Thursday, June 26, 2014

DIY Kitchen Shelves

About a year ago, we did a major DIY overhaul on our kitchen (see here).  We painted cabinets, removed cabinet panels and added glass, changed light fixtures, painted the walls and added a new curtain (see here).  We also took out the plastic kiddie table and made a coffee bar (one of our all time favorite projects - see here).  About a month or two ago we decided the kitchen needed just a bit more DIY-ing (not really a word).  My husband loves all of the shelving ideas I have pinned from Pinterest and HGTV.  We really like the vintage farmhouse look and slowly I think we are achieving it.

He suggested we remove one of the cabinets.  Halt! Back-up!!! I had already agreed to the glass paneled doors in two of the cabinets.  That alone took a lot of cleaning out and arranging.  Now he wanted to remove a cabinet!!!  I wasn't so sure about this idea.  Where was I going to put my junk?  Where would I hide things when my door bell rang unexpectedly?  I told him I would remain open to the idea, HOWEVER, he had to keep the old cabinet in case I didn't like the outcome.  

Once again, I cleaned out, threw away, and rearranged the kitchen.  Did you know that a kitchen cabinet is only held up by a few screws?  I was shocked!  All of the weight from my precious dishes was being supported by a few small screws.  We weren't sure what we were going to find behind the cabinet.  Luckily, the wall was textured and just need to be repainted.  

My husband wanted to support the new shelves with iron brackets.  He couldn't find exactly what he wanted so he and his brother tried to make them.  He had made them before for the shelf in our bedroom (see here.  Things weren't going so well this time so he decided to use pipe fittings and floor flanges.

He stained 2x12 pieces of pinewood using all of the left over stain we already had in the garage.  He just mixed the different colors until he had the shade he wanted.  After the stain dried, he rubbed each piece of wood with several coats of tung oil.  This really helped in achieving the aged look.  Also, the oil made the wood super smooth which helps with dusting.  He attached each shelf to the wall using 2 - 12x3/4 pipe fittings and 2 circular floor flanges.

In the end, I am very happy with the outcome and he was able to hang the old cabinet in the garage for storage. :)

This picture gives a good view of the pipe fittings and flanges.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mommy...He's Breathing and It's Bothering Me!

Oh. My. Word... Today is one of "those" days.  You know, the days when your children are annoyed at the fact they have siblings to play with, nice toys, food to eat, a warm bed, and on and on.  I have such a hard time on these days.  It bothers me so much when they act like this.  Of course, I am an only child so I never understand why they get annoyed with one another.  To me, they should be grateful we gave them lifelong playmates! :)  Also, being that I am an adult, I understand how blessed we are to have the many great things God has given our family. I knew it was coming, a day like this, where even breathing bothers one another.  We have had far too many smooth and calm days in a row. We were due for a rough day.  My husband asked the other night, "What happened to our children, these can't be ours."  He was referring to how sweet they had been to one another.  Well I have news for him, I found our real children this morning at swim lessons! I invited Nana (my mother in law) to come and watch swim lessons.  The kids have been doing such a great job coaching and cheering one another on, I thought she would enjoy it.  Thankfully she has a good sense of humor and I learned years ago that my kids don't do the "dog and pony show" well.  It wasn't mediocre behavior, they were flat out horrible to one another, especially my boys.  Wow, splashing in the face, pulling on one another in the water, throwing goggles at the other, too many time outs to count.  I was beginning to wonder if tonight was a full moon.  I even had to do one of those mean mommy growls, where I grit my teeth and lower my voice as I sternly tell them to get out of the pool.  To make matters worse, I was wearing a sun dress (because I am tired of sweating to death in shorts or yoga pants) and could not bend over the edge of the pool to yank them out.  I think they realized this and took their sweet time getting out of the pool. Yep, these are the children I call mine... These are the three darlings God entrusted to my care.  Some days I sit and wonder why He has place so much trust in me...  Sometimes I even think maybe He got the wrong person... :) In all seriousness, I love these little monsters with all my heart.  I will try to hold on to those pockets of joy moments (here) from earlier in the week. Hopefully tomorrow we will redeem ourselves at swim lessons.  Of course, Nana won't be there to see it when they are behaving better and remembering that they actually love one another.
**Today, my blog reached over 30,000 page views!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Another Treasure for My Pocket

