Sunday, October 05, 2014

Baby gift 6/7

Winding down on all the baby gifts! Just one left after this one -- the hardest to complete, of course

This gift is for BT's sister. She and her husband have a claim to fame. A couple of years ago, they were on the show Wipeout. At the time, they were parents to 5 kids, but you would never guess that based on their energy and Katie's flat tummy. The show hosts capitalized on their incredible talent for making babies, and donned them with the nickname The Baby Makers. Here is the Wikipedia write up about the episode they were on. They did really well -- like, so well I overheard at least two conversations involving strangers talking about a couple who kicked ass on Wipeout after the show aired. I proudly interrupted to say that they were my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

This was not Katie and Eric's first time on a game show. Each had previously made it to contestant's row on The Price is Right. I was at the show Katie was on, and she announced her 3rd (I think) pregnancy there. They also were recently on Wheel of Fortune. A dream show they still want to try out for is Shark Tank. You can imagine they have a lot of ideas for baby products raising 6 kids. I had saved the gag box (first picture), purchased at Target after Christmas on clearance, for Katie and Eric. I was having a mental block about what to buy and/or make for them when I ran into Target's current display of products that were featured on the show Shark Tank. There were two baby oriented products -- a sippy cup with a weighted straw and a small lightweight take anywhere blanket. So serendipitous! Wish I could be there when they see the joke box. Hope they make it to Shark Tank one day :)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Back to School Get Together

So you remember I alluded to some uneasiness on the first day of kindergarten.

I still don't want to go through all the ins and outs of it, but suffice it to say that we ended up in a class that has a permanent sub assigned until February. Only one other kid from Hank's T-K class is in his kindergarten class, and the remaining distribution seems a bit skewed towards certain teachers. Despite a letter going out from the principal last school year letting parents know they should not bother writing a letter to indicate class preference, I feel like I missed a secret memo about the placement process.

I spent a couple of days fretting, but have since come to terms with everything. The sub taught for an extended amount of time at the school last year as well (albeit at a higher grade). She is very nice and enthusiastic, and Hank likes her a lot. She is getting up to speed with all of the extra activities at the school. She let me know that most of the families in the class are new to the school, and that nobody had approached her (except me) to find out about room parent duties.

So -- what does that mean? I don't think I can do all that is required of the room parents at our school, but I can help get info out about extra activities, plan a class holiday party, and put together something nice for Teacher Appreciation Week. And -- I can help the new parents feel more comfortable at the school. We were fortunate last year to have a good percentage of families who are involved with PTA activities in our class last year, including the PTA president. They are all super friendly and down to earth, and always appreciative for anything we participate in -- Trunk or Treat, bake sales, Jog-a-Thon, etc.

We hosted a get together this past Friday night at Chuck E. Cheese for Hank's kindergarten class. I think 11 families showed up, about a third of the class, which was great. It was cool, as even the young, shy moms came up to ask -- how do I get involved at the school? Especially nowadays, it seems we all want to be part of our kids' schooling. People want to feel part of a community, as evidenced by the parents waiting at the gates after school, versus sitting in the car to wait for their kid. There were a good number of families at the get together that use the same after school program as us. We are not often there at the gate, but again want to get to know each other, and be a part of things as much as we can. So, yeah -- still not sure the extent of my involvement with the class this year, but now know 11 more families to connect with :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Baby gift 5/7

Another baby gift -- this one for a cousin who is married to a guy who plays in a rock band

The onesie is left over from waaaay back when. It was embellished with an iron-on rhinestone guitar.

The star baby legwarmers were another, more recent dollar store score. The book and pacifier were from the gift bin.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bake sale goodies

The first school bake sale of the year -- I made Frankenstein Rice Krispie treats.

I was told they sold quickly!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Baby gift 4/7

Another baby gift for a cousin's new baby

My cousin, TJ, has to be the biggest Iowa State fan in the country. He keeps us updated on every game, every random factoid -- basically everything there is to know about the Cyclones.

The booties took their time to get here. The first pair was stolen off our porch. The second pair made a one month trek around the country, moving further away from California week by week. But, they finally got here, and -- paired with a cute book -- make for a cute gift to welcome the littlest Cyclone fan to her family.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Baby gift 3/7

The 3rd baby gift in my series of 7 is for a dear blog friend.

Shanna, the author behind the blog Pink Trees, and I are still buddies on Facebook even though she is no longer blogging. Shanna sent me sooo many good things over the years -- a search of her name on my blog reminded me of treasured items in my craft room that I see every day, including this sweet little quilt and sewing supply bag. Another memorable gift was this one sent for baby Hank.

