Book Ideas for Kids!

I want to start this post by saying there are so many good books out there! But because there are so many I feel like it can be  overwhelming to know which ones to get! So, I simply want you to think of this post as you and me sitting down over coffee, sharing some fun books we have come across! 🙂 Please feel free to leave some of your favorites in the comments below for everyone else to see!

(Just click on the title of the book and it will take you to the product link)

  1. Press Here. This is a fun interactive book that grandma introduced us to! If you haven’t seen it you should take a look  🙂 

2. Here we Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth. This is a book we recently got that talks about how vast the universe is! Its a good and fun little introduction to the solar system, etc.

3. O’Shae the Octopus. This is a sweet book about an octopus who has two extra arms. He discovers “that although it can be hard for others to accept his differences, embracing what sets him a part can truly make him sensational”. 

4. The Big Book of Bugs. I love books that are loaded with lots of fun pictures and learning! This is one of those books  🙂

5. This is How We Do it: One day in the lives of seven kids around the world.  The title explains this book! A book about 7 kids in different parts of the world and what a day in their life looks like. When we went through this book my oldest was so interested that some people live in huts and eat such different foods! I want to start opening my kids eyes to the diversity there is in our world!

6. Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Our favorite part about this book is finding Gold Bug on every page! He’s a sneaky little guy that can be hard, but fun, to find!

If you have a wee little one  🙂  Things That Go- Flip-a-Flap Book might be a good option!

7. The watermelon Seed. My sister got us into this book! My kids think this crocodile with a wild imagination is hilarious!

8. This Moose Belongs to Me. This is just a fun little book book about a boy and a moose! And the cover is so cute I use it as decoration in the boys room 😉

9. The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings us Back to the Garden. This is such a good book on how all the stories of the Bible create an overarching message about God’s wonderful plan to redeem his rebellious people! “In The Biggest Story, Kevin DeYoung—a best-selling author and father of six—leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth.” It was even a good review and summary for me!

The Biggest Story ABC. This is a version for younger ones!

10. The Fox Wish. A sweet story of a little girl that shares her jump rope, to make the fox’s wish come true.

11. Nature Anatomy. A book full of fun ways to learn about nature! Sometimes I’ll open to a page and have the kids draw images from it!

Farm Anatomy. We don’t have the next two books but they are by the same author and look fun!

Food Anatomy

 

12. The 50 States. Its obvious what this book is about..but I just love books that are jam packed with fun learning opportunities!

It also has The 50 States Activity book that goes along with it. We don’t have it but its on my list!

13. Stars. A cute book about stars!

14.The Garden the Curtain and the Cross. This beautifully illustrated hardback book takes children on a journey from the garden of Eden to God’s prefect new creation!

15. Jayde the Jay Bird. “Come fly away with Jayde and see what happens when she finally gets the courage to sing loud enough for the whole forest to hear.”

 

16. Atlas of Animal Adventures. This book is all about animals!!

I’ve only looked through the Atlas of Animal Adventures Atlas of Adventures looks fun too!

I hope this gave you some ideas if you’re stuck in a book rut!!  😉

xoxo,

Danielle

 

Advent: Preparing our hearts for Christmas

I did a little research on advent and it can begin anywhere from November 27-Dec 3, as the season of advent is 4 weeks from Christmas. It can be observed with various rituals and traditions. I don’t believe, however, you have to follow a certain ritual, or exact date to celebrate Advent. For me it is simply a time to prepare my heart as Christmas approaches…as we get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus!

ad•vent ⁄ ‘ad,vent / – the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.

I also want to instill this in my children. That Christmas is not just about gifts, trees, and lights…but about the birth of our Savior! That IS Christmas!!  So, I want to share with you some advent cards I am reading and the advent devotions we are doing with the kids this December! There are many great ones out there, but this is what we landed on for this year  😉

1. The Wonder of the Greatest Gift– By Ann Voskamp. My mom gifted this Advent set to us this year and the kids were so excited (I actually was surprised how excited they were) !

This set has a devotional book for everyday along with an advent calendar door to open. Inside the doors are ornaments to hang on the big paper tree pop-up! My the end of advent the tree will be decorated with pictures that all tell a story..the greatest story of all!

