St. Patrick’s Day Food and Fun

I used to wear green socks for St. Patrick’s Day – and that’s it. But now that I have kids, holidays have become a lot more important: they break up the day to day monotony, give us something to look forward to, give us a reason to be creative and they’re just plain fun. My husband looked at the 3 bags of spinach on my grocery list and warily asked what exactly I was planning. Cue evil laugh.

First up, green clothes. So easy. Until… I realized that O didn’t have a single green shirt! (Not even sure how that’s possible). In all my super planning, the most obvious thing completely slipped my mind until the morning of. Luckily, Daddy saw my panicked face and swooped in with one of his shirts, tied 80’s style into a knot on her side. Classic. Later on I drew shamrocks on our cheeks with my green eyeliner and painted our nails with Piggy Polish in their sub lime color (non-toxic, odor-less, kid-friendly).

st-patricks-clothes-collage
The second part of my awesome St. Patrick’s Day plan was fancy green food and, to up the ante, I forbid myself from using any food coloring. Easy? Me? Never! So, we all started the morning with spinach cheddar chive scones from this recipe by Weelicious (I didn’t tamper with the coffee under penalty of death). Lunch was spinach salads with mandarin orange slices. And for dinner, we had green cheese-filled tortellini with pesto sauce (in green bowls, of course) and a side of peas. O was not pleased with “too much pepper” on her pasta so we had to make it “clean” before she’d touch it. After we washed the tortellini off though (and wasted all that yummy pesto, as Grandma Mimi moaned), she ate it happily. Our Little Frog had some delicious spinach baby food (how does he manage to get it everywhere?! We require an outfit change after every meal; the bib is worthless).

Finally, the Pièce de résistance, a Turkish lemon spinach cake with cream cheese frosting. I know what you’re thinking. As the blog I found the recipe on hilariously wrote: “Congratulations if you are still reading this blog. You saw the words “lemon” and “spinach” in the same title and kept going.” But although it has 8 cups (!) of spinach in it (which makes for a fantastic green color), the cake honestly doesn’t taste like spinach at all. As far as anyone in your family needs to know (so long as they don’t see you preparing it) it’s just a nice, moist lemon cake in a funky color.

stpatricksfoodkids
Oh and we were going to listen to some Irish music (Mimi has Riverdance) until Daddy mentioned we should listen to Green Day. Ha, totally!

I need to start planning now if I’m going to top this next year – we’ll definitely need some crafts.

Hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day too!

Advertisements

Ocean Nursery Update 1 – A.K.A. The Disaster

The changing table – newly painted with toxins :(

We got started on our nursery redecorating project by painting the changing table. The table was a pretty blonde wood but nothing else in the room matched, so my husband and I went down to Home Depot. Now, I’m a research fiend so this is embarrassing, but it really must have been due to a case a pregnancy brain, because we bought regular white spray paint. My husband carried the table outside, gave it a nice paint job and stuck it in the garage to dry. The next day I ask if we can bring it inside and hubby says “Maybe. I’ll bring it inside and we’ll know pretty quickly if it has aired out enough.” ….. Cue light above my head clicking on (and some thunder and lightning for dramatic effect):

  1. VOCs
  2. Pregnant women and young children are NOT supposed to be exposed to paint fumes
  3. Why did some part of me just assume spray paint wasn’t actual paint that could be harmful?

I believe there was a sheepish and panicked smile quickly aimed over my shoulder as I ran over to my computer. And I’m sure there was some eye-rolling from his direction. Turns out spray paint is actually the WORST kind of paint we could have possibly picked with some of the highest levels of VOCs.

VOCs are harmful chemicals (linked to a variety of health effects including eye, nose and throat irritation; dizziness; liver, kidney and central nervous system damage and even cancer) that offgas (or outgas) for long periods of time at normal room temperatures (small amounts could even be released for the entire lifetime of the paint). You can read more scary details using the link at #1 in my list above if you like.

So,we bought some Zero-VOC paint from Mythic Paint (another great option is Lullaby Paints) hoping we could just paint over the spray paint and seal in the nasty VOCs. Unfortunately, no-VOC paints are made to be breathable, so they’ll lessen the VOCs emitted but no where near completely seal them off. Back to the drawing board.

