Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall Tour

I typically don't post a fall tour on the blog.  And apparently, I am the slowest person in the blogosphere to do so.  I posted a lot of my fall decor on Instagram but thought I would just blog it too.  Sometimes I like to go back and see what I did in years past.  I shared the changes I made to my half chalkboard wall in the living room yesterday here.  So I will start with the other side of the room.

 See the cat photobomber I tried to unsuccessfully crop out?

Yes, the "THANKS" is completely wonky and tapers and not straight but this year, it is all about embracing imperfections (at least that is what I am telling myself and my family).

I am kind of obsessing about pillows recently.  Accumulating them and making covers for them.  I made the leaf ones out of a 4 pack of napkins I got from Marshalls or Kohls, I can't even remember which, and some drop cloth.  So I made 4 pillows total.  The pillow obsession is quite silly with two littles around who continuously throw them on the floor then proceed to trip on them and fall into coffee tables.  Oops.

Heading up to the dining room...

 Apparently feathers are the prominent fall decor this year at my house.  I bought a bunch at Hobby Lobby and strung them up on twine, threw them in centerpieces, put them in bottles and gobblets.  Please.stop.me.

I was pretty pumped to decorate my new table and shelves this year.  Love decorating new surfaces.

We had to have a Halloween section of the house (maybe I ran out of acceptable fall decor and maybe I did it for the kids, I will never tell).

And here is the other side of the buffet...

 I usually don't bother to incorporate any fall decor in our bedroom but decided to go for it this year.

 Yep, I posted a "night" picture on the blog- gasp!  And I have yet to add height to the hubs bedside table but it is on the list.

This most adorable pinecone garland is from Target and I love it!  

So that is the fall tour.  There has been some musical pillows since I took these pics but I am calling it a day on the fall decorating!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Chalkboard wall update

I am still loving my half chalkboard wall and want to show you what I did to it today.  This wall had always stumped me a bit as to what to put on it, which is why I chose to paint it with chalkboard paint.  More options.  I have been really wanting to hop on the wall paper band wagon but my hubs is not on board and I am just not confident enough to follow through anyway.  But, to get a patterned look on the wall, I decided to draw a pattern on my chalkboard wall.  So I took everything down and wiped off the stuff I had written.  I found a pattern I liked on Pinterest.  Then I crafted some makeshift "tools" to get the job done.

Thats right, I taped an old photo envelop to a level.  High tech, I tell you.

 Then I needed an angled "tool" so I drew a line on the photo envelop.

And cut down the line.

I taped another photo envelop to the angled on as kind of a spacing guide.  Then I went to it drawing angles.

You are correct.  They are not perfectly even or spaced but that is what I was going for.  Imperfect pattern.  Next, I decorated the wall.

I love it and it only took about 40 minutes!  Winning!

Coming soon, my belated fall tour.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


There are some addictions I have going on right now....

The first is books.  I have had an insatiable appetite for books this summer.  My previous relentless house projects have given way to this new obsession.  I will say that my bank account likes this addiction much more than my house project obsession...  But back to books,  I can't read enough of them.  For the first time in my life, I have started reading a new book before ending the previous book. And while reading those two books, I have listened to books on CD in the car during my commute to and from work.  The obsession does not seem to be letting up any time soon.  I just picked up two more books on CD from the library tonight and another one to actually read because I am almost done with the one I am currently reading.  I fear that I may run out of great books to read.  I am not kidding, I seriously fear this even though that is absurd and irrational.  So if you have read any great books lately, I would love some recommendations!!

The second is Fitbitting.  

I got a Fitbit Charge in May and I have been determined to reach my step goal of 10,000 steps daily.  There are only a handful of days that I have not done so (like today).  I don't get a ton of steps at work (to my surprise) so I really have to work at it.  I get to work 20 minutes early for a walk, try to take one at lunch which does not always happen, and then take one in the evening which may entail dragging the kids and the blind dog along.  As a result, the kids and I got to see some pretty cool stuff!  There is a small airport at the end of our road.   Sydney and I saw a couple electric planes being flown around one day.  Several times, we have seen small planes taking off and flying around.

Right before this plane took off, the pilot actually unhitched his window, said hi and waved to us.  It was pretty cool!  When the weather cools off, they set off hot air balloons from this tiny airport.

