Saturday, April 6, 2013

Project Home: Unfinished Basement Upgrade

One of my big projects on my maternity leave was to make our unfinished basement a nicer place to be without breaking the bank.  The ceiling is very low and it would be too costly at this stage to do a total finish down there, but it had the potential to be a nicer place for laundry, which I am doing A LOT more of and also a place space for kiddos.  One thing in old houses is you don't find the huge bonus or great rooms that you find in new homes.  We wanted to be sure we could find a space that Jake could get a little crazy during those rainy months.  It is also a great place for art projects, riding a tricycle or having some of those toys that we wouldn't want in other spots in the house.  The pictures (both before and after) aren't the best, lighting isn't great down there, that will have to be a future project.  

Take a look at the changes and some of the details that make this a much more inviting space, before on the top, after on the bottom!


We have to use the basement for storage still, but Brian had a great idea of hiding some of that big stuff under the stairs and then using curtains to cover the view.  So I went through everything, threw stuff out, donated and used my label maker when possible to organize boxes.  We got all of our big items under the stairs; snowboards, golf clubs (mine), patio furniture, luggage, etc...  The stairs didn't have backs on them so Brian put those in.  We still have to paint. Brian's Mom hemmed ikea curtains for us and 3 panels did the job!

There was a method to the madness in how things were stored before, it just didn't look that good, now things are cleaned up and we have started adding some kiddo touches.  A friendly giraffe from Grandma and Grandpa, a banner from my cousin at my baby shower, my old dollhouse, a beverage fridge and of course the kegerator (for the parents of course.)

This is looking the other direction.  There is a little storage room through the door where I keep some crafting stuff, gift wrapping things and back-ups of household items.  I got two quote posters off of etsy at this shop.
I also got the alphabet cards on etsy at this shop. I love their stuff.  I have the number cards hanging in Jake's nursery.  
The quotes read: 
"Love lives here"
"Whatever you are, be a good one"
I got the black checked rug at Ikea and the pub table is Brian's from his bachelor days.  The poster on the far right is from printstagram and it is about 50 instagrams of Jake from his first few months.  It will be fun to show him someday too. 

The laundry area was a big priority since I find myself there more often than I used to.  I thought grays and black and white would be fun down here.  I got the rug at ikea and the ironing board cover at target.  The laundry sorter is also Ikea and the window curtain is actually the cut off hem from the curtains we used under the stairs.  Since I don't sew I used iron on fabric tape to make a hem...quite proud of myself on that one.  The letters were an idea off of Etsy and my Dad spray painted wood letters from Michael's silver for me.  They are lightweight so are just held up with poster tape. Everything is organized on a shelf also from Ikea.  

The whole project cost about $450 dollars and will be a fun place to do projects and my daily laundry!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

View from the monitor

Even though I know Jake can roll from his stomach to his back and I think the other way too, he shows no interest in this whole rolling thing.  He seems to get around just fine without it for the time being.  One of the fun surprises at night is seeing what position I find him in when I go to feed him!  He makes his way around his crib quite well. 

It always starts like this: 

But then it can end up like this:

I can't imagine what I will find when he actually starts moving!  He really only gets upset if his long legs end up too close to the bars and he keeps kicking them.  Poor little sweetie. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Baby Favorites

I have been meaning to do this post for a long time.  When you are pregnant and you have many generous friends and family members like I do you get a lot of great gear!  You quickly find that every Mom has her favorites and passes on that knowledge.  Then when you have your own baby it takes some time to sift through all of the stuff and figure out what you really love, what works for you and your baby and how that changes over time. 

Baby carriers are a great example.  I was always scared that Jake was too low or too pressed up against me when he was really small in the Baby Bjorn or the Ergo carrier, I was too incompetent to tie the Moby Wrap, so the Baby K'tan became the solution for us. Then he got a little bigger and I went to the Ergo and quickly found he would take 2 hour naps in there, so that was the favorite.  Then it was time for Jake to learn to nap in his crib (still learning by the way) and so if I want him to stay awake and see the world he faces out in the Bjorn!  Holy cow, that is 3 big investments right there.  We were lucky enough to get hand-me-downs!

So I tried to narrow it down to those few items in the first 3 months that I used everyday and couldn't imagine living without! 

From left upper corner clockwise:
Bundle-me - I really wish I would have invented this, pretty much genius.  It is basically a sleeping bag for your baby that goes into the infant car seat (or later stroller in toddler size) and you never need a blanket.  They fall off all the time, but this never will, cozy and secure!  We were lucky enough to get 3 different weights. We had a weather protected one for rain, fleece for really cold, and now we are into a lightweight for Spring. 

Little Giraffe Blankets - All you need to do is touch one of these to understand why they are so great. They wash well, the feel amazing and they come in great colors. They aren't cheap, but it just makes sense.  

Dwell Play Blanket - This might seem a surprising choice.  The woodland series is what we have in Jake's room, but the pattern doesn't matter.  This is like the down comforter for kids.  It is a fluffy blanket that can be put on the hardest of floors (such as bathroom tile where he laid while I showered) and be a comfy place to be!

Snap'n'go Stroller - We might just wear out the tires on this guy before he gets officially retired someday.  These are a lifesaver.  The car seat just clicks in and you are on your way.  They fold up small and easy and are perfect for inside shopping or at the table in restaurants because it is so compact. I used to think I wouldn't want to walk very far with it because it doesn't exactly have a shock system, but the little guy went all over NYC and we never heard a peep!

Aden and Anais Burp Bibs - Perfectly contoured for your shoulder and thick enough to absorb the 
spit-up rather than just smear it around.  To be honest, cloth diapers probably work just as well, but well, they just aren't as cute. 

Sleep Sheep Travel Version - White noise for the little man and in a cute little sheep that can strap onto pretty much anything.  When we stopped using this for Jake, Brian and I really missed the sounds of the ocean sending us to sleep. 

So next time any of you are buying a baby present, don't forget to consider one of these, I guarantee the Mama will thank you!