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Dear House on the Mill

Posts tagged Kids
In Home Family Session

This year has already been so crazy...and it's only March.  We will welcome a baby sometime in September and thanks to our wonderful photographer, Amber, we captured our special announcement at home.  Take a look at our fun session (all photos by Sugar Snap Photography).

-Nicole

Merry Christmas Tour!

First off, welcome - I am so appreciative you are here!  I love this time of year and celebrating the true love of Christ with family and friends.  "We love because He first loved us."

Before our 2 year old woke up and started pulling toys into every room, I had about 30 minutes to photograph a clean home!  I love traditional reds and greens and this year I also decided to add some cotton and natural elements into the mix. 

I had the pleasure to photograph Christmas mini-sessions at a local tree farm in Greenville (Mystic Tree Farm) and while I was there, I picked out our tree.  Instead of the traditional green fur, we went with a Blue Ice tree that really does have a little blue hue to it.  It's beautiful and smells so wonderful!

I didn't have room on my mantle to put four stocking holders and I don't like using command hooks since the top of our mantle is a little thinner.  So, a white curtain rod and two flat stocking holders did the trick! 

Décor in the kitchen is a little more subtle - just a few small wreaths and pops of red and green!

I shopped around for a cotton wreath but the price tags were a little more than I wanted to pay...so a friend informed me of a place in Greenville called The Tomato Vine and they sale cotton by the stem or by the bunch for super cheap!!!  So, a DIY cotton wreath it is!

I've spent weeks searching for a wooden bench for our kitchen table.  I wanted to move things around and center the table with the mantle.  After no luck at my favorite antique and thrift stores, my wonderful father made me one instead.  I can't decide what color to paint it though...all white, stained and white, a color...

Our son will empty an entire toy box looking for his cars (he calls them "beep beeps") so I've started putting them in smaller containers that he can easily find.  This saves us a few minutes of toy clean up each night...one afternoon, he put them in this dough bowl on his small table.  So for Christmas, I thought I'd keep it that way!

But literally, as soon as he woke up - straight to the toys and the photo taking was done.  Mostly because I wanted to play with him too!

I hope this season is merry and bright for you all but never forget why we truly celebrate.  We can make our homes beautiful and get inspiration for one another but His beauty, love and inspiration are unending and all powerful.

Merry Christmas!

-Nicole

 

 

 

Last Minute DIY Halloween Costume

Most of my family is all about "last minute..."

When you get the label in your family of being the "crafty one," you get lots of requests for help - especially with those last minute projects. Which is why, I spent my afternoon making a scarecrow costume for my cousin (who is 20 months old and adorable)!

After a detailed phone call with my aunt while she's in Hobby Lobby, the list of supplies was purchased to make a cute scarecrow costume.

 

List of items needed:

  • Tulle (and lots of it) - we used 4 rolls of 6in tulle that came in 25 yard spools.  The colors used were brown, yellow, orange, and cream. 
  • Ribbon - we used 1in thick brown ribbon for the waist and the neck tie; also used was 1/4in yellow ribbon for decoration on the front
  • Faux Sunflowers - we purchased one stem that had approximately 6-7 sunflowers in various sizes
  • Burlap - we used two colors (orange and regular) for the hat "patches"
  • Straw hat
  • Hot glue
  1. For the tulle you will need to measure from above the chest to the desired length.  Multiple that times two and that's how long one piece of tulle will be.  My cousin's length needed was 15in x 2 = 30in per strip.
  2. Cut the first piece of brown ribbon to be enough to go around the waist and tie a bow in the back.  Then fold the tulle in half, wrap it around the ribbon, and pull the tail pieces through the loop to tie a knot around the band. 
  3. Cut another piece of brown ribbon long enough to tie around the tutu and around the neck (think halter).  Take the middle of the ribbon and wrap it around the center of the ribbon on the tutu and tie a knot.
  4. Hot glue a sunflower on the knot and tie some smaller decorative ribbon to hang in front.
  5. For the hat, cut smaller pieces of burlap and hot glue them to look like patches.  Attach a few sunflowers and viola! 
  6. You can also add leggings and a shirt for those cooler nights!

