Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Route 66 Nursery

Posted by Beck

When I found out A was going to be a boy I started brainstorming about the nursery design. I don't remember what spurred the idea, but it didn't take me long to come up with a fun way to combine our love of woodies (the cars) with a cool roadside Americana vibe. Not to mention use stuff we already had on hand. Win - win. Since LJ had the surfer themed woody room as a baby, we decided A would get a "turf-er" themed woody room. Ba dum cha.

It took me about 4 months to finish and then I had to maintain the cleanliness of the room long enough to take pictures to show you, so what you see here is about 9 months in the making. Ha!

Without further adieu, baby A's Route 66 nursery!

Chair:  Bass Pro Shop - only $299 and it is the most comfortable and amazing chair! Big enough for my 6'3 husband and cheaper than a lot of nursery gliders I looked at. It's called the "Catnapper" and it lives up to its name. I fall asleep in it regularly while putting the baby to bed.
Rug:  Birthday gift from my sister-in-law Sommer
Bunting:  Sommer (she's amazing, what can I say?)

Wall hanging:  Made by me using vintage state postcards I ordered online. This was in lieu of a $50 poster I saw online that had a similar wooden backdrop, vintage map design. I may have to spring for the poster one of these days.
Shutters:   I can't say enough about using shutters for decorating.

Can you tell the furniture (look at the right side of the crib) is a well-loved hand me down from the first child?

I'd like to balance this wall a little better, but it works for now. It kind of stresses me out that the "N" is crooked in the picture. Don't worry, it's straight now.
Pictures:  Taken during our November trip to Cars Land and edited to the extreme with
Switchplate cover: Gift from mom-in-law from a shop in Santa Monica (at the end of Route 66)
Mickey Dice: Cars Land
Diaper basket: Lowes
Wooden Star: JoAnns

Can we talk about how much I LOVE these letters. I made them myself and love how they turned out! Really love. Like in a I-want-to-start-an-etsy-shop-and-make-them-all-the-time-but-I-won't-because-they're-probably-not-as-great-as-I-think-they-are kind of love. 

Basically I took a three-dimensional cardboard letters (I got mine at Hobby Lobby), painted the edges a navy blue to help them stand out against the light wall, google imaged "Route 66 landmarks," then printed out pictures that had the cloud vibe I was looking for, traced and cut them accordingly, and modge-podged them onto those suckers.

Love.  Them.



Radiator Springs "vintage" postcard

Crib skirt:  Made by my mom

Quilt:  Made by my wonderful friend Shawna

I broke this one down by number in case anyone was DYING to know where something came from.
1. Route 66 Sign:  We had this on hand from our college days
2. Poster picked up in Santa Monica
3. USA Cutting Board from Target - I waited until it was on super clearance and got lucky that it was still around! Hooray!
4. Frame:  Thrifted/spray painted and Poster:
5. Gas Pump:  Hobby Lobby
6. Sign:  Had in our old house
7. Lamp:  Target (also clearance!)
8. Quilt:  Made by my mom
9. Bowling pin (on hand) and mini bowling collage (I made with scrapbooking paper and scrapbook stickers)
10. Map "P:  Gft from Sommer (urban outfitters, I think?)
11. Route 66 Brochure:  Santa Monica
12. "Mom's Diner:" Made by me (I thought I was soooo funny, then the baby came and it was kind of true for a few months. Not so funny at that point.)
13. License plate name sign:  Custom ordered by my in-laws from a shop in Cambria
Did you or do you plan to do a "theme" nursery/bedroom for your little one?

Monday, February 25, 2013


Posted by Beck

JP and I used to get out about once a month or so for "date nights." (We are lucky to have somewhat local, always willing grandparents to help us out with this.) Usually a movie was involved. Occasionally dinner if we were feeling really fancy. Since baby A's arrival, our date nights are fewer and farther between. Since we're both away from the kids for the better part of our weekdays and the occasional weekend for work, it seems pretty crummy to take time out for just us. However, I am also realizing more and more how HUGELY important these moments are to our relationship, so I decided that in 2013 we are going to try to do at least four different "adventure" dates - one per quarter - that take us a bit more out of our "dinner and a movie" comfort zone.

Adventure #1:  Mendocino, CA and Ridgewood Ranch

One of my best girlfriends from high school got married last weekend and, since I was one of the matrons of honor (Co-MOH if you will), we opted not to take the kids with us. We had a nice time reconnecting during the 4.5 hour drive (each way) without having to placate any little people along the way. I was pretty busy Friday and Saturday with wedding stuff, but on our way home on Sunday we had a random adventure together that took me back to our dating days and the first 7 years of our marriage when we used to take spur of the moment road trips on the weekends.

Before our trip JP did a little research about the area. In his research he discovered that the legendary racehorse Seabiscuit made his home in Willits, CA. Now, a little known fact about JP is that he is really into horse racing. Now, don't mistake him for a hardcore gambler - he's not. He might spend $20 a year going to one horse race at the county or state fair each summer. He just likes the challenge of figuring out which horse is going to win. One year he spent hours figuring out a mathematical equation that would help him determine which horse would win. Hours. That's my husband ladies and gentlemen. He buys chickens and turkeys, learns how to prune vines and make honey, and spends hours analyzing the science of horseracing, among other things...just for fun.

