Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat 2011

Tonight was Trick or Treat (TOT) in our city, so we of course got all dressed up (and bundled up) and headed out to get some loot!

Max went as a pirate again this year for two reasons.  One:  he kept telling everyone who asked that he was going as a pirate.  Two:  I did not have my stuff together enough to make the other costume I had planned for him.  There is always next year.  Sam went as a dog -- which would have been the part he would have played if my idea had come to fruition.  I'm sure he won't mind wearing it again next year because he was SO STOKED that he got to be a 'pup-pup'.  When I first showed him the costume he threw it on the floor and snuggled up on it (it is super soft) and rolled around exclaiming "Woof Woof!  Bark Bark!"  I know he doesn't look very excited in the above picture, but take my word for it that he was loving it.

Doesn't he look so SUPER snuggly!??

Someone throw this poor dog a bone!  Seriously.  Don't you just want to grab him and snuggle him??

We had some friends join us this year -- Max's friends John, Ryan and Nina.  It was SO much better TOTing with friends.  Especially for lil Max who ran from door to door with John yelling "Trick or Treat!  ARRRR!!"

We tried to get Sam and Ryan, the two dogs, to stand together for a photo...They weren't really into standing still for long though...

Nina climbed into the wagon when she got tired and she and Sam were wagon buddies and just passed candy back and forth from one basket to the other to pass the time.  It was super cute.

The New Digs Part 5: the Bedrooms

Our new house has 4 bedrooms -- all upstairs -- which is absolutely wonderful.  We had 3 upstairs bedrooms at the old house, which worked just fine for our family of four, but we really wanted to have a guest room.  So, one of the criteria when we were looking for new houses was that it had to have a minimum of 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  We got exactly what we wanted with our new house!

But, as you'll see in the pictures, the added bonus with our new house is just how BIG the bedrooms are -- and how much closet space each room has.  I'm telling you -- I am only using HALF of the closet space in every room (with the exception of the Master Bedroom...a girl's gotta have enough clothes...).  I know with two growing boys that the space will get filled up soon enough, but for now it's nice to see EMPTY space.

This is little Max's room.  We put up the top bunk and he is in love with his bunk beds.  He will proudly announce to anyone that stops by that he can climb to the top all by himself but that he can't sleep there until he is 6 or 7.  The color on the walls is Sherwin Williams Krypton.  The comforter on the bottom bunk is a vintage Star Wars comforter hand sewn by my awesome MIL.  They sell the same thing on Pottery Barn, but mine is best of all because it was made with LOVE.  I still need to install actual curtain rods (instead of using these cafe rods) for the curtains.  Room darkening/thermal panels from Target -- only $9.99 each!

Max has two full sized (or should I say ginormous sized) closets -- these things are super wide and super deep.  The one on the left has a closet organizing system in it -- but it has to be repaired.  We also need to get an electrician in to get the ceilings wired for light fixtures -- I am not a fan of lamps only in kids rooms.

The 'reading' nook.  We need to get a new dresser eventually (this one is falling apart).  On top you can see Max's turtle star maker and his rainbow maker.  Both are essential for a good night's sleep.

Next up is Sam's room.  Not much has changed in here (other than the size of the room as opposed to the old house).  We used the same color Serene Stream (Pittsburgh Paints).

Sam's windows overlook the backyard and every morning when he wakes up we greet the sunrise and the birds, and every night we say good night to the birds as well.

Sam only has one closet in his room but it is wider than the closets in Max's room so I would almost consider it a 1.5 sized closet.

I love the way his room is set up -- it is so comfy and yet still leaves a big area for play time.  The dresser/changing table is the same one we used for Max (as is the crib) -- another hand-me-down from my used to be my brother's dresser/changing table.  It has a LOT of sentimental value to me, and I am happy that both boys got to use it.  Thanks Mom and Dad!!

This is the view of the upstairs hallway right when you get to the top of the stairs.  The 4th bedroom (closed door) is on the right.  Sam's bedroom is straight ahead and Max's is to the right of that.  The door on the immediate left is the upstairs bathroom (full shower over tub and two sinks and linen closet).  Behind me is the Master Suite.  The hallway is super wide and there is a good sized linen closet out here too! 

