Archive | July, 2012

7.31.12 – Jamie’s Goals Week 7

31 Jul

For my photography goal this week, I spent a lot of time editing pictures from our Group Trip 2012 weekend (see previous post), and I also spent time reading a book called Real. Life. Photography: How to Find Magic in Everyday Moments by Rebecca Cooper. I’ve finished Part I, and so far I am really enjoying it. The author is a mom of four kids and has a lot of helpful and practical hints on taking great pictures of your loved ones, which is my ultimate goal. The book is also packed with sample photos that include info on the settings and lens she used for each. As a bonus, it is an e-book, and I only paid $20 for the book plus 10 Photoshop actions she recommends. The actions alone were worth the money, because I have used them a TON already. To find out more about the book and actions, check out this website.

To be honest, I wasn’t really feeling my craft goal this week. I had lined up a bunch of projects a few weeks ago, and I completed the final one last week. I didn’t want to spend any more money on supplies, so I looked at my DIY board on Pinterest to see what I could create with supplies I already have. Hence, my creation of a ribbon flower clip using this tutorial. I figured learning how to make these could come in handy for gift-wrapping, party-throwing, or as a cute accessory. Of course, making them for our baby girl also crossed my mind, but the girl has so many hair accessories already! We’re in trouble if she is fussy about having stuff on her head… 🙂

Here is my finished product:

My ribbon must have been a little thicker than that used in the tutorial because my center was not as tight requiring a larger button. I also used fabric glue instead of a hot glue gun which was a little messier to work with, but it still turned out pretty good. All in all, it was easy to do (while watching the Olympics), and I think I will definitely make these again when the occasion arises.

7.29.12 – Group Trip 2012!

29 Jul

For four years now our BloNo friends have taken a yearly “group trip” together. Everyone was kind enough to make our home this year’s destination since I am rather far along in my pregnancy at this point. It is always a good time, and this year was no exception! I know our visitors from this past weekend are anxious to make their blog debut, so here is our weekend recap:

Thursday: Our visitors arrived late Thursday evening due to some D.C. traffic and plane delays. We gave them a quick house tour, ate a late lasagna dinner at home, and did a little catching up before settling into bed.

Friday: The official Philly tour. We took the train to Reading Terminal Market for lunch and ordered some sandwiches from Tommy DiNic’s that were featured on the Food Network. They were pretty tasty, but I think several of us enjoyed the cookies from the PA General Store even more. After lunch, we made our way down to the Historic District to see the usual sites: Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Congress Hall. We made a quick stop at Ben Franklin’s grave before continuing on to Old City where we saw Betsy Ross’s house and Christ Church. Of course, Kyle had to take everyone down his favorite alley off 3rd and Filbert, which wasn’t exactly conducive to strollers and sleeping babies (he’s learning). At this point, everyone needed to cool off, so we headed over to National Mechanics for a snack and some drinks. Everyone enjoyed requesting songs via their iPhones on the jukebox and got a good laugh when Leslie started dancing to her favorite song, “Call Me Maybe.” It was so cute to watch her get so excited every time she heard that song over the weekend. We also enjoyed taking turns holding the adorable Baby O – although someone was a little jealous when it was mommy’s turn. 🙂 We then ventured on the bus (always an adventure) to Center City to check out the LOVE statue. Everyone was pretty pooped at this point (especially me!), so we decided to head back to the ‘burbs for some pizza and the Olympic opening ceremonies.

Saturday: We headed to the beach! Atlantic City Beach that is. Our arrival time was a bit delayed with the usual beach-going traffic jams, but we made it in time to enjoy the afternoon. After we got settled in, we headed to lunch on the boardwalk at Rainforest Cafe. It was a bit pricy but most of us enjoyed our meal, and Quincy got a little birthday surprise! Unfortunately, lunch took a little longer than expected and our beach gear got a little wet in the rising tide. Ooops! It was super fun to see Leslie and Baby O enjoy their first beach experience. We were able to relax and enjoy the water for awhile before a nasty looking thunderstorm rolled in that had us hustling to the car. In our haste to get to the car before the storm, we did not have time to rinse anything, which made for a sandy journey home. The girls picked up some cheesesteaks from Kyle’s favorite place called Delco’s while the boys unloaded the car and cleaned things up.

Sunday: Quincy and Nicole got a head start on their long drive back to the Midwest while the rest of us headed back into Philly for the Rocky experience at the Art Museum. I had fun snapping pictures. We also ate lunch at the Shake Shack, which is a very popular restaurant in NYC that just opened up in Philly. The burgers are pretty amazing, but the consensus was the shakes were nothing special (still good though). It was definitely a tasty way to end the weekend. We drove everyone through South Philly before I dropped everyone at the airport. The weekend came and went way too quickly!

