Tuesday, November 30, 2010

{Public Isolation Project}

Cristin Norine
(Photo courtesy of the Public Isolation Project)

So for the last 29 days my husband's cousin, Cristin, has been participating in the Public Isolation Project. She has literally lived in front of others for the last 29 days in a store front window.

During this 30 day project (Yeah!! She is finished tomorrow) no one has been allowed into her space and she has not been out. Her only form of communication is through facebook, twitter and face-time chat. She isn't even allowed to use a cell phone to actually call someone...just for texting and ichat. She has been blogging about her experience and it is just amazing.

I believe the idea behind this project is to show us the good and the bad side of social media. I believe we can all become so wrapped up in what is going on "online" that we can sometimes forget about what is right in front of us. Answering our phones at dinner, checking our email all day long, logging on to facebook to check the latest status updates. I know I have found myself doing all of the above.

At the end of last month I actually deleted facebook from my iphone after seeing on another blog the reasons why she deleted it. I realized that I was continually checking my facebook page...uploading photos and videos allllll day long and that I really wanted to be more present in my daughters life so to the garage bin that app went. And let me just tell you...I couldn't be happier with my decision. I don't carry my phone around with me everywhere checking it every hour. It has been really "freeing." And just in case you were wondering...I try to save all my blogging to nap time and bedtime so that I can spend the most time possible with the girl. Blogging has become an outlet for me to share my feelings and ideas. There are the good and the bad to social media remember? And I think that this side is a good side....when used appropriately.

This is just a glimpse of Cristin's blog in regards to the generational gap when it comes to the Internet...

The way in which different generations view the Internet regarding privacy and usage is very interesting to me.  The younger generations tend not to have much of a filter or sense of why privacy is important.  My generation sees the value in new technology, but wonders how healthy it is and then my parents’ generation has a very defensive way of thinking about it.  It makes me wonder how my children will view it.  That’s one of the many reasons I decided to do this project.- Cristin Norine

Anyways, I just thought you would all find this as interesting as I did and thought you might like to check it out. You can find Cristin's blog here. You can also check out all the press behind it including the feature on CNN....yeah I know her...and I think that is really cool :).

Have you notice any good or bad effects the online world has brought to you? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, November 29, 2010

{The Flop}

In preparation for Averee's second visit to Santa Clause I thought it would be fun to create a special outfit for her. So I put my thinking cap on and decided that I needed to base her attired around her adorable red tutu that I created for her for Valentines day. If you would like to know how I made it you can go here. Anyways, I just knew this would be great! So off to the store I went....

I found these adorable red, pink and green striped leggings at Walmart for I think $2 and a cute little white turtle neck. I then found this awesome stripped fabric and headed home with my supplies. I started working vigorously on an applique for Averee's new turtle neck and I thought candy canes would be the perfect choice. I cut them out....applied the iron on adhesive to the fabric and then ironed them onto the turtle neck. Well let me just tell you....I am very happy that I spent less then $5 for all of my supplies because the shirt turned out...well....not so cute.

Here it is....

(Photo not even worthy of editing...Blah!)

I was obviously being very meticulous when applying because it is not even close to the center! Wearable as on undershirt where the applique is hidden VERY well....Although, I'm not even sure that I would risk her wearing it as an undershirt with the chance that someone else might see this awfulness :) Oh well....I tried.

So what did I do to fix it? Well I headed to the mall of course. And to my surprise I found this cute little number 50% off at Macy's!

Oh well....you win some....you lose some! But I think she will still look pretty darn cute!

Macy's had some pretty good sales going on today....especially on their holiday attire. A lot of their more formal kid attire was 50% off. Not too bad when searching for that perfect little outfit. And just in case you were totally freaking out because I did not include photos of Averee wearing her adorable outfit....worry not....as soon as she see's Santa photos will be up! :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

{Wordless Wednesday} I am Thankful for...

My beautiful baby girl....she lights up the whole world around her! She has made me want to be a better person and has shown me how to love and live every moment!

