Busy Board

Hello Mamas and Papas (or anyone looking to make an awesome Christmas gift for a lil one!) I had been struggling with the fact that we don’t have a basement or play room designated for Sophie to have as her ‘fun zone.’ I’d bounced it off of you guys and you put it into perspective for me. Kids are going to play wherever they can. It doesn’t matter if there’s a whole room or if it’s under your feet…they’re not picky. Sophie is usually under my feet, but when she’s not, you can find her at the latch board/ busy board we made for her.
busy-boardShe’s too young to practice latching, turning a key, and pretty much everything else on the board, but she still LOVES playing around with all of the different tools. Her favorite thing is the peek-a-boo doors that hide her cousin, Fiona.

Materials Needed:

  • Wood board of any size (we got one cut down to 2×2)
  • Stain or paint for the board
  • Brush or rag for the stain
  • Sand paper or router to make the edges kid-friendly
  • Tons of latches
  • Drill
  • Picture hanging cleat
  • Thin strip of wood

stain-board

It was fun going to the hardware store to pick out all of the materials needed to make Sophie’s busy board. First, we got the board cut down to size so we could hold up the latches to gauge the number needed to fill the board. In hind sight, that would have been an awesome idea but when you have a crying baby, you kind of just grab what you think looks best and save the receipt.

latches

Several days later (because we know that’s how projects happen) we chose the best of the best for the latch board. Some of the things we thought we’d really want on there, didn’t turn out to be the best idea (a tap light that could blind her with it’s super-bright LEDs.)

lay-latchesHere you can see how we’ve spaced things according to size, what she’ll play with and where cords/chains will hang. We probably spent too long trying to figure this out but I don’t regret the placement of anything on the board! Everything we bought came with hardware and was super easy to drill a hole and screw through the board. We used a counter sink on the drill bit to ensure everything would lay flat against the wall. As you’ll see below, there were a couple things that stuck out (the buttons) but it doesn’t seem to effect the board being unstable.

picture-hanger

We used a thin strip of spare wood to attach the picture hanging cleat to the back of the board. We’ve used these cleats on very heavy frames and mirrors and knew it would stand up to Soph pulling and hitting the board. The board does come off from the wall if she pulls a latch hard but it hasn’t left any dents in the wall (yet.) Nothing a little spackle and paint won’t fix when we go to move.

helping-daddy

We couldn’t wait to see her reaction so we brought it in to hang before she went to bed. She was so curious about the board and wanted to play with it right away! As always, she had to help Daddy hang it on the wall.

latch-boardWe’re super in love with her board. I’ve put it on ‘her wall’ where I have art that I’ve made for her and a sweet Muppets Alphabet print that she likes to sing to.

gallery-wallHere’s how sweetly nestled it is on the gallery wall. I like the fact that it’s a toy that’s on the wall, meaning I don’t have to constantly be putting it away or tripping on it in the middle of the night.

fiona-doorHer, and my, favorite part of the board are the peek-a-boo doors. She’ll pretty much play peek-a-boo with anything, but curtains and these doors are her favorite. The other door hides a photo of Jeffrey and I which she always takes off to hand to me. I think she’s asking when Daddy’s getting home! I have the photos up with washi tape because I wanted to be able to switch out the people as a fun surprise or even add flash cards of words she’s learning. Like I said, she pulls down the photo of us, but she always leaves Fiona, so that one may just stay there forever.

sophie-playI’m excited to watch her as she becomes more interested in the different latches and begins to start playing with the more difficult gadgets. Some of the latches are for a much older Sophie, which I LOVE! For now, the door stop, peek-a-boo doors and mirror keep her entertained for at least a few minutes while Mommy cleans up her lunch from the floor.

I’m proud of her latch board for a few reasons. 1. It looks stellar and she’ll be able to use it for years to come. 2. It was a fun project for Jeffrey and I to design and build together for our sweet daughter. Win win! What else would you put on the board to keep a baby-toddler busy? I was wanting to add a zipper, buttons or ties but wasn’t sure how yet. Any ideas?

Well Done

Great quote. Actions speak louder than words.

