Room Reveal: Sadie's Big Kid Room!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I'm so excited to finally share Sadie's new "big girl room" - it was a lot of planning and some heavy lifting, but we got everything moved in and set up within a few hours!

Switching our house around to give Sadie this great space was 100% worth it - she's closer to everything else (our room, the dining room, kitchen, etc), there great natural light, high ceilings, and plenty of storage. We no longer have to keep a space heater running because the room stays plenty warm. And even though the room is in a high traffic area (just off our front door) she has been sleeping great!

Polka dot feature wall using decals above Sadie's crib and a hopscotch rug is featured in the center of the room.


We switched Sadie's yellow dresser from a changing table to a storage spot for diapering items and clothes she has recently grown out of. We now simply do diaper changes on the rug, and it works out great.


Polka dot wall “nooks” used to store Sadie's monitors (regular video monitor and WiFi Dropcam). These nooks already existed in the room and they're really convenient.


Sadie's toy bin/bookshelf works perfectly for her (growing) library and collection of toys, and her growth chart is on the wall.


Wall for Sadie's coats, slippers, and sweaters featuring adorable owl wall hooks.


New crib sheet, pillowcase cover, and quilt made by me to brighten up the space (note: we are not yet using the pillow or quilt for night or naps).


A Sadie-accessible closet features all of Sadie's current clothes, pajamas, and socks all at her level (minus, of course, the dresses).


Sadie wanted to get in on the photos!



We are just in love with Sadie's space! It’s a very functional space for a growing girl, giving her better access to her clothes and toys and allowing her to hang up her coat and sweatshirt herself. And because we owned so many of these items already, we did not have to purchase very much to make this room happen. Below I’ve detailed the where we sourced everything in the room, broken down by items we already had and items we purchased for the new room.

Items We OwnedRyder Rocker from West Elm (now discontinued)
Hopscotch Rug from CB2
Yellow Dresser from Mint Home
Sauder Pogo Bookcase from Wayfair
Baby Mod Modena Crib from Wal-Mart
Growth Chart from Margaux Makes
Boon Curl Baby Shoe Rack
 (we are using it for sweaters)
Lamp from Land of Nod (no longer available)
Bekvam Spice Racks from IKEA (used as book racks)

Items We PurchasedWhite removable polka dot fabric decals from Wall Dressed Up
Yellow polka dot vinyl decals from Polka Dot Wall Stickers
3 Sprouts Flamingo Door Organizer from Diapers.com
Sketch Curtains from West Elm
Blackout Liners for Curtains from Wayfair.com
Fabric for sheet, pillowcase, and quilt by Lotta Jansdotter

I Think I Can close organizers from Land of Nod
Yellow, Gray, and Blue Owl Hooks from Strictly Vintage

Picnic Birthday Party Inspiration

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Last year around this time, I was planning Sadie's rainbow 1st birthday party! I love how it turned out - bright, fun and relatively easy to pull off. The party matched her bright and sunny personality and I had so much fun making the rainbow birthday cake, something I'd wanted to tackle for a long time!

Well, time has magically flown by and my little girl is turning the big 2! I initially thought that we would not do much of a party this year, but of course I've got the planning bug and am ready to jump into party planning again.

Steve and I were brainstorming what we wanted to do when we started talking about pie for some reason (Sadie fell in love with apple pie last fall, and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving!). From pie we jumped to picnics and that's where we've landed: an indoor picnic birthday party! I'm having so much fun starting to pull things together, with some great inspiration.

Picnic invite via Boo and Lou Design
 
Ants on a log cake via The Partiologist
 
Pie cupcakes via Oprah.com
 
A simple, rustic food table via Honest to Nod
 
Easy picnic blanket seating via Kate Spade (sadly, amazing blanket no longer available!)
 
With a few simple touches - some gingham fabric here, picnic baskets there - this party should be simple to put together but delightfully adorable. Oh, and why an indoor picnic, you ask? As the party will fall in April, there is no telling what Chicago's weather will be like! We could have a gorgeous warm-ish day or snow. So we'll be playing it safe indoors!
 
Do you have any fabulous picnic party inspiration to share?


Guidecraft Kitchen Helper

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

One piece of "toddler gear" we really wanted as Sadie has been getting bigger is a kitchen/learning tower. She was always wanting to be "up up up" when she was in the kitchen - she wanted to be up at our level for everything we were cooking.