My incredible husband...he never seems to stop making me laugh and I really love him more and more each day! He really is my very best friend.

My amazing Mom and Dad! They have been there through it all and have offered me so much love and support! I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for them!

My precious puppy...Although she drives me crazy at times... she knows how to love with all her heart! She is Ian, Averee and my very best friend!

I am also thankful for all of my wonderful family and friends, my health and that of my families, my home, my career and above all else, God, who has made all of this possible!

I wish you all a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

My computer is acting up so sorry for the funny looking photos :) Also, I'm going on bloggy vacay and will be back next week! For any questions please email me at michelle_thereallifemom@yahoo.com Happy Holidays!
Share your Wordless Wednesday too!
The Paper Mama
Go Graham Go
My Wee View
A little king and I
A Beautiful Mess
Live and Love Out Loud

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

{He's Baaack}

I wish I was talking about Ian and that he was home from a long trip or maybe even Santa Clause being it is that time of year. Heck, I'd even take a pimple that I've nick named Fred at this point. But no. "He" is none of those. "He" is our Night timer stalker friend....remember him? If not you can see what he is all about here.

And this time instead of a "he"....he is now a "she". Apparently they are so desperate to find Mr. Quicker that they have now hired a new company. Can't you just feel the joy that is exuding from me? "She" was so pleasant to stop by some time in the wee hours last night. I must say though she was much kinder and didn't rattle are front door...Phew! Crisis averted.

You want to hear the best part? I finally decided to call the police because although I thoroughly appreciate our night time stalker friends visits I feel that they might be more well received during the day. Well Mr. Policeman stopped by, informed us there is nothing that he can do and encouraged us to go outside with our ID next time our "friend" stops by and tell them the person they are looking for does not live here and kindly ask them to not come by again. I mean this is a fantastic idea since all of our "friends" are most likely packing. Hmmm I think I'll pass.

Are we the only ones that have crazy things like this happen? Please tell me no! Anyone?...Anyone???...Bueller???? Man it's just us?!? Go figure.

Monday, November 22, 2010

{Project:Nursery} Star Edition

So as I was perusing the internet checking out some nursery decor ideas I came across some totally fab celebrity nurseries. Now, the designers of these rooms are just a little out of my price range (ok a lot! but that's besides the point) but there are so many beautiful rooms with fantastic ideas that I just had to share!

Kelly Ripa's daughters room....Filled with fairy tales!
I am totally in love with that crib and heart the wall mural (you will be seeing a lot more wall murals....I think they are great!)

Brooke Sheild's son's nursery
(Photo: Coochicoos)
I am dying over the wall sconces! Perfection!

Tori Spelling's daughter's nursery
(Photo: People)
Pretty much Ian is in a boat load of trouble if we ever have another girl because our house will 100% have a Pink room just like this!

Kenneth Brown's, daughters, nursery
(Photo: Homework Shop)
I LOVE the dark gray with all the bright pink, purples and greens! This is just gorgeous!

Tiffani Thiessen's daughter's nursery
Holy gorgeousness! The tree with all the birds...the perfect crib and oh my the light coming through those windows! I just love how light and bright this room is!

As you can see I think I am just naturally attracted to all things girly...I think that is what happens when that is all you know....no brothers and I only have my little woman! But don't worry....I have some FANTASTIC little boy nurseries coming your way!

Do you have a favorite celebrity nursery that you would like to share? I would love to see!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

{Starbucks} B1G1 FREE Holiday Drinks

What?!? That's right! Starbucks is offering buy one get one on all their holiday flavors from 2-5 pm until November 21! I went today and it is true! I was able to get 2 Grande coffee's (one was for Ian....don't worry) for $4.77....which I just so happened to get for free because I had a $5 gift card! Score!

What a great way to break into the holiday season at a fraction of the cost! I'm pretty sure you will be able to find me at Starbucks....all weekend!

So go get your Starbucks on :) Enjoy!

I first saw this deal over at Inspiring you to Save!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

{Tinder Designs} Free Shipping!

