Embracing Everything Emma

Enjoying Life One Baby Step at a Time…

New Year’s Resolution Humor December 31, 2012

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Calvin & Hobbes New Year's Resolution Comic

Calvin & Hobbes New Year’s Resolution Comic

For today, I thought it would be fun to read some funny New Year’s Resolutions as we prepare for the New Year tomorrow. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

  • Spend more time watching TV / movies.
  • Chat more over phone / Internet.
  • Read less.
  • I want to gain weight. Put on at least 30 pounds.
  • Stop exercising. Waste of time.
  • Procrastinate more.
  • Start being superstitious.
  • Spend more less time at work.
  • Stop bringing lunch from home: I should eat out more.
  • I will no longer waste my time relieving the past, instead I will spend it worrying about the future.
  • I will not bore my boss by with the same excuse for taking leaves. I will think of some more excuses.
  • I will do less laundry and use more deodorant.
  • I will avoid taking a bath whenever possible and conserve more water.
  • I will read the manual… just as soon as I can find it.
  • I will think of a password other than “password.”
  • I will not tell the same story at every get together.
  • Start washing my hands after I use the restroom. 
  • Stop drinking orange juice after I just brushed my teeth.
  • Only eat white snow
  • Spend less than $1825 for coffee at Starbucks this year.
  • Claim all my pets as dependents on my taxes
Honest Jon New Year's Resolution Comic

Honest Jon New Year’s Resolution Comic

Hope these have made you laugh a little more today. Happy New Year!

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Making a Play Kitchen- Part 2 December 28, 2012

This next part won’t be as detailed as some may like so if you want MORE details, please shoot me at email at embracingeverything AT gmail DOT com.

Everything cut for the countertop

Everything cut for the countertop

Countertop in place and ready

Countertop in place and ready

Stove eyes and timer

Stove eyes and timer

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Utensil railing

Utensil railing

This part was where my dad shined. He took the main support board out to add countertop and cut out holes for the sink and the faucet. During this process, I waited. I am terribly impatient, however, it was totally worth the wait. Dad came back with that finished and an extra piece of countertop that we used as a back splash. It looked so much better than the cheap cardboard that was there originally. The next thing we did were we took out the two bottom drawers to cut out a hole in the back for the sink to fit and a hole in the bottom one for the window for the oven. Too cute! Also, we took out the third drawer as Emma is not that tall. Once she gets older, we can always add it back in to the kitchen. We decided NOT to fill those holes since we will use them again, however, we did have to drill new holes to lower the countertop. Along with these things, dad also put a 2×4 on the back of the kitchen set to support the rail that would hold Emma’s kitchen utensils. Smartest idea ever. My dad is pretty much a genius. The last thing he did was put washers on the knobs and drills holes for the knobs that weren’t the same size as the previous ones. Once dad finished all this stuff, I traced the mouse pads and cut them out to make smaller eyes for the stove top and velcroed them and the timer to the countertop. We felt that was a lot safer than hot glue that Emma would later rip off. Can I get an amen? Amen.

Emma's Kitchen

Emma’s Kitchen

Kitchen countertop

Kitchen countertop

Drawer & oven

Drawer & oven

Sink & faucet

Sink & faucet

Side hooks

Side hooks

The next thing we did was move the kitchen upstairs to Emma’s room. I hung out with Emma in our bedroom trying to rock her to sleep while JR and my dad moved it upstairs. Emma would NOT go to sleep so we ended up going out for a car ride. At 10pm. On Christmas Eve. She finally fell asleep after an hour of driving and although we had a lot to do, it allowed JR and I to just hang out and spend time together, which was a blessing in disguise. When we got home, JR kept Emma in the den (asleep finally) while I touched up the paint that was scratched and put all the appliances and accessories in place. This may have been the most fun to me. Once it was done I probably sat there for a good ten minutes admiring all the handy work. Beautiful!

Final Product

Final Product

Emma cooking and washing dishes

Emma cooking and washing dishes

Come help mom!

Come help mom!

Shopping with Binky

Shopping with Binky

Happy girl Emma!

