Advent Calender 2014: LEGO

This year we diverged a bit from our usual Advent.  I used the same pegboard I had used for all the other years.  However, both boys were asking for a LEGO advent.  When I looked in the stores I decided $39 for an advent would not be so bad except that we would need two of them so they each had an item for the day bringing the bill to $80.  THAT would be ridiculous!

 I love how the finished product turned out this year with little baggies on the board!  What is in those baggies you ask?



advent 2014

This is what I did to incorporate Legos to make our own Lego Advent.

I decided to hit Ebay to see if I could find packages of lego minifigures affordably.  I was lucky I did this early because I was able to snag about 4 lots of minifigures for about $4-8 each.  My total cost on the Lego minifigures was $23 including shipping!

 Lego minifigures

I dropped the Lego guys in the little burlap bags.



The boys had no idea that the advent was going to have Legos and were so happy. Each baggie has two Lego minifigures for them to choose from.  (We are taking turns who gets first choice each day and they are cooperating very well).

 advent lego


advent calender


Simple Kitchen Pendant

When we moved into our new home it had some interesting lights in the kitchen.

Here is the image from the first day we moved into the home.





There was just so much hanging down from the ceiling in that kitchen!  Big heavy pot racks are not my thing and those lights were a bit too heavy and track light style for my taste!

I really wanted to take that ornate track style light down but I wasn’t sure what we wanted to put up.

We finally took the plunge and put up a simple farmhouse/industrial style pendant.

 kitchen pendant

I love how much more simple it looks.  I can’t wait to see how it looks once we do a bit more updating in our kitchen!

 kitchen pendant

We have a lot more to do in this kitchen to start making it feel like  “us” and I finally feel ready to start chipping away at our list!

More to come as we start making progress!


Great Little Girlfriend Gifts: Mommy in the Mountains Picks

Need a few little girlfriend gift ideas?  I have you covered!  Here is a list of my go to gift ideas for girlfriends and ladies in your life.


Girlfriend Gifts


1.  Ecofriendly Wool Dryer Balls- this may not be the most glamorous gift but whomever you give them to will LOVE them.  Fabric softener is one of the most toxic items in our homes, with these there is no need to use it.  Toss these little guys in your dryer with  your clothes and they will bounce and soften your clothes as well as eliminate static.  The best part is that they are a one time investment and last forever!  They also claim to lower the amount of time that you need to dry your clothes.  I love mine and everyone I have given them to loves them!  These ones are on Amazon for $20.95.  If you have a girlfriend who is on the fence about adding some more natural solutions to her home, these are a great way to get her started.

2.  Essential Oils-  This blend called Serenity is one of my favorite blends.  For us women, who go go go without stop, Serenity is a great blend to help us relax.  It also smells amazing, I often will wear it as perfume!  I often will give little bottles of oils to friends.  This would be a great companion to the dryer balls as you can drop a few drops on a couple balls to have your laundry coming out smelling sweet and fragrant.  Find Serenity HERE for $40.

3. Little kitchen accessories-  Whether it be some sweet engraved measuring spoons, some fun ramekins (you can never have too many of those) or an adorable measuring cup like this one, everyone loves a sweet touch to their kitchen.  Who wouldn’t love to replace their big plastic measuring cup with a pretty like this one?  I love the sweet vintage look to it!  Find it on Anthropologie for $24.

4.  Cookbooks-  I have been known to give great cookbooks to friends, especially if I know what type of food they are into.  This one is one that I personally have on my list this year and I have many friends who would love to receive it also.  YUM!  Find it on Amazon for $19.19.

5. Raven and Lily-  We have a local boutique in our town that carries Raven and Lily.  I quickly fell in love with how beautiful the pieces are.  Raven and Lily jewelry are made by women in war torn countries and each purchase helps them.  The jewelry is interesting and beautiful!  Find them on Raven and Lily’s site for $38.

6.  Turkish towels are one of my favorite things.  I have a couple that I use in the kitchen and a couple I use in the bathroom.  They are a great weight, made from natural fibers and are super absorbent!  These ones are found on Etsy for $30 for a set of 3.

There you have it!  My 2014 Great Girlfriend Gift Guide!  I hope you find the perfect item for those lovely ladies in your life!


