Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Day Trip to Rudesheim, Germany

Spring is in the air! Saturday we were blessed with a sunny and crisp day so we packed the diaper bag and ventured to a nearby city ... Rudesheim am Rhein, Germany. Rudesheim is nestled along the bank of the Rhein River in one the best wine-growing areas in Germany, growing mainly Reisling grapes (one of my fav's!) ... I can only imagine how beautiful it is in when the grapes are in season! Al and I thought the town was very "Harry Potter" and decided another trip is in order during the wine season. It feels so good to be venturing out again ...

... a peek down one of the streets. Most of the shops and restaurants are nestled amongst romantic little alleys.

First things first ... we needed to eat. I ordered the local specialty, Rudesheimer Coffee ... I had no idea what I was getting into! I went to the restroom and when I came back to our table there was a tray set up next to my seat. The waiter came over and proceeded to make my coffee ... it was quite the process. The ingredients ... hot coffee, 3 sugar cubes, Asbach liqueur, whipped cream, vanilla sugar, and chocolate shaving ... ummm ... liqueur at 11am, um OK! Ha!

Mmmmmm ...

more Mmmmmm!

They even had a little play area near the table ... thank goodness, because Kelty had no interest in eating.

After lunch we continued our stroll ... I thought this was a beautiful sign.

... awesome
Kelty watched a few trains go by ...

... there's daddy!

... we asked Kelty to take a picture of mommy and daddy by the river and this is what he took! Way to go buddy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Not Your Average Clothes Pin ...

I'm prepping to re-open my ChichiKids Etsy Shop soon and needed easy access to my patterns ... patterns are so hard to store nicely! I decided to hang them on the wall, but it needed to look cute! I strung two rows of twine on the wall, decorated the tips of the nails and then decorated the clothing pins to coordinate. I'd like to do something similar in Kelty's room to hang his artwork ... or hang snapshots in the house ... or who know what else!

Not Your Average Clothes Pin

... aww, they're cute! They just make me smile!

... now put those clothes pin to work! Here they are in use on my "line of twine" holding up my pattern instructions. The patterns are hanging further down the line and on the 2nd line below it (sorry, couldn't get a good snapshot ... the lighting was terrible). See the decorated nail head?!

DIY Instructions

These are very simple at very quick to make ... seriously, REALLY simple! In the time it takes you to read this tutorial ... you could have made one!

You'll need ...

Clothes Pins
Hot Glue Gun
Scrap of Ribbon
Scrap of Fabric

Look! Only 4 pieces to this little project!

Cut your ribbon just a smidgen longer than the face of your clothes pin and glue it to the face of the clothes pin ... wrapping the extra "smidgen" around the top of the pin (I thought this finished it off a little). I used a narrow ribbon and it fit the width PERFECT!

Glue the fabric shape on top of the clothes pin, near the bottom. I used my Sizzix machine for the flower shape but you can hand cut any shape that fits your style. My Sizzix machine will have a little post of it's own ... it's my new obsession!

Glue on your button!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm KING of the Mountain!

... well, Kelty is anyway.

Late last week we enjoyed the last bit of snowfall. Everything else had melted except the remains of the snow fort we built earlier in the week on the back deck. Kelty was going crazy staying in the house so out we went ... and he let out an ENORMOUS amount of energy. Let's just get to it.

*sigh* ... inside is boring ... *sigh* ... I want to go outside

Here mom ... I'm ready! Look ... I even got myself dressed!


Snowball fight! (No, seriously ... Kelty and I actually had a snowball fight! It was hilarious!)
King of the hill!

... and after a long day of play and some nice fresh air ... Kelty passed out for the night ... in the hallway (beds are apparently overrated!)

... GOOD MORNING!!! Really ... he starts the morning with so much energy that it is no match for even my 2 cups of cappuccino!

But seriously now ... Al and I are at our wits end trying to stop Kelty from using the living room furniture as a playground. He has been in the corner countless times, COUNTLESS! Now I know what you are thinking ... consistency, consistency, consistency ... well, mommy just couldn't do consistency any longer so I grabbed the camera instead. Another day, another battle.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Boycotting The Bed ...

Who else but Kelty? The last several weeks Kelty has considered a new adventure to sleep in places other than his bed. He always ends up in his bed eventually, but it doesn't always start that way ...

