Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Two weekends ago I had the privilege of being involved in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks midwest fundraiser. A group of us drove to Chicago to attend the pre-rally and then head out from Soldier Field to walk along the lakefront. It ended up being a great day (as in, no rain until a VERY light sprinkling for about 5 minutes as we were leaving) and we even got some original Al's Beef on the way home so really, what could be better than that???

The rally and walk started at Soldier Field.

As you can see, there were a TON of people and lots of noise. They had bands
playing and multiple jump houses for the kids. The noise proved to be too much
for the Princess and really, I couldn't blame her at all. It was a lot for anyone to take.

So our group stayed in the cooler ramp area outside the field and got started
on the walk towards the very front which ended up being a good thing once
we saw how many people ended up walking behind us.
L-R: Aunt T, Hubbs, Bear, me, Sis, Princess, Dad, Mom

The girls got to ride in style. As you can see from the Bears face, she was not
feeling too well. She had just started getting sick the day before and is still not
100% better. But, like her cousin, she was a real trooper!

Lovely Aunt T and Handsome Dad. Aren't they cute?!? :)

A view of the half UFO that landed on Soldier Field. Or as the Hubbs calls it,
"The Space Toilet".

Beautiful Buckingham Fountain.

The Princess posing with her Momma on a cool tree branch.

K and I decided to copy them but she really wasn't too sure about being up
on that branch.

Mom and Dad look pretty adorable though :)

Crossing the finish line. We made it!

The Hubbs made the walk back to the car more fun
by bouncing Princess all of the way there. His legs
got a great workout ;)

Mom had to hold Bears head up on the way home because she was out cold!

But really, this is what it's all about my friends. Just look at this face! I'm so
proud of my beautiful niece and Goddaughter. I love you Princess! (By the
way, Happy Baptismal birthday the other day. I'm sorry I'm late telling you.)

It was a wonderful weekend filled with family and I couldn't ask for more than that. I love you all!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Bear's Playroom Tour, Part 3

So we have finally come to the last installment of the Bears playroom. I'm sorry for the delay with this last one but we've been very busy traveling lately.

Anyway, let's get started since there are lots of pictures to look at and you know I'm going to have novellas instead of captions ;)

Here is the view from the doorway. Today we're concentrating on the left corner
and the window.

The biggest piece in the room is the train table. If you haven't read the story
behind it, check out this post and scroll down a LOT (it was a long post).

In the back corner is her shelving unit of toys.
It's actually our old Ikea Benno TV stand. I got the
boxes with lids for a great deal at Target. At some
point I want to get legs to put the stand on and
maybe even another one. The stands aren't too
expensive and they work great for toys. The Lego
head was a gift from my Mom for the Hubs but
currently it holds all of K's Duplo blocks. It makes
me smile every time I see it. On the opposite end
is a Winnie the Pooh phone. It's an actual working
phone that isn't connected right now. Piglet used
to pop out from the honey pot but after a few times
of K and her pal slamming him back in, he stays in
the pot where it's safe now ;) Hanging above is a
beautiful handmade mobile from my Sis. There is a
better picture of it here in this post. Feel free to ogle.

The table used to belong to me and my brother, then
it was passed down to my cousins and now to K.
I dig the retro feel of it and the new Ikea Fargglad chairs
go with it quite well. I wish they were chrome like the
table but it isn't a deal breaker or anything. The record
player on top was mine as well. I remember playing
with it as a child and so far K really seems to enjoy
it as well. The Barnslig Ringdans curtains and
Lekplats play mat rug are from Ikea too. I'm sure you
couldn't tell by the names or anything ;)

Hanging in the window is this beautiful dragonfly sun catcher. My aunt sent
this to us from Arizona when we lost our beautiful daughter, Allison. It is VERY
special to me because not only does it remind me of Alli but also of my aunt.
I miss them both very much.

Lastly, a picture of the Bear herself saying "cheese". I love this kid!!!

Thanks for your continued interest and kind comments about her rooms. I might try and do a few other rooms in our house but none are as cool as hers. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Bear's Playroom Tour, Part 2

Welcome back! Today we're covering the second part in the Playroom Tour. Thanks to those of you who have left such nice comments about her rooms so far. I really appreciate it :)

This photo was taken from the back corner, standing in front of the play kitchen.

This is a backpack that (I think) someone made for me
when I was really little. I don't know if my Mom made it
or it was a gift from someone but it's really cute even
though it's gotten a little dirty over the years. (I'm not
sure why the door looks pink here. It's actually white.)

