Category Archives: Family

Happy Halloween!

Be a good little monkey…

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{DIY} Playroom Chalkboard Wall

After a couple of years, you get to a point in your young parenting life when you relinquish the ideas of your former self. Last year I converted my old work/workout area into a inspired writer’s nook. A lovely thought, right? Over a year later, I believe I wrote from that spot a total of three times. If I got a chance to work on my writing, it was likely at the dining room table in between making dinner, doing some work and cleaning up crayons. Our once adult basement slowly transformed. With large plastic toys cluttering the basement TV viewing area, the man cave part of the basement was a man cave no more. So I threw up the white flag. Mommy surrender.

My once serene writer’s nook has been transformed into a toddler’s playroom. The sacrifice was worth the reward. We now have friends over to watch a game while the kids quietly (or not so quietly) play right behind us, and we know they are safe. I plan on showing the full playroom in weeks to come when I finish the cute sporty touches, but for now, I wanted to share a little fun art corner addition.

Our toy room is sectioned off by two three foot tall walls that divide the room. I decided it was the perfect height and length to turn it into a chalkboard wall for Lincoln and his friends. Originally, I just planned on painting the wall, until I discovered chalkboard contact paper. Much less fuss, much less smell, much less mess and hopefully easier to clean up if I decide I do not want it anymore.

I ordered the contact paper through Amazon. I needed two rolls to fill our wall space. It is easiest to have someone help you to reduce the amount of bubbles in the paper.

What you need:
Chalkboard contact paper
Scissors
Single edge razor blade or Exacto knife
Credit card
Chalk

The process is pretty simple. Cut your paper to the length of your space (I made mine a little longer and cut it off at the end). Peel of the back of the contact paper. Starting at the top of the wall, press across then down. Continue this until you reach the bottom. Pull downward and a little bit outward with the paper to avoid bubbles. Use a credit card to smooth the paper and adhere it to the wall. Cut the extra edges (if you have any) with a scissors. If you have any small overlaps over molding or at the corners, take an Exacto knife and simply slice off the extra pieces, being careful not to slice the wall. Repeat with as many pieces as you need to fill your space. Make sure to line up your paper and make as few seams as possible.

Lincoln was very excited to get to play on his new chalkboard wall and I am happy as a clam typing with my Mac in my lap or on the table. Life may not be what it used to be, but life is pretty darn good.

I’ve got something cooking for the other side, which I will share in the future. I plan to use the leftover contact paper for some fun projects too. Stay tuned!

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Filed under Decorate, DIY, Family

HAPpy Holidays!

This year for the holidays HAP is going on holiday. We’d love to say it’s an exotic holiday to Rio or Bali but instead we’re just taking time to slow down and enjoy time with family and friends…and honestly, that’s just as great. We’ll be back in early January with lots of great new recipes and ideas!

HAPpy Holidays!

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Will’s Modern Woodland Nursery

A few months ago I shared my nursery inspiration board and now that Will has arrived it’s time to share the finished room! Since outdoor activities are a certain part of Will’s future, I stuck to my original plan of incorporating woodsy elements in a way that both my husband and I would love. Neutral base colors offset by lots of bright accents around the room helped achieve the calm yet whimsical feel we were going for.



I updated an old bookcase with white paint to hold Will’s toys and many children’s books. Additional toys are stashed in a brightly colored plastic container to prevent the pooch from chewing on them. A fluffy flokati rug softens up the heavy furniture and adds cushion to the hardwood floors for playing.
My favorite part about the room are the many accent pieces that were handmade by family, friends or myself, such as these deer blankets and pillows. Using silhouettes paired with glossy white pieces, like the antler mount or owl lamp, make the outdoorsy elements feel more modern than hunting lodge.



