A Room Fit for a Princess

This spring our home project will be converting our daughter’s room into one fit for a princess. She has outgrown her toddler bed and many of her preferences are changing. We want to create a space for her that she loves and that caters to her personality.

Over the weekend she and I spent time together on Pinterest and she saved pictures of bedrooms that she liked (above). After the initial pinning I went back and listed some of the commonalities. There were certain things I could tell needed to be included in the room we are designing. She likes the pink and gray theme. It also became clear that she wants an area devoted to reading. A comfy corner for book reading is important as she is currently learning to read.

Having a space to call her own is very exciting to her. Involving her in the design process is also making her feel independent and important as she gets to assert her thoughts and opinions concerning something that truly matters to her. I’ve been proud of her ideas and I look forward to the finished product this spring.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Re Purposed Crib

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Convertible cribs are the best. You can’t beat three beds in one.

Sadly, our daughter is nearing the end of stage three with her crib now functioning as a toddler bed. Her legs are growing and she has less and less space each night to toss and turn. Our plan has been to re-do her bedroom this summer, but I’m not quite sure that she will make it that much longer.

Since the end of the bed is in sight I’ve been searching for ideas to re-purpose the pieces of the crib. I want to find a way to make a keepsake of her first bed which held her tiny body for the first four years of her life.

As I sifted through the wood we’ve already removed from the earlier phases of the crib I found a piece that I decided to take for myself. With a little white paint and a paint brush I was able to turn a crib panel into a decorative piece for my mantle.

I’ve seen some cool ideas online for re-purposing cribs. From shelves to tables there are all sorts of ways to continue using a crib once it has been outgrown.

This piece of furniture is so special to me. It’s a place I trusted to keep my firstborn safe. It was a spot I frequented in the night when the cries of my baby called for me. There are so many sentiments tied to this one piece that I can’t just kick it to the curb.

How have you re-purposed furniture in your house? Do you have experience with cribs?

Please share!

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The Ameri Brit Mom

Holiday Door

Our family tradition is to deck the halls on Black Friday.

We spend the weekend following Thanksgiving putting up the tree and setting out our annual decor. Each year we like to buy one or two new pieces to add to our collection and we also enjoy decorating our front door.

This year we decided to take on a painting project. My daughter is pretty artistic and loves any excuse to use paint, and my husband is fairly crafty as well. We went to the nearest craft shop and purchased everything we would need to make giant ornaments to be hung on the front door. Each of us completed our own giant bulb which we made from Wilton cake boards. We went with a simple color scheme of red, green, and blue and each of us chose a different inspiration for our creation.

Once dry, we fastened the bulbs to the door using 3m hooks and red ribbon. We wanted them to all dangle at different heights so we varied the length of the ribbon to give it that look.

I really love my front door. It may not be a page out of the Pottery Barn catalog, but we took the time to put each of our personalities into the finished product. I love my unique front door this holiday season.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

Autumn Air

Although the Autumn Equinox will not be until Thursday in Ohio there is something in the air that tells my body that autumn has already begun. Maybe it’s the football games, tailgates, pumpkin spice lattes, or sudden appearance of harvested corn everywhere that is informing me of the swift change of season. Whatever it might be I will not complain. Late summer was too hot for me. Five minutes or more in the sun’s blaze meant unpleasant puddles of sweat in all sorts of places. I’m excited for the prospects of autumn like comfortable temperatures, cozy sweaters, and my hometown festival, The Pumpkin Show.

As the morning dew is beginning to appear and the sun sets a little earlier I’m excited to break out my autumn decor. Decorating for the seasons is an annual thing in our family. I try to buy or create something new each year to add to my collection. Here is a look at some of my fall decor for the 2016 season.

Happy fall y’all!

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My Harvest door hanger, pumpkin, and hay stack all from Michaels.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Seasonal Blocks

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I don’t get in crafty moods often, but when I do you better watch out. This weekend I decided to finish a DIY project I started over a year ago. This is something I saw at a craft show last Christmas and decided I would try to make for myself. It’s fairly simple and requires little time, money, and skill. And because I love to decorate for the seasons I decided to go with a seasonal theme. Here is a look at my finished seasonal blocks:

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What you need to make these seasonal blocks:

-six wooden blocks of varying sizes

-white paint (or a paint color of your choice)

-4 seasonal pages of scrapbook or patterned paper

-1 black Sharpie (or letter stamps if you prefer not to free hand the lettering)

-Mod Podge

-paintbrushes

How to make these blocks: (Warning: It make take more than one day to complete this craft due to the amount of time it takes for the paint to dry. I started out just doing each season as it approached and over the course of the year finished it. However, it can also take just two days to knock out the whole thing.)

