Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Diva Zone

**Warning: I do not edit my photos because I am lazy and really have no clue how.  I apologize in advance for amateur "photography," but clearly I have been too busy building a stage ;-) **

What do you do when your daughter is a diva, your husband can build most anything, and you have an ugly fireplace you want to hide?  Build a stage for your kids!

I have to admit that this stage began as an idea and become something WAY cooler than I thought it would be.  When I first pitched the idea to my husband he wasn't sure if he was too keen on it, but thankfully his love to create and build got the better of him and he was on the Internet searching some HGTV stage ideas.

Not only can Paul build, but he is very logical and resourceful.  He wanted to make sure the space the stage took up was not going to be completely wasted, so he actually made 6 cubby holes for me to slide baskets in.  I figured this would be an ideal place to store instruments, costumes, and other such diva necessities.

See that little basket under there??  
Now, no stage is complete without a solid set of curtains.  I bought a double curtain rod over at Home Depot, and then headed on over to Hobby Lobby to pick out my fabrics.  I knew I wanted the curtains to be fun and playful.  I love how the blue back curtain fabric is light and whimsical, and how the chevron yellow adds a playful design.

I have to be honest here-I do not sew.  I didn't sew ANY of the curtains, but instead I used Stitch Witchery, which is my new best friend.  Once the curtains were up I felt like they were missing something, but I couldn't put my finger on it.  I knew I wanted them longer, but wasn't quite sure how to do this.  A second trip back to Hobby Lobby and Belle was begging me to buy the sparkly pink tassel edging you see.  I was hesitant, and worried it would look like way too much color.

I need to give my kid more credit for her creative eye.  In my opinion, this pink edging was THE key component in pulling this entire thing off.  I added some to the bottom of my chevron curtains and then had enough left to wrap it around the bottom of the stage--which ended up being WAY more amazing than I expected.

The last component was the paint.  I knew I had to go more neutral since I had the bright blue, yellow, and pink.  I settled on gray, but knew I wanted to add something to keep it playful.   I was thrilled to find Valspar Paint Crystals.  What a phenomenal product!  You add these crystals to your can of paint and they add an amazing and subtle hint of glitter, without looking like it was dumped on top.  The sparkle is enough to make the stage fun without making it cheap.  The funny thing is that I used an entire bag in one quart of paint, when they suggest one bag per gallon.  My philosophy is "Go big, or go home!"

Mixing in the glittery goodness
Do you see just the subtle hint of sparkle??

So, there it is!  A little fabric, paint, and wood and we have a stage I am insanely proud of!  Belle and Evie already love it, and I know it will continue to be a hit.  Now we need to stock up on some instruments!

Please admire the completed project while ignoring the vacuum in the corner!
Oh, and I almost forgot!  The sign on top of the mantle was an old framed poster Paul had and didn't like.  I covered it up with some chalkboard paint and quickly scribbled "Thompson Theater" on it.  Small little touch, but I think it's kinda cute!  Now I am on the look-out for some of those theater drama masks to put on either side!

I also anticipate some stage lighting soon from Paul.  There is no possible way he is going to be able to leave this stage alone without adding his own creative flare....although I might need to say something if he tries to bring in a hazer!

Already working on her microphone dips
Ta-da!  Time to take a bow!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why My Kids and I Need TV

Before I get going on this post, let me preface first by saying that I have no judgment on those of you who don't allow your kids to watch TV, play video games, or use an iPad.  I applaud you and truly think we all need to do what works for us.

I know what the professionals say....keep children "screen-free" until the age of two, but I couldn't disagree more.  In my home screen-free would be be scary.  It would be weird, and my child would not know what a pyramid was or the Spanish word for "jump" without a little Dora in her life.

I am not a lazy parent.  I think there is a misconception that parents who let their kids watch TV are lazy.  Don't get me wrong, obviously making your kid sit for 8 hours in front of the tube while you drink coffee and eat bon-bons is probably a little too hands off (in my opinion).  However, I work hard in my home playing chef, nurse, house cleaner, dishwasher, referee, play mate. and safety patrol.

There are just times that mentally and physically I have nothing left, so I set the kids in their chairs with a string cheese and turn on Mickey Mouse.  And, no, during this time I don't always do housework.  I often take a moment to check my Facebook, my email, or even lay on the couch and rest my eyes a second.

You see, sometimes my patience needs to hit the reset button, my energy needs a refuel, and often my parenting skills need a moment to remind my brain what good ones look like.  Could I set the kids up playing or crafting?  Sure, but that usually means break time is spent thinking about the mess they are making and whether or not I have enough  energy to get up and stop Belle from painting on her sister's face (nah, it's washable, right?)

Some still might be saying that I am kind of lazy, and honestly, I am just someone who knows my limits.  I am not nice when I am exhausted and have a toddler throwing tantrum after tantrum because I won't let her stand on the table and try to hang from the light (yes, this happens).  I am also not very cheery when I have just spent time cleaning floors and macaroni and cheese is thrown all over the kitchen.  I don't get too thrilled when I'm running late and my three year old decides the only pair of shoes she will wear are the only ones we cannot find at that particular moment.  When I allow myself mental breaks I tend to be much more gracious in these areas.

All of us can relate to the moments we bust out "scary mommy."  Man, how I hate those moments.  I am disgusted with myself and am sad for my kids whenever she rears her ugly head....and it is ugly!  When I know those moments are coming I know I need a moment to check out, and my kids need to just sit still for 30 minutes (or more...oops!), not make a mess, not ask for anything, and give me a moment to put myself in check.

Now, this may be a stretch, but sometimes I REALLY think my kids NEED the TV too!  Sometimes I think playing all day nonstop is exhausting!  I mean, come on, building forts, coming up with Barbie scenarios, and trying to find new places to hide in hide and seek takes loads of energy!  Sometimes I really think Belle just needs a moment to sit and do some mindless activity.  If I need a moment to refuel my energy, why wouldn't my kids??

As far as the toddler goes, I basically just need her to sit still for more than two seconds so that she isn't trying to hurl herself off the couch or throw her hands in the toilet after her sister forgot to flush.  When Evie is awake I have to be mentally aware of where she is and what she is doing 150% of the time.  Sometimes just sitting her in front of the screen (which will keep her attention for more than all of 37.5 seconds) allows me the time to give my brain a mental break or the ability to actually blow dry my hair or empty the dishwasher.

Also, I have to say that there is just something truly amazing about watching my daughter perform and sing her heart out to all of the songs she has learned by watching Barbie Princess and the Popstar.  Without some good ol' screen time, I may have never known that my 3 year old really has an inner diva dying to release and get out!  Seriously, if this doesn't convince you that TV isn't all THAT bad, nothing will!