Next to the closet door is a little
section of wall that was perfect for
her Ikea Husnes mirror. Above that
is an awesome cartoon of a comic book
cover my brother drew years ago based
on my Cabbage Kids.

Here is a close-up shot of it. Sorry for the reflection in the glass.

Moving around the corner is her 1970's Fisher Price Little People dollhouse.
She really likes it as does her Buddy Pal who loves to ding the doorbell.
The rocking chair used to be in her room and it matches surprising well with
this very inexpensive Ikea Lack side table. I did away with the ball pit tent
because it took up such a large amount of space in the room. I didn't want to
put away all of her balls though because she still likes to throw them around.
My solution was to take a basket and put in just a *few* balls and tuck it
under the table.

Hanging above the dollhouse are two pictures I made from extra baby gift bags
I had left from K's baby shower (yeah, I've kept them AND moved them multiple
times. Sad, I know.) The one on the left was inspired by the blog, Nested. The
main difference with mine is that I'm using glass on mine because I don't intend
to use the little barrettes again. I just think they're cute because they're so small.
The butterflies on the right is from an idea I saw on Ohdeedoh. My frame isn't
as deep as theirs so my wings don't stand off as much as I'd like them to but I'm
still happy with it. This was a great way to get rid of some baby bags! When K
is a bit older I think I might change it to something like this one on Prudent Baby.
And maybe I'll make one for me too because it's pretty cool. I also really like
the idea of using clovers like this one from Flamingo Toes. I really love clover.

This is between the table with dollhouse
and the shelves full of toys. The art on top
was a birthday gift from my amazing husband
and the letter decals are from RoomMates.

Here's a closer look at the Minimalist Muppets by Eric Slager piece. I'm such
a huge Muppets/Jim Henson fan so this is totally right up my ally. How many can
you name? I got all of them except for the chicken (I always think her name is
something else) and I can never remember the name of one of the guys from the
band. There is one that I think is a fairly poor representation but take a look first
and then scroll down to see the names.

Row 1
Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Swedish Chef, Scooter, Waldorf, Statler, Rizzo

Row 2
Dr. Teeth, Zoot (I always forget his name), Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Janice, Animal (not the best representation of animal, in my opinion. I think he could have used some teeth like Sweetums), Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker

Row 3
Sweetums, Sam the Eagle, Gonzo, Camilla (I always think her name is Henrietta), Miss Piggy, Rowlf

So there you have the second part of her playroom. I'll try and get the third (and last part up soon). I know it's a lot of pictures but hopefully you're enjoying them.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Bear's Playroom Tour, Part 1

Hello Loyal Readers! Today we begin the Playroom Tour. I absolutely love this room and we spend quite a bit of time in here. It's so bright and full of fun :)

This is the view from the left back corner looking towards the door. From this
view, to the right of the door is the closet and to the left, just barely in frame
is the homemade kitchen. I'll break it down and give you some details.

This is looking into the room through
the Ikea Vitaminer curtain. It's a plastic
rainbow of fun to run through :)

Moving inside the room, hanging on the door is the
beautiful blanket The Bear's cousin made for her for
Christmas that you may remember used to be hanging
on her bedroom door until I changed it to the tutu and
butterfly wings from her great aunt. The wand above
the blanket is from that same butterfly fairy set.

Moving into the room a bit we come to the Ikea MÅLA
easel. Great Grammie & Grampie got one for each of the
three granddaughters for Christmas last year and it has
been a huge hit in our house. Kbear LOVES it. She uses
it everyday. I have it set up backward with the paper roll
hanging down over the dry erase side because if she
accidentally gets paint on that side it's easy to clean up
plus I can keep the chalkboard side out for everyday
drawing. Above that is a rotating art gallery. I saw the
idea to use trouser hangers as art hangers on the blog site
Smile and Wave. I thought it was so cute and I found this
set of 6 for $3.99 on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond so
you can't beat that.

Finally, moving all of the way to the left is the kitchen.
It's AWESOME! I absolutely love this thing. My dad,
the hubs and I all made this for K for Christmas. I found
the idea from the Ikea Hacker website and used the plans
from the original blog site called Mama Americana which
seems to be no longer in existence.

