Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ten Months...Ten Little Toes

Hello to all of you!

Long time, no talk!

Something came up in March that caused my little circus to become crazier!

We were suddenly, miraculously, expecting again.

Then, the hyperemesis (non-stop praying to the porcelain gods, if you catch what I'm talking about) kicked in and....


Look what's here!

Ten more precious little toes that will soon be dancing through this house.

It's a boy.

He is precious.

We will refer to him as....the Wee One (until he's old enough to realize how completely UN-cool that sounds!)

I'm coming back!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Simple Mantel Decorations

I love the way boxwood topiaries look on a mantel.

I can't find fake ones that look real enough...

So, I made my own "topiaries" from dried flowers, that were already in the shape of a ball. Colors are simple for our mantel this spring. Understated. Boring?

Not sure yet. The jury is still out.

The den, where the mantel is, is a 'sanctuary' of sorts when the kiddos go to sleep. It's where the Mister and I get to have our adult conversations. It's where we try and relax.

I need opinions.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yummy Strawberry Syrup


The kids are having a hard time with the homemade yogurt.

They won't eat it anymore.

...But I LOVE it! I am saving so much $$ making it, but it's not worth it if the kids won't eat it, right?

I have discovered a Strawberry Syrup Recipe from Our Best Bites (which is an amazing blog and now cookbook, by the way!)

The Strawberry Syrup is AWESOME in the yogurt. And...mix it with granola?!? Shut the front door! It makes my mouth water!

:)'s SO easy!

Strawberry Syrup

1 pint of strawberries (green cut out)
1/3 cup white sugar
Splash of Lemon Juice (I used the bottled kind)

1. Simmer your strawberries (you don't have to add any water) until they get a little soft and strawberry juice is created.

2. Dump the strawberries in a blender/cuisinart.
3. Add sugar and lemon juice.
4. Blend until your desired texture is achieved. I made mine into a puree this time around.
5. Eat your weight in whatever it is you use this on!

Some ideas for this sauce:

Homemade Yogurt
Ice Cream
Strawberry Shortcake
Just swim in the glorious goodness...

Enjoy! And, let me know what you think!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tips for Simplifying/De-Cluttering

Some of you, my dear friends, have expressed to me concern about how to even begin the Simplifying Process. I know that it can seem can you even find the time with little ones/husbands/work on your mind, on your leg, in your arms all the time? Believe me, I know and feel your worries and furstrations. I've been thinking up some "pointers", and here they are!

  • Little by Little - Simplifying doesn't have to be done all at once! Start in small intervals and small goals. 10 minutes at a time will make a big dent in the clutter.
  • Remember, more likely than not, it's going to look MUCH worse before it gets better. Keep pushing through!
  • Take care of yourself. If you feel overwhelmed during this challenge, step back. The entire goal of this challenge is to make your life simpler, easier, more enjoyable. Keep the big picture in mind.
  • When deciding about whether to keep something, ask yourself simple questions:  Will it/does it make life easier/better? Will I feel incredible guilt if I give it away? Do I feel good when I wear it? Do I feel good when I see this in my home? Is this a good representation of myself/my family/my home?
  • Break up the projects into smaller ones. If de-cluttering the "kitchen" makes you feel faint, change the way you attack it. De-Clutter the tupperware one day, the pantry the next, the refrigerator the third day, etc. There is no time limit to simplifying...
  • Remember to play. You are human. You need a rest and your family, partner and pets need you, too. Take breaks, go outside, have family night. Try not to let it consume you...although, when you get on a roll, it's hard not too!
Now, take a deep breath, go outside, give someone you love a kiss and remember how much better/easier your life is going to be after this simpl,ifying is over. I know you can do it.

Small time increments.
Small goals.
Small areas.

Keep it simple!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A New Baby...of the Plastic Kind

Since we are trying to pare down in our lives, the Mister and I are also trying to pare down on the kids' toys, too. This calls for Mommy (me) - mostly - to creatively and stealth-ily get rid of some of the toys the kids no longer use.

My newest strategy may seem counter-productive at first, but it has helped us to donate 12 stuffed animals already...and we all know how stuffed animals have a magical ability to reproduce and multiply, right?