2. The Jesus Story Book Bible. This is a great Bible for kids!  The description reads, “The Moonbeam Award Gold Medal Winner in the religion category, The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. Every story whispers his name. From Noah to Moses to the great King David—every story points to him. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their Story too.”

This year on instagram I happened to stumble across Crew & Co. They have created advent cards that go along with the storybook Bible! I was so excited. The cards have a verse with an illustration on them and the title of what Bible story to read!

3. Christmas Advent Calendar Cards. These are beautiful scripture advent cards by ColeyCreated! If you’ve been following along with me you will have already seen them  🙂  I’m also sharing them on my insta stories everyday so we can read and reflect on them together!

I hope these have given you some ideas, either for this year or next  🙂  As always, thanks for reading!!

xoxo,

 Danielle

Kids Holiday gift guide


If you’re like me, you don’t want your kids to accumulate a lot of “junky” toys that they’ll probably be over in a few days anyways. It just create more clutter in our homes…and we don’t need more clutter! And maybe you are already stressing out a little bit thinking about all the things they will get for Christmas??! Or is it just me?

I’ve put together a gift guide of items that encourage imagination, promote learning and creativity, and help burn energy!

So here you go, starting with outdoor activities moving indoors (Some of the beginning items are a little more expensive, but keep scrolling and they’ll lower in price if you’re not looking for bigger gifts!) ;-):

  1. iBert Front Safe-T-Seat front facing. This bike seat is so much fun for the littles…a front facing view! Our little guy loves this and it makes family bike rides a blast! I have gotten so many questions and comments as we are out riding around!
  2. Micro Mini Scooter. Another item our kids have used for countless hours (I mean COUNTLESS!) is the Micro Mini Scooter! It rides so smoothly and has 3 wheels to keep the kids safe! Its by far the best scooter we have come across! If your child is younger (under 2 or 3) you can buy a little seat that switches out for the handle bar! Click here for seat! If your child is 5-12 years, the Micro Maxi is the next step up. Our oldest has this. 
  3. Trapeze Bar. We have a trapeze bar hanging from a tree in our front yard and it is always popular with my kids and any friends that come around! I didn’t really want it at first because I thought it looked kind of tacky but, its definitely worth all the fun the kids have on it!
  4. Spin Out Bike. This bike is super fun for kids 5+! Mommy has tried it before and let me tell you…its spins fast! A little boys’ dream (or girls, but we know boys like fast!). 🙂  Our oldest got it for his birthday last year and he couldn’t reach the pedals very well so daddy rigged up some wooden blocks for the pedal. He loves it!
  5. Bubble Machine. My mom puts this in her back yard and all the grandkids love it! Its like a bubble dream come true and keeps the kids entertained 🙂 
  6. Kidkraft Vintage Kitchen White. This is a litter bigger item but as you can see from my instagram feed, we love our little white kitchen! I also added it because this is the best price I have seen it! 
  7. Easy Playhouse Cardboard. I realize this is basically a glorified cardboard box, but its a little more fun, especially if you need a gift idea! 🙂 Its fun for the kids to decorate and then once it starts falling apart…toss it. I love the idea of this! 
  8. Insect Lore Butterfly Growing Kit. This is a fun yet educational gift! We did this a few months ago and all had fun watching the process of caterpillars turning into butterflies. I will warn you that it doesn’t have the actual caterpillars, instead the kit comes with a voucher to purchase them, which is $8. So if you want to cover the cost you can just include $8  🙂 

9. Alpha-bots. These are fun, but a sneaky way to learn for little ones! The kids have to transform the letters into robots. Great for hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and imagination!10. Boogie Board writing tablet. My mom bought this for our oldest (who is 5 years old) and he thinks its so fun and cool! Even our two year old likes to use it. They can practice writing or drawing and erase it with the click of a button. Its a good way to keep kids entertained in a waiting room or in the car!Another option is the Boogie Board Scribble ‘n Play,11. Train Set in Wooden Case. This wooden case folds up into a little briefcase and all the trains go inside. When you’re ready to play, it opens into a fun little train track!  It’s a good toy for younger siblings to take along if they have to wait for older siblings at a sports practice, music practice, etc! I even take it to Starbucks for the kids to play with while mama sips her coffee 😉 12. Magnetic Blocks. These blocks are a good staple toy! They fit nicely in a little storage container and it keeps the kids entertained, all while enhancing creativity! 13. Car Mat. Grandma bought us a similar rug a few years ago and we still play with it! I don’t have it out, as we don’t have a lot of room, but I roll it up and store it in their closet. I think because they don’t see it every day its a fun activity when I do bring it out! 

