Backyard Makeover: Building a Retaining Wall

It's been a little while since I talked about our home projects, but that doesn't mean that we haven't been working hard.  In fact, our yard work has really felt really consuming lately.  When we added on to our house, we left a lot of the yard work to do ourselves.  It's sooooo much manual labor, and I'm sooooo not strong.  We had to install french drains, and our soil was so hard that the hubby had to break it up with a pick.  I couldn't even swing the darn thing, so let's just say my help was pretty darn pathetic.  And it took sooo long.  We worked on those drains every weekend for at least a month.  So. Much. Work.  

After we installed the drains we started building our retaining wall which was a much more rewarding (and less physically demanding) project. We looked at some local suppliers of blocks, but ultimately decided to go with these blocks from Lowes (partially because they each weighed 20 pounds instead of 50...making them much easier to move, and thus a more feasible DIY project.)
It took my dad, hubby and I about 4 full days to build a wall around half the yard, although we weren't all working at the same time for the entire time.  My dad started laying the first row, while my hubby dug out the path.  Once my dad left (after 2 days) I took over laying the first row.  I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed laying these!  (Or maybe I was just thrilled that it wasn't near as physically demanding as the french drains!)

Are you curious about making your own retaining wall?  Keep reading for more details and pictures:


What I Want My Daughters to Know About Motherhood

Every once in a while I step away from crafts and tutorials to share a little bit about my life.Today's post is one of those posts in honor of all the moms out there...I hope you enjoy it, and if you don't, don't worry I'll be back to my normal craft filled programming soon!

Mother's day was last weekend.  The other day my daughters and I were sitting at the table eating lunch.  Mother's Day came up, and somehow I ended up asking my 5 year old if she thought she'd ever want to be a mom.

My youngest chimed in, saying "Yes!!" while my oldest hesitated for a moment.  When she answered, she said, "I don't know.  Maybe I'll just get a dog."  She thought for a moment and then said, "or maybe just a fish..."

I chuckled for a minute, but I also thought it interesting.  I think, even at the young age of 5, that she recognizes that motherhood comes with  a lot of responsibility.  She sees the cleaning, the laundry, the chores that I do every single day--and as someone who sees being asked to clean her room as the end of the world--she doesn't see such things as all that appealing.  I wondered though, does she see anything else, beyond the chores?

I couldn't help but think of all the things that I, as a mother, hope my girls know about my journey in motherhood.  I decided to make them this top five list:

1)  Motherhood is simply the most challenging thing I've ever done.

Yes, kid.  You are right.  Motherhood means cleaning up the puke all over the floor while comforting you.  It means picking up lots of spills, and food that for some reason the floor never seems to eat (although you keep trying to feed it!)  It's folding laundry, remembering school projects, and making sure that all private parts of your body are covered when you leave the house (and that you aren't mooning the neighbors through the storm door...oh wait, parenting fail on that one).

But it's more than the chores.  Everyone has always told me this, but I don't think that I ever really completely understood this until I had kids.  You'll never be so tired.  Or worry so much.  Or feel so connected to another human being before.  Oh, and patience...oh dear patience, how I wish I had more.....Yep, that's right.  Motherhood stretches me in ways that nothing else ever has.

2) Motherhood is also the most rewarding thing I've ever done. 

I want you both to grow in to happy, healthy, kind, self-sufficient adults, and I love watching you grow in that direction every single day. Someday you won't hold my hand anymore.  Or kiss me goodbye when I drop you off.  And I'll be a crying weepy mess.  But I'll be proud of you at the same time.  

3)  That mixed in with a lot of icky moments are some of the hands down best moments of my entire life.  

Do you know that you once smeared poop all over my face?  The details don't matter, but it was disgusting.  And I'm pretty sure I wore "spoiled milk" perfume for much longer than I really care to admit.  But mixed in with lots of icky moments are some pretty amazing ones.

Before I had you, I never imagined that a "best" moment of my entire life might be as simple as sitting at a park, on a picnic blanket, talking to you.  But it is.  But I'm pretty sure that you won't understand that unless you're a mom yourself someday.  Until then you can just think I'm crazy.  It's ok, really.  I don't mind being "crazy mom" until then.  And yes, Mom, I get it now.

4)   There's no "right" way to do motherhood.