Little Miss is able to pick out a new dolly if she has had a good week of listening, following directions and being kind to others. This is the third week she has hit her goal. We went to the store yesterday to get her "new baby".

There are some ground rules for this new baby:
1. It cannot be more than $10
2. It cannot be a stuffy, fluffy, poofy animal
And...most importanly...
3. Little Miss must get rid of at least 2 stuffed animals in order to bring the new baby home.

Yesterday, she was able to find 4 stuffies that she could give up easily!

In exchange...I now have to look into these eyes every day.

...Her name is Belle...

And she frightens me a little.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

China Cabinet Facelift

I have never painted a piece of furniture.


I have always envied those who have the guts, the gall, the bravado to try to paint furniture.

I am now one of "those" people!

And the greated part of it is, I DIDN'T RUIN THE FURNITURE!

Let's start this "mock-tutorial" with a before shot:

This china cabinet, along with a table and six chairs, was generously given to the Mr. and I shortly after we were married. It's never really been our style, per se, but there has been a lot of bread broken with friends and family over this table.

I found a fantastic, inspring tutorial Here (By the way, LOVE her blog!)

Here is the tutorial step-by-step:

1. Breathe deeply. You CAN do this!

2. Head to Sherwin Williams and get:

Sherwin Williams Oil Enamel in Satin Finish in your color (1 qt was enough for this piece - 3 coats). Enamel is the key word here. Apparently, you can do latex paint, as well, if you get enamel finish. I wasn't taking any chances, so I used oil enamel.

Medium grade sandpaper and a sander just like the picture above. Don't get a soft sander. This will be to distress your finished product.

Buy a GOOD paintbrush. I spent about $15 for a specifically "oil" paintbrush.

Mineral Spirits (to get the paint off).

Plastic covering for the floor.

Minwax Polyurethane - oil based. This is optional. I did not use it for this china cabinet, but I will for the tabletop. I think it will help with the wear and tear of the tabletop.

3. Set your plastic covering on the floor, under the furniture.

4. Lightly sand the furniture. Just enough to get the sheen off - this gives the paint something to "stick to".

5. Open a window. Oil based paint stinks, and lingers. Having the windows opened, listening to the outside noises of spring really helped make me in a good mood...maybe it was the paint fumes? :)

6. Here's where my experience and the Clover Lane tutorial differs: Brush on a thin coat of paint. If I tried to go too thick, it looked AWFUL. I ended up doing three very thin coats. Part of it could be that I used an antique white color over wood grain. I was so nervous about painting furniture that I didn't want to take any, three coats it is!

These photos were taken after the first coat. This is also when the Mister saw it for the first time...and HATED it. Gah! That's not good!

And...yes...I forgot to unload the inside of the cabinet...I wasn't painting in there yet, so I neglected to empty its contents. Hee hee...not exactly a professional painter, am I?

After the third coat of paint, the piece looks amazing. I am very proud of myself, I did it!

Here she is, in all her glory...

Oh...and now the hubby LOVES it! (Whew!) He said that it's "so much better than I thought it was going to be". Vote of confindence for me? Not so much...but I have now proven myself and he is gaining confidence in my abilities, too! :)


I need some advice.

What should I do with the inside of the cabinet?

Should I paint it? Paint it another color (there is no lighting)?
Put up beadboard on the back?
Leave it alone?

Should I distress the edges?

Help me, please, you wonderful, talented readers!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Master Bath De-Clutter (Under the Sink)

Yesterday was cleaning under the Master Bathroom's sink and my dear hubby's closet. His clean-out took no time at all...what a neatie he is! (I could aspire to be him...would that be weird?)


My "under the sink" area was a mess. And...Maxi pads were the fore-front star. Please excuse their cameo in this Before photo! ;)

I went to Target to get some canvas tapered storage boxes (2 small, 2 large) so that I could get rid of my plastic shoe box storage system that wasn't working for me. A little shifting and a little of throwing away things I would never/had never used and...

The Maxis are no longer the star of the show! 

I'm thinking I might even get some shelf-lining paper eventually...ya make it a little "prettier"!

Today/Tonight's goal is to clean out the kids rooms.

This will be a feat...they're always underfoot when you clean their rooms, so you have to be a little stealth about it...

Let me know, how are you doing with the "Purge"?