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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I recently won a giveaway from Darling Memories, which is owned by my dear friend Becca of The Texas Darlings. Becca put together this video montage of Cooper’s first 10 months as a Christmas card for my family. I love it, and I hope you will, too!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Please contact Becca for all your video needs! She can do virtual Christmas cards, wedding videos, retirement, birthdays, vacations… the list goes on and on! I love our video and I know you would love yours, too.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, Y’ALL!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

11 Months

Dear Cooper,

You are 11 months old! Wow! Just one more month until you turn 1 year old. Mommy is tearing up just thinking about it. You are such a little man!

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I can’t believe how much you have changed in just one month. You still weigh about 21 pounds, and you are wearing 6-12 and some 12-18 month clothes. You still wear size 3 diapers during the day and size 4 diapers at night. However…. you have learned so many new tricks! You are a smart boy!

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You are a pro at pulling up. You “walk” all around the living room, while holding on to the furniture. You pull up onto anything that will hold you, and you are not scared of falling down! Your favorite thing to do these days is go into the living room and pull over your basket full of toys. You will then crawl into the basket and dig out whatever you want to play with.

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You love playing with your Little People Nativity and Santa’s Village. You also love your stuffed Grinch. You love to hug on him in the car. I will say “Cooper, give the Grinch some hugs! Make his heart swell 10x as big!” and you will squeeze Grinch as tight as you can. Your favorite game is splash in the dogs’ water bowl. Papa caught you trying to eat George and JC’s food last weekend!

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Your vocabulary has really expanded this month. In addition to Mama, Dada, Papa, bye, and all done, you can now say ball, do again, and hi. It has been really cold lately, and when I take you outside I say “Brr, Cooper, it’s cold!” When I say that, you say “Brrr! Brrr Mama!”

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You love to wave at people. The other day we were out at a restaurant and you spent a lot of time watching the older boy at the table next to us. Before I knew it, you were blowing him kisses! He was really excited, especially when I told him that was the first time you had ever blown kisses. You do not like giving kisses, but when I ask for kisses, you make a smacking noise with your lips.

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You have such a temper. You want things to be done your way or not at all! (I wonder where you get that from?) Meal times have become especially challenging because you want to feed yourself. When you’ve had enough, you slap the spoon out of my hand and refuse to eat more. You’ve also started smacking people – that is not nice! We’re working hard to learn gentle, loving touches.

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This month you celebrated your first Thanksgiving! You had a blast playing with all your cousins. The whole family celebrated Thanksgiving at Ana’s house, and about 25 of your relatives were there! You were a little overwhelmed but happy to get all the attention.

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You also experienced your first Black Friday! You went shopping with me and your Ana and you did wonderfully. Daddy hopes you don’t inherit my love of shopping! I’ve told him it is inevitable.

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This month has been such an adventure with you. I love watching you as you change and helping you to learn new things. Thank you for bringing so much joy and laughter to my life. I love you so!

Love,

Mommy

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

10 months

Dear Cooper,

I can’t believe another month has passed and now there are just two more months until your birthday. Where has the time gone? I ask myself that every single day. You are changing and growing every single day! When I look at you now, I see a little man and not a baby.

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You are a big boy! You weight about 21 pounds and you are wearing 6-12 and 9-12 month clothes. You are wearing some 12-18 month pants. You are tall like your daddy! You are still wearing size 3 diapers during the day and size 4 diapers at night.

IMG_2193With Mommy at Boo at the Zoo

You still love to eat. You have gotten more and more independent with eating. You don’t want me to feed you anymore – you want to do it yourself! When we eat out, we order you a kids meal. When did you get old enough to eat a kids meal?! You love grilled cheese and cheese quesadillas.

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You are still crawling like a pro, and recently you started pulling up in your crib. When I hear you stirring, I walk into your room and you are already up waiting for me.

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You love to talk – I think you get that from your daddy! In addition to bye, Mama, and Dada, you can also say Papa. Your Ana is very upset that you learned Papa’s name before you learned her name. Every day when you finish your meal, I ask you “all done?” Normally you don’t respond but the other day you said “all done!” before I could even ask you. It is the cutest thing ever! Your daddy and I have been having great fun trying to get you to say that to us over and over.

IMG_2270Riding horses with Daddy at Rocktoberfest

We have done some really fun things this month! We went to a fall festival at a local church. You got to ride a horse! We also went to a pumpkin patch, and you got to sit on a tractor. You went to Boo at the Zoo at the Riverbanks Zoo with your cousins, and we had a great time getting candy and looking at the animals.

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We also went to your first fair! You aren’t quite old enough to ride the rides, but you did enjoy some fair food. You love funnel cakes, just like your mama! We also got to look at the animals, and you got to pet a horse. We had a blast with your Ana!