Putting the Garden to Bed

winter garden


We made it through our first garden season at the new house and I have to admit, I am very impressed with us!  We had so much fresh produce that we ended up giving much of it away to friends and family.

We were able to put up a lot of shredded zucchini and roasted peppers for the winter which I know we will enjoy all season long.

Once the irrigation system was blown out for the year and the frost came, I knew we had to put our garden to bed.

We pulled out all the plants and put them in the compost.

Then Paul mulched up leaves with our riding lawnmower and we bedded the garden beds with those to help keep nutrients in the soil for the winter.

mulched garden


We learned so much from our first year of gardening.  Here are somethings we may do differently.

1.  Plant pumpkins far away from the rest of the garden so it doesn’t take over.

2.  Plant the tomatoes on the North side so that they get the most sun possible.

3.  Build a larger pepper bed.

4.  Plant less zucchini and more butternut squash and acorn squash as we enjoy those more.

5.  Two cucumber plants are plenty for our family, no need for more.

6.  Try some new items.  Maybe green beans, carrots or radishes.

fall garden

For now, all we can do is wait and let the garden rest.


Little Boy Christmas Wish List

To follow the post on Ezra’s big boy Christmas list, we are going to share the main items on Lucas’ Christmas list this year.  I love hearing about what they desire to have.  It is so telling of their personality.

One story that makes me smile is from a few days ago.  We receive many toy catalogues in the mail this time of year.  We received a new one a few afternoons ago and Lucas quickly went to flipping through it hoping to see something interesting.  He quickly tossed it aside proclaiming “I don’t want anything out of there, it is all just plastic toys!”

My heart was so happy to hear these words.  I have been spending the last year (since beginning our journey Waldorf homeschooling) weeding out and getting rid of the plastic toys in our home.  We decided a few things were ok, especially if they were quality, like Legos.  But other than that we try very much to buy natural materials for Lucas.

When he began public school in the fall I was concerned the commercialism would worm its way back in and he would be drawn to the plastic cartoon oriented toys.  I am so glad to see that is not the case!  He loves his wooden toys.  He says they last longer and are more fun to play with.  His list consists very much of lovely Waldorf approved toys, with out my push at all!  He just desires quality over quantity now.

Here is his wish list!



Lucas Christmas List




1.  Playsilks-  Lucas received his first set of playsilks last Christmas in his stocking.  I wasn’t sure how they would be received or if he would know how to use them.  He did!  He uses them imaginatively while pretend playing, making rivers or fields or wrapping them around items.  He quickly added playsilks to his list this year asking for larger ones than he has. (These ones are HERE)

2.  A wooden castle.  He had a pretty yucky plastic castle that made noises and began falling apart.  He likes to play pretend with his little gnomes and men with castles boats and his gnome treehouse.  A wooden castle would be something we know would get a lot of action.  (This one HERE)

3.  Beatrix Potter Books- I have a few Beatrix Potter books from my childhood that Lucas loves.  Somehow the rest of the set never made it through all those years.  I would love to build him a little Beatrix Potter library.  He seems to enjoy the stories about the little animal characters.  So far The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin seems to be his favorite.  (Find them HERE)

4.  Wooden animals-  He loves his woodland animals from last years Advent Calendar.  He also received some wooden dinosaurs for his birthday.  He is hoping to get more wooden animals, like horses for his pretend play.  Holztiger animals HERE

5.  Budkins-  If you have not heard of Budkins and you have small children, you must go check them out.  They have all kinds of little characters.  We are looking at the pirates and the knights, but they have all sorts for any sort of play your child enjoys!  (THese HERE)

6.  Wooden Pirate Ship- this is what he says he is asking Santa for this year.  He really wants a lovely wooden pirate ship to play with.  He likes to create little worlds with his playsilks, gnome tree house, and little men.  I think a wooden ship would fit in perfectly to his games.  (Find it HERE)

7. Grimms  Element Stacker-  He has a handmade rainbow stacker from last year.  This year he says he wants the “cave” as he calls it.  There are all sorts of things one can do with little stackers!  HERE

I am so happy we have a lovely toy store in our town that specializes in quality toys.  We have been able to find much of what we need locally this year rather than doing shopping online.  I really am pleased that not only can we buy quality but we can buy locally!












