Welcome back to life!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

If you are wondering where I've disappeared to, it's called baby hibernation. My beautiful baby girl was born April 19th at 5:30ish. She was 6lb 14oz and perfect!

I was totally ready to conquer the newborn stage this time around. With her being my third, I felt completely prepared! ....little did I know. My beautiful baby girl had colic. Just thinking the word "colic" makes me shudder. When I would here other moms say their baby had colic I would feel sympathy for them. It must be really hard having a baby that cries a lot- plus the sleeplessness and recovering from pregnancy and birth... It's beyond hard! I had no idea just how hard it would be. There were many nights my husband and I just prayed for her to stop crying and I'd pass out on the bed while she screamed in her crib. We seriously got to the point where we could tune it out and that usually occurred around 2-3am after listening to the crying for hours. (DISCLAIMER: we tried everything, leg peddling, burping, feeding, shushing, swaddling, cutting out dairy, listening to running water, sound machine, walking, holding her while doing lunges, I mean- seriously everything.) Thank goodness for my friends who brought food and words of comfort. Many nights my eyes were glazed over as we'd sit down to dinner and my husband would look at me and I'd just start crying. It's so hard feeling like you can't comfort your baby. You feel like a failure as a mother. All I can say is THANK GOD this wasn't my first child! I did have some perspective that we would get through this. And I'm so grateful that my husband gave 150% and we would switch off dealing with crying sessions so the other could sleep. We were in full blown survival mode. Now that Dillon is 3 months, the colic is gone and I can finally rejoin the world! If your baby has colic- there is hope and it will end! Just tie that knot at the end of your rope and hold on! It will get better- and one day your baby will give you that long awaited smile and you'll breathe a sigh of relief and tell yourself it was all worth it.

With love,

Kitchen Remodel!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Ever since we moved into our house, I have hated our kitchen cabinets. I realize they weren't hideous, but in all fairness a child did draw with permanent marker on one before we moved in. By the way, "Krud Kutter" gets rid of permanent marker on cabinets ;)
So I find myself about 6 months pregnant and some crazy nesting instincts take over and I decide I am redoing my kitchen! Well, first things first, lots of reading. If I was doing this, I was going to do it right. I have a very big kitchen and I would be very mad if it didn't turn out how I wanted. One blog that helped me A LOT was Young House Love. They were inspiring and had some really good advice. So here is how I did it - step by step.

1. Remove all doors, drawers and hardware. You can lay them out nicely and admire your work....although the fun has barely even begun.
                                                      (Aren't they beautiful?!-- not!)

2. Clean your wood thoroughly. We used "Krud Kutter" and after we washed them with TSP. Now Krud Kutter is biodegradable, non toxic and whatnot....but TSP is not. You will need to mix it properly, use gloves, I used a eye protection and a mask too. And we washed as much as we could outside.

3. After a thorough cleaning it's time to sand! Yep.... I'm super obsessive so I have to make sure that paint is going to stick! Here are some pics of the sanding. I used 120 grit for this primary sanding.

 (If you are sanding inside your house- which you will probably need to do...I REALLY suggest taping off the room and using some cheap plastic tarps to block any dust spreading to the rest of your house)

                                           (Here is an idea of what they will look like after sanding)

4. After sanding, we clean...and now we can start priming! I really suggest you use a really good quality primer and do light coats. I ended up doing 2 light coats of primer.

5. Once both coats of primer are dry we start to paint! YAY! This is where you can finally see it really start to come together. A few things first- pick a really good paint. Pick one that is meant for cabinets, or moist areas. This is not the place to skimp on money. If you do this right it should last for years to come. A self leveling paint is also a bonus here. I used light coats here as well. It's really important to avoid drips. 

(The bottom two drawers have paint- and the top 2 1/2 in this pic are still primer)

MORE PAINTING: In between paint coats - because you will do more than one...you want to sand very lightly with a very fine grit. This is also a time to sand down any drips you notice. We ended up using Vista Paint Pro-Tech which is meant for damp spaces and industrial uses. It was a little bit cheaper than the Benjamin Moore paint which was my #2 choice. All in all I'm sooooo happy with our choice. It dried beautifully and has held up very well (I'm writing this a month after the project). Because we used thin coats the wood grain texture is still evident which looks very professional. Our cabinets do not look like they have multiple coats of paint & primer on them- they turned out great!

6. After painting I took some time to really make the inside of my drawers and cabinets as pretty as the outside....well, prettier. Here is the before:

And YES- this is AFTER multiple cleanings....and scrubbing with abrasive sponges. I have no clue what the people before us were doing to their cabinets....but they sure did make a mess.

Here are my new- beautifully lined cabinets. Amazing what some contact paper can do....