IMG_2302My Little Lion – Halloween 2010

This month was your first Halloween! You dressed up as a lion and you were super cute. We dressed you up in your costume, took pictures, and went to the mall to walk around. I think your favorite part of the night was the ravioli you ate at Carrabbas!

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I can’t believe how quickly time is passing. I say this every month, but it seems like just yesterday I was getting ready to meet you for the first time. I can clearly remember everything about your entrance into the world, and it makes me a little sad that you are no longer that tiny baby. I’m so glad you are learning and growing but it makes me sad that time is passing so quickly because I just want to soak up all the moments that I can with you. Sweet boy, I love you so much. Please don’t ever change!

Love,

Mommy

Gift Idea: Magnetized Chalkboards

Need a last minute gift idea? This one is perfect for the friend or neighbor who is hard to shop for.

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I already shared how I made my chalkboard weekly menu list, but I wanted to take it a step further and make a magnetized chalkboard to use as a general to-do board.

You’ll need:

  • Some sort of magnetized board. I picked up simple metal signs from Hobby Lobby (mine said “Cowboy” and “Coffee” and were $5.00 with my 40% off coupon). You could also used sheet metal from Lowes.
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Magnets
  • Chalk – I recommend chalk pens.

One of my signs was super slick – I primed that with plastic primer. The other sign already had a rough surface, so I just sprayed the chalkboard paint right on. I used about four coats of chalkboard paint on each sign. Wait about 30 minutes in between each coat, and then dry for 24 hours.

I used Jenn’s method to make the rolled flower magnets.

Easy peasy!

While I was shopping at Hobby Lobby for the signs, I picked up a wooden board that I had no idea what I was going to do with.

I’m so glad I picked up this board.

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Isn’t that true?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tutorial: Glass Etching

Etching is another easy, fun project to do with your Silhouette. It takes about 30 minutes total for any project, and it is truly easy peasy to do.

Sidenote: Dear Silhouette, I am shilling your company left and right. The least you could do it hook me up with some free stuff. Cough cough.

IMG_2797 The plate says: “Cookies made especially for Santa!”

Sidenote: It is hella hard to photograph glass. Excuse my ugly hand and fingerprints all over the glass.

Supplies:

  • Glass of some sort. I picked up glass beverage dispensers when they were on clearance this summer at Target. I also used glass plates on Target (about $2.00 per plate). The Dollar Store has tons of glass plates, bowls, and glasses.
  • Etching cream –>This is a little expensive (10oz or so can run you upwards of $15.00). However, it can be reused. You can find this at any craft store.
  • A vinyl (or some sort of other) stencil

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Start by making your stencil. I used vinyl.

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When you are using vinyl for etching, you’ll want to weed out the portion of vinyl you’d normally leave on the page.  I wanted my W to be etched, so I removed that potion of my vinyl. Leave a good border of vinyl around your design.

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Apply to the glass surface. Be sure to smooth out any and all bubbles, and run your nail along all edges to really make sure it is good and tight against the glass. The etching cream can creep underneath the vinyl easily if you do not have all bubbles out and the edges down tight.

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Apply your etching cream with a paintbrush. Apply a thick layer, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes have passed, use your paintbrush or a squeegee to remove the etching cream. Return it to the bottle – it can be reused.

Head on over to your sink. Rinse off the remaining etching cream, and then wash and dry your glass.

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Isn’t this perfect for a party? Loves it.

Happy Tuesday!

I paid for my Silhouette out of my own cash. I did not receive any freebies, nor have I been asked to endorse this product. However, I am not adverse to being wooed, Silhouette. I will craft for food. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gift Idea: Beverage Tubs

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When I spied these beverage tubs at Target during the summer, I immediately knew I wanted to gift them for Christmas. I could already see them in my head, all gussied up with vinyl. I think this project turned out so cute and I can’t wait to see my female family members’ reaction to their monogrammed tubs.

This is a super easy project if you have access to a Silhouette SD or a Cricut (or if you have a generous friend that will help you out!).

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Start by creating your monogram with your craft cutter’s editing program. I knew I wanted something a little more elaborate than just the letter, so I chose this design for my mother’s tub.

Sidenote: Merry Christmas, Mom! Act surprised!

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Cut out your design.  I’ve found that intricate designs are a pain in the tush to apply to any surface. I seriously spent about 20 minutes trying to get this sucker off the transfer paper and onto my beverage tub. Pain in my butt.

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Viola! Instant cuteness. Can’t you see one of these at your next neighborhood soiree?  Well, not in my neighborhood since my neighbors prefer to engage in unneighborly acts like letting their dog poop in my yard and not cleaning it up…. but maybe you have different neighbors.

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What would you fill your tub with?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It’s The Most Wonderful Time…

Calling all readers! You! Yes, you! I want your opinion at the end of the post. Please? I know you are most likely reading through Google Reader or your phone, but I need your insight. Please, pretty please, click over to my blog and leave a comment? Love you bunches.