  1. Start by painting the surface  of each of the wooden blocks. I chose to paint my blocks white to match the woodwork in my living room, but you may choose to stain or paint your blocks in other colors to match your decor. I’ve seen this done with black blocks before and I think it looks really crisp and nice as well.
  2. As the paint is drying, begin to cut out six rectangles from each of your patterned papers.
  3. Once the rectangles are cut you can go ahead and write out or stamp the letters on to each piece of paper.
  4. Once the paint has dried evaluate whether the blocks require multiple coats. Mine did. And so I really only got through the painting process in the first day of crafting.
  5. After the paint is dry, you can begin with your first side of mod podge. Before you begin with the sticking you want to arrange your rectangles in an appealing way. If they are different sizes you will want to play around with how to organize them.
  6. When you have organized the order of the blocks, you can begin with the mod podge. I always add a dab of mod podge to the block first to adhere the paper like glue. Then, once the paper is stuck onto the block go over the edges and the entire paper with the mod podge. At first it will look very gluey, but mod podge will dry clear. You want to make sure you have enough mod podge that the paper is secure, but not too much that the paper bubbles.
  7. Repeat the mod podge process for the entire name of the season.
  8. Then, before moving on to the next face or season make sure the entire mod podged face is dry.
  9. Important: When adding each new season be sure to keep the letters in the order you originally arranged!

This was a fun little project. I plan to make some more in the future because it was so simple and I like the look of it. I know people who use a similar method to create Christmas calendar blocks counting down the 25 days of Christmas. I’ve also seen this as a popular gift for new parents who use blocks to either countdown to the arrival of their bundle of joy or to announce the time since their child was born in monthly photographs. I’m looking for some new ideas so if you have any other ways that simple blocks and mod podge could be used please share!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Cozy New Floor

A year and a half ago my husband and I signed over our lives to the idea of becoming first time homeowners. Neither of us are naturally “do-it-yourself” people so the prospect of being in charge of everything for the first time was a bit nerve-wracking. However, God had led us to our house and we believed that he would be in control through the ride of home ownership.

Off the bat there were some things we wanted to accomplish with the house to make it feel like our own. They were all small things like paint and cosmetic work. Nothing that we weren’t confident in handling.

Within six months of moving we began to notice that the carpet in the living room was in pretty bad shape. The previous homeowner had a dog and in various places he had ripped up the carpet. When we brought our cat, Simba, into the home it only accentuated the problem. And for almost a year we had a beautiful home with embarrassingly terrible carpet in the most visited room of the house. We decided to save up to do something about this problem.

This year in late October we were able to purchase wood laminate. We made our way to Lowes one Sunday after church and bought thirteen boxes of laminate. As a couple we had a little dilemma when it came to installing the floor. To have the professionals at Lowes install the floor it doubled the price of the entire thing. So (against my initial judgment) we decided to take on the floors on our own. And when I mean on our own I am really referring to my husband who did all the work.

We enlisted the help of one of our best family friends and we scheduled a date over Christmas break to say good-bye to the torn and stained carpet and hello to the beautiful fireside oak we had purchased.

It took nine hours, but was well worth the money we saved in the decision to have my husband install the flooring. I took our daughter shopping with my family for the day so we were out of the way. When we returned I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

My floor went from this:

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To this:

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I’m so proud of my husband for the willingness to put in the hard work required to make this transformation happen. Friends are also and awesome thing and I am thankful that we have friends who were willing to help out and teach my husband a little something about wood laminate installation.

What do you think of our cozy new floor?

Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to 2016 with you!!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Scally on the Loose

This Christmas season has been exciting and full of surprises. Arianna is three and loving everything about Christmas preparations. She enjoys picking out presents for her family members. During the annual tree decorating she took charge and told us where to hang each of her special ornaments. Each day when I pick her up from the sitter she requests a jam session to the local Christmas Radio Station for the car ride home. And she has been absolutely tickled by our introduction of Elf on the Shelf to this year’s festivities.

Her elf made an appearance for the first time on the day after Thanksgiving and without skipping a beat Arianna named the elf, “Scally, because it’s short for Scalawag.” Okay, maybe we need to start limiting Jake the Pirate in this house.

That night, Scally left Arianna a note and explained that every night while Arianna is asleep Scally goes to the North Pole and reports to Santa about her. She will return just before the sun rises and then will be frozen wherever she is and fall asleep. All of us (mom and dad included) have had a blast keeping this little story alive for Arianna. Each morning she awakes with excitement and searches the house high and low for her new elf friend. I thought I would share some photos of what our elf has been up to.

