Friday, 31 August 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Hubby, Thanks for the awesome Fondue dinner date we were able to enjoy last night. It was a great belated birthday celebration. Dear Kiddos, I'm so glad you are finally recovering! It's taken a full week but hopefully you'll both be ready for school again on Monday (I know I am!) Thanks for playing together so nicely this morning for at least a few minutes. It was nice while it lasted. Dear Books, I am so thankful for your soporific effect on my kids. Reading in the rocking chair with the low lights put them both to sleep in less than 15 minutes. Dear Coffee, I'm glad for your un-soporific effect on me. Dear Blog, you are getting a makeover very soon! Dear Readers, I'm sorry I wasn't able to post any party related tutorials this week (blame my needy sick kids for that) but hopefully next week I'll be back with lots of easy DIY crafts and projects for you.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Copy Cat Closet - Color me Crazy

Ok, I gotta admit - I was a little worried when I saw the inspiration for this week's Copy Cat Closet. I like color as much as anyone else, but tend more towards "traditional" color combos and I feel much safer in my neutrals. But what's the point in a challenge that's not challenging? So I browsed my closet and came up with a very colorful outfit that may or may not ever leave the house. We've hit some cooler "winter" weather so this was a photo-shoot-only outfit.

Here is the inspiration shot from Natalia,

And here's what I came up with,

You can see my brown Bermuda shorts made an appearance again and my super comfy sandals. I wear green/teal/turquoise with brown a lot, and the pink/coral top can be paired with brown, beige or jeans, but I had never really considered combining all of them together. I think it was Natalia's pink top that got me thinking pink.

That's when I remembered this necklace that I have which combines green and pink. I threw in a green scarf and belt to tie in that color throughout the outfit, along with the green sandals. I think the accessories are totally what make this outfit work. I wore green/brown earrings, but I think pink ones might have worked as well.

The only part of this challenge that I didn't really work in was the makeup, specifically the bright lips. But if I ever do wear this outfit out, it would totally rock with bright pink lipstick.

Thanks Natalia for the great challenge this week!

the Grant life

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Wordless{ish} Wednesday - Medicated

This what the week ahead of me holds...

Both kids were diagnosed with "pre" pneumonia (the doctor had another name for it but I didn't quite catch the Portuguese...) so we are on to another ten day round of antibiotics.

A week full of syringes, face masks (for inhalation), sleepless nights and fussy, whiny, clingy kids. (Case in point - typing this post with a very drowsy sunshine on my lap)
Seriously, antibiotics really seem to make my kids go crazy! Anyone else out there experience that?

Linking up with:


Monday, 27 August 2012

This Too Shall Pass...

This is a phrase we hear all the time, especially as new, young moms with small kids. Usually in reference to some of the more challenging aspects of raising our babies; sleepless nights, nursing/feeding issues, teething, tantrums, potty training progress (or lack thereof); you can see the list goes on and on....

Thankfully, these things do pass, and often once they do, fade from memory as well. The difficult nights of the first week become such a blur (because they really were), the demanding feeding schedule makes way for three meals a day, the budding teeth create the beautiful smile that melts your heart. And we forget the pain and the hardship and the struggle that it sometimes is to just. get. to. naptime.

But there are other things that pass too, things that we may take for granted, things we are going to miss and memories we want to keep.

This too shall pass...
      the small fist grasping your finger,
               the little arm of your nursing baby wrapped around your side on a chilly night,
                        the way you can envelope your entire baby on your chest,
                                the hands stretched up for you to grab,
                                         the way you can carry your baby on your hip,
                                the contented breathing of a sick child sleeping finally in your arms,
                        the joyful excitement of discovering something new,
                the way your world looks fresh to new eyes.

Some days I just look at my daughter and am struck again by the wonder of life, the miracle of birth, and the immense privilege of having a child of my own. Some days I forget about all the small details of this baby stage that I am going to miss and get too caught up in the difficulties, and then my little sunshine asks to be carried, and she lays her head down on my shoulder, squeezes me tight with arms that just reach around to my back and I want to remain in that moment forever. Of course, if it were all smiles and snuggles we would never want our babies to grow up, and if it were all trials and tribulations we would never cherish the moments of joy or appreciate the journey of growing.

So when the days are tough, and the trials seem to be overwhelming, find a moment of joy, love and tenderness that can shine a little light and warmth into your heart and you will discover strength and purpose for all those hard moments. (Looking at pictures of your little one also helps remind you of how far you've already come!)

