Thursday, March 29, 2012

A little bit genius, a little bit ridiculous

The other day I got a catalog in the mail called "One Step Ahead, Ingenious Products for Babies, Toddlers, and Kids". I am fascinated by this catalog and have looked at it about 10 times now. But I have to admit that about half the products are not ingenious, they are actually pretty ridiculous. Just thought I would share a few of the genius ideas and some of the ridiculous.

We'll start with the ridiculous:
Seriously? Knee pads for crawling? If you think you need to protect your child from sore knees, you might as well keep them in a bubble until they're 18. Sore knees from crawling should be the least of your worries!
This concept is actually not that bad, but look at the price tag! $75! That is ridiculous. If you want a cheaper way to get your kid to stop sucking his thumb, try a toilet paper tube and duct tape :)
Really? A potty watch? This just seems silly to me and a waste of money.  It is not that hard to remind your child to go to the bathroom for the short time that you are training them.
Now for some good ideas:
I love this organizer! (Well, I pretty much like any kind of organizer!) The back seat of our car often looks like a tornado hit. I've tried homemade versions of a backseat organizer, but none of them were as nice as this and none of them worked. I would pay money for this.
This may seem like a silly little thing, but I remember Rebecca practically pouring a whole bottle of water down the front of her shirt when trying to drink. Again, I would pay money for this.
What a great idea. One of the things I hated about potty training was using the potty seat on the the big toilet. I love things for kids that blend in with the adult world. It's so discreet. 
Okay, this is by far the best idea in the whole catalog! As a parent of tall/long children I know the pain of trying to stretch a onesie to snap it close. Blake is already too long for some of his his 6 month onsies. This would help out  immensely! Although I would spend money on these, I want to try and make them myself first.
What do you think? Have you seen any genius or ridiculous ideas for babies or kids?

Friday, March 23, 2012

They're back...

The chickens are back for the summer! Well, not the same chickens, but new ones that look just about the same. We're excited to have fresh eggs again and we are hoping that Rebecca will take some more responsibility for them - so far so good.
We have found through trial and error that 3 chickens is the perfect number for the size cage we have. So why are there four birds? Well hopefully you can see that one is a rooster! The rooster was a freebie and not really our idea, but the plan is to turn him into rooster soup very soon. And I mean VERY SOON, he's only been here for two days and already I'm tired of listening to him.
Due to local the raccoon and fox population, we have chicken wire and hog panels on the cage.
Rebecca is great at filling the feed tray, but still needs a little more bravery to reach into the cage and get the tray out.
Three chickens = three eggs every day.

These are extra, extra, large eggs. The lid on the carton will not even close! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Curb Appeal: Part 1

I think every year we have lived in our home, I have tried to do something to make the front of the house look a little better. I love our home, but let's be honest, a white ranch home is not that eye catching from the road (technically we don't have a curb).

Things we have done so far:

  • replaced the front door and storm door
  • replaced all the front bushes and plants and added mulch
  • lined the front plants with landscaping bricks
  • built wooden steps and landing to replace the old concrete steps
  • added landscaping lights
  • painted shutters navy blue
So maybe it's my need to freshen up the front of the house for spring or maybe it's me watching too much Nate Berkus while on maternity leave. Either way, I did some painting to help out with curb appeal. 
I know it's a little unfair to take a picture when everything looks brown and dead, but it will make the final result look that much better. Before:
Note the white front door and the sad looking flower pot in the bottom left.
White front door from the inside.
I initially was thinking about a burnt orange color for the front door, but when looking at paint samples and coordinating with the navy blue shutters I finally went with "Antique Mahogany." I also gave the sad looking flower pot a fresh coat of paint. After:
Sorry about the glare on the front door, couldn't do anything about it.
Love the new color!
So far, so good. Here are a few more things I would like to do:
  • obviously, add flowers to the flower pot
  • add house numbers by the front door (our house has never had numbers on it)
  • add a spring wreath the to front door, but I have to wait a few days for the paint to cure
Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Time to sow alfalfa!

Endgate seeder: : a seeding machine attached to the rear of a wagon or truck and used to broadcast seeds.