Today I am featuring a fantastic Etsy site....Tinder Designs.

If you have not heard of Tinder Designs yet you are totally missing out!

It wasn't too long ago when I first happened upon Tinder Designs. It was shortly before Averee was sitting on her own and I knew it would be just a matter of time before I would need a cart cover to protect her from all those germies out there. I started searching at all those big name baby stores and although I found some... I wasn't totally satisfied with any of them. They were either cute but didn't cover all sides of the cart or totally not cute! And considering a lot of them were $40 + I felt that I should LOVE the cover 150%.

So I jumped on over to Etsy.com and to my surprise stumbled upon Tinder Designs. I was in LOVE. Jennifer, the owner who is also a Real Life Mom, has the most beautiful fabrics and her design is so practical! And with 100% positive feedback from over 1000 reviews I knew this was my place to shop! You should seriously read some of the feedback Jennifer has received so you can truly see what a great investment you are making!

Here are some of my favorites from her Etsy shop:

This is my favorite! You might ask why? Well it is the one that we own! And we couldn't be happier...we wanted something gender neutral yet still lots of fun! We receive soooo many compliments on this gorgeous cart cover!

If you haven't figured it out yet I heart damask!

So bright and fun!

This was one of my top picks but Ian insisted that the one we purchased was usable for a boy...Just in case.

LOVE! Can't you just see your little love bug riding around in style?

And check this adorable dress out? OMG Averee needs this...put it on my wish list!

If you don't have children yet or are considering this is a possible gift....I promise you when I say a cart  cover is a MUST HAVE!
Here are some of the reasons why I think you too will LOVE Tinder Designs:
  • The Cute little pillow
  • There's a pocket to hold all your baby "supplies"
  • a toy loop...we frequently use this to strap the girl's drink to so that it doesn't fall
  • Machine Washable! I have personally washed mine many many times and it comes out perfect each time! The batting that Jennifer uses not only makes the cart comfortable but it also stays in place when washed!
  • It fits even the gigantic carts! and it can be used for highchairs, park swings and as Jennifer suggests even for a diaper change!
  • It covers the cart on all sides helping to protect your wee one from those germs that their teething little mouths seem to be attracted too
  • It ships very quickly! Jennifer's current estimated shipping time is 3-8 days.
  • And finally it has its own safety belt and safety clip! Your child will have their very own "seat belt" that no other child has touched and you have a clip on the back that you can clip to your shopping cart to prevent your little monkey from climbing out!

You should also check out Jennifer's website Tinder Boutique . She features some custom boutique scarf's that are just gorgeous! Hmmm I should probably leave this page up so Ian sees how much I NEED one of these! She also creates some gorgeous apron's that all of us Real Life Mom's are really anyone who does anything in the kitchen could benefit from!

And to make things even better if you weren't already totally convinced to purchase from Tinder Designs....Jennifer is currently offering all Real Life Mom readers FREE Shipping! Simply mention that you saw Tinder Designs here on The Real Life Mom.

This is a great item to buy for yourself or to give as a gift....I'm thinking Christmas gift for a new mom, mommy to be or baby.....a perfect baby shower gift....or maybe just because!

You can even purchase a gift card from Jennifer if you are unsure of the design to pick for your gift to someone!

So head on over to Tinder Designs and let me know what you think! I would love to hear what your favorite pattern is!

Jennifer, owner of Tinder Designs is currently a paid sponsor of The Real Life Mom blog. I strive to bring you the greatest products and ideas that I truly believe in. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at Michelle_thereallifemom@yahoo.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

{Project: Nursery}

Today is going to kick off my first post of Project: Nursery. I know for me putting together my little ladies nursery was almost harder then picking her name! I wanted her space to be perfect! All things girly and fun. I was for sure that this was going to be completed prior to her arrival home but guess what? Not even close! It is still a work in progress (she's 14 months old!) But I LOVE her room and have so much fun trying to create a great space for her.

