Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Master Bath- Choices Choices Choices

Back in February our hall bathroom flooded most of our house. We have replaced all of the flooring in the house, and are slowly working towards replacing the rest of the items in the house. We originally hired a contractor, who completed the floors, but hasn't shown back up to finish anything else. At the time I was very annoyed with that, but now I am actually glad. I haven't made my mind up on how I want our bathroom. I can't seem to find my inspiration, or dream bathroom.

I spend a lot of time in there, so I want it to be perfect. It is where I get ready, where I relax in the tub, where we bathe both boys...I often joke and refer to it as our "main hub". It needs to be very practical, done on a broke mom budget.

We do plan on doing more serious renovations later down the road, but don't want to sink a ton of money into something that we aren't 100% set on.

Anyway, our current bathroom (after the flood) looks like...

I am almost embarrassed to admit that it looks this bad. My current idea is to paint the counter tops, repair/replace the broken cabinet doors, and paint the cabinets. I would love a new light fixture and new flooring.

I searched for a new vanity and counter top. I am having a hard time finding something that I love...it is either WAY too fancy for our shack or WAY too 1970's with a sea shell sink. 

I found these images on Pintrest that I like. I am thinking about trying one of these for a short term fix.

This is my favorite. I love the cabinet color. We already have tile that is the same color as the counter tops in this photo, so I know the paint will match. I can paint the counter a similar color and use extra tile to be the back splash. I would also frame out our current mirror, and repaint the bathroom walls.

This option is very similar to the first, the cabinets are more similar to the ones we currently have, so you see the difference in the detail. This is with a white countertop, we have extra white glass tile left over from our current flooring that I could use to cover the counter...but that white grout. ICK...I swear it will be the death of me.

This is my first option from months ago. This counter is covered with white tile and the cabinets are painted dark gray. I believe they are the exact cabinets that we currently have...if they aren't then they are so close. The mirror is just framed out with a framing kit in silver/nickle. 

We have no natural light in our bathroom, and only the yellow typical cheap light fixture. I would love to add some LED lights to brighten it up, and I am hoping that painting a light gray/white color will open the space. I love the idea of the colored cabinets...but fear that I won't like them in a few months....

Oh and speaking of colored cabinets...these I LOVED but Danny and Bryson told me to hang that idea up. No room for pink or coral in our house. 

Boys...always taking the fun out of everything!

Oh and I mentioned repairing our cabinet doors...another option I considered was making open shelves. Something like this...

We currently keep towels in our closet...but having a few in the bathroom would be super handy. 

As you can tell I am still brain storming...and really would love any input. For long term or short term plans.

Long Term Goals (as of now)
  • Remove wall/ Make half wall and end of counter
  • Add lighting (can lights in ceiling)
  • Replace vanity and counters
  • Replace sink and fixtures
  • New flooring
Short Term Goals (as of now)

  • Repaint walls
  • Regrout white flooring
  • Paint Counters/ Tile Counters
  • Frame Mirror
  • Replace Light Fixtures
  • Replace hardware on cabinets
  • Paint cabinets (pick a color)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Kitchen- Out with the brown and in with the blue

One of my favorite rooms in our house has turned out to be our kitchen. I am not sure if it is just the kitchen, or the kitchen/living room combo. I love how bright our kitchen looks compared to our dark living room.

To fully appricate how much better this looks, let me show you a few photos of how the kitchen area looked when Danny bought the house.

Beautiful, huh?

For starters Danny (and friends) painted the trim in both the kitchen and living room white. I'm sure they had to de-funk-ie-fy it first. I can only imagine how much grease and gunk was all over them. From what I understand painting this brown trim was a chore, and took like 15 million coats (that number keeps growing). 

He also had our friend, Cody, help take down the post separating the living room and kitchen and create a new bar top/counter top. This is probably my favorite thing he did, I love how open our kitchen and living room are!

And...this is where I come into the picture :)

When I started dating Danny the kitchen looked similar to this...

I didn't have any before pictures, but you can see the living room was painted a very neutral color (almost pinkish) and the kitchen had lovely white trim and a warm tan color on the walls.

Here is where we are now...

For starters I waited until Danny was working and informed him I was going to paint the kitchen...HA! I have learned that if he is busy he doesn't debate colors with me...and I get to pick!