His favorite little spot seems to be in the little nook at the top of the stairs. We have floor heat and the tiles in that corner are really warm. The 2nd runner up is the space behind the glider/chair in his room ... it's like a little cave! Kelty's 3rd spot of choice is NEXT to his bed! If we are having a rough night with Kelty or when he's sick ... Al or I will lay down a comforter and sleep next to his crib ... Kelty thinks this is quite fun and occasionally joins us on the floor. I won't lie ... I love cuddling up next to Kelty and it's something that is VERY rare. He hasn't formed a habit out of this yet but I do love those few cuddle moments we get!

... a little nap time in the nook at the top of the stairs.

Last night I came upstairs to grab some laundry ... I found Kelty had once again made a bed for himself. He brought out a pillow, blanket, his blankie and Teardrop (his doggie) ... how cute!

*Pink Eye Update*

Kelty's eyes are improving ... poor little stinker has it in both eyes along with a double ear infection. You'd think all this would slow him down ... now way ... he's his normal, active little self! I was surprised about the ear infection ... Kelty never shows any signs but it has become habit for the doc to check his ears whenever we bring Kelty in. His ear infections reoccur approximately every 2 months ... if he averages 4 within a 6-month period, his pediatrician will consider ear tubes. To be honest, it wouldn't surprise me if that's the route we end up going. *Sigh*

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This is a first ....

Ugh ... pink eye! Al and Kelty both have pink eye ... so far I'm free and clear, however, I very well could have jinxed myself in this sentence! I have never had pink eye ... nor has Al, so this a first in our house!

Kelty is a little trooper though ... despite a bit of whining when I clean his eyes and a bit of crying at night when he wakes up with his eyes crusted shut, he's running and playing around the house like normal. You'd think this kid would slow down! I've quarantined most of his toys after disinfecting them ... I left out a handful of easy-to-clean toys for him to play with the next couple of days.

Al is on "quarters" until tomorrow ... he's pretty miserable. :o( I'm pretty exhausted but at least I'm the "healthy" one in the family right now.

No photos for now ... Kelty won't hold still long enough for me to get a close-up of his face.

For those of you who were curious about the last photo in my previous post ... Megan got it right! I surprised Kelty with a kids milkshake ... he drank it so fast he gave himself a "cold headache". The funny thing is ... he kept doing it ... and laughing! Silly little stinker!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

We have family in Germany! (Can you tell I'm a excited about this?!) Our brother-in-law, John, is deployed to Stuttgart ... just 2-hours from us! He arrived last week and was able to make it for a visit over the long-weekend ... we had such a GREAT visit with him. Kelty totally digs his Uncle John ... and I'm pretty certain that Uncle John digs Kelty! John and my sister, Jessica, have two wonderful kids and it was really nice to have John here to reassure us that Kelty's "toddler behavior" was totally normal (phew, at least we know it's not our parenting skills)!

We had a really GREAT and relaxed visit. I met John at the base on Friday and took him back to the house. John enjoyed a Turkish Doner (a Turkish Wrap) before taking a much needed nap ... he's still adjusting with jet lag. On Saturday we took him to our new BX facility then layed-low until our babysitter came to the house so John, Al and I could sneak out for dinner in our village. Unfortunately, Al has been miserably sick and our attempt to take John out to dinner on Saturday night came to an early halt when Al had to leave with a case of nausea. John and I took the dinners home and ate while Al went to bed early. Sunday we stayed home and let Al recover and John caught up on some movies in our home theater. Before John left this afternoon, we took him into Kaiserslautern for a German lunch ... it was great! He's only been gone an hour but we miss him terribly, as does Kelty. But ... we'll see him again soon!

Oh! Happy Valentine's Day! We kept it low-key ... we bought Kelty a Hide-N-Peek Box of Chocolates, I made Al a Sweet Pack (a Valentine version of this) ... and Al, well, he was super sweet and presented me with a box of my FAVORITE Goufrais Chocolates ... which turned out to be a puddle of chocolate because he hid it in our home theater on our heated floor. :o)

Here are a few pics of our weekend with John ...

John and Kelty getting their internet fixes Saturday morning.

John took Kelty to check out the Harley's in the KMCC ...

... and on a ride in the elevator while Al and I finished our lunch in the food court.

Kelty munched on his pretzel until our lunches came on Monday.

John really enjoyed the beer offerings!