And under the sink I added some peel and stick vinyl tiles.They might not photograph well, but in person they make under the sink look brighter and very clean.

7. After making the insides beautiful, it was time to add the jewelry- aka- pulls and knobs. We picked some aged bronze....which is really just a dark brown metal. I splurged on the pulls and knobs and let me tell you  that when each one is $4 and you have 20 something doors it adds up fast. So I really didn't want to have to buy new hinges too....because after pricing it out it was going to be another $120. But I wasn't about to leave the brass hinges.... Here comes Rust-oleum to the rescue. I was able to spray paint the hinges and I happen to LOVE the hammered look. 

Here are the spray painted hinges next to the new hardware. I think they look pretty good.

8. Time to hang your masterpiece and install the pulls, knobs and hinges. I recommend buying a stencil at your local hardware store to help you mark where your knobs and pulls will go- trust me it saves SO much time!

 9. Now you can stand back and admire all your hard work.

 Don't get discouraged when you are in the middle of your project and it looks like this:

yes...this honestly was my house for weeks....friends, this is why we couldn't do playdates at my house - lol!

And here it is! (Don't mind the black fridge that sticks out like a sore thumb, or the ugly light fixture...it's on the to do list ;)

Good luck guys! You can totally do it yourself! We ended up spending around $500 on this project, but we saved thousands. Seriously, it would have cost us a lot to have someone come in and do it for us- we looked into it :)

Holiday Giveaway!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

This time of year most days I am up to my eye balls in kid activities and trying to get all this "holiday stuff" accomplished  You know what I'm talking about, lugging the kids to the holiday play practice, getting the kids dressed up and smiling for those holiday cards, baking stuff for the traditional nights, baking cookies for and wrapping them cute to give to people, decorating the house, making sure outside timers are making the lights go on...all this "stuff" in addition to the daily craziness. It's enough to drive anyone insane. BUT! I keep telling myself I will get it all done and when I do it will be worth it :) Most of this "holiday stuff" I absolutely adore, just not all at once ;)

One thing I do love about the holidays is that they bring about lots of giveaways! And how fun for the person who wins this! They could make some adorable gifts for next year-- or if they happen to be amazing for this year ;)

My sister has some amazing fabric and happens to be hosting a giveaway till this Saturday  So enter now for your chance to win!!! CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

It's officially the day before Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Can you believe it's here?! Some of you might be filled with dread. My tips for you are try to breathe slowly, make a check list (I love checking off check lists...even if it says to just put slippers on, check!) and remember that the whole reason for having friends and family over is to make memories and reminisce about those good 'ol times. Keep in mind there are a lot of people in your same situation and I always say the worst thing is for a host to get so frazzled that they miss out on the fun of the event.

Even though I typically make a lot of food, rolls and pies from scratch, it's ok to have help. This year we are traveling for Thanksgiving, so our families pies will be from the great baker Costco. Definitely not the same as my homemade. If you are looking for some last minute pie tips, my sister spilled a few of our family secrets here: http://www.everkelly.com/2012/10/pumpkin-pie-secrets/

If making a pie today is not in your plans - thats fine! We all have our physical and mental limitations. The important thing is our family (or maybe its friends that will be with you) will be together this thanksgiving and I know my kids will be asking who gets the turkey legs. I hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving!

With Love,

Re-post: Turkey Wrangling

Monday, November 19, 2012

This year we will be visiting family this Thanksgiving  so I was able to bypass all the crazy planning and prep cooking. But in honor of all of you that have to cook I thought I'd re-post one of my favorite thanksgiving posts. Here is an oldie but a goodie from one of my first thanksgivings.

Here's the issue with the Thanksgiving turkey.... it is THE Thanksgiving turkey. It is the main focus point of the meal. You spend hours on end slaving away in the kitchen over side dishes and deserts all to complement a big chunk of meat. I mean, think about it- if you burn the turkey, that kinda ruins this whole meal that you literally have spent a month preparing and hours prepping for. It's kinda scary to most people to put that much pressure on one piece of meat!

Yes, even after doing this many years, it is still intimidating to me. Not to mention the whole "prepping" the turkey.
Here's what goes through my mind on Thanksgiving morning:
How the heck am I going to rinse this awkard lump of meat that weighs an insane 24 pounds ! Um...o.k. So I'm dangling this in my sink and trying to control where the faucet is hitting the turkey while trying to not drop it. It's freezing too! It's been thawed out in the fridge and happens to be very cold. And it's slippery! Oh crap, totally just dropped it- hope that didn't bruise it or tear the skin. This thing is bigger than a kid! It'd be easier to hug this thing and rinse- but eeew. Well, do I have another shirt? Hmm...no. Ok, bad idea. Ok, got most of it rinsed by this point. Oh darnit, the turkey just hit the faucet- mental note: Disinfect that when I have to disinfect the sink later. And, LIFT. And then try to gently set this monster of an obese bird on a roasting rack. Phew. Now just pat dry.....and thoroughly scrub myself and the sink and possibly floor where water went splashing everywhere. Now yell at the dog to not lick the water on the floor, dangit that's going to make him sick. Kids!
No running in here! Don't come over here!...... When do I get to open the wine?!

