Nursery Tour: Connor’s Room

Here at QCMB we are starting a new series called Nursery/Kids Room Tours. If you are interested in featuring yours please email us at quadcitymomsblog@gmail.com

Now onto our very 1st room

Child’s Name: Connor Feehan Parent’s Name: Marie Feehan

Room Dimensions: 13×11

  1. What was your inspiration for this room?

-The first item I bought for my son’s nursery was the bedding and I decorated the room around that color scheme.  I wanted the room to have a boy’s color scheme and have a calm feel to the room.

    2.   What did you do first to the room? Where did you start?

-We actually moved into our house when I was 1 month from my due date!  I had already purchased the bedding (at Pottery Barn Kids on clearance!) and was thrilled to see that the colors of the bedroom were already very close to what I wanted.  The light blue and tan were already painted, with a border in the middle.  We had the border taken down and replaced with a painted navy stripe.

 3.  What is one thing you are most proud of in this room?

-I love the walls.  The colors came together just as I imagined and I love my son’s name on the wall.  My favorite pieces in the room are the three frames above the changing table.  The photo in the middle was taken when Connor was one week old and the other two frames hold his cap from the hospital and his first little pair of socks. 

  4.  What was one of the biggest challenges you faced while decorating?

-I didn’t really find many challenges while decorating.  Of course assembling the nursery furniture wasn’t exactly a fun part of the decorating process.  I’d say just getting the room done before Connor arrived was my biggest challenge.  We moved in a month before I was due, but f I had known my son would be two weeks late, I wouldn’t have rushed! 

 5.  Were you working with a budget when designing the room? If so, would you mind sharing what it was?

-I was definitely working on a budget.  We had just bought our house, so I was trying to keep the cost of the nursery to a minimum.  As I stated before, I found my son’s bedding on clearance at Pottery Barn Kids.  I loved the bedding when I first saw it that fall, but wasn’t ready to commit.  By the time I was ready to buy it, that exact bedding set was no longer listed online at PBK.  When I went to a PBK store to buy another set, I was shocked when I found the original bedding on clearance for a fraction of the original price – it was meant to be!  I was able to put the entire nursery together (furniture, bedding, wall paint and decal, frames, etc) for $1,000. 

Thanks Connor and Marie for partcipating!

The Lost Art Of Entertraining (And an early Christmas gift)

 

With the holidays right around the corner I want to talk about entertaining, the events that make our family and friends so special.

Entertaining can be a sensitive, unpleasing, stressful event or a creative, enjoyable, and memorable one.

This past weekend I was invited to a holiday party at a friends and it got me thinking, “Why do people dread/avoid entertaining?” Your loved ones love you for who you are and want to spend time with you. Entertaining can be basic, and simple or you can do it up with extravagant centerpieces and a detailed menu, the purpose of entertaining though is to bring people together!!!!

When was the last time you were invited to a dinner party???? It has been awhile right? Doesnt the idea seem fun though-getting out of the house, getting dolled up, and arriving to a menu with festive decor and great companionship!!!! Entertaining has taken a backseat as technology has spread with electronic cards, the social networks, texting and talking on the phone people arent as motivated

It’s time for a change. . . . . . . . . We need to bring our friends and family together! Here are a few tips on bringing back the art of entertaining.

1. Divide up the tasks: Just because you are the host doesnt mean you have to do it all by yourself. Ask others attending the party to bring a bottle of wine, dessert, an appetizer or a great cd of mixed music for the party you will see your to-do list diminish quickly

2. Pinterest: I know I have talked about my love affair (sorry to the Mr.) with it before but seriously if you want a theme, recipe, or invite sample this is the place to go!

3. Get the kids involved: Having the kids jump in to help will create lasting memories for the little ones and they will be excited as the guest arrive. 

The Reluctant Entertainer is one of my favorite blogs about entertaining and the reason I adore this is because she makes entertaining simple, enjoyable, and has great ideas to make your get together stress free!Make sure to check out the blog http://reluctantentertainer.com/ Sandy the creator of this site has decided to give one lucky reader of QCMB an early Christmas gift

An Autographed copy of her new book !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To enter the giveaway please comment below or on our facebook page to the following question? “Why do you cherish entertaining?”

Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

I first got the idea to do a 12 Days of Christmas challenge from my sister.  Last year she and her hubby made a different Christmas craft or recipe for 12 days leading up to Christmas, and I was inspired to try something like this myself.  2011 has been a very fun and exciting year for my family, but lately we’ve been extra busy.  So, I’m taking the next few weeks to unwind, enjoy some extra family time with my loved ones, and do lots of Christmassy things to get us in the Christmas spirit.  I thought it would be fun to see if any of you other mamas would want to take the 12 Days of Christmas challenge with me.  You can personalize your list however you’d like, or you can follow along with mine!  I will be sure to follow-up and let you all know how I did in my next QCMB post.  🙂  Some of the projects on my list are easy, some are more challenging, some are for me, some are for my son, and some are for all of us to enjoy as a family!  I am going to start my challenge on December 13th, so my 12th day falls on Christmas Eve.

Here is what I’ve got planned…

1.  Tuesday, 12/13: Make a Christmas craft with Brody – Marie had a great post the other day on QCMB with some fun crafts to try, or I might check out Pinterest for some ones to do with my one-year-old, too.

2.  Wednesday, 12/14: Bake a Christmas treat – I’m no Betty Crocker, so this will be a challenge for me, in itself!  🙂

3.  Thursday, 12/15:  Read a Christmas story to Brody – We don’t have any children’s Christmas books at my house…can you believe that?!  I will have to go get some…soon!  Thanks for Erin’s help in her post from here.

4.  Friday, 12/16: Christmas date with the hubby – Just us two, out to dinner and a movie, or maybe even dinner at home and a glass of wine – but a night just for us!

5.  Saturday, 12/17: Make a Holiday cocktail! – Hy-Vee has a couple great recipes in their recent “Seasons” magazine …”The Grinch”, “Winter’s Eve Sangria”, “Candy Cane Martini”, yummmm…

6.  Sunday, 12/18: Make some gooey cinnamon rolls, some Peppermint Mocha coffee, and snuggle up with my boys in the living room next to the Christmas tree – This one will be easy.  😉

7.  Monday, 12/19: Sing Christmas Carols -Ok, probably won’t be going outside “carolling”, but I love Christmas music, so I’ll sing and dance with Brody to some of my favorites!

8.  Tuesday, 12/20: Buy a gift for someone less fortunate and bring it to a donation site – Jen posted lots of great options for this the other day here.

9.  Wednesday, 12/21:  Play with Brody in the snow!  – This one might have to change if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

10.  Thursday, 12/22:  Drive around town to look at all the pretty Christmas lights – Where are the best places nearby to go?

11.  Friday, 12/23:  Make some homemade hot cocoa – I’m usually just an instant hot cocoa girl, but I have always wanted to make some homemade!

12.  Saturday, 12/24:  Go to a Christmas Eve church service – I think it’s important not to forget the TRUE meaning of Christmas, so I thought I’d end my challenge by remembering and recognizing this very special birthday.  🙂

Anyone else up for the challenge?  Who’s with me?

Giveaway | Jackie Petersen Photography

Getting a family of 5 ready for pictures is hard enough – pinks or reds, strips or plaid, the stresses of taking pictures start DAYS before the photo shoot is scheduled. Then add having to make 3 kids try to cooperate for a couple hours during the photo shoot leading you to think “who’s idea was this”??

Yes, I’m the mom and it was my idea.  I called Jackie Petersen Photography.  And ya know what- it was a good idea!  I can say in all honesty that Jackie made a once before tedious task of taking pictures into an enjoyable afternoon!  She let the kids run and captured great candid shots throughout the session.  Posing a few family pictures was easy because she kept the kids attention by singing silly songs.  She is a true mom and understands the stresses that can come with taking family pictures and makes the session go as smooth as possible!