I loved the color in our bedroom so much I decided to try it in the kitchen. I knew the color needed to be light in order to contrast to the super dark color I had just painted in the living room...and I already had the blue dresser (toy box) that looked so good with the brown paint.

FYI the paint color is Martha Stewart River Mist. It is my favorite color in our entire house, second is the gray in Houston's room!

After painting the kitchen blue I realized that our table looked super ORANGE. It looked awful, the blue looked amazing and the touched up white trim (that makes 15 million and one coats) just made the kitchen feel so much bigger and refreshed. So what do I do? I run to home depot and grab a few things.

I chose dark brown latex paint, a super dark stain (honestly I don't remember if I went with Jacobean or not) and polycrylic.

First thing I did was text Danny and inform him that I was repainting the kitchen table. Then I sanded the entire table down. To my knowledge when you use chalk paint you do not have to sand...but it made me feel better...so I did it.

Next I grabbed a small plastic cup and our Stone's Chalk paint additive that I got at The Junque Yard . If you have never been there go check them out. I have to avoid that store...or else I will spend every dime I own.

You mix one cup of latex paint with the chalk additive and stir good. This is the worst part, you can't mix a lot of it up at once because it gets chunky, funky, and gross. Once it is mixed up good (no chunks) you paint. It covers really well and goes a heck of a lot further than I thought it would...

I decided that I didn't want the table to be brown all over, so I went outside and found a gallon of white latex paint. I painted the bottom legs of the chairs and table white. I wish I had a photo of how bright and crazy this looked...dark brown and bright white. I honestly got a little nervous at this point! 

Next step was to stain the table...make sure that the paint was dry and add stain. Lessons learned...wear gloves, throw away any rags used, and make sure you are in a well ventilated area.

I had our doors and windows shut because outside looked like this...

Needless to say...by time I was finished staining the table I was feeling good!

Anyway, after you stain the table you distress it. I wanted the legs to look distressed to help hide any damage they would get from my boys! If you are a mom of boys you understand that NOTHING I repeat NOTHING is safe if your house. If it looks pretty..you better take a picture of it because it will not last.

Once the table is stained you can either wax it or seal it with polycrylic. I went with polycrylic...it is more protective and easier to apply. Plus it smells like tanning oil...and in the middle of winter it was fun to dream about the beach!

And viola...you have a finished table. I love the way the legs turned out...dark stain on white paint. This table isn't a permanent piece for our house...but it is much more tolerable now that it isn't orange!

I updated a few other things in the kitchen. I added under cabinet lighting, we changed the counter tops, light fixtures, and I added the adorable monogram.

The under cabinet lights are so easy. I ordered LED light strings from Amazon and the adaptordimmer switch, and extra wiring. All of this cost less than 25.00 and was super easy to install. The hardest part was soldering the wires to the LED strips...so I sucker my brother into helping with that.

The LED strips are supposed to be self adhesive. In my experience they did not stick well...so I used hot glue and just added a dot ever other inch and reinforced them. 

You will be amazed at the difference that the lights made! I love them, and they use such a low voltage that we leave them on all the time. 

The monogram I put behind the stove came from Etsy. The shop I purchased it from is no longer open...but I  am sure you can find another person who sells something similar.

So there you have it. Our kitchen re-do. 

Danny did replace all of the appliances before I came around...I think that made a bigger difference in our kitchen than any paint or lighting we added.

I still want to add a curtain or decorative molding across the window about the sink. We have a light up there that is an eye sore...but I haven't found anything that truly inspires me yet...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Memphis..the dog...not the city.

You will notice that most of my post or photos will reference Memphis. Memphis is a very important member of our family, and she plays a huge role in our lives. Today I would like to share a little back story on my baby girl.

Right after I had Houston I began to show signs of post postpartum. First of all, post postpartum does not mean that you have this dying urge to kill your own baby. In most cases it presents itself as severe depression. Danny began to notice that something was wrong when I was irrationally jealous of the attention Houston was getting. Things later progressed to me sitting in a dark house for days to a week at the time and not caring about anything in my life. Thank God for my mom, she immediately knew what was wrong and helped Danny make me get the help I needed.

