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Getting the twins texting with Toymail

Yep, you read that right! But before you get all weirded out my two year olds using technology, it’s not what you think, Honest!!

Buck arrived this week and let’s just say the littles haven’t put him down by choice. This sweet little gadget plays the audio messages you record and send from your mobile device! You do need one for each child as you can’t have two kiddos personalized onto one toy from what we can tell. But, were ok with that since we were planning on getting one for each anyhow. Hopefully, Bushwick will be available to order soon. In the little time I’ve spent playing around with the thing it seems pretty straightforward. You download the app to your mobile device(both droid and iOS friendly). Then set up one main account from here you can invite or be friend requested-letting you keep track of who has contact with your little through Toymail. Each persons mobile devices need a separate account though, meaning even if they live in the same house on the same wifi they need a different Toymail account. -this tripped us up a bit- once we got a few messages under our belt we passed it around the house.

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Sorry, I’m a dog trainer so everything is an opportunity to socialize and train ;)

The guys LOVE it and the only complaint we have is that it plays one message at a time AND you have to reply to it before you will hear the next message. This company is still really new and I’m gathering from their semi recent kickstarter campaign that these are the first available toys. That being said I’m super excited to see how this company grows and what features they add in the future! My vote: a bit of memory and ability to toggle through different message “folders”. And a rechargeable permanent battery with a charger cord, I’m thinking similar to a phone.IMG_3008.PNG

Apple Picking 2014

Well it’s no surprise that apple picking has become somewhat of a family tradition…we have gone to one place or another every year since we had A&B normally there are some form of farm attractions for kids but this years play farm took the cake. They found entertainment not only in the huge play equipment, mazes, and baby goats but also in apple picking. And that’s a first -last year they just wanted to pick the rotten ones from the ground and throw them away. IMG_2956.JPGWe met grandmaIMG_2981.JPG and some friends and their son for play time and a “last visit” before she heads off for boot camp. Im sad to loose a “mom-friend” in the area but beyond excited for what this new stage in their life will bring them. We wrapped up the day with Scott coming home a smidge early (ie he avoided Chicago traffic) and the boys crashing a whole 2 hours early. Wonderful day in my books :)
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DIY: Wall mounted TV cabinet

Oh yeah it’s DONE!!!

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We couldn’t be happier to unveil this project, on top of it being super easy it was also super cheap. Like I said we’ve been dying to mount the tv since the littles became mobile 2 years ago. Well, we found the right style for what we wanted and I think it turned out amazing. So we planned and designed based on our tvs specific size and shape AS WELL AS the wall it would be mounted on – and you should too.
Our TV is 44.5in width that meant four 12x36in canvases (plus space for hinges) would cover the face of the tv. You can either order photocanvases from nations photolab directly or make them like I did since this was our “trial run.” Making them is really very simple (literally just stick printed photographs onto canvas from painting section at michaels crafts) looks pretty nice and you can change out photographs every few years. We had the 15$ lumber cut to size at Home Depot- yes, into 3 pieces to form a U shape- no need for a “top” this way the tv doesn’t over heat IMG_2948.PNG
Again this is based on the size of your specific tv and how much storage space you want for a DVD player etc etc. We added 8 inches to the length of the tv for length of the wood and that was ample space for router and modem, 2 laptops, a DVD player and a few DVDs….along with all the cords…yeah lots of those.
Anyhow, we sanded the wood down and had planned on painting it but realized that the wood was quite knotty and we wouldn’t get a smooth surface. But, with a little poly finish it looks more natural and “fits” the house. We also notched out a piece from the back that was against the wall to allow cords to be pulled in when the tv is off. This was actually quite easy with a drill bit and hand saw…oh and the dremmel to finish it. IMG_2953.JPG
As you can see we placed hinges on the inside as we wanted them to be “invisible” while closed. We then placed a clasp on top to secure closed. However, I think we will be moving all panels to the right with the hasp moving to the left side. We bought cheap hinges and already lost a pin from one :/ live and learn right?