So there you have it!  McCasa Duex!  LOL!  Hope you enjoyed the 'tour'.  I'm looking forward to updating the blog with progress on the house/rooms as we go!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Product Review: Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions

I'm a BzzAgent, and when I was recently given the opportunity to sample and review the Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions line, I was ECSTATIC!!

I LOVE the Burt's Bees product lines -- I've been using their lip balm for YEARS, but I'd never tried their skin care line, so this was the perfect introduction. 

Do you have sensitive skin??  This skin care line is specially formulated to be a gentle and effective way to cleanse, moisturize and care for  sensitive skin.  Also (and hugely important to me) it is also one with ingredients from nature!!!  The products are infused with cotton, rice and aloe and they leave your skin hydrated, shielded from potential irritants and help replenish your skin's outer layer -- without leaving your skin itchy, red, or irritated (what commonly happens to mine because my skin is so sensitive). 

I got to review the facial cleanser and daily moisturizer, but there are four products in total in this new line – Sensitive Facial Cleanser, Sensitive Daily Moisturizer, Sensitive Eye Cream, and Sensitive Night Cream.  The best part about these products is that they can be found right at your local store (Walmart, Target, etc) and they range in price from $9.99-14.99. 

My skin has been so clear and smooth since I started using these products.  I still occasionally rotate my Aveda products into my nightly routine, but I really love how moisturizing the daily moisturizer is -- especially with the dry winter weather coming, this is something I think I will continue to buy.

Want to discover more about Burt's Bees®? Head to to find a complete product list (for your whole body), special offers, and information about the ways Burt's Bees is looking out for our planet.

** Disclaimer:  I am a BzzAgent and therefore received free samples and coupons for this product. ***

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The New Digs Part 4: The Master Bedroom Suite

After climbing the stairs to the second level of our home, the Master Suite greets you almost immediately.  This is the room I probably put the most thought into of all the rooms thus far....helped out by my Pinterest board and several other ideas I found on the internets...

The walls were painted in Amazing Gray by Sherwin Williams -- I was going for a 'mourning dove gray' and this one hit the nail on the head.  It is a light brown gray, and I am in LOVE with it.  I especially love it on warm sunny days (like the one when I took these photos).

The duvet is from West Elm (the color was a little different than I was anticipating, but for the price that I got it, I am cool with even calling it my 'back up duvet' if/when I ever find a substitute).  The bedskirt is from Target.  The fabric I used for the headboard squares is also from West Elm -- I purchased some Euro Shams that I decided not to use, so I just cut them up and used the fabric for the headboard.  If you don't remember the big headboard remodel, you have to check it out.  See those lamps?  Yeah.  We'll talk about those later...

The windows are currently covered with greenish teal aluminum blinds.  They are functional for now, but I have an idea to transform them using THIS FABRIC.  I can't wait!

Here's another view of the bedroom from a different angle so you can grasp just how ginormous this room is.  Seriously, it runs the ENTIRE WIDTH of our house.  I am LOVING the space...I just don't have enough furniture to fill it!! (I can remedy that one pretty easily, however).

Those darn lamps again!  I plan to use the same FABRIC as I will for the roman shades and re-cover them.  I found them at Marshall's for $10/each!  You can't buy a lamp shade alone for that price!  I am debating whether or not to leave them the color they are, or to spray paint them a light teal.   You can really see the color in the duvet in that above picture.  They marketed it as a Dandelion duvet...I think that is more 'split pea soup' personally....

I also think something like THIS would look really nice in that empty corner...

The bedroom opens up to a large closet/dressing/vanity area.  Gotta love the half wall with the stripper poles too.  Bummer they are only half-poles...  Our plan is to bump the master bathroom out to the edge of that half wall, and then on the other side, gut down to the studs and put in a large walk-in master closet (with his and hers sides...or is that hers and hers sides??)...

edited to add:  to the right of the half wall and half-poles is the master bathroom.  To the left is the closet area.

