Designing a Home Addition, Part I:

So I mentioned a few times recently that we're knee deep in planning a home addition.  

It's taken us a long time to figure out what is important to us, and how to design an addition that best meets our needs as a family.  My father in law is a structural and civil engineer and his company helped us out in a HUGE way by designing and drawing up the plans for our addition.  

Our house is small--around 1200 square feet (when you include our sunroom which will be removed in this addition).  As it is right now, our house works for us.  In fact, I really like living in a small house.  The hubby and I debated back and forth whether we should even decide to do a home addition for that reason, because it's really not like we feel like we need the space right now.  

In a lot of areas, it would make more sense to move to a new house rather than build onto the one we already have if we needed more space.  Here though, housing costs are really expensive.  We paid about $380 a sq ft for our house.  It's cheaper for us to build on than buy a new house, even if you don't consider the hefty real estate fees.  We bought our house for the neighborhood we are in too, so even if we were to move we'd be mostly looking to staying in our same neighborhood. 

Alright, ready for a long old post?  Keep reading below for all of the details:



It's been a little while.  A lot has been going on around here.  The wonderful thing about having a blog is that is provides an outlet, a motivation to stop for a moment and save memories (because goodness knows my brain doesn't seem to hold them anymore!)

So when I sat down to blog this evening, I thought about all of the things I could write about.  I could write about Lu starting public school for the first time, and all the first day clothes I didn't make.  Or all of the Pinterest worthy "First day of school" chalkboard pictures that I didn't take.  Or maybe, the quick little "I love you" sketch that I drew on her napkin and squished into her lunch pail at the last minute, after feeling just a slight bit guilty that I didn't have more to mark her first day.

But that's life no?  There's always more that you wish you had time for, and that's ok.  This blog though is--in some ways--documenting these years of my life through what I've created (or maybe what I haven't...haha!) Lu starting school did get me thinking though.  My little girl is getting bigger and bigger, and I know that the day will come when she thinks that the creative things that make for her are just not that cool.  Right now though, she loves each and every one of my creations and I absolutely love seeing the fascination in her eyes as she watches me make things.... or the excitement when she runs out in the morning trying to sneak a peak at whatever it is I was working on the night before.

So, yeah, Lu's starting school actually inspired me to start a project.  A cloth doll making project.  I've always admired Waldorf dolls, and I always hoped to make a very special doll for my girls.  But I feel like a doll like that isn't something that I can just make without practice (or maybe with practice...hah!). Lu's starting school made me realize though that I'm not sure for how much longer Lu's going to want a doll I made over say, an American girl doll for example.  So I've been playing around, practicing, and learning.  I'm sure I'll be back here to tell you about all I've learned sometime soon, even if a really special doll doesn't get made anytime soon....

 The next few months are going to be interesting.  We're going to be taking on a big house project--a home addition--which I'm sure I'll write more about later on....and well, adjusting to changes in our family routines. I'm not exactly sure how my blog is going to change during this time, but I look forward to continuing sharing my life, one project at a time.  Thanks for sticking by and reading my little old blog!


Party Decorations...On the Cheap!

Alright you all!  This is going to be my last rainbow tea party post.  (Are you doing a happy dance?  I am.  I'm partied out!)  The reason though that I decided to do this post though was when it hit me that we spent less than $5 on party decorations.  Like what?  When does that happen?  I didn't feel like we were skimping.  It just sort of happened that way.  What I realized though was that this party taught me a lot about how decorating can be inexpensive, and a lot of it comes down to that wonderful thing called tissue paper. 

1).  Use what you have.  I know this seems like a "duh" statement, but when I started to let got of the tea party "should" look like, things sort of just fell into place.  I realized that my regular dishes were rainbow colored, so instead of going and trying to collect china tea cups (I don't have any) we just decided to embrace the mismatched color scheme.  Suddenly everything I had "matched" the theme.  The more color, the better.  I used the butterfly placemats from Lu's bug party  and recycled a butterfly banner too.

2) Avoid "themed" plates" and napkins.  Barbie, Princess, etc.  cost more than just regular old colored paper plates from the dollar store.  Or better yet? Use regular plates and load them up into the dishwasher.

3)  The dollar store.  It's awesome ok?  I already had a few plastic tablecloths, so I bought a few more colors, draped them over a bookshelf and "tada" instant photo booth.  They'd be great for a backdrop for a buffet table too!

4)  Tissue paper-Tissue paper-tissue paper!  All the tissue paper decorations for the party were made using 1--that's right, one--tissue paper back from the dollar store.  That's a lot of bang for one buck! 

5)  Make your own flowers.  That's right.  It goes back to #4...but yeah, tissue paper flowers are cheaper than real flowers....and you can keep them after the party too.  Lu LOVED helping me make these.

Want to see how we made all the tissue paper decorations?  Keep reading below!


Homemade Sugar Cubes

These sugar cubes are so awesome!   A few of you may have seen me pin the original sugar cube tutorial here.  Can you say genius!  When Lu was 2 she helped me make gum paste flowers for a cake and she absolutely loved the process.  Heck, it was basically like playing with playdough!  She still talks about how much she loved making them.  When I saw these sugar cubes I knew that she would love to make them, but I feared that they would be so hard to make.  It turns out they are just sugar and water.  Amazing, huh? Lu loved making, decorating, and then using them to decorate her birthday cake.  They made the perfect addition for Lu's tea party too!

It turns out though that these guys were almost a disaster.  Ready to hear why and hear some hints about how to make them?


Felt Food: Easy Enough for a 5 Year Old to Make

I mentioned earlier that Lu's been super into felt food lately.   Well, making it, that is.   For her tea party she wanted to make some felt food for her friends.  We browsed Pinterest, and she fell in love with lots of them, especially these.

I thought that cinnamon rolls and cupcakes might be good for her to help with, and she loved helping me make them.  She helped a little with the donuts too, while I filled in the rest of the cookies. 

Does your child want to make some felt goodies?  Let me dissect these guys for you, so that you can make your own.


Rainbow Jello Recipe

This rainbow jello has been a birthday tradition in my family for as long as I can remember.  I remember begging my mom to make it for my birthday as a kid and I loved peeling off the layers one by one to eat. Each flavor actually consists of 2 different layers: a normal jello layer and a layer combined with yogurt. I've made it for a few of Lu's birthdays, including her most recent Tea Party birthday.  She loves it as much as I did as a kid!

I haven't the slightest idea where the recipe originally came from, or how how it's changed from wherever my mom found the recipe.  It's super easy though, despite the fact that it takes hours to actually make....(lots of down time waiting for each layer to solidify).  Totally worth it though, and it's not so bad if you just split it out during the day.

Ready to make your own rainbow jello?  Keep reading for the recipe along with some helpful tips.


Rainbow Tea Party Birthday Party

 I gave you all a sneak peak into our preparations a little over a week ago, so I'm excited to be able to share a few pictures from the latest birthday in our house, for a very excited and eager party planner of the just turned 5 variety. In reality this "party" was just a small get together with a few friends.  Our house is small and we can't handle too much of a crowd, so Lu just asked to have all of the girls from her playgroup (which she has been a part of since she was 18 months!) over for tea.  It was a fun morning which she (and the other girls I hope!) really enjoyed.

I'm planning a few more detailed posts about the party, as planning for this party has been a huge time sink lately...and I can't say I have much else to show you!  I'll link here as they go live.

But enough about that.  Let's look at all the party details!


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