You may remember a recent post called Pockets of Joy.  In the post, I discussed how my husband and I whisper the word "pocket" to one another when we see our kids being extra kind, completing a goal, playing exceptionally well together, or any other moment we want to remember.  In a way, we are wrapping up that precious little moment and hiding it away in our "pocket" to pull out and remember on those "not so great days". Today, was definitely a pocket filling day.  I treasure pocket days because when you have three stubborn, head strong, and willful children it can be a long time coming before it happens again. We like to call our children "passionate" and let me tell you, they are "passionate" about e-v-e-r-y thing. :) This week has been filled with swim lessons.  Each child is in a different age group, so I get the pleasure of watching lessons for 2 1/2 hours in the summer heat of the south.  Let me rephrase that, I get to sit in the scorching heat while I sweat in really bad places all while keeping my eyes on three kids in three different parts of a very large pool.  It is relaxing, I look forward to it every year...really (at lease that is what I keep telling myself). Today, my youngest son got a large dose of panic when he stepped a little too far into the deep end.  Both boys were playing while their sister was in class.  I saw what was happening so I jumped into action.  It felt like I was a mile away from him.  While I was running towards him, my oldest son stayed calm, reached out his hand and coached his little brother (who is not so little) to the edge.  If you know my oldest son, you know that is God's hand in action.  The child (much like his mamma) doesn't have a calm bone in his body.  Big brother calmed little brother down and then explained to him how he should act if that happens again.  My mouth was on the floor.  Good job nine year old, I am glad you had your drowning brother under control!  I really couldn't believe it.  I was so proud of him.  POCKET!!! Later in the sessions of swim lessons, my daughter (the youngest) was very scared when her swim teacher asked her to jump into the 5 feet section.  Her teacher had her standing on the ledge ready to catch her but my daughter just couldn't seem to move her little feet.  I walked over to the ledge to gently coax her in when I noticed both brothers off to the side.  They had been playing with the other kids when they noticed the trouble she was having.  Both boys left their friends, swam over to where we were, and begin cheering her on.  It was the sweetest thing, two big brothers cheering on their little sister.  POCKET!!! At two different times, both boys cheered each other on as they swam the length of the pool.  They gave each other high fives and beamed at one another's success.  POCKET, POCKET, POCKET!!! As I sat and perspired, oh lets face it, I was sweat'in like a hog...I thanked God for today's moments.  I was exceptionally thankful that I was there to witness them first hand.  POCKET!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Charm Necklace

I am just in love with the popular look of adding multiple charms (or pendants) to one chain.  I have seen some very pretty designs at James Avery (which come with a very pretty price tag) and much more affordable necklaces at Charming Charlie's.  I also like them because I think they make great conversation pieces.  I always want to know the story and reason for picking each charm.

I have thought about purchasing one of these necklaces for quite some time.  However, I really didn't want to spend the money but also didn't want something that was going to turn my neck green! :)  It dawned on me the other day that I already had everything I needed to make my own.  I have several small pendants that I love to wear at different times.  They have all been gifts, each with a special meaning.  I wanted to use one of my gold chains so I picked out my three favorite gold pendants.  I had to take everything into a jeweler because one of the pendants would not come off the original chain.  When I showed it to the jeweler she chuckled and said that my husband had specifically requested that the pendant not be able to slide off.  He was afraid I would lose it!  I have no idea what would give him that idea!!! :)

I am so happy with the finished product.

This picture really shows the vibrant purple color of the amethyst heart.

This picture (even though it is a bit dark) shows the detail of the bezel set diamond pendant.

Here is the back story to each piece.
  • The diamond pendant was given to me by my husband before we were married (still in college).  It was a Christmas present and when he gave it to me he leaned over and told me, "Just so you know, that is real."  To this day I still give him a hard time about that.  We were young and he was very proud of his purchase and he wanted to make sure I knew it. :)  This would be the same pendant that he had permanently fixed to the original chain. :)
  • The gold cross was also a gift from my husband just a couple of years ago.  It is small and simple - I love it.
  • The purple amethyst (also my birthstone) was a gift from my parents.  My mom picked it out during their trip to Hawaii.  
So, there you have it.  My new favorite piece of jewelry.  The best part is I no longer have to decide which one to wear!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Nothing Like a Good Cuddle

