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2012 October | Smiling Watermelon
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Guess What We Are!

by Juliemara

Dressing up a baby in any cute outfit is really fun, but when you get to put them in a ridiculous themed outfit and they are a pair, it just makes it all the better. And how appropriate that I would find (for under $20 each, including shipping) these adorable watermelon costumes for the girls from The Children’s Place.

See the flower on Talia’s head, Jordan has one too, but she pulled it out the second I put it in. It’s by her left leg. Is it ok to glue bows to your kids hair?

Just kidding.


And there goes Talia’s flower


The tights were part of the package and we plan to be wearing those all winter long. The long sleeve onsie underneath was a bought separately.  Scroll down some to see the hat.


The hat is cute, but it’s really hard to get on, maybe the girls have, um watermelons? for heads. haha, sorry, I had to.


I think they make pretty cute little watermelons. We won’t be going door to door this year. While I would love a giant bag of assorted candy to eat over the course of the next month until people start baking for the holidays, I really don’t need the calories and the girls are only one, So they don’t eat candy. It would just be really awkward having to do the trick or treating holding our babies in one hand and candy bag in the other. Picturing that in my head. Yeah, no.


Instead we will be going to a friends house where there will be about a half a dozen cute one year olds dressed up for their second Halloween and their parents oggoling over them. Don’t worry I’ll take a picture of the cuteness and share it with you.

By the way, the girls would rather eat bows than candy anyway. That pink bag with the dots, it’s our bow bag. It came with this cute baby toiletry set. And the girls just love putting those tiny little bows in their mouths until they are sopping wet. Yum. Not to worry though, they have yet to swallow one.


Happy Halloween Everyone! Please link your favorite costumes below so I can see what everyone was!

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Layla Grace Nursey Design Contest

by Juliemara

Layla Grace is a lovely online store with really expensive, really beautiful things.

They are holding a contest for the best nursery design.

I designed a nursery for a boy, it’s a very mature nursery that can easily convert to a little boys room or even a teens room! It’s a mix of modern, traditional and rustic. Based in neutrals with touches of blues and greens.

Please click on the image to go the actual contest page and vote for me, maybe I’ll win something!

or click here

Thanks! I’ll let you know if I win!

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A Birthday Party Favor

by Juliemara

1st_birthday_party1st_birthday_partyThinking of a birthday party favor for one year olds is not an easy task. It’s not like you can give them a bag of candy and send them on their way. I wanted to give the kids who came to Talia and Jordan’s first birthday something they could and would use, in some form now and to play with for years to come. My goal was to give the birthday party a vintage shabby chic theme I thought chalk boards, like the ones kids use to use in schools way back when would be a cute, fun, useful and theme appropriate gift. I found these really nice wood framed 5×7 chalk boards on Walmarts website,

but they were unavailable for order and I couldn’t find a Walmart in town that carried them. I’m sure if I had actually gone to Walmart to find them I could have eventually, but with early fall being my busy time at work I had no time to be diving around running errands of any kind. I made it an absolute goal in planing this party to order as much as possible online and have it delivered to my door.

Eventually I found these, faux (plastic)wood framed chalkboard sets complete with two piece of non-toxic chalk and an eraser from Oriental Trading, a dozen for under $10, perfect.


When they arrived, I understood why they were so, um, inexpensive. The faux wood was orange, very orange, it looked nothing like wood. But the party was in two days so I made due. I unpackaged the little chalkboards.

Used some twine and a handy glue gun to give them a rustic feel. I cut a piece of string about 10 inches long and glued each end to “back” of the top edge of the chalk board frame. These chalkboards are double sided so either side can be the back.


Then a friend helped me write all the kids names on the chalkboard signs. Thanks Teresa!


I created some cute little tags and tied them on with the chalk and the little sponge eraser.


I love how they came out. For an inexpensive but fun party favor I think they were perfect.

chalkboard_sign_favorchalkboard_sign_favorchalkboard_sign_favor If I had had more time I would have like to have painted the wood frames with the same heirloom white paint I did the dresser in. Next time.