I knew we didn't want to rely on a step stool, especially because we have slate floors in the kitchen, which are very uneven. I loved the idea of a learning tower that would completely surround Sadie so that she couldn't (easily) fall. After doing a lot of research, we settled on the Guidecraft Kitchen Helper.

 
 
What sold us on it was the ability to fold it when it was not in use. There are many other similar products out there, but most of them cannot be folded. Because we live in a small house with no storage space to spare (no garage, basement storage, etc) we needed something that could be flexible for our home.
 
The pros of the Guidecraft Kitchen Helper:
  • Can be folded
  • Comes in white to compliment our d├ęcor
  • Decently sturdy
The cons of the Guidecraft Kitchen Helper:
  • At around $150 it's not a cheap investment if you don't find yourself using it a lot
  • The little dry erase board and the chalkboard are cheap quality/not necessary
  • Sadie likes to stick her feet out of the little shape cutouts on the sides
  • You have to use a wrench to be able to fold it up, so it's not something you would want to do every day - you still need a dedicated place in your kitchen to keep it for daily use
For us, the pros definitely outweigh the cons and we have no regrets about adding this into our small kitchen. It took Sadie one day to get used to it and after that she always wants to be up in her "tower" whenever we are doing anything in the kitchen! We use it to wash her hands at the kitchen sink, we involve her in doing the measuring and mixing when we bake, and we often set her up with various spoons and bowls so that she can "cook" while we get some actual cooking done in the kitchen!
 
Overall, it is amazing how seamlessly we've added the helper into our daily routine and how it is not an extra thing but a truly useful tool for involving Sadie more with what we're doing.
 
And, the proof is in the picture - Sadie and I making biscuits together!
 
 

Easy Toddler Meals

Friday, February 14, 2014

We are always working to try new and interesting foods for Sadie, with a focus on what we can easily make, freezes and/or reheats well, and is a combination of tasty and nutritious. Fortunately Sadie is a pretty good eater, but she still shoots us down from time to time!

Black Bean Burgers

We love this black bean burger recipe from Weelicious because it's easy to throw together, the patties can be frozen individually and reheat wonderfully, you can sneak in any veggies you want, and Sadie just loves them! Our only twist is baking them in the over for 10 minutes on each side instead of pan frying them.

Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

I love cauliflower, and I happen to love macaroni and cheese. Sadie also happens to love macaroni and cheese but so far has not been a big fan of cauliflower. Easy solution? Cauliflower macaroni and cheese! We really like Michelle Obama's cauliflower mac and cheese - super simple to throw together. And if you can't buy fresh cauliflower, just steam a bag of frozen cauliflower and puree. So simple, tasty, and good for a few days worth of meals!

Pumpkin Waffles

We like making a special breakfast on the weekend, and a big hit this winter has been all different kinds of waffles! We recently happened upon this pumpkin waffle recipe from Food.com and we love it. Better yet, we make a big batch of waffles and freeze some to eat on days where we don't have time to make a fancy breakfast. Just pop a frozen waffle in the toaster for a few rounds of toasting (depending on your specific toaster) and you're all set with a yummy waffle without all of the work.

Pizza

We like to make up a few homemade pizzas on the weekend and then eat the leftovers at the beginning of the week. The best part with a toddler is that you can load it with veggies, which are completely disguised by melted cheese! Use any pizza dough recipe or pre-bought dough, some red pasta sauce from a jar, and any cheese and veggies you want! Sadie's most recent pizza featured broccoli and black olives and she absolutely adored it.

Egg Scrambles

Our most common go-to meal for Sadie is an egg scramble. We throw in whatever veggies we have on hand (usual steamed peas and broccoli) and Sadie just devours her veggie scramble. It's so easy to make and since we always have eggs on hand, it's a quick and easy way to get her some protein.

What meals are in regular rotation for your toddler?

Toddler Room Design - Doors, Curtains and Fabric

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Progress on Sadie's "big girl" room is rapidly underway! In fact, we have a move date set for later this month and we've been working to make the room "Sadie ready" bit by bit. Needless to say, I've been doing a lot of online shopping and a whole lot of sewing!