This past weekend, my mom took our kids for two nights.  This is a first, the longest they have ever been away from the house.  They were so excited, especially because it was for two nights instead of one.  My husband and I had a great time just staying in town, shopping, and eating at our favorite restaurants (without children). :)  It seemed so strange and QUIET not to have the kids around.  Don't get me wrong, we loved, capital L.O.V.E.D., every single second of it.  Did I mention we loved it?  Did I mention that we will forever be eternally grateful to my mother?  Did I mention we are counting down the days until we get to do it again?  :) When we finally had to pick them up (just kidding) on Sunday, we received a good report from my mom.  She said they did really well and went to bed easily.  We gathered up their suitcases and went home for Father's Day.  The best part of the day happened as soon as we got home.  For some reason, all five of us ended up on our bed cuddling and talking about their weekend.  It was such a sweet moment and it actually lasted about 30 minutes.  Throughout the day each of the kids had a moment of asking us to cuddle again.  I think having them away from home (even for 2 days) made me realize how much I missed them. My husband loves to cuddle and he has passed that onto our children.  Our two youngest children always ask to cuddle.  Our oldest doesn't verbalize it but moves closer and closer until he is practically in our laps.  I love that even though he is nine years old he isn't "too cool" for a good cuddle.  I love that all five of us piled up on our bed just to talk about their weekend.  I love that all of us will pile on top of each other while watching a movie on the couch.  It always makes us laugh when the dogs think they can find a spot, too. I don't know what age cuddling becomes "uncool" but I hope it isn't for a really long time.  We aren't the perfect family by any means but we love each other...flaws and all. :)  My kids are often "those kids" and many times I have been "that mother" but at the end of the day we love each other and a great session of cuddling.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Three Great Father's Day Ideas

Last year the kids and I came up with three great Father's Day ideas.  My husband was blown away with the creativity and loved the gifts.  I thought I would keep today's post short and give you the links to last year's ideas. Idea #1 - Father's Day Questionnaire - This was so much fun.  I gave each child the questionnaire to fill out.  My husband adored their individual responses. Father's Day Free Printable  - Click the link to view the original post and FREE PRINTABLE!!! :)
Idea #2 - Father's Day Pictures - I dressed the kids up in some of my husband's clothes and then took a ton of pictures.  The pictures are absolutely priceless. Father's Day Pictures - Click the link to view the original post. Idea #3 - Father's Day Posters - Using the pictures in the above link, I covered large pieces of canvas to hang in our loft.  *If you go with this idea I would suggest using foam board instead of canvas.  The canvas has not held up well. Father's Day Pictures Part 2 - Click the link to view the original post. If you are searching for ideas I hope you find these helpful. :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Screen Time - Summer System

Last year, I had a very disciplined summer schedule for the kiddos (Summer Activities and Ideas).  I started out with good intentions but as the summer rolled on and laziness set in...well, you know, we didn't finish in the same way we started.  As I looked over the list today, I realized it does have some really great ideas but I am not going to set myself up this year. :)  However, I will re-visit it from time to time. I have thought about this for several weeks.  What is the most important bargaining tool I have? ANSWER:  SCREENS I could sit here and say that my kids are never interested in the iPad or TV.  Yes, they always beg to go outside and work during the summer...NOT.  They are normal kids!  If I let them they will waste 8 hours a day in front of some sort of electronic device.  Honestly, with our summer heat I can't say that I blame them.  Our outside playing hours are usually between 6pm and 9pm when the temperatures go into the low 90's (insert sweaty emoticon). So, here is the plan for this summer.  The kids will earn screen time by reading, completing educational packets, and chores.  Each item is worth a specific amount of points.  Each time they complete an item I will give them a ticket for each point.  They must have 30 points (tickets) in order to earn 30 minutes of screen time.  I had my oldest son help me with the list and point values.  He is always my hardest one to convince with things like this.  I have learned if he helps in the planning phase he buys into it a little better. Each child will have a small bucket to keep their tickets.  When they reach 30 (or even 60) tickets they can turn them into me and redeem their coveted screen time.  In the past, I have noticed that all three kids will sit and watch the iPad when really only one of them earned the time.  There is really no way I can keep this from happening.  It is actually kind of sweet when they share their time with each other.  Since the screen is so small it makes them cuddle which makes my heart warm. :) I have linked a copy for you to print if you find this idea helpful. :) *Reading, educational packets, and making their bed will be required on a daily basis, however, they will get the benefit of receiving points and tickets. * After clicking (click here to print), you will be sent to a Google Doc page.  From there select "file", then select "download".  The image will download to your computer and then you can print from there.

Happy Summer!!!