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Man Cave: Ultimate Father’s Day Gift

16 Jun

That’s right.  Eric got a man cave for Father’s Day this year.  When we were deciding whether or not to buy a house 18 months ago, Eric’s one stipulation was that he was allowed to buy a Playseat with steering wheel for video games and that he have a place to put it.  Well, we bought the playseat.  Heck, we even bought a 46″ TV to go with it.  But unfortunately, we never found the right place to put the seat. After it being shoved behind Matthew’s playhouse for the past 6 months, I finally decided to do something about it.

We have this little room off of the garage.  Eric always called it his “man room”, but instead of using it, he shoved a bunch of half-empty paint cans, old tools, and leftover renovation materials in it.  So I decided it needed to be a “real” man room.  We spent 2 days cleaning it out. My only stipulation for this project was that I spend no money.  We have tons of other stuff that has to get done, and this is definitely not a necessity.  Plus, we have plenty of paint, materials, and decor items from previous projects just lying around.

This is what I started with:

Let’s take a look now, shall we?!

The door to the room started tan and grimy.  I primed and painted a bright white, but it seemed too glaring, so I added a bit of pop with some wooden numbers spray-painted oil rubbed bronze. Now Eric has no excuse to forget my or Matthew’s birthday!

The ceiling got a fresh coat of white.  The walls got the last of some Rockport Grey that we used in the living room.  We realized this space would also be perfect for when Eric works from home or needs to take a call without hiding in the closet to get away from Matty, so we hung his insanely huge white board so he has a place to track stocks, make notes while taking conference calls, and scribble video  game notes.

We recently bought this shelf at IKEA for Matty’s outdoor toys, but it didn’t quite work out.  I was happy to find it a new home here.  Eventually, we’ll need to get him a more comfy chair, but this works for now.

Eric has been to a lot of races, so I took some of his old tickets and put them in a frame we already had. Perfecto!

The red cabinet is one of my favorite things in here.  We inherited it with the house, but it was grimy and green.  I did invest $12 for a few cans of spray paint, but it was worth it.  Eric had to step in to run coax and some electrical, but he very happily obliged.  And before you worry that he’ll freeze or burn up, he’s got a portable air conditioner and space heater, and things are very cool in there now.

Have you ever painted brick? It’s so fun! (Sarcasm font, please!).  And this seat? No, you wouldn’t be able to find a place for it in your house either. 🙂

This IS my favorite thing in the room.  I took a program from the F1 race Eric went to in 2001, and pulled out 2 pages to frame.  I used a textured cardstock as a mat, and it really makes a huge difference.

We still have plans for a new light fixture and a rug.  We may also redo the entire garage floor, but um yeah…that’s going to be a while.  In the meantime, Eric’s definitely enjoying his new space!

And just because:

man caveAnd just to wrap up our Father’s Day fun:

We had a nice visit with family (3 generations of great men, here)

Due to said family trips, Matty was all tired out, so he slept in until 9! We let Eric sleep until 10:30 while we ran out for donuts and breakfast.

Oh yes, I will reward him with stacks of donuts for a good night’s sleep! I will make it rain donuts for a solid 8 hours of slumber. Jk (kind of).  To his credit, he did eat one sprinkle, and then ate all of his breakfast.  It took him all day to eat half of the donut–he would take a tiny, tiny bite, then place it down just so, then run around yelling “donut”.  Crazy kid.  And yes, he’s wearing Eric’s earplug.

We got Eric some cookies and a bottle of wine for the man cave, and Matthew made him a footprint picture and an “All About Daddy
questionnaire–a tradition we started last year.

This has got to be Eric’s best Father’s Day ever! Ok, ok, he’s only got one to compare to, but still.

Happy Memorial Day!

27 May


It’s been a crazy weekend. Crazy good, but still crazy. Matthew was able to experience his first parade this morning, though he may have been more enthralled with the steps, of course.  He loved the trucks, and spent the walk back to the car asking for “more chrucks”. Oh, and he loved the fact that “Pop Pop” went with him.