There are so many DIY Halloween costumes you can make - happy crafting :)

-Nicole

DIY Toddler Activity Board

Aden is so hands on now and picking up on almost everything he sees...it's crazy!  He's already figured out how to open and take off the kid-proof locks on the kitchen cabinets.  His little hands need something to play with...something that looks like it isn't a toy...something that he thinks is off limits but wants to play with anyway...but also something that will help him learn...

So, we made a toddler activity board!  It was so simple and cost maybe $25.  I bought all of the items at a local hardware store and most of them were on clearance. 

He can now pull his own toilet paper off of the roll and HOPEFULLY leave what's actually in the bathroom alone.  With five locks, two of his own "boinging" door stoppers, push lights, spinning wheels, and a pipe attached with velcro, there are plenty of things to occupy those little hands.

Seriously, it was so simple!  Take a board that is at least 1/2 of an inch thick (so that it will be thick enough to hold the screws needed for assembly), add a small border (to cover the rough edges), paint, and then add whatever items you want.  Most of the items come with the screws needed to attach them to the board so the only additional item I needed to find was a hook big enough to fit the combination lock.  The lights slide off of the base so that the batteries can be changed and the pipe is also big enough to fit some of his toys (cars, balls, etc.) and act like a shoot.  You can go as large or as small as you want and you can pick any combination of items from the hardware store.  I honestly just picked what was on sale!

We are going to hang it on the wall in his playroom so that it is at his eye-level.  But, as soon as I brought it inside he immediately wanted to play with it and hasn't stopped yet...

I will say the push lights are a HUGE hit with him!

 

I'd love to hear if you've made any activity boards for your children!

Thanks,

Nicole

Weekend Beach Trip

Every now and again you need to get away for the weekend, relax, enjoy family, and have fun!

We spent the weekend of the Fourth of July at the beach.  It was a fun, quick vacation with some of our family.  We are very thankful that Aden has several cousins around his own age that he will get to grow up with and take more trips like this one.

They are the absolute cutest (even though I am a little biased).  This is such a fun age to take to the beach and see how they react.  Each one of them loved the sand and the water.  They played for hours, fought off naps, ran around and just laughed. 

They also loved the pier.  I might have had a few panic attacks as Aden wanted to look over at the water and them immediately run to another area.  It was fun to see his reaction to it all though.  They even sat still long enough for me to snap a cute photo of them in their matching, monogrammed Prodoh shirts.  Aden finally has a shirt that matches his Dad's wardrobe :)  All fishing, all the time!

Aden's aunt, Brooke, even made the trip with us!  We had so much fun getting to spend time with some of our family in the beautiful sunshine. 

I'll try to always remember how he reacts to new things.  At first he's cautious but then he jumps right in.  Our first afternoon here he made his Dad hold his hand while exploring the ankle deep water of the ocean.  By day two he ran straight for it with no fear.  He's such a joy!

Now that we are home and the next vacation is over a month away.  I have plenty of time to tackle my next home improvement project - building a kitchen island with a DISHWASHER!  Stay tuned for updates :)

Love,

Nicole

A Room to Play

This morning we ran around the house until I was out of breath and then we had to take every toy Aden owns out of the toy box.  I realized then I had never taken photos of his playroom.  Mostly that's because it's always littered with books, cars, blocks, and balls.  But, before it became too cluttered with this morning's top pick of toys, I snapped a few photos.

When we decided to convert this room from a guest bedroom into a playroom, I wanted it to be a colorful room that he could grow into and make his own.  The walls are a bright green and the accent wall sports large stripes of red, blue, purple and orange. 

