIY Ikea toddler bedframe

Well the long awaited post about how we (the Mr.) made bed frames is here!! I could not be more excited to show off the beautiful work! These were an adaptation of a bed we saw on Pinterest and just about 3 years of design and deliberation 😉
                                   But they are beautiful and well worth the wait.
So we went to Home Depot to pick out a wood- we settled on birch plywood 3/4″ thick, it came in sheets of – 50×45- but we had them cut it in half.

From there the exact shape was cut with a routerIMG_1646then sanded….and sanded some more IMG_1668
The frame was affixed with dowels and wood glue. Using a router bit all edges of the frame were rounded… nothing is worse than a kiddo with sharp edged furniture… two supports were placed for the mattress slats with glue and screws with one cross beam. 4 dowels were placed facing up to hold to slats taught on the frame.IMG_6030
In hindsight we should have known to make these supports a bit more beefy A & B jumping on these busted one about 6 months- I would suggest a thicker piece of  wood over excess plywood like we used. IMG_6029

much of this we did with the tools we had so other tools my work better but ….

you get the idea



City meets Country

In the years away there have been plenty of changes… but the biggest change…we left the city and I talked the Mr. into buying a house in the country. While I admit, of the things the new homestead affords… most are mutual goals…but it was a hard sell not having capitol city running paths. Its now been a little over six months in the new house and we have an endless string of things we’d like to accomplish but here are our first impressions of life in the country…

  1. Creatures– No doubt moving into the country you will be dealing with endless animals, and we knew this…but now we know this. Of course there was that bird falling down the chimney, into the wood stove and flying around the room. But, besides that, we really didn’t prepare for having to catch and kill the mouse that our apparently adept cat won’t…this is generally between 1-3 am. Lesson learned-get a real cat or keep “barn cats” ours may be pretty but he also may just be defective… nuisances aside-the birds have captured my attention…I find myself patiently (or creepily if you ask the Mr.) staring into the magnolia tree or a random bush waiting for a glimpse of the cuter side of our new surroundings.IMG_5537
  2. Rural Internet this is probably my biggest beef. Moving here we kept thinking its 30 minutes from the city and its right by the interstate, it shouldn’t be that hard to find a provider…WRONG oh how wrong, after living here a month we finally found one that would provide a large enough data package for streaming…you know because at that point we still had this naive thought that we would be streaming. As time went on we’ve gotten rid of Netflix and Hulu- were basically off TV with the exception of movies from the library and an occasional amazon show on the desktop. While this was an adjustment we never had cable and this seemed like the natural next step to decrease our connection to tech
  3. Weather there is something to be said for watching the storm fronts roll in and out with no ones roof or building blocking my view. We’ve seen double rainbows, lightning storms, flooding, downed trees and some pretty amazing sunsets/ sunrises…. still doesn’t make up for the shitty internet though…
  4. Flowers flowers everywhere. I love flowers as much as the next, but I need to decrease the amount of weeding…and also things to maneuver a mower around… we will be condensing
  5. Apple trees– yes, yes they are beautiful and all… while in bloom… for those few.short.weeks.  But, you didn’t spray? BUGS ruin your crop… forgot to trim?  overgrowth-it doesn’t produce and you cant reach product easily… didn’t get to picking back fruit early season? gross, mealy or tasteless fruit oh and did I mention the ENDLESS windfalls….  Its best to not put these guys right next to other shade trees or buildings so they get the full sun they want- but also avoid putting them in the middle of the lawn as mowing over a golf ball sized rock hard apple isn’t great but trying to rake them out is even worse…one apple tree closest to the garage will be cut down and were replacing (in a full sun spot) it with a Honeycrisp tree from an orchard we pick at.
  6. Cherry trees– similar to above and when it comes to many fruiting trees- long term placement is one of the biggest things to consider. These guys specifically got HUGE here and we have more product on one tree then we will ever be able to get to. It was a bitter sweet moment taking one of the old  cherry trees down last week but without adequate sun it didn’t bloom and since we have what must be a 3 year cherry on the opposite side of the driveway (and shadowy pine), we were ready to remove and replace it. Plum and Pear trees– so its fair to say if you get a place with fruit trees know your trees …..but if you have sellers like ours that kept putting off providing the info and apparently didn’t know what they planted…wait a year or two- some trees are biennial bloomers if they are not tended to. We were told to cut some trees that were “duds” but come June I have picked over the same trees four times and the weight of the fruit still seems to be too heavy for some limbs. This was a days worth of pre-season picking of the icky fruit. 20170610_161457.jpg
  7. Raspberry & Asparagus patches– again unless things are well set up for the long term and tended to you are, in all likelihood, getting into a huge mess come summer. I thought I tended to the raspberry patch taming a 30 ft long row in the February warm snap we had….. was I wrong. The sheer amount of creeping charlie is choking out the rasp. and the rasp. are choking out the asparagus. And lets not even mention the rasp. running out into the yard…those we just mow over…We will be pulling out the whole patch in fall and moving the raspberries into way better containment up next to the grapes. As for the Asparagus…well… yeah, I’m not really sure where that will go yet…..  this was the patch last fall right after move in you see the bushy asparagus on the rightIMG_0354

