Wednesday, August 27, 2014

House a Home: Craft Room Dot Wall

In our house, we opted for the "Playroom Addition" floor plan because we knew that it would be nice to have a space where I could store supplies, wrapping paper and get crafty with the kiddos!  In searching for inspiration on how to decorate this room, I came across Oh Happy Day's Dot Wall.  I was smitten and knew that I wanted one of the walls in the room to be a happy rainbow of dots!

Oh Happy Day used potatoes and acrylic paints for their wall.  We decided to stencil circles and made a trip to the Home Depot paint aisle for ours.
We purchased sample sizes of 14 different colors and added a copper, silver and gold to the mix!  We even bought a new Filbert camelhair paintbrush for the occasion! (the Filbert style brush is helpful in keeping your sanity as you paint lots and lots of circles)  

After selecting a circle that was three inches in diameter from my stash of circular containers in the kitchen, Benjamin figured that we needed to leave three inches between each circle on the wall, giving us 11 rows of 14 dots!  That totaled 154 dots for me to paint!  

Knowing that we were going to use a chalk line to keep all of the dots straight, Benjamin measured and marked the walls so we would know where to make the lines.  Pulling and holding the chalk line straight is a job that requires two people.  Where the lines intersected, we centered the circle and traced lightly around it.   For the chalk line we used violet marking chalk and it wiped off of the wall with a damp rag.  I was so excited to get starting, I cracked open the first color and was quickly on my way!
You can kinda sorta see the grid and circles if you look really closely.
That night, I knocked out two colors and dreamt about colored dots for the remainder of the night! 
The second best thing about this project (with the first being it was going to create a wall of happiness!) was that it was the perfect activity for nap times.  It took me about twenty minutes to paint one color.  I started out doing ten dots of each color randomly across the wall knowing that I was working with about seventeen different colors.  
After each color was added to the wall I would get more and more excited with how it was turning out!  I would try to paint at least two if not three colors during a nap time.
I squealed with joy when the last dot was painted!  Winston enjoys telling me the colors as he points to them and it really gives the space the pop of color I wanted.  It truly is a happy place to be!

Supplies Needed for This Project
Circular stencil (or potato!)
Tape measure
Chalk line reel 
Dust-a-way chalk {purple}
Paint {Acrylic or semi-gloss enamel}
Paint brushes {Filbert style is best)
Drop cloth {if you're a messy painter!}
Step stool

Cost of this project:
Between $50 and $100!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Last week Benjamin was left to his own devices as far as meals go.  Winston and I dined at small town favorites such as Miller's Hoagies, The Pizzaria, and Farmer's Inn along with home cooked and camp fire cooked meals with family.  While it's good to get away, it's just as good to get home!

Balsamic Pork Chops, rice and veggies 
{Confession: This will be the first time to make this dish!}


{Because a salad makes this healthy, right?!}

Chicken fries, mac & cheese, veggies

Tacos and Queso

Saturday Dinner
Celebrating Nancy's Birthday

Sunday Dinner
Ortho Graduation Party

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Last week we tried two new recipes: Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Salad and the Pioneer Woman's Fried Round Steak.  Wins on both of them!!  The salad is a good meal for a day when you need something light and on the other side of that spectrum, the round steak will stick to your ribs and put you into a meat coma.  Like I said, wins all around!

Grilled cheese, fruit and chips

Chicken, cous cous and veggies

Wednesday - Next Wednesday
Benjamin, Winton and I are going to be in different places during this time so we are both fending for ourselves!

Have you tried any new yummy recipes yet?  If you'd like some inspiration, check out my Pinterest Board for all things yummy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

To See the Animals!

When the summer started, Benjamin and I scheduled a visit to the Houston zoo for a Member's Morning in the month of August.  We wanted to make sure that we had a family zoo trip and I was eager to see the new bug exhibit!  I woke up bright and early at 6:00 to get ready, make sure our mini-cooler was packed, woke up Winston at 6:45 so that we could eat breakfast and talk about what animals we were going to see.  We were in the Zoo parked and in line with all of the other early risers at 8 AM ready for the gates to open!  
We got into the zoo and as people scattered here and there, it was relatively empty giving us lots of room to wheel buddy around and for us to get right up next to the animals.  We left Winston steer us around to the animals that he wanted to see.  
Our first stop was at the oversized ladybugs near the entrance.  As you can see by my own little Bug's face, he was still suffering from, "I can't believe she's asking me to smile before my second breakfast!" face.  
After a walk to the elephant house to help them wake up, we headed around the corner to see the dragon.  Winston was quite taken watching intently, pointing and saying, "Dragon!" 

