Friday, September 25, 2015

Celebrating National Dog Week with Scouty & Beneful

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Beneful Brand Dog Food. All opinions are 100% mine.
I admit it. The minute we brought Benjamin home from the hospital Scout moved down the totem pole. We still love him just the same. He gets plenty of attention and playtime, and as you can tell by the looks of him--we haven't shorted him any treats. Scout better rest up now, before Ben is on the move and chasing him all over the place.

When Beneful offered Scout his very own swag bag in honor of National Dog Week, we were happy to accept.

To celebrate National Dog Week, we spent extra time doing all of Scout's favorite things.

Using our snazzy new leash...

To take an extra long walk.

Playing with new toys while enjoying special treats.

Scout's most favorite part of the day is mealtime. We are a longtime Beneful household. From when Scout was a teeny little pup brand new from the shelter--to his adult dog years. Giving our dog time for play and snuggles is only part of having a healthy pet. Making sure he gets a healthy meal a day and exercise are both important.

Whatever you do to celebrate National Dog Week, enjoy your time with your furry baby! Scroll down for money saving coupons and a chance for one of our readers to win their own swag bag for their pup!
National Dog Week

When: Right now! September 20-26
In honor of National Dog Week, Beneful dog good is offering $3 off a 13 lb. or greater size bag.
Get your own printable coupon Save $3 on Beneful
How will you Celebrate? learn more 
1 Reader will receive a swag bag filled with goodies for your pup from Beneful!
It's easy to enter!
How will you celebrate National Dog Week? 

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter or 
Share with a picture of your pup on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and add the hashtags #NationalDogWeek and #FriendsWithBeneful then share the link in the comments and on social media! Tag me in the post and you will be entered to win!
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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Basement Update: Alternative Ceiling

Way back in January and February--before Benjamin made his arrival, we were working as fast as we could to get the basement prepped for drywall and mudding. We're cash flowing this project--and knew when Benjamin arrived we'd have other things to spend money on. Diapers, medical bills...more diapers.

Well, lucky for the basement---and miserable for me--I was going on a week overdue. The mudding and sanding were all complete before Benjamin made his 5-day-late appearance. We picked out paint colors one afternoon and the painter came the next day. We decided it would be easier, and quicker to hire this out. Plus, I'd be no help being 41 weeks pregnant and all. I'll share colors another day.

The best part about this basement update is the ceiling. Oh the ceiling has been such a treat. We've been hemming and hawing over the ceiling since we started.

We don't want to spend big bucks. But we want the basement to be as non-basement-y feeling as possible.

Our approximate finished living space will be just over 1,200 square feet. We will have a large family room and entertaining space complete with a wet bar. The basement will have a large bedroom/office with an en suite bathroom.

Ceiling Options:
  • 100% Drywall Ceiling: This looks the nicest. Makes the basement feel less 'basement-y'. Unfortunately, it costs the most, and if we ever need to get to pipes or wires in the ceiling it would be a mess. Estimated Cost: $2,400
  • 100% Ceiling Tile: Most people use ceiling tiles in their basement. They are inexpensive and can be customized. They're simple to install even for a newbie DIYer. Of course, the style we liked the most, cost the most. This is how my life usually works. Estimated Cost: $4,400
  • 50/50: Half ceiling tile, half drywall.  This seemed to be the best choice for looks, and keeping access to pipes and wires, Estimated Cost: $4,000
I will admit, I watched a little too much Fixer Upper marathons on HGTV during maternity leave. I love that show and I super love Jo & Chip. Just like Jo, I now love shiplap too.   Well, a combination of spending too much time on Pinterest, watching HGTV....and also seeing my in-laws finish their basement ceiling while I was on maternity leave. I had an idea...

Shiplap ceiling.
A fresh shiplap ceiling.
We can't exactly secure the boards right up against the ceiling, because again...pipes and stuff. But we plan to a modified version of a shiplap ceiling. With a few beams of some sort supporting the wood. Barn wood, or maybe faux wood beams?

The plan is to stain the shiplap Jacobean by Minwax. Which is the stain throughout our woodwork a good chunk of the cabinets on the future wet bar.
The bedroom on the other hand needs to be a little more bright and airy. So I'm considering switching the Jacobean stain for white paint.

Similar to this room.
  • 2/3 Shiplap 1/3 drywall: We have a small portion over the family room already drywalled and painted. So doing a rough estimate based on what we paid for the drywall materials and labor plus estimate for the shiplap. Estimated cost: $1,600

We're getting help from our contractor on installation and setup. But we plan to do as much as we can ourselves, especially the prep work and staining and painting.  We can't wait to incorporate this look into our home.