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Now that I have a child, Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning. I will always believe that Jesus is the reason for the season, and nothing will ever take that away. However, Christmas is also now about Santa. It’s about stockings, and trees, and glittery ornaments. It’s about lights that blink and glow. It’s about singing songs and dancing around our tree. It’s about baking all day, and sharing the spoils of your baking efforts with friends and neighbors. It’s about braving the craziest of crowds to get a present that someone will love. It’s about parades, pageants, and parties. Most of all, it’s about family, and all the little ways that Christmas brings us together.

Geesh. I’m crying.

Seeing Christmas through my child’s eyes is a unique experience. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see him laugh at his stuffed Grinch. Or to hear him say “no no no” when I say “Cooper, say Ho Ho Ho!” I cried when he saw Santa for the first time. I cried when he watched his first parade. I’m cherishing each and every one of these special moments. Cooper is happy, so I am happy. I want to run and do and stuff as much as possible into this holiday season in an attempt to make it special for him. Doesn’t every parent?

Here’s where you come in. What do you do to make Christmas special for your family? What did your family do, or what do you plan to do for your future children?

Growing up, my parents always let us open one gift on Christmas Eve. It was always Christmas pajamas. Every year we also got a Christmas ornament – something to do with our interests at that time. I also grew up baking with my aunt. She’d make sugar cookie dough, and we’d sit and decorate all day. It was loads of fun!

As I got older, we made a tradition of going to see The Nutcracker, driving around to see the lights, and going to see the lights at the zoo.

I am carrying on the tradition of giving Cooper one gift on Christmas Eve. This year it will be two gifts – pajamas and The Night Before Christmas. We’ll read that book and the Christmas story before bedtime.

I’m also carrying on my mom’s tradition of getting Cooper a Christmas ornament each year. He’ll have tons of ornaments for when he moves out on his own!

This year I stole Laura’s idea of framing our Christmas card, and I also framed Cooper’s  Santa picture. I plan to do that every year and put them out for everyone to see.

Here’s some ideas for next year:

  • I plan to implement the Elf on the Shelf next year as well. Hopefully at that point he’ll “get it” a little more.
  • I’d like to make an advent calendar, and instead of using candy, I want to have scraps of paper listing activities we can do as a family (read a book, watch a movie, go for ice cream, etc).
  • Jenn had the marvelous idea of collecting 25 Christmas books and reading one per day starting December 1st.
  • Shawn does advent boxes with little gifts for her girls to open each day. Genius!
  • I plan to make a special day of putting our Christmas tree(s) up. I’ll make chili and cookies, and we’ll play Christmas movies or music and drink hot chocolate as we decorate.
  • Once Cooper is old enough, I want to take him to see The Nutcracker every year.
  • Jason and I have also discussed taking Cooper somewhere to volunteer once he’s old enough. We’d like to volunteer as a family (not just at Christmas, but more at Christmas) at a soup kitchen.
  • We’re also going to stress giving with him. Next year we’re going to adopt a family to buy gifts for and we’re also going to encourage him to go through his toys to donate to Goodwill before he gets new toys for Christmas.

These are just some ideas I had….

How about you? I want to hear from you! What do you do with your kids? What did you parents do with you that made the holidays special? Please, weigh in!

Tutorial: Painted Monogrammed Plates

I sort of dropped the ball with posting last week. There were presents to be made, cookies to be baked, white elephant gifts to concoct, presents to be wrapped, a house to clean… you get the gist. I’m surprised I remembered to shave my legs. Oh wait… I didn’t.

Shame on me.

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Here’s a super easy, inexpensive project that will cost you less than $15 to make. You will need:

  • Plates –> I used salad plates from Target. I got four plates for $8 – but there are cute white plates at The Dollar Tree (I just couldn’t find any at mine that weren’t chipped).
  • Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint –> You could use paint pens, sure. However, I prefer using porcelain paint. It is safe to eat off of and it is also dishwasher safe. One bottle is $5.00 at Michaels. They also make porcelain paint pens, but unless you are writing, I recommend paint. I tried this project with the pens and ended up tossing the plate.
  • Oven
  • Paint brush
  • Stencil (or you can freehand if you’re talented like that. I’m not.)

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Start by creating a stencil.  I used my Silhouette SD, but you could easily use Microsoft Word to do the same. I prefer to use different fonts on each plate to give it a fun, funky look. You may want to use just one font. Either way is fine!

I used fonts found in Microsoft Word – Bernard, Lucinda Calligraphy, Century, Abadi MT, etc. Just play around with fonts in different sizes into you find something that appeals to you. Print your letters out on thick cardstock and cut, creating your stencil.