Another option is this Black and White Canvas street map

13. Go Robot Mouse Activity Set. This is one item we don’t have YET, but its on the list to get the kids for Christmas! It was recommended by my friend who teaches Kindergarten, and I would trust her recommendation. Kids have to build their maze and then use the coding cards to create a step-by-step path for the programmable mouse! They have to problem solve and use critical thinking, but its in a fun way!

14. Omaker Portable Bluetooth Speaker. Ok, this item is PER request of my oldest Levi, lol. He was asking what I was doing while making this gift guide and I told him I was sharing some fun things we like with our friends. He said…tell them about DANCE PARTIES!! So I figured I’d share the speaker we use. 😉 Its a pretty reasonable for a bluetooth speaker! Its even waterproof and we take our dance parties out in the pool (I will say we haven’t gotten it wet, so I don’t know HOW water proof it is). Also, if you really want to spice up your dance party, like us, you need THIS

Thank you so much for reading my gift guide, I hope it was helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions.

xoxo,

Danielle

 

******BONUS******* Gift idea for HIM:

OK, guys can be hard to buy for (or maybe the man in your life is like mine and has a lot of hobbies and he knows exactly what he wants and just orders it himself 🙂 ). This is a super fun way for them (or you!) to kill insects, especially flies! lol My husband bought this for his brothers, dad and brother in law last Christmas because he likes his so much!

Bug-a-Salt Gun. Seriously, check it out.

 

 

«There are affiliate links in this post with amazon but I hope you know I would only share things I truly like! »

Eucalyptus & Antler Centerpiece

This is a super easy centerpiece thats great for winter and Christmas time! I started with a eucalyptus garland I found in the wedding section at Hobby Lobby. Its about $10 with a coupon or when its 50% off! I mean, I never pay full price for something there! I then just wove some cheap metallic twig garland throughout the eucalyptus. I got this one last year, but I saw one similar at Michaels this year for just a few dollars.

I then placed three metallic/pink candles from Target’s dollar section evenly throughout. Besides being pretty they smell delicious too! 

My mom found some Antler stems at Michael’s for 75% off and gave one to me! I think on sale they were $5 a stem.  I used some wire cutters to cut them into 3 individual antlers and stuck (I know thats not a fancy name, but thats what I literally did! 🙂 ) them throughout the garland! And there you have it, an easy centerpiece! Happy centerpiece making!!  😉

xoxo,

Danielle

DIY antler headband

 

Oh my goodness I had so much fun making this little antler headband! I’m just going to give you a quick run down on what I did!

I took an old navy blue headband my daughter had, but never wore, and ripped off the bow. I then added some pipe cleaners to create the antlers. I cut stripes from a brown paper bag and made my own modge podge with Elmer’s glue and water. It took me a while to realize it was easier if the stripes were a little thinner. I also added too much water at first and the paper was too soggy and not sticking. About halfway through I got out my blow dryer, rubbed some glue over the edges, and “dried” them down.

Wrapping the paper was the trickiest part for me, but once I figured out a system it went a lot faster. I didn’t take any pictures during the process because I had glue all over my hands. And to be honest I wasn’t sure if it would turn out anyways!  🙂 Once the pipe cleaners were covered enough, I used the blow dryer to quicken the drying time and then let it sit for an hour or two (simply because I had to get my son from school and put kids down for naps!) before painting. I used acrylic paint and used gray, white, black and hints of brown. I just mixed and brushed! The whole process so far was from Pinterest and then I just finished the rest how I wanted!