Our next stop was the lions.  When we arrived, Jonathan the lion was fast asleep on his back with all four legs in the air.  We were able to see him wake up, shake his mane and greet the morning with a growl! 
The bears cubs were out in full force playing with their ice blocks, frolicking up and down their habitat.  
Winston loves the giraffes and was in awe as we saw them come out of their house into the great outdoors!  The weather was an absolutely perfect day for being outside animal watching.  It was slightly overcast with a slight breeze and the sun popping out every once in a while to say hello!
Winston's buddy Elmo was along for our adventure.  He stayed buckled in the wagon when it was moving and he was front row looking at the animals.  We hardly go anywhere without Elmo these days.  He rides in the car, goes to the grocery store, helps cook lunch, colors...does everything short of taking baths!  Elmo has become quite the companion for Buddy on this daily to and fros.    

Also, we absolutely love our Radio Flyer Wagon.  It was a fantastic purchase and has been the best thing for our zoo visits!  We got the supped up version with seat covers, a canopy and the bag on the back.  It comes with cup holders and the seats can be configured into a little table!  The bag that is attached to the back holds an incredible amount of stuff: Winston's bag, a mini-cooler, my purse and the camera.  We have also used it on walks in the neighborhood and to go to the park.  If you have little ones, its a must have!
After spending time wheeling through the chimpanzee and rhino habitats, we bee-lined it to the bug exhibit!  They had larger than life sized animatronic bugs scattered along a path.  Huge spiders, bees, scorpions, ants and dragonflies all moving their heads or wings or tails!  I love fireflies, or lightening bugs!  Capturing them in jars while visiting my grandparents growing up is one of my favorite memories.  What I did learn is that they are actually part of the beetle family!  Who knew?!  Of course I had to get a picture of the two guys who light up my life by the lightening bug!  :)
I seriously love these two.  My husband is precious and here is why: Benjamin saw what I had Winston dressed in for the day and then chose his outfit to compliment WAC's.  How adorable is that?!  They have the sweetest conversations together.  They play hard outside and in the bathtub.  Benjamin takes time to teach Winston to say thank you to me for cooking dinner and to be gentle to Lulu.  They both love Legos and to hear them whispering to each other while Benjamin rocks Winston before bedtime is good for the soul.    
My little guy is growing up...and fast!  He is already a master at giving me the "C'mon Mommy...really?!" look.  He has a true sense of humor, a great laugh and an insatiable appetite for goldfish!  He goes full on all day and crashes hard for nap time.  He is passionate, persistent and loves painting.  He is a great hugger and will give this Mama as many kisses as she can take!  He is my buddy and I can't imagine my days without him.  His little voice fills my every moment that he is awake and I am always eager to hear it again when the day is new!
Our last stop was back to the elephant habitat.  Winston was enamored by them.  His eyes were glued to their every movement.  He kept saying, "Elephant!" and making elephant noises.  Each trip to the zoo has been enjoyable, but this one was more fun because Winston picked which animals he wanted to see next and would get so excited to see them once we arrived!  It makes me look forward to the next visit!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Well, I stuck to the plan for at least five of the meals I shared with y'all last week!  I'm lumping the Food Truck experience in that count... even though there were only two trucks there and we ended up going to Mama Ninfa's instead!  I'm counting the intention.  :)  Also, not eating some of the meals I had planned for last week means I already have the first part of the week ready to go!

{I really hope this is yummy!}

Fried Round Steak, potatoes and veggies

Baked Ravioli, mixed veggies and garlic bread

Balsamic Pork Chops with rice and veggies

Taquitos! {Ole!}

Saturday Breakfast
Breakfast at Benjamin's Family

Saturday Dinner
Sunday School Social

As far as the one new recipe I tried last week, Baked Parmesan Chicken, it was a big hit and a delight to the tastebuds!   I highly recommend it - it was quick and easy prep with a 45 minute cook time.  A great entree to make for a small group night or just dinner with the family!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Project 52: Week 2014.31

This week my Dad's parents were in town for a visit.  The family came over for a meal and we were able to get a few good photos thanks to the handy tripod!  We celebrated Lulu's sixth birthday and she completely sacked out from the celebrating!  We went to Hess for a visit with the old gang and Winston had his first Irma's experience.  We did a lot of painting this week - on paper, the table and our hands!  Each masterpiece turned out beautifully!  We also wrapped up our weekend with a trip to the zoo!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lulu is Six!

