Project Olliblocks


This was supposed to be a Valentine project, a decoration/game the kids could get out every year during the holiday, but we missed the holiday by a couple weeks and I don't think EJ is going to let me pack the blocks away.

What do I do when there's a project I'd like to do but just haven't found the time to do? I call my friend Kimberly, fellow crafter, sewer and pinner, and we chat our way to completion. This one was quick and fun.

 We downloaded the pdf here, printed the characters off on sticker paper, adhered them to blocks and then sealed with mod podge.

EJ was excited to get crafty with us.

 She helped cut, peel and adhere.

The complete project probably took us around 45 minutes. I am quite happy with the result.

The End In Sight

neighbors house
It is amazing how much time and effort has resulted from the fire at our neightbor's house. We hope that what happened next door that night in late August will soon be a memory as the house is demolished and we are left with an empty lot.

lot for sale
Much improvement has been made on our house and the end of repairs and renovations is in sight.  The first floor repairs had been completed in December so our tenants could return. We got to see some of the changes first hand while visiting Pensacola.

The pantry ceiling was raised and a door with windows installed.

The back bathroom ceiling was raised, shower re-tiled and rainshower installed.

The back bedroom (where most of the fire damage occured) had the ceiling raised and new windows installed.


The repairs to the second floor (where most of the water damage occurred) were completed a few weeks after we visited. These are the pictures we recently received from our contractor.

exposed brick of kitchen fireplace
swapped fridge and stove
view into laundry room
laundry room
closet in back room
dining area
front porch
My favorite renovation to the whole project was the second floor porch added to the back of the house. Now the upstairs tenants have a place to grill while enjoying a beautiful view.

Seeing the house again just added to our desire to return to Pensacola someday. It was odd seeing other peoples furniture and belongings in a place I consider home but it's wonderful knowing that our fabulous tenants treat it like their own. It was also nice for EJ to change calling our "broken house" into our "fixed house."

Week 4 Menu
It has been a while since I've posted my meal plan for the week but after visiting a friend I used to cook with in Pensacola  (and her weekly menu text messages) I found the motivation to track of our meals again. Soon I won't need to think up a new menu and just click on a recipe.

Here is what we'll be eating this week.

Monday: Sesame Noodles with Napa Cabbage
Tuesday: Quesadillas (tortilla recipe), Black Bean and Veggie Soup (Holistic Mom's Cookbook, pg 19)
Wednesday: Manicotti
Thursday: Spinach-Mushroom Quiche
Friday: Panang Curry Shrimp
Saturday: Savory Vegetarian Rice (Holistic Mom's Cookbook, pg 59)
Sunday: Sauteed Scallops over Spaghetti Squash

As for desserts, I just may have to make some Rose and Coconut Cupcakes. The illustration above is divine!

Co-Sleeping Peace

I woke earlier than the others, a practice I've been doing more recently, and had the chance to capture a moment in our co-sleeping night. The picture shows it all. The love, peace and connection that is shared in bed.

Sharing the pillows and sheets isn't something I planned or researched when pregnant. It naturally occured when EJ was born in order to give us both a peaceful night sleep. I also credit the practice to why I could say at just a couple weeks old that CJ was sleeping through the night.

I was happy to find that there is a lot of positive research and views on the practice. If anyone is considering it these articles are interesting.

Seven Benefits of CoSleeping 

Confessions of an Accidental Bed Sharer

Three in a Bed: Why You Should Sleep With Your Baby

Happy sleeping!

PopPop's Fish Tank

Clean water and happy fish. The kids love to watch PopPop's fish tank.

Sweethearts Valentines

Valentines Day came up quickly this year. I'm used to having all of January to prepare for the holiday, but with birthday parties, traveling, and a second little one, the holiday was here before I knew it.

EJ has been looking forward to this heart day ever since her birthday celebrations were over. She is interested in the sequence of holidays and was excited to learn that Valentines Day follows her birthday. We got our valentine's box out of the garage and and she was thrilled to find lots of pinks and reds to decorate the house with.

This is the first year EJ is exchanging valentines with friends and classmates so I needed to figure out what she would give. Since we have been focusing on the reason we celebrate each holiday and teaching that to EJ, I thought we could incorporate that into her Valentines. 

We found that Valentines Day is more than just a commercial holiday about love, it has an interesting Christian history. Its namesake, Saint Valentine, was a Roman priest who lived in 200 AD with an emperor who persecuted the church and made and edict prohibiting the marriage of young people. Valentine stood up for the sanctity of marriage and was subsequently beheaded on February 14, 269 AD for that stance.

God has a lot to say about love in the Bible so we matched some of those verses to popular words and phrases you hear and find on candy hearts during this holiday.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 10:27-30
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

Jeremiah 31:3
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." 

Luke 10:27
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"

 I John 2:3 
And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 

Psalm 119:103
 How sweet are your words to my taste, 
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

John 14:15
 If you love me, keep my commands.

Jeremiah 33:3 
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you 
great and unsearchable things you do not know.

I printed the following image on card-stock paper and cut it out as toppers to our bags of candy hearts.

EJ filled up the bags with hearts, stapled the the Sweethearts message on top, and then signed the back with her name.

The Valentines were ready to be loaded up in her princess box and distributed at our Valentine party and ballet class.

Pensacola Beach Time

We were reminded once again why we love FL in the winter. It was the beginning of February and we could enjoy an afternoon at the beach.

The water was warm enough for EJ to continuously wade into the surf and fill up her bucket for L.

CJ hasn't had as much time on the beach as his big sister but he seemed just as happy and at home as she is. The sand and water didn't stop him from trying to go for a swim.

It's interesting to see EJ and her big sister instincts. CJ is so laid back he just goes along with the flow.

Mardi Gras Mambo

all ready for the parade
Not only did EJ get to attend Story Sprouts, our favorite storytime of ours at Ever'man, while in Pensacola, but she also got to celebrate a fun regional holiday while there. We have yet to find anywhere else that celebrates Mardi Gras the way the southern region does so I was excited to hear we would be visiting smack dab in the middle of the festivities.

The whole Story Sprouts time was themed around the holiday. They read books about Mardi Gras, decorated masks, and made "floats" to pull in the Ever'man Mardi Gras Mambo parade.

EJ watched many never ending bead throwing parades her first two years so she was very excited to be a part of one. She donned her mask, pulled her float, and threw beads at whoever would catch them.

What a fabulous way to celebrate the holiday!

Playing at Argon Park

I thought I had visited every one of Pensacola's parks while we were living there so I was surprised to find out there was one I had missed.

Aragon Park is nestled in the Aragon neighborhood just a couple minutes from downtown. A perfect mixture of climbing, swinging and pretending equipment.

EJ had been here before for play and a photo shoot with her friend N so I was excited to get to get to go with her.

Pensacola Bound

on the road again
One of the positives that has come out of the damage from our neighbor's house fire in FL is that we have had the opportunity to visit  Pensacola a bit more than originally planned. We decided to tag along with DaddyO for a trip south to see how the repairs were progressing. He turned what was supposed to be a quick weekend into a week of vacation . Our hope was that the repairs would be completed, we could sign a lease, and move renters in. We accomplished one of our three goals!

We stayed with our close friends and neighbors and EJ got every bit of her Nora time that she missed so much.

We hung out at Flounders and watched DaddyO play some beach volleyball.

Got crafty and made Valentines Day outfits.

Picked up gelato at Dolce.

Popsicles at Beach Pops.

And got to see the repairs to our house and sign a second floor tenant. It was a successful and relaxing trip to the city we love!

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