There are some super creative ideas out there on Pinterest and I’m excited to get a little more crafty once I’m out of school for Christmas break. Two more weeks!!!

Birthday Hangover

I’ve been a little behind in my posting this week. I’m going to blame my lack of writing on the inevitable birthday hangover I experience every year after Arianna’s birthday celebrations finally come to an end. As a family we spend months in preparation for each birthday. For me, it is an emotional time every year as our baby presses on to a new age and more independence. I began researching and pinning ideas for Arianna’s gift this year around July. By early August we had settled on a plan and the following month would include the execution of said plan.

We’ve been blessed to have a loving and intelligent daughter who would rather spend her time crafting, drawing, or painting than playing with toys so we decided to create an inviting space she could call hers where all of these activities could be organized and take place. Our home is a two story home. We have an open loft on the second floor that we really hadn’t done much with. Previously, it housed a comfortable chair where I would occasionally read. Without too much moving around we were able to clear the loft and redesign it according to the needs and preferences of our young artist.

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Sam decided to undertake the task of building Arianna a desk from two shelves and a Medium-Density Fiber Board. I ordered some polka dot wall decals in orange, teal, and purple from Polka Dot Wall Stickers. I also consulted Pinterest for the best process for storing supplies and decided to hang pails holding utensils on the wall. This allows for her to see all of her options while also keeping her supplies from becoming a mixed-up mess inside a box or on the floor.

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We designed wall space on which we framed some of our favorite pieces created by Arianna as well as a picture of Elsa that one of my students drew which Arianna loves. Over our utility closet we hung a curtain to help bring out a theme in the decor for the space. Finally, we created a wall for displaying her own arts and crafts.

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Unrelated to the loft/craft room we also decided it was finally time to convert her bed to a Big-Girl bed!

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Things have been busy, but fun in our house since the big reveal. Arianna really loves her own space and she refers to it as her “office.” It was a fabulous birthday and although it may seem like a boring gift to redo a loft for a three year-old she truly was grateful for everything. She’s already spent hours on her own in the office working on several little projects. Watch out, Van Gogh, Arianna is going to give you a run for your money!

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Toddler Chore Chart

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As the final days of her second year are coming to a close I am working with my daughter on independence. It’s been a bittersweet experience. She has always been a clingy child who has barely allowed me to shower or go to the bathroom alone since her days of walking began at ten months of age. So in some ways this exercise of independence seems a little overdue. At the same time realizing that she can complete certain things without my assistance is more of a reminder to me that my role as her mother is changing. It isn’t a bad change, but things are different from when she was a dependent baby. I’m learning to let go and allow her opportunities to flourish on her own. Things I’ve always done for or with her I’m teaching her to do for herself. This is what led me to creating her first ever chore chart. The purpose of this chore chart is to instill in her the abilities and desire to accomplish necessary tasks while being able to track her progress and success. Here is a chronicle of the creation of her first ever chore chart:

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Supplies: a dollar store clipboard, 1 bag of clothespins, 1 8.5×11″ sheet of paper, water color paints, paint brush, ruler, and a Sharpie marker

While Arianna was napping one day I took some time to paint and decorate the paper in her favorite colors: teal and purple. Once the paper dried I used the ruler and Sharpie to outline a chart table for the chores. My husband and I decided in advance on six activities for her to complete daily. I wrote out each task in plain letters that she can use in her exploration of words later on. Additionally, I used a rough picture of each job so that even though she can’t read yet she can identify each tasks by a photo. They are all age appropriate tasks which she can accomplish without assistance. Below the list of daily chores I made a block for each day of the week with the final block representing a reward which we decided would be money (A quarter for each day she completes all of her chores. That may seem cheap, but we are also hoping that it will lead to further lessons on saving and spending.)

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When I introduced this concept and chart to my daughter she was extremely excited. She immediately rushed off to complete her jobs, as she calls them. Within a couple of hours of unveiling her chore chart she had completed day #1 successfully. It was really nice to have some help in tidying the house and a few extra moments to take care of myself. On day #2 I picked her up from her sitter and the moment we arrived home she was ready to get to work on her jobs. We are three days in and all three days have been successful and she is genuinely enjoying taking on this independence. I would recommend this idea for anyone with a toddler and especially for those who are working to grow their child’s independence. I’ve read quite a bit in the blog’o’sphere about the benefits of giving children responsibilities in the home and I’m already very pleased with the outcomes of this Toddler Chore Chart.