Here's the good part- it turned out perfect! After I patted it dry I rubbed it down with a salt/herb mix and slathered with butter and olive oil. It was soooo good. Yay for a successful turkey roasting!

My little project- a mantle

So when I think of Christmas I think of stockings hung above the fire....ok, stop there. Until a week ago I couldn't do that. Our house was built without a mantle! And the people who built it, made a cut out right next to the fireplace. Probably for a desk or something. Buuuut since the cutout is there it means that there is a sharp corner by our fireplace. Really annoying because all pre-made mantles that you can buy at the home improvement stores get larger at the top so they'd hang over the side. So I had to make a custom mantle.

My inspiration came from this blog: www.addicted2decorating.com/diy-rough-hewn-wood-fireplace-mantel.html

And I'm sooooo happy with how it turned out! Here is a walk though of how I did it.

I cut the boards to the size I needed and made a simple rectangle without a back

I filled in all the nail holes with wood putty and then I stained it :)

Because I had to wait for the stain to dry this is a 2 day project. I used Dark Walnut from Minwax and did approximately 2 coats.

Next step was to screw a 2x4 into the studs above my fireplace. This is where measuring the size of your mantle that you made is important. The mantle slides over this piece and is nailed in. So measure 2x before you screw in the 2x4! The little pieces in front are just for extra support for the top piece of the mantle.

And here she is! Because I took the pic almost straight on it looks like it hangs over, but it is flush with the little corner. It doesn't hang over the sides :)

It really wasn't too hard and it wasn't very expensive. Total came in under $45. So go ahead! Give it a shot!

Getting into the Halloween Spirit!

Monday, October 22, 2012

We are about a week away from Halloween! And I'm sorry to say I'm a bit behind in October posts. We've been battling the sickies at our house :( But we are in the full BOO spirit now! And if you aren't I have some great ideas to get you in the spirit!

1. BOO your neighbors!

Now I don't mean hide in your bushes and wait till they get home. Instead gift them with a little pail of goodies and a cute ghost on their door. You can pick up a jack-o-lantern plastic pail at Walmart for $1. Fill with some candies, pencils, fall soap for adults? Or a candle for a mom? Some glow sticks and erasers are great for kids.
Boo sign Template

2. Get Batty

When I think of a spooky Halloween night I think of a cold dark night accented with some screeches of bats flying across the sky. But how do you bring that spooky magical feeling into your own house? And with out adding in anything so scary it'll give your 5 year old nightmares? My answer is cutouts :)

I just love these bat silhouettes hanging down over our kitchen table. I cut the bats out of black card stock and attached them to one another with a piece of black string. Then I hung them from the chandelier. I think it's so fun and my kids just love it!  

My scanner has decided to hate me this week so I'm having some trouble creating templates for my crafts. I took a picture of the bat I used on a background of white paper. If you print this bat out it'll give you a good template to trace so you can make your own hanging bats. I'm almost 100% sure that this was originally a Martha Stewart Halloween craft idea, but I think she removed since she's now selling packs of her bats in stores. Well, I'm one of those people who love to look through her magazines for ideas, but I'll never go out and spend 15 dollars when it's a paper cut out. This is so easy to do at home, you have to try it! Notice the "fur" around the head of the bat, a very cute detail!

3. Spooky Windows

I did large window decorations that can be easily seen from the street. I went to a teacher's supply store and purchased 12 foot long black paper that's 2 feet wide. I flipped it on it's back and drew out a picket fence. 

I then drew a cat to go on the picket fence....and some bats in the "sky" above the picket fence. Anyway, you get the idea. You can draw or trace out a spooky scene on the flip side of the black paper. Then you cut out your scene. 
Here I am just beginning to cut :)

I have pull down black out curtain on those windows so I taped the scenes to that. But if you do not have anything on your windows I suggest taping it (with painters tape) to tissue paper so light can shine through! It'll create a very spooky effect. Although if it is for a kid's room maybe something a bit sturdier such as a sheet or even a large piece of white paper. It's so simple and so fun!

4. Get Crafty

I picked up some of the $1.00 masks at my local craft store and decided to start painting them for the kids. I finished the Frankenstein one and the kids have looooooved it!