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Trace your letter onto your plate with a Sharpie.  The first time I did this, I used a porcelain paint pen, and the color leaked underneath and around the stencil. A Sharpie left crisp lines.

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Shake your porcelain paint well.  I shook, and then used only the paint left in the cap. A little paint goes a long way. Don’t load up your brush. Work with little bits of paint at a time.

Here’s a tip, one I learned from my error: paint from the top down. DO NOT go back over areas you have already painted that are still wet. Your brush will pick up all the paint, leaving you with a bare spot.

Trust me on this, grasshoppers.

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Your first coat will be super streaky. That is ok. 

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Left: 2nd coat and Right: 3rd coat. By your third coat, your letter will look nice, even, and glossy.

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Let your paint dry 24 hours. Then, bake in your oven at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.

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Package it up all pretty (i.e. not like mine) and you have the perfect, personalized gift! I also think this would look great in a plate rack in someone’s kitchen.

Happy Sunday, y’all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gift Idea: Chalkboard Frames

Happy Hump Day! One day closer to the weekend, wahoo!

I’ve got a fun, super easy project for you today. Anyone can do this – and it only cost about $1.50 to make!

IMG_2787 Chalkboard Frames

You will need: frames – 4X6 wooden frames are $1.00 per frame at Michael’s. You can also get these in the craft section at Wal-Mart.

  • Chalkboard paint – I use Krylon spray paint. However, you can use brush on paint if you wish. The spray paint can also be found at Wal-Mart and is $4.00 per can. You can get many, many frames from one can of spray paint.
  • Black spray paint - $1.00 per can for the cheapie, no name spray paint at Wal-Mart.
  • Chalk – splurge and get the chalkboard pens!

Start by spray painting the backs of the frames black. Let it dry thoroughly before you flip over because it will stick to whatever covering you use (again… learn from my mistakes).

Flip to the front and spray an even coat of chalkboard paint. Let dry for about 30 minutes, then do another coat. I did 4 coats total. Let the frames dry for 24 hours.

Once the frames are dry, “cure” by rubbing the entire surface with chalk. Rub off the chalk and clean off your chalk residue.

Personalize how you wish! If you are a parent who does monthly pictures of their child, wouldn’t these frames be cute personalized with the month/date of the picture?

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I made one for each of my extended family members. Aunt Sue, if you are reading, surprise!

I’m linking up to:

What, if anything, have you made with chalkboard paint?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tutorial: Painted Monogrammed Canvas

Hey everyone! Happy Tuesday! Christmas is just creeping closer and closer, isn’t it? So much to do and so little time. (I don’t even have up my tree yet. Please don’t judge me.)

I'm linking up to the painted brush challenge at The CSI Project.

Today’s tutorial is for a painted monogrammed canvas. Let’s just jump right in!

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I made one of these for a family member, but since she reads my blog, I had to make one for myself to show you how it’s done. Yep. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I love this project. Love love love. Not to toot my own horn, but it is my favorite project that I did this weekend. Toot toot!

Kidding. Sort of.

(Let’s not talk about how to had to sit and really think about what year I got married. Then I had to ask the husband and he didn’t know either. Sheesh.)

Supplies:

  • Canvas –> this one is a 11X14, and it’s flat. I much prefer the flat canvas, but you can use whatever you prefer. I got a set of three canvases for $6.00, and I used my 40% off coupon to make it cheaper.
  • Acrylic paint –> at least three colors of your choice.
  • Some sort of stencil
  • Paintbrushes

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Paint your canvas. It started with a coat of brown, and then for the second coat I mixed together champagne (color, not alcohol), gold, and brown to make a lighter metallic color.

Let your canvas dry thoroughly. While it dries, create your stencil.

I used vinyl, but let me warn you – vinyl is a pain in the patootie to use on painted canvas. It does not, will not, simply cannot stick. Period. I’m getting stressed just thinking about the drama that ensued when I tried to apply it to my canvas. You can use it, but the next time I attempt this project I think I will use a freezer paper, an overhead projector, or perhaps just good old cardstock.

I created my design in the Silhouette Studio, but you could easily do this in Word. Print on heavy cardstock and cut with scissors or a exacto knife.

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Don’t make the mistake I made twice. (I never learn.) Not once but two times I painted on the last name before I painted on the initial. Awesome sauce.

Step One: Use your stencil to paint your initial. Use a contrasting color to your base color. IMG_2780

Don’t worry about the mistakes – those easily clean up later.

Wait for your initial to thoroughly dry, and then proceed to the next step.

Step Two: Use your stencil to paint your last name and the year you were married. I used cream for my last name. You’ll want to use your lightest/brightest color for this step.

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Remove your stencil, and clean up any excess paint.

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The finished project!

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Super easy! How about you – what are you working on? Have you made any handmade gifts this Christmas?

I am also linking up to:



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