The day before, Eric and I went to the Indy 500.  Aside from our shortcuts to and from the track being closed for “security reasons”, a major road into the track being closed for “security reasons’, waiting in traffic for an hour, losing our parking spot, and waiting almost 2 hours in line just to get into the track for “security reasons”, it was a great day!  Apparently, at one point in the day, security officials were measuring coolers, like physically measuring coolers. FOR WHAT PURPOSE?! You can take whatever size bag you want in. They weren’t even really checking bags. But damn you and your 16 x 16 cooler with too much ice!

Thousands of people missed the start of the race, and we witnessed more than one fight almost break out from people upset in line.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, once it got close to racetime, they quit checking bags and coolers at all, and once the race started, they just opened the gates and didn’t even take tickets, so anyone could just walk in.  Obviously those unnecessary security procedures did their job…(sarcasm hand).


This picture was taken about 11:30.  Aka, we moved about 250 feet in 45 minutes.  Our line had no end in sight, and the line to the right is the line to other gate, which had doubled-back on itself.  Thankfully, we did make the start of the race and had great pit views.


We changed our seats this year, and although it was fun to see the pits, we couldn’t see much else, so we’ll be changing next year.  We also had great weather.  This is first year that I’ve gone where it hasn’t been 90 degrees.


And because Saturday wanted in on some of the holiday weekend action, we found ourselves at bachelor and bachelorette parties for Eric’s sister and her future hubby. Unfortunately, due to lack of a babysitter for the kiddo and travel to Indianapolis, I missed out on some of the festivities, but did join a group of lovely ladies for afternoon of wine and painting.


It’s an awesome idea–an unpainted canvas with a picture lightly sketched on, a few mini-lessons throughout the session, and a glass or two (or three, if that’s your thing…) of wine.  Voila! Anyone can paint.  It really was a lot of fun.




Hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Memorial Day (or Decoration Day, if you’re totally old school).  Apparently it’s been Memorial Day since WWII, but I totally learned Decoration Day in school.

Tales From the Crib: Month 19

18 Apr

month 19

Puke & Poop. Poop & Puke. That about sums up my month.  See you next month! Laters, baby.

Just kidding! April Fools! Did I get you? Don’t worry, I have lots more to share.  It’s true most of my month was about puke and poop though.

I got sicky.  Like super puke sicky. At Grandma’s.  I was going to stay there all night while Mommy and Daddy shampooed the carpets and did “house stuff”.  And juuuuust when they got done, I threw up on Grandma.  So Mommy and Daddy came back to get me.

So obviously I threw up all over the carpets (you saw that coming, right?). And my carseat. And Mommy.  Daddy was worthless help.  Mommy asked for a towel, and Daddy stood up, stretched, took a drink of coffee, and meandered to get a towel, then came back with a shirt asking “will this work?”  I thought he might die in that moment. He did take care of the car puke, though, so I think he got some super-daddy points back.

Then of course Mommy got sicky.  She puked. Fever. Chills. There was no milk for like 24 hours.  I’m traumatized (and back to nursing 12 times/day, yay!).  Mommies aren’t supposed to be weak.  She couldn’t even cook me breakfast.  So Daddy, being the big help that he is, called in reinforcements.  Grandma & Grandpa!  That’s right, Daddy went to work and I sat on the floor eating stale goldfish crackers from under the couch for three hours while I waited for Grandma.  (I’m surprised Daddy is still alive).  So Grandma picked me up, and I got to spend the next day with Aunt Amy.  We took her doggy to the doctor. It was so fun.

Then Mommy picked me up the next day.  We’re up to 800 miles in 4 days, people.  I think we need to move.  Do you hear me Daddy’s Work Boss? Moooooove.

Oh, and did I mention my sickness came down Easter weekend?

Fear not, the Easter Bunny fears no puke and came anyway.

Easter morning

easter morning 2

So we’ve covered the puke.  Where’s the poop come in, you may be asking.