OK frame ready!

IMG_2950.JPGWe knew we wouldn’t be able to “center” the cabinet on the wall because we wanted to mount the tv into a stud, leaving everything a bit off center. But, that’s ok since I’d rather not see our flat screen come crashing to the floor and I wanted this type of mount. Why? Because it was 25$ for a full motion mount -so I can see it while I cook in the kitchen!
Last weekend the cabinet was ready….more like Scott was finally home and we didn’t have other plans ;) The moment of truth came and we put it up THREE, yes, you read that right THREE times. Twice it came off the wall! Once because we forgot the notch for the cords and once because of somebody’s **cough Scott** miss measure. To mount I’d suggest directly into studs with braces, if you can’t, use wall anchors and disperse the weight. But, third time was a charm and it’s now happily holding our tv safely out of the reach of little hands. It’s a decor friendly way to hide it all at a moments notice!
IMG_2952.JPG eventually we may DIY a storage system for under it, but that’s not even close to the next project on the list ;)

DIY toddler friendly playroom

ladies and gents it’s finally done. This project moved RE.DIC.u.lous.LY SLLLLOOW!! But we’ve finally finished and are unveiling!!!

The magnetic chalkboard

It originally was to be a PVC desk hinged to the wall to flip down with an acrylic top…hard to picture I know think this just turned 180 degrees with an acrylic top. Sadly, we didn’t have the correct tools and it probably would have been way more expensive than we would really want to attempt for a kids desk….needless to say the project has evolved many times. But our end result was not only SUPER cheap but also SUPER cool. Take a peek…..IMG_2908.JPG I painted the acrylic with 3 layers of magnetic paint (which was on clearance for 3$ each, score!) leveled it as best I could and then topped with 3 coats of chalk board spray paint. The frame was cut from cheap menards 1x3s to fit the acrylic 48×24-rectangle shape. I pre-drilled holes through the acrylic and wood to secure together- I did crack the acrylic in a spot or two from drilling the screw in too far-so be careful with that step. I then divided out the frame to fit craft items we had inside. We then hinged it to the wall and secured with a pad lock – chyeah we have twin toddlers-note that fabric strip tying the toy box closed also ;) I made a plastic “pocket” with hot glue and some extra crafting plastic sheeting I had. IMG_2909.JPG

huge plus, it fits just about ALL of the littles crafting items! P.s. I used some trim from the book shelves to create a “lip” on the bottom of the chalk board to set chalk markers or brushes on.
DIY wall book shelves-supersaver edition

IMG_2926.JPGThey are literally just painted 1x4s with pre-painted trim wood glued or nailed on to create a “lip”. I secured them to wall studs with small corner braces (one on each shelf end). Voila!! I’m super happy with how these little reading nooks turned out. OHHHH and the Bonus project? The pouf!! Perfect toddler seating but, that was yet another project gone awry…it started out as a seat cover for the stroller when the boys were infants. But they NEVER napped in stores and hated being covered :( boo!! But I easily repurposed the “hood” shape to make complete circles and left a zipper hole to fill it with old blankets and plushies!
aaaaand.DONE