Our little Lulu has made it to her sixth birthday and we are totally stoked!  Benjamin and I still refer to her as our first kiddo and she has done a fantastic job loving Winston.  
This year has been a different and trying year for our girl.  Last summer Lulu lost most functionality of her back legs and had back surgery to remove a herniated disk in her back.  It was a scary time for our family.
We decided that if there was even the slightest chance she could have a full recovery, we would opt for the surgery.  Our vet staff at True Companion along with the surgical team at North Houston Veterinary Specialists were amazing to us.  They outlined our options, told us the outcomes and were extremely sensitive in delivering the news understanding that she was more than just a dog.  After a week away from us, we were able to bring her home on July 4th!
It was a long road to recovery.  She had to stay in a kennel during the day.  We had to retrain her not to jump on the couch that she so loved to lounge on.  And the most devastating thing for her was that she was not able to swim during prime swimming months.  We were thankful, more ever than before, that we still had our girl!

Lulu has full mobility of her legs using them to swim in the pool, chase rabbits, squirrels and Winston!  However depending on the day {and weather!} they can be quite weak.  We have all had to learn to carry her up and down the stairs, ban her from jumping onto the couch and minimize her outside water play time.  You know how this girl loves her water time!
She is always right in the middle of any good water play and Winston has learned that she loves it as much {or more!} as he does.  
It has been precious to watch their relationship develop.  While we are out for the day, Lulu sleeps in a bed in the study and as soon as we walk into the house Winston is at her bed saying, "Hi Luli!" giving her hugs and kisses.  He has learned that she has a tail and that he does not.  He gently rubs her ears and will pat her head casually as they watch TV together.  He also has learned that she loves treats and is always eager to give her one... or two... or three!
Bubbles are a fascination at our house, not only with Winston but with Lulu too.  This girl will go nuts over the translucent circles floating in the air charging after them to bite them before they disappear!   
Like anyone who goes through a major surgery, our girl Lulu has her good days and her bad ones.  Since her surgery last summer, we have had one major scare of a relapse...on a entirely different disk.  We have found that laser treatments help Lulu tremendously and they have been a saving grace for her and us.  It's amazing how quickly they help her bounce back to her normal self.    
She is our sweet fur baby.  A fierce protector of those she loves.  A carefree spirit.  A lover of any water activity before her.  She appreciates a good fire, a lap and a warm blanket.  She is always ready to give kisses and never lets you forget when its dinner time.  She is our sweet Lu girl and we are thankful every day that she is part of our lives.  She lives each day full out and crashes hard each night, resting up to tackle the next day.
We love you Lu girl!  Happy Birthday!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Meal Planning Monday

This weekend, Benjamin and Buddy had some time together in the morning allowing me to plan a menu for the week!  I don't know about you but I enjoy looking up new recipes and mixing them in with the tried and trues.  This week I am going to attempt three new entrees!  I have provided links to what I'll be trying and let you know how they turn out!

Shake n Bake Pork chops, cauliflower and cous cous

Baked Parmesan Chicken, glazed carrots, pasta 

Trader Joe's orange chicken, rice and veggies

Fish sticks, mac & cheese

Friday lunch
Hess Dinning Hall

Friday dinner
Fried Round Steak, potatoes, broccoli

Saturday Dinner

Sunday Lunch
Houston Food Truck Park {weather permitting}

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Project 52: Week 2014.30

This week my little Bug decided it was fun to stand by the roses, smile and say cheese.  When I asked if he wanted his picture taken he said, "Yes!" and proceeded to keep cheesing.  I just love how he keeps growing and developing!  One night this week my Mom and I went shopping leaving Benjamin and WAC to have man time together.  Winston conquered the playground slide and all three of us went back on Friday so that I could see!  Then we had swing time and Winston was the happiest when all three of us were pumping our legs into the sky side by side!  He went to Monday Funday this week, had a visit from Great Grandparents Johnson, lunched with some of Mommy's work friends, saw Benjamin's parents and every good week has froyo!  A few weeks ago he started calling me "Mommy" and Benjamin "Daddy."  I noticed this week that we have officially moved from Mama and Dada.  He continues to be a little parrot and it is astounding to me how much he already understands.  I look forward to each day as it always holds something new for both of us!

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