Postpartum is very seriously and can happen to anyone. I was so surprised that through both pregnancies no one ever talked to me about it. With it being so common you would think that a doctor, or friends would give you insight on what to expect.

I believe that women who have suffered from it (or are suffering now) are ashamed to admit it. The image that society puts out there of it is this crazy mom who hates her babies, in actuality it is nothing like that. The only way I know to describe how I felt was hopeless. I felt like I failed as a wife, as a mother. I felt ugly and unwanted. Every woman who suffers from this deals with it differently. Some women party and fill that "unwanted feeling" with alcohol and attention. Others, like me, with draw from society. Either way, it can destroy your life if no one is there to help you.

After my mom, Danny, and my mother in law talked to me I finally went to see my doctor and he prescribed me anti-depressants and told me how long it would take to feel "normal" again. I came home, cried...A LOT. I just couldn't bring myself to start medicating to become "happy". The next day I made another appointment and worked with my doctor to find a way to work through my postpartum naturally. This wasn't an easy road...but I am so glad I chose this option rather than medication. 

There is nothing wrong with taking medication, personally taking medication bothered ME. It made me feel more dependent on help, rather than feeling like I over came something. I need to know that I can conquer something, that is important to me. 

*EVERY SINGLE WOMAN IS DIFFERENT. Each case will be different, so make sure you talk to your doctor for the best treatment for you! If you are suffering from postpartum DO NOT be afraid to talk about it. It is ok...it is normal...it does get better!

Come November of 2012, I was still struggling. My body was trying to balance itself back out, I was trying my hardest to appear normal to everyone. It was awful! I was having one of the worst days I had in a while, and I get a text message from Danny. It was a photo of the female German Shepherd at the shop. She had this HUGE belly! She was going to have PUPPIES!

Most of you will know the back story here...I had begged Danny for a puppy before we got pregnant with Houston. So knowing that I was FINALLY going to get a puppy brought me so much joy.

On December 28th my phone started buzzing. It was picture messages from my mother in law...of a cute puppy or two! I ran into my bosses office and said "I have to go, my new baby is coming". And I rushed off to our shop.

That was the day that I met fell in love with Memphis.

Out of the entire liter, my heart was set on this baby girl.(Second best to her was her sister Biggins..but she made too much noise). I looked forward to going to the shop every night to see her! I know my father in law was sick and tired of me coming by there. For the first time in months I was HAPPY!

Now, all you judgmental people out there...I know you are saying "Why does she love the dog more than her own baby". Let me be very clear, postpartum never prevented me from loving my children. It prevented me from being happy. It killed my self confidence, my drive and determination, and my will power. Having something to look forward to helped restore my happiness.

Now, back to Memphis...

Every day we would go visit and love on her. Every day we built a bond with her. She knew our voices, and as she learned to stand and walk she would come to us when we called her. My family loved her, and she loved us.

On February 3rd we brought Memphis home. I can't explain to you how complete my family felt. Having her, Danny, and both boys made us whole.

Shortly after we brought Memphis home, we had to bring Biggins home. She didn't have a home yet, of course it didn't take long for my parents and brother to fall in love with her. For a week or two we had two puppies in our house, that's two puppies crying, pooping, playing. If they weren't so precious, they would have both been finding new homes!

Over the next few months Memphis went from being my tiny small baby dog to a a long legged, big ear, clumsy, sweet dog. She wasn't always sweet, at this point I swear she hated Danny...or loved the taste of anything that belonged to him. She chewed up all of his exercise equipment, a few tools, a pair of shoes...AND the back door to the house.

When Memphis was about a year old I noticed that she started sleeping with Bryson. Of course this made me nervous, because she was just moving out of her puppy stage. I was scared she would destroy something, or worse...lay on top of him and hurt him. During the night I would hear Bryson say "STOP MEMPHIS...ugh" and I would hear her moving around in his bed. 

One night before I had fallen asleep I hear her moving around in his room, licking, and shaking the bed. Annoyed, I stormed to his room to get onto her, and what I saw blew my mind. Bryson suffered from sleep apnea, he would stop breathing when he would sleep. Memphis was trying to wake him up when he wasn't breathing. She was shaking him, and licking his face until he was awake enough to fuss at her. His fussing at her was her assurance that she had successfully awaken him. All this time I thought she was just being a pest, and she was protecting my baby. Immediately my eyes begin to water up, knowing that she was willing to watch him all night and take care of him made me fall even more in love with her. She loved him...she protected him...you can't put a price on that.