I was thrilled to see Shanna's pregnancy announcement on Facebook, and immediately thought that I would have the chance to repay the kindness she extended to me when Hank was born.

I had bought this circus themed panel through Spoonflower some time ago. I think I saw the soft book promoted on a blog, but expanding to the entire yard revealed way more circus goodness to cut and sew! I hadn't bought the panel for anybody in particular, but knew it would be a gift. Over the years, I stashed away other circus-y items, including a cute retro lion onesie from Crazy 8, some stroller toys, and a pair of striped Babylegs. At some point, I had even cut out the pieces, which helped get me going on this project, but admittedly the package took several months to complete. I do not sew as quickly or as well as I used to...

I made all of the elements that came with the panel, including the book, two bibs, a strong man, a lion pillow (I added a wipes package to make it crinkle), and I used the circle elements to make a cute mobile. I really liked how this piece came out!

One thing I was a little disappointed with was the strong man. It was so hard to squeeze his long arms and legs into the body cavity to sew him closed. When I turned him right side out -- it was a hot mess. I almost threw him away, but he was such a key element, I had to salvage him. Unfortunately this meant sewing him together with a visible blanket stitch. Ah well.

One final element to the gift was to take a package of socks and ball up each one individually to look like popcorn, and put them in a dollar store popcorn container. Oh -- and I put together a little gift for big brother Jerrett, and threw in a couple of hooded towels that Everett had {sniff} outgrown.

As I was wrapping the gift, I noticed the elephant toy was named Eli-- the same as Shanna's little boy! Guess this gift was meant to go to him :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Boys' Room - Take 4

As mentioned, there are several rooms of our house that have not received even a paint job. Then, there are others, such as the boy's room, that has received a makeover 4 times.

First as Hank's nursery

Then his big boy room

A few changes to accommodate Everett

And now a shared room for them.

As noted, I bought the bunkbeds through I was happy to find a modern style without a modern pricetag. The other good thing -- storage!! Love the shelves in the back to accommodate board books for Everett, and all of Hank's bits and bobs.

The inspiration for the room was this large octopus picture purchased from HomeGoods. I then loosely went with a nautical theme but, since this isn't a Pottery Barn Kids catalog, allowed for all of the stuff we already had that was not nautical themed to stay. And be ok with that. Also shown in this pic -- large puzzles will hopefully get more use if they are out on display versus crammed in the closet. The boys' photo albums are also more accessible. Everett's wooden boat from his 1st birthday party was mounted on a dowel. Hank is a super prolific artist -- luckily dada brought him thousands of outdated one-sided forms from work, and this box holds that paper.

Our Ikea spice rack bookshelves were re-mounted. Below this is an open canvas bin with Duplos.

The biggest boy in the house got his wish to have a Lego building center! The base plates are not mounted to the desk, but intended to hold Lego creations.

This desk used to house miscellaneous toys, but is now stuffed with a box holding bulk smaller Legos, one holding sets in bags, and various carrying cases with projects in process.

On the wall are two Lego "pictures" made using this website. You design whatever you want, or if you nab a design, it tells you which pieces you need to order. Pretty cool.

Below these pictures is a bin for holding blankets (Target) and canvas bins for holding comics and magazines (Walmart).

Up top -- An enclosed fan. Have you seen these? Luckily I had a conversation with a friend about our dilemma in needing to take down the ceiling fan that was in here, since it basically would have been at scalp level when Hank was climbing into bed. The friend mentioned seeing these enclosed fans at Lowes. I had never seen them or heard of them, but was so glad we had that conversation! The fan is almost the same output as the original, low profile, and safe from danger-seeking boys.

Hank styled his own shelves. Don't you love the pillow??

Here is Everett's space (and pillow).

Remember Everett's picture? I added a set of better powered LED lights to some of the stars, so now it functions as a nightlight.

Under the bed -- tons of storage! The two bins on the right are rolling underbed boxes. The two on the left are shorter crates (they were under the crib). Behind them are milk crates with diapers and wipes.

On the wall next to the bed, a Modern Moose clock, our puppet collection, and stuffed animals. I had a hard time finding a way to mount the puppets, but ended up just using long coat hooks from Target's dorm collection.

Final wall

Aren't the hooks cute? They were a random Walmart find.

Hope this set up stays in place a little longer than the previous versions!