With a second little one, I was totally inspired by this blog . . . Mila’s Day Dreams.

The blog is about one mother and her little daughter’s “possible” dreams.  I have wondered what my little ones dream of before, but this mom goes above and beyond with her inspiring, creative, and beautiful ability to capture dreams.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Be sure to stop by Mila’s Day Dreams and check out some of the great ideas!  I could see doing something similar and using it as artwork in a nursery.  Or this would be a great way to photograph your baby’s monthly growth progress.  Oh, one more thing . . . I like to send handmade, holiday theme cards to family members . . . this would be a great way to photograph your little one for ALL holidays and put together in cards or even in a calendar.

Enjoy!

Amanda- High Fire Mommy

Baby #2 should be here any day and this past weekend, we celebrated with a BaByQ and all of our family and friends.  Needless to say, the nursery was done and waiting for everyone to see!

Here are a few of the details that we added to the nursery:

These are the curtains that I purchased from Ikea and then added my own fabric for some unique embellishments.  When I did my daughter’s nursery a few years ago, I made the curtains as well and made them so they could be drawn shut at night time.  Well, I must not be a very good seamstress, because they just didn’t hold up.  For this nursery, I left the curtains stationary and added the black out shade instead.  The shade is so inexpensive and costs much less than purchasing black out materials for the back of the curtains.  I got a custom look with the store-bought curtains for less that $40!

This is a mobile from Ikea as well.  I thought it would work well as a great detail above the window (we already have a great mobile left over from my daughter’s nursery).  I stuffed it with plastic bags, a great way to recycle I must say!  My daughter points it out every time we go into the nursery.

Just a few accessories for the shelving.  I chose to accessorize with items that can be used as toys in the future . . . this is a huge money saver as they do double duty!  I also like the used items that are personal to us . . . for example, the stuffed dog was given to me by my husband when we were in college.  Now, it will be a fun and cherished toy for Baby #2.  I also like the have a few family photos around the room.  The one on the shelf will soon hold a picture of Baby #2 and there is a picture of my husband, daughter, and myself by the glider chair.

These are some adorable hooks from Ikea.  I learned very quickly from the first baby that I need to have some things easily accessible such as blankets, hats, coats, and toys for distraction.  They are beside the changing table right next to the door and they will get lots of use!

EASY STORAGE!!!  These bins were SUPER cheap at IKEA and fit perfectly under the crib.  I filled them with all of the toys from when my daughter was little.  This has actually helped her become excited about the baby’s room.  She loves to go in there and pull out the toys.  It gives her a special place in the room and I hope she uses them when I am in there caring for the baby.  These bins will also be great for the future as they can easily be adapted for clothing or toy storage.

A little green lamp on clearance for $10 at Target and a couple of picture frames beside the glider complete the accessories.  The smaller frame actually holds a “baseball card” of my husband when he was a little boy.  I love to look at it and see my daughter’s eyes reflected in his face!  The quilt was made by many church ladies when my husband was born and it also has a matching dog stuffed animal that is in the crib.  It is a great and personal accent.

BIG MONEY SAVING TIP:  Use personal items!  Don’t feel like everything needs to be bought brand new.  Contact some of your relatives and ask if they have any cherished blankets, toys, family photos, etc.  These accents make the room feel cozy and warm.  also, if you are going to buy, buy things that can do double duty . . . storage for clothing, toys, and blankets or accessories that can be used as toys later on.

I will post some pics of the nursery when it is in use . . . hopefully, that will be soon!  Enjoy!

-Amanda- High Fire Mommy

A shot from my maternity shoot courtesy of Emily Melson Photography at http://www.emilymelson.com.

I just passed 38 weeks and we are still waiting for our little one to make his or her arrival.  I have been off of my “no contraction” meds for a week now and they obviously worked really well, because there is nothing going on!  LOL!

I have a few contractions an hour, but nothing more than that.  Although I am really looking forward to the baby’s arrival, it is probably good that he or she is not here quite yet . . . unfortunately, my father had a heart attack last week just days after we watched him blow out his 60th birthday candles.