Though I don't have a picture of my neighbor's endgate seeder wagon that I have used a couple of times over the years, here is a similar one and one with more paint that's for sure.  These have been used for decades and I estimate my neighbor's has probably been used on his farm for 50 years.
However, this is 2012 and when a farmer has better options why not right?  This is my friend, Scott's, Cat MT 765B track tractor and Chandler 10 ton fertilizer spreader.  This spreader is built more for fertilizer and lime but worked for seeding oats/alfalfa too.
 This shows the alfalfa seed being delivered to the spreader wheels.  And of course every endgate seeder has a rider and a driver so I am taking these pictures on the fly while seeding.  Scott was laughing about the fact every seeder no matter how technologically advanced has a rider in the wagon.  We were unsure whether the seed was being spread because the setting on the computer was much, much lower than any other normal setting.

Friday, March 16, 2012

2 Months

Our little man is already 2 months old! Does life ever slow down? I'm guessing not :)

Here are a few photos to mark the date.
Love those deep blue, serious eyes!
Had to work on him to get a smile :)
And so Rebecca does not feel left out, here are a few pictures of her. She is growing up fast too. This first picture is from a month ago when my mom was visiting. She just looks so grown up helping Grandma bake. The last picture is of her finger painting, but note that she was not using finger paints and I had quite a mess to clean up when she done. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Life of a Shelf

I've done a little decorating that I thought I would share. Here is the short life of a shelf.

When I decorated Rebecca's baby room I bought a wooden shelf from Michael's and put a clear coat of varnish on it. It did a great job holding a few of her baby pictures.

When we redecorated her room into a "big girl" room the shelf was taken down and I had no use for it. It got put into the "extra stuff" pile in the basement. This past Christmas I spied the shelf in the basement and thought it would be great for hanging our stockings on. In the past I had hung our stockings from the upright shelf in the living room, but I like to change things up when I decorate for the holidays each year. I have a lot of black frames in the living room so I spray painted the shelf black to coordinate. The "new" black shelf looked great with some greenery, lights, and our stockings. You'll have to take my word for it, because I forgot to take a picture.

After the holidays the stockings came down and the shelf was a great place to display all the cards we received after Blake was born. I loved seeing all those cards which represented all the loving people who celebrated Blake's birth with us. But those too had to come down after about a month.

So then for about 2 weeks the shelf sat empty until I made a trip to the thrift store. There I found 3 picture frames and a milk pitcher. I love that little pitcher! And if you look closely you can see that the frames were each 45 cents - score!

I spray painted the frames black and found some pictures to display. I still want to find some spring flowers to put in the pitcher, but until then, I think it looks great. Little projects like this make me happy :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Goodbye and Hello

Goodbye: Pack-n-play in mom and dad's room! Blake has been sleeping in our room since coming home from the hospital. It's been easier for nighttime feedings and just keeping an eye (and ear) on him. He's lasted a lot longer in our room than Rebecca did as a baby. We kicked her out after only 2 weeks. Either Blake is a quieter sleeper than Rebecca or I am a more sound sleeper (aka more exhausted each night). Yesterday Blake was 6 weeks old and I thought it was time he head over to his own room.

So GOODBYE pack-n-play in mom and dad's cramped bedroom (there is literally about 18 inches between our bed and the pack-n-play = lots of stubbed toes!)

Notice the books on the left, I propped up the back side so Blake's head was slightly higher. That helped with his reflux and congestion he seemed to have at night.
Hello: Big Boy Crib! Blake took his first nap yesterday in the crib and slept for 2 hours! That is great compared to his 20-60 minute naps he had been taking in his bouncy seat. He also slept in his crib last night and did great. He slept for 3-4 hours between feedings. I also slept better. I didn't have to listen to him grunt and groan as he woke up or fell back asleep. I only heard him when he really cried and I knew he was really awake and ready to nurse.

I really want to post more pictures of Blake's room, but first we have to finish it :) There are still pictures to frame, and closet shelf to install, and I want to get wooden letters to put his name on the wall. More projects to work on so stay tuned.