Jellibean Journals

Linking up with {Monday Mom Musings} from Jellibean Journals

Friday, 24 August 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear House You have never been this clean before (blame it on a mother-in-law visit) Dear Guest Room You're looking pretty good for one day of decorating. (Just don't ask to see the other sides of the room.) Dear Feira* Thanks for selling such pretty flowers today. Dear Weather Thanks for being so awesome and warm. Please cooperate for the party tomorrow. Dear Kids Thanks for taking a nice long nap today (at the same time too!) Dear mother-in-law Thanks for coming to help with the kids so I can get things ready for tomorrow. We should do this more often, it gives me motivation to clean the house and the kids get to see grandma!

*Weekly farmer's market.


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Wordless{ish} Wednesday - Flower Power

Things are coming along nicely for Elena's party. Here are my finished gum-drop favors 
- complete with a personalized leaf Thank You tag. 

Come back next week for the full tutorial!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Party Planning

I can't believe my little girl will be TWO tomorrow! Time flies, fun or not, but most of the past few years have been a lot of fun - a few tears, pain and challenges, but we love our little sunshine more and more every day. (and we just can't quite believe how it is possible for her to get cuter and cuter every day!)

I plan in my head, a lot. Plans about decorating, events, routines, meal plans - and eventually most of it gets down on paper sometime and then put into place. Sometimes I wish for an easier way to transmit all my ideas....

So, we are planning a party for our little Sunshine. Here in Brazil parties are a big deal and people go all out. Especially for a first birthday, but in general, Brazilians like to party!

Here is some of my inspiration for her "Flower" party that we're hosting at our home this weekend...

These were some party favors Lucas got after a school party and I think they'll be just perfect as favors for Elena's party as well. Add on a cute little leaf with a printed Thank You message and we're set!

If I had a sewing machine (and oodles of time) I would sew a cute pennant banner. But since I don't, I'm going to make a cute no-sew banner with colored paper and my trusty printer. I like this easy way of hanging the banner. Might add some cute flowers in between the flags.

Saw this idea first in a magazine and then searched online to find more photos - but isn't this such a cute idea? Great for the main sweets table or even as center pieces. Although I think ours will be pink and yellow. 

I have written before about my new-found love for pompoms - and these tissue ones are so dainty and feminine I think they will be perfect for our garden party. (Too bad we don't have an actual garden for our party!) The gal that wrote the tutorial for these gives so many great different ways to make them, and easy, detailed instructions. 

So - my week ahead will be filled with creating all these goodies for the party on Saturday, as well as whipping up a cake and getting some activities ready (playdough and bubbles should keep the kids entertained a while).

Come back next week for photos of the party as well as some tutorials on all the great decor items! 

Linking up with Jellibean Journals and Mom of the Year

Jellibean Journals

Friday, 17 August 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Tissue Pompoms - you are so fun and easy to make, you'll be making an appearance at a lot of my future parties. Dear Sunshine - I can't believe you are going to be two in just a few days. Please never grow out of your snuggly phase. I love it. Dear Bubba - Can we please make some potty progress soon? I'm tired of washing poopy pants! Dear Brasil - I am loving this "winter" weather we've been having. Add on a few degrees and I'll be set for the year. Dear laundry - could you please look after yourself today? I've got way too many fun projects to do in preparation for little Sunshine's party next weekend. Dear mother-in-law - Thanks for all your help this morning, it's nice to have you just at the other end of the phone for Portuguese emergencies.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Weekend Away - to the grocery store...

The theme for this week's Copy Cat Closet was "weekend away", and while we did enjoy a few small trips this summer, these days my biggest outing is to get groceries every week. That said, in Brazil, most women go out to do their shopping all gussied up and I usually feel under-dressed and under made-up so it's nice to get some inspiration and go out feeling somewhat put together.

Here was the inspiration from Natalia,

And from Christie,

I used to own some awesomely colored pants, but lately it's been jeans and yoga pants for me. So here's what I put together,

Dark grey capris with a bright green top, a stripy scarf, big black earrings and my uber comfy green/turquoise/gold sandals. I just wish my scarf was a little bigger for a more similar look to Natalia. I tried to do a really high messy bun, but my hair is so long and so heavy that it just dropped down. Plus, I'm running low on bobby pins.

Here's a few more shots, just for fun!
me thinks I look super weird without glasses!
awkward posing....
Looking forward to next week's inspiration!

the Grant life

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Our New Digs

A while back, I posted about moving and promised photos "in a couple of days" - HA! Well, here I am finally getting around to posting some photos of our new house. I had to laugh after a friend commented that she was glad our "dream house" had worked out. Our house is not perfect, and I don't think I would describe it as our dream house, but it is what our family needs right now. Plus, I have way too many ideas and dreams for a home that I don't think would all fit into ONE house! :)

So if you think our house will look something like this,
   get ready for a shock...         

