Saturday, March 31, 2012

DIY Play Kitchen

 Do you remember this post??  Well I'm happy to report that my play kitchen is finished!!!! To begin, I found this unit for $20 at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I thought it was the perfect height for Elise and I loved all of the available space on top!
 Here it is!!  I have to admit, I'm pretty dang proud of myself for how this turned out!!  Below I have some other pictures so you can see all the little details better! I hope you all understand that the black cupboard is supposed to be the oven door! If you forgot, here is what it looked like when I started:

It looks like a ton of work, but really it wasn't that bad.  The worst part for me was sanding and waiting for the coats of paint to dry.  Some of them took up to 24 hours to dry and when you are doing 2 coats time drags on!
 For the sink, I found the bowl for the sink at Goodwill for $1.99 and faucet is a p-trap in the plumbing department for about $2.50!  I love how it looks!  My father-in-law was in town a few weeks ago and I had him help me use the jigsaw to cut the holes for the sink and drill holes for all my knobs. And yes, all of the knobs really turn!
The stove burners are just wooden plaques that I found at Michaels.  I also found the knobs for the sink and oven/stove there too.  I painted them all black.  To get the look on top of the burners I google imaged "concentric circles" and found this picture.  I cut it out and glued it on!
 I was able to find these adorable kitchen printables via Pinterest or you can also find them here.  What made it even better is that they were free!
The black paint you see above the printable is actually chalk board paint!  That way she can color and draw her menu on the sides :)  I don't have any chalk yet so I'll have to show that later!

I found the fabric for my curtain at JoAnn.  I'm also planning to make a chef's hat and apron to go with it!!  I got all of the paint and other supplies (like the pulls on the cupboards) at Lowes for a very cheap cost!  I'd say the entire project cost less than $55.  The most expensive part was the unit itself and all of the piant!  I had to buy primer, paint AND a polyurethan sealer!! 

If there is something I didn't mention thatyou were wondering about, let me know!  This was such a fun project, I'd be happy to help if anyone has a question.  Thanks to blogs and pinterest I was able to get this done and get lots of ideas and inspiration!!

15 Months

(At her Doctors appointment)

Elise had her 15 month checkup on Thursday!  I can't believe how big she is!!  Here are her stats:

Height: 31 inches (75%)
Weight: 21 lbs. 5 1/2 oz. (60%)
Head: 45.6 cm

She kicked and screamed while the doctor examined her eyes, nose, and mouth and as much fun as that was the doctor said that is exactly what he should be seeing at this age!
She really has grown so much in these past few weeks!  She has learned to walk!  Not perfect and not all the time, but she can do it!  Each day she walks a little more around the apartment. It's only a matter of time before she will be doing it full time!

She does know a few words!  She knows Mom, Dad, baby, ball, and of course, no!  She prefers to use no most of the time, but in a pinch the word "ma" means anything and everything she wants at that moment. 
(I decided to put some scrap fabric from a project around her head!  To my surprise, she liked it!!)

She loves music and to clap her hands and pick up her feet!  Whether it is from the radio, a tv show, or us singing she always gets excited to hear music!
She loves books and I will often find her in her room going through her big basket of books pulling them out and turning the pages on all of them.  This melts my heart- I love that she loves her books so much!

She also has started to throw little tantrums.  They don't last long but she definitely is starting to understand that she doesn't always get her way, and she doesn't like it!

Elise loves to eat and will eat just about anything you offer to her!!  We are very happy that she is such a great eater! She must take after her Mom ;)
(After eating a huge mouthful of some Andes Mint pie!!  Messy much?)

Elise, we love you so much!!  It is so much fun to be here and see you go through all of these big changes!! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sleep Sack

I don't know if any of you use these for your kids, but in our home, we swear by them!!  Elise has slowly progressed from the Swaddle Me, to the fleece bag sleeper from Carters, to this.  The first one my mom bought Elise for her birthday and I decided she needed another for when the other is dirty, etc so I made the purple fleece one with my sister Nicole when I was in Utah.  Since we are experiencing summer temperatures here in Wisconsin I knew I couldn't put Elise in her fleece sleep sack- so I made a summer one out of flannel.  I used the one my mom bought as a template and cut it out, sewed in a zipper, and finished off the sleeves and voila- there you go!  Beats paying $22 for another!  These are a fun and easy project!
{I made the patterned ones above, the solid light pink one was purchased!}

If you'd like to make one for your kid and don't have one already to use as a temple, I know that Ashely from Make It and Love it has a great tutorial.  You can find that here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Zack often says that we are worth less than a bum on the street.  Ha- I think we have a few more assets than a bum on the street (a shopping cart not being one of them) but it's true- we have NO money!!  Good thing that the government thinks that we WILL be worth something one day and are helping us along until we get there. 