I only had gray felt so thats what I used for the ears. I wanted another color so I cut an old shirt to add a brownish color. My supplies were low so I had to get creative! Ha! I had recently purchased some fuzzy, faux sheep skin fabric to possible cover a stool I have so I just cut a few little squares to add some fuzziness to the ears! I glued them on with a hot glue gun. I ended up painting the whole headband with the same colors as the antlers to hide the navy blue.

I set it outside in the sun to help dry while I got out some flowers (ended up being too big), greenery, and felt balls. After playing around with a few ideas….I ended up with this….

Later that evening the boys dressed in camo to go “hunting”, Emi girl was a little deer and we went exploring while mamma took pictures. I had such a fun time making it and watching Emi enjoy it! 

Big bro helping her down a hill

Thanks for reading friends!

xoxo, Danielle

Filed Under: DIY

Why homeschool?

My husband and I had our second date at starbucks, which we closed out, talking for hours about our families, how we were raised, etc. When it came to education I told him I was homeschooled from 2nd grade to 8th grade. He just started laughing. I laughed with him but thought “Oh great, this super cute, nice, baseball player now thinks I might be weird because I was a homeschooler.” So I stumbled on trying to explain… to which he cut me off and said, “No, I’m laughing because I was homeschool till 8th grade too!” So, before I go on about why we are choosing to homeschool this year, I just want you to know, my husband and I have been on the other side!

I want to preface what I’m about to say with a few things. First, we are taking it one year at a time. I felt called to homeschool this year for various reasons, but we are keeping an open mind and heart year to year. Secondly, I don’t agree that there’s only one right way to school your children. Whether it be public, private, or at home…all can be great!

So why are we homeschooling? Well, I honestly wasn’t really planning on homeschooling. Last year Levi went to THE sweetest preschool which we absolutely loved. We sent him 4-ish (it was flexible) days a week from 8:30-11:30. I heard that the private school I used to go to had a half day kinder option, so I knew thats where I wanted him to go. I feel like our society (and satan really) is creating chaos in the family with all the busyness. I knew I didn’t want him to be in school 7 hours a day as a young 5 year old. I’m a big advocate of pushing, encouraging and discipling our children (aka, not let them be lazy and have their way) but I’m also a big advocate of letting kids be kids. I want my child to learn, but I want him to be outside throwing dirt clods, building forts, catching bugs and riding bikes. So this half day kindergarten seemed perfect for us and how I feel! I went to the open house and was told they were no longer offering half day. My heart literally sunk, I had a pit in my stomach, and I fought back tears as I was talking to the teacher. It may sound dramatic, but it was just the mama in me. 🙂  I didn’t want my “just” 5 year old in school till 3:15 everyday, when he still naps 5 out of 7 days! I didn’t want to get him at the end of the day when he was tired and worn out. I didn’t want his siblings to only see him for a few hours before he had to turn in early for the night. And, I also took into consideration his personality. He loved preschool, but some days he said he missed us and just wanted to be home. When he was at school he felt like he was missing out with the family. So the thought of making him go every day, for a total of 34 hours a week, didn’t seem the best for us. My husband and I also agreed that if he was in school he would not participate in any extra curricular activities, such as sports, as a 5 year old. We didn’t want our family to be running here, and there, and not have enough quality family time!

This is when I looked into the schools’ homeschool program. I could homeschool through the school (aka, have help and guidance!) and he had the option to go into the kindergarten class room on Fridays! At first I thought, “There’s no way I can homeschool…I have the other ones at home and theres always a lot of chaos”. Along with the fact that I already have to clean, cook, do the laundry, grocery shop, etc…all while taking care of 3 little ones. But my heart softened to the idea and I felt a peace. Much more of a peace than sending him to school. So, here we are. I’m his teacher.

First day of “real school” in his kinder class!

I totally doubt myself sometimes. Carrying the responsibilities of being a mom, and then adding the job of being your child’s educator is daunting. Even though its kindergarten. I have to teach him the english language, for crying out loud!!! Total shout out to you homeschool moms that teach multiple grades at multiple levels. I have a whole new respect for you! I’m enjoying going through the curriculum and finding fun ways to teach it. I’m enjoying the fact that I get to watch him learn and be so involved. I’m enjoying that we can finish his lessons in less than 2 hours, and he doesn’t have to be gone for 7. I’m enjoying that his siblings are learning with him or that I can postpone starting school because the kids are playing so well together. I’m enjoying that we can learn outside, or do math & numbers on the kitchen floor. I’m enjoying we don’t have to rush out the door every morning to get him to school. I’m enjoying that we can have quieter afternoons and no homework at night.