Here is the Master Bathroom....not much master to it.  It is about as small as our last master bathroom, so at least we are used to the close quarters.  It also has a blue sink and toliet...we had that in our old house as well...I thought we were escaping the blue bathroom fixtures....I guess not.  There is a shower stall behind the door that is just white porcelain tile (thank GOD it is not blue also).

I have to say that the floor in here is pretty cool.  I think it is lineoleum and not actually tile.  It would've been neat to try to incorporate/save it when we remodel, but I don't think that will be possible...

Here's another view of the closet/dressing area/vanity.  I should go buy myself a paisley stool and set up all my makeup and do my hair here every morning, don't you think?  HA!  That's IF I even DID my hair....

This room is so great.  I am in love with it!!  It is an awesome size and I really love the new color.  I can't wait to fill it with more exciting stuff!  So, there you  have it -- my brain dump on the Master Bedroom.  If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking with me!  We still have 3 more bedrooms and one more  bathroom to go.  I'll spare you the basement since there is nothing there right now except for boxes...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The New Digs Part 3: Kitchen and Family Room

Moving right up is the kitchen and the family room

Here is the lovely kitchen (don't mind all the safety locks...unlike Max, Sam won't leave our stuff alone...little stinker).  It has wonderful granite counter tops, new cabinet faces, even anti-slam drawers (if you have never seen these you MUST try them out...they are the coolest thing since sliced bread!). 

I have to admit, I was really worried about cabinet space in this kitchen compared to my old kitchen, so I had already prepared myself for possibly having to store some of the larger lesser-used kitchen items in the basement.  Imagine my surprise when ALL OF IT FIT...and I STILL HAD ROOM TO SPARE!  Color me happy!!

See that cabinet on the upper right by the clock?  I didn't even know it existed until a few weeks ago.  SCORE!

You can't really see from these pictures but there is also a closet pantry on the other side of the refrigerator.  It is so nice to have that extra storage for food!  And, one funny note about that pantry is that there was a clothes chute in the Master Bedroom that dumped right into the top of the pantry!  We closed it up before we had new carpet installed.  Talk about a strange place to put your dirty clothes though!

I have to admit, I am not the biggest fan of the layout of this kitchen.  However, it is completely functional, so it will be staying this way until we either win the lottery or come across a large sum of money to remodel.  When that time happens, I will likely move the granite counter tops into the basement to make into a bar area down there. 

The main things I dislike about the kitchen are the cabinets hanging over the peninsula and the fact that the flow in this kitchen dead-ends into the sink.  If I had to re-do this kitchen, I would extend the cabinets closer to the patio door, remove the hanging cabinets and the peninsula and then have a square island in the center of the kitchen...

This picture is outdated already because we recently purchased a new dinette set for eat-in part of the kitchen that is smaller than our dining room table (note: this is the SAME dining room table I grew up eating on!!  I LOVE being able to re-use has so much sentimental value in it!)  We moved this table into the dining room, and I am LOVING it.  The dinette set is smaller, so it fits this space much better.  I'll try to take updated pictures.  :)

Overall, the kitchen is not a bad space.  It housed the 30+ people at our house for the Packer Party on Sunday just fine.  Obviously, there are some things we will be updating more immediately -- like the light fixtures and some of the beautiful oak molding (and the patio doors).

That ceiling fan has to go.  It's not even centered on the eating area!!

Adjacent to the kitchen is the family room.  It is a nice sized room that all of our furniture fits perfectly in.  Note the entertainment center...that is where I would like to put a hole in the wall.  ;)

The carpet in this room is super SUPER plush.  I love walking on it in my bare feet and squishing into it.    I haven't painted this room yet because I can't decide on a color.  My idea right now is to pick a lighter blue/gray to pull out some of the color in the field stone by the fireplace.  I think I am going to keep the bead-board and just re-paint it a more glossy white.  I think I will also repaint the ceiling beams that same glossy white for now...

The window treatments are heavy duty wood blinds in white.  I don't mind them, they are actually very good quality.

