Monday, September 16, 2013

"Do you like lost things, mommy?" aka Fall Mantle for less than $5

Cora has a bit of a Tinkerbell obsession.  It's the only "girly" Disney movie I'll allow her to watch.  My reasoning is that Tinkerbell has a job and her story isn't a "waiting for the boy" story.  I do have some concerns about the practicality of her outfit in her line of work though. 

Tinkerbell uses "lost things" to make her little inventions, so in that same vein I went in search of lost things to put together my Fall mantle this year.  In total, I spent $4.78, plus tax. 

1. Goodwill candlesticks - $0.50 each.  The two on the left were clear glass and the tall one can best be described as the color of C3PO.  I painted these white using leftover paint from the baseboard in Cora's room.  Spray paint would have looked better, but I was in a hurry.  The pumpkins were $0.76 each at a local nursery. 

2.  This project is a bit of a combination of two different projects I found on Pinterest.  I liked the look of some matted pumpkins on eighteen25, but didn't have the time to actually go to JoAnn's and buy them.  Instead, I found this project on Craft-O-Maniac that used yarn, cottonballs, and sticks.  I have those! 

First, find a frame with a picture of Cora in the NICU.  Remove picture. 

Next, find pretty chevron paper. 

I found Chevron paper here at Amazing by Design in easy to download .pdf files. 

I wrapped yarn around the cotton balls and laid them out on the frame.   At this point, I realized 3 things.  1.  If I only do two, they'll look like boobs.  2.  I should probably put the paper in front of the glass. 3.  That color is more "River View old gold" than pumpkin orange. 

Hello, old friend.
I put a very generous dollop of hot glue down for each pumpkin and pressed it down. 

Finally, I kind of wedged some sticks into the tops of the pumpkins and called it a day. 

3.  For the textured owl, I mostly word for word followed Delia Creates' tutorial.  That post was a big driver to push me to see how cheaply I could do my mantle.  The split peas at Meijer were $1.00 and I just used Elmer's glue.  I would suggest attempting the gluing inside a large tupperware container.  I found the board in the garage and the orange paint was in the basement.

4.  I've been using this same picture frame for every single mantle.  I just wrap the matte in something new each time.  This time, it was orange chevron paper from Amazing by Design again.   The centerpiece is a free printable from in-site-full.  

5.  This burlap is a leftover table runner I made from Lily and Harrison's baptism this past Spring.  The flower in the middle was on my Spring wreath.  I think it came from JoAnn's. 

Not bad for something cobbled together from lost things and less than $5.00 in new things.

PS - Follow me on Pinterest to see where I find these projects!   


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Goin' down the track, clickety clack

Two weekends ago we were once again at the "what are we going to do this weekend" stage.  Our weekends are usually spent at home with a monotony-breaking trip to Meijer or Target.  I know - stand well back from our excitement. 

Scott had done some research on local passenger trains.  Cora's been on a train kick for a long time now.  We have the $10 train set from Ikea and she loves watching (the first 15 minutes of) Thomas.  There are a few trains within a reasonable driving distance, but we decided on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in Nelsonville, Ohio. 

Before heading to the train station, we stopped at The Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan, Ohio.  They had a lunch buffet, which is perfect for Cora.  She rarely eats kids meal food, so going out to eat is always a gamble.  She happily ate chicken, noodles, mashed potatoes, watermelon, and pie that day.   

The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway is non-profit railroad, run by volunteers.  Their mission is the "preservation, restoration and operation of historic railroad equipment for the education and entertainment of the general public."

On weekends, there are two trips per day.  The noon train ride lasts approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.  We took the longer 2:30 train that lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes.  I'd recommend that shorter route, especially if you have younger kids.  Lily refused to nap and Cora got bored on the longer trip. 

Yeah, I'm totally not napping. 

We were helped up onto the train by one of the volunteers.  We happened to choose one of the air conditioned cars (dodged a bullet there on that hot day).  It was also the only one with a bathroom.  We didn't need it, but with a preschooler it's never a bad idea to be close to one.

Our train ride took us West out of Nelsonville through Haydenville and East Logan.  The ride is narrated and details the history of the area.  Most sites we passed through were mining towns or sprouted up around other industries.  The narrator tells the story about how these towns were settled and as company towns and as those industries fizzled out, so went the town. 

The train stopped for about 10 minutes at East Logan - just enough time to get the engine brought around to the other end of the train.  We passed back through the same path and through the Nelsonville Depot where we boarded.  We were let off at Robbins Crossing on the Hocking College campus for about 30 minutes.  (Both trains make this stop)  There were artisans working on their craft, a general store for drinks and snacks, and students from the college with a snake exhibit.  Of course Cora had to go touch one and I had a mild panic attack. 

We were rounded up and were back at the Nelsonville Depot before we knew it.  We rode in a non air conditioned car on the way back.  I very much appreciated the a/c car after that.  The depot has a small gift shop with cold drinks and a restroom.  

We paid $17 each for Scott and I.  The girls (3 and 1) were free.  The shorter route costs a little less.  They also run special trains throughout the seasons.  The next season coming up is their Weekday Fall Foliage Train on Thursdays and Fridays in October.  

We were home in time for baths with two completely exhausted kids. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Better left to an expert

Cora started her third week of preschool today.  She still loves it.  We still love it.  Hugs and kisses all around.

One of her "homework" assignments is to bring in a family photo and a paragraph explaining our hopes and dreams for her.  We aren't good at family photos.  This is a recurring theme.  When I went to make the slideshow for our wedding, there were a grand total of 8 photos of Scott and I together.  We had been dating for 2 years at that point, so one would assume we'd have more than that. 

The most recent family photo that we have is from our February trip to Walt Disney World.  In it, Lily is sleeping in the Beco and Cora looks like we just woke her up. 

This *is* my smile, mom.
We went to Scott's parents' house yesterday and decided to try to get a picture while we were there.  This didn't go well for a number of reasons. 
1.  I had taken an antiobiotic-induced 2 hour nap (Do antibiotic ear drops make you sleepy like regular antibiotics?  Let's just say yes.) and had post-nap hair.
2.  Cora never seems to look at the camera during pictures.
3.  Lily is 14 months old and acts accordingly.

The best picture we had included my crazy hair, Cora holding out a flower, and Lily's closed eyes.  Scott "fixed" it and posted it to Facebook.  

When I commented that he did a poor job, he "fixed" it again.

This of course reminded me that we need to get actual professional family pictures taken soon.  Here's where I plug my friend Alana's beautiful photography and seemingly endless patience with my constantly-moving kids.

Cora one year ago.  Photo by