This adorable frog shaped toy box was given to us by his aunt who also used it when she was a little girl.  It's the cutest thing - even when it's "mouth full" of toys risk spilling out at any minute.

Reading is a huge passion of mine and I hope that Aden loves it as well.  A reading nook was a must-have in this room and the large, stuffed bear gives him a comfy place to sit.  I love watching him grab a book, plop down and start "reading."  His favorite books right now are shape books that he can go through and pick out familiar items while he yells out, "ball, boat, cookie, etc."

The colorful owl futon cover and pillows were made by my favorite Etsy shop, Studio Slumber.  It gives a fun pattern to break up some of the bold colors on the walls.

This room belongs to Aden and his imagination can run free.  Cars come to life and chase over blocks and stuffed animals, the walls become bumpers to his ride-on cars, mirrors reflect his silly faces, and he scores goals using whatever will fit through the hoop. 

He's such a joy to watch and we're so thankful for him.  And I'm thankful for you too - thankful that you stopped by to read what I had to say.  I hope you have a blessed day!

Love,

Nicole

Functional Storage in a Small Home

Have I mentioned how small our home actually is?  It's only 1200 square feet; three bedrooms, one bath, and lacking massive amounts of STORAGE!  Seriously, we only have three closets, total...

So, storage is really important and I have to get creative with our limited amount of space.  There is a difference in the attic storage we have versus everyday storage.  With our small home, we have to have access to everyday items but also have a place to put them when they are no longer needed.

Thanks to Amazon, I stumbled upon these cute leather ottomans that double as storage bins.  They hold a lot of stuff.  I keep two in the living room (one for toys and one for throw blankets) and the larger one at the foot of our bed. 

Having easy access to the things you need but being able to store them away is essential to making storage work in our home.  It also keeps me sane and clutter free.

When you are looking for items that help with functional storage, you need to look for items that are needed but offer a dual purpose.  Coffee tables with storage inside, ottomans with storage, floating shelves for important items, decorative baskets or crates that can sit at a fireplace but also hold essential items, the list goes on!

These especially allow my son to play with toys he loves but can easily be put out of sight at night.

What are your functional storage ideas?  Share below :)  As always, thank you for reading.

Love,

Nicole

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I didn't Rush...

My old Friday's consisted of waking up early, rushing around to get ready, heading out the door by 7:40am, and normally forgetting something...

Today, I didn't rush.  There was no pressing alarm clock (although we were still wide awake by 7:30am).  Blueberry pancakes were made and devoured while we sat next to the big window in the kitchen.  With our pajamas still on, we rode the golf-cart around the neighborhood.  We spotted Memaw in her front yard and stopped in - this lead to a brief piano lesson and lots of toys to play with.  We departed with a popsicle and a smile. 

My prayer this morning was of thankfulness.  I held my son and prayed with my heart full of gladness and love.  I was excited to start this new chapter working part-time but I never knew how much of a blessing it was truly going to be. 

I also have more time to work on his potty training - which he's doing really great at so far!!! :)

So thankful you stopped by to read about our morning.  Have a blessed day!

Love,

Nicole

 

 

Thankful

Dear House on the Mill...

I'm sitting here thinking of the changes that will happen overnight.  After tomorrow, I no longer work at my 9-5 job full time.  Tomorrow is the last day that I'll spend 8+ hours at work and only 3 hours with my family.  Tomorrow is the close of one chapter and the beginning of another.  And that both excites and scares me.

Change is scary - especially when that change effects your household income, your way of life, your career, and your family.  But, I can feel that it is the right decision for us.  From the moment we discussed it, It happened so quickly and I felt God there telling me that this is possible and this is what I needed to do. 

I'm thankful. Very thankful.

I'm thankful to work for a company who takes the needs of their employees into consideration, for leaders who went above and beyond to accommodate my request to work part time, and for co-workers who understand and aren't judging me for this decision but are supportive.

I'm thankful for our family members who help out in so many ways.