As with most urban areas in Brazil, space is at a premium, even in our little city of Mogi. And our neighborhood is quite spacious compared to others. Here's a birds eye view of our house - we have a very long and narrow plot that is 85% filled with the house. The rest is for parking and a little alley along the side.
The red box shows our house. 
Here's the front of our house.
Don't mind the crooked photo - we live on a slight hill. 
As I did with our last apartment, I'll show you our floor plan (because I love floor plans :))

We have two parking spots which is nice, because having only one car it gives the kids a little space to run around. We were also very thankful to find a house with covered parking. So you can see the width of our house/land is about as wide as two parking spots.

There are two entrances, one into the living room, and a "service" entrance which leads to the open alley/laundry/kitchen door. I have been so happy with the laundry space. In our apartment I had about 3' x 3' to maneuver between the washer and the hanging drying rack. Here I have a nice long alley with two laundry lines as well as a free standing drying rack. I use my kid's old stroller to push my laundry basket as I put up/take down the laundry.  I just have to be careful when it rains as the whole alley is not covered. So far I've only had a few pillowcases get an extra rinse. 

The kitchen was the first room we saw when we first viewed the house as we came in the service entrance. I would probably say it was the kitchen that sold me on the house because it is so much bigger than our previous one and was already furnished with all the cabinetry. 

Off the kitchen is a long hallway that connects all the other rooms. So nice to have a bathroom close to the kids room, especially with potty training going on in full force here. The rooms all basically look the same with a nice big window (looking into the alley - but we get a good amount of light). The kids have a lot of space for playing in their room as well as tons more space in the living room.

While our office doesn't have a separate door, the one in the middle of the hallway basically serves to close off the back half of the house as the "parent's" space - with our office, bedroom and bathroom. This is very useful during the day to contain the kids (and their accompanying mess) to only one half of the house. 

We were also surprised to find a "bonus room" above our bedroom that is accessed by stairs at the end of the outside alley. It is currently serving as a storage space, but we have ambitions of making it a working guest room/craft room. It also has a built in BBQ (very common in Brazilian homes, but not so common to have it in a completely closed off room.)

So I will save all the room photos for one day when the house is fully decorated and clean (ok, that day may never come, but I'll try!)

I will leave you with this photo of our awesome kitchen. I probably have three times as much counter space and cupboard space as I did in our previous apartment. (If you can't tell - it was TINY!)

There you have it - we are loving our new house and the space, and we can't really even remember what it was like living in our old tiny apartment! 

Monday, 13 August 2012

One Eyed Mama

I am fortunate to be a good sleeper. I can fall asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow. The only problem I used to have with sleeping was my snoring husband. Of course, having children and being exhausted quickly solved that!

Over the past few years, dealing with newborns and toddlers, I have developed a technique for coping with those multiple wake-up calls in the middle of the night without actually having to wake up too much. It's called the "one eyed mama" - and it is very simple; when you hear your darling little angel crying at night, needing water, a diaper change, or a lost pacifier, stumble out of bed using your hand to guide you and only open one eye. This creates just enough vision to get to the crib/bed and tend to your little one without thinking too much or allowing too much light into your eyes, thus waking you up.

This is not me, but another mama who writes
about using the "one eyed mama" technique here
I imagine I look something like this when I'm found wandering the halls of our house in the wee hours of the morning - albeit with very messy tied-up hair, no make-up and definitely no earrings. Ok, so I look nothing like that, but you get the idea. Once my hubby saw me in my "one eyed mama" state and just laughed. But, hey, it works! Sometimes the next morning I will have no recollection of just. how. many. times I woke up to see to my cherubs during the night.

Mamas out there - how do you deal with waking up in the night? Or do your kids sleep through the night? Somehow we have hit a stage (coughing, potty training etc) where a full nights sleep is a rarity!

Linking up with Monday Mom Musings with Jellibean Journals

Jellibean Journals

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Mommy Slump - Closet Copy Cat

Most days I am fortunate if I can wake up before the kids to shower and throw on the nearest jeans/sweats/t-shirt/sweater. I don't usually have the luxury of standing in a towel leisurely perusing my open closet (the towel would get pulled off in a minute by a little munchkin for sure), so most days there is not really a lot of thought put into my outfits. Hair gets pulled up into a quick, messy ponytail, usually wet, and more often than not, hardly combed. Occasionally the next day when I get to my shower, my hair is still damp from the day before. Yeah, gotta do something about the hair situation...