Would you do an alternative ceiling option like shiplap in your home?
If you already have please share!

More in the basement finish series:
Drywall and barn beams!
Why our basement is not going to be a 'man cave'.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Flea Market Find: Vintage Metal Bed

Hello!  Not only have I not been blogging...but I haven't been to a flea market since November. That's like not having a diet coke since November, or candy. Rough times.
One Saturday, Adam ran some early errands and when he walked in the door he said there was an estate auction in town then quickly realized what he had said...

Of course there was no taking those words back. We loaded up the and all that goes with--and headed into town. It was a gloomy, rainy day. Serious auction goers know when you go to an estate auction when it rains-it pays. Not many people want to stand in the rain. I was right, everything was going for a steal. I practiced resistance and did not bid on every little thing. Even all the cute chairs that were going for 3-5 bucks. I had my eye on one item. A metal bed. A rusty as heck metal bed. 

I'd seen photos on pinterest of awesome iron and metal beds and I wanted one for our master bedroom. 
The sweet rusty patina. 
With muted bedding and other flea market finds all around you while you are snoozing....the perfect dream land!
Antique ones usually come no bigger than a full. We have a king now. There would be no way we could downgrade. Plus, Adam is so darn tall we can't really get a bed with a foot board anyway. My vintage bed dreams didn't seem like they'd go anywhere. Until that day...

See, if you are new here I will let you know, we're in the process of finishing our basement. Lucky for our friends and family not only will there be a family room, a full wet bar, but we'll also have a guest suite down there.  This was my chance to get that rusty patina iron bed in my house--even if I wouldn't be the one getting beauty rest on it.

Here she is. It looks like a pile of junk to some people. To me, a serious treasure.

After outbidding one other person... the bed was officially mine, and only for 10 whole bucks. A serious deal. The flea market gods were smiling down at me because the rain held out too.
Unfortunately for Adam they were not smiling at him...the downpour began as soon as he was loading it up. Ben and I were already waiting patiently in the car. Oops.

I cannot wait to get the basement bedroom situated and set up in it's new home. It's going to be so dreamy. It only needs a little fixing up before it's ready for dreamland.

Jamie from Southern Revivals explained how she sealed in rusty patina on her fab antique metal bed frame she scored. I plan to do the same to mine.
Please only pin from original source at Southern Revivals
Gah hers looks so cute in her son's big boy room. Those arrow stripes are so awesome too. Now I will be on the lookout for a twin version for Ben's someday big boy room...

Score anything good lately at a sale or flea market?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Summertime Fruit Spritzers: Vacation Every Day with Palm Breeze

You wouldn't guess it by this goofy Illinois weather, but summertime is here. One of the best parts of summer is hosting friends on our back covered deck. We have the perfect outdoor space and we make good use of it. It's especially great this year, because with Ben...we sure need a breather and a chance to relax in the evenings! We won't be going on vacation this year with our new little one. But we still need to unwind.

My favorite way to relax is on the back deck--with a cocktail in my hand.

I have a few go-to drinks for this summer. Palm Breeze is a brand new drink perfect for mixing--and pretending like you are on a tropical island without a care in the world. It's flavored malt beverage (FMB). Which basically means it’s an alcoholic drink made with a malt base, kind of like beer. They created it with women as their target customers!

I found it at my local liquor store; sold by the case, or just by the can. I chose to purchase the cans individually so I could try both flavors. Palm Breeze comes in Ruby Red Citrus and Pineapple Mandarin Orange. Each can was just over a buck a piece. Since I planned to make mixed cocktails with them...that's less than a buck a drink. Delicious...and easy on my wallet.

I created 2 different drinks. I wanted to keep them both easy...I have a baby...ain't nobody got time for making fancy drinks with 10 different mixers.

Ruby Red Fruit Spritzer serves 4

  • Palm Breeze Ruby Red Citrus (two cans)
  • 34 oz Tonic water 
  • Handful of fresh strawberries, sliced (even better if they are from your own garden!)

Muddled Pineapple Spritzer serves 2

  • Palm Breeze Pineapple Mandarin Orange (two cans)
  • Pineapple chunks muddled
  • Ice

They were both simple to make, inexpensive, and yummy. This beverage is for those who are: spontaneous, carefree, confident, social & stylish; loves to spend her free time hanging with her girlfriends; loves to travel, enjoys outdoor activities and tries to soak up the sun!
I will be enjoying a few more of these this summer....all the while dreaming up my next vacation. Happy Summer!