Our biggest project to date, with the help of a good friend, was to replace the vintage French doors with a standard door. While charming, the old doors were difficult to open and close (they lead out into a sun room) and the thought of all of that glass combined with a wild toddler made me nervous. I love the new door and will sleep easier at night knowing it's safer.


While the doors were getting fixed, I was frantically looking for curtains. With the tall windows in the room, we needed curtains that were around 96" long. And we needed them to be light blocking/blackout curtains. A hefty - and expensive - quest.

After endless amounts of obsessive searching, I landed on West Elm's "Sketch" curtains. For $19.99 a panel, these curtains were a steal!

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As you can see from the picture above, these definitely weren't light blocking. My compromise to get curtains that were of a good quality but not boring (as many light blocking curtains can be) I ordered Eclipse's light blocking panels to attach to the back of the curtains. At $20 for a pack of 2 panels, these were a great deal. You do have to secure the hooks through the back your curtains (something their instructions aren't very clear about), but the finished product works well to keep the room dark on the sunniest of days (and definite need with a young child in the room). Because the light blocking panels are not as wide as the actual curtain panel, when the sun is shining brightly you do notice where the panel starts and stops so it's not a seamless effect, but this was a great budget saver for us as actual blackout curtains can be quite pricey.

With the curtains set, it was time to move onto fabric! I have been in love with designer Lotta Jansdotter since I stumbled upon her fabrics when working in Sadie's nursery. On a hunt for new fabrics, I fell in love with three different designs that perfectly coordinate. They still pull in the blue and yellow of Sadie's current nursery but with a fresh new perspective.

from left to right: Ball and Leaves in Schooner; Wide Strip in Sunspray; Basket Weave in Schooner
 
These fabrics are lovely in person - rich colors and playful designs. I've had so much creating a new sheet, pillow case, and quilt for Sadie. I just can't wait to see everything actually come together in the room! Bedding sets for children are quite easy to make yourself and are much more inexpensive than buying an entire set. I'm definitely planning on sharing all of the tutorials I used.
 
Now that the big items are out of the way - door, bedding, curtains - I'm having fun with all of the little details. Currently in the works are a polka dot decal wall, some adorable little wall hooks, coordinating stuffed animals...the list goes on!
 
In the meantime, each day we are reminding Sadie that the office will soon be her room, and talking about where her bed will go. She loves spending time in "daddy's office" so we hope she'll love it just as much when it's her big kid room!

Toddler Room Transition

Friday, January 10, 2014

It's about time I start blogging on here more regularly, right? Right. As I'm pretty sure my monthly updates of Sadie are 99.9% so I don't forget anything (because, as you know, it's incredibly important that I remember what her nickname was at 14 months vs. 19 months).

Anyhow, I want to get back into sharing recipes, house projects, parenting, etc. A little bit of everything as we continue to enjoy our kooky little family.

Top of mind for me these days is Sadie's room! Yes, room - she's not a baby anymore and therefore does not have a nursery (although it seems like just yesterday I revealed Sadie's finished nursery).

It's amazing the amount of hours logged in that sweet little room, and how many changes we have made to it over the course of the past (almost) 2 years: adding in bookshelves, purchasing a toy bin/bookcase, removing all picture frames near the changing table (to keep them away from grabby hands)...so far the space has been able to keep up with our growing girl but soon we'll need to make some changes.

As Sadie gets bigger, I get more and more anxious about her room being down in the basement, two floors below our own bedroom. What works out really well with this set up is that her current room stays relatively quiet, meaning she's less likely to wake up when we have people over, someone rings the doorbell, we're cooking, etc. Steve can also have client meetings at the house in the evening because she's nicely tucked away in her little room. But as she gets bigger and someday soon will be transitioning out of a crib and into a real bed I don't like the thought of her down in the basement all on her lonesome. I want her closer to me!

So, soon we'll be making the necessary steps to transition Sadie into what is currently Steve's office on the main floor of the house.

The upside of this transition is:
  • The room is closer to our bedroom
  • The room is larger, with higher ceilings, nice windows, hardwood floors and a big closet
  • The room is big enough that someday in the future it could accommodate two kids (not any time soon!)
  • The room isn't in the basement
  • I'm super excited about decorating a new room (!!)
The downside of this transition is:
  • The room is directly off of the front door, meaning she will hear every doorbell, dog bark, mail delivery, etc
  • Steve will have to move his office downstairs to her old room, which is less space and means he can no longer have evening client meetings at the house
  • We'll have to move our piano out of that room and back into our living/dining area
  • We can no longer use that room to store incredibly random things - our winter coats, things for the dog, odds and ends
  • We have to spend a decent amount of money to replace a door in her new room before we can move her into it
So, these changes aren't exactly a perfect world scenario, but we live in a small house with a great location in a wonderful city, so I assume we'll always have compromises. Right? Right.

