Thanks so much for being patient with the unusually quiet blog space over here recently. But I have exciting and good news to share! It’s still a little bit of a work in progress but it’s far enough along that I can share with all of you. My Life at Playtime has officially moved. My new blog can be found now at www.mylifeatplaytime.com, pretty simple huh? All the archives of previous blog posts have been carried over, and there’s a search tab there that you can use if you have a keyword you’d like to search. I’m so excited I could burst! I have been thinking of doing this for a few years but the task seemed a little daunting. I took my time and learned most of it myself. The only thing I still have to figure out is subscribing to the blog. I have about 75 of you that like to receive an email every time I create a new post, and the RSS feed is set up but I have to add the option for subscribers. That’ll take me a bit longer. I also need to add some new photos to my ‘About’ page, but they’re on their way and should be completed by the weekend. But head on over and check it out! This space will now be quiet and no longer have new posts featured on it. It’s been fun, but I’m ready for some new fun, so I hope you all join me!
I’ve been meaning to put this post together for days and possibly a couple weeks. But we are still recovering in this house from life. No illnesses thank goodness. But I had gum surgery on Thursday and it’s not fun let me tell you. But I won’t sicken you with my gum surgery tale, I saved that for my Instagram followers.
On to Greta’s little wall makeover! I have been trying to talk her into letting go of her play kitchen for awhile now. The height of her kitchen food making playfulness was about 3 years old. So from 2-4 years of age it got some nice play time. But since then it has become more of a toy for other children when they come to visit. And it takes up a whole lot of space in her already packed room. Between her doll house, doll cradle, doll stroller, barbie collection, lalaloopsy collection, book case, nightstands, jewelry collection, dress up baskets. There’s a lot going on in this room of hers. So she gave me the okay a few weeks ago and while she was at a movie with her daddy I went right to work and moved the kitchen out. She didn’t blink an eye when she returned and we started plans of what would adorn the wall instead. She was on board.
I knew I wanted to spend close to no money on this since I feel like every few years we rearrange the kids room and change the room to fit their needs. I love love love me some pinterest so I went to my boards for inspiration. I kept coming back to shelving. Shelving out of common items you wouldn’t normally think to use.
I picked up this half hanging planter from my local nursery for around $12, and I knew I wanted to spray paint it with a green color, so I picked up a can in the right color for $5.
Next we had some of these wooden wine crates. Aaron has been saving them for me to use as a future planter project I have in mind for the backyard. But we can always get more, so he was fine with me taking two. We get them from our local wine/grocery store, for free. Yep, there’s always a few laying around where they are trying to get rid of them, so we happily take them off their hands. I had some white spray paint and then purchased a fun yellow can as well. Here’s the shelf before and then after a coat of white for the inside. (btw I use rustoleum for all my spray paint)
I’m going to try my best to explain how I did the spray paint different colors for the interior and exterior of the boxes. First I decided on my colors. I knew I wanted one box to be white on the inside with yellow on the outside, and then the other box I wanted opposite (yellow-inside, white-outside). Then I went to work on the inside, I made sure to do all the interior sides and the little lip on the exterior. I used maybe 1-2 coats and I wanted it a little rustic looking so I wasn’t very careful about coverage. Then I flipped the box over so it was laying face down, that way when I sprayed all the exterior sides it didn’t touch the interior color at all. Does this make sense? This was the easiest way for me to avoid using tape or having to go back to touch up the interior.
I also used a wire basket we already owned for the wall in addition to the planter and two wine boxes. So at this point we are at $12- planter, $5-spray paint can yellow, $5-spray paint can green, for a grand total of $22 plus tax. Everything on the inside we had or made ourselves, so this little wall was only $22.
Now for some details. The interior of the yellow crate has my most favorite item. I purchased a Time atlas book at a thrift store in Palm Springs last year and I was so happy to get to use one of the pages from it. I cut out the state of California because we all know how great this state is, and I traced the shape onto another sheet of paper. I handed that sheet to Gunnar and told him to please cut me a piece of wood to fit it. He has a little jigsaw that Aaron has taught him how to use. So he and Aaron got to work and a few minutes later voila, I had my wood piece. Next we just glued the map onto the wood for a perfect fit and then I used one of those picture hanging tabs to place it in the crate.