Resources:
Birch Stencil: Cutting Edge Stencils
Wall Paint: Benjamin Moore in Bleeker Beige
Crib & Dresser: Munire
Bookcase: Vintage – I refinished it using this technique
Rocking Chair – Vintage
Flokati Rug: Overstock.com
Owl Lamp & Stump Side Table: West Elm
Deer Blanket: handmade by Flee Fly Flown
Crib Bedding: Pottery Barn Kids
Deer Pillow & Window Treatments: handmade by my mom
Bird Mobile: handmade, inspired by this Design*Sponge DIY
ABC Prints & Antler Mount: handmade by me

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Pink and Orange Cowgirl Party

My daughter and my niece both have a birthday in September.  So, this year we decided to throw them a joint birthday party.  My mother-on-law and sister-in-law did such a great job on the decorations and treats.  The girls had such a fun time at their party and the guests enjoyed every detail.

My mother-in-law made this adorable banner that hung by the mantel.

My sister-in-law made and decorated these super cute cook cut out cookies.  They were delicious too!


Each birthday girl had their own vase with their name and age filled with pink and orange flowers.

Friends of the family made this adorable cowgirl cake as a birthday present to the girls.  It tasted as good as it looked!

Guests were given goodie bags adorned with a pin-able sheriff’s badge with their name.  Inside were cowboy stickers, bubbles, a bandana and lots of candy treats.

The birthday girls looked cute in their pink and orange cowgirl shirts and had a blast at their party!

Special thanks to my family for throwing such a wonderful party for the girls!

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The Art of Toddler Food: Snack Time

When Lincoln started on solid foods last year, I thought I had this whole food thing down pat. He ate every colorful vegetable I so lovingly pureed for him. Hooray! I do not have a finicky eater on my hands! Or so I thought…

Once Lincoln started to think a bit more independently (and by a bit, I mean VERY independent), meal and snack time began to change. My once blissful fresh produce state morphed into countless meals dropped on the floor and one frustrated mommy. I don’t necessarily believe it is the taste of the food Lincoln doesn’t like. He will eat peas one day and turn his nose the next. My little food critic decides what he will or will not eat before putting it into his mouth. So I have had to become crafty in making healthy and wholesome food for my pint sized Anthony Bourdain. If eating can be a fun experience, it is more likely the food will be consumed!

Enter: dip. The little man loves to dip his food in sauces. Most often he likes the sauce more than the dipping food. With the help of some healthy, creamy ingredients, I’ve started to create dips I feel better about than anything I can find in the store. (And they are great for moms too!)

Yogurt Veggie Dip

1 1/2 C plain Greek yogurt
1/3 C sour cream
1/2 large cucumber, finely diced
1/2 large carrot, finely grated
1 tsp dry dill
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp table salt

Add yogurt and sour cream to a large bowl. Stir thoroughly. Add cucumber and carrots, mix well. Add dry spices, mix well. Make sure to taste before serving to make sure the spices are to you or your child’s palette.

Serve with cut up fresh vegetables, crackers, pretzel sticks, pita bread or veggie chips.

I like to spoon the dip into individual containers. Lincoln finds himself to be pretty awesome when he has his own bowl in which to dip. It is a great and easy snack to have on hand.

If you don’t have kids, make this for yourself! It is a perfect lunchbox companion for those afternoon office munchies.

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Filed under Appetizers, Family, Healthy, Quick & Easy

Meet Baby Will!



William Christopher
Born August 12th, 2011 at 4:18 am
8lb 6oz and 22″ long

Meet Will, the newest member of the HAP family! Both Will and I are doing great so far!

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Little Peanut Party: A First Birthday

I can’t believe our little peanut is already one year old. Time sure flies! To commemorate the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, we threw our man a Little Peanut Party. As a child, I was obsessed with elephants (and still am). We often refer to Lincoln  as “Peanut,” so the theme just came together. This party was fun and very cost effective, as a large bag of peanuts costs, well…peanuts.

I came across this Debbie Mumm fabric at JoAnn’s and couldn’t resist. With the help of my sister who freehanded the letters on card stock, the cheap and easy Happy Birthday sign was strung on ribbon and pinned to the fabric and table. I designed the invitation (which is available on my Etsy shop, Morning Star Designs).