The family was floored and of course shocked.  My father is a thin, athletic man by nature . . . something that I was lucky enough to inherit.  But he does work a lot and always puts his family before himself.  Turns out he had several blockages in his heart, but the doctors have assured us that everything is fixed up and he can begin the recovery process.

Although I cannot be in Virginia with everyone and my father, dealing with the situation is still difficult.  Geoff and I have been scrambling to figure out what to do with our daughter, Ivy, when the baby arrives.  Good thing we have Geoff’s parents and some great friends who have stepped up and volunteered to help us out.  It won’t be the same not having my family here, but what can you do?  Hopefully, my older sister will make it back in town and my little sister plans on visiting shortly after.  Looks like my parents won’t make it down here for a while.

On a happier note, Baby #2′s hold out has allowed Geoff and I to spend more time with Ivy.  We have been in such a whirlwind the last few months and now we finally have a little time to breathe and enjoy our beautiful little girl and her last days as an only child.  So far, we have hit the water park, playground, wading pools, and some toy shopping.  Plus, our days have been filled with lots of mommy/daddy/Ivy playtime.  We have relished every moment with her!

I can’t believe in a matter of days, I am going to be a mother of two!  Wow!

The nursery is going well and almost complete.  Over the last few days, we have finished up the closet.

For most people, the closet is no big deal.  But for this mommy, organization in the closet is EVERYTHING.  Having a new baby is tough, having a new baby and an 18 month old is tougher, and having all of that plus an unorganized space can make things down right crazy!

Here is a picture of what the closet looked like prior to our little nursery makeover.  It was pretty standard with one long hanging bar and a shelf above that.

We removed the mirror doors as they are difficult to slide back and forth and make it difficult to access the closet.  We ended up selling them on Craigslist for a nice little profit.

You would be surprised at how awesome a closet can look if you paint the inside of it.  Most people choose to keep it white, but I love to paint a color that coordinates with the room.  In this case, we used turquoise.  No matter what, if you are doing a room makeover, take the time to freshen up the closet with a new coat of paint.  It makes a huge difference!

The closet system was purchased from Home Depot and was incredibly cost effective at approximately $80.  It doubled our hanging space and the shelf space is wonderful!  It was pretty easy for my hubbie to put together . . . I directed from the glider chair.  I will say that having a level is key to making sure everything lines up correctly.

I added some snap baskets that I already owned to the shelves and they hold blankets and toys.  I think they are a little too big, but my little girl finds it easy to pull them out and they can take a beating, so we will stick with them.

Lastly, we installed a curtain rod to the inside of the closet.  We bought one for $5 . . . it is brass and quite unattractive, but who is going to see it?  I added some detail fabric to my IKEA curtains and VOILA!  Adorable closet and great organization for less than $150!

Enjoy!

I have also posted this blog entry at Serenity Now:  A Progress Party:

Be sure to check out Amanda’s Blog when you have a chance!

-Amanda- High Fire Mommy

Should I reorganize my little girl’s shelves and room?  Oh, I also need to clean out Tupperware and throw the yucky stuff away, but before I do that, I should go through the cleaning closet and divide the cleaning products into tubs for different household chores . . .

All of this is pumping through my head as I laid in bed last night and leaned over to glance at the clock . . . hmm, 2:33 am.  Gosh, I think I have hit that CRAZY nesting phase.

If you ask my husband, he will tell you that I hit that nesting phase back in May when we began a remodel of the master bathroom, back porch, and a basic reorganization of the whole house . . . . reality is that I am like that even when I am not pregnant.  There is nothing better than walking into your house or settling in for the evening knowing that everything is in its place.

So what is next on my nesting “to do” list?  Glad you asked!  We are hosting a BaByQ on Saturday next week to celebrate Baby #2 on the way, so my list includes the basics like cleaning, freshening, cooking, etc.  Since I am restricted on activities, the family is stepping up to take over the list and we have also made some calls to have things done as well . . . aka:  catering by Dickey’s BBQ, lawn crew to take care of our almost two acres, and a bakery to make a fabulous cake.