I'm thankful for my husband who works hard to support his family, who is loving and kind, who makes me laugh everyday, and is my best friend.

I'm thankful for our son who makes each day bright and fills it with such wonder, who reminds me how fast we grow up, and teaches me something new everyday about a mother's love.

I'm thankful for our God - a powerful and mighty God who loves us and when we listen and follow Him we can do things we never thought possible. 

 

A Normal Night

Dear House on the Mill,

Tonight was refreshing.  Long-time childhood friends gathered together in this home, each with their own children.  We discussed life, we read, we laughed and we prayed. 

We discussed how "normal" our lives really are.  But "normal" doesn't mean perfect, frustration-free, without pain, or always right.  "Normal" means normal.  It's normal for you or the kids to have a bad day, to question things, to want to pull your hair out.  "Normal" isn't always a perfectly put together life like social media portrays.  And sometimes we get bogged down with the idea that we have to be perfect to be "normal."

We gathered together tonight for our first book club meeting.  We've decided to start with "Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope."  We are loving this so far and the discussions it brings up that relate to our own lives.

We laughed together.  We laughed about childhood memories and the hilarious things that our kids do today. 

We prayed.  Together, four moms and six children stood together to pray for our "normal" lives.  We prayed for the community we have in each other and we prayed for the strength to teach and show our children the Gospel in everyday life.

It was a fun evening that we four moms needed!  But, it wasn't perfect.  Between the six kiddos there were a few tears, broken toys, spilt milk, food stolen by the dog, and bathroom incidents.  It was completely normal.

 

Table and Chair Set

This morning my husband and I got up a little early to go check out some local yard sales, thrift stores, and antique shops.  Our first stop was a yard sale at one of my favorite houses in town. As we drove past I immediately noticed several child-size antique chairs, a table, highchair, etc.  Already in love with the table and two chairs, I walked right up to ask how much those were.  Before answering, the woman explained that not only did these belong to her grandmother but she and her sister grew up playing with it.  She loved this table and chair set and was reluctant to get rid of it.  But, they were selling the home and they didn't have a need for this so it was time to let it go. 

I purchased the set for $35 (her full price) and before she handed me my change she looked at me and asked, "Do you have children?"  I knew this question was only to make sure that this table and chair set was going to a home that would use it and love it just as she and her sister did.  My answer made her smile, she gave me my change, and said "Thank you." 

The paint color had darkened with time, some paint was chipping, and it was a little covered in dust and dirt.  But, a little cleaning and some fresh white paint gave a new life to this set. 

I love that we are able to continue to use a piece that has been around since the 1930s for our home. 

Our son will enjoy eating meals here, reading books, coloring, and more - which is exactly why she asked me if I had children, to make sure it was going to be used and loved.

 

As always, thank you for reading.

-Nicole

His Cool Room

Our son is now almost 18 months but I still love everything about his room.  It was a fun adventure incorporating my husband's love for racing into the cute nursery I envisioned.   We also wanted a room that would grow with him and we wouldn't have to change much as he gets older.  I think it's the perfect blend!

Teal (of course) and grey walls provide color but also anchor the room.  My husband spent over an hour picking out the perfect shades of paint so that they would match his favorite Formula 1 race team...haha

I love how involved he was in this entire process - picking out the wall art, fabrics, paint colors, you name it!  He occasionally had to be reminded that this room would belong to our newborn son and not him but overall he was so helpful! 

The details in the room are what I love most - race cars on the drawer knobs, colorful wall art, the speedometer decal above his changing station, and of course the custom pillows and bedding we had made from a wonderful lady (Studio Slumber on Etsy if you are in need of anything for your nursery)!

Our son has a place to read, play with his toy cars, run around, and just have fun.  I wouldn't change anything about this space.  It was the work of a husband and a wife who wanted to create a space just for their son.

As always, thank you for reading!  And, I've updated the blog a little to allow comments - so feel free to leave a few words :)

-Nicole