(Benjamin Franklin)

I liked this quote because it reminds me of the saying ‘actions speak louder than words. Not that words aren’t immensely powerful, but an action can truly demonstrate a person’s character. It is easy for people to talk about accomplishments or future plans to paint the exact picture they want you to have of them but watching someone’s actions is the best way to see the truth. Get out and do what you want others to see in you. Be a role model to your children, friends and neighbors. Let’s show the world what we can do by our actions!

 

 

20 Date Ideas

20 Dates
Hopefully these date ideas will inspire you to spend some time with someone you love!

1. Find a recipe and cook it together. Make it a theme night and play music to match the type of meal.
2. Go off the grid for the weekend- no cell phones, no TV, no computers. You’ll be amazed at what you can do for entertainment.
3. Go see a movie at the drive-in.
4. Go to a restaurant you both have never been to and order their specialty.
5. Buy 3 bottles of the cheapest wine and have your own wine tasting at home.
6. Play a board game.
7. Go bowling and order cheese fries.
8. Have a spa night. Take a relaxing bath then follow up by taking turns giving each other massages.
9. Movie or TV marathon.
10. Play some miniature golf.
11. Hit some balls at the batting cages.
12. Be in control and go to a shooting range. Be careful!
13. Put together a puzzle.
14. Go on a food crawl. Go to a different restaurant for an appetizer, entrΓ©e, and dessert.
15. Go fishing with worms.
16. Dress up to the nines and test drive a car you have no intention to buy.
17. Pack lots of blankets and drive out in the country to look at the stars. Don’t forget brownies!
18. Snuggle up by the fire and read a book with hot chocolate together.
19. Give yourself an imaginary budget. Then separately go online and pick out all the things you would buy for each other with the money.
20. Get active! Go on a bike ride, hike, geocache, etc.

Have you heard of ‘couch dates’? They’re a great way to stay regularly connected to your lover every week or so. I’d love to hear more suggestions on fun things to spice up a Wednesday night!

Blog Your Life

BlogIf you’ve ever gotten burnt out from blogging, this is a great quote to remember. Your life, your family, your happiness is what’s important in life. I’ve been struggling with Blogger Burnout and have recently realized I need to put my priorities in to perspective. I’d read an article by the NY Times regarding YHL’s burnout and break from their blog and loved the quote ‘Do I want to pour my energy into the lives of complete strangers or the people under my own roof?’ When blogging stresses you out, and is no longer a creative outlet, it’s not worth it (especially if you’re not monetized). I am definitely going to continue to improve my blogging skills, learn more about analytics and social media but I will not be posting 5-6 times/week. Behind the scenes, each DIY post takes me 2-6+ hours in total which must be rushed during naps and daylight hours (for photography reasons.) I’m re-energized and inspired to create and write while still having the ability to created off-line and not feel pressured to live for my blog. From now on, I’ll be blogging my life. Life’s too short to not be passionate about what you do.

Halloween Home Tour

Happy hauntings friendly ghosts! I super love Halloween. I loved it growing up because we’d always carve pumpkins, decorate, listen to spooky music, watch Halloween cartoons and (my favorite) go Trick or Treating! I’m looking forward to Halloween this year because we’ll get to take Sophie out for her first night of Trick or Treating as a 50’s Bee Bop Girl! We’ve gone to the pumpkin patch a couple times and have made quite a few home made Halloween decorations this year. I’ve been asked a few times to put my home decorations up on the blog but was hesitant, since I did not make tutorials for everything I made this year, but still wanted to share our fun and spooky house.

outside

I’ll start with the outside of our home, as if you’re coming to Trick or Treat! You may have already read about our Halloween Street Sign out front. I added a few styrofoam tomb stones near the sign. Next year I’d like to get some lighting for the sign and tomb stone to make it a bit spookier at night. I made a rope spiderweb hanging between the columns of our porch with a friendly sparkly spider (because I’m afraid of spiders and I hate the ones that look real!) I left up the leaf garland on the columns from our fall decor to add a little color.

halloween-porch

As you walk up the steps I have a few potted mums surrounded by some tiny pumpkins and gourds.

halloween-postsAt the top of the stairs are these CUTE Halloween decorations that my parents made for me out of 4x4s!

