Our Home One Year Later

It has been one year since we closed on our house! My to-do list is pretty long, so I kind of feel like I haven't gotten that much done... Until I look back on these before pictures and realize how the house has changed so much. We're loving our home and working on projects.  Even one year later, we're still adjusting to the new area and vibe of this town. We're finding new favorite spots, meeting new people, and learning new things about our town every day.
To see some updated pictures of our home, you can check out my posts on the exterior, kitchen, living room, dining room, entryway, kid's room, and the master bedroom. The living room (now partially gym) and dining room (now studio/messy room) have changed a little since I last shared pictures, but they're all works in progress. It has been fun spending the last year working on projects and really making this space into our own. One year down and many more to come...


Baby Bookworms II

Some of our favorite books this month...
If I Were A Lamb - This is one of Cora's old favorites and now it's back in the rotation since Ida got one for her birthday. Ida likes touching all of the different textures and Cora likes counting the sheep on the last page.

If I Were A Monkey - Ida also got this for her birthday and she LOVES the furry tummy page. Both girls are fans of these books so I'm thinking of getting some of the other books from this series for Christmas... Like If I Were A Dog or If I Were A Giraffe.

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker - This is an alphabet books with pictures of the peas doing lots of different activities.  Cora is into this one right now and seeing what each Pea is up to.

The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool illustrated by Alison Jay - This is about a boy that can spin thread from clouds. The King sees the boys awesome scarf and demands he make the Royal family a bunch of garments, but the overuse of the boy's cloud spinning results in a drought. There is a happy ending and a great lesson to be learned from the story. I think Cora picks this one because it is one of our larger books, but we all enjoy reading it and I love the pictures.

Lois Ehlert's Growing Garden Gift Set (This set includes Eating the Alphabet, Planting a Rainbow, and Growing Vegetable Soup) Cora got these gardening books for her birthday and she is obsessed!  Eating the Alphabet has a glossary in the back with a bunch of different fruits and vegetables, their origin, and a description. Cora really likes for me to read this part to her and I've learned new things about different kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman - The bunny family finds Wolfie on their doorstep and Dot (the daughter) keeps trying to remind her parents that he might eat them all up. It's a cute little story and I love the illustrations by Zachariah OHora

and because it wouldn't be October without having some kind of Halloween themed book...

Wee Witches' Halloween by Jerry Smath - This is a quick little book about witches trying to scare people on Halloween. It makes Cora giggle and it gets us in the Halloween spirit without being too spooky. 


Life With Ida : 13 Months

What a big month! Baby girl is a walking machine.  Ida doesn't always feel confident enough to walk when I put her down, but she practices every chance she gets. She loves when we chant "Go Ida!" when she is walking and will usually stop to dance a little bit when we're cheering her on.
Ida had her first sleepover this month and is sleeping almost all the way through the night most nights. We're going to transition her into her bedroom soon. As excited as I am to get my own bed back, I'll miss her cuddles in the middle of the night. What I won't miss is when I go to the bathroom at night or wake up early for work, Ida wakes up and follows me. When she crawls after me, she reminds me of the girl from The Ring and scares the crap out of me every single time.
Ida has all four of her front teeth growing in. They're all crooked and cute and remind me exactly like Cora's teeth when they grew in. Ida reminds me more and more of Cora. When I look back at pictures of Cora, I'm just seeing pictures of a bald Ida. I know they may resemble each other, but they're personalities are so completely different.
Baby girl is curious and is always trying to get into something. We never needed to baby proof our old place, so this is a whole new territory. She's always looking into our bathroom cabinet, clothing drawer, and pretty much anything she can get her hands on. Ida loves to push her sister's buttons by taking away some of her toys or teasing her with them.
The first year of her life, Ida spent most of her time being quiet and observing, but now it feels like she's really pushing her way through. She joins in screaming and rough housing. We went to the park the other day and she walked around playing with Cora and exploring the different playground features.
I'm so exciting for the upcoming holidays and to watch as Ida really experiences them for the first time this year. I can already picture her making her "oooooh" face at all of the holiday lights.


DIY Pumpkin Patch

This tutorial is so easy and barely even needs a step-by-step, but I wanted to share a couple of tips I've discovered along the way.
Two years ago, I made this cardboard pumpkin patch for a Trunk Or Treat event at Cora's school. It was so easy to make and I loved the impact that it made. I was blessed with an abundance of cardboard boxes through work and was able to make these from start to finish in an hour with a little help from Ben.
This year, I dreamed of making a wood version of this for our front garden. I knew it would be a little more labor intensive than the throwaway cardboard ones, but I loved that we'd be able to use them for years to come. I'm more into the autumn decorations than the Halloween-themed decorations, so this is perfect.

