Happy Easter!

posted by harlie in day-to-day, family, fun

Easter was a rainy day, but we had a ton of fun with the contents of our Easter basket anyhow. We made a glorious mess! Hope everyone else had as much fun!


We’ve returned from the blizzardy north!

posted by harlie in family, fun, travel

Or the snowy, but lovely and sunny Mid-west.

Sorry for the down-time. We’ve been visiting family in Wisconsin. We went out there to celebrate a wedding, 1920′s style but we had a lot of fun enjoying the weather.

The Mr grew up here, but I’ve had limited experience with snow (Tahoe a couple of time plus a few flurries growing up and one memorable winter when we got 13″ of snow covered by 1″ of ice). For Lil’Man, this was the first snow he’d ever seen outside of a picture.

The day after we arrived, the Mr’s cousins took us out for our first sledding experience. It was a blast to go down the hill with Lil’Man with me. He’s so serious, never cracking a smile the whole way down. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if he’s having fun. But once that sled stopped, he immediately asked for more. Lots more. We took a break from sledding and built a 7′ tall snowman and a few snow angels. The next day, we built more snowmen and one kick-ass, toddler-sized snowfort. With a snowman sentry, of course. We had a lot of fun, and I hope we can go back so that Lil’Man will have clearer memories of these events and his distant family.

Until then, it’s time to return to the real world and to the blogosphere!


I’m a Bookworm, Baby!

posted by harlie in family, fun, home

I totally credit my parents with instilling in me the love of reading. I’ve worried, at times, that I wouldn’t be as successful in passing that onto my kids. I frequently ask my mom what they did to get all four of her children to love reading. She says that she and my dad just read to us as often as they could. So I try to do that for Lil’Man. It’s a bit early to tell, but I think it might be working. #fingerscrossed

When I leave him alone in his play area (just for a moment, I promise) and it gets too quiet, I often walk in to find him sitting on the floor, surrounded by his books, flipping slowly through the one he has on his lap. Sometimes he’s “reading” to his puppy dolls. It melts my heart.

When he’s upset because he had a long day or got a bump or was denied a treat or some toddler-only-knows reason, I pick him up, hug him and say, “Do you want Mommy to read a book? Do you want the one with the [mouse, puppy, colors, etc]?” and he generally calms down, sniffles and nods his head. Then I can put him down and he’ll run over to his bookcase, grab the book (plus 2 or 3 more) and run back to me, flinging the books onto my lap as he crawls on to the sofa to snuggle up for storytime. What’s not to love about that?

When he’s been extra good or when it’s bedtime and we need to calm down or just whenever, I ask him what books he wants to read. We get them, we snuggle under the covers together and we open up a book. A lot of his books don’t have many words, so we talk about the characters. What do they look like? What are they feeling? What are they thinking? We talk about the background. What colors do we see? Are we inside or outside? Do we have any of the things we see in our house? It’s so much fun! You can really made a wordless book stretch into a good long storytime.

Lil’Man’s taste in books changes from time to time, but he has some good ol’ standbys we read over and over. Of course, there’s Goodnight, Moon, a bona fide classic. This was the Mr’s childhood (and current) favorite and I think it makes him rather proud to see Lil’Man enjoying it so much. I love Sandra Boynton’s Snuggle Puppy!. I get to sing, kiss, snuggle, hug and tickle Lil’Man when I read it to him. It’s all part of the love song in the book (well…the tickling isn’t, but I just can’t resist sometimes). It’s my absolute favorite: I have it memorized and break out singing it whenever I feel silly and want to swoop up my little love. Which is whenever he’s adorable. Which is pretty much always.

