Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Shelves in kitchen update

Look. Now we can watch rabbits out our back window too. The cedar chest is prototyping a window seat for us.  

Also, what can I store in the cedar chest? I don't want anything to smell like it.

Shelves in the kitchen...

Happy thought indeed. 

The kitchen needed some plants. The plants needed to be divided. I recycled a shelving unit from one of the bathrooms to hold my baby plants. Don't worry, I cleaned the shelves off really well. 

Eventually, when the kitchen is gutted and remodeled, this will probably be a window seat with shelves on both sides. I'm a big fan of prototypes to see if the idea fits the space. 

For now these plants are making this space so cheerful. 

Also, I probably won't post again this week or weekend. It is crazy busy. Three more weeks d ESL and then we move on to planning for next year! Next year is so exciting. We will be partnering with two or three churches in our area to grow the ministry. I am so thankful for these people that challenge me. God is teaching me much about His grace and how his plans are so much bigger than our plans. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

5 things

1. It has been raining for 4 days. The boys are running circles around the house. Rainy is better than 85 degrees and sunny. 

2. I started refinishing my second table yesterday. 

3. I separated the boys' toys into four boxes and have been rotating them each week. We are on week two. It is working really well. I'll post a full post about that in a few months. 

4. Bird watching has become a favorite activity around here. When the boys pause for a bit it is usually in our guest room to look out the window at the birds eating and plants growing. Who needs a TV?

5. Hopefully, this afternoon consists of lots of book reading. Probably about birds while they are interested in them. :) 

He makes the best faces. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Kitchen Table

I mentioned to my parents that over the next few years I hoped to pick up a few more kitchen chairs. I didn't care if they matched. 

My parents called me the next day and said they had found a table and six chairs on Craigslist. 

At first I didn't plan to keep the table because I had two others. Jared came up with a great plan to chop the legs shorter on our old kitchen table and made it a coffee table. The other table I had was going to be the schoolroom table, so this one was promoted to kitchen table. 

However, the top was a bit scratched up and there were some paint stains. I made all that worse by trying to clean it. So I grabbed the sander and stripped the top. 

I sealed and refinished the top with some extra supplies leftover from our hardwood floors. Now we have a table top the same color as our floors. 

I was just going to leave it that way, but I found a can of old tan trim paint in the garage. I knew we would never use it. I am trying to cover up all the tan in our house, not add to it!! I started adding some acrylic paint and seeing what color it ended up. I was hoping for a bit darker more colonial blue, but I ran out of blue. 

I had smeared some on the side to test it when it dried, but still wasn't convinced it was what I wanted. Jared came home and remarked how much he liked the color and the rest is history. 

I sanded down the base a bit and primed it. It only took one coat of blue to cover it. There is still half a can left to touch it up when the boys scratch it up. :) 

I really love the top. It has six coats of poly on it. Hopefully, that keeps the boys from destroying it too much. 

The other table (which I am in the process of refinishing now) was a dark old oak table from 1903 (it is photo bombing the picture where Warren is looking at the camera). I didn't realized how much lighter the kitchen nook would look with a table that reflects light. 

As you can see I didn't put the work into refinishing the chairs. That would be too little reward for the work. 

Do you have any furniture that fits the space well, but you don't like the color or stain? Have you ever painted or stained furniture to make it a color you liked better? 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Vinegar = Magic

Before on left. 
After on right. 
So much better. 

People say that vinegar is the best clearer for grout. They seem to be correct. :) The bathroom floors look way better. 

Also, I will never never never put tile into a bathroom (or any floors in my house). It is hard to clean, cold, hard, and doesn't hide dirt well. But since I have it, I will take care of it. It does last a long time. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Yellow or Red?

The walls will be almost white. The bookshelves are staying wood. The bricks are staying brick. 

Now, should the wall behind the bookshelves be yellow or red? 

I had a bit of yellow leftover from my old kitchen and I decided it was easier to test out yellow and then go to red if I hated it. It would be harder to come back from red to yellow. 

Why do you think? I think I'll leave it yellow for now and then maybe change it once the walls are painted white. 

Update: Jared votes for red. I still think I'm going to work on the walls first. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Monthly Meal Planning

I have started planning my meals monthly. It is helpful for lots of reasons, but most of all because I have everything out and I'm in planning mode anyway. I find it easier to just write down everything all at once. 

