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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday. Well, we made it through a very different kind of week. I went to school two days while working from home the other two days. We started getting into somewhat of a “home schooling” routine. Full disclosure: still trying to find the balance in it all while navigating these uncharted waters.

I’m still finding the joy in keeping a blogging routine. Who knows…maybe I will be able to blog more than just three times a week with the extra downtime? That being said, not much action going on around here, so I’m afraid I may run out of content! Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Like usual, I’m linking up with Andrea, Narci, and Erika. (**These ladies may have altered their blogging schedules, but feel free to check out their blogs and posts too!)

Favorite Kid Quote

Hadley is kind of known for being excessive. For example, pouring a large amount of orange juice only to drink a few sips. Or filling her bowl the the brim with ice cream and eating it all…(of course!) but then I have to remind her that dessert every night shouldn’t be supersized. Or wearing 7 scrunchies on her wrist at once (I let this one slide! πŸ˜‰

The other night, she was getting herself some ice cream, and I asked her to put a few scoops in a bowl for me. When she brought me the bowl and showed me her bowl, it was the correct amount a dessert should be!

She said, β€œI’ve been making the perfect size scoops of ice cream lately. I’m so good that I could work at Baskin Robbins!” haha

Another sweet moment…Not necessarily a quote, but Hadley’s Girl Scout meeting was canceled. Her leader invited everyone to meet via the Zoom app. They had about a half hour meeting, and it was so good for all their sweet little souls. They talked about missing school and each other as well as other thoughts and feelings about our current situation. Thank goodness for technology during these trying and isolating times.

Favorite Pic

Well, I never got to Dairy Queen for Homer’s birthday ice cream…but I did remember we had these individual vanilla party cups in our freezer. So, we lit a candle for the Homster and let him have his ice cream.

Favorite Clothing Item

Currently…my pjs during this work from home situation! Although, I have made it a point to work out or go for a walk every day this week.

Favorite Food

I usually do grocery pick up, but last Saturday I had lots of time on my hands. I was afraid if I placed on online order, I’d get the text saying many things were out of stock. So, I wandered the aisles for essentials and easy meals.

Travis makes this pasta every once in awhile. We had it on Monday night with leftovers for Tuesday.

Ingredients:

  • Pasta
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Red pepper
  • Green pepper
  • Turkey sausage (or whatever kind you like)
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  • Boil the pasta according to directions.
  • Dice the peppers and saute in olive oil until soft. **I also had garlic on hand, so we diced a few cloves and let it cook with the peppers.
  • Cut sausage into small rounds, and brown with the peppers.
  • Then, add in the sauce and heat until warm.
  • Add the sauce mixture to drained cooked pasta.
  • Serve in bowls and garnish with grated or shredded parm!

Also, I’m making the baked chicken recipe on Sunday that I shared in Monday’s post.

Favorite Moment

My dad was able to visit for a few days. It’s always good to see him. Literally, the day he arrived is when they announced churches and schools should close. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have made the trip right now. Unfortunately, we had a visit from my mom and grandma soon that has to be rescheduled.

He always wants a pic of him with the kids in birth order πŸ˜‰ on the steps of my front porch.

The past couple of years he has chosen to visit this time of the year to enjoy the corned beef and cabbage I always make. So, we gave him the You are Special plate for our Sunday St. Patrick’s Day dinner.

Favorite Activities

Well, our normal school, dance, and baseball activities are on hold for now.

But….we are getting the hang of online learning. The kids were on their chrome books, and Homer wanted an education too πŸ˜‰

Favorite Mom Meme(s)

Oh…the coronavirus memes have been on point. We have to laugh, so we don’t cry (or go crazy!), don’t we?!

haha!
Spoiler alert: I was the teacher, and Hayden and Hadley were the students!

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

As always, thank goodness for Facebook memories. These two pics popped up recently. I love the pic of Hayden in Trav’s old “Travis” shirt, and I clearly remember the day I took this pic of Hadley. She was in the 2nd grade, and I had just picked her up from after school care. She’s not really a “girly” girl in regards to clothing, but she was rocking the pink on this day!

Make sure to check out my other posts from this week πŸ™‚ I mean, what else do you have to do? (just kidding!)

As always, thank you for reading. It’s such an unprecedented time right now, and keeping a routine and some light hearted blogging has helped me keep a sense of normalcy.

We are all in this together, y’all. ❀️

Have a great weekend.

Watching & Reading

Happy Wednesday, y’all. We are trying to get in our new routine of a little bit of home school while I work from home as well this week. I’m at least making sure my kids read, practice math, and complete at least one other assignment as well each day. And…we are trying to get some fresh air when the weather allows!

So, since we are home pretty much 24/7, I thought I’d share some of the books I plan in reading as well as some of the shows I hope to watch on Netflix.

On Friday, I headed to the library after school to pick up two books I had on hold. As I walked into the library, I saw the sign that said they were closing at 6:00 until at least April 6. So, I picked up my on hold books and wandered the aisles looking for books that interested me. To be honest, it had been forever since I just casually hung out at the library! I usually place holds for books online and just go pick up the books when they are available.

The librarian helped me find a book I was looking for and said, “Honey, you know you can get up to 50 books? You might as well grab as many as you can!” So. I. Did. πŸ˜‰

Here’s my stash!

On my Kindle, I’m currently reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

Also, one of my friends shared on Facebook a post from author Colleen Hoover. The post said (in part), “I think authors will be hurting the least when it comes to the financial impact this is going to have on the world. Because when people are stuck at home with nothing to do, boredom sets in and people buy ebooks. But I don’t want you guys to buy mine right now. Save all the bucks you can until we have a better grasp on how this will financially impact our households…”

She went on to say that for eligible books she has on Amazon, she enrolled them for free five days on those select titles.