Until then, we try to be frugal people.  And by "we" I really mean me.  Zack is one of those guys who never buys anything except his favorite highlighters (for studying) and gasoline on the rare occasion.  I do think we do a good job and keeping things minimal. 

Because of this I often find myself paroozing through our local Goodwill store.  If you can get past the "used by a complete stranger" part of this, it is a pretty great store and can save you TONS of money!  Most often I look through the toy section to find great things for Elise.  Here are some of the awesome things I have found:
Here you will see a vintage Fisher-Price Garage (I had one growing up and loved it! Especially the elevator for cars!), 6 awesome Care Bears, pink shopping cart, and inside the cart are these awsome Crayola Jumbles that were practically new!
I was SO excited when I saw the LeapFrog 'Learn and Groove Musical Talbe'- I had almost bough one from craigslist and lucked out and found this for $4!!  I also found these great Melissa & Doug puzzles and the classic vaccuum popper!
My last "show and tell" picture shows the Fisher-Price Family Play Farm (I swear it was brand new), a Little People truck that sings songs and makes the "back up" noise, and there are always lots and lots of great board books for only .59 cents!  Have I sold you yet?

Now don't worry...I fully inspect them before I buy and they also get a soapy scrubby bubble bath followed by a dip in the Clorox Bleach pool before Miss Elise is ever allowed to touch anything :)  We have found some awsome stuff to say the least!!  You should check out yours and let me know what you find.  Are there any other great used places I should know about?


After four years of going without, Zack finally got Spring Break!!  We drove down to Chicago for a few days and had a great time!!  We arrived late Thursday night and were too late to really do anything besides grabbing a quick bite and walking around and exploring the city. 

We made our plans for Friday and headed out first thing to Millenium Park to see "the bean".  The bean, I learned, is pretty new to Chicago.  It was built from 2004-2006.  It is pretty neat since it is reflective on all sides!  It has even made an appearance in a few movies since (The Vow anyone?).  It is pretty cool and definitely a fun and FREE tourist attractions.  Pretty fascinating. 

After that we had worked up an appetite so we went to eat some famous chicago deep dish pizza from none other than Giordano's.  It takes 35-40 minutes to bake one of these deep dish pizza's so Zack and I took turns taking Elise oustide to play while we waited for our food.  It finally arrived and the wait was well worth it :)  It was probably at least 3 inches tall.  It also goes a long way- we got a small and still had leftovers!!
Above is the Sears (pronounced Willis) Tower.  We were too cheap to pay to go to the very top ($18 per person-yikes!).  It was essentially across from Giordano's so Elise and I went inside the lobby, saw the lego tower replica and took a free brochure...basically the same thing as going to the top, right?!
After lunch we had to take a break back at the hotel so miss Elise could take a nap- which was fine with Zack so he could watch March Madness.  When she woke up we started to head over to Navy Pier and stopped by the giant Marilyn Monroe statue and the Tribune Tower.  The Tower is a neat building that has stones from famous places from all over the world.  Here is a shout to my home land of Utah!  Can you guess which stone they used?!
If you guess granite from the Salt Lake Temple then you are right!!  I guess it wasn't too hard though!

We got to Navy Pier and decided to take a ride on the ferris wheel!  It is still early in the season so most other rides on the pier were closed but we had a great time on it and got to see a beautiful view of the city as well. 
Here is another view from Navy Pier.  About 10 seconds after this picture was taken we had a HUGE downpour of rain that lasted for a half hour.  This was fortunate because it made us take cover underneath and realized there were a milllion shops, stores, museums and other things inside. It was really cool!
After waiting around for a while we ventured outside to play in the puddles :)  Here is our proof of the rain storm.Good thing it didn't last long since we didin't bring any kind of jacket with us!