The younger ones get to join in too…while being half dressed! 🙂

Now, don’t get me wrong…there’s a lot of things that are challenging. Its a hard concept for him that I’m now his teacher, summer is over, and we have to sit and do things that aren’t always fun. Its harder for him to respect me as the teacher because, I’m mom. I know for a doubt he wouldn’t tell his teacher “I’m only doing one work sheet today, ok? Not two.” He may or may not have said this to me. 😉 But there’s also the flip side of me lacking patience for him. I know what he’s capable of and I want the best for him, so at times its frustrating when he’s not focusing. I definitely get to practice extra patience.

I recently read the book (recommended by a homeschool mom I admire), “Teaching from Rest: A Homeschoolers Guide to Unshakable Peace” by Sarah Mackenzie. It was so insightful in preparing to homeschool! The Lord knew I needed to read it. I was convicted of many things and have tried to change my mindset, as in having more patience and calmness as I teach in our home. I would highly recommend the book if you are even considering homeschooling. A lot of areas can even apply to just being a mom!

We are now a few weeks in and I think our family as a whole is loving this fit. Levi’s teachers at school have been so sweet and accommodating. They always welcome and invite him to other things and he may even be going an extra day a week. I am so thankful for what we have this year! Like I said, we are prayerfully taking it one year at a time, so I’m not sure what next year will look like. I do love the fact that he is plugged into the school so if we do decide to put him in, he knows his classmates. Or if we continue to homeschool, he’ll continue to see them once or twice a week:)

I am not an experienced homeschool mom, but if you have any questions about homeschool and how it works, I’d love to chat! 🙂

P.s. I know a BIG argument about homeschooling is the socialization part. I understand people’s concern, and I agree kids need socialization, but I think depending on the family, there are a lot of other ways to socialize than just school! My husband and I were homeschooled and we felt we had plenty of socialization! 😉 If you have further questions on this, send me a message and I’d love to talk more about it!

Shop our homeschool wall :

Kid Food: Ikea

“Create” letters- hobby lobby

Rug-Target

Chalkboard- DIY, See here how I made the green chalk paint (my hubby built the frame and I just put a little stain and white washed it!)

Happy Shopping!!! 🙂

xo,

Danielle

 

Emersyn’s 4th birthday party

This year wasn’t Em’s turn for a party, but I still wanted to do something simple and fun for her 4th birthday. I decided we would just have some of her girl friends over one morning for donuts! I also love fostering her little girl friends, as she doesn’t have a sister. Girl friends are so important, aren’t they?!

Anyways, I want to share a few pictures and talk about how easy it was to have this donut party!

I went to set the table and kept pulling things out of my craft closet and … this happened! The pink table cloth is from the dollar store (I did put a white cotton one under it, as it is see through), the table runner is wrapping paper I found in our closet (after Christmas sale at target last year), the “placemats” are pieces of construction paper I already had, the pink straws were from target’s party section, the plates and napkins are just basic ones you can get anywhere, and the castle party favor boxes and crowns I got at TJ Maxx a few months ago. For the centerpiece I used my new macrame placemates from Home Goods , some extra felt balls I had in my closet from Hello Maypole, and some star twinkle lights from good ol Target.

The day before the party I used some fresh flowers and eucalyptus as the actual centerpiece, but on the day of the party I decided to replace it with the donut cake.

And lets talk about this donut cake for a second…

It was the easiest.cake.ever. Obviously! lol. I just stacked them up and added some faux greenery and a flower. I know homemade is the best, but there are times its just not worth the stress. This saved a lot of time, and I’m pretty sure the girls loved it just the same! We served milk and also had cheese, crackers and grapes for an extra snack! For the moms I baked some quiches from Costco and cut donuts into quarters so we didn’t have to commit to a whole one   😉 On a side note, I think I always eat more when I cut them. It’s “just” a bite here and there…and then another when I walk by..and then here and there again.  🙄

As far as decorating the fireplace mantel, I just hung a few target banners and layered paper fans! Its a little busy, but, I wanted festive.