The fireplace is really beautiful.  Max tells me me need to have doors installed so it isn't a huge energy/heat suckage when we use it, although I think it looks really nice the way it is... It does need to be cleaned though (clearly, LOL).

Max is so excited that his cozy chair is back in commission.  That chair moved around the old house so many times, and it never had a real good home where it was functional.  It really is a cozy chair, so we are all happy to be able to enjoy it.

So, you've seen the whole downstairs of the house now!  I'll try to get some pictures edited and posted of the bedrooms next.  :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The New Digs Part 2: Dining Room, Foyer and Living Room (Playroom)

Next up, the Dining room, foyer and living room (which is being used as a playroom right now). As you can see, we don't have enough furniture to fill up this house...but that's ok for now...

The dining room has been a catch-all for a lot of the things that have been unpacked and just don't have a place to go.  You can see there is no light fixture in here (the one exclusion of the seller's which was OK with us), so that will have to be replaced soon.  I also would like to paint in here, but I just haven't decided on a color.  Do you like my folding table, i.e. dining room table?  I had a crafting party here a few weekends ago, and we used this as the crafting headquarters.  Since we are having a large Packer party for the Packer/Viking game tomorrow, I am keeping it up for now. 

The dining room has two doors -- one to the kitchen and another to the foyer.  The door to the kitchen has an actual door on it, and we've installed a gate leading to the foyer, so this is also a kid free room for the time being (except that little Max knows how to get into this room and does so frequently to get his vacuum so he can vacuum after meal times).  We had originally thought to take the door down, but once we realized it helped us in terms of kid proofing the house, we decided to keep it up for a little bit longer :).

Here is the front foyer.  You can see the entrance to the dining room and the stairs that lead to the second floor.  We'll need to replace the front door (drafty and not in the greatest condition).  I also would like to eventually replace this wallpaper (not really my style).  But, that is going to be a large project seeing as it goes up to the second floor on the staircase I am putting it off for the time being.

The view of the foyer leading into the kitchen.  Here you can see the shutter doors that close off the kitchen to the foyer/front of the house.  Again, as with the dining room door, we had originally thought we would remove these doors, but they are proving to be very handy in terms of keeping kids (and pets) out of certain areas of the house.  So, removal will happen later...

Another view into the dinette area of the kitchen from the front foyer.

This is the first room to your right when you enter the house from the front door.  The 'formal' living room.  If you know me, you know I am far from formal, so this room will likely never serve that purpose.  I do have paint picked out for this room, I just need to find the time to paint it.  And, right now it is serving as the catch all for the kids PLETHORA of toys (holy cow do we have a lot -- please NO MORE TOYS!!).

The windows in this room are gorgeous and LOW.  The boys just LOVE sitting on the window ledge (often crawling behind that table and using it as a little desk).

Here's the full view of the room.  Max and I disagree, but I would like to eventually put french doors in the wall where the entertainment center is currently to open this room to the family room in the back of the house.  I think it would give the house a more open feel.  Max disagrees because it would take away the wall on which his TV is stationed.  Again, it is not an immediate project, but one that I am definitely keeping in the back of my head.

Toys, toys and more toys.  These boys are spoiled.  :)

The view looking from the back of the room towards the foyer.  I love these bookshelves/cubbies.  They used to be out in the extension at the old house, and they are the perfect size for storing totes and toys.  I had originally bought them to be a part of my office set (they matched my desk), but they were too impractical to use as bookshelves (because the shelves are so deep), so this is the perfect repurpose.

Hope you enjoyed part 2 of the tour!  I should have kitchen/family room pictures tomorrow!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The New Digs Part 1: Mudroom and Powder Room

So, I guess I have been a bit remiss by not posting pictures of the new house before least, that is what several people have been telling me.... ahem ahem (you know who you are).

So, I took some pictures this afternoon while it was nice and sunny out and the kids were asleep.  My ILs are here right now, so I am hoping that will buy me some time to edit and post the pictures.  So, hopefully, I'll get you pictures of the whole house by the week's end (hey, I don't like to make promises I can't you might be pleasantly surprised if I finish early).