Ok ... this photo is actually from Wednesday ... but I had to share it! Can you tell me what Kelty is doing or what happened in this photo?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Little Book Of Love

In celebration of Valentine's Day, I'm going to share a little secret (shhh, don't tell Al). Seven years ago I started writing in a little book, I called it our Book of Love ....

It was 2003 and Al and I were both deployed ... and we weren't deployed together ... I was deployed to one side of the globe in a safe little place and Al was deployed to the desert risking his life every day flying in, out and through combat zones. We were separated for 7 1/2 months ... my heart hurt everyday and I have never been so scared to lose my husband.

When I deployed I brought a journal, thinking I'd write about my experiences ... instead I started writing a list of all the little things I loved about my husband. I wrote little things like, I love ...

... laughing together
... your chest
... the smell of beer on your breath

I wrote deeper things like, I love ...

... that you'd rather talk than fight
... that you're not afraid to show me how much you care when we are in public

After I wrote a few pages I shipped it off to my husband and wrote that someday as I continue writing in this book that we'll have our own little Library of Love. About a month later I received a box back ... in it was our book ... and following my handwritten pages were his handwritten notes back to me. I cried reading each one ... some of the things he wrote I already knew, other notes I never did.

In these pages are documented our journey in marriage and love. We started this as just "husband and wife", now we continue it as a "daddy and mommy". We've been married 11 years and our love has grown and changed ... sometimes we forget the little things we loved about each other back when life was simpler ... like "taking afternoon naps". When I flip through the pages of our book I smile and I cry and I'm so thankful to be reminded of all the little things we love about each other! I envision us old, gray, and grumpy ... shuffling over to a shelf holding many books in our Library of Love ... pulling out the book that started it all and reading about the love of our youth and then continuing to read snippets of our love notes that carried us into old age.

I hope this has inspired you to start you own little Book of Love ... there is nothing sweeter. In fact, I think I'll start one for Kelty ... because I know that today when I write "I love .... tickling your little feet"... that very soon, that moment will be gone and I won't have any little feet to tickle ... they'll be walking 1000 miles away in a size 10 on some college campus.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Burlap Wreath

I'm on a crafting roll! This is what happens when you bring an empty suitcase back to the U.S. and visit JoAnn Fabrics! I literally had to plan out my projects for the next few months and purchase everything I needed during our visit! I need to start rationing my craft supplies! Ha! No ... seriously!

Inspired by JenJen over at Tatertots and Jello, I made a Burlap Wreath to hang over the corner table in our kitchen. I used leftover material from my corner table re-upholstering project ... (oh, I never showed you that project!) ... to warm up the corner of the kitchen. JenJen posted a great tutorial for the wreath ... it was so easy and fun! Between the Monogram Frame and the Burlap Wreath, I am left with barely a fat quarter of burlap ... "ahem, mom ... any trips to JoAnn's planned?"

So here is my version ...

Here is a partial photo of the corner table/seat I re-upholstered. To be honest ... I still hate this table! The previous renters left it and it fit well in the space ... however, it was silver metal with bright orange suede upholstery fabric. I painted all the metal black and re-upholstered all the cushions with a fabric I found at IKEA. It's definitely better than it was but still not "my taste". What drives me even crazier is the fact that we have a dining room table ... but everyone just sits and eats at the kitchen table! Sigh.

In other news on the home front ... I know the Grandparents are probably waiting on some photos and stories about Kelty! We've all had colds this weekend and I'm afraid snotty noses and sneezes don't make good photos! We're on the mend and I will have a good Kelty post here soon! :o) Just be warned ... I still have a lot of Crafting posts to share too!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Monogram Frame and Messages In A Bottle

Our mantel was in desperate need of a re-do ... it's a hard mantel to decorate as it is! The mantel stands out about 3-feet from our living room wall and is the general shape of a triangle with squared-off edges ... I know, right!

Inspired by Amanda over at Imperfectly Beautiful and her "Knockoff Monogram", I decided on a bold "Initial Frame" (yes, I know it's not really a monogram). It needed to be big in order to balance out the fireplace and wall height ... and cover up a vent. The "Messages In A Bottle" was an idea that that popped into my head after taking the second photo below ... I had a beautiful empty wine jug (plenty of those in Germany!) that I wanted to display but it looked a little boring without something in it ...

Initial Frame and Messages In A Bottle

A little mantel face-lift

See the empty wine jug? Better with the messages ...

My hubby thinks the messages look nautical ... or like cigarettes! Ha!

