Snapshot of a Saturday Afternoon

Making Nice in the Midwest

Life in the blogosphere can appear pretty editorialized most of the time, depending on where you’re reading. I know I’m inundated with beautiful images of pristine homes with clean hard wood floors and elegant children’s toys, decadent doughnut-eating women with trim figures and made-up faces, and let’s not forget the $700 strollers filled with children wearing mid-level designer clothing. I honestly do love to look at those things— they’re pretty, escapist, and inspiring in a way, but a reality check every now and then is great for the soul!

So here’s my Saturday afternoon reality check. What did this Saturday look like? Well, it was very boring. And as wonderful as it was mundane. I thought I’d give you a peek into the reality of our perfectly normal and unexciting afternoon, with glimpses of our home, unstaged and not exactly photo ready. (Though I’ll be honest— this is actually pretty clean as far as things tend to get with a toddler and a maker mom!) So allow me to get a little chatty, rambley, and most importantly— real— with you today!

Making Nice in the Midwest

Phil had come home from a morning business meeting and thought he’d take Lucy outside to rake leaves. We have lots of trees, so I figured that would keep them occupied for a while, and I could putz around the house picking up things from our chaotic week. Well, no such luck. Phil brought out the leaf blower and it was game over. (She doesn’t like loud things.) So we sat down for a two hour lunch. That’s how long lunches with Lucy usually last if you hold your ground as a parent and actually make her eat more than just half of a sandwich for lunch. During that time I nursed Juniper and put her in her swing for a nap. She’s a terrifically easy baby, and usually falls asleep nicely in it.

Making Nice in the Midwest

Hey sweet cheeks! Atta girl, just sit there nicely and drift off to dream land while mommy helps sis make a poop on the potty. How’s that for glamorous living? Yeah, we have a training toilet right out in the open in our living room. Not to get too graphic, but it smells reeeeal nice after Lucy pays it a visit. But hey! This is a really good thing, because it means one less bottom to wipe and diaper. Potty training is going well. We think Lucy’s probably 80% trained, but that’s a story for another day. And don’t worry— I won’t be telling you about our potty training journey! I’m just thinking that content probably doesn’t belong here. You’re welcome.

Making Nice in the Midwest

Making Nice in the Midwest

After lunch, Lucy wanted to wash dishes. I was glad to hear it, because “dish washing” is an activity that keeps her occupied for up to a couple of hours usually. She just likes to play in the water and dump out little cups of water into bigger cups of water. That sort of thing. I can’t wait until this excitement for dish washing translates into actual clean dishes.

Making Nice in the Midwest

Lucy’s wearing whatever Phil picked out for her in the morning, which actually sort of matches what I’m wearing— and that would be the same thing I wore to bed last night— Phil’s Ohio State sweatshirt and some comfy black lounge pants. No face washed, no hairs brushed, and no teeth brushed. (That goes for both me and Lucy.) Hey, it’s Saturday. No judging allowed. We’re just takin’ it easy and ignoring all of the actual dishes that need washed from the past few days. (…that are plentiful enough to be lining the window sill in the kitchen.)

Making Nice in the Midwest

The laundry basket on the sofa is filled with my clothes that were cleaned and folded two days ago, and still haven’t made it from the basket into my dresser drawers. But that’s okay! Because I can just dash out to the living room to get underwear if I need to. Joys of living in a small house.Making Nice in the Midwest

Uh, oh! Juniper isn’t being her usual easy going self any more! She is tired, sad, and needs a little mommy time. So I set down the camera and took her into my bed to nurse her for a few minutes. She gets distracted out in the rest of our house, so sometimes we have to steal away and then she can focus and eat.

Making Nice in the Midwest

Making Nice in the Midwest

Speaking of laundry, I have no idea if that pile of clothes on Lucy’s dresser is clean or dirty. I haven’t gotten around to dealing with it— or to dusting the dresser, apparently. Note the box of wipes at the ready— you never know when you’ll need cleaning supplies nearby when you’re potty training a toddler!

Making Nice in the Midwest

Check it out! My dining room has been a mess for the past month as I’ve been working on this dollhouse project. The mammoth thing has eclipsed my Fall decorations, and in order to prevent the same thing happening to Christmas decorations, I’ve set a deadline for Wednesday to complete the project. That deadline includes the structure, not the furnishings. While it’s out and being photographed, I thought I’d pull back the sheet a bit to give you a peek inside!