In the meantime, to keep those of you that have been oh so patiently waiting happy, here is the first of the New House series of posts. So, here you go.  I'll start with the mudroom and powder room.  Enjoy (and please don't judge the mess, we've only been 'moved in' for just over a month). 

 Laundry room/mudroom.  We need to replace the laundry tub.  We also need to figure out the spacing issue between the side counters and the washer and dryer.  There is some awkward space that needs to be addressed.  We don't really foresee the need to use the door here that leads out into the backyard (for the time being) so for now the dog bowls of water are blocking it. 

Here's another view so you can appreciate the awkward spaces I referenced before.  Again, sorry for the mess.  The left counter is serving as our organization counter with our in/out trays and we have our organizer hanging on the wall where we store our keys, etc.  Working good so far.

The other side of the mudroom has a large closet.  As you can see, there is a mish mash of stuff in here for now.  Most importantly, it is holding the hats/mittens/snow pants/backpacks for the family.  It is a good store all.  We do have another mudroom in the garage (I'll show pictures of that once big Max is done hanging the large wall shelf he built for me...awwww..isn't he sweet??)  That mudroom is for all of our shoes.

Front hallway.  This is the view into the house when you are standing in the mudroom.  You can see from one side of the house to the other, which is nice.  Aren't these floors cool??  They are pine, so unfortunately they dent pretty easily, but they are so uncommon that we have really fallen in love with the color and everything about them.  They kind of add a nice 'different look' to the house.

Downstairs bathroom/powder room.  I haven't done much to this room yet.  I would like to do something to the vanity cupboards.  The granite counter tops are super nice in here, and I already like the feel this bathroom has.  I might change out the mirror in the future and the light fixture (not a huge fan).  The 'valance' (which is stapled onto the wood moulding) is also going to be going.  :) 

Another view of the granite counter tops that are SOOOO beautiful.  I've gotta say that I've always loved the LOOK of granite, but was never so certain I'd want it for my own house (at least right now with little kids in the house), but now that I have it in two of my bathrooms and the kitchen, I am really starting to fall in love with it.  And, I've started making my own granite cleaner -- which I will share the recipe for in a later post -- which makes cleaning the granite CHEAP and FUN.  If you know me, you know that makes me UBER happy.  :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

More Maxisms

Little Max had some really funny moments this weekend, ones that I want to remember, so I figured I'd share them on here.

"When I'm 18...."
Preface:  big Max has been telling little Max that when he turns 18, he is going to have to move out of the house.  This makes little Max sad, so I have been telling him that when he gets to move out, he can get his own house, and have his own toys and it will be fun...

Our neighbors from the old house joined us for dinner Sunday night.  All of a sudden, during the middle of dinner, little Max turns to them and announces "When I turn 18, I am going to move out and get my own house.  Also, I will get my own children when I'm eighteen."  We all just about died trying not to laugh or fall off our chairs...  When asked how many children he was going to "get" he informed us that he would like "twenty children"  (thank goodness he didn't ask HOW to get those children...although we might have to have a talk about having kids so young...)

"What are those things called anyways?"
Sunday night after dinner, both boys were in the bathtub.  I handed Max his washcloth and asked him to start scrubbing up.  We went over the parts to scrub...behind the ears, between the toes, in his armpits....  After getting those parts done he exclaims "and now for my LEG PITS!"  LOL. I don't really know what those are called anyways, so I guess that makes perfect sense!

Have I mentioned how much I love this age?  It ROCKS.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A day at the park

We're trying to make the most of this weather before it leaves us, so today we packed a picnic dinner and went to the 'old park' by the 'old house'.  The kids had a ton of fun playing in the leaves, enjoying the sunshine and having a 'picky-nic'.  It was the perfect way to forget our troubles and just hang out and enjoy each other's company...  And, of course, I planned ahead and brought the camera...  :)

Sam studies the leaves...

I want his eyelashes....seriously.

My little tree hugger.  Isn't he cute?

Max just being plain silly.  I love his eyes.  Seriously.

Practicing jumping...The kid can get some air!