Guests were treated to an array of themed homemade goodies, from Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes, to Elephant Ears, to Peanut Brittle.

Lincoln tore into a piece of Mommy’s labor of love elephant cake. The cake was baked in a Wilton cake form using the Wilton recipes for butter cake with buttercream frosting.

Guests drank from elephant toe cups, silver cups with cut labels to resemble toenails.

Peanuts were strung from the chandelier in the dining room tagged with pictures of Lincoln throughout his first year. Vases of peanuts and stuffed elephants were placed on the table as centerpieces.

The kids received bubbles as party favors, while the adults each received a bag of roasted peanuts with a special note from Lincoln.

The birthday boy was very excited for his party! Thanks to everyone for making it such a special day!

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Picture Perfect Valentines

Every year, we send valentines to family and friends and I was getting a little tired of the same old Valentine’s Day selection. So, I decided to create my own Valentine’s using things I had around the house: my camera, my photogenic 2 year old and a cute pink polka dot sweater. I will admit, I did go out and purchase a red heart shaped pillow from the $2.50 bin at target, but luckily that didn’t break the bank.

I started by creating our very own photo studio by moving some furniture away from the wall and pulling a fluffy white rug into the corner. Then, I just turned on some music and let my daughter be herself – all while snapping loads of pictures on a sunny Saturday morning. I took over 50 pictures in order to get just the right one. Here were some of our outtakes:

Finally I took these pictures and immediately knew I had what I wanted. My daughter played along as I told her to play peek a boo with the pillow.

Stef helped me create some Photoshop magic be erasing the line created by the corner of the wall and adding the wording. This is what we came up with!

Once I had my pictures, I created a double sided postcard by sending the pictures off to an online printer (we used overnightprints.com). We got 25, 5×7 double sided postcards with envelopes for $13.70. That is only $.55 per card!

Inexpensive and personalized Valentine’s your friends and family will love.

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New Year’s Resolution: Declutter

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”      ~William Morris

The beginning of a new year brings new resolutions. For some reason, mine almost always deal with eliminating clutter in our house. I am not a hoarder type, however I do find myself always holding onto things “just in case” I might need them in the future. With this being my one major roadblock, I needed to create a solution that would allow me to get rid of things, without sending me into a “what if” panic attack. This is especially true when I think about creating extra space in my closet.

Therefore, I am using a new decluttering method that will help me to get rid of things, but still allow me to hold onto them in the event that I regret tossing it.

The steps are simple:

1. Grab a garbage bag and head over to your closet (or toy room, or office, or living room…)

2. Fill up your bag with items that you no longer use or wear on a regular basis

3. Close up the bag and mark it with a tag reading “Bedroom 2011″ or “Toy Room 2011″

4. Stash the bag in your attic or basement where it will be out of sight.  Chances are you will forget you ever put that bag in the attic, however in the event that you regret getting rid of something, you can sneak into your attic and remove the item from the bag.  Just remember to tie it back up tight!

5. Next year, at this time, when 2012 rolls around dig out the 2011 bag.  Do NOT open the bag, simply toss it into your car and take it directly to your local GoodWill or Salvation Army.  They key here is not to look in the bag.  If you haven’t needed it in a year, chances are you don’t need it at all.  Peeking inside will only get you thinking, oh “I might want to hold onto this, just in case.”

Repeat this cycle every year and your clutter will slowly start to disappear.

I have finally reached a point in my life where I realized I cannot hold onto every single meaningful artifact in my life and save it for myself, my children, my future grandchildren…etc.  In fact, the more I hold onto, the less special it becomes.  I would rather have a few really meaningful items than bins full of things I didn’t have the heart to get rid of.

I read this quote once by someone named Stephanie on an organization board and it resonated with me:

“Present Me is tired of holding onto future Me’s crap. Future Me will just have to deal with it.”

Sorry, future me, your stuff just got sent to Goodwill.

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