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Bits & Pieces

by Juliemara

My favorite blogger James Kicinski-Mccoy did a bits and pieces post today, check it out, she takes beautiful photos of her four children. She asked her readers to share their bits & pieces. So here is a quickie post of our bath and bed time bits and pieces


1/talia bushes her teeth after bath, 2/jordan does pull up on the shower curtain rod, 3/ abba on diaper duty

4/us trying to wrangle two toddlers for lotion and pajamas, 5/brushing crazy hair

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12 month well baby visit

by Juliemara

I really like our pediatrician. He is so nice, really calm and personable, he knows the answers to all of our questions and he makes me believe that he truly thinks I have the cutest babies ever (which of course I believe wholeheartedly, but recognize that other may not feel quite the same, and I’m ok with it).
Wednesday the girls had their 12 month well baby visit. Talia and Jordan are both in excellent health, right on for their development pace and perfect for their body mass. Yeah!

Here are the actual stats:

Talia – Baby A
Height 28.75″ 25-50%
Weight 19lbs 25-50%

Jordan -Baby B
Height 28.15″ 15-25%
Weight 19.1 lbs 25-50%

They were being so funny in the office, running in circles around the tiny room, Jordan learned to turn the light on and off, which both thrilled her and I think scared her a little too. Talia kept pointing at the Nemo poster on the wall and saying “bubble” or what sounds like it.

The girls had to get three shots, they were not happy while it was happening but recovered really quickly.

I took the day off work since the appointment was mid day, super fun for me!

After the girls took their afternoon nap we took hem for a special treat of frozen yogurt. Talia enjoyed it 20121025-141225.jpg
but Jordan just couldn’t get it together. 20121025-160248.jpgShe finally snapped out of it afterward when we visited baby gap to see what was new.

And the doctor said that if we ever want to sleep through the night, LET THEM CRY! More on that tomorow and in weeks to come.

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Carter’s New Ad Campaign

by Juliemara

I work for a pretty special company Carter’s, we make clothes for babies and kids. But the special thing about this company is that they really actually love kids. The CEO has 6, as does the CFO. We get a half day on Halloween and they send an email to the whole company every time an employee has a baby.

In the wake of today’s third quarter results we had a company meeting where the CEO thanked everyone for their continued hard work. It’s always nice to get a pat on the back from the higher ups. Each quarter we have this meeting and hear the good, sometimes great news. Then they announce something, sometimes it’s bonuses all around, sometimes it’s 100% 401K match, sometimes it’s were all moving to a new office and today it was “we have a new ad campaign. Carters is launching a brand new ad campaign which will include television commercials, something the company hasn’t had in decades. But you can see it here first They start airing on TV Monday. If you want to see it live watch the Voice on Monday night. We saw it this morning in the meeting, the lights were dimmed and when they came up again I don’t think there was a mom in the room with a dry eye.


I’d love to know what you think.


And shop at carters! I’ll try to remember to keep my coupon updated, but if it’s not just email me and I’ll update it ASAP.


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DIY shabby chic refinished dresser

by Juliemara

I worked really hard to plan and organize the girls first birthday party.

20121023-214939.jpgThe planning started in my head when they were about three months old and really reved up after I got home from celebrating my best friends bridal shower a little more than a month ago. I started by creating a Pinterest board with ideas I liked. At night after the babies went to bed I worked on small craft projects that would add to the over all of the party.



20121023-215741.jpg But my big project that I had no idea how long it would take got started only two weeks before the big day. The shabby chic chest of drawers that was used for the desert buffet.

I purchased the dresser just after we moved into our current home, the plan was to refinish it and convert it into a bathroom vanity for either our master suite or the guest suite downstairs. But I wasn’t in any condition back then to be refinishing furniture and I wasn’t about to let anyone else touch my $75 Craig’s list treasure.

20121023-211525.jpgSo in the basement it sat and collected dust while it awaited its new fate.

Fast forward a year and half, I found this inspiration. And knew that the dresser would be the perfect fixture for a shabby chic/vintage birthday party.

It wasn’t the best Craigslist find ever. $75 was kind of a lot to pay for this piece. It had several layers of paint on it and no drawer pulls,

20121023-211540.jpg Some of the front panels of the drawers were separated from the edges and a few of the drawers don’t close completely.