I have also assigned categories for days. This also makes it easier to assign a meal for each day. I grocery shop on Mondays which is why it is the beginning of my week. 
Monday: chicken
Tuesday: Mexican (enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, burritos, etc.) 
Wednesday: soup (in winter) or grilled (in summer)
Thursday: leftovers (but is often switched with Wednesday)
Friday: pizza, pasta, Cajun
Saturday lunch: usually sandwiches or leftovers
Saturday dinner: float day to use up anything still left in frig or maybe a freezer meal
Sunday lunch: fish
Sunday dinner: veggie or dessert (odd weeks), main dish (even weeks)

So here is the next month that I am in the process of planning. Ps. Look at that new table top. Love love love. Pictures of the finished table coming as soon as I move it into the kitchen where the light is better. I ended up painting the base last night on a whim and I love it too! 
1. Fold a sheet of paper on half. Draw a line to divide in half. Week one will be up top. Week two on the bottom. You could do this on separate sheets of paper. But I love having it all in one place. 

2. Write days of the week on one side. Grocery list is on the mirror image side. This way you can look at your meal plan and see what groceries you will need without flipping the paper over. 

3. Write the date for all Mondays. Compare with calendar and write down any special events (such as Jared's birthday). I write down any event that will be near dinner time (choir, ESL, meetings, etc.) or would keep me from making dinner (such as a doctor appointment at 4pm). 

4. Flip the paper over and repeat step two and three for the next two weeks. 

Now several people have told me, "I could never plan that far in advance because I like the freedom to choose what I am making as the mood strikes." Well guess what? I change my meal plan ALL THE TIME, but usually within categories (for example: enchiladas might not appeal to me, so switch the chicken meat into tacos or burritos) or sometimes I switch categories, but that is a bit more tricky because you might not have all the ingredients (I try to stock a lot of basic stuff in case I need to switch meals for some reason). 

I also switch the days of the week often. Tacos are not always for Tuesdays. They might be planned for that day, but if the meat is marked down and needs to be used on Monday, Monday just became taco night. This happened yesterday. :) 

If the only day it is supposed to rain is grill day, I bet grill day is moving to a different day. The same for soup. Soup is better on cold days, not the random 70 degree day in the winter. Move stuff around. Make it work. The point is to have all the ingredients on hand to make several meals. 

Also, I plan meals sometime and that meat isn't on sale, but some other meat is on super mark down. I change my meal plan in-store as I shop. 

Here is my meal plan from last month. See how things move around and get crossed out and changed?  I keep it on my frig. I take it down Saturday or Monday morning and do my grocery list, take it to the store with me, and IMMEDIATELY hang it back up on the frig. 

I have really liked the broad view monthly meal planning gives you. I don't have to try to remember what we just had the last couple weeks and try to avoid repeats because I can see all the weeks. 

Do you meal plan? What have you found works for you? 

I think I am going to start planning lunches a bit more. Eleven o'clock always sneaks up on me and I can't decide what to make the boys. Any ideas for quick boy friendly meals? :) 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter!

These were three different hand-me-downs. They are the only seersucker pieces that we own. They just happened to all fit the boys this Easter. 

I had to bribe the boys to sit with James by offering to let them "hold the baby". They are a funny, crazy bunch. 

And here we are at church together... How do I have three boys? I don't feel old enough to be married, yet alone have a baby or three babies. Crazy. Life goes fast. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Boys' bathroom?

Am I hip enough to use mason jars as the boys' bathroom sconces? This is a prototype. I would take down the light an do it the right way and probably paint the chain and ceiling hanger a more matte color, maybe black (because I have black spray paint). I'm going to leave this for a few days (or weeks) and see if it grows on me. 

Also, funny story, I pronounced that word as scone until a month ago. Jared corrected me. I still think scone sounds better than sconce. 

I kind of like them wrapped in rope. Maybe have a outdoors/camping sort of theme for the bathroom. And by that I mean greenish walls and maybe a few wood accents. 

Friday, April 14, 2017


... I started to clean the bathroom, got distracted by cleaning the groat, and ended up just painting the cabinet. That's  how most projects go around here these days. Then quiet time was over and I had to take care of the goobs. 

... We watched birds out the back window and read books about how birds live. Maybe we will paint birds or make a bird feeder next week... But I will probably get distracted. 

... Two years old continues to be a rough year sometimes (more for them not for me - I understand it is just a phase). It is probably my favorite age for interaction. They have the funniest conversations with you. However, they also like to test the boundaries. The past few weeks Warbie has lost all crib privileges. He tore up books two day and destroyed a car on another day. Once his toys were taken away during quiet time he resorted to stripping his bedding and dumping it all over the floor. Jared told him that he would be punished if he took his bed apart again. So, how did I find him today?  

He took off his clothes.

Thought process: "Well, if I can't have my toys or books or take apart my bed, what else can I destroy? Hmmmm. All I have are these clothes I am wearing... I'll show them!"
Takes off clothes. Throws across room. 
"Oh no! It is cold! Where is mom? Why are my clothes over there? Where is the baby? Maybe I can feed him some Cheerios off the floor? Why am I cold? Where are my clothes? Mom!!! Put my clothes back on!" 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tabling some other projects...