The five days may be up soon, but the titles that are free for ebooks are: Verity, (which is SO good–I read it last summer in about two days!), Too Late, Hopeless, and Never Never series.

I’ve read All Your Perfects, It Ends with Us, and Verity by her. I’ve been wanting to read Regretting You and it was only $1.99 when I downloaded it on Monday!

I’ve had quite the Netflix list for some time. Shows friends have recommended or ideas from blogs that I’ve read. My list includes:

  • The Stranger
  • The Pharmacist
  • Murder Mystery
  • The Keepers
  • Unbelievable
  • The Innocent Man

Also, I believe that season 3 of Ozark is out now. Travis and I watch that show together, and I bet he’d love the above shows too!

Over the weekend, we completed a puzzle with my brother and sister-in-law. I will be honest, I’m not a huge fan of puzzles (mostly because I feel like we have to finish it…can’t just leave it and work on it over a few days haha), but I thought it would something fun to do since we were laying low. For Valentine’s Day, I bought this cereal puzzle for Hadley off of Amazon. It took us about an hour and a half to complete it. Although, we ended up losing two pieces along the way! (My brother found them the next day)

This puzzle should arrive today! 500 pieces will keep us busy.

So, these are just a few of the ways that I will be keeping busy with this forced time off.

Do you have any good book or Netflix recommendations? If so, let me know!

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you are having a great week.

Take care,

Transformation Tuesday: Kitchen Update

Happy Tuesday! And…Happy St. Patrick’s Day. We “celebrated” on Sunday with corned beef, cabbage, and Irish Soda Bread. I may give the kids Lucky Charms for breakfast and call it a day πŸ˜‰

This is my third Transformation Tuesday post in regards to the updates we’ve done on our house. The first post was about the basement bathroom renovation and then my second post was about our living room/office area.

As I’ve stated previously, if HGTV and Pinterest didn’t exist, I never would have had the “vision” of what our home could be, and I never would have given it at chance.

In my last post, I mentioned how we turned the formal living room into our main living space. Then, we used the dining room for a bit before turning it into an office area. Those rooms connect to the kitchen area.

The previous owners used part of the kitchen space for their kitchen and the other half of the space for their informal living area.

After living in the house for only a few days, we had the room doorways widened. Then, we tackled the floors. Again, I mentioned before that under the carpet in the formal living and dining space, there were unfinished floors. So, we ripped up the carpet in the kitchen and informal living room to find sub floors. We had wood laid, and then stained everything the same stain color.

Before:

The kitchen is big and the cabinets are great quality. Also, the counter tops were a light colored Corian material, and we were pleased with them. What were we not so pleased with? Uh…the carpet in the kitchen! To be fair, the carpet was immaculate. An older couple had lived in the house before us…but carpet with four-year-old twins was not a good combo upon moving in! I also didn’t love the fact there was a ceiling fan so close to where I’d be cooking. We actually moved the ceiling fan to our living room! Win win.

After:

The island with built in shelves was always a dream of mine. I loved picking out the granite (sticking with my color scheme of gray!), and the kids eat breakfast at the island every morning. We don’t have a pantry, but we do have tons of cabinet space, so we are lucky in that regard. The oven was the first appliance we swapped out…but only after it went kaput after living here about a year. Then, we needed more room in the fridge, so we purchased that next after about two years. The dishwasher and microwave are high quality, so we’ve left them as is for now, but will probably get new ones at some point. I also dream of a new sink and gas stove. I’m hoping to cross those things off the list sometime in the near future.

We also added recessed lighting throughout the kitchen. The only light that was in that entire space was the light from the ceiling fan at each end of the room and some under cabinet lighting.

Before:

After:

Travis painted the paneling white as a quick fix. Then, he used Pavilion Beige on the walls which is what we painted our walls in our former house before putting it up for sale. Also, there’s the cut out that looks into the living room.

Right when the kids started kindergarten, I put up the fishing line and clothes pins for them to hang their favorite school work. It’s so weird to think there’s only about one more year of elementary work to hang up on my Pinterest project!

The view from the kitchen into the office space. I love the light fixture in the office. There was a chandelier there when we used that space as a dining room.

Cabinets and Back splash Updates:

I like to make things as pretty as possible as soon as possible. One thing I was very proud of is that we lived in the house awhile before making some decisions. We’d lived in our house about a year before we decided to paint the cabinets. I debated between a gray or white for the cabinets. At the time, the back splash was an off white tile. While I knew we’d change it at some point, I just didn’t know when. Also, with the white paneling, I was afraid the whites wouldn’t match or it would be too much white. So, we went with a gray color.

This picture of before and after popped up on my Facebook memories recently. What perfect timing! You can see the colors we were thinking about in the cabinets on the left.

Two men painted the cabinets in a few days, so it was a pretty painless process (after we got the paint color chosen! πŸ˜‰ Then, of course, we needed new drawer pulls and knobs. (Knobs aren’t on yet in the “after” photo.)

I think about six months after we got the cabinets painted, we had the back splash updated. Our neighbor installed it for us and was tedious with choosing tiles that would be a good combo of colors. Not too many white tiles vs. too many gray tiles! Balance.

Before

Again, the owners before us, used this space as their informal living room. It’s where we put our farmhouse table when we had it built.

After:

We love the farmhouse table and bench that a local craftsman built. I bought the chairs on Joss & Main.