I also placed a pair of my baby shoes into this box and an Ikea vase with some fresh flowers, and this wooden bird that was residing in my room before, along with a gold spray painted wooden puzzle animal we bought at the hardware store. My kids go crazy for these wooden puzzles and they are like $2. I thought hey, let’s spray paint it gold since that’s another can I had lying around, and all of a sudden it got fancy!
I’ve said for years how much we as a family enjoying reading aloud at night. The boys have been read to for years and years. We introduced them to chapter books very early on and it’s the highlight to their day. A week or two ago we finished Treasure Island, the original version, and although it took quite a few stops and starts to explain some big nautical vocabulary words, the boys loved it.
We are big Gary Paulsen fans in this house and loved Hatchet. Now we are onto Brian’s Winter. It’s an alternate ending to Hatchet and picks up the story as if Brian was never rescued. Super great read, on the edge of your seat events. It’s about a boy’s survival after a crash in the wilderness.
Greta had to get in on the whole chapter book fun. She wasn’t too content listening to Treasure Island, but she has been a fan in the past of My Father’s Dragon(don’t let the 1949 publishing date deter you, great story). I decided to see how long her attention span would be, so we started off with Samantha from the American Girl series. I figured it was education and still historical fiction. She loved it. So next we checked out Ramona the Pest from the library. We are about halfway through and she just loves it. I catch her grinning from ear to ear in some parts. Her brothers often refer to Greta as Ramona so now she gets to find out the reasons why. If I can pass my love of reading down to all three of my kids I will be one of the happiest mamas around.
My girlfriends and I had another book swap recently so my nightstand is chalk full of new books. Cannot. Wait. I am currently reading my last book from the first swap we did. Can you believe in all my years that I never read To Kill a Mockingbird? Loving it. In fact, I found our future son’s name in the book. No, no impending baby news. In fact, there will be no future son, but IF we ever had a son in another lifetime, I have his name picked out thanks to this book. Just wish I had some time to dedicate to reading it. Our lives have been a blur in February. Literally the entire month passed me by. March will be full too I’m afraid. In fact I’m doubting that there will ever be a month where it’s just chill and no stress.
As I type this I am watching the clock for my next client to arrive. So I better sign off now. Have a good evening!
at least I document my life somewhere right? even if instagrams is all it is. here’s the last few weeks in review. no pressure for you to actually read through these, it’s more for my documentation than anything else.
1.library volunteer time 2.this is kim sober?RHBH 3.most uncomfortable waiting room bench ever 4.need this paper cutter in my house 5.crazy driver 6.skylander 7.focus group view 8.choosing books over tv 9.latte 10.bestie breakfast 11.zara kids 12.romeo on the kinder yard 13.first fire station field trip for the little man 14.listening, sort of 15.with zia 16.love me some spray paint 17. orthodontist 18.yogurtland for first time 18.still in bed 19.these two love each other 20.reading 21.facetime before romeo’s bedtime 22.reading ramona the pest 23.peek into greta’s new shelving 24.and another 25.garden prep work 26.work as a team 27.house chore 28.haircut 29.a little boy’s present to me 30.a yellow school bus 31.she has skillzzz 32.red 33.some peeks of our family photo shoot 34.fire pit 35.craft bookmarks at the book swap thanks to tanya 36.the most delicious caramel sauce
Sorry for the sporadic postings on the blog lately. February has flown by faster than I ever imagined possible. I don’t think there was a day that wasn’t filled. I think(and hope and pray) that March will be a breather for us. We spent the weekend prepping for house guests that are with us until next Monday, prepping our garden beds with fresh compost and soil, redecorating one of Greta’s walls(pics to come hopefully soon), along with all the normal cooking and cleaning and laundry, and throw in Aaron chopping wood and that is our weekend. I haven’t posted my Instagrams in 2 weeks, so I’ll have to catch up on that, maybe I’ll sneak on here one day and do that when the kids are in school. But other than that I don’t think I’ll be in this space much this week as we are entertaining friends from New York and keeping up with 9 people in one house is a full time job. Hope you all had a lovely long weekend!
I’ve been reading all the buzz about the new book Bringing Up Bebe, about an American woman raising her children in France, and the different parenting methods there compared to the US.
