Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Troll House

Many people have asked, "Why trolls? What about them does Ev like so much?"
To be honest, I'm not completely sure. She's never really told me what she loves so much about them, but if I had to guess, her favorite thing is probably their hair. She brushes it, puts it in ponytails and basically thinks its magical. She also prefers treasure trolls (trolls with jewels on their bellies) and often separates them by the color of their hair into families. You know ... separate but equal. JUST KIDDING - that's not a thing in our house, but she really does put all the blue-haired trolls in the "blue family." She plays with them all day - auctioning off her Puppies in my Pocket to different troll families, setting up picnics and feeding them ornate lunches, playing hair salon and hide-n-go-seek with them. You name it - she will find a way to work her trolls into it. 

It all started awhile (a year or so) back when we let the girls watch Toy Story 3. The beginning scene is Woody and Buzz trying to save a bunch of "orphans" (Treasure Trolls) from a runaway train. She became fascinated with them and asked to watch the beginning of the movie over and over just so she could see the trolls. Then, at our Young Women Yard Sale fundraiser, I found one and gave it to her. For her birthday last year, she asked me for more. My friend Haley had a few from her childhood she gave to me, but other than that I couldn't find any that weren't extremely expensive on eBay. Then low and behold, Target came out with a line of Good Luck Trolls, which still had jewels on the belly but were slightly different (weird skin colors and different sized than the old trolls) and I bought every single one I could find (4). So she had about 7 trolls, but she still kept asking for some of the original ones that I'd shown her on the internet. She desperately wanted the "Happy Birthday Troll," with the rainbow hair, but it was $27 for one troll! I told her I would continue to look. Over the summer, I scoured the internet, antique shops in town and yard sales looking for treasure trolls, not finding any. I was about ready to give up, when I got consumed by a different idea. Maybe 7 trolls was plenty. She just needed somewhere special to put them.

And a Troll House was born. 
Evie had expressed an interest in having a dollhouse before and with two girls, it was really only a matter of time before we got one. The only problem was I couldn't find one that I loved that wasn't extremely expensive. The plastic ones are super expensive and all the furniture is sold separately. The antique awesome ones are hard to find and even more pricey. Again, I started checking craigslist, garage sales, internet, etc. and couldn't find what I was looking for. Then I started googling doll house kits and truly started to believe that Nick and I could make our own.

And the truth is, it was still ridiculously expensive for a dollhouse. The kit was $69.99 (I got it for 40% off and it was still a bundle!) plus you have to buy paint, wood stain, brushes, sanding materials, basically EVERYTHING. And when you open the box, it literally comes in a million different pieces. Everything has to be sanded and painted individually before being assembled and it is NOT for the faint of heart. 

I ordered a ghetto set of wooden furniture that also had to sanded, glued and painted for $10 on amazon and found a few other things on craigslist, but I was short some major furniture and decided I would save by just trying to make my own. 

We almost chucked the dollhouse several times during the process of making it. We glued in floors wrong and walls wrong and had to demolition it (I was almost in tears) to make it work. We spent MONTHS building the stupid thing and I began to wish we had a social life because every night when the kids went to bed, that's what we did.

Nick's mom ended up giving Evie some nice doll house furniture for Christmas, so that saved me so much time and I didn't have to make as much as I thought I would. Our Troll House really is a modge podge of everything there is in the universe. High quality materials, low quality materials, store bought and handmade. When Christmas morning came and we gave it to the girls, you should have seen Ev's face. It was so magical and perfect and it made all the months of hard work totally worth it.

So you're probably wondering where the heck we got the extra 35 trolls. My parents had listened to me express frustration in trying to find trolls to go in the house. Finally my Dad called me and said that I should be getting a few boxes in the mail over the next few days. I asked him what for and he simply said, "I found a few trolls." By few, he meant 30+ random trolls from all over the internet including, the beloved "Happy Birthday Troll." Box after box came in the mailbox and every time I opened one, I didn't know what to expect. 

So thanks to my Dad for the surplus of trolls. The girls don't fight over them and they even have an evil pirate troll to play with as a bad guy. He's basically the best Grandpa ever.

I'm so proud of this thing. It already needs some repairs, but that's to be expected with kids. I think Nick died a little inside when he saw that some of his hand stained, hand glued shingles fell off, but the girls truly love it and so do we.

The best part is, it's not just for trolls. The girls use Puppies in my Pocket, Calico Critters, Duplo and lego people, pretty much anything small is a part of this weird combobulated house. 

And here it is! She's a beaut.

And I'm not even going to apologize for the ten million pictures of a child's toy. This thing will forever contain a large part of my soul.

A welcoming front door! (That still needs a door knob)

I painted and made 95% of the decor which is why it took so long. A special thanks to a few of my friends that spent late nights painting and hot gluing with me - you know who you are. I made every light fixture, lamp, most of the artwork and frames, painted and stenciled the walls, made rugs and painted ghetto and bad smelling yard sale furniture - you get the picture.