I probably don’t need to say much more because these pictures speak for themselves.  Jackie is a VERY talented photographer!  She is the kindest person you’ll ever meet, super flexible, great with children, and fun to be around!  She was quick to get my pictures to me and I was so pleased with her work!

If you are in need of family, maternity, or newborn pictures- get ahold of Jackie!  She won’t let you down!  Head on over to her website and Facebook page to see more of her work and contact her.

And the great news? Jackie Petersen Photography has partnered with Quad City Moms Blog to give one of our lucky readers a Family Mini Session!

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To Enter:

*One entry per person per method of entry. Be sure to enter a separate comment for each method of entry (one comment for Facebook, one comment for Twitter, etc.). This way you have a higher chance of winning.

1. COMMENT:  Leave a comment below telling us which one of Jackie’s recent portrait sessions is your favorite!  (It’s easy to leave a comment- you don’t even have to have an account)

2. TWITTER:  Tweet about this giveaway – just copy and paste this message into your tweet “Hey! @QCMomsBlog is giving away a Family Mini session with Jackie Petersen Photography!”

3. Facebook:  Like Jackie Petersen Photography on Facebook.

Giveaway ends Friday, December 9th, 2011. Winner is chosen randomly and will be announced here as soon as they’ve accepted the prize. Good luck, everyone!

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But there’s more… too eager to wait and see if you’ve won? I don’t blame you.  Jackie Petersen Photography has offered all our Quad City Moms Blog Readers a great deal – 15% discount to 2012 sessions that are booked by December 31, 2011!  To take advantage of this awesome deal, contact Jackie on her website or Facebook page!


DIY | Winter Holiday Crafts

As the seasons turn from fall to winter, I love creating a warm environment inside my home by decorating for the holidays. Getting out the decorations acquired over the years brings back wonderful memories and creates excitement for what lies ahead this season. After the decorations are up, there always seems to be an empty space that needs something new. This gives me the perfect excuse to head to the craft store.

The first craft uses the same mason jars that were used for the Halloween decorations posted on QCMB in October. This craft can be done for very little time and money, and with reusing the mason jar, you save even more.

Cinnamon and Berry Jar

What you need:
Mason Jar
Cinnamon Sticks
Berry Garland
Wire Cutters
Tape

Measure berry garland to fit around the rim of mason jar.
Cut to size with wire cutters.
Fill mason jar with cinnamon sticks.
Attach each edge of the garland to jar with tape.
The next project is easy, inexpensive and can be designed to coordinate with any decorations you already have. This project is great for the holidays or you can pick papers that work for any occasion.

Holiday Wood Letters

What you need:
Wood Letters (I used white letters I purchased at Michael’s. If you use plain wood letters, paint the sides of letters with spray or acrylic paint.)
Mod Podge
Brush
Scissors
Scrapbook/Cardstock Paper

Instructions:
Lay your letter face down on the back of the paper of your choice and trace.
Cut out the shape of the letter traced. *Save the excess paper for the gift wrapping idea below!
Place paper on top of the letter and make any adjustments necessary.
Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the wood letter.
Place paper on letter and smooth out any air bubbles with your fingers.
Allow glue to dry.
Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the surface to seal (optional).
While I just used paper for my letters, feel free to get creative with buttons, ribbon and stickers for extra embellishments.
Hang letters on a wall or prop on a shelf to create the perfect decoration for the room of your choice!

 

Gift Wrapping

After you complete your crafts, be sure to keep any extra paper and berries to make your gifts a little extra special this year. You can use the extra paper scraps to cut out words or shapes and glue them to your packages to make your wrapping a little extra festive and personal. I used the extra paper from my Noel craft to add my son’s name to one of his wrapped packages. This is also a great way to use extra scraps of wrapping paper that are too small to use otherwise. Left over berries from the mason jar craft can be used to spruce up simple gift bags. I love the classic brown paper gift bags with berries wrapped around the handle. In the photo of the bag you can see I also added an ornament for decoration. Each year I hit the sales after the holidays to pick up ornaments on clearance for decorating gifts the following year. I usually spend anywhere from ten to fifty cents per ornament, so for very little money you can add a special decoration to a package that is also an extra little gift!

Baby’s First (Chick-fil-A) Birthday Party

I always told myself I would have a low key party for my baby’s first birthday.  Just have a small party in our house or backyard.  But then SG was born in late November- too late for an outdoor party.  Confession time:  The more I thought about ten kids and twenty something adults in my house, the more anxious I became!  I’m not the personality type to relax and have fun while kids “destroy” my house (aka play and have fun!).  I’m a little uptight, you might say.

We didn’t know what to do for SG’s first birthday.  We looked into having a birthday party at the Chick-fil-A on 53rd street and decided it sounded like the perfect solution for us.  It was!  It was so incredibly easy for us.  I worked with Vanessa at Chick-fil-A and she took care of all the details- even the decorating!!!  All I had to do was pick the date, time, and pay a deposit.  Talk about stress free!  The party planning was a breeze.

Chick-fil-A even matched the décor to our party theme of brown and pink and polka dots.    The party space looked beautiful, complete with matching tablecloths, balloons, streamers, plates, party favors and napkins.  The best part was the staff at Chick-fil-A set it all up!  We just showed up and hung up a banner I had made for her party.

Some people choose the birthday theme based on what baby loves…I based it on the cutest freebies I could get from vistaprint.com!  Every so often I get an e-mail from vistaprint.com for free items, so I ordered tons of matching brown, pink, and polka dot stuff for the party for FREE!!  I ordered a vinyl birthday banner, two sets of thank you cards, matching personalized stickers, and matching magnets with a personalized poem for a favor.  If you’re looking for good deals, consider joining vistaprint.com and wait for the free e-mail offers.  They only send the freebie offers a few times a year, but I put up with all of their e-mails because of the freebies and it’s worth it to me to get free stuff.

I sent a photo of our theme to my girlfriend, who makes tutus.  I ordered a tutu and personalized appliquéd onesie for SG.  Tutu Cute matched her outfit to our theme and it turned out beautifully.  The onesie had an appliquéd number one that was brown with pink polka dots and SG’s name was monogrammed underneath the number one.  SG was all dressed up in her birthday tutu complete with pink tights and pink shoes.  She was tutu cute, if I do say so myself!

Another thing I decided to do was to order a cake instead of making one.  I shopped around for good deals and finally decided to go with the SuperTarget bakery.  The baker gave me a tasting, and did several combinations before I found the perfect flavor- chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting!  I chose pull apart cupcakes with icing that made it look like one cake in the shape of the number 1.  Brilliant!  I didn’t want to cut 30 pieces of cake (call me lazy!), so this was the perfect solution for me.  And it was very affordable!

The children had fun playing in the playground while the adults socialized.  It was fun and laid back.  I didn’t have to do much, which made me extremely happy.  We had a Chick-fil-A staffer who kept our drinks full, brought out the food and helped us throughout the party.

Chick-fil-A even provided each child with a goody bag, which also matched our birthday theme!  We didn’t even have to provide party favors, although we did.

These are the reasons why I loved having SG’s birthday party at Chick-fil-A:

  • I didn’t have to clean my house for the guests.
  • I didn’t have to cook or prepare snacks.
  • I didn’t have to spend money on decorations or even decorate- it was done for me!
  • The kids could run wild and have fun on the playground without stressing me out.
  • I enjoyed spending my time visiting with my guests rather than having to fill drinks and keep trays full of food.
  • Who doesn’t like being waited on?
  • The very best reason of all…NO CLEANING UP!!!!

If you’re looking for an easy, stress free way to celebrate a loved one’s birthday, I highly recommend the Chick-fil-A on 53rd Street.  It was worth every penny and then some!  We truly enjoyed celebrating our baby’s first birthday, thanks to Chick-fil-A.

chick-fil-a

{Note: I have not been paid by Chick-fil-A to write about their company.  I just love CFA so much I couldn’t resist blogging about them!}