After the pier we decided to have dinner at Rain Forest Cafe.  Zack had never been there before and we thought that Elise would get a kick out of all the random rain showers, gorillas and elephants making noise.  The picture of her above with the frog kinda sums up how she felt about it.  She just stared and looked intrigued.  Not happy, not sad just very interested.  Either way she was entertained and we got to enjoy a meal. 

After dinner we walked some of the "magnificent mile" and took this great picture of the city and the Chicago river.  Next up- the parade!
Next morning was the St. Patrick's day parade and man...does this city go ALL OUT!!!  Every person we saw was wearing all sorts of green.  Not even just the clothes but necklaces, hats, sunglasses- it's a big deal!!  They even dye the Chicago River green for the occasion!  It was pretty cool.  We got to the parade an hour early to stake out a good spot. Elise had fun playing with Daddy's sunglasses while we waited for it to begin. 
It started out with a bang or in this case bagpipes.  We tried to stay and watch the entire parade but Elise was tired and hot (it was 80 degrees!) and there weren't enough marching bands and loud exciting things happening to keep her interested so we had to leave a little early!
I wore blue on purpose (no, not really) so that Zack could easily find me in the crowd of green!  Here we are waiting for the parade to begin!  We had a GREAT time in Chicago and definitely plan to go back many times while we are so close.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Miller Brewery Tour

We decided that to be true Milwaukee-ans we better take the Miller Brewery tour!  Miller is ALL over Milwaukee and even our baseball team, The Brewers, play in the Miller Staduim.  Since Zack's parents were in town we thought we best check it out! 
This is a shot of inside the bottling factory.  Getting them all filled, labeled and ready to be shipped away to your local store!
Elise, of course, was fascinated and so excited to learn all about hops and beer and fermentation!
Here is the brewing process for those of you who don't know.  Which I think would be most of my readers- ha ha. 
This cool Lautern Tun that hold some of the beer...or hops...or whatever it is at this stage.  These things were huge!!  It goes 18 feet deeper into the ground than we see here!
Here's the whole bunch of us!
After the tour, they take you to some free samples of their signature MGD Beer but we opted for the soda!  I think the guy at the beginning of the tour thought we were crazy when we said we didn't need to show him ID to drink since none of us would be.  I'm sure he wondered why we were even on the tour, but oh well!!  We still had fun and it was interesting to see whether we drink or not!
And to end on here is our sweet Baby 'Lise with her daddy holding storong onto her Miller Lite cup like her Daddy tuaght her to!!  ;)  It was  a fun and FREE tour so if you come to Milwaukee go check it out!

Play-date at McDonalds

It was so much fun to be home and get to hang out with lots of my friends and family back and Utah!  One day my sister, Nicole, and I decided to take our girls to the local McDonalds and let the girls have a fun time playing in the new place place!  Elise had a great time!  Here are some cute pictures of her!
All of the toys made music if you touched them or went down the slide and Elise really liked that. She is VERY into music right now and loves to smile, swing her arms, and bounce up and down when she hears it.  It is so cute!
We sure do love this girl!!!

My Grandpa's Funeral

I was fortunate enough to be able to fly home so I could attend my Grandpa Watkins funeral.  He passed away on Feb. 23rd 2012 and was just four years shy of turning the big 100!!  Although he didn't make it quite there I still think he is the definition of "enduring to the end". 

It was a beautiful funeral and celebration of his life and all of his accomplishments and attributes.  He has an amazing legacy- 8 children, 42 grandchildren and 109 great-grandchildren!  We sure made quite the group!!
He was buried next to his sweet wife, Ruth, in the Orem City Cemetary.  All of his children and 37 of the 42 grandchildren were able to be there.
He worked for many years as a Professor at BYU and recieved these special flowers from President Cecil Samuelson himself!  Quite the honor!
This is a picture of many of the grandsons as they brought out the casket.  There were also several retired veterans there to pay tribute to my Grandpa with a 21 gun salute.  I have never been to a funeral where this was done, and it was very neat to see.  We are so glad they were able to be there to perform this honor for him. 
We will definitely miss my Grandpa so much and it is so strange to think that I no longer have any living grandparents but I know they are in a better place and that I will be able to see them again someday!  I'm just grateful for the time I got to have with them while they were here.