I have a true weakness for nurseries and children's rooms and just love seeing all the creative ideas others come up with. I hope this Project will offer you some inspiration for your little one's room and I look forward to seeing your ideas and photos!

Project: Nursery will be featured once a week. Sometimes there will be a focus on a specific theme other times it will be on a certain room element.

To jump start Project: Nursery we are going to look at great art for your babies room! Focus being inexpensive and DIY.

This photo is of one of Ian's best friends little one's room. Oliver's mommy, Alison had a fantastic idea to take some of Oliver's dad's old comic books and frame them! She found these perfect white frames at Dollerama for $2! She picked her 12 favorite comics and put them up! It only cost $24 for some serious style!

How about framing some fabric? This is a photo of my daughter's room. I used left over fabric from her gorgeous curtains (wish I could say that I made them!) and bought frames at Joann's (of course using coupons!) I love the way this turned out and for the 3 frames it cost around $30.

I just love this! I saw this over at Studio Lyon on Etsy and fell in LOVE. How sweet would it be to have this hung in your babies nursery? I just heart the hidden message :) And at only $8 it is totally affordable! You can see this along with other items from Studio Lyon here.

And this is great! If you have lots of different fabrics you love you can turn them into art! Just follow my tutorial for how to make a bow holder (of course stopping once your canvas is covered!) Photo courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

This idea touches my heart. This is from my friend Erin who received this card from her grandmother for her baby girl. She bought a frame and placed the card in....viola...instant art! Her daughter's nursery is Winnie the Pooh themed so it fits perfectly. And I just love that each time her daughter looks at this she will be reminded of her great grandmother.
This is fantastic for any nursery that the theme is based off a storybook. You can take that storybook and frame your favorite photos! This is a photo of one of our favorite stories Goodnight Moon. Photo courtesy of The Hundred Thousand Poster site.

What are your decorating ideas? I would love to see photos to share the inspiration with other Real Life Mom's out there! Email me at Michelle_thereallifemom@yahoo.com if you are interested in having your child's room featured here to share your ideas!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

{Lamp Shade} Tutorial

So here it is....the first in my homemade Christmas for Averee. As I have told you all before everything that I create is quite simple so I am certain when I say anyone can make...I truly mean ANYONE!

For Averee's room I have long been searching for the perfect lamp. When I say it has been a long time... I have been searching literally since last November when her curtains (ohhhh her curtains! you will get to see those soon!) were hung. Along my search I have found many lamps that were beautiful but the price tag that went with them made them less then perfect for my the girls room. Recently, though as I was watching HGTV (my all time favorite station) I saw an episode of Sarah's House and she was completing the kid's bedrooms. She created the most perfect lamp (you can see it here) for the little girls bedroom all with a hot glue gun and rick rack! A light went off in my head and I KNEW this was the perfect option for Av's room.

Supplies need:
  • Scissors
  • Lamp shade of choice
  • Lamp of choice
  • Hot glue/gun
  • Rick Rack in choice of color


Start by measuring rick rack around the bottom of your lamp shade and cut.

Using hot glue gun (I prefer low heat to avoid burns!) begin placing rick rack on bottom of shade. I feel it is best to start at the seam which is typically the part that you would face away from view in a room. Continue to glue rick rack all the way around. Repeat this on top if desired.
Tip: If you choose to place rick rack on top as well be sure to align the swirls (I'm not sure what else to call them!) So that they match on top and bottom. It will make it more visually appealing.

And you are done! Beautiful right?

I can't wait to place this in the girl's room! I know that it will be just perfect! And at the low cost of about
$22 and only about 10 minutes of my time it was the perfect solution to my dilemma! I also think this is a great option because it can grow with her as she gets older and maybe decides on different decor for her room.

Are you working on any homemade projects right now? I'd LOVE to see them!

And get excited as this week we jump off our fabulous nurseries edition! There are some great ideas that you are not going to want to miss!

Here are some places where I like to share!