I also hope to accomplish the following:

*  Get the upstairs back together!  Upstairs we have a large room where we keep a great tv and the office.  Unfortunately, we also keep our chaos up there as well.  We will be having over night guests next week, so the upstairs needs to be livable.

*  Tablecloths for the BBQ.  I have recently become obsessed with table cloths . . . I know, it’s weird.  But I think they really carry themes across when preparing for an event.  My mom and I selected a beautiful denim fabric and some ecru cotton with red stars (red, white, and baby blue theme for the bbq).  I hope to sit on the couch and cut the table cloths using pinking shears.

*  Reorganize my little girl’s room and closet.  It recently occurred to me that her room was set up for my convenience and pleasure.  That was fine when she was a baby, but now that I have an opinionated little toddler who likes her independent time, it may be necessary to rework things.  I plan on moving her book shelf (meaning tell my husband where to move the shelf) and some toys into the closet because she loves playing in there.  I am also going to put away a lot of the keepsake items from her birth and first 18 months.  I love them, but it is becoming too much to dust and these are things that she could care less about right now . . . maybe we’ll put them out in a few years.  I also want to revamp her changing area by removing the hutch . . . meaning have my husband move the hutch.  Hopefully, this will all brighten and enlarge the space so that she can continue her independent and determined exploration of the world.

There are about a million other things on my mind that I could list, but let’s not bore you with too many details . . . but I am looking forward to directing this craziness for the couch.

Did you hit the CRAZY nesting phase during pregnancy?  If so, what crazy thing did you obsess over?!?!?!

-Amanda- High Fire Mommy

A photo from my maternity shoot courtesy of Emily Melson Photography at http://www.emilymelson.com.

Well, I am 35 weeks and 5 days along with my second child and we are now playing the waiting game.

Over the past month, we have heard that our baby is a big one.  Knocking down the 100 percentile in size, our little one is growing at a fast rate.  After some unexpected preterm labor issues and a brief stay in the hospital, I have now been on medication for a week and a half and the contractions are long gone.

Why did I have preterm labor?  Doctors think the size of the baby and my extremely active lifestyle are a rough combination.  I have been under orders to lay off housework, strenuous activities, and toddler tossing (aka: my 18 month old).

Family has stepped up and I have someone with me every day taking care of the house and my little girl.  Truthfully, being still and relaxed is not my forte and I thought I would have a really hard time, but the mother instinct has kicked in and I am more than happy to be still and keep this baby baking for a little while longer.  It’s not forever right?

We have some big decisions to make over the next few weeks including whether or not to have an amniocentesis and then be induced, or just wait it out and hope the baby is not a 10 pounder as projected.  A week ago, I would have said to do the procedure and then induce, but now I am leaning towards letting nature make its own decision.

The “Waiting Game” is hard.  I think every pregnant woman feels the anxiety and pressure start to peak as the pregnancy ends . . . you become anxious to meet your little one and settle into your new life.  Just a little while longer . . .

-Amanda- High Fire Mommy

One of my favorite new WAHM is Jenny Coppinger with Uniquely Cropped.  She does a little bit of everything.  We have recently utilized her for shower invitations, but she also dabbles in scrapbooking, name art, and graphic design.  Jenny also designed the website, logo, and brochure for my wedding decor business.  She is extremely talented and well-priced!  And I LOVE supporting fellow work-at-home moms!

Be sure to stop by her website and enjoy all of her creativity!  She customizes to your wants and needs.

Take a look at some of her work!

Etsy is one of my favorite handmade crafting websites!  I could spend hours going through all of the creative products that are sold on the website.  Since I get such a kick out of everything, I thought I would start a little series on Etsy.  I will pull up some great products that start with each letter of the alphabet, just for fun inspiration!

(Based on Sesame Street’s What’s On Murray that starts with A? . . . my little one loves that segment!)

