Sunday, March 31, 2013

I meant to wish you all a very happy Easter this morning when I was up bright and early with some insomnia, but I spent my time wisely by blogging a bit, making origami bunnies on youTube, watching hair tutorials, and enjoying some paska (traditional Ukrainian Easter bread with raisins) with milk. Yup, it was a very productive morning. Then I ran out of time and had to get ready for church, but here I am, back at it before the clock strikes midnight! :)

I hope everyone's Easter was amazing, and judging from what I saw on Instagram today, everyone was all dolled up in their fancy spring clothes in every pretty shade of pastel and they all looked so festive! We enjoyed Easter with my in-laws after church, then headed home for a nap (just me, cause I couldn't take it anymore), then a walk to the kids' school for some basketball and playground time, and then another Easter egg hunt indoors to cap off the weekend. I still can't believe how much candy my kids consumed over the last two days. It is kind of blowing my mind. They are insatiable! :)

By the way, I'm tmartsenyuk on Instagram if you'd like to follow me there.


DIY salt dough crosses

I made salt dough crosses recently in honor of Christ's sacrifice on the cross for us, and it was a really fun project to do. I thought I'd share it with you today. The dough is super easy and can be used for all kinds of projects. Whoever wants to give it a try, the recipe is:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water

Combine all three ingredients and knead the dough a bit until it's smooth. Roll out to desired thickness on parchment paper to prevent sticking and cut your shapes out. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 2 hours. (They don't get bigger or smaller in the oven, so the thickness you roll it out to is the thickness they will stay.) I used a straw to cut out holes at the top of each one so we could hang the crosses as ornaments. These would even make a fun Christmas activity, and could be hung as a garland afterwards.

We had some time yesterday between egg hunts to sit down and paint some of our crosses. I had originally made these as a Sunday School craft, but I had plenty left over for us to paint as well.


Spring break has been good to us

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I can tell how much the daily grind has gotten to me lately by how much I'm enjoying not having a schedule this week. It's spring break, and all the kids are out of school and home with me. We have all slept in every single day, and our mornings are so nice and slow, just the way I like them. Ben didn't go to one soccer practice (we usually have three) and there are no school drop-offs and pick-ups to worry about.

We just bought a waffle maker at the beginning of the week, and have made them three days in a row this week. It's so much fun! I usually stay away from buying all those appliances that just gather dust on the shelf, but this one was definitely worth it. I love me a good waffle, and now I can be sure there are no preservatives in mine. We've been using a whole grain mix, which tastes surprisingly good and is so filling, and we top our waffles with fresh strawberries or frozen berries and powdered sugar if we're out of fresh ones.

It is definitely a good start to the day!

By the way, do you love how Mila is unloading the dishwasher behind Ben? I have two helpers in the kitchen now! That girl has been so eager to earn money by doing chores, and unloads the dishwasher for me every chance she gets--I'm so thankful for her sweet disposition and her eagerness to help. I can tell she's going to be a hard worker.



One of our favorite Easter traditions--dyeing Easter eggs. It's not Easter if there are no eggs on the counter. This year we waited until a week before Easter, which is pretty good for us, considering last year we had about a month to go still. This year we marbled our eggs. We added olive oil to each cup, which left white spots on the eggs during their first dunk. We let them dry, then picked a different color for the second coat for a cool marbled effect. They actually look like they have three colors and are so pretty!

Aren't they pretty? We ended up with three cracked eggs during boiling, so we got only nine eggs out of the whole thing. I have the cups of dye still, so maybe more eggs will be in order tomorrow?

We're doing a neighborhood egg hunt tomorrow and then another one at my parents' house later on, and I'm looking forward to enjoying some Easter candy from the kids' baskets. :)


The girlies' room

I got some pictures of the girls' room the other day, though I've been so disappointed with my camera lately. It's been taking really blurry pictures no matter what focusing setting I try. At first I thought I was imaging it, or that I had it set on some weird settings, but lately I've realized it really is taking horrible pictures and it's not me. Once Easter is over I'm taking it in to see what's going on, and hopefully it will be an easy fix and I can start taking decent pictures again.

So the room is basically done. That big pink dresser is just too big for the space, but it's staying for now, though, and we really do need the storage space. The only thing that's not working is there's just no room for the girls' books. I have them in the closet right now, but they're too high for Olivia to reach easily and too hard for her to get down. I may just get that bookcase I was talking about and store their books in the play room.

I haven't found the perfect curtains yet, so that part isn't quite done yet, and I don't love the duvet covers either, but I didn't want to rush into spending money on bedding that I didn't absolutely love. I thrifted both of these Ikea duvet covers a while back and was thinking of giving one away, when I realized it'd be a good way to tie the two beds together to put one on each bed. I learned how to make some button holes and added some buttons to the bottom to stop the comforters from sliding out, and we were good to go! I just love those beds--they are my favorite. One is vintage and one is Pottery Barn, and I don't mind that they're different. I love the eclectic look that's going on in here!