Changes and challenges

While daily life seems pretty basic here we’ve had a few big steps in family life overall this month.
First, the play room is DONE!! I couldn’t be happier and I think the boys are ecstatic! The morning of our reveal A played for almost 30min solo…and NICELY. Almost unheard of for that mischievous lil guy. So, stay tuned I’ll be doing a DIY entry on the magnetic chalkboard with storage that I made for about $50 and the $5 book shelves!!
Work life for Scott has been exciting to say the least, with his boss moving to a new position Scott is being “groomed” by that bosses boss. Though there’s no official word, we’re hopeful. But, if that doesn’t work out the company he works for recently acquired a smaller company….IN TEMECULA, CA! They are starting to post job openings out there now. This is where Scott had his second internship with Abbott. We absolutely fell in love with the area and both of us dreamed of living in the picturesque mountains. At this point I think we would welcome either option as we are simply enjoying life and open to whatever changes it brings.
The dogs seem to be, well more specifically JACK, full of issues lately. On top of the skunk incident he also stepped on glass leaving a half inch wide and inch deep “stab” in the webbing between his left rear paw. This is the same spot that exactly a year ago he had an auto immune flair up and the hair still hasn’t grown back. AAANd he cracked his “I” tooth, so that needs to be removed. He will be having surgery pre-op next week for that and his joints. As some of you know he’s been battling joint related auto immune issues most of this life and this is just another step in dealing with that. Also, on the dog front we are getting more :0 not to keep…just foster pups. I’m finding naming becomes harder with every new foster, so out came the baby names books ;) Hopefully, we will be picking up a pup or puppies soon!
In other news we finally got the jogger pod! I couldn’t be happier with it, really, it turns on a dime, and it’s suuuuper easy to push -even Scott was gushing about this thing! Plus, it’s discontinued so were able to get it brand new at a sale price:) It’s making outings a bit easier again and we’ve been out practically everyday since it arrived! I know Scott’s looking forward to getting out jogging with them.
Last week was also Scott’s birthday so I set up a few different surprises and a trip to the fair for the weekend! We met up with an old friend of mine who’s husband is also military… so while the guys got to laugh about the bad drill formations they saw, and she and I caught up a bit. We had a blast and the kiddos did too. You can see them sneaking a nap together in the pod
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AUGUST?!

Ok first, how the hell is it just days away from august?! Where was summer? And yes, I’m referring to the hot.sticky.schhhvetty.summer. Maybe I’m the only one bit disappointed, but guys in less than 3m we could be up to our ankles in SNOW. And remember what that polar vortex is like when it’s already cold?!

……meanwhile in Wisconsin……

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But, aside from the unusually cool temperatures and the regular few mix ups or problems, things have been going fairly smoothly. We did get the new-to-us grill hooked up, and we already forgot to turn it off once…oopsy. We had our cookout this past weekend which was great to see everyone!! The boys even got to see auntie kimmy-I’m just sad we didn’t get any pictures of them together! The no show from an acquaintance who was supposed to sell her party lite stuff was a disappointment because a few of us planned on getting some Xmas gifts. The highlight by far was nana and an ex-military friend of Scott’s getting into a water fight, priceless.
Scott may have been an innocent bystander but still got drenched ;)
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We were able to finally take advantage of the garden!!20140728-072145-26505976.jpg
But I’ll save that for another post:)

Life is good

After many challenging times, July has brought some amazing news! We have gotten official word that Scott’s “work-from-home status” will kick in the last week of July!!!! I couldn’t me more ecstatic :) He also got word that he is eligible for upcoming bonus cycles…..AAAAnd that there is potentially a new position in his future. Needless to say his gusto for work has been rekindled ;)
The littles are changing and growing daily. A is regularly stringing 2/3 words together. And were one goes the other follows in a matter of days. They have been loving the magnetic chalk wall I made for them though, I have yet to actually put it on the wall. They love using the magnets, but Im not quite daring enough to use chalk(I HATE the sound).
The neighbor also found us a grill….we have to hook it up yet, but hopefully Scott will get to it this weekend! It will hook right up to our natural gas lines though so super convenient and no worries about forgetting charcoal. Plus, super timing, now well have it for our get together next weekend :)
Jack threw us for a loop on Thursday night when he killed a skunk in the yard. Never thought that would happen :0 but, since we washed him up immediately the smell hasn’t really lingered. It did scare the crap out of me though. 20140718-122045-44445212.jpg
And it looks like well be rounding out this week by getting our TV wall mounted today (I have been waiting for this day since A&B could pull up on it) and getting our new stroller jogger pod this weekend!!!
The garden has just exploded, all except my mini-multicolor peppers and watermelon(possibly some of my favorite garden fresh items, sad-face….)at least the pineapples are finally growing. It looks like we will have plenty to store for the winter! Now we just need to find a cheap freezer….. :)