There’s two very good articles that I read on the subject that definitely were interesting. I’m not one to jump on the latest bandwagon or change a method of my parenting because of a recent book I read, but I most definitely like to be informed. Ignorance is something I hate, so when I encounter something I’m not familiar with, I must become familiar with it. This is the reason I spent most of my lunch breaks last week listening to podcasts explaining what happened in Europe to the euro and the reasons for Greece’s bankruptcy. Now I know.
This WSJ article was the first one I read, and I thought it was pretty interesting. Now do I believe everything in it, no. Do I believe there are some French women who are completely devoted to their children and play with their children every single day? Of course. But are there some good, valid, common sense strategies in it? Definitely.
This second article from Huffington Post I thought was really interesting as well. It is another American woman’s take on raising her children in France and it’s not quite as rosy as the first. It brings up some good points about the lack of breastfeeding mothers in France, and the reasons maybe French mothers are not as stressed as their American counterparts. Hello free preschool? Hello monthly payments from government for each child you have? Yeah, that right there would save any mother a whole lot of stress.
Anyway, I thought I would share the articles with you. In the end I think mothers, regardless of the country they reside in, follow their instincts. Usually those instincts are right. But I do wish maybe we mamas weren’t so hard on ourselves in America. I’m constantly thinking about how my actions affect my kids, and the many times I’m a “bad” mom(i.e. lost my temper, raised my voice, made the wrong decision, kept my kid up too late and then had to wake them before school so they were weepy and sad the entire day, must’ve done or eaten or not eaten or not done something when I was pregnant that caused my kid to need glasses, see what I mean?) But if I had to choose, I think striving to be the best mama even if I never think I can ever attain it is something I would choose each and every time versus feeling confident and sure of myself as a mother. I would love to meet a mom one day that thinks they know what they are doing. And if I ever meet her I’d look her in the eyes and I’d call her a liar…
I put teaching my kids to read in the same category as potty training. It’s something that must be done, but I would like to just skip it and go straight to wearing underwear with no accidents and reading Ramona Quimby fluently. But it takes a lot of work to get to both places. Teaching my last *sniff* child to read is bittersweet. But it’s oh so rewarding. She’s officially a reader….if you’d like to enjoy a few minutes of her reading Green Eggs & Ham, be my guest. Just ignore the fact that she likes to move a whole lot while reading. This girl cracks me up.
I have only purchased clothes for myself at Zara, but my girlfriend raves about their kids clothes. None of the Zara stores near me carries the kids line, so I decided to try it out online. Free shipping, so no harm done. And the prices on some of these sale dresses!
So I will let you know the verdict as soon as I get the package in the mail. I ordered a few more items but they are already gone from the website. They have clothes for babies from newborn on up to 14 years.
The website for The City School is up and running now. In fact you can even see a photo of the back of Gunnar running on the home page. The FAQ page is really informative and they have a link to sign ups for interested parents. It’s purely lottery to get into the school, but they have a very progressive goal of immense diversity both racially and socio-economically. I’m most impressed in their extremely low teacher student ratio. And for their language program the choices will be languages which include Mandarin, Korean, French, etc. They are planning on having a gardening program which thrills me. It’s one the neatest parts of my kids’ elementary school and I would be so sad to see that end once they graduate. Also, for the high school they are planning on having the option of Early College. Aaron took part in this where he went to school. Starting in 11th grade you have the option of being part of a group that goes to a local college for your classes. So once you graduate you have credits, or even a year or two under your belt. They also will offer AP classes, which was more my high school experience. I’m so proud to be a part of this. If you can’t tell.
Such a favorite spot for our family, Laguna tide pools. We had a family playdate with Jane’s family. And it was perfect. Perfect weather. Perfect company. Perfect. The easiest way to describe how to get to the tide pools is to search for Las Brisas in Laguna Niguel. It’s a restaurant right on the water. There’s parking meters all over and once you park, head behind the restaurant and you’ll see a ramp and a flight of stairs going to the beach. At the beach, look to your right and there are signs for the tide pools. It’s such a great beach. You don’t have to walk a half mile to get to the water. I snapped these all with my iPhone. If I weren’t so lazy I would’ve even loaded Aaron’s iPhone photos, but I’m lazy. So there.