There was a heavy sliding glass door that leads out to the sun room. Another one of the first changes we made was getting French doors which made a pretty dramatic difference for this area of the house

Fireplace Before:

The fire place as another part of the house we “lived with” for awhile. We weren’t sure if we should paint it or not. After living here about a year, Travis painted it as we thought it would lighten up the kitchen even more. We’d heard that painting brick can be difficult and take multiple coats, but he didn’t have any issues and had the project completed quickly.

Fireplace After:

We get a lot of great natural light coming in from the sun room, and adding the gray paint made this area even lighter.

Still the kitchen, but another angle. The previous owners had a built in shelf for their television at this end of the kitchen.

Also, we had a gallery wall in the living room of our previous home, so I added some of my favorite pictures to this wall within a few months of us moving in.

I like the mix of modern furniture with antiques in this space. The cabinet on the left is a family heirloom that my dad gave to me. We added it to our kitchen about a year ago after I visited KC and then rented a small U-Haul to bring it back.

We purchased the accent cabinet from Ashley furniture a couple of years ago when there was a sale going on. I’d never had a place to showcase the China we got as a wedding gift (and never use ;). I also use that space to safely house some of the kids’ pottery projects throughout the years.

I really do love that we are able to utilize all the space in our house. In our old house, even now with two kids, I know we still would have wasted space. Of course, sometimes I wish we had bigger bedrooms and bigger closets, but the main living areas have been pretty perfect for us. It’s been fun scratch my creative itch and make decisions a long the way for our home.

I continue to be thankful that Travis found this house and pestered me until we went to look at it πŸ˜‰ Plus, if you haven’t noticed, Travis likes to tackle projects…especially those that have to do with painting!

I hope you are having a great week. Thanks for reading, y’all.

Monday Meals: Baked Chicken

Happy Monday! I hope this post finds you healthy and well.

It’s a weird start to the week. Last week, our governor said that schools in the state should close starting today until after our spring break (which is the week of March 30-April 3). So, we have three weeks off (possibly more!) starting today.

At this point, I’d like to continue my regular blog posting schedule, but, of course, please know I never want to seem insensitive to what is going on in our country.

Keeping a routine is important to me in times of uncertainty, and blogging is definitely a light-hearted part of my life.

Of course, thoughts and prayers for those who have been affected by this virus.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to wash my hands and to practice social distancing the best that I can !

Today, I thought I’d share one of my favorite meals. My dad gave me this recipe years ago. Not only is it tasty, but we always get two meals out of it as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tblsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • bread crumbs (I do a Panko/bread crumb mix to make the crust crispier)
  • Package of chicken thighs (The reason I seem to get two meals out of this is because I can never find a chicken thigh package with less than 12 pieces of meat!)

Instructions:

  • Remove skin of chicken thighs if necessary. The package I get is skinless.
  • In a dish or bowl, put the eggs, mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper and mix together.
  • In another dish or bowl, put the bread crumbs (or bread crumb / Panko mix)
  • Dip the chicken in the wet ingredients and then the dry ingredients.
  • Place on a wire rack on top of a baking pan (I always spray the wire rack with cooking spray)
  • Spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
  • *I usually use the wire rack, BUT I’ve also just placed them on a baking sheet. If I do that, I usually flip the chicken halfway through to ensure it won’t stick to the pan.

Wet and dry ingredients ready to go.

In the oven…

Ready to eat!

#notafoodphotographer!

I served the chicken with microwave Bob Evans mashed potatoes and bagged Ceasar salad. Easy dinner on a week night!

I hope we can find peace and calm in this time of uncertainty.

Thanks for reading today’s post, and I hope you enjoy this meal.

Friday Favorites: Happy Birthday, Homer

For this edition of Friday Favorites, I’m celebrating Homer turning O N E!

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea, Narci, and Erika, so make sure to check out their posts too!

I’ve previously posted about getting Homer being a highlight of our summer! Also, I wrote a post about Homer at his six month milestone.

Two of my favorite things are birthdays and Homer, so here’s a little Happy Birthday tribute to Homer.

It’s my birthday!

Of course, we don’t know Homer’s actual birthday because we adopted him from Tails of Hope OH. He was listed as possibly being 12 weeks old, but after the first vet visit, he thought Homer was closer to 10 weeks old. So, based off that, his birthday would be around mid-March. Dogs in our family get a vanilla ice cream from Dairy Queen on their birthday, so we will get Homer one this weekend! Then, in the future, we may just celebrate his “gotcha” date of June 8.

10 weeks vs 1 year

Homer: month by month

My friend Natalie got a Golden Retriever pup a few months before we got Homer. She had the idea of monthly pics based off of the @goldenpeanutpupper account on Instagram. I loved the idea (and remember: I treat Homer like the third child I never had!), so I took monthly pics as well. Homer will pose instantly for a treat, so the monthly pics weren’t too hard to take. It was so fun to watch him grow this year!!