Lil’Man has a LOT of books. That’s mainly my fault — I can’t resist a brightly colored book with cute characters if I think he might like them. Of course, there’s always a select few that are in heavy rotation. The books that, right now, he keeps holding out to me and asking for storytime or flipping through while he waits for me to grab him a snack. Here’s a few of them. Maybe your toddler might like a few. I’d love to know if they have faves for Lil’Man to discover. Click here to read more about each of the books our little guy loves…


Pintrest Challenge: Two-tone Vases

posted by harlie in fun, home

It’s that time of year. Time for

Brought to you by the awesome blog duo of BowerPower and YoungHouseLove. This round is also being cohosted by Decor and the Dog and The Remodeled Life. I have enjoyed watching the fruits of other people’s pinspired labors over the past few years. This time, I’ve decided to join in the fun.

It just so happens that a few days before Katie & Sherry threw down their Pintrest Challenge, I pinned these very pretty West Elm vases:

They’re more geometric than I usually like, but I still thought these would look lovely on our dining room table, filled with some ranunculus or daisies. They’re currently on sale, but I think they would look best in a group. Even at almost 60% off, the smallest vase is $10 so getting a good size group would cost me a good chunk of change. Which I’m not ready to shell out.

Perfect for a Pintrest project!

So, now it was time to hit up a few of my favorite places to find inexpensive white vases. Since I was headed to IKEA to check out the Strandmon, that was my first stop for vase shopping.

I picked up a FÅNIG vase for $3.99. The dots, I figured, I would cover with my paint. It has a more matte finish, which I thought would make a nice contrast to a shiny, navy “glaze”.

I also picked up this mini pitcher-shaped SOCKERÄRT vase. This one isn’t matte, but I’ve always been drawn to pitchers used as vases, so I’m willing to let it go.

On my way out, I usually check out the As-Is section of IKEA where you can find some great deals. This time was no exception — I found these lovely vases for only $1 a piece! They were in good condition — no cracks or chips that I could see. I even found a third in the back of the shelf. Bonus: these have the same matte finish as the FÅNIG vase. Perfect!

I added my IKEA finds to a little ceramic bird I picked up at Target for $3-4 and got a cute little collection of white objects:

I briefly considered actually dipping the vases per another pin I had here. He makes it sound so darn easy. However, I’d have to buy a lot more oil-based paint than I’d probably ever use after a one-time project where I dip a handful of ceramics into it. Also, there’s the drying time and the babysitting the items so they don’t get stuck to whatever surface they’re drying on. And I’m sure there’d be a lot of drippy mess. It just seemed wasteful of paint and time, so I decided the best way for me to do this was spray paint.

First I taped off the area I wanted to paint. This was a little difficult with the squash shapes, but the one that was the hardest was, surprisingly, the bird. I had to tape it off in short sections to get a somewhat decent line. Once that was done, I covered the tops with paper and used more tape to secure it.

Then…the spray painting. I’m on a navy blue kick right now (and I have to say that Moroccan blue is really starting to grow on me), so I used Rustoleum Painter’s Touch in glossy Navy Blue. It was only $4 at my local Home Depot.

I assume everyone knows that you should do this outside or in a very well-ventilated area. Go slowly and spray in lots of thin, even coats. This is always the hardest part for me. I’m impatient. I do my best though.

However, you probably shouldn’t do something else that I did. I was having trouble getting under the “belly” of the squash vases and on the small foot. I picked up the vases while I sprayed them to get a better angle. I’ve had paint on my hands many times before, but this is kind of ridiculous. I feel like Lady MacBeth, if the king of Scotland had been a Smurf. I keep finding little patches of blue dots on my hands and arms no matter how often I scrub and I’ve given up getting the blue out from under my fingernails. Kids, learn from my mistakes!

I took the tape off while the paint was still wet. The first two, taller vases came out great: clean lines. The squash vases had a bit of overspray which got under the tape because it had lifted off in the little divot areas. Doh! It wasn’t so bad, but I should have been more careful. Also, the paint dried faster than I’d expected. By the time I got to the last vase, the paint was starting to stick to the tape as I pulled it off. It had one little area which I’ll probably clean up later, but overall, it wasn’t bad.