porch-decorations-door

Up on the porch I hung a few friendly ghosts from clear 3m hooks. I left my Fall wreath up but will need to make a fun Halloween wreath next year. I bought a large white styrofoam pumpkin and used my Cricut to cut out Happy Haunting and some black crows in black vinyl. It worked better than I thought it would! I wanted something that I could peel off and change each year since the pumpkin was a bit pricey. The pumpkin is sitting in a culdron with leaves around it to fill in the gap. I spray painted some scrap wood with chalkboard paint and wrote a fun Trick or Treat for our little ghosts and goblins this year. I also used my Cricut to cut out a few black ravens and put them around the porch.

halloween-entry

Welcome inside! The entry way has light up fall leaves framing the door as well as bats flying around. I scored these cardstock bats two years ago for $1 as a garland and somehow they’ve held up for the third year!

console-halloween

Our console table has a lot of spider stuff going on, which is strange, since I’m so afraid of them! I cut out the spider web bunting from a free SVG file with, once again, my Cricut. I spray painted a styrofoam pumpkin with chalkboard paint to entice Jeffrey to decorate it because ‘it’s manly’. It hasn’t happened yet. The little light up pumpkin is a ceramic pumpkin Jeffrey’s grandma made, fired, painted and handed down to him. The black crow, owl and spiderweb cloth were all found on clearance after last year’s Halloween decorations went on 90%off!

halloween-kitchenThe entry to the kitchen is decorated with more fall leaves, the other half of the bat garland and a sweet Happy Halloween sign I found at Michael’s.

halloween-garlandI decided to leave up the happy fall felt leaf garland I’d made over the entryways to our bedrooms. They were too cute and happy to put away.

halloween-mantleThe mantle is my favorite part of our home to decorate for Halloween and Christmas. I change it every year and this year’s is definitely my favorite so far. The amazing skull bunting was found 6 years ago and is my favorite Halloween decoration. The giant canvas was painted by yours truly, as a nod to Jeffrey’s favorite Halloween movie, and the Jack and Sally were cut out by my Cricut.

halloween-mantle-left

 

I made this funΒ googly eyed BOO! frame as a fun craft with my friend earlier this year. The sweet skull with the bowtie was a free printable from Persia Lou that I changed up a bit by using glitter scrapbook paper rather than gold flakes.

halloween-mantle-rightJeffrey and Soph made me Sophie’s foot cast for Mother’s Day this year and I think it’s the cutest thing ever, but also looks really creepy under the spider! I love the geometric/modern look of the Witch printable from Eighteen25 and even better, it’s free! The white pumpkin is my pumpkin to decorate when Jeffrey does his. We still have a few days, right?

sophie-spider-shirt

I have tons of other random pumpkins throughout the house and LOTS of awesome fall candles like ‘pumpkin waffles’ and ‘carmel cider’ so it feels like fall (and I’m constantly hungry.) I’ve done a few other Halloween crafts, that are not shown because they were fails, or I just didn’t finish them…like Sophie’s Spider Handprint shirt. We’re just going to say it was a spider that got smashed by Mommy. :)

Have you finished with Halloween decorations yet for this year? (I hope so!) Do you like decorating outside or in your home better? I kinda want to decorate those pumpkins with Jeffrey now that I’ve realized how weird they look blank. Oh by the way, I’m taking all of this down and putting it back up this week after Sophie’s Birthday. Yes. Call me crazy. I know it’s crazy but I wanted to make fun decorations for her Sprinkles & Confetti Birthday Party this weekend! More on that later!

If you want similar decorating ideas and more free printables, check out my Halloween Fun Pinterest board!
Follow Shelly Bergman’s board Halloween Fun on Pinterest.


 

They Say It’s Your Birthday!

Hello loves! This week you will have to follow me via my social medias because we’re on vacation in celebration of our little bean! It was her first Birthday yesterday and we celebrated with pumpkin pancakes, a trip to the park and lots outrageous amounts of kisses! If you’re here from the Pinning Party or a link-up I was featured on, thanks for stopping by and I’m sorry I won’t be here to entertain you this week. There’s plenty in the archives though so by the time you get through them, I’ll be back from vacation. ;)
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I hope you all have the best week ever with lots of fun and awesomeness! Hug your little ones and tell them how much you love them! Celebrate them everyday.