Someday you're going to tell me all of the things that I did wrong as a parent.  And you'll probably be right.  There's many things that I probably could have done/ do better.  I hope you'll learn from my mistakes just as much if not more than what you learn from what I did "right."  You'll probably do things differently than I did, and that's ok.  There's no right way to do motherhood.  Stay at home vs work, breast fed vs bottle--it doesn't matter.  As mothers we share one thing more than any else, and that's to do the very best that we can for our kids.  So go ahead, make your own choices, do what's right for you, and what makes you the best mom you can be.  I won't judge. 

5) When I found out you were each a girl, I was both happy and sad for you at the same time.  

I think that's because at 20 weeks pregnant, I felt "being female" more than ever: the morning sickness that last all day (and into the second trimester), the exhaustion, the trying to keep up with my job while taking care of you too...all while your daddy just went to work.  Because yes, until we figure out how to grow babies in incubators, you'll have to bear more of the child bearing responsibilities than your hubby will.  Yet, you'll also be the first one to feel them kick, or get the hiccups, or do somersaults inside of you.  And that's pretty cool.  (But I'm not going to lie, those incubators sound pretty cool too...even if you were worth the sickness, pain, and weight gain.)

Every day I hope that I'm setting a good example to you as a woman, and as a mother.  Because being female is a bond we both share.   To my daughters, I hope someday that you'll get to experience this thing called motherhood if it's what you want. 

One more thing.  See that picture above?  Yeah, well, I have 1 (yes, only 1) picture that I like of myself pregnant.  It's above. The scientist in me says it should be an outlier and thrown out and replaced with a much more representative picture of me pregnant.  But hey, this is the internet.  Can you really blame me?

And finally, yes this article in in reference to my daughters.  Not because I'm leaving out my sons, but rather because I don't have any :-)

PS: This past weekend was Mother's day, and I know that it can be an emotionally charged day for people for some many reasons.  Maybe you want to be a mother, or maybe you miss your mother, or maybe you struggle with feelings of self worth or achievement.  If that's you,  I get it.   I'm sending hugs your way.


Congrats Winners!

So I decided that I'd just give my pattern out to anyone who entered the giveaway, so  sierralimanlcorbin and barefootT are the winners of the puppy dog and puppy dog carrier patterns!

Sierralima and nlcorbin--send me an email (at snugglebuguniversity(at)gmail(dot)com and I will send you your patterns.  BarefootT, look for yours in your inbox :-)

And for all of you that have supported my blog by purchasing patterns in the last few weeks...THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!  You readers are AWESOME!


Wildflowers, Art, Fabric, and Childhood

 The hills of the East Bay of San Francisco were beautiful for weeks--even though they are dry now--and I'm so happy that we were able to spend so much time outside enjoying the beautiful green hills covered in flowers. This is my children's childhood, and for this I feel blessed:
Usually I don't bring my camera, but this day was different. I told my kids we were going to work on an art project for the wall of their playroom, and they were super excited.  I grabbed my DSLR and gave each child a white piece of foam board from the dollar store.  I encouraged them to find all the different kinds of wild flowers that they could.  One child held her board behind the flowers, while the other blocked the sun out so that we didn't have any shadows.  That sounds horribly technical, but the truth is, they loved it.  

We got lots of pictures like this:

I put the images into Gimp and got rid of the white background. 

Then I combined the images and found the names for all of the flowers.  I had the poster printed out, and hung it with two other pictures I took that day:
 The girls are so excited about the art they "made", and I am too!

I also used these same flowers and had the design printed on fabric via Spoonflower. It was the first time that I'd ever used Spoonflower, and I was so satisfied with the results.  I finished the edges and turned the fabric into dish towels.  

Every time I look at this piece of art and the dish towels they make me smile.  I love incorporating wonderful moments like this into decorations in our home.

Hooray for beautiful memories of the wildflower variety, and lovely art and fabric too. Tell me, have you ever done anything similar?


Felt Dog Food Tutorial

Are you ready to make some felt dog bones?  This is the last post in my week of puppy dog pattern madness, and it's been so much fun (and exhausting!) 
Every puppy dog needs something to snack on, right?  These little bones really look like little raw hides. You can make them as big or little as you like, it all just depends on how long of a piece you cut.  

All you need is a bit of white felt and a sewing machine. (Although you could easily make a no sew version as well!)

And really that's all there is to it.  Pretty simple, right?

I hope you've enjoyed all of these puppy themed posts!  Now go enter into my giveaway to win your own puppy dog and puppy dog carrier pattern before it's too late!

And finally, do you follow my blog already?  Yes, awesome!!!  If not,  please consider following this blog!  I'm really trying to build my followers via email and on facebookpinteresttwitter, and instagram.


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