Making Nice in the Midwest

This corner of the living room is actually pretty clean. Lucy never played with any of her toys today. Just the garden rake and the dishes. Fine by me!

Making Nice in the Midwest

And now it’s time for Lucy to go with Daddy to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to watch the Ohio State game. They’re both excited about it, and I’m looking forward to a little me-time. Time to go put on the kettle to make a pot of coffee and get cracking on this dollhouse before Juniper wakes up!

How was your Saturday?

A Visit To: Glamping Hub New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Everyone said, “Try to get out of the house when the baby comes.” So, naturally I got out of the house, packed up the car, and drove to the woods in upstate New York to spend a few days with my girls. I don’t think that’s what everyone meant by their “get out of the house” advice, but it sure was just what I needed!

As I mentioned last week, I was invited by Glamping Hub to spend a couple of nights in one of their locations. They offer luxury tents, yurts, trailers, vans, and even tipis. But since the weather is unpredictable this time of year, I settled on this location, and I’m so glad I did! Not only because it was rainy most of the trip, but also because the location was so charming and the interior of the treehouse style cabin made me feel 100% cooler than I actually am. We had such a fun time!

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

It’s always been a dream of mine to have a home with a sunken living room. While I haven’t actually owned a home like this (yet), I was able to experience it at the treehouse. Now I’m even more convinced that I’d like this feature in a home someday. So cozy! The perfect conversation pit with a wood burning stove and projector system for movie watching.

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

The cabin also houses a collection of 250 records for guests to enjoy. Well, 252 records now, since my friends and I pitched in to add a couple to their collection- The Black Keys’ Rubber Factory (sharing some local Ohio love) and Wilco’s Star Wars. We enjoyed selecting different albums to create a soundtrack to our trip.

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

We enjoyed visiting the cute little town of Beacon, NY during our stay, and brought back Thai food one night, and Mexican another. The kitchen did come equipped with plenty of pots, pans, and whatnot to make our own food, but it was nice to not have to worry about it for a couple of days.

https://glampinghub.com/portal/staycations-north-america/

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

My friends and I had a really nice time just spending time together with no agenda. We encouraged each other, loved on each other, and just had fun playing games and laughing. It was an inspiring time. And I’m not just talking about how I’m now inspired to find these exact chairs for my dining room at home, and am even more obsessed with the sunken living room idea. It’s just good to get away, away from computers and the daily grind, and feel recharged spiritually and creatively.

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Glamping Hub Treehouse Lovenest in upstate New York

Thanks Glamping Hub, and thanks to the owners of the Lovenest! I hope we were able to send some positive energy into your space during our stay.

Mandi Makes a Dollhouse

1:12 Modern Dollhouse Project

A month ago, I thought it would be really fun to make a dollhouse for Lucy’s Christmas present. I was so inspired years ago by Nicole’s dollhouse, and others who followed along with the I’m a Giant Challenge, and finally I have an actual excuse to make a dollhouse. It’ll be fun, I said. It won’t be too difficult, I said. I’m laughing at myself now. This project has basically consumed my life! For starters, I built a dollhouse that was the wrong scale (too small for the furniture I wanted to put in it), so I had to find someone to buy it to recoup my money, then I had to buy a new one and rebuild. (Kind of embarrassing to admit I did that!) So that’s where I am now. Working on finishing details to the interior before the next stage begins- decorating!

I haven’t been doing the best job at documenting this project, because it’s just nice to not have to worry about that all the time. Hashtag blogger problems! But you can see some photos on my Facebook page and at the Instagram hashtage #mandimakesadollhouse

1:12 Modern Dollhouse Project

Here’s the inside! You can see it before I did any painting here. I wanted to place the furniture before deciding on wall placement and colors for each room. I still haven’t settled on a color for the bathroom or other bedroom on the second floor. I figure, things should be colorful, because this is a kid’s dollhouse, after all! It’s not just for me to play with, though make no mistake, I will be playing with this beaut when it’s finished. I’ve decided to generally stick to pink, orange, and yellow for the main colors, with natural colored accents thrown in. Maybe I will do more of a neutral color scheme for the first floor, pinks and rusts in the second floor, and yellow on the third floor. That’s my plan so far, but as you can see, I’m still working on painting (masking tape still in place), and haven’t added trim or stairs yet, so anything is fair game at this point!