Happy girl Emma!

I’ve put together a list below so you could see what we bought, what we used, and what we had. I hope it encourages you to consider homemade rather than store bought. Emma’s kitchen will always mean more to us knowing it was made here rather than bought somewhere else. Total time spent was probably a good 15-20 hours (counting buying items) but priceless in the amount of time Emma will spend there and the memories that will be made.I’d love to think our grandkids will play with this one day. As far as Emma goes, Christmas morning came and she was in love. She has already played with it way more than I would have imagined. She also loves the grocery cart Julia gave us. Thanks Julia!

Additional future plans involve lighting in the oven, magnetic boards for the fridge door, chalkboard paint on the side for menus and more, and polyurethane to coat the entire kitchen. We hope to get all these done within the next few weeks to a month. Fingers crossed!

Any questions? I would love to answer them for you here!

 

IKEA

Bygel S-hook, silver color $.99/10 pack

Bygel Rail, silver color $2.99

Bygel Hook, silver color $1.99/2 pack

Stam Timer $1.99

Lagis Mouse pad, black $.99 (bought 2= $1.98)

Home Depot

Paint for the “Oops” section $2

Plexiglas $7

2×4 (50 inches total) $3

Velcro tabs $3

Hobby Lobby

Door Knobs, $1.50 (bought 4= $6)

Kitchen sign $5

= $35.94

Additional Items Purchased from Ikea (Not Necessary)

Duktig 15-piece breakfast set $7.99

Duktig 4-piece cookware set $9.99

Duktig 7-piece baking set $9.99

Duktig 5-piece kitchen utensil set $3.99

= $31.96

Total= $67.90

Free Items

Entertainment center (used old dresser)

White paint (from touch up at our house)

Counter top (from project at my parents house)

Bowl for the sink (from our kitchen)

Sink faucet, knobs & sprayer (from a friend who does sink repair/renovations)

Kitchen supplies (from Emma’s birthday party, our house, etc)

 

 

Making a Play Kitchen- Part 1 December 27, 2012

For Emma’s Christmas this year, I knew early on that I wanted to make her very own kitchen set. Emma has been interested in cooking for quite some while now and often times plays with MY kitchen stuff. Unfortunately, there are times that I need my own kitchen items which poses a bit of a problem. We can’t both have them at the same time and someone ends up getting pretty emotional about it (guess who???). I began researching and believe you me, it’s A LOT of work. Seriously, I was amazed at how much time would be put into this puppy so I began planning early and so the project began in July. Let’s start there and I’ll take you all the way up until yesterday, Christmas morning. Enjoy the ride!

Before picture- without drawers

Before picture- without drawers

I saw this tutorial for a homemade kid’s kitchen set and once I saw the old tv stand, I knew what I wanted to use. When Erick was around 5 years old, he got his own “big boy” bedroom set and it came with a dresser that looked a lot like an entertainment center. Erick is now 23 years old, so needless to say, he hasn’t used this in about 13+ years. It has lived in mom and dad’s garage as storage until now. I asked mom and dad what their plans were for it. They saw right through my attempt at small talk and I went on to explain the idea I had for Emma and showed them pictures. Mom had a hard time envisioning it, but dad jumped all over it. I guess it’s the engineer in him. He told me once I had everything together, he’d get it to me and we’d get started.

Before picture- drawers (3 identical)

Before picture- drawers            (3 identical)

I spent a lot of time researching ideas on Ikea because #1- their items are cheap and #2- the have just about everything. Once I picked out everything I would want or need, we planned a trip down to Charlotte with some of our great friends, Farris and Jordan. It was so much fun and we ended up getting a few of their kid’s kitchen toys. Let me tell me- that stuff ROCKS. It is seriously amazing and some of the best quality of toys I’ve ever seen. No joke! That next to our awesome wooden cutting board and fruit/veggie set by Melissa and Doug. Mimi and Pappous got this for Emma. Seriously, Melissa and Doug products rock, too. After we bought these things, there were only a few more things left to do.