+ Plywood (I used OSB for mine because it's what I had on hand, but I would recommend plywood)
+ Craft paint (I'm not really brand loyal with this. I usually pick up whatever is cheapest at Michaels)
+ Foam brushes
+ Clear coat (I used this, but this spray paint is also a great option I use for other projects)
+ Sand paper
+ Jigsaw (I have this one and I love it so far)
+ Drill and screws

1 .  Draw a rough outline of pumpkins and use jigsaw to cut them out. Sidenote: I just got my jigsaw and loved ThriftDiving's tutorial on how to use it. 
2 .  Sand edges
3 . Paint. I like to squirt a couple different colors and lots of orange straight on the pumpkin. The different colors give it a little dimension without spending a bunch of time on it. I used orange and white for the cardboard ones and orange, dark red, and light pink for the wooden ones. I think it would also look good with a little yellow or even brown. You can paint the stem brown or leave it brown of the wood/carboard/whatever you're making the pumpkins out of.

4 .  Paint black around the edges black and draw in lines.

5 .  Add a stake using screws.  I ripped some salvaged pallets into skinnier pieces to create a small stake, but any skinny piece of wood should work. I attach them about halfway up the pumpkin. One screw in the middle and one near the bottom.
6 .  Clear coat.
7 .  Display!

This weekend I'm planning on clearing out our front garden and setting all of the pumpkins up for the rest of the month.  Where would you put your own little pumpkin patch?


House Exterior : Taking Off the Awnings

We've been working hard lately to make the exterior of the house a little bit more attractive. See where we left off here. We got some loppers and cut down hella weeds from the front 'garden' and did my best to clear out what I could.  Ben has been slowly taking off some of the extra stuff on the house that isn't our style. He took off the screened in porch in one evening then the porch awnings and side door awning the next day.

It is surprising to me to see how much more open this seems so far.  I walk out onto the porch and it feels so much brighter and airier without all of the extra stuff blocking the view. Now that it's cleaned up a little bit, it's much more inviting to hang out there.
Our previous house numbers were covered up by the ridiculous amount of weeds and we knew we wanted to replace it at some point anyways. I knew I wanted to do something on the house and somehow incorporate wood. I checked out my salvaged wood stash and found the perfect piece. I oiled it a little bit and it looked so much better already. I measured and taped off some rectangles for the numbers. In hindsight, I should have accounted for the spacing of the numbers, but I would love to go over it another time with white paint to try to correct the spacing issue.

We still need to take off the remaining awnings, but progress is progress!

+ remove the remaining awnings
+ replace the mailbox
+ repaint the porch/steps
+ rescreen all of the screens
+ more defined garden beds in the front 
+ Down the road, we'd love to paint the house and get the steps, path, and driveway/retainer wall redone


Toddler Rocking Chair

About 6 months ago, we went garage sale-ing and told Cora she had $2 spend.  She found this great little rocking chair that is just her size. It fits together like a puzzle with no screws or anything. I think they were asking like $3 and Cora negotiated to $2. A couple of days later, we got to work on it.  We sanded everything down and concentrated on the places with stamp designs.

Cora wanted to paint it pink, so I pulled out the pink paint I used for my patio table many many years ago. Cora helped with some of the painting before she got tired and went to play with Ida and Clovey. I finished all the painting. The color is pretty bright on this piece, so we may distress it or put a wash on it eventually. 

It currently lives outside in her little playhouse. She loves having a little chair her size and it is perfect for her to lounge on when we're hanging out on the patio.


Walks With Cora : Caldwell Nature Center

A couple weeks ago, the girls and I met up with my Dad to go on a quick hike at Caldwell. It's a super hilly walk, so I was a little nervous how Cora would do. Turns out she crushed it. Cora spent most of the time leading the way and probably talking 99% of the walk... and I can't help but giggle at her hiking outfit she picked out. In true Cora fashion, she decided to lead us off the beaten to check out the creek bed. It was an exhausting quick hike, but I love adventuring with my girl.


Mt. Airy Forest and Treehouse

I was reading up on things to do in Cincinnati for fall and happened upon Everybody's Treehouse in Mt. Airy Forest. I immediately Google mapped it to see how far the park was from our house... and it's only 20 minutes away from our home and 10 minutes away from my childhood home. How have I never been here!? Or have I been here and I just don't remember it!? The treehouse was built in 2006 so I know I've never been to that, but I'm still wondering about the park. We decided to make a quick outing Wednesday evening to check it out. The treehouse is adorable! Cora loved running around and we all spent way too much time throwing acorns over the railings. I love all of the little details and the view of the woods. 

After looking at the treehouse, we debated between going on a little hike or playing at the playground. The playground won because we didn't all have proper hiking shoes on. Ben and I took turns running around with Cora and checking out all of the different playground features.

We all had fun on our quick outing and I'm looking forward to visiting the trails in the near future. I'm shocked that I didn't know such a gem was so close and I'm on the search to find out what other fun places are around that we haven't heard of yet. I can't wait to see all of the adventures this place brings to our family.
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