20121023-211553.jpgAll the rails need to be replaced. And now I am thinking to myself, why did I buy this piece?

This is why! It was begging for a new life as a pretty little thing that would hold lots of other pretty things!

Getting it to look like it does now was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.

First I sanded the surfaces. I used an electric sander with 80 grit paper on all the flat areas

And an 80 grit sanding block, which is more like a sanding sponge, on the curved and detailed parts. When I was finish sanding I decided to use the gas powered blower to get all the dust out of the garage. Don’t do this, it just made a bigger mess. The dust just blew around the garage and the fumes got really thick and even went inside the house. Letting the sanding dust settle then sweeping the next day would have been much more effective. Although using a blower is a lot of fun.

The next step was to paint it. I chose To use spray paint because it is quick and easy. And since it may get repainted another color one day there was no reason to spend a lot of time on a heavy paint. I chose Rustoleum Satin heirloom white.

20121023-211924.jpgi used a total of four and a half cans for the dresser and all the drawers, inside and out.

I got this handy little attachment as well, it’s a comfort grip esiecially for spray painting.

20121023-211859.jpg It attaches easily to the spray can and makes dispensing the paint like pulling a trigger rather than pressing a button.

20121023-211912.jpgNo more cramped fingers, no more paint stained fingers. For a project like this its well worth it’s $9.50 price tag.




20121023-212021.jpgI waited a full day for the paint to dry really well then used the same 80 grit sanding sponge to sand the corners and edges to give it the old shabby worn look. Because of the many layers of color that were already on this piece, this little effect worked better than I even imagined. I found these pretty glass drawer pulls online for just over $5 each, it was the absolute least expensive I could find fancy drawer pulls. I’m really happy with the pink.


20121023-212105.jpgthere were already holes in the drawers but they weren’t spaced correctly for the drawer pulls that I got so I had to fill the old holes and drill new ones. I did this even before I sanded the piece using Elmer’s wood filler.

20121023-212527.jpgBut as you can see my wood filling skills could use some improvement, luckily the imperfectness just adds to the shabbiness of the look!

20121023-212323.jpgIn order to drill the holes in the exact right place I needed to mark where the holes would go. These pulls made it relatively easy to do because the bolt that attaches them goes all the way through. I just needed a pen or pencil that would fit all the way into the hole. My solution- an over extended piece of lead in a mechanical pencil.

20121023-212215.jpgI just had to be careful, but it worked perfectly.

20121023-212224.jpgdrilling the 12 holes and attaching the 6 pulls was finished in about 20 minutes.




Over all I am really happy with how the piece turned out.



20121024-091825.jpg it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I originally thought it would be.

I learned a lot from the process and now I have the confidence to tackle another piece, maybe one that will have a little more permanence in our home.
My advice is if you are intersted in refinishing furniture find the least expensive piece on Craig’s list that will give you the look you want and “practice” them there is no stress about wasting lots of money when something doesn’t turn out as planned.

I have a bunch of chairs stashed away that I have collected over the past few years, yes, I have a chair addiction. I hope to repaint, refinish and reupholster them in the months to come.

Ill keep you posted!

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Birthday Party Pics!

by Juliemara

We celebrated the girls 1st birthday with a big party at our home yesterday with lot of family and friends. I worked really hard to create a beautiful scene for the party and my husband worked really hard to creat a beautiful and tasty food spread.   Everything was great and I am really happy with how it turned out. The girls had a great time and our new deck proved to be the ultimate party place, save for a few black and yellow striped friends that we could have done without it was a great afternoon.




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What I would do with free time

by Juliemara

I use to have so much time, I would run errands and window shop just for fun, sew entire outfits for going out that evening, watch loads of TV. It’s the one thing about motherhood I just can’t wrap my head around, my time is gone, vanished, without a trace, without notice. I’m not complaining, I LOVE every moment I spend with Talia and Jordan, I wish I had more time to spend with them. But at the same time we have this cool house and I have access to DIY tutorials to fill years worth of time via the internet, I just don’t have the time.  I imagine one day my girl swill be old enough to work with me on some projects, we will start slow with painting (as soon as they stop eating paint) and eventually they can help me build things. I try to keep a running list of projects for one day on my Pinterest boards, but adding too much gets me a little over whelmed. Plus, I view projects for the home the same way I view that new dress or pair of shoes I saw last week. If I’m still thinking about it when I get around to buying/making it then I really wanted it. If I’m not, it must not have been so important to begin with.