P.S. If you are in a big city check out the Palm Breeze Bar Events near you!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Nursery Details: Ben's Burlap print

Still sharing some details of Ben's nursery today. This one was a sweet handmade gift.

Peter Pan Burlap Print
My dear friend Brett is super talented and makes burlap prints perfect for nurseries and kids rooms. I'm lucky enough to have one in my son's room.  He even handmade the frame. It's such a fitting quote for a little boy's room!

Check out some of the other cutie-patootie stuff he's created!

Would these not be perfect if you were doing a woodland, camping, or rustic nursery? They'd be great for a little boy or girl's room!
set of 4 burlap prints
Oh man, if you are having a camping theme you need this print.
Tuck me in Tight print

Looking for some cute decor for your nursery? These would be such sweet and unique gifts to that friend who is expecting her little one. Take a peak at Brett's Etsy shop Porter Design Co. His prices are super good and he's a fast little worker so he's quick to ship stuff out too. Personally, I think that's always important because I am a last minute kinda gal. He has more adorable prints and I heard from a little bird he's great at custom orders too.

And before I end this post, I just have to show you..For my 30th birthday he made me a very special present. This represents my new family. I love it. And again, he even made the frame himself! He did a wonderful job. I love that we can add to it as our family grows too!

I hung it up the day I brought it home with me!  Although he doesn't have these listed in his Etsy shop convo him and ask him nicely and I bet he could work something out for you.

In case you missed it!
Ben's Vintage Nursery
Ben's dresser/changing table DIY
Billy the Bison Nursery Decor
Being a far

P.S. This is not a sponsored post, my friend is just super talented and plus I love him. But go buy all the things!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Nursery Details: Billy the Bison

I love the animal bust trend all over blogs right now.  I knew I wanted one in the nursery. But didn't want something too modern. I wanted to keep the vintage and preppy theme in the room.

If you remember we added our own flair to a vintage find in our dining room. We gave a $5 flea market find a makeover.

See the before here!

Anyway, back to the Billy Bison.

For this project we used We used the Billy in the Junior size from Cardboard Safari. We chose the classic tan color. I'd seen people paint these, and maybe if we ever change it up, we will do that. But I liked the plain classic tan for this project. It went best with the look of the rest of his room.

It took about 20 minutes to put together. I should point out, that it would have taken less time, but I thought I was super smart and didn't pay much attention to the directions. So I realized I messed it up halfway through---read the instructions, then did it the right way pretty easily.

For the backing we took apart the thrift store frame, and covered the back cardboard in fabric. To secure Billy Jr to it we turned to our trusty staple gun. That's it!

We love the way it looks on his mini gallery wall above his dresser/ changing table. We're really happy with it and know we can use it even as he grows and gets a 'big boy room' in a few years.
photo credit AB Photography

See more of Ben's vintage nursery!
Check out the wild and crazy before of that beautiful blue dresser makeover!

Thanks to Cardboard Safari for providing Billy the Bison for this project! All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Being a far

I normally like to stick to house stuff on the blog, but want to share a little of our family life too. We'll be back to regularly scheduled house stuff tomorrow. And back to posting once or more a week too!

If I would have had time, I would have posted this BEFORE Mother's Day. But one of the things I've learned in the 3 short months of being a mom is that things no longer are on my schedule. Someone else runs the show now and his name is Benjamin.

photo credit AB Photography

I've learned so much already and love every day with this kid. He's adorable even when he's mad. I still have a weepy melt-y heart when he smiles and giggles. I can't explain how much I love this sweet baby.

We get millions questions from friends and family, so I thought I'd cover the basics here for those in blogland interested in how we are doing too.

Let's skip the birth story...I will spare you the real details of his birth--here's the short version:
Went to sleep Friday night at 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant and really crabby about it.
I woke up at 3:30 a.m. because my back hurt. Outside we were having a lovely Illinois snowstorm. I quickly realized as the back pain was getting really was labor pain. Adam loaded up the car and called our parents. Then my water broke. We made it to the hospital in the snow and ice...with not much time to spare. Ben was born at 6:37 a.m.
Thank god we have a Jeep, not sure we'd have made it into town with any other vehicle. The on call doctor apparently does not have a Jeep, because she could not make it to the birth.
Everything happened so quickly. I was not prepared for such an intense and fast arrival. There was not even time for the 'you won't feel a thing' drugs I heard so much about!