The dollhouse kit I decided on is pretty basic, but I decided to buy two dormer kits to add to the attic space. It was a bit challenging to add dormers that didn’t belong to my dollhouse kit, but I definitely think it was worth it. Cutting out angled holes for the dormers, sanding and wood filling my heart out until they were perfect, and then wallpapering one and caulking the other was no joke! Sometimes I feel like I’m building a real house. Each tiny little detail needs to much attention. Each little stair spindle and trim piece. So much priming, sanding down the primer, priming again, painting, and sanding between coats of paint. And let’s not forget hand scribing each individual plank into the plywood floors and staining it in layers to try to get the look of wood flooring. What?! Yes. Perfectionism at its finest. (Sanding down tiny clapboard is best done while frying out your brain to Gossip Girl episodes on Netflix.) I suppose it doesn’t need to be that much work, but I figure if I’m going to do it, I want to do it right.

DIY dollhouse accessories

I still have to add exterior details, like windows, shingles, etc, but am not looking forward to that so much. I’m really chomping at the bit to add trim and fill the interior with all of the fun things I’ve been making and collecting along the way. Some of the little things are vintage, found on eBay, and other things I made myself (I’ll share a couple of easy DIYs later), but here’s everything I bought new. I found some of these things at local craft stores (Pat Catans and Michaels) but I’ve linked to everything you can buy online:

1-12 dollhouse accessories

Dollhouse Kit (not pictured)
Dormer Kit (not pictured)
1. Bookshelf with miniature books
2. Porcelain bathroom set (this is getting glued down)
3. Cuckoo clock
4. Kitchen set (I painted mine)
5. Dollhouse rugs (I bought three from this shop, and am making the rest.)
6. Miniature tea set
7. Miniature Amber glass jars (I actually found mine in the jewelry section at a craft store.)
8. Step stools
9. Bathroom flooring
10. Nursery set
11. Attic wallpaper (scrapbook paper)

Here’s the Calico Critter family that will live inside:

calico critter cat familycat family available here / cat family babies available here

Wallpapered dollhouse dormers

Wallpapered dormers! This intimidated me so much, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought. (I thought it would be impossible, and it turns out it was just mildly challenging. hehe) I did decide to caulk the corners of every room that wouldn’t receive wallpaper. It was easy and took care of any little cracks, making it look really nice and finished. It’s a good thing I have all of those random supplies already on hand (like wood glue, super glue, caulk, wood stain, and interior paint), or else I can see how all the costs would really add up!

Dollhouse Dining Room

How cute is this dining set! I made the table myself, and the chairs are vintage found on Etsy. I kind of want this to be my actual dining room!

Dollhouse Dining Room

So excited to get everything inside! I’ll share more progress soon. Thanks for following along!

Goin’ Glamping

glamping-a-frame

I’m about to share something that may not come as a shock to you. I’m not really much of a camper. When people ask me if I’m a happy camper, of course I will say yes, but that’s about as close as “happy” and “camper” get in my day-to-day life. I’ll be honest— I’m just a little bit too high maintenance for camping. I like to sleep on a real bed, wash my face at a real sink, and warm food in an instant with a real microwave. So when Glamping Hub approached me about partnering on a camping trip in North America, I was hesitant— but only for a split second! This is glamping, folks! This kind of adventuring was made for me!

aitstream-rental

As I checked out the types of glamping available through Glamping Hub’s website, I noticed there really is something for everyone! High maintenance folks like me can rent luxury cabins, treehouses, or even large farmhouses, while more adventurous campers can rent anything from a luxury tent, to a tipi, to an Airstream van. There’s also a nice selection of in-between venues too, if you’re moderately adventurous, like luxury yurts, mini cabins, and pod hotels. (Yes— POD HOTELS!!)

airstream-rental-interior

I’m really excited to be getting out of Dodge, as they say, this coming week to a treehouse I’ve selected from the Glamping Hub website. I’ll be staying with a few friends, decompressing, escaping, but with all the modern amenities. We’ll be embarking on a little road trip to get there, and I’ll be sharing bits of my getaway on Instagram. Follow along, if you’d like!

kitchen-austin-tree-house

upstate-new-york-farmhouse-for-rent

cabin-kitchen

round-cabins-in-the-woods

former-mill-waterfront-rental

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