Long Door Knobs

Long Door Knobs

Round knobs

Round knobs

 

On our family beach trip to Savannah in July, we went by Hobby Lobby where I scored some very cute and solid counter knobs. I bought more than I needed but that was ok. It was all 50% off so I couldn’t complain. I also found  a precious kitchen sign for 50% off, too. Win! I knew that since Emma’s room was safari style that these handles needed to fit that look and they did.

The last things we got was the paint from Home Depot. I kept an eye out on the “oops” section and found a blueish green color that I loved for $2. Can’t beat that! We already had white paint at the house so we were set. Onto the physical part of the renovation…

I began by sanding down the entire set. This took a lot of time. We had moved the dresser to our downstairs bedroom which was my large craft room for over two months. My friend, Ashlyn, came to help me which was such a time saver. We sanded away. And then sanded some more. Anything particle board is a pain especially when it comes to sanding. By the time we were done, we were ready to call it a night but went ahead and removed all the drawers and counters. There was one piece that dad had to get but I felt like we did pretty good for our first time!

Finally painted...and now drying

Finally painted…and now drying

Paint drying

Paint drying

 

After everything was sanded, we began painting. The first coat went on GREAT and we thought we were lucky dogs who would get by with just one coat and boy were we wrong. That sucker took 3-4 coats and still needed touch ups in certain areas. By the time we were done, I vowed to never do it again. Ha! By the end of the day it was worth it. The only thing I would do differently was let my dad cut, saw, and more BEFORE the painting took place. A lot of touch of work came after he finished. I was so glad to have Ashlyn’s help again along with her sister, Amy. It went by really quick and before we knew it, the paint job was done and all that was left was a few projects that my dad did.

Join me tomorrow for Part 2 of making a play kitchen! See you there!

 

Ideas for Christmas Break Fun! December 26, 2012

Some of you are off this week and able to relax. Some of you are off this week and in a house full of crazy kids. Some of you will be at work while your spouse or babysitter is home with your crazy kids. Either way, I wanted to share some ideas on how to spend your Christmas break and things to do when things start to get boring:

snowman

*PLAY OUTSIDE! If it’s not too cold or if you have appropriate winter attire for snowy days, enjoy it! Go for a hike, look at leftover Christmas lights, build a snowman, make snow angels, and more. There are so many options of things you can do outside if weather allows.

fingerpaint

*MAKE CRAFTS! I love making crafts with Emma. There are so many ideas of things you can do and if you haven’t yet, I would encourage you to join Pinterest. Feel free to let me know and I’ll send you an invitation. If you’re already on Pinterest, check out my page and see some of the ideas we have to try. Some of our favorite crafts right now involve finger paints. They’re messy but if you embrace that head on, it won’t be too bad. Until your child tries to eat the paint. Seriously, Emma? Yep, she tries to eat paint. I’m sure she learned that from Allie.

gifts

*ENJOY YOUR GIFTS! If your kids receive toys for Christmas, be sure to get them out and PLAY AWAY! Enjoy this time with them. If they got clothes, have a fun fashion show to show off everything they got. They can do only new clothes or combine new clothes with ones they already have.

resolutions

*WRITE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS! When I say this, I mean serious ones. Let’s not vow to lose 100 pounds by February 1st. I would recommend stuff like “Eat healthier”, “Have a family night”, “Visit family from out of town more often” and more. Let your kids be a big part of this, too, as they’ll be making these resolutions as well.

timewithgod

*SPEND TIME WITH GOD! In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, I know we have a lot of little ones as well as mommies and daddies who are worried and sometimes scared. It would be good to take some time as we’re preparing to go back to school to pray to God for our protection and safety of us and our loved ones, as well as read scripture and find the promises that God gives us. Here are a few to start with:

Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6; Psalm 28:7; Psalm 73:26; Matthew 11:28-29; John 3:16;  Jeremiah 29:11; Isaiah 40:29-31; Philippians 4:19; Romans 8:37-39; John 14:27; Romans 10:9

scavengerhunt

*HAVE A DAY TRIP! Money is always tight at Christmas but there are things you can find to do in your community that are either free or cheap frugal. In our area, we have Bays Mountain, The Hands On Museum, The Creeper Trail, Blowing Rock, and more. Create an adventure and maybe even a scavenger hunt to go along with your day trip!