Here are a few of the projects I can’t stop thinking about for one day,

Simple, Fun, Beautiful art on the walls


1/2/3 – source unknown

Replace the blinds with sheers


1 – source unknown/2

build a bench for the foyer (and maybe a mirror too)



One day.

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A backyard to grow in.

by Juliemara

Over the past few weeks you’ve probably seen a few picture in the blog or Instagram that look like this. 20121009-223315.jpg

Or this20121009-223338.jpg

Or this20121009-223356.jpg
And you probably wondered where these pictures were taken. They were taken on our new deck! It was a long process but we now have a beautiful toddler safe deck and beautifully landscaped budget friendly backyard
Over a year ago when we moved into our current home to make room for babies the backyard was in much need of some serious TLC.20121008-230404.jpg20121008-230415.jpg20121008-230419.jpg20121008-230423.jpg20121008-230433.jpg
As much as I love being outside and digging in the dirt, No really, I’m serious, I would be a farmer if I could live on a farm close to family friends and a grocery store! , I was also very pregnant and could barely walk down the hall let alone clear overgrowth. And on top of that the inside renovations were still very much underway and that was priority with two infants about join our family.

So in the mean time because there was rotting wood and overgrown weeds there was the possibility of snakes in the yard. To not let this become an issue my husband had the yard cleared. Everything pushed to the wooded area in the back and the main part leveled out. 20121009-224509.jpg20121009-224516.jpg
Winter set in and figuring out life with two babies filled all our time, so the back yard remained untouched.20121011-033316.jpg20121016-131512.jpg
Spring came and with warmer air and a little rain a soft coating of green covered some of the dirt, the idea of a green backyard was becoming a reality. 20121011-041707.jpgBut spring rains came with a vengeance, and all the green was washed away.20121016-131231.jpg20121016-131523.jpg
And to add to the issues of the back deck, babies who crawl and a deck with an old style railing are not a good mix. The deck was a great small space to spend some time outside taking in the fresh air while the babies were immobile.20121016-131425.jpg20121016-131442.jpg
But as soon as they got to moving on there own it wasn’t safe to be outside to let them play. It was a crazy hot summer anyway so we spent most of our days at the pool it in the shade at a nearby park. But with fall approaching and the babies birthday just around the corner we knew we wanted to make the investment in the backyard so that we could spend the beautiful fall days in Georgia outside.

And so it began, DEMOLITION.20121016-132119.jpg



And the work began, it all happened really quickly.
Day 1


Day 2




Day 3






The girls loved watching the work get done

Day 4
It rained
Day 5

It was done!




That was it, in just five days we had a brand new super fun giant playpen! We have used it almost every day since it was finished.



The girls are always trying to get out there.

We even scored this awesome plastic playset for a cant beat price off Craig’s list. The woman we bought it from, had triplets!








A few weeks later it was time to finish the yard. We contacted a few landscape architects and designers but they all wanted an obscene amount of money to do a basic landscaping job. We already had the people to install the yard, we just needed a design. I was pretty confident that I could draw a good looking yard, I did grow up with a dad who was pretty particular about our yard, so I knew basically what needs to go where. I was a little worried about how the sunlight in our yard would work with my design and how future additions may ruin what we do now but I got to drawing anyway. Here’s what I came up with.

It rained a little more and then it finally happened, grass and order appeared in the back yard while I was hard at work at my job.





next year we will add shrubs here or maybe azaleas.


the playset will be arriving soon!


the tree line is no longer a disaster


the gate keeps the toddlers in and the stones keep the dirt out.



past the steps in the side yard will be our garden, We plan to do a stone raised bed and grow a variety of herbs and veggies. We will play weekend warriors one weekend this winter and hopefully plant by early spring.


We even got a sprikler system installed so we can spend more time playing with talia and Jordan and less time moving around hoses!


We love our new deck and out tall trees and our amazing backyard. We are looking forward to plenty of days running around in the yard with kids and friends for years to come.




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