Months 3-7 (month 6-7 amazes me how much taller he got!)
months 8-12

Homer’s DNA Results

I wrote a post about Homer’s DNA results here, so check that out if you’d like. We were looking for a lab mix, and that’s what we got! Even the first time our vet saw him, he mentioned he thought Homer had some Husky in him…and he does. His break down is:

  • 25% American Staffordshire Terrier
  • 25% Great Pyrenees
  • 25% Labrador Retriever
  • 12.5% Chow Chow
  • 12.5% Husky

Hobbies:

Since we got Homer, I’ve joked about his “hobbies.” They include, but are not limited to:

chasing his tail, trying to catch lightning bugs, chewing shoe laces, licking dirty dishes in the dishwasher, unlocking his kennel while he’s inside of it, stealing food off of the counter, licking lotion off my legs, running full speed onto the couch, licking the shower door, chewing (and destroying!) the remote control, licking icing off of a cookie cake, chewing up stuffed animals, getting into the outside garbage and littering the backyard, playing in the mud, dragging the toilet paper down the hall, destroying Trav’s wallet (x2!), tearing up school work, running around in the snow, dumping his water bowl over and bringing the empty bowl to us, taking receipts out of jacket pockets and tearing them up, destroying baseball hats, eating a tub of Parmesan cheese, and giving us KISSES (I had to end on a positive note!) #homerisahandful #buthecute

Homer by the Numbers…

  • years old: 1(ish)
  • Pounds weighed: 55
  • # months in our family: 9
  • # of nicknames: 4 (probably more!): Homster, Biscuit, Pooks, Sweets
  • # of dead birds he’s brought into the house: 3
  • # of breeds in his genetic makeup: 5
  • # of scarves he wears to be stylish: 7
  • # of things that have been #Homered: too many to count
  • # of hearts who love him: 4 #wehearthomer

Fave Pics of Homer

Our Dogs are Our Family

My love for pups runs deep. The greatest gift my parents gave my brother and me was showing us what a dog can add to a family. Growing up, we had a German Shepherd named Maggie and then a couple years after she passed away, we got a Doberman named Jake. They were such an important part of our home and taught us about unconditional love, responsibility, and unwavering loyalty.

While we currently heart Homer, we’ve loved two other pups in our family as well. After our one year anniversary, I tricked Travis into thinking that the standard one year anniversary gift was a dog! We didn’t have kids yet, but we knew Boxers were great with kids. We got Shiloh in August of 2006. In the spring of 2008, I convinced Travis that Shiloh needed a friend…We stuck with the Boxer breed, and we got Scout!

Shiloh and Scout meant the world to us…when both of them passed (Scout in April 2018 and Shiloh in March of 2019), I thought about all the times they were there for us. Their unconditional love helped us through some tough times, and, in general, they brought such joy to our lives.

I’m not sure what they would think of Homer. Scout would probably enjoy playing with him, and Shiloh would probably have had zero tolerance for him πŸ˜‰ (She was known for her rested B face!)

We miss them fiercely, but Homer has helped our hearts heal.

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more that he loves himself.”

Josh Billings

#truth

Top left: Scout; Top right: Shiloh

Happy birthday, Homer! There’s a vanilla ice cream pup cup headed your way this weekend!

Thanks for reading today’s Friday Favorites post. We sure do love Homer, and he certainly is a favorite of ours…especially when he’s behaving…or sleeping (He’s so cute when he’s sleeping!)

Have a great weekend! See you back here on Monday for a favorite recipe of mine!

Life Lately

Happy Wednesday! We are slowly getting used to the time change. Once I make the adjustment, I do like it being lighter longer, but now it’s odd to wake the kids up, and it’s dark outside. It will all start to even out as the days go on, and it will be summer before we know it!

We’ve been up to a little of this and a little of that, so thought I’d share about our life…lately!

Activities

Hadley’s volleyball session finished up, and Hayden’s baseball season officially started. Thankfully, Travis helps coach baseball, so while I always write the practice schedule on the family calendar, it’s Travis who gives up so much of his time helping with the team!

Books

I finished reading American Royals last week. In this twist on history, the US won the revolution and Washington became king. Set in modern day, Princess Beatrice is being prepped for the throne. I think this book is technically “young adult,” but I loved it. The sequel, Majesty, comes out this fall; I can’t wait to read it too.

I finally finished The Broken Girls yesterday. The story is set in Vermont with chapters taking place in 1950 and 2014. There is a girls’ home called Idlewild where girls who aren’t wanted or who are trouble makers are sent back in 1950. In the 2014 setting, journalist Fiona Sheridan is investigating the details surrounding her sister’s death twenty years earlier. Her sister’s body was found near Idelwild. When renovations begin on the property in 2014, it has Fiona wanting to learn more and put together the pieces of two different puzzles.

Recipes

I read Andrea’s blog daily, and she shared her recipe for 7 UP biscuits. I made them last week, and they were a hit. They were easy to make and so delicious.

Homer

Newsflash: Homer has energy to burn! Travis decided to take him to a local doggy daycare on Thursday. The first session was a “Meet and Greet” session, and he stayed all day. I picked him up after school, and he was sooooo tired. Hadley was super concerned about how exhausted and well-behaved Homer was! We hope to take him a few times a month…Dogtopia wore him out…and he was able to work on his social skills! πŸ˜‰ Double bonus.

Tuckered out pooch!

Hadley

Friday evening, Hayden went to a birthday party, and Hadley and I had dinner at A&W. I thought a root beer float sounded good, and Hadley loves their chicken tenders. We had a good evening together.

I volunteered to be one the of chaperones (and drivers) for Hadley’s Girl Scout Troop field trip to COSI in Columbus, OH. COSI stands for Center of Science and Industry. I’d never heard of it until signing up to chaperone.

Hadley is so blessed to be in a troop with so many sweet girls. Some of my best mom friends are because of the moms I met when Hadley joined this troop in kindergarten.
We left Saturday afternoon and drove to Columbus, OH. The girls were participating in the COSI Camp-in that started at 6:00. Apparently, there were around 1,000 Girl Scouts there that night!