thanks

*SEND THANK YOU CARDS! I’m sure your kids got 100 gifts that they didn’t need and they need to be grateful for all of them. You can make your cards homemade or buy store bought. Either way, get your kids to write “thank you” cards for all the awesome gifts they got this year. While we’re at it, let’s all write thank you cards for the gifts we received. After all, it’s the right thing to do.

nolights

*SPEND TIME WITH ELECTRICITY! I really hope you can do this without your power out that way you can stay warm. I think it’s good to take a day and light some candles and turn off every appliance (other than your heater) and find things to do that don’t require electricity. Read books together, tell stories, and play board games together. Some of my and JR’s most quality time is when there is no power and we have nothing to distract us. Who says you have to actually be without power to enjoy it? Also, if you’ve got gas logs or a fire place, light them up! It will feel even more like a day without electricity!

giveaway

*GIVE STUFF AWAY! Take time to clean out your and your kids closets, including toys, and decide what stuff you can give away. At Christmas, we often receive so much more than we’ll ever need and there are those out there that are without at Christmas time. Take advantage of the generosity people having given you and give back to others. Box up your blessings and bring to a local clothes closet or even a food pantry for food items. Bless others this Christmas!

clean

*CLEAN! Hey, if your kids need something to do you can always hand them a mop and duster. Seriously, if they’re old enough to help and not cause a bigger mess I say let them. It teaches them good work ethic early plus gives you some help along the way.

Here are my ideas on ways to fill your time over Christmas break. Have fun and enjoy the time off with your little ones and your spouse, too!

Any suggestions or other ideas on how to have fun over Christmas break?

 

Merry Christmas to You and Yours! December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to You and Yours!

Christmas Card Final6

Love- The Linkous Family

 

Thoughts on Christmas Eve December 24, 2012

When I think of Christmas, Jesus’ birth is always the first thing that comes to mind. Our precious Savior was born into this world to take away the sins that we brought upon ourselves. It just humbles me so to think of his humble beginnings. While Jesus is at the beginning of my Christmas time thoughts, I also think about Mary, especially today. It’s Christmas Eve and I wonder what she was thinking. Give or take a few hours, Mary was traveling with her husband, Joseph, while carrying her precious baby, knowing labor was coming soon. I know in my mind the things I thought the night before I had Emma were nothing compared to what the virgin mother of Christ was feeling. I can only imagine her fears and worries along with the comfort and peace given to her by her heavenly Father. I also have to imagine what a place it would be to know that the creator of Heaven and Earth, the God of all things, had chosen ME to be the mother of Christ. Just wow. In honor of the woman who said “yes” to bringing our Savior into the world, I wanted to share the lyrics to one of my favorite Christmas songs:

Mary did you know that your baby boy would some day walk on water?

Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?

This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man?

Mary did you know that your baby boy would calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?

And when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Oh Mary did you know

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will walk again.

The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?

This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I AM

I have to think there are a few other thoughts that Mary could have been asked that Mark Lowry didn’t include. These questions tug at the heart of this mother and believe that Mary made a sacrifice I’m not sure I ever could. She watched her Son die for the sins of others. My heart breaks for her in knowing that the cost of her salvation was through her own Son. It’s a powerful thought and a heartbreaking one all at the same time. She raised her Son not knowing when or how, but knowing that one day He would pay the price to redeem this broken world. As a mother, you never want your children to die before you do. You want them to live long and healthy lives. Lives that bring joy to God and to others, too. To know that Mary lived years past her own Son and without her husband breaks my heart. I cannot imagine the agony every night in knowing this.