What’s on ETSY that starts with “B”?

Backpacks and totes by Netta at Down The Road.  Netta has some great handmade backpacks and messenger style bags for kids and adults.  Her backpacks are built around two wooden rods with metal rings to adjust the straps.  They can function as a backpack or large diaper bag.  Make sure to check these out!

Bath and Body products from Crowley Manor.  From their Etsy shop:  Mountain fresh goat milk soaps, essential oil soaps and more, in a full-service skin care mountain spa. Healthy glowing skin and aromatherapy are at your fingertips! Additionally, you will find essential oil aromatherapy, botanicals,facial masks, hydrating and skin nurturing cremes, spritzers and more. Everything is carefully calibrated just for you. You only have one skin, treat it well.  These look and sound awesome!

Buttons!  Button bookmarks, button bobby pins, and button barettes at Blue Manatee.  These are super adorable!

Have fun shopping!

Check out one of my favorite blogs, Centsational Girl, and join in on the fun!  Link your favorite 4th of July project/inspiration or take a look at what everyone else is doing!

Here are few things that made my mouth water!

Bird Crafts- Yummy Cherries!

Pretty Handy Girl- Star Pillows

Tidy Brown Wren- Make your own covered wagon!

Enjoy!

-Amanda- High Fire Mommy

The nursery is really starting to come together!  And it better since Baby #2 will be here in a matter of week!

Today, I am focusing on the artwork.  Everything you see here, I created myself and you can too!  Many people get intimidated by making their own artwork saying that they aren’t creative or they can’t draw a straight line.  I got new for you!  YES, you can do this!

For the above painting, I started by selecting an image that appears on the fabric that I chose for the nursery.  You can check out the fabric here.  I selected the house with a little garden around it.

I purchased a canvas and some basic acrylic paints.  You can even use craft paint from the hobby store which costs less that $1 per color.

For me, I just free-handed the drawing since it is such a simple little house.  But if you are concerned about your drawing skills, consider using a projector.  I own my projector and purchased it from Hobby Lobby a few years ago (using a 40% off coupon!).  But you can always trace your design and then borrow a teacher friend’s overhead projector to enlarge the image onto your canvas.  If that is not an option, you can use a basic computer program like Word to enlarge the picture and then print it out and trace onto your canvas.

I outline all of my drawing in black sharpie because I tend to paint over the lines and need the help locating them.

When beginning to paint, ALWAYS start in the background and work your way forward.  I started with the sky and ground, then shifts to the trees, then the house, and finally the wording and flower pot.

Once you have completed all of your painting, you can outline using a sharpie or using a paintbrush.  Whatever works best for you!

I also go back and apply a layer of spray polyurethane to cleanup the finish.

For the drawings on dictionary paper, I was inspired by this Etsy artist.  I loved her work, but was not willing to pay $10 a print.  I purchased a dictionary from Half Price Books for $8.

Once again I selected an image and freehanded it onto the paper.  You can use any of the above steps to transfer your image.  Or because this is a smaller piece.  Just print out your image and place it under the dictionary paper.  Tape it to a bright window and trace.

I used basic colored pencils to color in my images and then outline them using a black felt tip pen.  Simple, simple, simple, but it does take a little time.

I also made sure to draw the giraffe on the page that had the definition of giraffe and the same for the other images.

My frames were purchased with the mat included from IKEA.

Voila!  Instant artwork with a handmade touch!

Some other ideas that might work for you in your nursery or home:

*  Consider sticking to a basic alphabet letter in the color of your nursery.  You could spell out your child’s name, frame each letter, and hang above the crib.

*  Geometric shapes are super easy and look great!  Draw a circle, color to coordinate, and then write the definition for circle underneath and frame.

*  Collections are sooooo in!  Purchase a shadow box and arrange a selection of family jewelry, antique matchbox cars, family photos, hair bows, building blocks, etc.  The sky is the limit with this one!

Amanda- High Fire Mommy

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