It was such a fun weekend! The little ones were such troopers on our adventures. My house is so quiet now, and although I’m still recovering physically, I miss everyone already! Thank you, Tracy, Kyle, Leslie, CJ, Tracy, Quincy, Nicole, and Baby O for making Philly this year’s group trip destination. We are so grateful for your friendship and are looking forward to what next year’s trip brings! Now here are the pictures you have been waiting for:

For more fun pics, check out #grouptrip2012 on Twitter. Now back to cleaning the house – only a few more days before Rick and Emily arrive! 🙂

7.25.12 – Nursery Reveal

26 Jul

We are finally done with our baby girl’s nursery! Well… except for the fact our new glider is broken… long story! A new one will be delivered soon. Other than that, it is D-O-N-E!

Now, what you have all been waiting for.. pictures!

To follow the format of one of my favorite blogs and sources of inspiration, Project Nursery, here are the nursery details:

Child’s Name: Delaney “Laney” Evelyn

Child’s Age: Due September 5, 2012

Description: 

A fun, bright-colored nursery for our baby girl!

Design inspiration: 

Being in a rental, we decided not to paint the room. The walls are a grayish-chocolate brown color, so we knew we wanted to use bold colors to brighten up the space. We looked at some color palettes on Design Seeds, and Kyle liked this one the best:

The design grew from there. I am not really a theme person, but my family and friends will tell you that I am drawn to geometric designs and patterns, or as my sister says, “You really like circles.” I scoured Etsy, Pinterest, and blogs for fabrics, accessories, and artwork that I liked and would fit with our color scheme. I didn’t want anything too frilly or girly, but I wanted it to be bright, cheery, and modern.

Project Details:

Bedding, curtains, pillow, blanket, changer cover: Custom-made by Crankypants Creations on Etsy with Cocoberry fabric

Crib and changing table/dresser: Babyletto Mercer at Target in two-tone

Chair and ottoman: Newco glider and ottoman in tan chenille from Babies-r-us (discontinued)

Storage bench: Closetmaid cube bench at Target

Hamper: Pottery Barn kids canvas bucket in bright pink

End table: Purchased at Target a couple of years ago

Wall letters: Custom-made by goinggaga on Etsy

Artwork/accessories: Bow frame, hospital door wreath, and button “D” frame were custom-made shower gifts from friends; “Dream Big” canvas, “D” with flower, and crib mobile were my DIY projects; Yellow and green wall prints are from rawletterpress on Etsy; Strawberry Shortcake was painted by my Great-Grandmother for me as a child; Precious Moments sun catcher was in my Great Grandmother’s house

Frames: IKEA Ribba frames; Target Xhiliration frames

Lamp: Target

Coasters: Bed, Bath, & Beyond

Green blanket: IKEA

Stuffed animals: gifts from friends and family

Favorites:

This room was definitely a labor of love for me, and I am pretty proud of how it all came together. However, I think the mobile is my favorite. I hope Laney loves looking at it as much as I loved making it for her.

Advice:

I am definitely not a designer. Finding a color scheme and fabrics first worked for me, because it gave me direction. Whenever I found an idea or product I liked, I added it to my “design board” a.k.a Word document or pinned it on Pinterest. This kept me organized. I also think it is important to have handmade and meaningful pieces in the room, because they make it even more special.

Hope y’all like it! Now all we need is our baby girl, and it will be complete. 🙂

7.25.12 – Jamie’s Goals

25 Jul

For my craft goal, I created some headband flowers for my little girl using this tutorial I found on Pinterest.

Here are pictures of the fronts and backs of the flower clips I created:

For my photography goal this week, I took pictures of our baby girl’s nursery. The pictures of the completed room were challenging with the room’s lighting, but I think they turned out OK (see my next post). Here are a few pictures of the room as it was a work in progress:

 

7.22.12 – Gramma, Aunt Carol, and Marsha Visit!

23 Jul

The summer fun continued last week with a visit from my Grandma Wagner, Aunt Carol, and Marsha! They arrived Tuesday evening after visiting Fallingwater (a Frank Lloyd Wright house), which they really enjoyed. I made dinner, and we enjoyed an evening of chatting and catching up. Here is a recap of the rest of the week:

Wednesday: Philly tour! We headed to the Reading Terminal Market for brunch and browsed the vendor booths. Then we headed over to the historic district where we checked out the Liberty Bell, Old City Hall, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, and Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier in Washington Park. It was sooo hot and humid (according to TWC it felt like 105 degrees!), so we took a lot of water breaks and one Dairy Queen break. 🙂 We met Kyle back at the house for dinner. We decided to carry out cheesesteaks and Wawa goodies for dinner since we were pretty pooped from our excursion.