Sunday Showcase Party
Making the World Cuter
Mad in Crafts

Letting the Creative Juices Flow
Take A look Tuesday
Bella Before and After
The Thrifty Home
Somewhat Simple
Hope Studios

Thursday, November 11, 2010

{Take two}

So today I have had the pleasure of experiencing what it would be like to have two kids ( and what it would be like to have a boy!) Av and I are hanging with a sweet handsome little guy who recently turned two. Let me just tell you the girl and I are having a BLAST!

Pretty much everything B does Av wants to do. They ate together, jumped on the couch together, mowed the lawn together and have been laughing up a storm together! They even cried together (ok so it was mostly Av but her screams freak B right out!) It has been so fun, though, to see them interact and enjoy each others company while speaking a language that only they understand.

However, this two kid thing...it is quite exhausting...I'm not really sure that I am ready for two kids full time...hmmmm

My only regret? I forgot my camera! I can't believe it...I bring my camera every where! I did get some photos and video on my phone ( which I am also blogging from right now... So no judging of my errors :) )

I am very good at this two kids thing though.... Wanna know why? They both went down for a nap...at the same time! ( I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that this is the time they both nap everyday. It is totally due to my awesome mom skills! )

So for now I'll enjoy just the occasional day with two kids. I'm sure one day I'll be ready for it...just not yet.

Do you have two kids? (or maybe more) How do you do it everyday? Any advice for us moms who will one day be there would be great!

And be sure to check back next week. I'm going to be featuring some fantastic ideas for nurseries! And I have some great projects coming up!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

{Return Address Labels} GREAT DEAL

So after a long night at work I came home to find an email from a sweet friend of mine letting me know about this incredible deal from VistaPrint. Right now you can order 140 return address labels for $1.99 plus shipping! They usually retail for $7.99 at VistaPrint and I've seen address labels for as much as $7.99 for only 28 labels! So you know what I did next right?

I hoped online and headed over to VistaPrint and here's what I found...

Now you might be thinking "Wow...You are crazy! What are you going to do with 480 address labels? Oh. And apparently you have an obsession with green and gray" Well I would first tell you that yes I have an obsession with green and gray...Big deal! :) Then I would tell you that including shipping those 480 return address labels only cost $14.60 and that I saved $24. I would also tell you that at a price of $1.99 I couldn't resist getting holiday return address labels to go with my Shutterfly cards (which by the way I have still yet to decide on a design!). Also, for those of you who don't know me I LOVE to send cards so having return labels makes my life so much easier. And finally I would tell you that I ordered a set for my parents (my mom hearts sending cards even more then I do! Surprise Mom!)

To go with these return address labels they also have a great selection of stationary and cards...I'm thinking this could make a great little gift for that person who you aren't sure what to get them. An adorable little gift basket filled with personalized stationary at a great price! I have been on the receiving end of personalized stationary before and I LOVED receiving it! It is something I tend to not buy for myself but I secretly always want!

Occasions that this could work for:
  • Christmas
  • Birthday
  • Bridal Shower
  • Bridesmaid gift
  • Baby Shower (I'm envisioning cute little note cards that could act as Thanks yous! and a notepad to jot down all those things that she so quickly forgets....hello pregnancy brain!)
  • Hostess gift
  • Housewarming (Thank's Cassie for the idea!)
  • Just because
The possibilities are endless!

So there you go! Head on over to VistaPrint and check it out. I'd love to hear all your ideas! Let me know what you come up with!

 I am not being paid by VistaPrints in anyway for this post. I just felt it was a great deal and should let you know. I have personally never ordered from VistaPrint until today but my friend who notified me of the promotion has purchased from them before and has been satisfied. One thing she did mention was their shipping can be a little on the slow side. I went with the Priority 7 day shipping because it was less then $1 more then their standard shipping. If I do come across any issues with VistaPrint you will be the first to know!

UPDATE: I just received my labels...only 5 days from when I ordered! Not bad! And they are perfect...I coudln't be happier :)

I like to share. Check it out!
The Thrifty Home
My Backyard Eden
Santa's Gift Shoppe
Paisley Passions

Monday, November 8, 2010

Find out how to get a FREE 8 x 10 Canvas

So I'm sure most of you have already seen this incredible deal floating around blogland but I thought that it was such an AMAZING offer that just in case you have not seen it that you had the opportunity to.