That’s right. I’m potty trained. Well. I was. For like a whole week (that’s like years in toddler time, btw).  Until the whole sickness thing went down.  Now, I’m not going anywhere near that room.  There’s Mommy-puke in there.  Apparently, I’m not allowed to wear my “Daddy pants” if I don’t go in the potty, so we’re at quite the impasse.  I fear Mommy may win this battle.

Anywho. On to the fun stuff. Did you know my Aunt Amy is getting married? She is.  I get to be in the wedding.  I think it’s going to be much like this.

There was a bridal shower for her.  I wasn’t supposed to go, but surprise surprise, I wasn’t feeling well, so I got to stay with Mommy.  We were only going to stop by for an hour, but we stayed for 4 hours! I totally know how to party likes it’s 1999.


You want to know what else is fun?  The big bed!

That’s right ladies and gents, I have found my way back to the big bed.  Marathon nursing and the big bed…ahhhh, it feels good to reclaim some of my youth.  And this folks, is a battle Mommy isn’t going to win.

The Score

Mommy: 1
Matty: 1
Daddy: just happy to have not been killed during The Great Sickness of 2013

Easter Basket Goodies

28 Mar

easter basket 1

As I was putting together Matty’s Easter basket this year, I started thinking about the origin of the Easter Basket.  Okay, more specifically, I was thinking, when did we get to a point when we think it’s okay to give kids a huge basket of candy?

Did you know:

  • in 2011, Americans consumed 7 billion pounds of candy
  • in 2012, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy
  • the average 7 oz chocolate bunny has 1,050 calories; that’s how many calories a 4-5 year old needs for the whole day, and MORE than a 2-3 year old needs for the entire  day
  • most Easter baskets easily contain over 3,500 calories
  • the bacteria that causes tooth decay and plaque feed off of sugar
  • candy is full of artificial dyes, which have been proven to be a carcinogen (cancer-causing); even the FDA acknowledges this; furthermore, these dyes are linked to hyperactivity and inattentiveness in kids
  • most sweets contain high fructose corn syrup; hfcs does serious damage to the liver, which affects metabolism, thyroid, kidneys, heart, and of course leads to obesity; it’s also been proven to contain traces of mercury
  • “Spikes & dips” caused by eating too much sugar can take days to recover from; it’s best to be sure to eat protein with all sugar to help stabilize blood sugar

I could continue, but you get the point.  Are we a strictly sugar-free, candy-free, dye-free household? No, but we’re working on it.  And we’re conscious of our choices.  Which means we couldn’t just hand over a candy-filled basket to our little guy, no matter what fun traditions we remember as a kid. But we did include some fun treats and tasty, healthier choices.

So, what did we include?

easter basket

  • Spring-themed coloring book
  • recycled tree colored pencils
  • playdough
  • bubble bucket
  • Silly Putty (it’s egg-shaped!)
  • Melissa and Doug play fruit set (found on clearance for $6 at a local store!)
  • Bunny marshmallow sack (gluten free, kosher marshmallows found at Whole Foods)
  • Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • Cheddar crackers “carrot” (Use Goldfish or Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies)

I’ve heard the argument, “we had candy when we were kids, and we’re okay”. Or something along those lines. And it’s true.  But there’s more dyes, more sugar, bigger servings, and high fructose corn syrup wasn’t even really around 40 years ago.  Kids aren’t going to “miss” what they don’t expect or don’t know.  And I think kids appreciate the value of a few small pieces of candy or chocolate more than they appreciate a whole basket full; it’s the theory of having too many toys–kids get overwhelmed and get a mindset of more, more, more and are never fulfilled.

I’m really not a buzzkill. I promise! I’m fun! Look, I made a marshmallow bunny and a cracker carrot!

basket stuffers

1. For the carrot, use a decorator’s or pastry bag.  Fill with cheddar crackers. Twist top and tie with green ribbon.

2. For the bunny, use a regular treat bag. Fill with marshmallows. Seal with tape.  Add wiggly eyes, a pom pom nose, paper whiskers, a ribbon bow, paper ears, and draw a mouth with a Sharpie.

Pssst. Looking for a few healthier candy options, Giselle @ myhealthyhappyhome wrote a post earlier this week outlining some good choices. Click on over!

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