Halloween Nail Ideas

Happy Friday! I hope you all have had an awesome week so far this October! I have another Halloween inspire post today but next week I’ll be back to some regular diy/craft type posts. I wanted to do a Halloween nails round up to go along with my Fall nails roundup. These are all nail ideas that are do-able by a beginner nail artist. The jack-o-lantern faces may take a few tries but everything else is pretty straight forward!

halloween-nails2

  1. I super love these jack-o-lantern nails because you could make them as scary or happy as you’d like. You could even have them match the pumpkins that you carve!
  2. How creepy, yet amazing, are these claw nails? These would be awesome if you were a werewolf or kitty cat for Halloween!
  3. This sophisticated black french tip on black matte would be perfect for any Halloween party.
  4. How can you go wrong with a chunky orange glitter?! Fun & easy!
  5. This marble nail art is seriously cool! I’ve attempted it a few times unsuccessfully but I have faith I’ll get it!
  6. Glow in the dark polish has come a long way since I was a kid! This ghost polish looks good in day and night!
  7. I’m a fan of all my nails being different. This stamped Halloween nail set is way fun! I think I could do most of them free-hand.
  8. Always watching! You could make these spooky eyes less scary by only using round dots for the eyes.
  9. The manicure I want to try the most are these candy corn gradient nails! They are so happy and delish!
  10. By far, the most difficult nail art if doing it free hand, but also the most amazing! I heart Jack Skellington!

Which is your favorite? Have you ever used glow-in-the-dark polish?! So awesome, especially when you go put-putting at an indoor blacklight course or skating rink! I’m going to need to get a yellow, orange and glow-in-the-dark apparently!



 

Olaf Poodle Skirt

Hello friend! Guess what? More Halloween awesomeness is happening today on the blog! I’ll think about cooling it with Halloween…once I make every Halloween recipe and decoration I see on Pinterest. Speaking of, have you seen this hilarious Pinterest ‘Shake-it-off’ Parody?! I seriously feel like her this week while I’m trying to make all my decorations for the Pinning Party Sunday. Also, my kitchen looked exactly like that today. There were four projects going on! Baaaaaack to the Olaf poodle skirt tutorial though!
olaf-poodle-skirtI have been racking my brain for a couple months trying to decide what Soph should be for Halloween. I only have a couple years that I get to decide what she should be so I gotta make it good! I needed a costume that could be worn if it was t-shirt and shorts weather or over a snow suit because you never know what it’ll be like on Halloween in the Midwest. I loved having poodle skirts in our dress up growing up and I thought that would be something I could customize for her personality and it wouldn’t be too tough for Daddy and I to dress up with her on Halloween.
materialsMaterials Needed:

  • 1 yd of felt (I had enough for two skirts but I wanted that much in case I messed up)
  • Orange, black, brown and glitter white felt
  • Pom pom ribbon
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Olaf Template
  • Sewing machine

