Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Outsmarting the toddler

Toddlers are stubborn little things sometimes. My days usually consist of trying to stop tantrums in their tracks now. Which basically means tricking him into thinking he's helping or doing things his way.

Some of the ways I've outsmarted him this week include: 

He kept wanting Josh's chips at lunch. But I realized when I actually tried to give him one, not in the bag, he had no interest. So, clearly the allure was eating out of a bag. I took his sandwich that he wouldn't touch and tore it into pieces. I put it in the bag and gave it to him. He was then excited to eat his sandwich. 

His new thing when getting to the car has been to try to run off while I'm carrying Emma or trying to put her carseat in. I started telling him her carseat was soo heavy and asked him to help me carry it. He loves being a big brother so this worked perfectly. He now holds onto the carrier all the way to the car and waits at the door to make sure she's clicked in all the way. No more chasing him or yelling for him to stop. 

I rarely go to Starbucks, but when I do, Ethan always wants my drink. Pretty much anything we're drinking, he wants really. So, I started asking for a cup of water with ice from them and I tell him it's his special drink. He's happy to have a grown up drink and he doesn't get mad that I won't share my coffee. 

Anytime he starts to get fussy while shopping now, I ask him to help. He loves to feel like he's doing something to help out. I'll ask him to help me find things from the cart sometimes. Other times, I let him get out and get items off the shelf and put them in the cart. He loves that best since then he can also help push the cart. Sure, grocery shopping takes a little more time, but there's no tantrums so it's more enjoyable. 

He's gotten a bit more picky with eating. Some days he'll eat great, other days not so much. I've found he eats things that he helped pick out at the store better than things I just throw in without him seeing. I let him grab the apples and bananas and give him a choice between other items.

I also let him help make the food when I can. I'll set him up on the counter and have him sprinkle cheese in or I'll give him the measuring cup of spices to toss in. He loves eating veggies right as I'm cutting them up now. He'll stand there waiting to get some freshly diced peppers or tomatoes. 

Anyone else have tips for how to outsmart their toddler? I'm sure I'll need more ideas since this kid keeps me on my toes. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Latt Hack

Ethan's big Christmas present from us is going to be a table and chairs. I was checking Amazon and most were $100+. Then I remembered seeing a set at Ikea last time we were there so we made a trip out. We picked up the popular Latt table. Only problem, it's pretty boring on it's own. But for only $20, I figured we could make it more fun.

Before: simple, but plain table

I headed off to Pinterest for some ideas. We still had green paint leftover from the bookshelf Josh made so we figured we'd just use that. I decided to stick with the robot theme since Ethan is still a big robot fan.

I used the seat bottom to trace the fabric and then cut it out. I didn't worry too much about perfect lines since the ends would be covered when they slide into the wood. We used spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the top. A lot of people mentioned it didn't fit well with the fabric or they had to cut it down, but it fit fine for us since we didn't fold the fabric over the edge.

We decided to combine a few different ideas we saw. We did a chalkboard table top using the Rustoleum spray paint. Then we added plexiglass on top of the table top and the seat tops (easy to remove). This way if he eats or does other crafts, the chalkboard doesn't get ruined and it's easy to wipe clean. It will also keep the fabric in better condition on the chairs. Bonus: He can use dry erase crayons/markers on the plexi for another work surface.

After: bright colors and chalkboard paint

The bar and orange/green buckets were from Ikea also. They'll hold his chalk, markers, crayons, and paint. I like that I can easily remove all of it when he's not using the table so there's less chance of writing on the wall. We were going to attach a roll of easel paper, but I felt like it would get in the way, so instead I bought a Crayola easel paper pad. The sheets are pretty much the perfect size for the tabletop and half the cost of the Melissa and Doug pad.

After: robot chairs with plexi

I LOVE how it turned out! Josh did a great job painting it and putting it all together. I can't wait til he gets up Christmas morning and sees this. He loves sitting in chairs his size and each trip to Ikea, he runs right up to the table and sits down.