He's a fabulous sleeper. I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying that out loud!
I was prepared for many many sleepless nights with this kid. But he started sleeping through the night at just 3 weeks old. I'm sure he will go through a time when this is not the case, but we're enjoying it while it lasts! We are lucky. But it's not all luck.
I believe we can give ourselves an itty bitty bit of credit too. I believe in a routine.  Kiddo gets a bath at 8 p.m. every night, swaddled, and fed...then put to sleep. Routine is the key. When we didn't do this, we would notice a big difference in his sleeping.  Now, he will still wake up here and there for a late night feeding. But I'd say 9/10 nights he sleeps from 8:30pm-6:30am. 
Routine. Routine and a good sound machine. The keys to getting a good night sleep in my house!

Baptism weekend.
I chose to nurse Ben. It was hard at first. It was painful. It was stressful. It still is sometimes. We are both learning and teaching each other. Our hospital is wonderful and sends a nurse to your home shortly after you give birth to help with breastfeeding and baby care. 
For the first month and a half he was nursing every two hours during the day. It was exhausting and stressful. I felt like I never had a break. After awhile we got the hang of it and figured each other out. Now he only eats 6 times a day, and almost on a pretty good schedule. Again, routine makes life easier on everybody in our house.

I hate it. I hate finding time to pump. I've had to sneak away from family get-togethers and parties to pump. I've pumped while driving. I've pumped in a parking lot. I've pumped while everyone else is sleeping and I only want to sleep. It stinks. Scheduling pumping time is a pita. However, it's paying off. I have a small supply of freezer stash. This will ensure I get much needed time away from baby.  I will need to figure out an entire new pumping routine when I go back to work (next week!).

I love my Boba wrap. I used this thing several times a day in the first two months. Now we only use it a few times a week since there is less sleeping and more playing and awake time. But I will for sure take it with me while we are on the go this summer. Ben loves being close to me in it and usually snuggles up and naps. I was nervous about learning how to tie it up safely but it's SO simple. A quick Youtube search and you are ready to baby wear!
We also have a BabyBjorn, but haven't use it yet. We purchased it used off a local parent site so we didn't get an instruction booklet with it and it came all buckled weird. We just have to take the time to get it all buckled correctly and we will try it. Any tips on the BabyBjorn are appreciated!
If you are an expecting mom get yourself a Sound Machine. This is one item I did not register for but Adam's cousin Laura gifted to us. She swears by it and now I do too. It's great to cover up noise when Ben is asleep. He goes to bed at 8:30 every night, but we don't. He can't hear us if we are watching a movie, or putting away dishes. We don't feel like we need to tiptoe around when baby is asleep.

Me & Ben & BobaWrap

Adam giving Scout a pep talk on Ben's first day home.

We weren't really too worried about Scout & Ben. We've seen Scout play with our nephews, or with our friends' kids, and he loves them. They jump on him and pull his tail, and snuggle him and Scout smiles away and runs around with them the entire time. We knew Ben and him would be fast friends. My mom on the other hand was sure Scout was going to "bite the baby's butt" and Scout would be banished to their house to live. Sorry mom. I think she secretly wanted Scout to just ever so lightly nibble Ben's bum because they miss having a dog at their house.

When we brought Ben home from the hospital Scouty was curious and interested. Naturally he wanted to give Ben a sniff several times a day. Only once we saw him put his nose inside the bassinet though. Mostly he'd just peek and sniff. Now he sits by us every day while I nurse Ben, and I know they we be best buddies as soon as Ben is on the move.  Scout surprisingly respects Ben's toys. We only have to tell Scout 'NO' once each time a new toy comes out.  We're pretty impressed with his manners. However, I do have to say when Ben is upset and having a crying fit Scout quickly excuses himself to the other room. He's not much help.

Proud big brother Scout.  | photo credit AB Photography
Boy do we go through these things like crazy. Much less now than when he was just a tiny newborn. But they still aren't cheap! My advice to expecting mamas: sign up for Amazon mom. Diapers shipped to your door--the last thing you want to do with your precious 2 hours of free time between feedings and away from baby is to schlep to Walmart.
So far our favorite brands are Luvs and Target Up & Up brand. Blowouts contained 99% of the time versus those higher priced Pampers.

In all, I love being Ben's mama. It's weird sometimes to think 'I'm a MOM.' My friends even agreed with me this weekend. I'm the first one in this group of friends to have a kiddo. Yep, it is weird.
But, it's also so wonderful.

Did I miss anything? What else do you want to know? I've got all kinds of expert new mom wisdom now. Hah, I kid I kid.
I go back to work on Monday. Any tips for me? I already know this mascara!

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