    first of the raspberries June 2017!

  8. Trees– while there is something to be said for a wooded lot that can provide all the fire wood you need to stay warm- in all likelihood you will in some way need to clean the mess immediately around the house. For us this means taking down a few old trees and making sure nothing is falling on us or the neighboring barn, a never ending task with 5 massive Willows lining our lot….lucky us A & B love picking up sticks and we have bonfires on a regular occasion
  9. On season and off season tasks, in reality we do most things year round just some seasons are more intense. Chopping wood is one of those things we do more in winter but we do save what we cut and the big limbs that fall for winter firewood.IMG_2179
  10. Inside we really wanted to decrease the amount of honey oak . The rails/banisters through out the house, the built in pantry, and the beams on the ceiling …its a lot. The wood stove room beams came down last weekend we’re now retouching the ceiling holes to remount the fan. Maybe we’ll aim at the pantry next but I’m not sure either of our carpentry skills are that advanced yet…
  11. Locals– this has been one of the most bittersweet things of moving away from the city. Locals are more friendly and often are willing to lend a hand…yes please to the neighbor with the cherry picker who will be helping remove a willow tree. But they can also be up in your business in no seconds flat- lesson learned things can get weird…

    I am amazed at what we can find locally now though! 90 pounds of strawberries later…

  12. Tradition the most interesting part for us was learning about the area-ours specifically was known for Tobacco production an odd crop to see among the corn and beans- it is still traditionally farmed and a skip in time to watch. IMG_5282baby tobacco  more later …… maybe 😉

Carpenters 2015 Edition

It has been FOREVA since we have had any family pictures, that is…with all 4 family members in the shot not doing something strange. Needless to say we hoped to get a few nice ones of all of us. Thus began our photographer search…well, that was 2013, I was hard pressed to find someone with my style on a realistic budget. And by realistic budget I only mean that I didn’t have to foot their studio rent that month. But…..late in 2014 a friend forwarded information for silva photography timing was perfect and we immediately set up a session for mid January. We wanted the feel of the third ward in MKE but there was an art show the day of our shoot. The photographer suggested cedarburg and that was perfect. We have some beautiful shots, I just had hoped we’d get them back on time. Anyhow, take a look!
~all pictures taken by silva photography~

25 days of Christmas crafts

As promised, Christmas crafting, toddler style! Some of these are my “brain child” others are cool ones I’ve “googled”…. annnd some are feasible with toddlers others would be a project you could do for them. Happy Christmas crafting!!
1) Popsicle Stick Snowflakes
-toddler approved activity
2) Burlap Stockings
-ok, take 5 min on Pinterest and you will see endless ideas, find me on Pinterest if you want to see my inspiration.
-we went with two “bones” one for each dog, one “fish” for the cat and 4 regular stocking shapes. In total that took just shy of 4 yards of burlap. I lined them with scrap fabric/ old pillow cases. Used ribbon, a few rosettes and handmade bows to add some accents and that was it. You may notice a trend with the burlap here, and yes, I themed all decor around these two teddies, the boys first Christmas ornaments –> A & B xmas teddies
– tip, use a large safety pin to hang the stockings onto command wall hooks- those things are handy!