The Canvas People are currently offering Free...that's right FREE 8x10 canvas' to everyone! Just head here to redeem your free canvas. And one of the best parts....if you want a larger canvas they will apply a $55 credit to the cost of the canvas that you choose so you still get an amazing price!

Once you redeem your free gift you can also order more canvas' at 50% off! Incredible! I actually just placed my order yesterday for 3 canvas' (Hello Christmas gifts! One is actually my Christmas gift! Shhh don't tell Ian!) As soon as we receive them I will upload photos for you to see. But for now here is an example that the Canvas People have on their site.

(photo from Canvaspeople.com)

Cute right? I cannot wait to see ours! I love the way canvas prints look so much that I am planning to design an entire wall around our free canvas.

Here's a fantastic idea by How Does She for displaying canvas prints.

I'm certain that I will eventually have a wall like this in our home. It is gorgeous! Be sure to head on over to How Does She to check it out and all of her other wonderful ideas!

Hurry up and don't let this offer from the Canvas People pass you by! It's been out there for awhile so I'm not sure how much longer it will be hanging around!

I can't wait to see your creation!

I first saw this deal over at Tatertots and Jello. If you have not been to this blog yet you are totally missing out! Jen has a great site with amazing ideas! I also am not being paid by Canvas People in anyway for this post. Just thought it was a great deal that needed to be shared!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Santa Clause is coming...

Yes...I know that it is only the very beginning of November but with Averee being at such an awesome age Ian and I are super excited for Christmas this year!

This year we are budgeting...uh huh...that B word is back again. So with this in mind there is going to be some handmade items sitting under the tree. And since Santa is so busy he asked if I could help! Over the next month or so I will show you the great finds that we have collected and the things that we are creating for our sweet Averee.

There is one thing, however, that we just can't make and are relying on Santa's elves to help us out with...

Little Tikes Home and Garden Playhouse

How adorable right? And I know that Averee is going to LOVE this! Her own little house! Reason's why we choose this particular house include:
  • The open design. With the scorching heat that we are presented with here in Florida we felt it was important for some air circulation.
  • The little picket fence. Not only can Averee help build, pull it apart and build it again but it is just adorable. I mean, honestly, who wouldn't love a picket fence?
  • The flower box! Next summer when Av is a bit older her and I can practice on our green thumbs (I'm certain I will need more practice then she will! Mine seems to turn most things brown but hey....we'll have fun with this flower box!)
  • The price....I know with all those gifts that Santa has to make and deliver around the world that he is also on a budget :). It is normally $159.99 at BRU but it is on sale right now for $129.99 and I'm hoping they will let me use a 20% coupon that I have....BRU can be kind of picky with their coupons so I'll let ya know.
  • Not only does it have a cute little mailbox but it has a kitchen and a tool work bench. Making our little lady very well rounded :)

I'm pretty sure it is going to be hard to keep this in it's box until Christmas but I know that Santa would be upset with us if we gave it to Av early. And if we gave it to her early we wouldn't be able to complete what I am most excited about...A friend I work with told me of this fantastic idea for Christmas morning. When her little one was right around Averee's age Santa gave her a little playhouse as well. But she, along with her husband, decided to "dress it up" for Christmas morning. They strung Christmas lights around it and placed a little mini Christmas tree inside along with a few small presents. I. Can't. WAIT. I can already see Averee's face light up on Christmas morning when she comes out of her room and sees her own little house all "dressed up!" Ahhhh....I feel like a little kid all over again!

Have you started your Christmas Shopping yet? Any great finds you would like to share....Let me know!
So just thought you all should know...we headed over to TRU today and the house was on sale in stores for $129.99 AND I was able to use my 20% coupon! So the grand total came to $103.99. Great deal! Santa already told us this will be Av's big gift this year!
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