circle-skirtI checked out this poodle skirt tutorial before making Sophie’s but realized my felt was in a long strip rather than a large square so I just tried to somewhat replicate it and hoped for the best. I measured Sophie’s waist at 20 inches and added two inches to make up for the overlap in the seam. I measured out 11 inches and made a half circle using this super technical technique I call ‘putting your finger in the hole of the ruler and using it as a make-shift compass.’
mistake-measureFrom the center of my C, I measured out 12 inches and did the same fancy compass technique. This is when I made my ‘typical Shelly’ mistake. I did not start skirt 12 inches from the edge of the felt material and had to start over. Thankfully you couldn’t see the pencil marks through the fabric.
skirt-templateBefore sewing anything together I wrapped it around Sophie to make sure it was the right size. It wasn’t. It was too big and super long so I trimmed the edges until I felt like it was a good size (remembering to keep enough length to account for the elastic waist band and the addition of pom poms.) See how un-even it is? It doesn’t matter because no one but me will notice.
pin-waistI wanted Sophie to be able to wear this skirt, possibly, for a year as dress up, so I used elastic as the waist band. I’ve seen some people use buttons or velcro as well. I made a channel (probably not a sewing term) wide enough for my elastic to easily slide through.
pin-seamI matched the two edges together, making sure they were good-side facing each other, and sewed along the edge. I’m not sure if it’s important to do the waist band first or this seam first but it seeamed to work out great this way (see what I did there?)
thread-elasticTo get the elastic through the waist band, use the ole safety pin trick my Mom taught me. This trick comes in handy if the string comes out of your hoodie. I left plenty of extra elastic and tied it in a bow so I could let the elastic out as she gets bigger. It’s hidden under the skirt so no one will see the extra elastic. modelBefore you go any further, try it on your model, if she’s available. Thankfully Sophie was having a bad nap day so she was happy to be my model…as long as there were Cherrios involved. Notice the skirt is inside-out for easy adjusting of the elastic. Also notice Lexi never a foot away from Sophie when food is involved.
templateThe next part was the second hardest part of the poodle skirt making process. The tracing part was easy enough but the cutting out was super tedious and made my eyes cross. Don’t even get me started on Olaf’s eyebrows. I just used a regular pen to trace on the lighter felts and a silver paint pen to trace on the black felt. I also flipped the white templates over and traced them on the back side of the glitter felt so there was no chance of black ink showing once cut.
lay-patternThe next step was, by far, the most frustrating part of the whole project. Once you lay Olaf out approximately where he’s ‘in shape’ (get my Frozen reference?) it’s time to hot glue his teeny tiny arms and eyebrows! I suggest gluing him together fully before gluing him to the skirt and make sure there are no children around to hear your curse words while you burn yourself repeatedly.
glue-pom-pomOnce Olaf is 110% secured (because you KNOW Sophie’s going to try to pick his eyes off) it’s the final touch of the pom pom ribbon! I used hot glue for this step because I’m not a very straight seamstress. If you are better at sewing, you might want to sew the ribbon on and even sew around Olaf for good measure.
finsihed-skirtYAY! Cutest skirt ever and very quick! I got this skirt done between naps in one afternoon+evening. I’d say it was fairly easy to trouble shoot as well, for when I made mistakes! I’m quite proud of my little girl’s first Halloween costume!
happy-olafOlaf seems pretty excited about it too. What are your kids going to be for Halloween this year? Have you ever DiYed their costumes?! Do you all dress as a family or are you too embarrassed to dress up with them? I always loved that my parents dressed up when they took us around! I dress up every year whether I’m going to a party or just handing out candy because why not?! Two years ago I was Effie and none of the little kids understood. They thought I was someone from Harry Potter.

PS I’ll update this post with photos once we go Trick or Treating so you can see the full costume. I’m still deciding on how to make her onesie. I’m thinking about doing a black long sleeve onesie and adding a sparkly felt snowflake. I’m kinda hoping her hair is long enough for pigtails as well. ;)

For more cutie patootie Halloween costume ideas, check out my Halloween board.