divas pretty stocking complete with kitten tootsies;)

3) Mason Jars
– again. Pinterest. Just find what suits your style, from painted to ribbon wrapped or even snow globed the possibilities with mason jars are endless.
4) Paint with Seasonal Cookie Cutters
-pretty straight forward:)
5) Lined Sweatshirt
-I used this pattern though I am not a very gifted seamstress and every time I end up heavily adapting it. (My first attempt at them have not become our art smocks) Use the ” warm and natural” batting and it’s perfect for indoor play clothing.
6) String popcorn, cranberries or cotton puffs or marshmallows
– this is a great motor development type activity that (if they don’t scarf all the food items like my littles did) can double as awesomely cute decor.
7) Sun Catchers
-ok, this one I kinda cheated on, the dollar section at most stores have the tiny craft bin and sometimes they are perfect for breaking up a boring afternoon.
8) Painting Ornaments
-with one of the littles presents came foam sheets. So, we repurposed and cut snowflakes out of them! Similar foam sheets can be found at most craft stores add swirls of puffy paint for dimension:)
9) Sleeping Bag IMG_3151
-this is actually a rather detailed project, I had a great time with it and as it adapted into its current form I learned more and more about sewing. Plus, I love how it turned out….win/win! Basically this sucker is a very warm padded toddler sleeping mat that rolls into its self; making it nicely portable for those family trips this holiday!
-I used eco felt as the outter layer, “warm and natural” batting as the 2nd inner layer, batting off the bolt from joann fabrics (the second one I went to though, because the first one had such terrible service that we walked out without purchasing anything from our full cart) and the inner layer being grey minky dot fabric. I made the “hood” so that it can flip under the head pillow, adding extra puff, but also wrap around the body off the sleeping bag to roll it up! toddler sleeping bags
10) Hand Painted Wrapping Paper
-you can often find “blank wrapping paper” we went for a basic brown and let the boys splatter paint the whole roll, gave it a gloss spray top coat to make sure the paint didn’t just flake off, let it dry and rolled it back up to await gift wrapping in the next few weeks.
11) Marshmallow Fondant
– ok, this really goes with the cookies so maybe I’m cheating a bit here by using it as two activities…BUT….you would likely have to do this two separate days. If you hadn’t noticed those seasonal cookie cutters come in handy again here 😉
12) Paper Garland
– I used extra seasonal scrap paper I had to make the garland. Guiding the boys to “cut” strips and “glue the loops” we actually had a lot of fun with this one.
13) Toilet Paper Roll Wreath
– sounds weird but it’s actually pretty darn cute
14) PVC Snowman
– this was mainly because I built a pvc house for our garage play space and we had it left over. So, find something that you have around your house that is junk but could be a repurposed “craft” for the kiddos.
15) Family Cards
– let the littles finger paint individual cards for family members
-any kind really will do for this holiday but two tips that have become a must when cookie making in our house; always brown the butter first and used molasses & sugar rather than brown sugar. These two things really add the “wow factor” to the flavor of any cookie!
17) Felt Snowmen/Reindeer/Santa
– felt is kinda a staple crafting item that we have around so it seemed only natural to do a felt ornament with the boys. We had them decorate a tree….it got a bit messy :0
-glitter, shapes, textures, etc etc etc. this was a great sensory play activity!
18) Splatter Wall Art (red/white/green/gold/silver)
– best to save this messy one for a bath day 😉
19) Dress up day/Pictures
– strings of lights, Santa hat & play time
– pretty self explanatory activity that you can have fun with! We always have random strings of lights and the boys find them entertaining but throw some dress up clothes in there and the whole day can be filled.
20) Scarves
-pretty simple infinity scarf for toddlers. I paired a heavy eco-felt and a soft plaid reindeer flannel. And cut based on the littles shoulder width and noggin dimensions.
– make sure you can loop it round the head twice
21) Pine Cone Hunt
-Well, we had to have at least one activity outside….we live in a well wooded area so no driving needed just step outside and we were off to “match pine comes”
22) Santa Beard
-so, originally I was thinking something like this…..then I saw this….the jury is still out on which we will be making this season.
23) Jammie Pants
– you can find free patterns at just about every online sewing resource. Line them in minky fabric like I did for that extra cozy warm appeal this winter.
24) Gingerbread House
– this one means a special shopping trip as most of the tradition ginger bread house making stuff we don’t even keep in the house anymore. But easy alternative…use the cardboard boxes that all of your holiday presents will be shipping in and build a paper/cardboard house. Or many craft stores not have “kits”
25) Burlap Santa Sack
This project I loved, even though I ended up keeping it super simple it was fun to look at everyone’s ideas. I got the actual sack from amazon for $6.50 for a 40in by 24in bag. And then hand painted it with fabric paints. Using decor ribbon to “tie”. Yay for no more wrapping oddly shaped gifts!IMG_3135-0.JPG