So, when I stumbled across a blog "challenge" called Closet Copy Cat I decided to give it a go. It's all about taking some inspiration photos and seeing what you can pull together from your closet to imitate the look. Since my kids are in pre-school every morning, I figured I would give it a go!

Here was the inspiration for this week - Button Up in Summer

Of course, being in the Southern Hemisphere it is technically winter, so I gave it a whirl and also came up with a "winterized" version. Some days it feels like summer, and others more like fall.

(aside - I'm a little surprised at how nervous/anxious I am about posting photos of myself on my blog)

But on to the challenge - a loose button up shirt, paired with shorts, cute sandals, an up-do, natural makeup and big earrings.
I picked out my blue Old Navy top (not really a full-on button down, but hey, it has buttons) and paired it with my brown bermuda shorts. Were it actually summer it could go with shorter shorts but it was a cold, grey, rainy sort of day so I really created a spring version and a fall version of this outfit. Warmer outside? Wear brown wedge sandals. Colder outside? Put on your boots and a vest/sweater. Kind of felt a horse rider kind of vibe from the boots and shorts. :)

I tried one of Natalia's up-do's: a three bun knot, but no matter how much I tried, I could only make two buns. Ok, so I didn't really try that much, but I only have so much time! :)

(aside: sorry for the horrible photos - I tried to take them myself with my phone and a mirror.....)

Looking forward to next week's inspiration - goodness knows I have way too many clothes in my closet, and too few ideas of how to put them together!

the Grant life

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Wordless{ish} Wednesday - Shadows

Walking home from school under the bright, hot (winter?) sun! 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Back to School Goals

No more school for me, but that doesn't mean I can't set "back to school" goals. School means something different for me now as a mom; kid-free time. I'm not going to say "free" time because as every woman knows, there is no such thing as free time when you have a household to run! But it sure is easier to get those day-to-day chores done when you don't have two toddlers underfoot.

Now that my two kiddos are in nursery/pre-school every morning, I've had a few people comment "wow, what are you going to do with yourself without the kids?"

So, without further ado, here are some of my goals for this new season of life:

1. Get Smart - Back into Portuguese studying. I have a passable vocabulary, and can get around and read quite easily, but I have lot more to learn!

2. Get Fit - It's no surprise that this body needs a little work after two kiddos. We have a park down the road that has outdoor exercise equipment, and my goal is to get there twice a week.

3. Get Blogging - I love writing and designing and am hoping to overhaul my blog, give it a new look and write more.

4. Get Creative - I opened an Etsy shop a few months ago, but with an unexpected move I basically went on hiatus, so I want to get back to that and keep developing my designs.

5. Get organized - I am ashamed to say that we've been in our new house for almost two months and there are still boxes to unpack. I also want to stay on top of the household chores, laundry, cleaning, cooking, dishes, toys etc.

So you can see, there's a lot of stuff to fit into five mornings. Throw in a birthday party for my little sunshine (2 this month!) and a baby shower in September (for my sister-in-law), and I won't really have time to miss my kids!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Kids say the darndest things...

Everyone knows kids say a lot of cute, funny and crazy things. Now that we've got a real talker in our family, we routinely hear hilarious things from Lucas and occasionally from Elena. Here are a few for your reading pleasure:

Upon finding a peculiar piece of wood that looks like it belongs from some furniture...
Momma: Lucas, do you know where this came from?
L: It came from outer space!

Daddy is trying to give Lucas a boof kiss (raspberry) on his tummy...
L: Daddy, don't eat my belly. I need to have a baby in my belly!

Lucas has recently started asking to be carried "like a baby" but one evening after wearing an Elephant shaped tea cozy on his head, he asked,
L: Momma, carry me like an Elephant!

During our potty training, I have mentioned to Lucas that if your pee is too dark it means you're not drinking enough water...
L: Chocolate milk makes my pee white? (clear)
M: No Lucas, water makes your pee white.

And a sweet one from Elena;

After washing our hands in the bathroom, I am holding Elena up to the mirror...
M: Who's that pretty girl in the mirror?
E: Momma! ... And Eyena!
Precarious, but precious!
Jellibean Journals

Linking up with {Monday Mom Musings} from Jellibean Journals

My MIL will be proud of me for this post, since she is always reminding me to write down the funny things that happen, the milestones, the progress of my kids. Leave your funny kid sayings in the comments! Always good for a smile :)

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Wordless{ish} Wednesday - Off to School

Two kids off to school = one happy momma.

So what am I doing on my first morning with (gasp) peace and quiet?
- enjoying a leisurely second cup of coffee
- catching up on blog reading
- generally enjoying the quiet and trying not to think about how my two year old is handling her first day at school.

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