Tuesday, April 28, 2015

First birthday party: Pearl in One-derland

My baby is one!
I love planning parties, so I had a great time planning Pearl's first birthday bash. We gave Pearl a really cute Babylit "Alice in Wonderland" board book for Christmas and that was the inspiration for this party--only we decided to call it Pearl in One-derland, since she is one now!

I created this sweet invitation for the party with some Alice in Wonderland motifs.

For decorations, I teamed up with a couple of great friends who lent me all their treasures. The decorated mason jars, burlap, and tulle are from my brother and sister-in-law's wedding and another almost sister-in-law's bridal shower (we've been passing them around for all the different events!).

Juno got the Babylit "Jabberwocky" book for Christmas, so we pulled it out for the mantel!

Pearl's special smash cake was set on a dark green flower pot turned upside down (it looks like a little toadstool!) We hung a banner with her name above the table and scattered tulle pompoms across the table and burlap runner. I had the book I made of Pearl's birth photos out for guests to look at, along with the special book that her three older sisters collaborated on and her Alice in Wonderland book.

The Alice in Wonderland book is set on a little wooden chair, reminiscent of the one Alice fell into on her way down the rabbit hole.


These jars reminded me of the "Drink me" jars and bottles.

To welcome guests, I made this sign post: "Pearl in One-derland; wrong way; this way; that way; over there!" I set it on another wooden chair next to a stack of old books tied with a gold ribbon.

And here's the birthday girl with her proud parents!

Pearl had so much fun being the center of attention and really, really loved her smash cake! She ate about half of that fairly large cake. I guess she got my sweet tooth. It's been a fun year, baby girl!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Choosing to live small (in a supersized world)

#livesmall #fullhousefullhearts www.smallhousehappyfamily.blogspot.com

We took it as a given that we would live in our first home for five years before moving on to something "bigger and better"--after all, that's what everyone does, right? 
Our house is typically considered a starter home, which means it's not very big or fancy. We had a two-year-old and a 10-month-old when we moved in. 
Five years went by.
Then another year.
Meanwhile, we'd had two more children but our house had not gotten any bigger. The five years were up, but we were just as happy as ever in our starter home.
Now what?
We don't want to uproot our children when they are much older and further along in school, so we didn't take this decision lightly; it feels like a now or never situation. Either we move into something bigger now, while they're still fairly young, or we commit to living in our smaller home until our children are out of the house.
We decided to stay put.
Our grandparents raised larger families in smaller houses; people all over the world still do. That's what I tell people (and myself, sometimes) when they wonder out loud if we're looking for something bigger.
It comes down to priorities. For us, our number one priority is staying in our neighborhood and that means staying in our smaller home for now. We've made the conscious choice that we want other things instead of a bigger house--and that's ok!

Friday, April 24, 2015

where you least expect it

Have you ever looked around your house at the end of the day and seen the disaster your kids left out before going to bed toys organized neatly in their baskets and bins and wished you had a playroom to contain it all?Ahhhh, haven't we all?!

The good news is, it's not so difficult to create a fun and functional playroom even in very small spaces! Most kids even enjoy having a small, cozy, dedicated space that they know is just for them.
We put our playroom in the closet under the stairs. It's fun because lots of times when people are over for the first time, they will open that door thinking it's a bathroom. Joke's on you--we don't have any bathrooms on the main level! I've also seen really awesome playrooms in finished crawlspaces or even in teepees in the corner of a larger room. Look around your house and find a space that you can dedicate to playing and learning--think outside the box!
Once you've found a space, you'll need to decide on storage. I repurposed a tall, shallow metal rack that had been in our backyard shed for our playroom. If you can, use vertical space to maximize floor space and minimize clutter. Magnetic wall paint is great for storing small magnetic toys like Matchbox cars; Ikea sells tons of great wall storage that is meant for the kitchen but works wonderfully in playrooms.
We've personalized our playroom a lot over the years, hanging calendars, my kids' star-of-the-week posters, and even a hand drawn Marauder's Map. We've also changed the regular lightbulb for a blacklight to create a psychedlic glow-in-the-dark room (that was so much fun!).
The great thing about our little playroom is that our kids know it is a place dedicated just to them and their imaginations--no adults allowed! (Unless they invite us in or we're cleaning it up for them, in which case we are welcome)
I'm of the opinion that less is definitely more when it comes to toys. Overfill your playroom with light-up, noise-making, battery-operated toys and you are well  on your way to having an unmanageable mess and overstimulated children. We keep ours very simple. Along with the toys on the rack, we have cushy pillows, a fort kit in a bag, and a toddler size plush armchair. Books go on the bottom two shelves of the rack; then we have a set of London blocks and a plush Madeleine dollhouse set; dominoes, plastic bingo boards, kids' science and trivia flashcards; building materials that click together (Lego's and some other stuff); a bin with kinetic sand and sand toys; super strong magnets and other magnetic things; a discovery bin with a makeup brush and some bones, shells, and "fossils" we found out by the Salt Lake; puzzles and kids' card games; a microscope; a set of stacking "desert" blocks.
My preferred toy storage is plastic pencil boxes and the heavy plastic bags that shower curtains and sheets come in. They fit perfectly on my metal wall rack and they are easy to get down and put away for the kids.
Of course, our playroom gets messy sometimes, but I just periodically go through and help the girls purge stuff--the less we have in there, the better!
What kind of playroom do you have?

After six years of blogging at my kids eat off the floor, I decided that I'm ready for a change! New blog, new look, new format. This blog will be less of a personal blog, but I'll still post about a little bit of everything: organization, parties, kids' activities, free local (SLC) field trips, and all things small living! I'll be reposting some of my favorite projects and ideas from my kids eat off the floor with updated pictures over the next few months, so feel free to share and pin them!
Some new features you should look for:
  • I added "Pin it" buttons to all images, so you can easily pin pictures directly from the post.
  • My social media accounts links are in the sidebar, so if you don't already follow me, you can :)
  • My obsession with polka dots, stripes, black and gold continues
  • There's a contact form here in case you want to shoot me an email
Thanks for stopping by!