Back to the Basics

Well, after much consideration I have decided *for now* I will only be doing family updating on the blog. While I don’t want to loose all of the memories stored on the page I have found the time it takes for me to log the DIY and product reviews is too much. I would rather spend it on the boys:) for that reason I will keep projects to a minimum and do mostly updates on family a nice way to log our lives and look back!

DIY Bug Balm

Ok, I love summer, tons!! BUT these BUGS are REDICULOUS. Between the ticks and the Mosquitos I’ve had enough but then we also have flies and gnats… Obviously, we don’t want to spray the yard with round up or something crazy like that. But if we couldn’t even enjoy our yard this summer I would be pretty disappointed. So, I pulled out an oldie but goodie-bug balm recipe, I didn’t quite have everything I needed. Here is my 2014 modified bug balm:) I like this update mainly because it has added tick control!
What you’ll need:
*1oz beeswax (we got ours at the locals farmers market!!)
*1/2c coconut oil
*1/2oz Shea or Cocoa butter
*Cheesecloth(or in my case diaper cloth)
*Double boiler
*4oz mason jar
*Rosemary and cinnamon sticks dried
*Essential oils- I used rose geranium for ticks, citronella for mosquitoes, and a touch of lavender and lemongrass ❤ I would suggest looking at mountain rose herbs they are not only organic but also non GMO.
You of course can put different things in to suite your needs 10-15 drops total should suffice.

Mix oils and dried herbs and put in double boiler until completely melted let warm for 30min.
Strain out herbs through cheese cloth.
Add beeswax to the melted oil with whatever essential oils and double boil until melted.
Pour back into your jar and let cool. Voila…bug balm!

Aaaand the review……this stuff rocks! The convenience of spray is surely trumped by the fact that this stuff lasted a good majority of the day for myself and the kids with no reapplications. Daddy who mowed our jungle with this on did want to reapply after about 4hours. The waxi-ness of it means that it’s mildly waterproof and depending on what oils/butters you use it made our skin wonderfully soft. On the downside it does take a minute to apply it and it takes a bit of work to get it out of the jar….BUT I am sold….I will never buy bug repellants again:)

Middleton WI splash pad

While up for a visit nana suggested we go to the splash pad, it had just opened for the season so we decided to try it out!

First, I have to say A’s reaction to seeing this toddler water wonderland was HILARIOUS!
20140525-112536-41136354.jpg20140525-110858-40138884.jpgNeedless to say they were thrilled! They didn’t fall near as much as they thought I would.20140525-110905-40145085.jpg
20140525-110906-40146592.jpgand the place was pretty much empty.
Which was a huge plus for our giggly wee men 🙂

Overall, they had a blast! The water was a bit chilly since it’s still early in the season. But the boys didn’t mind:) There weren’t lots of big kids to knock the littles over and the pad had enough grip for traction while running through the water. I probably won’t attempt to go to the one close to home without Scott or another set of hands but, we will surely visit this one again!