We arrived a little early, so the girls played on the playground outside the science center. Then, we checked in and were escorted to our area for the overnight. We were so lucky because we were assigned to the Simulator Room. The Simulator Room was closed for the evening, so we were able to house our belongings and had a private space to ourselves. Other troops were sleeping in the hallways, the large meeting rooms, and other nooks and crannies of the center.

After we got settled, we had dinner in the Atomic Cafe. Then, we went to the Welcome Meeting in the theater where we got our schedule and other information. From 7:30-11:00, we explored all the things. Our first stop after the Welcome Meeting was the Planetarium. This was my favorite part! I love a good planetarium πŸ˜‰ Then, we went to Progress Town where the girls explored through the different time periods and decades. They loved the news station the best at Progress Town. We also visited the Ocean exhibit, the DC Super Heroes exhibit, the Just Dance party, the Electrostatic Generator program, the Hands On gallery and much more.

They provided us with a snack at 10:00 and then the girls explored some more. Around 10:30, we went ahead and set up our sleeping area. Then, some of the girls went to the dance party from 11-11:30. They made an announcement for lights out by midnight. Someone (a guy named Jake!) came around to turn the lights off. We were all tired, so everyone pretty much fell right to sleep. Of course, with Daylight Savings Time and an early 7:00 wake up call, that meant we got about six hours of sleep…on the floor…#Imnotaboutthatlife πŸ˜‰

The lights came on at 7:00 while the “Good Morning” song played. We packed up, took our things to the car, and then came back inside for breakfast. A few of the girls were dying to ride the Tightrope Unicycle, so I stood in line with those ladies. It’s a popular attraction and each person’s turn is around 5 minutes by the time they check their height, strap them in, tell them what to do, share fun facts, and then say go! So, some girls decided not to wait any longer…and would rather explore. Again, I hung with the four girls who wanted their turn. I was proud of all of them…they were excited and then had to put on their brave face when it was their turn πŸ™‚ Hadley had a great time and was glad she did it.

After the unicycle, it was time to go, but the ladies hit up the gift shop first. Then, my group of three wanted to look at the dinosaur exhibit, so we took a quick spin through there. Then, it was time for a quick snack, and we left!

The girls were awesome in the car. Of course, they watched a movie or two, but I loved that they wanted to play “Would You Rather” or the Alphabet game. It’s good to know they don’t need technology to be entertained.

I’m not sure if they realize it, but they are certainly blessed to have such a great group of friends.

Sweet little troop
For fun, a sweet little flashback pic of the girls when they were in 1st grade. There have been a few new members as the troop as grown. So much fun to see them all together.
Top left: Welcome Show; Top right: in the news station; Bottom left: the view in our room at night; Middle: Hadley at the Electrostatic Generator; Bottom right: a couple of super heroes!
Bottom left: Hadley on the tightrope unicyle; Other pics: dinosaur exhibit

School Stuff

Springtime in education means testing–field testing, ACT, KPREP…My kids as well as students at my school took a field test a few weeks ago, and yesterday, all high schoolers took the ACT. It seems like this time of the year is test after test after test. Now that I have my own kids at the age where they are taking tests, it’s become apparent to me how early all of this starts and the pressure that kids face all too often at school!

Hayden

Hayden brought his artwork home from school yesterday. They were to draw a fruit person…Hayden drew β€œLil Fruit X” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Flashback

Facebook memories kill me! Look at little H&H prepping for Easter 2010!

I hope you are having a great week. We are prepping for a visit from my dad, the Major, as well as the Homster turning O N E! Come back for Friday’s blog post…it will be all about Homer! πŸ™‚

June 8, 2019

See you back here on Friday. Take care,

Chalk Paint Projects

While I’m not super crafty, I like a quick project with major impact. Thanks to Pinterest, I have found myself pinning different ideas that involve chalk paint. I had always heard that chalk paint was a pretty easy product to use…and what had previously held me back from painting was thinking of all the prep work before even getting to paint (like priming the piece beforehand). A couple of summers ago, I was at my friend Krista’s house, and she had just used chalk paint on a buffet for her porch. It looked amazing. She told me about the Valspar paint she used from Lowes. After a visit to Lowes to pick up the pamphlet, I decided to take the plunge and paint the console table in our entry way hall. The table isn’t an heirloom and was a cheap purchase years ago. I figured if I messed it up, it wouldn’t be the end of the world!

This is the Valspar Chalky Finish Paint. There are many color options. What you do is wipe down the piece you want to paint, paint 2-3 coats of the paint (and each coat dries very quickly) and then choose a finish. I’ve used the Antiquing Wax and Limewash Glaze for finishes. Then, you can paint a coat of their Sealing Wax to finish off the piece.

FYI for all projects, I used a roller for the paint and a brush for the wax or glaze.

Console Table

This is a random picture of the entry way console table.

I choose the Theater Wrap paint color with the Antiquing Wax for the finish. This was my first project…and I will say that after completing my other two projects with the Limewash Glaze, I found it to be much easier than the Antiquing Wax. That being said, practice makes perfect and I got the hang of using the wax as time went on.

For the console table, I used the roller to paint the Theater Wrap color and did two coats. After it dried, I started with the top of the table and the Antiquing Wax. My friend had told me how she painted the wax on with a brush and then wiped it with a towel or old t-shirt. After a couple of tries, I panicked and called her! She came over and showed me what to do. The reason I panicked was because the wax goes on dark…and it’s easy to see the brush lines where you leave off…I was worried everything wouldn’t blend. Anyway, if you want the color to be darker, you leave the wax on a little longer. Again, though, I brushed it on and almost immediately wiped it off using a towel. I rubbed in extra wax on the corners to make those areas darker. As you can see from the picture below, the top of the table is darker which is what I wanted. Also, there were times I put some of the wax straight on the towel and rubbed on certain areas. Once I got the hang of brush on the wax, wipe off the wax, and rub in the wax, it wasn’t that difficult.

This project took a couple of days off and on. I did the chalk paint one day and the wax finish another day. Also, I did not use the sealing wax to finish everything off. A couple years later, the piece still looks the same….and gets dusted every other week or so with no issue πŸ˜‰

TV Stand

The TV stand was a QUICK project. I used a roller to paint on the Beaded Reticule color. I did two coats of the paint. Then I used a paintbrush to apply the Limewash Glaze which was SO EASY to apply. Again, I didn’t use a finishing wax to seal the entire piece because, again, the stand doesn’t get used besides a tv sitting on top of it! I completed this entire project in a couple of hours.

Before the paint
Top left: one coat of paint; Top right: two coats of paint; Bottom left: limewash glaze coat one; Bottom right: I used my brush to use more limewash glaze on the front panels.
Finished product

Side Table

When we got our new couch about a year ago, we needed a smaller side table between the couch and the chair in the living room. I’d had this piece from when my dad was a kid (which I believe he used as a bedside table) and have used it here and there throughout our homes.

For this piece, I only used the Limewash Glaze. Since it is an older piece and holds some meaning to our family, I just wanted to lighten it up and not paint it. So, I took a brush and the Limewash Glaze to give this piece a face lift. I just used the brush and painted the glaze on. I did end up applying a few coats depending on how the glaze took to the wood in certain areas.

This is the one project I did use the Sealing Wax on because I knew the table would get a lot of wear and tear with us using it to place our drinks. I did two coats of the Sealing Wax to complete the project which took just under two hours from start to finish.

To be honest, I was tempted to take the Limewash Glaze to all the dark furniture we still have left (like our master bedroom furniture) but decided to hold off…but that may be a summer project for me!

Before
After

It’s been about a year since I painted my last piece, but I may try to paint some more this summer. I’ve always had a dream of buying old pieces, bringing the back to life with some paint and then selling them on Facebook Market Place. We’ll see. Summer would be about the only time I’d have to work on those kinds of projects…and even the summer days seem jam packed!

If you are scared of tackling a painting project, chalk (chalky) paint is the way to go.

I hope you are having a great week.

Jen

Not Just A Mom: Self Care

Happy Monday! I survived (and had fun!) at a Girl Scout overnight at COSI in Columbus, OH. More about that later in the week…I’m still recovering from staying up until midnight and sleeping on the floor! (plus losing an hour with Daylight Savings Time!)

In other exciting news…Y’all, believe it or not, this is my 100th blog post. I can’t believe it! I’ve really enjoyed blogging so far. It’s fun to share about family, school, what I’m reading, what I’m cooking, etc. AND…I love reading other people’s blogs too.

Linking up with other bloggers led me to reading Lauren’s All About that Mommy Life blog. Last month, I read her Not Just a Mom post for February, and I thought I’d link up with her (and the others) for this month’s post.

This month’s focus is on self care. I’d say that self care is something most moms struggle with. When you are in the midst of laundry, carpool, grocery shopping, homework, working, etc…it’s difficult to find time for yourself. About three years ago, I made self care a goal of mine. It started with focusing on whole food nutrition and getting a workout plan that works for me which is when I started doing the Lean program. Once I made fitness and whole food nutrition a priority, I started to find other ways to take care of myself.

(Also, real talk–I’m not perfect–I fall off the eating healthy wagon, but once the calendar turns to March, I really try to tighten up on what I eat and make sure to get some workouts in each week.)

Workouts/Whole Food Nutrition

I try to workout 4-5 days a week. The LEAN program I follow incorporates intermittent fasting with carb cycling and tracking macros + workouts. I’m a person who does feel better after a good work out, so I do try to make time for that even with having two very busy kids. Progress not perfection is my focus thanks to this program.

Also, I love me some McDonald’s French fries and a Diet Coke. Currently, I can’t quit Peanut Butter Patties #girlscoutcookietime and, for me, it’s all about balance. πŸ˜ƒ

Skin Care

For quite awhile I’ve tried to make skin care a priority. While I don’t buy all the fancy products, I do splurge on a few like my daily moisturizer and night time face cream.

Also, I can’t believe I’m admitting this…but I was probably in my early thirties before I made it a priority to take my makeup off at bedtime! I realized, “Girl, wash your face!” before it was a thing…or a book! πŸ˜‰ So, just finally doing that was a step in the right direction and through the years I’ve added other products into my skincare routine.

Three years ago, I started going to a local med spa once a month. My membership package includes one of the following each month: a facial, a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or (my favorite!) dermaplane (basically–the esthetician shaves your face!)

Is my skin perfect? Heck no. Am I in an uphill battle against aging ? Yes! That being said, I feel like I’m being proactive with taking the time to wash my face, use a toner and moisturizers as well as taking care of skin with the facials. Plus, it’s just a treat for me once a month to decompress!

Manicure/Pedicures

Before kids, when I had more time and money!, I used to get monthly pedicures and a manicure every two weeks. Now, I save monthly pedicures for April-September, and then get gel manicures 6-8 times a year. I love gel manicures because they last longer (and I always have my nails painted), but, again, I usually get them before spring break, summer vacation, Christmas, etc. Just another form of self care!

Reading

A few years ago, we joined a pool in the summer. My kids are older now, so they run around with their friends and are able to swim (so I don’t have to stress about that!) when we are at the pool. So, while they did that, I got back into reading. I’ve always been a reader, but there were years when I was in grad school, raising two babies while working full time that reading for pleasure was put on the back burner.

Now, I read quite regularly. Last year, I purchased my Kindle which has provided me more opportunities for reading. I keep it in my purse and read while my kids have a practice or any other spare minutes I may have in the day. I am glad that I’ve made reading a part of my daily routine.

Quiet Time

I’ve always been someone who needs to ease into the day, and once I had kids that became even more important for me. So, I get up about 30-45 minutes before the rest of my family on the weekdays. On the rare occasion that Travis gets up early and is hanging around the living room, he gets major side eye from me….like “why are you interrupting my ‘me’ time?” πŸ˜‚I spend those precious quiet minutes sipping my coffee, scrolling through my phone, watching the news, and reading my favorite blogs.

I need that time to myself to get my mind right for the day. That being said, I need a bit of quiet time in the evening too. I mean, Travis doesn’t get side eye from me at night if he is also in the living room watching a show! It’s just the morning time that I need the time to myself. BUT…it’s also why I’ve tried to be pretty strict about bedtime for my kids (of course, they need sleep too), but I also just need that hour to relax between their bedtime and my bedtime!

Blogging

Last, but not least, blogging has turned into a form of self care for me. I enjoy this creative outlet and carving out a few minutes for me to write as a way to express myself each day. I’ve said it before, but I’m pretty introverted and quiet, so this blog is also a way to share my voice, I guess. It’s fun for me to think of content, link up with other bloggers, and continue to grow in this space. I definitely hope it’s something I can keep doing at least three times a week!

Next month’s Not Just a Mom topic is cleaning routine. Travis may have to write that blog post for me! He’s a cleaning machine! We balance each other out—I like to tidy up while he likes to bust out the broom and the mop!

I love that my 100th blog post synced up with a post about self care since blogging has become an important part of my life. Thanks so much for your support on my blogging journey so far! I really appreciate it.

I hope you have a great week.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! It sure has felt like springtime this week in the Bluegrass state! I think temperatures dip down again today but then it should feel like spring again over the weekend. I love a snow day and wish we’d had a snowier winter, but once the calendar turns to March, I’m focused on wrapping up the school year and summer break!

I’m dreading Daylight Savings time on Sunday…I always hate losing an hour and then making the adjustment. I just like keeping everything the same! πŸ™‚ Of course, staying lighter longer will allow for my kids to play outside more, so that’s good for them (and for me!)

Today, I’m linking up with Narci, Erika, and Andrea for this week’s Friday Favorites.

FAVORITE KID QUOTE

Hadley’s team played in the end of the season basketball tournament last Saturday. If you’ve never watched a sporting event with Hayden, you’re missing out…you also haven’t had to cringe with embarrassment because of his antics! It doesn’t matter if it’s 4 year old t-ball, his sister’s basketball game, or a UK game, he’s all in. He’s cheering for you, he’s standing up after every play (he gets lots of shoulder taps from me to sit down!), and he’s questioning the ref (or ump’s) ability to make good calls. While he drives me crazy sometimes, it’s sweet to see him cheer on his sister!

Both the kids wrote these sweet poems recently, and they are certainly a favorite of mine. I guess they read Love that Boy by Walter Dean Myers and wrote poems inspired by that poem. Hayden wrote about Travis and Homer; Hadley wrote about Homer and me. I will treasure them forever.

FAVORITE MOMENT

My favorite moment this week was wrapping up Girl Scout cookie sales (which sounds kind of negative!) So really what I mean is that Hadley surpassed her goal of selling 350 boxes of cookies by selling 440ish boxes! It can be stressful getting those passed out and collecting (and counting) the money, but it’s awesome to see her so proud because she reached her goal. Yes, many boxes were sold at my school and Trav’s work, but she made a sweet video (which took almost an hour to make!) for me to put on Facebook that generated many orders and she hit the streets of our neighborhood many times throughout the cookie selling season. She says next year her goal is to sell 500 boxes!!

FAVORITE PIC

Homer always wants to be in on the action. I looked over at breakfast time on Sunday to see Homer giving Hadley some love. Homer drives me crazy, but he’s a sweetie.

FAVORITE ACTIVTITIES

One of our favorite winter activities wrapped up. Both kids had the end of the year basketball tournament last weekend, and the season is over. This season was one of growth for both of them. Both moved up divisions this year and there’s always an adjustment. They were on teams with great coaches and wonderful teammates. Both really enjoy basketball and the teams played better with each game…and they improved, themselves, throughout the season. I always ask them to try their best, to not give up, to listen to their coaches, and to be good teammates. What else can a parent ask for from their kids? Up next: Hadley will continue dancing a few days a week and Hayden moves on to baseball season!

I love to read and both my kids (especially Hayden!) love to read. This week is one of their favorite weeks at school. Their school (like most schools) celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday with Read Across America week. The school hosts their book fair this week and each day students can dress up celebrating different Dr. Seuss books. Hadley tends to be more involved in the dress up days, but I love that there’s a celebration of reading as a focus this week.

  • Monday- A Bad Case of the Stripes – wear stripes
  • Tuesday- The Cat in the Hat – wear your favorite hat
  • Wednesday- Good Night Moon – PJ day
  • Thursday – Theodore Thursday– dress like your favorite Dr. Seuss character
  • Friday – Oh the Places You’ll Go– wear a college shirt, vacation/travel shirt, or dress in your future career clothes (**Hadley told me she’s wearing my old college sweatshirt today (University of Missouri!) and I’m sure Hayden will wear something UK–like any other day!)
Hat day!
PJ day! Hadley loves these fleece onesies. She has a couple of them.
I wasn’t sure if either kid would dress like their favorite Dr. Seuss character but Hadley remembered she had this Cat in the Hat headband from her school performance last year. Thanks to some eyeliner, she penciled in whiskers and a cute cat nose.

FAVORITE PRODUCT

Amanda at That Inspired Chick, shared this lip balm from Ulta in her Friday Favorites post last week. I had to go to Ulta for my shampoo, and I picked up this lip balm in the Shine color. I’m not a big lipstick person, but I love lip balm and lip glosses. This one goes on clear but turns a slight shade of pink…which is perfect and not too much. The first time I wore it, both my kids asked if I was wearing lipstick! It’s enough but not too much.

FAVORITE MOM MEME

Mom meme truth! Most days I really hope I’m not jacking up my kids!

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

I’ve always loved this photo. It popped up in my Facebook memories and made me smile. I love this pic so much that I framed it in black and white, and it hangs in their bathroom.

Earlier this week, I shared the recipe for my favorite St. Patrick’s Day meal recipe –corned beef and cabbage and Irish Soda bread.

Also, I shared some of my favorite chalk paint projects in my Wednesday post.

This weekend, I’m headed on a Girl Scout (indoor) overnight…the itinerary says after the girls finish the learning and exploration portion of the evening, there’s a dance party and “lights out” isn’t until 11:45. Oh, and I’m sleeping on the floor. Clearly, I’m being pushed out of my comfort zone πŸ˜‰ Looking forward to this trip though with some of the other moms and a fun (and great!) group of girls.

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts!

Have a great weekend.

Jen

Transformation Tuesday: Living Room/Dining Room Update

A couple of weeks ago, I shared the pictures from when we renovated our basement bathroom last year. So, to continue my Home Updates series, I thought I’d share our living room / formal dining room area.

To be clear, I made up the series because I like to look at other people’s homes and would like to have all our before/after pics in one place πŸ˜ƒ…and I thought others may enjoy HGTV like updates as much as I do!

As I mentioned in my first Home Update post, I didn’t even want to look at our current home, but Travis dragged me there knowing I’d love the location, the schools, the yard….and the possibilities of what we could do with the house…to turn it into our home.

We moved in on a Friday, and Monday when I returned home from school, the room entrances had been widened. Only a couple weeks later, we had someone tackle the floors. They removed the carpet in the living/dining area to focus on the unfinished hardwood floors. (We had pulled back a piece of carpet one of the times we viewed the house, so we knew unfinished hardwood floors existed.) I will save the kitchen area for another post, but there was carpet in the entire kitchen/living space in that part of the house. There was only sub floor in the kitchen, so they laid unfinished hardwood floors in there, we chose a stain, slept in the basement for a week, and were pleased with such a big task being checked off our list after only living there a few weeks!

It’s funny to me how my style has changed. Our first home was decorated based on what we had. Our second house was a two story traditional, and I felt like I had to decorate in a more traditional sense with darker wood furniture and a darker color palette. With this house, I focused on lighter colors like cream and light gray and kind of went from there. I’d say my style now is β€œIf Joanna Gaines stopped by, she’d be proud of me but I don’t want to live in the middle of Texas!” πŸ˜‚

Nothing makes me realize how far we’ve come with our house (because I feel like it’s a never ending project) like before and after pics side by side. πŸ™‚ I’m glad I saved the online listing pics!

Before:

As you enter the front door, this is the (formal) living room on the right. We turned it into our main living room.

During:

We couldn’t commit to knocking down the entire wall to the kitchen. It was such a big decision and it would have been more expensive, so we went with this cut out (knowing we could always take the full wall down later). We had shelves built under the cut out and that’s where the tv now sits. We like feeling connected to what’s going on in the kitchen while being in the living room.

The cut out and then we added shelves for the TV. These were the floors that were under the carpet!

The floors that were under the carpet! (Before we chose a stain)

The wood piled to the left is what we laid in the kitchen area.

After:

Note: my house looks bright, airy and most importantly, clean! But all I can see in the pic is that the rug is bunched up. 😬 Fun fact: Homer likes to run laps around the coffee table and mess up my rug!

Before:

“Formal” living room leading to dining room
View from dining room into the living room and front entry hallway

After:

After we did the major renovations with the walls and floors, we (Travis) painted the living room, dining room, hallway, kitchen, and sun room. We chose a light gray color for the living room, sun room, and above the chair rail of the dining room. Then, we did a darker gray below the chair rail in the dining room. We Travis painted the kitchen “Pavilion Beige” by Sherwin Williams which is a nice neutral color. We had used it in our previous home, so we went with what we knew!

Besides the built ins, we added plantation shutters (dream come true for me!) in the living and dining room.

Before:

This is the formal dining room off of the living room, and it also leads into the kitchen.

After:

So, when we first moved in, we did use this space as a formal dining room. We had a hand me down dining table from my parents that we used in our previous home.

We ate in the kitchen 99% of the time because we had room for a table in there as well. After a couple of years, we had a farm house table built for the kitchen and rearranged the layout in there. Once the farm house table, that seats 8, was built, we turned the formal dining room into an office area that we desperately needed. This is a perfect spot for Travis to do work, for me to work on the blog, and for us to keep an eye on the kids when they are using the computer.

Thanks for following along on another Transformation Tuesday πŸ™‚ I hope you are having a great week!

Jen