In April we had Bryson's tonsils removed. This surgery cured Bryson's sleep apnea...BUT they had given me some pain medicine to give Bryson. I didn't realize that he was allergic to it, after the first dose his mouth begin to swell (as he was sleeping). Memphis woke me up first, then started waking him up. I could hear his labored breathing, and when he woke up I saw the panic in his eyes. How she knew, how she sensed that I will never know. We were able to give him Benadryl and a breathing treatment (the swelling scared him and he had an asthma attack). Memphis sat right by his side and to calm him down we kept telling him to just breathe slowly and pet Memphis. It was a horribly scary night...but Memphis was there to calm all of us. Until Bryson was completely healed she followed him around like a nanny. This photo below is not staged, she was his pillow most of the time.

When Houston's knee started bothering him she wouldn't leave his side. She knew, once again she sensed that something was wrong. She would lay her head next to his right knee. Her instincts to nurture blow my mind. Of course she annoyed him by licking his face a few times...and her ears blocked his view of the TV.
(For those of you who don't know...Houston ended up spending a week in the hospital with MRSA in his right leg.)

As you see she isn't just a pet, she is a family member. She tries to take care of all of us when we are sick, when Danny had his surgery last fall she followed him around like a shadow. When I was having a bad day, struggling with postpartum, or just feeling like I couldn't take anymore (see the previous post about our past year) she was there to hold. She provides so much comfort when we need it. 

Coming home every day and being greeted by that wagging tail and those crazy big ears makes my heart happy. Her calm demeanor and her sweet spirit has been the saving grace for our family. I am so thankful for God's perfect timing and placing her in our life at the right time. 

If you have been to our house, then you have met Memphis. You know that she is always begging for a good belly rub when you first arrive, but calms down shortly after. You also know that the love and companionship she offers is unconditional.

I hope that as the years pass, and you all watch Memphis grow with our family that you all love her as much as we do. To some she may be "just a dog" to me...she will always be my dark eye, dark hair little girl!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dinosaur Bones and Dirt Treat Bags- HOW TO

Remember how Bryson's class is having pretend week? Today it was dinosaur day. I wanted him to have a fun treat that he could make and take to his classmates.

So we went with dinosaur bones, in dirt.

These are so simple to make, a little time consuming...but super simple. They are cheap to make too! I keep treat bags and wax paper in stock at our house, but other ingredients cost less than $15.00 total. I made a total of 25 treat bags, and still had half a bag of pretzels and a half a bag of marsh mellows left.

What you need:
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • Marsh mellows
  • Almond Bark white chocolate
  • Oreo Cookies
  • Treatbags
  • Wax Paper

To start with I melted the almond bark in my double boiler. You can melt this in a regular pot on SUPER LOW heat, it takes a few minutes. It has microwave instructions too...but I don't like how it turns out from the microwave.

While the chocolate was melting I put Bryson to work. You stick a marsh mellow on each end of the pretzel. 

Houston was hard at work, too. Stealing the pretzels and marsh mellows from Bryson.

This is what you they should look like. Make sure that the marsh mellow is stuck all the way through. They tend to fall off in the chocolate...and then you don't have pretty bones!

I learned that you can only dip one of these at a time. Some more professional candy makers may have better advice/or a better system...but for amateurs like me one at a time turned out the best.

Once they are covered you lay them out on wax paper. Let them dry...and then break off any ugly pieces of chocolate sticking off!

Once they are dry and the ugly pieces are broken off you stick them in the treat bags. For the "dirt" I just crushed up Oreo cookies. Just crumble the cookies up and add them in the treat bag. 

I actually only used half of the cookies, the other half I dunked in chocolate and make treat bags for my coworkers. They got the left over cookies and the bones that broke or didn't turn out well...and they didn't complain that they were ugly.

So there you have it...super simple dinosaur bones. It is a little annoying having to put them together, and dip them one at a time....but it is a great project to do with your children. The boys had a ball!