It has been so fun to see these things and have these memories with the kids!  All this walking has made me consider taking up running again.  I had not run since before I was pregnant with my second pregnancy.  I have never really been a "runner" even though I participated in cross country in high school a few years and I have run a few 5Ks and an 8K right after I had Sully.  But I was basically too lazy to step it up this summer.  That is, until I received a text from a friend asking if I would run a half marathon in November with her.  You read that right, a half marathon.  And I just went ahead and agreed to it.  What?!?  So I am starting my 3rd week of running a few days a week.  During the week, I usually have to run in the morning because I just can't swing it in the evenings.  And I have to say, this might be my newest addiction.  The "running high" is a real thing!  Pretty much addicted to to it.  I am having to go 2 days in a row without running this week and it is killing me.  In the past when I was training for a running event, I looked forward to the days I could rest.  Now I dread the days I have to rest.  It is bizarre and I have never felt like this before!  I don't even care about losing out on sleep to run.  I get some time to myself.  To think.  To write loads of blog posts in my head and never get them "on paper."  AND I can get 10,000 steps before the day even starts!  I even ran in the rain one morning.  I am officially a crazy person.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


 I had like 15 different blog posts all written in my head for today.  But I can't commit to any of them.  In a way, it has been less emotional that I thought it would be.  Waiting for the bus and the actual act of seeing him board the bus left me happy and excited for him, not very sad.  But then when I go to write here, I feel like maple syrup inside.

After last week, I am ready for this week to be MUCH better in the parenting department.  Last week was the big teacher meet and greet.  I hurried out of work and picked up the kids from daycare and rushed home.  I placed Sydney in my nephew's capable hands and quickly grabbed the bag of supplies that I so carefully purchased from the supply list that was sent home from the school, picking out the perfect sizes, colors and quantities of things.  I sped to the school feeling excited and a little nervous for my little 4 year old.

Only when we got there, there were only 2 cars in the parking lot.  I thought it would be a lot busier than that for back to school night but as quick as I could, I unbuckled Sully and grabbed the forms that I carefully filled out and bag full of supplies and we headed for the door.  It was locked.  This had to be a mistake, we walked to a side door and that was also locked.  It was then that I looked at the paperwork and saw the teacher meet and greet was the day before.  Moisture accumulated in my eyes as I ushered Sully back to the car.  "Geez, I guess we really didn't need to hurry, did we Mom?"  Sully teased.  I buckled him back into the seat and shut his door.  I walked to the back of my car and broke down, crying hysterically.  I messed up the first teacher meet and greet I was dealt.  GAH!  It was crushing to me!  I am supposed to be his mother.  Which means I am supposed to get these this right, damn it!

You see, I still remember a time when I didn't know if I would get the privilege of attending back to school events for my kids.  I didn't know if I would ever be able to have a child.  And when I think back to that time, back to school days, supply lists and backpacks were right there at the top of the list  of things I could not wait to experience.

So it was incredibly upsetting to me.  But not Sully.  Mostly he just thought I was so ridiculous for making him hurry so much when there was nothing to see or do.  It just rolled right off of his tiny shoulders but not before a small morsel of fear crept in when he whispered, "what if my teacher if mean?"  And then he was over it.  And it barely even phased him when we sent him to bike day the next day with flat tires on his bike.  I told the hubs to make sure the training wheels were tight but neither one of us even thought about checking the tires for air!  As a kid, I would have been mortified by this.  I would have tried to physically turn my body inside out so no one would see me.   But not Sully.  He just said, "Yeah, it was pretty hard to pedal my bike today.  It made me tired!"

 And so when I saw him board the bus today, I guess I knew he would do great.

He has so much more confidence and resilience than I did at that age (I think).  I am in awe of these qualities in him and I am so thankful he has them.  He may be physically small (which he hates) but he sure makes up for it in personality and spirit and heart.

 Sully to his daycare buddy, "Lets hold hands."  Heart melted.

But here we are, we made it despite any of our short comings, screw ups, meltdowns and struggles.  We made it.  He made it.  And I made it.

I can't wait to go pick him up from daycare and ask him all about it.  I am sure he will have a lot to tell me, he always does:)

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Did you ever get some news about someone that was so horrible you just wanted to purge it out of your mind so you didn't have to think about it and its affects every waking minute?  Maybe unload the information onto other people so they could help carry the burden for you?  I am sure everyone has.  As I get older, I seem to be collecting more of these moments and it just plain sucks.  I know that life will continue to have ugly, gut-wrenching moments because that is the rule, not the exception.   I know that we don't get to pick and chose the people to which these moments occur and I wouldn't want to do that anyway.  I know there are no exemptions.