Thursday: Kyle and I had a few baby-related appointments in the morning, so the crew set out for Philly on their own. They went to Elfreth’s Alley, Christ Church, and O.C.P. Grill for lunch. I met them at the restaurant, and we toured Betsy Ross’s house and checked out several of the art galleries and boutiques on Gallery Row in Old City. Although we had cooler weather, we were still pretty tired, and Grandma had the brilliant idea to take a cab back to Reading Terminal Market. We enjoyed a pretzel from Miller’s Pretzel Twist (yum!), and the ladies purchased some goodies and gifts that they had their eye on from our first visit. We then met Kyle back at the house and enjoyed a pretty tasty dinner at Iron Hill Brewery.

Friday: It was a MUCH cooler, cloudier, rainier day, but that didn’t stop us! It was actually perfect weather to enjoy Longwood Gardens. This was my first visit to the gardens as well, and I was really impressed! It is over 300 acres of beautiful flowers, plants, fountains, and trees. It was first purchased by the Pierce family from William Penn and later purchased by Pierre duPont (founder of duPont and General Motors) who designed and installed the beautiful fountains. We only were able to see a small portion of the entire grounds in the few hours we were there, and I had lots of fun taking pictures of the beautiful scenery. They have a lights show at night that I will definitely check out in the future. We also enjoyed a yummy lunch in the cafeteria-style restaurant on the grounds. When it started spitting rain, we headed back to the house to meet Kyle. We couldn’t let our guests leave without taking them to our favorite Italian restaurant – Fellini’s Cafe! After dinner, we strolled the shops around town. Then we headed back to the house so they could get rested up for their long drive on Saturday.

Although I was pretty exhausted Saturday from our excursions and late-night chat sessions, I had such a great time! Kyle and I took it easy the rest of the weekend – caught up on house work and did a little baby-related shopping.

Thanks for coming to visit us! Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! 🙂 Here are my pics from the week:

7.16.12 – Jamie’s Goals Week 5

16 Jul

Our beach vacation gave me the opportunity to learn and re-learn a lot of things in Photoshop. I spent a lot of hours editing the pictures, so I think I’ve met my photography goal for the week. I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of the things. I removed shine and redness from faces, smoothed flash glares, swapped heads in family photos, and enhanced color and sharpness. I played around with my actions and tried some things on my own. Having a not-so-cooperative 6-year-old and some not-so-photogenic family members have helped me improve my skills. It sure is hard to get all eight of us looking good in one picture – especially outside with differing weather and lighting! Overall, I’m pretty pleased with most of the pictures, but it has definitely motivated me to keep improving. (Check out my Hilton Head posts for the pics.)

For my craft this week, I created a “D” for our baby girl’s room. It is a cardboard letter from Jo Ann Fabrics. I painted the chevron pattern using a stencil with acrylic paint and then glued a flower and button on the top corner with fabric glue. I think it turned out pretty cute. We are going to set it on a shelf in the nursery.

Feels good to have my goals done early this week with our next set of visitors coming soon. Have a great week everyone! 🙂

7.15.12 – Hilton Head Part II

15 Jul

As the saying goes… all good things must come to an end. We had a really great week in Hilton Head, SC. I have finally finished going through and editing the pictures and am ready to recap the rest of our week. A special thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Minion for letting us use your condo! We had such a great time. 🙂

Thursday: We had another great day at the beach and the decathlon continued with sand castle building, jump rope, and bocci ball. Kyle and I enjoyed celebrating our fourth anniversary with family. For dinner, we went to Hilton Head Brewing Company. It turned out to be a really fun place with live music, happy hours specials, and yummy food. Jacob’s wings were so hot that his lips were on fire, and he tried to cool them down with ice cubes. (see picture :)) After dinner, we headed to Sea Pines Plantation to check out the lighthouse and the shops. They now charge you to go up the lighthouse (lame!), and there was a guy singing really annoying kids songs. We managed to get a couple of decent family pictures and got out of there.

Friday: Our last day…we took another morning bike ride to the community park. The boys played some hoops, and the decathlon continued with a bike obstacle course competition. Back at the beach we played some more bocci ball, soccer, and had a beach scavenger hunt. For dinner we tried a new place – Pazzo Italian Cafe. The bread and olive oil was amazingly delicious. Everyone had mixed reviews on their meals, but we decided we would be willing to try it again with some of us ordering differently. After dinner, we made one final stop at Coligny for ice cream and fudge. We also headed to the beach to get some more pictures. Unfortunately, my camera fogged up due to the change in temperature. We played with sparklers while we waited for it to adjust. After our photo shoot, it was time to pack up, but not before we announced the decathlon winners! Everyone got to drop their three lowest scoring events. We decided Kyle couldn’t win since he organized it, so congrats to Jacob and Dad!! 🙂 They won the much desired owl made of seashells trophy. 

Here are the part two pictures:

Saturday was a long day of driving for everyone. Kyle and I are back home safe and sound. Sunday we hung all of the pictures in our baby girl’s nursery. It’s almost done! We are just waiting on our rocking chair, and then I will post pictures. We love it! 🙂 All we need is our baby girl to arrive.

Next up: Gramma, Aunt Carol, and Marsha visit!