Initial Frame "How-To"

Spray Paint
Poster Board
Spray Adhesive

I ditched the matting and the paper insert and used the frame, backing and glass then I spray painted the frame (front and back) in a matte black. Next I cut the burlap to fit the cardboard backing and used spray adhesive to adhere it to the frame backing ... work fast, it sets up quick! Next I hand sketched the "C" since I couldn't print one big enough, spray painted it black, and adhered it to the burlap-backed board using double-sided tape. I didn't use spray adhesive because I want to be able to change out the "C" throughout the year ... maybe change the color depending on the season ... or do a Christmas tree next winter ... etc.

Messages In A Bottle "How-To"

I didn't take photos of the process, but it's SUPER simple and only took a few minutes!

Tea Bag
Hot Glue

I don't have a supply of scrapbook paper so I got creative. I took simple white cardstock and cut a few squares (about 5x5). I soaked a tea bag, squeezed out the water, and ran it across the cardstock to give it the "weathered" look. Next I CAREFULLY burnt the edges with a candle ... I only had to run to the sink once with a flaming piece of paper! Then I rolled 'em up ... secured the edge with a dab of hot glue ... wrapped it with a strip of leftover burlap and a piece of yarn (coordinating the materials/colors from my Initial Frame). I was thinking of wrapping them in red ribbon for Valentine's Day ... good option for next year! The messages are easy to swap and coordinate with the Initial Frame as that changes too!

I'm linking this too ...

DIY Show and Tell @ The DIY Show Off

Friday, February 5, 2010

We're Sledding Dang It, Even If ....


Seriously folks .... I drove around for 3 hours with Kelty in tow looking for a dang toboggan or sled or anything else suitable ... 3 HOURS of carefully maneuvering my LARGE SUV through the narrow streets of Germany ... squeezing in and out of parking spaces intended for vehicles the size of Smart cars ... endured nasty looks from the folks here that don't take kindly to LARGE SUV's weaving through their parking lots ... anyway ... you get the picture. All this effort for NOTHING ... according to one women "There are no toboggans left to purchase anywhere in this area".

I drove home, frustrated ... I had failed my son ... no sledding for my little kiddo. WAIT! Heck no ... I was born a REICHLIN ... who needs a sled to go sliding down a hill! Al thought I was crazy ... insisting we needed a sled. I grabbed the top to a rubbermaid tote (Al wouldn't let me bring the cardboard box or garbage bag!) and Al brought his snowboard. We headed out to a nearby hill and Kelty had a blast sledding on the tote top and snowboard. Even more fun was sliding down on our backs and bottoms!

I have some cute video but I still can't load it. Here are a few random pics from our adventures playing in the snow at the bottom of the hill ...

Looking for some help getting up .... it's hard to do in snowpants and boots!

Daddy fixing Kelty's gloves

Climbing out of a snow fort

Monday, February 1, 2010

Handmade Tavel Toys!

I absolutely love creating, sewing, and crafting toys and clothes for Kelty ... and all kiddo's actually! My most recent project for Kelty was a set of travel toys to use during our trip back to the states (8 hour flight + 17 hour drive) ... then repeated on the trip home! These projects were really easy and really quick ... each one was sewn during Kelty's naptime ... no patterns, just winging it! I'm not a fan of patterns ... unless it's clothes ... or aprons!

Handmade Travel Toys

Travel Felt Mat and Doodle Wallet

Wrapped up and ready to go .. both of these are compact enough to fit nicely into a diaper bag. The Doodle Wallet also fits well in a purse!

I hand-cut a few felt scenes ... Kelty's favorite is the Itsy Bitsy Spider (I'm a little proud of the spider!). I sewed 2 pockets along one edge for easy storage and easy access for little hands.

A tree with movable apples ... oranges were "stored" in the pocket.

Every little boy needs a tractor, bus, and cars! All of the vehicle parts are glued on. Maybe the tractor is Kelty's favorite come to think of it!

The Doodle Wallet has a set of pockets for crayons, a center pocket to hold a notepad, and another for stickers. Kelty loves stickers ... so this 3rd pocket was a must! I used a little notepad we had in our office and simply glued a strip of fabric to top strip so it all coordinated (after all ... it must ALL coordinate, right?)

So ... if you want me to post a little tutorial just let me know ... I'd love to share! If you can sew a pillowcase, you can make these ... really!
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