It ended up costing probably around $75 after all materials so it wasn't super cheap, but it was still less than any I saw elsewhere and it's got more features and it's personalized. The highest cost was the plexiglass so you could save around $20 by skipping that. If you do decide to do the plexi, go to Lowes. They'll cut it to size for you, Home Depot said they wouldn't cut it for us.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Unicorn Princess Nursery

We finally finished our last DIY item for little Emma's room. With 2 under 2 and a husband doing his MBA, everything takes way longer than it should. But, now her room is finally complete! Just in time for her to move up to her crib since she's just about outgrowing her bassinet.

This post will be very picture heavy. I *think* I may have gone just a bit overboard when doing her room. But, Ethan's was so much fun that hers had to match and well, it's the room I would have loved to have as a kid. It's totally girly, fun, bright, and unique. I bounced around a ton of different ideas, then I found the unicorn fabric and knew I found the right theme. I mixed in chevrons, polka dots, and hearts to keep it from being too unicorn themed.

The view walking in. I smile every time I open the door.
Emma's door sign from her great aunt Betty.
Since we couldn't paint the room, I had to do lots of color elsewhere. This vinyl decal was an amazing custom design from WallDecalSource. I messaged them and we combined 3 of their designs to come up with this. I LOVE how it turned out and they were great to work with. 
The glider is the same one we recovered for Ethan's room. My mom saved the pattern and made me another set of slipcovers with the chevron print. I added the pom poms over it to give her something to look at while nursing. 
My mom made the pennant banner and my husband helped with the bow holders (I'll post the before/after in another post). I found the unicorn seat at Marshall's on clearance and the toy bin at Home Goods. This is my fave part of the room. 
The pennant sign was made by Christa's Creations, playroom sign from HomeGoods. We used furniture we already had.
My mom made the cover and diaper stack and we got the toy baskets from Big Lots
My husband helped me make the lamps. The prayer canvas was from Mager Dreams. The pink mask we bought in Venice a few years ago and the birdcage I've had for about 6 years waiting for the right space. My mom made the runner and valance. 
I adore this unicorn print from HRushtonArt. It's so beautiful in person with a little glitter in spots. They also have an amazing book with their prints that I soo want. The Emma hanging rack was a gift from my Aunt Sheila. Amazon had the hamper and the awesome unicorn towel.
The amazing quilt my mom made. She is so so talented. The other side is the unicorn print.
My mom also handmade the unicorns for the mobile. Adorable. Emma loves babbling up at them.
This area just makes me happy. We bought the dresser used and it was a light pink/gray combo. Josh and his dad re-painted it and added a hanging bar for me. This is her dresser for all the "fancy" clothes. The unicorn stand I bought a few years ago, but we painted it purple and added glitter spray paint. I keep her fancier bows on there. The princess bin holds the elastic to mix and match the plain bows. 
Her ridiculous shoe collection. 
Drawers hold her hats, cardigans, bloomers, and baby leggings.
Cold weather gear, towels, and blankets are kept in the closet. This stuff goes up to 24mos since I buy ahead of time when I see a good deal. 
Another view of the crib/glider. And a ridiculously giant stuffed unicorn. 
My mom did all the bedding. I have an extra sheet (and changing pad cover) in the pink polka dot. My talented friend, Ebeliz, made the unicorn lovie.

We added battery powered LED lights to the birdcage as a nightlight. 

Yup, I totally went a overboard in her room, but I absolutely love it. So all the work was worth it. I still love Ethan's room after almost 2 years and I'm sure I'll feel the same about hers. Ethan loves his room (robot was one of his first words), I hope she loves hers. A lot of love went into making everything. Once again, a HUGE thank you goes out to my amazingly talented mama for making so much in here! Without her, there's no way either of them would have such awesome rooms. I reused a lot of items that I already owned throughout the room, just added some spray paint when needed. 

Images by Freepik