In the same breath, I cannot imagine the comfort and peace given to her. God chose Mary to be the mother of Christ and knew that she would be the one who would take on this role. She would be the one who would not lose faith. She would be the one who would continue to walk the path despite how her heart broke. She would be the one who could see the greater good even through her heartache and pain. That one day again, she would see her Son, and so would others, thanks to His selfless love shown for us on the cross. I have to believe as a mother, you couldn’t be prouder of your child than Mary was. No greater love has been shown than the love shed on the cross.

This is what I think about at Christmas. What about you?

 

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie December 21, 2012

Emma loves to sleep once she finally gets there. Getting there is over half the battle at the Linkous house. She’s always so worried she’ll miss something. I tell her over and over that I will wake her- I even promise it. I don’t think she believes me but oh well. I can only do what I can do. What I can do is work on her nighttime sleepwear and share with you some tips on what works and what doesn’t (at least at the Linkous house). I hope this helps you out as you find out what works for you and yours.

IMG_0508

IMG_0542

As an infant, my favorite sleep attire for Emma was the footed pajamas that buttoned all the way up. They covered her from head to toe and also unsnapped so we could change her diapers without undressing her. If they were fleece, they sealed the deal. We had fleece footed and button up all the way pajamas growing out of our ears. I couldn’t get enough of them. They were perfect until Emma hit about 11-12 months old. Once she started walking around, they became a hazard. It didn’t matter if they had rubber on the bottom or “traction pads”. If she slid once, she slid another twenty times. We’re just now starting to give them a shot again. My thoughts as of now is they’re perfect all the way up to crawlers and then aren’t good again until your child walks well enough not to slid all over the place.

swaddle

As an infant, Emma also loved to be swaddled so we purchased every Halo sleep sack we could find on sale. She loved these. We kept her in them up until she was about 4-5 months old and kept her in swaddle blankets until she was about 6-7 months old. Our favorite swaddle blankets are the Aden & Anais brand. They are PERFECT for swaddling. They are perfect for blankets in general. We still keep one in Emma’s diaper bag for when we need a comfy blanket and we’re out and about. If your child likes to be swaddled, these two things are a must. Also, don’t try to figure out on your own when you’re child is done being swaddled. Emma told us when she was done and we rolled with it. Up until then, we just swaddled away.

photo-53

As a toddler, we’ve grown to love the two-piece sets. Emma really likes to play in the mornings sans pants and we can compromise. She keeps the shirt on but we take the pants off. She also sweats a lot during the night so the two-piece sets are a little bit thinner and more breathable. Another pro? They can easily be considered a day time outfit so they can be worn then, too, and not just at night. That’s a big winner there. We have a few pieces that are fleece bottoms that we wear on extra cold nights. They’re so stinkin’ cute. They also double as long underwear when it’s real cold outside. I love things that have multiple purposes.

As a toddler, we’ve also starting keeping clothes that can double as a back up outfit OR pajamas in her diaper bag. From time to time, we’re out later than planned or we forget to pack her pjs, so having these around help out a lot. It’s good to know that she has bedtime clothes with her and doesn’t have to sleep in jeans. Seriously, who is comfortable sleeping in jeans? No one. Unless they’re pajama jeans. I’ve heard they’re comfortable sleep pants which leads me to believe they’re NOT meant to wear out and about. Sorry.

photo-54

As a toddler, we have removed socks from the bedtime line up. Emma will wear socks but only if shoes are tied on tightly and there’s no way to remove them. They offer too much entertainment for her and end up just being a waste of time. If we’re going out and she’s in her pajamas, we’ll keep them on but by the time we arrive at our location, they’re off. It’s like magic.

Another thing we’ve done throughout the past 16 months is find bedtime attire that is seasonal. Right now, we’re wearing a lot of Christmas trees, Santa Clauses, and snowflakes. In a few months, we’ll be sticking with snowflakes but adding in some hearts and four leaf clovers. We get all these things 1-2 years in advance so we NEVER, EVER pay full price. EVER. It’s cool to be seasonal. It’s not cool to pay $10 on each outfit to be seasonal.

These are how we do night time at the Linkous house and what works for us.

What works for you? Any additional tips?

Also, be sure to visit our Facebook page to take our poll on next week’s Fashion Friday topic. See you there!