Here it is with the refrigerator open. We have tons of wonderful Melissa &
Doug wooden food given as gifts, two adorable crocheted cups of tea
(made by my SIL) and on the bottom is a cool wood bowl I found at our local
Goodwill for approximately 50 cents to hold the smaller fruit. In the oven is a
pizza. It's on a wire cooling rack that I still need to mount to replicate the racks
in a real oven. To the right is the microwave. I know it's gaudy but it was too
cool to pass up. It has a working timer that counts down, a light, a rotating turn-
table and a bell dings when the food is done. I think it's nicer than the one that
came in our apartment. Next to that is the toaster that matches the blender up top.

The stove top has two "on" burners (under the pot and pan) and two "off"
burners. The faucet really works thanks to a counter mounted soap dispenser
that I just fill with tap water. The sink is a stainless bowl we already had. The
bottom two drawers hold the utensils, plates, cups, pitchers, extra chopping
knives, cupcake sleeves, and a few extra pots and pieces of food.

I couldn't hold her back from playing any longer to
take more pictures! On the side was my Mom's
great idea. We had an extra long handle from the
fridge door (they come in two packs) so she suggested
mounting it on the side as a towel holder. Brilliant!

Lastly, above the kitchen are two pieces of
art from one of my favorite children's authors,
Holly Hobbie. She wrote and illustrated the
original Toot & Puddle books and I just adore
the soft watercolor charm of these two piggies.
I have 2 more hanging in K's bathroom. These
(& the 2 in the bathroom) were from 2 calendars
I had years ago. I wish I had known then that
she would retire and save the remainder of the
calendars for other pieces but such is life :( At
least I have my 4 favorites framed and hung.

So that's the first part of the playroom. I'm sorry it was a bit long but I wanted to be able to showcase the amazing kitchen. I'm SO happy to have it as something handmade for her by her Papa that she will be able to keep and pass down to her children someday. Plus she gets so much enjoyment out of it now and I know that as she ages and uses even more of her imagination it will get years of play to come. Stay tuned for Tour Parts 2 and 3 to come. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Bear's Bedroom Tour, Part 3

So we've come to the end of K's bedroom. I still think it's funny that I had to break it up into 3 parts since it's the smallest room in the house. Oh well, it has a lot of stories behind it. When we start the playroom, as Samuel L. Jackson would say in Jurassic Park, "hold onto your butts" - it's gonna be a long one!

Here we have the last side of the bedroom. I'm taking this picture from the doorway.

Starting from left to right, this is K's Great Grammies
old potty chair. K loves to sit on it. It's the perfect
height for her. Daddy had the great idea of getting
a piece of MDF cut to the same size as the seat and
covering it in some padding and fabric so it will be an
actual seat for her without altering the original at all.

The rocking chair was at my Grandma's house and it
has been a wonderful! K, Daddy and I have spent many
an hour in this chair, especially when she was tiny. She
still likes to rock in it and asks to rock together almost
every night. The Bee Pillow Pal was a Christmas gift
from our wonderful friends and K loves him! She calls
him Buzz Buzz. The blanket was handmade by K's Great-
Great Aunt Donna. There is a matching sweater, hat and
bootie set as well. It's beautiful and extra meaningful to
us since her recent passing. I made the mobile above the
chair in March and have since added a tiny white owl
hanging down from the middle. Yesterday K was looking
at it and said "Wow... so pretty". The best praise I could get.

The top right three pictures were made by A & K as a first Christmas gift for me
back in 2008. I love them so much! The bottom left picture was made by a local IL
artist from an art show. It reminded me of Daddy and The Bear because he often
carries her around on his shoulders. Given how tall the two of them are, it's a darn
good thing she isn't afraid of heights!

Here are her Ikea Billy half bookshelves. These get
the most use of anything in her room. She is an amszing
reader and can repeat back almost every single one of
her books. The tree decal above them is from the Target
Circo Love and Nature set. When I first got the decals
I didn't think I would use the tree at all because it's very
cartoon-y and sparce but I wanted to put something tall
on that wall and I actually don't mind it. It's definitely not
the prettiest tree decal set I've seen but since I already had
it I figured we may as well use it.

I found this lamp at my parents house when we were
there in March. It used to be in my brother and my
shared room. The little "house" lights up a light orange
color (I think it has one of those old big Christmas lights
in it) and you can manually turn the boy and it turns a
music box. At some point I'd like to replace the music box
part because it seems like it's been abused. I can't tell what
song it's playing anymore. I replaced the shade and I really
like it. It's cute and kitchy and I think it has real charm.

And here's a little teaser of what's to come with the
Playroom Tour. This is the view into the hallway
right outside K's door on a sunny day.