I haven't done much craft projects lately but when I get ugly news, I am compelled to busy myself making something pretty.  Obviously it won't fix or change anything other than distracting me and that is ok.

A special little lady is turning 4 tomorrow and it was the perfect opportunity to DIY one of those adorable fabric take along dollhouses.  I used this tutorial.  It has pictures of all the steps, which I failed to do and usually fail to do because I am typically in such a hurry I can't stop to bother to photo document the process.

Basically, you cut some pieces out of some plastic cross stitch sheets for the house sides, bottom and roof.  Then you wrap them all with quilt batting and I used duct tape to secure the batting.

Then you layout your fabric after you have sewed your roof material to your house material for the outside.  Place your pieces over that piece of fabric which should be place "right side in."

Then you will need place your fabric for the inside of the house and "garden" over the top "right side in."  It is during this step that you include the sides of the house as well (see linked post above for diagrams and much better explanations).  Sorry, no pic for this step:(  Pin down the long sides and one of the short sides.  Make sure to add some elastic loops for closing the house up (I used elastic hair ties) and rope, ribbon or fabric for handles during this step (I used rope).  Remove the pieces and sew the pinned sides.  Turn "right side out" and place your pieces inside.  Pin along the pieces and then sew the pinned lines so the pieces are each in their own compartment.  Sew up the last short side.  Once that is done, you can fold up the house and hand stitch the sides to the back of the house that does not have the garden. Add buttons for closure and embellish with fabric or felt.

DIY fabric take along dollhouse:

These are so adorable.  I enjoyed just having this sitting on my dining room table the past week.  I am about halfway done with Sully and Sydney's houses for Christmas.  Options for what to put in and use with the houses include Polly Pockets, Disney princess palace pets, animals (if you chose to make a barn) or cars (if you chose to make a garage).  Now to pack up this house for the birthday girl!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


I know it has been quiet on the blog lately.  But we have just been too busy living the best.summer.ever.  Don't believe me?  Lets recap.

The first half of summer was very laid back with several cousin sleepovers...

 Neon cousins.

 I would love to hear this convo while making mini pizzas.

We watched Jens' band Take the King play at Brat fest...

They just idolize their cousin:)

We went to the zoo a few times...

And went to the splash pad twice...

Then we had to check out the new trampoline park in Madison...

But it was after the 4th of July that our summer really ramped up.  I feel like we have been going non-stop.  And although I am completely exhausted, we have made some of my favorite memories ever.

 Me and my date watched a movie in the park.

A few days after that, we left for our annual Wads/Groth camping trip.  It brought with it lots of firsts including first time camping with 5 kids, first camping tornado warning and my (and my kids) first trip to House on the Rock.

The day we got back, we headed to the Dane County Fair to watch Take the King.  And eat food.  And ride rides.

A few days later, we had our annual Koslo/Groth weekend extravaganza complete with a homemade fish bowl.

The following friday, we headed to the Milwaukee County Zoo with my side of the family...

And the next day, we headed to my in-laws campsite in Montello, WI where it just so happened to be Christmas in July.  Yes, we camped TWICE this summer.  Crazy, I know...

Sully was so excited, he probably peed his pants a little.

That Monday, I took the kids to see the butterfly exhibit at Olbrich Gardens...

The following weekend, my cousin got married and I had SO MUCH FUN dancing the night away with my family, including my Grandpa!!

 Strolling around the capital after the ceremony. 

And the next day, we were off to the Dells for 3 days where the kids had their first Noah's Ark experience and Wisconsin Ducks tour.

Whew!  See?!?  I told you we are having the best summer ever!  I mean, the fun just never stops!  I also took part in a craft show, made over my dining room, had a successful Craftshop in Milwaukee and had a garage sale!  And we are not done yet.  Oh no, we have two more weekend trips planned along with another cousin sleepover.  So you may not be hearing a ton from me here on the blog until September.  I am kind of looking forward to slowing down this fall and doing a few house projects.  But for now, until the weather starts to change and cool off, I am just going to ride this Big Kahuna wave of fun right out into the sunset.