The light fixtures are q-tips, packing peanuts and paper covered in modge podge. I made all of the bedding but the master bedroom and all of the artwork was lovingly painted by me in this bedroom (don't look too closely).

One of my favorite rooms in the whole house. My friend Sommer found this modern furniture at a yard sale in Seattle and grabbed it for me. I painted it and boom! A cute little study was born.

The nursery. The dresser is from the dollar store! I just painted it. The furniture is all the ghetto stuff from amazon that I had to hand glue (again, don't look too closely). Bought the doily, made the art work, modge podged the wall.

This came in a bag of yard sale items from my friend Sommer. Missing a leg, kinda plain, so I spiced it up by hot gluing a million pom poms to it.

It took forever, but Ev loves it. I didn't get a final picture of it up close. Just envision how awesome it looks.

This wall took me FOREVER. I cut, pasted and contact papered all different trolls traveling around the world. And that wasn't event the worst part! The stenciling was horrible because I forgot to do it before we glued the wall in. Oops. Also, Nick's mom gave Ev this furniture which is why it's so much cuter than the stuff I made. 

I really love the master. The theme was Ev's two favorite colors: blue and pink.

Bathroom. Furniture from Nick's mom. I made the rug, mirror (it's so terrible!), artwork, light fixture and I polka-dotted the walls.

Ev's favorite picture in the whole house is the one with the trolls at Disneyland with Mickey and Minnie. She talks about taking her trolls to Disneyland all the time. 

Who wouldn't want a gumball machine in their living room? Also, I wish I would have had time/funds to do different flooring in each room, but that's okay.

Kitchen. I loved the persian rug so much (amazon $3.99) but wish it were slightly larger.

Boxwood wreath for the front door.

Trolls visit Paris!

The Trolla Lisa.

Me stenciling - YUCK.

A very helpful creepster in the back. 
Nick deserves a special shout out for all this. Thank you for not divorcing me. May we find something easy to purchase next year for our daughters' Christmas gift.

There it is! My life in a nutshell. JK, but seriously my heart and soul went into this thing and I love watching our girls play with it every single day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Thanksgiving or as Rick Astley would say, "Never Gonna Give You Up!"

Wahoo! Finally blogging. Obviously I'm having a hard time finding time to blog, but here I am! Over Thanksgiving break we went snowshoeing. The best part was bringing Darel's boyfriend (now fiance) along because he's from Texas and has no experience with snow and watching him was awesome. He loved it! But I think he might think we are crazy bringing a bunch of babies and toddlers snowshoeing. 

Speaking of babies:

Waiting on someone ... I'm guessing it's Dot.

It was COLD.

Elle loved every minute of it.

Kent! The first time snowshoer.

Chi Chi - modeling in the snow.

Just crossing a bridge with a baby.

Probably one of the safer things I've done with my kids.

PNW = the best.

(And she's nice, too!)

Some candids of my lovely face.

Workin' it.

Seahawks fans - minus Shea and Becky. Also, I look awful in all these pictures - WHY?!


Cheesy pic of the sibs.

So I asked Kent to take some candids of everyone in the kitchen on Thanksgiving because it's always so busy with a million of us running around (everybody has a job to do!) and 90% of them are blurry in some way. Welcome to the family, Kent!

Me, perfecting orange rolls, Mama sprinting across the kitchen.

Darel ... probably shouldn't be allowed to touch anything.

Chels - the green bean Queen.

Nick ... ???

Grandma arranging rolls.

Legendary stuffing. This might be my final meal of choice if I was on death row. It's such a simple recipe but nothing I've ever had can top my Grandma's recipe. Should Darel have been trusted with such a treasure?

Chopping away.

Gramps, doing his thing.

The Spread!

Seriously the best day of the year.

I did orange rolls and regular rolls this year - NAILED IT.

My beloved yams in the background and chocolate turkeys from See's (a tradition that I love so much even though I never eat the turkey).

Some weirdos at the table.

Chelsea lovingly and patiently punched leaves into the butter so we could really dine in style. After Ev's fourth butter leaf, I decided we should probably make her stop.
"Mom, the butter was my favorite part of dinner."

Floral arrangement. My mom leaves no detail untouched!

Not the best angle for Nick, but I look fly in this pic so it's going on the bloggy blog.
Sorry, honey!

I'm disgusting. And yes, 75% of my plate is stuffing.
It always is...

Some good men doing dishes.

The nastiest picture of all of us, but gotta document the annual Turkey bowl! It was Cole's first time playing and he did awesome.

Best friends.


Her face is dirty and I'm such a good mom.

Elle Belle looking like Tipsy Wipsy or whatever the heck that Teletubby is called.

And our Christmas lights this year!
Nick did such a good job.