The bird was another story. I unwrapped him last and a good portion of his paint peeled off with the tape. He was hard to tape up and tough to unwrap. I don’t think he wanted to be painted. Ah well, maybe someday I’ll get him fixed up, but until then, I’ll just face his good side out toward the world.

All in all, the project wasn’t a complete success — mostly that’s my own fault. I could have been more careful to keep the tape from pulling away from the squash vases. I also will keep in mind that maybe it’s best to paint a single item and unwrap it before the paint dries instead of painting everything first. Still, I like the end result enough. I think they look pretty good in a group, don’t you? Especially once I put a few, cheerful flowers in the vases — I think they’ll brighten right up! And it cost me under $25.


Share the Lieben

posted by harlie in fun, media

I got the nicest surprise in my inbox today: Liz from My Life in Projects awarded me a Liebster Blog Award!

Liebster, in German, means endearing, valued, lovely, beloved, etc. This award is a way to acknowledge new, up-and-coming bloggers and talented, long-time bloggers with few followers and to help recognize them for their outstanding accomplishments in design as presented on their blog.

It’s an honor that Liz chose LoS as one of her blogs picks for this award! Thank you, Liz — I’m happy you think my blog is worthy of recognition (especially since you’re probably the only person who reads this who isn’t related to me). I’m so grateful that you like my recent crafts and posts! I’d never heard of The Liebster Blog Award before, so I hope you don’t mind that, being the type of person I am, I googled the Liebster Award as soon as I got my email notification.

The award has been around since at least late 2010, when I found it posted on this German blog (makes sense, no?). At the time, the rules were to post the award image with a link back to your awarder, pick 3-5 blogs with under 3000 followers to pass it onto and leave them a comment to let them know. That seems to be it. Easy peasy. Now, the rules say to post the image with a link back, pass it onto 11 bloggers with under 200 followers, answer 11 questions, post 11 more random facts and then ask 11 new questions. Whew! That’s lots more work!

There are a good number of variations in between (i.e. pick 5 blogs with <2000 followers, post 5 random facts), but the intention seems to be always the same: get to know your fellow bloggers a little better while acknowledging the smaller blogs you enjoy. Well, I'm fine with a little more work (though I'm going to make it 5, not 11…total madness!), but for everyone I pass the torch to: seriously no pressure! I'd love to know more about you and your blog, but life can get crazy busy. Answer my questions if you like and post a five fun facts about yourself if you have time. If you like, post 5 of your own questions. Just know that, whatever you choose to do or not do, I love your blog and think other people should too! All I really ask is that you pass along the Liebster love to 3-5 blogs you admire and who might need a little boost to get more recognition.

What Emily Does
Emily and her husband are updating their first home together. She got a kickstart with an HGTV makeover of her living room and is keeping up the momentum for the rest of their house.

Lemon Drop Life
Dacia is a young, Mid-western 20-something with a family, a dog and a fun sense of style.

Our 1st Nest
Two lovebirds renovating their first lovenest and doing a beautiful job of it!

Small Home, Big Start
I first noticed Amanda’s pinspired craft on a BP/YHL Pintrest Challenge and loved how fun and colorful it was, and her blog is more of the same.

I Wanna Be Me When I Grow Up…
A little bit crafts, a little bit photography. A little bit world-traveler, a little bit home-body. Kara covers all the bases.

Please, everyone, visit these lovely blogs and check out their projects! Tell them how awesome they are!

By the way, I have no clue how you would know how many followers a blog has, so when I can, I go by number of G+, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook followers.

Your (optional, but hopefully fun) questions:

  1. What would you do if you became independently wealthy tomorrow?
  2. What simple or modern convenience can’t you live without?
  3. If you could instantly move your house to anywhere in the world, where would you live?
  4. What is the longest you’ve been “off-the-grid” since you started blogging (if ever)?
  5. What is your particular first world problem?
  6. BONUS: What have you got in your pocket?

Please also post 5 random facts and 5 questions for those you pass the Lieben onto. And remember to have fun with it!

Click here for random facts about me and my answers to the questions from Liz @ MyLifeInProjects…

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