Big Boy Christmas Wish List

Somehow in the land of “Big Boys” the Christmas lists start filling up with things other than toys.  It seems that the things Ezra (who is 10) wants these days have nothing to do with playing and much to do with things he would like to have in his life.

For those of you who have big boys to shop for you know how hard they can be to shop for.  I thought it might be fun to share the boys Christmas wish lists for this year, for others to gain ideas but also as a way for me to remember what type of things they desired at this stage in life.  I want to remember what their wishes were!

Ezra- boy age 10.



Ezra Christmas list

1.  Legos- The toy that Ezra still seems to be enamored with are Legos.  I am glad that he seems to still have some toy play left in him.  (Although I catch him quite often playing pirates or knights with his little brother, so he isn’t fooling me!)  He really seems to like the Star Wars sets these days.  (HERE)

2. Science kits are on his list.  He got a circuit kit (like this one) that he will spend HOURS playing with.  He would live in a room filled with science experiements and kits if he could.  This tin can cable car is pretty high up on his list this year!  (find the kit HERE)

3.  Living in Colorado outerwear is pretty important.  Loki is a Colorado based company that makes changeable outerwear.  This coat that he is begging for has sleeves that turn into gloves, a hood that turns into a facemask and all sorts of other cold weather perks.  We always buy North Face or Columbia, since he is being pretty specific about what he wants (and the fact that it is over double what we usually spend on a winter coat), he said he wanted to ask Santa for it this year.  (we received it in the mail and it really is a well made garment.)  Check out Loki outerwear if you are interested in a Colorado made company!

4. Sports gear seems to be on the list every year.  Whether it is some special something for karate, a new soccer ball, or now Lacrosse gear our ten year old seems to be very interested in his sporting activities.  The league he plays on supplies the gear for the team however he really wants to have his own very specific gear for the season (with colors that he likes).  It is always nice to have extra lacrosse balls around also since he does have his own stick and can practice in the yard.  (These pads can be found HERE)

5.  Books. books.  books.   My boy loves to read.  In his new private school they have a hard time placing him strategicallyl amoung the other kids when it comes to reading and comprehension… he is out of the park!  It is a challenge these days for us to find appropriate reading material that is still challenging enough for him to enjoy.  He is looking forward to starting this new series The Iron Trail. (Find this book HERE)

6.  Music-  Ezra loves the Beatles so we have been trying to build his personal library with either iTunes cards so he can purchase his own options or CDs of his favorites.  The Beatles are always on his list!

7.  Ipod-  He lost his Ipod on our Lake city Trip, ever since he has been heartbroken without his music.  We didn’t want to rush out and get him a new one right away as it is a responsibility having nice things.  We are hoping if one finds its way into his Christmas stocking he will take a little better care of it.  (On apples Site)

8.  Books!  Another series that he is finishing up (just needs the last book) is the Dragon Boy series.  He fell in love with this series when I introduced it to him last Spring. It was on a Waldorf recommended reading list for his age.  I am so glad I got him reading it, because he really enjoys them and I know they are appropriate for his age.  (find the series HERE)

Big boys!  Man, they are hard to shop for!  I am so proud that much of what he desires does not include video games, but educational toys and books!  I can’t wait to see what Santa brings him this year!!!


Ezra’s trip to the Black Hills

I seriously have gotten behind in my posting.  This time of year, it just gets crazy with all of the activities and social events.

I am so angry with myself that I forgot to post about Ezra’s special trip with my parents to the Black Hills.  While Lucas and I were visiting family on Cape Cod, Ezra went with my parents on a fun road trip through the Black hills region.

Here are some of the highlights.

Of course a trip to Mount Rushmore was had.  He thought it was very impressive.

mount rushmore

He enjoyed Crazy Horse more and said he really hopes they are able to complete it… you can see the massive one in the distance on the hill.  (I love Ezra’s expression in this picture.)

crazy horse


He was pulled from the audience as a volunteer to participate in a reenactment of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickock.  He enjoyed this so much he asked to go back so he could do it again.

wild bil

The visited “Bear Country” where you can see bears up close.  Ezra has a little known love for Bears (he still has his favorite loved stuffed bear), so this was a favorite spot.

bear country



Most importantly he was able to spend some special time with my parents traveling.  I have such great memories of traveling with my grandparents as a child.  I was so happy that he had this experience!




Rustic Chalkboard DIY

We seem to find chalkboards pretty useful around here.  I liked my white chalkboard, however for the dining room I really wanted one with a bit of a rustic feel, to take the formal feel out of there a bit.

After looking online I realized that those beautiful rustic chalkboards are pretty expensive (especially if you are looking for something rather large see HERE, HERE).  So, I again enlisted my handy sidekick hubby to help me make one!

Here is the simple frame we built out of basic lumber.


We simply bought the premade chalkboard slab at Home Depot for $11. We used liquid nails to adhere the wood to the chalkboard and let it set for a couple days.  The flower pots were to help weigh it down.




Ta-da!  Easy as that.  This project only took an hour of our time to make which makes my hubby happy since his time is so limited these days.

rustic chalkboard

It works for a great menu board in our dining room.

dining room chalk board


Total cost on this sweet little thing was some elbow grease and about $20!  SWEET!




Boys Bathroom Update

I am going to attempt a little before and after thing here.  Months ago we decided to tackle the boys bathroom.  We ripped down the wallpaper, we painted and we attempted to make pretty for as little as possible.

I just couldn’t take the 80s throwback any longer, but I knew we didn’t have the funds to completely redo the bathroom.  That with the fact that this is the boys bathroom and they are super hard on things, we decided to fix it up enough to make me not gag when I walk in the room, but that when they were older (think high school?) we would invest in a more complete renovation.

Here is the scary scary before.  I don’t have many pictures of the before because it was so bad I didn’t even want any evidence of it!  This is from the day we moved in to our home.


ugly bathroom

 Yikes… the wallpaper, the bad art, the oak cabinet… oh I could go on and on.

We pulled the wall paper!  That just had to go.  I briefly entertained the idea of just wallpapering over it, but decided that was just causing more work down the road yet again.


wallpaper removal

We painted… not only the walls but the cabinet.  I love a simple gray cabinet!

boys bathroom cabinet

Along with that we updated the light fixture.

bathroom light


Also added new towel hooks.  Ba-bye honey oak circa 1982!


And the whale art for a bit of fun.

whale art


Again not a complete overhaul, but a huge improvement from the super dated look.





ugly bathroom



updated bathroom

Not sure if any of you noticed.  The before picture had drawers down the left side of the cabinet?  Those drawers were severely broken and could not be repaired.  I had a brilliant idea to take them out and build shelves where the drawers once were.  It was very easy with the help of my handy hubby.  With a fresh coat of gray paint the cabinet easily looks updated and like it was intended to be that way from the beginning!

We are still contemplating what to do about countertops.  Do we go ahead and get a new countertop?  Even though we have made due with everything else in this bathroom?  Maybe some sort of resurfacing technique?  Concrete?  Hmmm.

I almost forgot to share with you all the best part of this project.  We started with a  1970s-1980s bathroom that made my stomach turn.

Here is a cost breakdown of what was done.

Built shelving where old drawers were- $10 in wood

Paint cabinet- Free (we already had paint)

New cabinet hardware- $7

Light fixture- $55 (we picked on that was a pretty good Pottery Barn knock off at Home Depot)

Rug- $15 Target

Whale Art- $11

New mirror that I painted a fun blue- $30

New towel hooks- $20

Paint walls- Free- used the same color we already had for  our sunroom

Total for overhauling the bathroom spent was only $148! 

Those of you who have ever updated a bathroom know how expensive it can be.  By using and making due with some of the old pieces we were able to deal with cosmetics only to make it a bit more tolerable.

We know someday we are going to have to really gut this thing, but for now I don’t feel like screaming and running away at the site when I walk in.  It is clean, crisp and a bit more modern which was all I was hoping for to get us by!


Fall Beauty

I had to share some of the beauty that we have been experiencing in our own backyard during this fall season.


fall yard


fall leaves

Fall is such a time of year for gathering, readying, planning and celebrating.  I often find myself during this time of year, busier than I normally am.  It is a nice reminder to stop and look around and enjoy the simple beauty of fallen leaves.

fall leaves

I hope you are enjoying this season and gearing up for a beautiful winter!

fall trees