With that out of the way, on to planning a new room. The fun stuff. Sadie's room currently looks something like this:


And because we already have invested in this great dresser, we'll still be using this mustard yellow in the room.


And as much as I like the look of our West Elm Rocker, I don't really think it would fit well in the new space. Plus, we never really rocked in it so if we have another baby I don't feel the need to really have a rocker. I'm also incredibly sick of the fabric and that shade of blue (probably because I've been looking at it far too much over the past two years), so I'd love to refresh things a bit in the new space. Starting with some simple, gray curtains:

 
 
We also got this awesome chair earlier this year upholstered in a great faux bois (re: wood grain) fabric. It's currently in our living/dining room but would potentially be displaced by the piano. I think it would integrate perfectly into Sadie's new room (don't mind the army of stuffed animals), pairing nicely with the yellow.
 
 
Initially we'd have Sadie in her crib, and then transition the crib into a toddler bed of sorts. Once she outgrew that setup, we'd need to get her a real bed. I was interesting in some sort of loft bed but I think it would be years and years before I'd be truly comfortable with her sleeping way up high. I love the classic look of this Jenny Lind-style bed.
 
 
Finally, since we'll be making the switch from carpet to hardwood for Sadie, we need a rug! Fortunately we already own this hopscotch rug from CB2, and it's held up incredibly well over the years. It just needs a good steam clean and it will be all set for her.
 
 
I think the furniture would really pop in a fun way, and everything else could be kept really neutral but still fun.
 
So, those are the plans. Now it's just going to be a step-by-step process of getting everything transitions over the next month or two: house repairs, moving of furniture, buying/selling furniture and other items, etc. Oh, and getting Sadie really, really, really excited about her new room!




Sadie at 19 & 20 Months

Monday, December 23, 2013

Again, I hope to start blogging on here more regularly. Time simply escapes me! Plus I have a new endeavor I'm trying to focus on - a new Etsy shop! Check out Sew Kooky. I'm hoping to get a lot of new, fun items sewn over the holidays to be listed soon.

In the meantime, Sadie continues to get bigger and bigger and oh so much fun! While her tantrums are definitely becoming more frequent, the time where she's happy and running around far outweighs the tantrums. She's so silly and loves singing and dancing. Plus, she still eats everything we give her (loves her veggies!) and sleeps 7pm-7am like always.

Nicknames: Say-Say, Say, Mooky, Bug, Buggy
Temperament: So happy and curious and polite (most of the time!). You always say "scuse me" when trying to walk past us (even if you're going somewhere I don't want you to go!), and you sign and dance like crazy.
Things I Could Do Without: Screaming and throwing tantrums. Please stop! It's so much more fun for all of us (you included!) without the screaming fits.
Item/Toy We Love The Most: The Swiffer. You love walking around with that thing "cleaning" the floors. We love it because you are cleaning the floors and engaged in an activity for longer than 3 minutes at a time.
Item/Toy You Love The Most: It depends on your mood - one day's favorite toy is not necessarily the next day's favorite. You like "making soup" with a  plastic spoon and bowl. You love your wooden cell phone. And you really enjoy coloring at your art easel.
Things I’m Loving Most Right Now: Watching you splash around and play in the bath. You like washing my hands and arms, practicing "blowing bubbles" like you do in swim class, and playing with all of your bath toys.
Things You’re Loving Most Right Now: You definitely like to "help" us. When I'm making dinner, I have you go on errands to find me something I "need" - i.e. a blue spoon. It keeps you occupied and helps me get food prepped.
Sounds/Words: Everything you hear you repeat! We're never sure what is going to come out of your mouth, but it's so much fun hearing how you interpret certain words or phrases. But the best right now is "I love you" and "I miss you."
Foods You Like: Still everything we give you. You're great about eating your veggies before fruit at meal times. You're a little nervous about trying new foods at times, but we can usually win you over if we are eating it first; you always want to try what we have!