The paper fans started to fall off the fireplace #reallife

What REALLY made the party was all of Emi’s sweet friends. She’s a blessed little girl. 

Emi got a lot of nail polish, makeup, and jewelry from her friends. My favorite part of the day was after she opened her gifts. Her friends took her into her room and played beauty shop with her. They painted her nails, her toes, but on some lip stick, and put allll the hair accessories in her hair. I think she really did feel like a princess!

Happy Birthday, our sweet Emi girl!

Please let me know if you have any questions about this girly party! xoxo, Danielle

 

Keeper of the calendar

For various reasons the past few weeks have seemed extra busy. I constantly just feel like I’m a step behind and can’t quite catch up. Whenever I feel this way I like to pause for a minute and make sure I’m saying “no” to the things I can be. My time on earth is too short and sweet to let busyness invade my life and rob me of special moments and joy!

I need down time to recharge and feel refreshed. Time to be still and  focus my thoughts. When the days go flying by and we are here and there, I feel overwhelmed, behind, frustrated and worn down. My kids are still little so they are dependent on momma for a lot of things. I have to be conscious of not wearing myself too thin. I have found that I like 2-3 days during the week with no set plans. I’ll go out with the kids to do errands or fun things, but we go at our own pace. When my weeks become too full I feel like I’m just herding my little pack around, always rushing everyone around leaving me feeling like a scatter brained drill sargent. Its hard for me to stay up on laundry, housework, our garden, and my quiet time. When the busyness creeps in I feel like I miss out on special little moments with my kids, and those moments can be so important! I am to nurture my children, and nurturing calls for those teachable and lovable moments.

As I reflect on the busyness of the past few weeks, and the upcoming weeks, I realize there’s not much I can do about it. There always seems to be seasons where the calendar is full and there is really no way around it. So what do I need to do during this time? I need to adjust for this season based on how I know I function. I need to make sure I squeeze in a few minutes of down time daily. I need to be conscious of saying “no” to all the things I can. If there happens to be a free day, I need to work at keeping it that way. I need to aim at having a good attitude if the laundry is piled higher than normal and the house isn’t as clean as I want. Its a busy season and something has to give! I also need to make sure this season doesn’t go on for too long and our family doesn’t reach burnout!

As wives and/or mothers it is our job to set boundaries and protect busyness from invading. We are the keeper of the calendar.

I realize everyone is different, some thrive with being on the go, where others like myself may need a little more down time. I encourage you to take a step back though and assess where you are and where you want to be. Figure out ways you can adjust. What do you need and what does your family need?  Are you burnt out? Do you need to be saying “no” more? Time is valuable and life is short. Let’s make sure we are being good keepers of the calendar and stewards of our time!

 

Stencil Wall

One day my husband and I were sitting in our comfy chairs talking about some plans for our living room. He said, “I can’t believe I’m saying this but…I feel like the wall our TV is on needs something else…the top half is so blank.” He usually prefaces anything decor or adding-a-new-project-to-the-list-related with “I can’t believe I’m saying this.” lol. We had talked about doing shiplap before but he isn’t a big fan of shiplap. So, anyways, he spoke those words and I jumped on the task! ha!!

I began looking at wall papers and this lovely wall paper from anthropology became my inspiration…The price (over $400 for the wall I wanted to do) quickly made me turn to look for a more economical way. I searched other wall paper sites but the ones I really liked were just too pricey. I began browsing Instagram and Pinterest and was lead to Royal Design Studio Stencils. I loved the details their stencils had! After much debate with myself, I ended up choosing the Anatolia Stencil based on this photo:

So, I had in my mind what I wanted and what do you know, the next morning the stencils were all 25% off for 5 days! I felt like it was meant to be 😉

The stencil ships in 2 days, so I began planning out paint colors and gathering my supplies so they would be ready when the UPS man rang my door bell. No, really, I had everything ready and prepped and just waited for the delivery.