So, when he told me we HAD to find Seabiscuit's "house" on our way home, I knew this was pretty important to him. It wasn't an easy place to find. Googlemaps took us to the wrong place. We ended up an hour behind schedule and had just about given up when we saw the sign for "Ridgewood Ranch" off of Hwy 101 just outside of Willits. It was in this beautiful community nestled in some foothills that Seabiscuit lived and trained. It appears to still be in use, at least at certain times of the year. Temporary housing units were visible, as well as a cafeteria and a small community school. And of course, evidence of Seabiscuit himself. JP had a little moment next to the memorial, we tromped around the grounds (while I said, "I hope nobody shoots us" several times), checked out the "Stud Barn," and then we were on our way. We were only there about 30 minutes, but it was fun to go on a random "adventure" with my best friend again.

I'm looking forward to next quarter's "Date Adventure."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Lovin' AKA Valentine's Day 2013

Posted by Beck
A bit belated, but I promised my mom a glimpse of Valentine's Day Photo Shoot 2013. If you have a hankering to view any of our previous Valentine's Day photo shoots, click here for 2012 and 2011.
Basically I had a really elaborate plan in my head that involved chalkboards, the outside fence and a super adorable Valentine's Day bunting. None of that happened. At this stage in my life I'm pretty lucky if I clean the kitchen every night, so making bunting sounds like a good idea in theory, but usually winds up kind of low on my list. So I mulled photo backdrop ideas over in my head throughout the day, each "design" getting less and less intricate as the day went on.
Finally, around 4pm, I knew it was now or never time as the natural light was fading and we had to leave the house in 30 minutes. I busted out some tan scrapbook paper, a fat marker, and my go-to ball of twine and made my sign; pulled the fun polka-dot fabric out of my fabric drawer and tacked it to the wall; threw a red pillow in this wooden crate that sits in the living room; dressed A in an acceptable outfit and called it good.
I learned from my years as a television producer that patterns tend to "move" on camera and these tiny multi-colored dots are no exception, but I still love it! *
Originally LJ told me he didn't want to be in any pictures and wouldn't let me "stage" him. Then at the last minute he jumped into the crate, told me he wanted to hold A and decided to be a team player. Luckily I had the foresight to dress him in an appropriately colored shirt should this very thing happen. Do I know my kid or what?
Then he gives me a gem like this:
Fortunately, he's a pro.
I didn't, however, have time to fix his hair or wash his face. Fortunately you can't really see that in these pictures.


Your guess is as good as mine on this one.


XOXO to you all!
*Fun Tip:  If you're planning to be photographed or on television, solid colors, particularly brights, are your best bet. Tiny patterns tend to look like they are moving on camera, and white and black have their own issues,  particularly in a setting where the camera is moving between subjects and has to adjust to the lighting each time. Black is okay when paired with a solid color and wide prints or plaids are usually okay. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but one that will definitely help you look your best for your 15 minutes of fame!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Makin' Honey is Money

posted by JP

I told a friend the other day, "Hey guess what?" She said, "What?" I said, "I made honey in my kitchen today." She said, "You are will try just about anything, won't you?" My answer, "Yep."

Beck told me, "You can take honeycomb out of a bee hive with your bare hands and figure out how to extract the honey, but you can't fix the water dispenser on the refrigerator?" My answer, "Yep."

I made honey! How cool is that? And I didn't wear a beehive mask or gloves. First I smoked the bees with a smoker and pulled out 2 heavy honey comb frames from the hive. Hundreds of bees were on each frame and I brushed them off  and made honey in my kitchen. I am a city boy-turned-country and I guess we all know now that I am a little crazy too.

I brought the honey comb from the hive into my kitchen and let LJ lick the honey right out of the comb with his finger. He was loving it. I knew I didn't have money to buy a honey extractor, so I watched a youtube video of this lady who made honey in her kitchen. I saw what she did and went for it!

This is how I made honey in my kitchen:

First I cut the comb right off the frame and placed it into a bowl.

Then I placed the broken up comb in a metal filter over a pot on the stove.

The purified honey began to drip into the pot.
After the initial flow of honey, I put it in cheese cloth and began work it and crush it in the metal filter.

I put the pot on the lowest heat and that too helped the flow of the honey.
After a couple of hours we were left with a pot full of honey that I put in a jar.

A tip:  If you are trying this at home use old pots, not nice pots. The pots are a little hard to clean after you make the honey.  I am going to try and use disposible products next time.

Now you might be wondering where I got this beehive. It's a long story, but we were given the beehive from our friend. All she asked for in return was a jar of honey. Hope you enjoyed it, Shannon!

We think these are cool farming videos

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Five Months

Our old pediatrician, who we LOVED,  moved away in December (waaahhhhh!), so we had to start seeing a new doctor. She seems okay, but at A's four-month well baby visit last month she told me she was slightly concerned with his weight (apparently he was only in the 2nd percentile). I almost laughed in her face. At 12 lbs, 9 oz he weighed nearly two pounds MORE than LJ did at the same age. We are so used to slender babies that we always think of little A as our "big boy." Oops.

I know five months is a drop in the bucket, but man has time flown. I can't believe my littlest baby has been with us for nearly half a year!

He's currently practicing his roll overs, learning to love rice cereal and wanting to chew on EVERYTHING. He watches LJ like a hawk and laughs hysterically when LJ reads to him or interacts with him at all. He's my little snuggle bug and we just love him to pieces. I finally got outside to take some new pictures of him with a real camera (read:  not my cell phone) and wanted to share them here on the blog.

LJ still uses A's head as a drum, but he has mastered the art of "gentle drumming"