To work on this one...

My dad found this table and six chairs in Craigslist for super super cheap. Five of the chairs were great. One was missing a rung. Jared took the chair apart. I fixed the rung and glued and screwed the whole thing back together. Good as new. 

The table had some stains and scratches on it. While trying to get them off I made it look blotchy. Off comes the whole top! After about an hour of sanding the coating is all off. I plan to use the sealer and poly from the floors to make the wood finish stand out. We plan to paint the edges and pedestal eventually - we just haven't picked the color.   

More on the table soon, hopefully. Once this is finished Martin can have the old kitchen table as his school/Lego table. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Growing up and other random thoughts

I updated this post because one of my friends sent me this comparison photo. 
The top picture is baby Warnie. 
The bottom is baby James. 

I think it is time to put the baby chair away. 

The funny thing is that James is happy sitting like that. The other two would get angry. But he slides out and then plays with his toys while hanging out of his chair. 

2. The weather has been a bit warm. The boys played in the sprinkler yesterday. James sat with me on the porch. 

3. I fixed a wobbly kitchen chair. The legs needed to be glued and then screwed back together. There was also a rung missing. I cut a new piece and glued it in place. 

4. The guest room is almost unpacked. The boys and I worked on that for a few hours today. 

5. There are so many things I want to paint. I just need to pick something and start. 

6. I made another strawberry pie last night because strawberry pie is my favorite. And if you haven't made the ATK strawberry pie recipe yet, go do it! And cut the sugar down to 1/2 a cup. It really brings out the strawberry flavor! 

Friday, April 07, 2017

5 Things

1. The boys got a haircut. Jared does a great job keeping them from looking too shaggy. I have been banned from cutting their hair, but to be fair, I only had one try when Martin was a baby. 

2. The box with my igrace CDs (and the unsweetened baking chocolate) was found!!! 🙌🏼 🙌🏼 It is just too much work to uoload then to a computer and put them on an iPod. Who has time for that? 
Last time I updated my iPod: 
Summer 2008. 

Yep. Do you think I could hook a Walkman CD player to a jambox? 😂
3. Warren tore up two books during quiet time.  if you follow me on Instagram, you also saw that he tore up the flowers on the kitchen table. It's been one of those weeks. 

4. But UNC won the national championship on Monday.  So, we (mostly me) are pretty happy about that around here. It was an ugly, not enjoyable game to watch. I might have enjoyed the game they lost in the national championship last year (at least until the end). It was prettier. 

5. Did I mention I found my igrace CDs? And my Judy Roger CDs? And my Rain for Roots CDs? They are getting lots of play time!! My sister just told me that you can buy fighter verses in cd... That might be added into the rotation soon. 

Real 5. I made cowboy cookies today for a friend's birthday party. 

Meal plan:
Monday: Burger, fruit, salad
Tuesday: enchiladas 
Wednesday: Smothered Chicken, salads
Thursday: Scrimp Etoufee
Friday: leftovers

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Chalkboard Wall and Morning Time

I've been working on this project (and a few others) in my spare time the last two weeks. 

I forgot to take a before picture. It had the same wallpaper on it as the kitchen wall. There was wallpaper to tear off and then the glue to remove. Removing wallpaper glue is a sticky mess, but this came of super easy compared to the horror stories I read online. 

Next, there were holes to patches and sand, switch plates to remove, and wires to cap off (my dad taught me how to put a wire nut on).  Finally, I wiped everything down and primed the wall. 

Primed and ready to go. 

1. Look at the project list on the left. I am checking things off and adding new things all the time. 

2. We are starting a little more organized morning time during breakfast. 
•I hope to read through the Bible verses several times each morning and work on memorizing them. 
• in the future we will add the catechism work here too. 
• the missionary of the week or month (depending on how those weeks go) will get prayed for each day and maybe a letter written to them. 
• the hymn will change every few months. We are going to work on memorizing some new hymns. Just singing them at night isn't working to get enough memorized. 
• in the future I hope to also add a book that we are read from, a piece of classical music to listen to, and some art appreciation (maybe we will work on copying some famous art or just do our own art projects while we listen to music or me reading). 

3. I am workin on a chore chart. I'll post that when I am finished. 

Anyhow, that's my latest finished project. I patched and painted a doorframe this week. And I've been spending lots of time freshening up the downstairs bathroom (which is really just painting everything white that used to be tan - looks so much better). Pictures coming soon. 

Suggestions for favorite classical pieces?  What music should we listen to? What art work or artist should we study?