Here’s what I used:

  1. 2 inch Stencil brush from Michaels.  I used a 50% off coupon;)
  2. Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter paint from Orchard Supply Hardware. The wall was already the base color I wanted (Benjamin Moore Gray Mist).
  3. Painters tape from Lowes (for securing the stencil to the wall).
  4. Anatolia Tile Stencil from Royal Design Studio Stencils
    21 inches x 21 inches
  5. Plastic to protect the flooring.
  6. Level

Before starting the stencil process I cleaned the walls and patched some holes. (I always have a lot of holes in my wall from decor. Oops!) Next, I measured the wall and drew a line down the middle of it with my level. This is the line I started stenciling on.

It’s important when stenciling to add only a small amount of paint to the brush at a time, otherwise things get drippy and messy. I used a shallow tupperware container (It’s what I had) and blotted the paint brush on a paper towel before applying. I actually wanted some parts to be darker than others to give it more of a vintage feel.

I worked my way down down the wall, using the registration marks on the stencil to keep things aligned. One piece of advice I would give is to paint the parts that will have to overlap the next stencil design first, to allow more time to dry. Most of the time the paint dried quickly enough since I wasn’t applying too much paint, but a few times I put a little too much paint on some parts and had to let it dry before I taped the stencil down on top of it.

When I finished a row I then went back to the top of the wall and started a new row. I left all the corners and edges for the end in case my stencil became permantently bent in the process of getting in the nooks and cranies (it didn’t, but I wasn’t sure!).

The end of one side of our wall is rounded, so I just blended the stencil into the round edge.

The other side of the wall corners with another wall, so it took a little more work to line up the stencil and get in the very edge.

The whole process took about 6 hour for a 12 ft by 10 ft wall. I wasn’t working full speed the entire time, as I had a few distractions (Ehem, 3 children) but I did work pretty steadily. My husband took the kids out of the house for a few hours, then he painted for a little while I put the kids down for their nap and took a quick lunch break 🙂 Teamwork.

I am so happy with the way it turned out and the warmth and coziness it gives to our living room! I would highly recommend stenciling if you are wanting an accent wall!

Usually our TV sits on the buffet but, these kiddos were a lot cuter 😉

Please let me know if you have any questions about the process!:)

— Danielle

Levi’s birth story

Our sweet 5 year old

On June 1, 2012 my mom, house cleaner, and I cleaned every inch of our first little 850 sq foot house, preparing for Levi who was due June 10th.  We went to bed that night and at 3 am I woke up Charlie telling him my water broke. This eager and excited first time dad pulled out his birthing class notes and went through “TACO”… Time, Amount, Color, and Oder. What a great dad already:) We had our hospital bag mostly packed, with a list on top of last minute items to grab.

Charlie was in charge of the items while I did my hair.

Well, I went to bed with it wet, so I had to make it look half way decent! Besides, the hospital was literally 0.3 miles down the road. So, 45 minutes later we were on our short little way to the hospital and family was informed. I was just feeling a little crampy as they were checking me, and we had second thoughts if we should be there. I wanted to deliver naturally and didn’t want to be laboring at the hospital for 24 hours. As we were about to sign AMA papers (leaving Against Medical Advice), the contractions started coming hard and strong. We looked at each other and decided to stay. At 8 am I was 3cm & 10:20am I was 7cm.

My partner in life
My partner in life

Somewhere between that time my sister, who was my assistant labor coach, arrived from 4 hours south to help Charlie and I through the process. So thankful she was there because she had done this naturally before, is a nurse, and is my best friend. My husband and sister make a great team 😉

A labor of love
A labor of love

So at 10:20 things got intense….transition was upon me. By 10:40 though I was 9cm and 20 mins after that it was time to push! I was so ready for him to come. I couldn’t wait to see my son, OUR baby. I also couldn’t wait for the pain to stop. As the doctor came in when it was time to push I asked my sister, “is it going to hurt?!” (I know, silly question). She said, “Yes, it will burn like crazy”. Honesty. After 45 minutes of pushing, we were parents, holding our baby… trying to study his little face between the tears streaming down our faces.

He was precious, all 8lbs 10ounces & 21 inches of him.

And there began our journey of parenthood.

Levi a day old with mom

LEvi a fathers love

levi first family photo

What a blessing we were given that day! Thanks for reading 🙂