I put up a couple Ikea shelves on the wall and displayed some of the girls' things on them. That pretty strand of lights came all the way form Thailand, and was gifted to Mila by my sister and brother-in-law when they got back from their six-month honeymoon around the world. I received the Oliver Jeffers book at my baby shower, but I love them in the girls' room for now. I got the zebra rug out of storage and gave it a good scrubbing in the bathtub (it used to be in Olivia's nursery when she was a baby) and it's as good as new now.

The needlepoint of Holland came from an antique store we stopped at on a road trip to Washington, the little floral painting was thrifted, as was the ceramic bird, and the apple poster is from the Fine Little Day shop.

Olivia's friends...

...and Mila's friends.

I found that vintage music box on Etsy for Mila's birthday last year. The three little girls spin as they rotate around the castle when the music plays. The Hello Kitty bank holds all of Mila's Squinkies and Zinkies.

Don't you just love how Mila's coach spelled her last name on her trophy (it's supposed to say Martsenyuk)? How many consonants is that in a row? Ha ha! She was so excited to get it, and it was rather disappointing that they couldn't get her name right. Now I think it's kind of funny, but I wasn't laughing at first! Oh, and their team name was the lightning sharks. Do those even exist?


We love Olivia around here

I've been MIA from this space for several weeks now, and every time I tell myself I'll sit down and edit some photos once I get the kids in bed, I inevitably get too tired by then and get stuck on the couch instead. Frankly, this pregnancy is taking its toll on me, and I'm definitely feeling it. I don't know how people in their 30s and 40s do it; I am in awe of them. I end up exhausted most days from the day's activities, and it doesn't help that I have a love/hate relationship with sleep, which complicates things so much more.

Some nights I wake up several times an hour, other nights I wake up in the middle of the night sometime and can't get back to sleep till morning. My bed has become a torture chamber of sorts. My pelvis hurts the worst at night because laying on my side for that long puts a lot of pressure on that side of my hip, so I have to switch sides often to lessen the pain. I also have to do it super, super slow or else the pain is just too strong, so I feel like a grandma who can't even turn in bed. Some nights are better than others, but the pain wakes me up frequently and I end up waking up in the morning, not well-rested, but needing a nap from the get-go. No fun.

I sleep with a pillow between my knees to keep my hips in a neutral position, and it helps so much. It used to be a regular pillow folded in half, but now I just stole a cushion off the couch because it's thicker. I also have to have a pillow under my belly for support, otherwise I wake up with a horrible backache. So that means every time I wake up to turn to the other side, I have to move both pillows with me before I can go back to sleep again.

I turn into such a baby when I'm pregnant, I swear. I feel like I'm whining just typing this stuff, but I am definitely not a fan of being pregnant, if you haven't noticed yet. :) Not my cup of tea, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

All that to say, I haven't had much time between napping and sluggishly getting through my days to blog. The good part is I've had plenty of opportunities to read when I'm just too exhausted to do much else, or I need to get tired enough to fall asleep (reading is always awesome for that), or I need to lie down because I'm having cramps again, which I get when I've overexerted myself. I'm a couple hundred pages away from finishing War and Peace, and the book is really moving right now. I hate that it took at least 500 pages into it for the story to really grab me, and now it's almost over when it's good. I'm kind of ready for some other subject matter, though, so I won't complain.

I wanted to share these adorable books with you guys that are a favorite in our household. We love the Olivia books! Olivia just loves that the little pig has her name, and her antics are just too cute, for kids and adults alike. My favorite part is how they combine drawn illustrations with real photos or famous artwork, and red, black, and white are prevalent in each book. Even the humor is meant to be funny for adults as well, which is pretty brilliant. I think we have every Olivia book there is.

So tell me, what are some favorites at your house? I would love to hear.


Some Etsy favorites

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I've been spending a little time on Etsy lately, and I thought I'd share some items from my favorites folder on there. There are so many great things on Etsy that there are always things sitting in my cart for months that aren't exactly in the budget. Some I get over and never buy and some I love for so long that I know I should just buy it. Here are some fun things I've come across.

1. Slippers / 2. Bear / 3. Pillow / 4. Ring / 5. Poster / 6. Circle print / 7. Dolls / 8. Stamps / 9. Tray / 10. Paint by number / 11. Necklace
The rubber stamp set looks like something my kids would love and could be used in many different ways, and I wouldn't mind that gold leaf tray for my bedroom either. The Little Red Riding Hood and Wolf dolls are actually a PDF sewing pattern, which would be such a fun project to work on in my spare time. So now I'm wondering, what was life like before we had Etsy? ;)