Halloween Party Treats

Helloooooo October! Can I officially be in the Halloween spirit yet?! I keep getting put down because I started a week early. I did take the neighbor ‘pointing it out’ as a compliment because he was afraid of ME as competition! For today, we’re talking treats, not tricks. Here are my top 10 favorite Halloween desserts that I am excited to try out. I love doing round ups so we can all have a chance to check out other blogs and share their awesome talents with others! Go check these ladies out and make a few Halloween party treats with your family!
halloween-treats-pinterestThe biggest reason I love these treats is for their level of cuteness and how easy they are to make! I also like how so many of them are kid friendly, so get your kids involved! Another great treat comes after Halloween once you’re overflowing with candy bars…cookie pizza with candy bar toppings! My favorite dessert ever!
halloween-monster-rolloAmy’s (The Idea Room) Monster Eye Cookies are what I want to try the most this Halloween! The mixture of peanutbutter chocolate chip cookies with a carmel Rolo on top?! You’ve got my attention! I also love that you can customize these guys by using your favorite cookie recipe.
spiderweb-cookies-halloween-recipe-craft-funDon’t these Spider Web Sugar Cookies that Autumn (It’s Always Autumn) made look like they’re straight from Martha Stewart?! She has a great tutorial on how to make these creepy crawly cookies. Have a favorite sugar cookie recipe from your great grandma? Perfect reason to use it! Does the web marbling remind anyone of nail marbling?
Eye-of-Newt-PretzelsSheryl’s (Lady Behind the Curtain) Eye of Newt Pretzels are hilariously adorable! I love the colors she used and that there’s a little salt added into the dessert mix! These would be great to wrap as favors as well!
monsters-cookies-sugarMy girl, Meaghan (The Decorated Cookie), knows a thing or two about decorating cookies and these Fun Monster Cookies show off her talent! These would be so fun to decorate with the whole family and see all the different expressions everyone could come up with!
Yummy-Gooey-Monster-Cookies-1Ok, anyone seeing a pattern here? I must be crushin’ on Monsters this year! I think it’s the googly eyes!! Kristyn (Lil Luna) made these Gooey Monster Cookies look so fun to make AND they sound absolutely delish! You could make the dye for the cookies match the color theme of your party too!
Candy-Corn-treatsWhat’s Halloween without Candy Corn?! Anyone else eat them one color at a time? What about those candy-corn-like-pumpkins that you have to eat the green stem off first? No? Ok, well these Candy Corn Rice Crispy Treats that Glory (Glorious Treats) made are genius! So easy and super cute!
Halloween-BarkSpeaking of candy corn, this Halloween bark could not be cuter, tastier or easier! I love bark because you can make a lot of it with little effort and it always looks so fun! Corey (Family Fresh Meals) made this Halloween Bark super cute by adding that extra bit of Halloween party sprinkles and using Halloween Oreos!mickey-pumpkin-whoopie-pies-recipe-photoWhat would a Halloween Treats Round-Up be without something PUMPKIN FLAVORED?! I’ve never tried to make woopie pies but I imagine there is nothing cuter in this world than these Mickey Pumpkin Woopies (Disney Family)! My mouth is watering.
monster_eye_cakeCarrie (The Cake Blog) is quite the master of cakes but I’m pretty sure I could do this Monster Eye Cake! It’s adorable! It would be fun to dye the cake batter green or purple as a fun surprise once it’s cut.
Who wants to come over to make these treats with me? It’d be fun to make the cookies or pretzels and take them to the neighbors! Have you had a Halloween Party in the past? Make any cute treats? I may have to make some monster decorations since clearly I’m a bit obsessed.

I can not take credit for the awesome photography or ideas of these recipes. Please give all credit to the linked blogs and share from their sites.

Also! This Saturday, Oct 5th, besides it being Sophie girl’s 1 year Birthday (!), I’m going to be co-hosting a Frozen Halloween Pinning Party!

frozen_announce(1)Come join us!



October Goals

octoberHappy October 1st! I’m doing another round of Monthly Goals to help me stay on task for the month of October. First, let’s see how I did on my first month of goal planning in September. I achieved all three goals under family! With the occasional later bedtime while traveling or the weekend, we’ve got Soph on a more regular bedtime routine! Jeffrey and I went to see Mike Birbiglia and Soph and I went to every Babies Loves Books except the Monday she was visiting her Grandparents. My Life goals were not as successful! I did not complete ANY of them! We stopped Whole 30 a week early just because. There really was no reason. We are going to continue to eat those foods with an occasional treat until we reach our goals. We both lost a lot (24 lb for me) but still have a ways to go. I can’t figure out how to get my darn Lumo Lift to stay on my body, so until I get that figured out, it sits on my desk. I didn’t even attempt Me Before You because I read reviews on how terribly sad it was and couldn’t put myself through that! I got half way through Daring Greatly and am really enjoying that book! I did nothing with Project Life or my closet building plans. I saw that it was going to cost $890 for new wood hangers and decided the closet reno will have to be for another time. I did pretty terrible on my Blog goals as well. I still have not completed Blog Life and I only revamped one old post. I did, however, repin like a mad woman. I also got asked by Anna to be a co-host for a big Pinning Party this Saturday for Boogie Wipes! I’m OK with the things I didn’t get accomplished because I got a lot of non-goal items accomplished!

Family

  • To be present this month. There is a ridiculous amount going on this month and I want to be sure to be present for my family rather than going through the motions and checking events off my to-do list.
  • Continue Babies Love Books every Monday
  • Take a family walk 3 times/week
  • Find a date-night sitter for Soph

Life

  • Swim 2 times/week
  • Read Eleanor & Park
  • No laundry on the weekends

Blog

  • Complete Blog Life (for realz)
  • Revamp 2 old posts
  • Make 2 new pins for 2 top re-pinned pins

guitarPS. is this not the cutest? What are your goals for October? How’d September turn out for you? I fear October, November and December are going to be tough to accomplish all my goals but I’m up for trying!