Using paint stripper was going to be toxic also, plus some parts of the changing table appeared to be pressed wood or some other type of processed wood (it was a hand-me-down gift, so no way to visit the retailer to know for sure) so sanding the table down could release formaldehyde and more fun, harmful stuff!! (the upside and downside of research is finding other relevant topics). I was getting ready to tell my husband we just needed to suck it up, toss the table and replace it when I finally found a solution: we could paint a new layer of a non-toxic, clear gloss sealer… and hopefully it won’t discolor the paint requiring us to do one more coat of the zero-VOC (update: my husband is developing an eye twitch).

To do this the right way the first time, use a no or low-VOC primer or sealer on any particle board or processed wood items and definitely before painting them. Then always (cause it’s good to protect the adults too), but especially if you have or are expecting children, use a zero-VOC paint. We’ll be using whatever is leftover of the sealer on our IKEA bookshelves. Sigh.

The Ocean Themed Nursery – Before

This room had no overhead light so we created one – IKEA sun lamp
(cord in plastic tracking goes to wall outlet)

No, it’s not perfectly spotless – let’s be real here

Unit for books and toys

So we’re starting this redecorating project with an obvious mishmash of old items (like the dresser which still contains mostly mommy’s seasonal stuff) and new items (the crib) along with things we were given to us (the changing table, the glider) and a few things we crafted ourselves (the mobile). Everything was originally purchased/obtained for our now 2 year old when she was a baby. And back then we didn’t have a separate room for her so our setup was quite a bit different. Now that we have a second baby coming (and I’m totally nesting!!), my husband and I wanted to really get this room pulled together and perfect.  Right now the only ocean-themed items we have are the color palette, the mobile and most of the art.

This is a real-time project so sorry it may take a while before the completed “After” pictures can be posted, but we do have a deadline, #2 is coming in about 3 months! And I’ll be posting pictures along the way.

Other things to note: we’re leasing so we cannot paint or wallpaper the walls (well, we could, but I don’t want to have to re-paint it back white later). Yes, all the adorable nursery layouts in magazines always have cute wall colors, etc., but we’re just going to have to do without that for now and I think it’ll still look amazing. Changing the carpet, likewise, sadly, not an option (at least it’s “sandy” colored). And second, let’s consider this DIY on a budget – yes, we could just buy a new changing table and dresser that matches the crib, but it seems like such a waste, both are perfectly good, and modifying them can be super fun!

To-Do List:

  • Replace silver frames on artwork above the crib with black frames (that actually fit the images, haha) like the rest of the room
  • Get those few other art pieces I’ve been waiting on
  • Replace Diaper Genie (which did work well for 2 years) with a hot blue Ubbi diaper pail (we need a pail with a locking top b/c of a curious toddler and the blue will look awesome)
  • Remove bottom 2 dresser drawers and replace with 2 open shelves (so we can put fabric bins there for our 2 year old’s clothes and keep the existing bins under the changing table for our new baby boy’s clothes). We want little O to be able to access her clothes, versus keeping them in the closet, so she can soon practice dressing herself. This one is a maybe? It seems simple in thought, maybe not so much in practice. We’ll see.
  • Paint dresser (white or blue?) and then my husband will be painting on a jellyfish scene (he has “a vision”)
  • Paint changing table white
  • Paint glider white (currently a creamy color)
  • Make slip-covers for the glider (depending on finished look of dresser, I’m thinking maybe something green-ish like the color of the changing pad?) or if I’m really brave, maybe a complete makeover?
  • Get actual curtain tiebacks or holdbacks – starfish? (instead of the chip clips I’m currently using – which work great, but not so cute)
  • Replace pink fabric toy bins in bookshelf with blue or dark purple (pink must have been on sale or something back when I got them)
  • Additional shelving on the only wall not pictured?
  • Definitely getting this adorable octopus hook for coats

Let me know your thoughts and ideas too! And if you love ocean themes, check out my Pinterest board of the same name.

%d bloggers like this: