DIY Activity Tower

Well hello!! It’s been well over a year since I’ve posted….funny how I thought that I’d have the time/motivation to keep this going as a new mom!! Anyway, we’re now the parents of a 16 month old toddler, and she’s just the best thing ever. Happy, silly, and super curious…which is what led us to our most current project: an Activity Tower!


If you’ve done any research on these, you know that they are not cheap! We also have a pretty small kitchen, so I wasn’t super excited about working my way around a giant structure every day. So naturally, I turned to Pinterest.

IKEA Hack to the rescue!! We used this tutorial! I loved how sleek it looked having all the side pieces lined up. However, since this tutorial was published, the size of the platform part of the stool has changed slightly, so I’ll include the new measurements here, as well as a few things we learned along the way 🙂 NOTE: I still love how ours looks! However, there are other options for this same hack, that have the horizontal support beams on the outside of the vertical beams, giving your kiddo a little more space at the top. If I had thought that through all the way, I think I would have gone that route instead! Just food for thought 🙂


Don’t ask me why I wrote perpendicular to the lines…


  • As long as IKEA doesn’t change the product again, the measurement of the top step of the stool are 14 1/4″ X 9 1/2″.
  • The Home Depot near me only had 8′ long 1X2 and 1X3s, so I made the cuts from that size instead of the 6′.
  • From the 1X2, you will need four 15 1/2″ lengths
  • From the 1X3, you will need four 6 1/2″ lengths, and two 12 3/4″ lengths
  • I used a 5/8″ round dowel, bc they were out of the 1/2″ rounds, and it worked just fine. You’ll need 12 3/4″ cut from that.


Additional Notes

  • As for the nails, Home Depot and Ace didn’t carry #6 wood screws that were 2 1/4″ long. I’m sure I could have ordered them online somewhere, but I was impatient 🙂 We used #8 2 1/2″ screws. If you’re using pine, it’s recommended that you pre-drill, and countersink your screws, especially if you can’t find the #6 size. Plus, countersinking gives you a nice, clean finish.
  • Get the Corner Clamp!! Totally worth it for perfectly straight angles, and definitely saves on time. I found this one at Ace Hardware for a great price. Worked like a charm.
  • The color we chose was French Blue from Rust-Oleum. I picked the paint/primer in one, so we actually didn’t prime it. We went with the Satin finish, as I was worried that the Glossy would be too slippery. Satin is working great so far, and not hard to clean!


She loves it, clearly 🙂


Hospital Prep! (Updated)

Well we are officially in “get serious” mode.  Our due date is 1 month from tomorrow, and (dare I say it), I think we’re ready!

Last week we installed the car seat bases in both cars, and the car seat in mine. We received our car seat/base at my Baby Shower…and then we totally scored on our local Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook group, and got two Chicco bases and an extra car seat for 40 bucks!! Our third base will go to my mom’s house, and it’s always nice to have an extra car seat 🙂

Next hurdle to jump was the hospital bag. If you feel like getting overwhelmed, try typing that into Pinterest. So many opinions! And of course, I’m adding mine to the mix 🙂 I looked at nurse’s lists, new mom lists, mother of 3 lists…etc., etc.  So here is what I’ve come up with.

Goody Bag from the hospital!

These are all things that were on my list, but now I don’t have to worry about getting them ahead of time and packing them 🙂 And my midwife said I can always ask for a few extra before we leave. Handy dandy…

  • Pacifier (not sure if we’re using yet, but who knows)
  • Bulb suction (not the type that breaks apart to clean, so this one will be used, then tossed!)
  • Potty Pads“…cute, I know.
  • GIANT Pads. Seriously have you seen these! I don’t even know how they fit in your underoos
  • GIANT underoos…for the giant pads…probably won’t ask for more of these 🙂
  • A few newborn diapers
  • Tucks. Will definitely be asking for more of these.
  • Tiny kimono style newborn top
  • Adult size socks
  • Peri bottle

The Fun Stuff


A few little things to keep me as calm as I can be!

  • Baby hand and foot prints kit! This was a gift, so I’m not sure where it was purchased
  • Comfy Grippy Socks
  • A more photogenic hospital gown.  For post delivery. I was told this one was a good choice, bc it has the snaps in the front for breast feeding, as well as snaps in the back. Please note it SNAPS in the back, no loose ties or breezy-ness!
  • Flameless Candles. I’m obsessed with these! They actually feel kind of waxy, and the glow is very similar to a real candle. Can’t wait to use these around the house!
  • Essential Oil Diffuser
  • Essential Oils.  I’m bringing Lavender and Eucalyptus!

The Comfy Stuff


“Regular” Clothes to wear home from the hospital!

  • Nursing Camis. I’m bringing two, but bought a few more than that 🙂
  • Nursing Bras. Again, H&M. These are the comfiest I’ve found.  Bringing one, and I’ll be wearing one.
  • Boy Shorts. Bringing a 3 pack, bought more for home.
  • Maternity Sweats. In case of a C-section, I don’t want anything that will cut across my midsection. These are the over-belly kind, but can also fold down pretty low if that’s what I feel like wearing.
  • Jersey Top. This isn’t from their maternity line, but it’s super cute and soft, and also fits over my belly now, so will work just fine! Also will help me feel a bit more normal 🙂

The Necessary Stuff


  • Birth Plan, two copies
  • Required paperwork I’ll need my doctor to sign for my Maternity Leave
  • Toiletries! Obviously a lot of items not pictured…but I gathered some coupons and just grabbed a new pack of toothbrushes at target (ours are electric and I didn’t want to have to worry about remembering them), some new hair ties bc you can never have too many of those, a mini hairbrush, and chapstick.
  • Will throw in my makeup bag, toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner! We’ll see if I use it 🙂

The Not-Fun Stuff


  • Depends. I’ve heard they’re a lifesaver…and temporary! So don’t panic 🙂
  • Overnight pads
  • Nursing Pads. Just bringing a couple that I got in our free “thank you for registering” box from Amazon.

So, we’ll see how it goes! I’ll update if needed! Good luck mamas 🙂

**Update/Reality Check**

  • LOVED my comfy clothes 🙂 Hopefully you can find something similar!
  • I didn’t end up using my diffuser at the hospital, but I do now! Overall, great purchase 🙂
  • You should of course confirm this with your hospital, but I definitely didn’t need to bring and of the sanitary items! Went home with tons.
  • I got lots of compliments on my hospital gown!
  • I didn’t use the footprint/hand print kit until we got home, since they do footprints for you right away! Also, hand prints on tiny hands is quite the task.
  • The cozy/traction socks were amazing.

The Closet

Fact: Whoever invented those generic, white, wire shelves that have bars attached to the back so you can’t slide hangers from left to right, and are SO insanely embedded into your closet walls, clearly never tried to use them. They are the worst right?? If you ever lived in an apartment in your early twenties, you know what I’m talking about.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture, but you get the idea of what our nursery closet looked like before we ripped it all out, patched the wholes, and painted. In case you didn’t see our first post about paint, here’s the clean slate we were working with.


small.  and boring.

After some Pinspiration, we decided to go with a self-made closet system. Naturally, we head to IKEA! There are quite a few Pins out there with tutorials on how to do this, but they use the old EXPEDIT shelving systems, which unfortunately they don’t make anymore. So we took some measurements, and went with the next best thing, the KALLAX unit. Basically the same thing as EXPEDIT, but the downside is that it’s not as tall. So, we made our own adjustments 🙂

First, we had to decide where the KALLAX unit was going to be placed in the closet, so we could anchor it to the wall.  If our daughter is anything like her father, the shelf will be climbed and conquered. Since we decided to use these rails (**Please see edit below for updated rail option!**) for the hanging rods, and they wouldn’t fit on either side of the shelf unit if the unit was centered, we decided to offset the shelf.


husband installing the anchor

Next, we had to cut the shelves. We bought this one to go across the top, and two of these for additional shelving. The longer of the two shelves has a metal bracket on the back for installation, but luckily we were able to just cut a little bit off of each end without affecting the hardware. We just used the floating technique that the shelf comes with.


Mount to wall, slide shelf on! Voila!

And since IKEA stuff if fabulous, but not always the highest quality, the shelf sloped down slightly towards us, once we slid it on. We planned ahead for this, and installed two of these on either side of the closet walls to support the shelf and make it level.

Next we installed the three shelves on either side of the KALLAX unit. We were able to make 3 shelves out of the 2 we purchased. We cut the shelves, screwed the metal rods to the bottom, and then used the white brackets to install them to the back wall.


In case you were curious about what the inside of LACK shelving looked like.

And that’s pretty much it! We left the space empty on the left so that we can fit a hamper in there. And we might end up moving the lower right shelf down a bit, because when little tiny clothes are hung on the rod above, it doesn’t leave enough space to utilize the shelf for shoes, which was the plan (I underestimated the height of baby hangers).

The last thing I’m going to get are the drawer inserts for one of the empty KALLAX spaces. Since we’re not putting the closet door back on, I *need* it to look as organized as possible! And I’m going to get a cute jar (probably to hold headbands!) to fill the space where the two rods didn’t make it all the way across.

closet 1


so tiny!

Total Cost: $131.91! ($151.91 after I buy the drawers)

Totally worth doing this yourself!

Long LACK shelf
Shorter LACK shelf
Drawer Inserts

EDIT: Old rails were discontinued 😦 However, these would most likely work!

(mtv) Cribs

Jk, just a baby crib.

So in case I haven’t mentioned this about myself, I have a serious addiction to doing product research.  Actually for researching anything.  At all.  I like to know all of my options, and most importantly to get the most bang for my buck.  And I’m going to share my not-so-secret FAVORITE website for researching baby products, which is Lucie’s List. Seriously if you’re expecting a baby, especially your first, click that link right now.

I’ll just wait here…..


After visiting the crib section, we decided on the first suggested option, the DaVinci Convertible Crib.  We were gifted it at our first baby shower last weekend, and put it together right away!


(I really do mean “we,” I just stood up to take a photo)

Assembly was pretty straightforward.  A few tips:

  1. Lay out all the screws by type/size before you start.
  2. Don’t over tighten the screws! Yes, it says this in the directions, but we accidentally did once, and it made a tiny crack in the bottom of one of the feet.  It’s secure because of the wooden dowels, but be careful 🙂
  3. Pay attention to the direction you face the legs.  We accidentally swapped the back legs, and the holes that you need to attach the mattress spring ended up on the outside. Woops!

Long story short, we love the crib 🙂 We registered for it on Amazon. Keep in mind you might want to buy or register for the Conversion Kit sooner rather than later, because who knows if the kit will still be available by the time your little kiddo is ready for the upgrade.

Crib 1




Last weekend we added our little one’s chandelier! It’s exactly what I pictured 🙂 I got it on overstock here.  The price was great, and if you aren’t in a huge hurry, you can usually time your purchase with some type of sale they have going on…I was able to time it was a 15% off coupon I had received earlier, but they have different promotions quite a bit. It came like this….

chandelier 1

pardon the dark photo…we had the breaker turned off obviously 🙂

My handy husband was able to easily install it where our old (tacky) fixture had been. He studied Electrical Engineering in the Navy, so unless you really know what you’re doing, don’t mess with electrical! There, I said it 🙂

Once hung, the gems stones were kind of tedious to add on. I highly suggest unwrapping the labeled packages as you go, and laying them out on the floor in the order you’ll need them. I didn’t take a pic, but I had all of my “A” gems lined up, then all my “B”s, etc. They give you extra which always makes me feel like I missed something :/ but I didn’t! And it looks great!

Side notes: The description says “white,” but the stock photo they use looked off-white to me. Luckily it’s white! Also, we tried using the suggested 40w bulbs, and our room is only 10×10.  Way too bright! I was surprised, being that the chandelier was considered “mini.” So we went with 25w bulbs instead, since we’re also going to have a side table with a lamp by the rocker.

To be continued!….


First Post! Starting our nursery…

So much to do, so little time!

Since I pretty much wanted to start designing the nursery the *moment* we found out I was pregnant, I was overly excited to finally find out the gender of our little nugget. Once we found out we were having a girl (insert all the heart emojis), I took to Pinterest and design blogs to find our design theme! My husband was pretty much on board with whatever (insert more heart emojis), so at 5 months pregnant, we got to work designing our nursery!

Phase 1: Paint…. and Wallpaper! *gasp*

room 5

panoramic shot, not curved walls 🙂

Here’s what we started with…a room that has housed a few different male roommates over the years.  Blank canvas, minus the dirty walls and carpet. In this pic, you can vaguely see the three pink paint samples we were deciding between, to the right of the window, and on the far left of this picture.  I always paint swatches on at least 2 walls, to see them in different lighting. I wanted a really muted, but still bright, pink for the walls, and a warm, cozy mint for the inside of the closet (hoping to avoid “hospital green,” husband’s words). 🙂

room 6

The paint samples we purchased

We chose Candy Floss and Establish Mint, both in the Premium Plus Ultra, paint and primer in one.  Candy Floss was actually in the “Red Tinted Whites” section…all the actual pinks were WAY too pink! We got it at Home Depot on a day they were having a “$10 off each gallon of paint sale,” so we totally scored 🙂 We ended up painting the guest bath/baby bath Establish Mint as well, since we only painted the interior of the closet this color and had a lot of paint leftover. We love it!

room 4

So! Away we went with the paint. I’m the “edger” and husband is the “roller,” so after two rounds of edging, three rounds of rolling, and a serious imprint of a face mask…

room 7

…we had a very well painted room.  In a perfect world, we would have paid the extra $$$ to get Behr Marquee, which has a one coat guarantee (hard to believe in my opinion, but someone please prove me wrong!), but I’m frugal, so we went with the next best option of paint, and painted three coats.

room 3

Before Mint paint and wallpaper (I need cuter painting clothes)

We decided to wallpaper the wall surrounding the closet. Our original plan was to install fake ship-lap (Hi Joanna Gaines!!) on this wall, which we’ve done before in another one of our bathrooms and it turned out SO great, but this room is already really small and we didn’t want to take any space out of the room.  Also, I would have wanted to white-wash it, but the idea of getting the wood, staining, cutting, hammering, measuring more, cutting again…I just wasn’t feelin it this time around.

After some research, I went to Wallpaper Direct, and ordered 6 samples.  The first 3 are free, and each additional is only $1, and shipping is free! Shipping is also really fast, I think we got our samples in 2-3 business days.  We decided on Planks, also super fast, free shipping, and also decided that we were going to hang it horizontally instead of vertically.  This is a European company, and they don’t ship their paste to the States, so we went to Home Depot and bought paste, and a few tools. Neither of us had ever wallpapered before, so this was a serious test of our relationship, bc neither of us are fans of not knowing what we’re doing! (and I’m a perfectionist, to say the least.) But thanks to YouTube, and our undying love smily 1, we prevailed, and by the end we had a great system down, and we’re obsessed with how it turned out!

room 2


room 8

Shot from the hallway door

Stay tuned for the fun part! Lighting, organization, and decor!