Monday, April 30, 2012

How our bathroom remodel has distressed my brain

I don't have a very high thresh hold for stress.

What little capacity I have for it, I think has been all used up by a temporary condition called "remodeling".

After three years of talking about it, we have saved up and decided to give our 23 year old master bathroom a much needed update.

Our good friend Dave is doing all of the precision work and heavy lifting.
I would not attempt to tile a shower if my life depended on it.
I am volunteering to do the other not so constructiony-type projects.

Item number one for me:

Figuring out what to do with our creamy whitish colored cabinets that have been scuffed up over the years. 

I'm too cheap to buy new ones.

So I decided to "distress" and "stain".

Here's the before:

And for you crafty types, these are the products I used:

A lot of 220 grade sandpaper.
Sherwin Williams Pecan stain.
Several of Caleb's old white t shirts that had holes under the arms.
(What is it with men and softball size holes in their undershirts and underwear anyway?  Is this just us to which this phenomenon occurs?)
A hammer and screwdriver.
Oh, and polyurethane.  Lots of it. But I forgot to show that.


And here's Clay, the new puppy.
Nothing like remodeling AND having a puppy all in the same few weeks.
Yep, we are awesome planners like that.


Here's the before and after.

After beating up some more with the screwdriver and hammer.
Sanding.  Sanding some more.
Then applying and wiping off one coat of stain.


In the end I decided to go darker so I did about three coats of stain.
This is before the three coats of stinky-nasty-headache-inducing-but-oh-so-shiny polyurethane that for some reason I didn't apply in the garage like a dummy.
No, I waited to do that when they were reassembled in the bathroom.
Not one of my brightest moves.
I think we were high on love, er, I mean, fumes for several nights, even with the windows open.


Since distressing and the fumes obviously impaired my judgement, here is my painting fiasco.

I painted the entire bathroom once.
Too greenish! (outside color)
Then I went with a beige. Too purplish! (inside color).


Then, in an act of sheer desperation, I went and tried a "modest" white.
I did not like it at all when I it got on the walls.



I ended up painting it something entirely different.  First, second, third, fourth time is apparently the charm.

I can't wait to post the final before and after pictures when it's all done!

In the meantime, I am trying to keep my wits about me.

My husband got out the toaster before church this weekend and my english muffins from the day before WERE STILL IN IT, put away in the pantry.

One other day last week I got to town and looked at myself in the Walmart mirror bathroom.  I realized I had only put make up on ONE of my eyes.
Freak show alert!  ha ha ha!

Apparently distraction will do that to a girl.
Til next time my friends...

Oh, and check out Kristin, who helped design my lovely blog at:




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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A few thoughts on Fishing...

I have had more quiet and solitude this week than typical.
Which has given me a thought.

It is impossible to over-function when you are fishing.


My husband adores fishing.
One of my favorite sights is of him in his fishing vest.
He has spent hours with each of us, helping us learn "how to fish".

One thing you might know about me if you are close to me is that I am a classic over-functioner.
I suffer often from having a malfunctioning "no" button.

Something bothering me?  I can bury it with busyness.
What do I do best with pain?  I work harder.
My own insecurities?  No one can push these away like I can with to-do lists, projects and running.

I really don't want to be this way.
It is something I have to be aware of constantly.
The more I lean into relationship, trust others, and allow myself to be vulnerable, I am seeing that pain and insecurities are an inevitable part of life.

Without them, I wouldn't need Jesus near as much.

And I do need that guy.



Which brings me back to fishing.

Fishing takes time.
Fishing requires a lot of patience.
Waiting.
Sitting.
Trusting.
Hoping.
And above all, fishing requires quiet.

Something my soul aches for more of.


My sweet friend Kim sent me a copy of "Jesus Calling" for Christmas.
(Same Ranger Cookie Kim from previous post).

The other day Jesus delivered a much needed reminder to me.

"When your mind spins with a multitude of thoughts, you cannot hear My voice".

Whether you know this Jesus or not, I think the wisdom speaks for itself.


Time to go look in the garage for our fishing poles I think.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

I prefer my cake in a jar...


This past weekend my mother in law served us a delicious carrot cake and cream cheese frosting....

IN A JAR!!!

It was so good.  So so good.  I really like eating cake this way.

So I came home and decided I had to experiment.

And I've been dying to try the Pioneer Woman's strawberry shortcake.
(Her newest cookbook is amazing if you don't have it yet.
I got mine from the same sweet mother in law.
I recommend you add it to your Christmas list immediately.)



Pretty easy really.

Just bake your cakes with your basic stuff.

You know.  Butter.  Sugar.  Eggs.  More butter.

Mix up your strawberry concoction.
Strawberry season is right around the corner people!
But I cheated and found these Driscoll's at the grocery store.

Then whip up (literally, ha!) the frosting. I always have cream cheese on hand.  Because let's face the facts.
Every single food I really love typically contains this stuff.

Then here comes the fun part...

Dig out your old Mason jars in your cabinet.
Assemble the cake.
Use some fun ribbon.


Add fancy doilies before you screw on the lid and add little chalkboard labels from:


(It helps if this happens to be your cute twin sister, but nevertheless,
she'd love to hear from you too!)

Enjoy! 

(Disclaimer: The recipe made a lot more than these three jars.  But we couldn't stand it and ate the rest of it before I could get pictures taken).



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Saturday, April 21, 2012

The "Marathon"


Yesterday our Grace finished her Marathon!

 As part of the Go! Saint Louis Marathon that is held every April, they have a program for kids called the Read, Right & Run Marathon.

Like almost everything else I do (rather impulsively), I heard about this and wanted our elementary school to be a part of it.

So without much thought at all, I jumped in head first to be our coordinator.



This is our little sign that is the entrance and exit to our town.  It takes approximately six seconds to reach one side of town to the other.

This sign is important only because I think it is pretty and the girls saw this a lot every time they ran by it this year!


For the program, the girls had to run 26 miles.
They got to do this over the course of four months.

Every Monday after school, we would lace up our shoes and run a mile along the beautiful trail in our town.



The second part of the program required the girls to complete 26 good or "right" deeds throughout the months.

Often when the running was finished, we would help do chores around the school.
Since it was conveniently cold & flu season, we would often wipe desks and chairs.

Even though Evie was "technically" not old enough to participate (and I really couldn't just keep her in the car during all of this), she jumped in like a rock star.  
She took her running quite seriously.

The final requirement was the girls had to record in their journals that they read 26 books.

Evenings before bedtime I would smile as I would see my Grace diligently recording her efforts in her journal.

After several months, finally, race day came!  It was supposed to be down at Forest Park for the girls to run their final 1.2 miles.

But Mother Nature had other plans for us.

Instead of racing that day, it rained.  And rained some more.  And thundered.
And flooded.  And lightning-ed. (I just made that word up. I'm around kids all day so its just what we do).

Not to worry.  We just decided to make our own race after school this week.



Look how many people showed up to support the girls!
(Again, I love our little school & town).


Running can be hard.  But worth it.


Grace is crossing the finish line.
(Party streamers have several uses you know.) 



Medals received and on their necks!
Several of the moms brought gatorade and snacks for an official "post-marathonish" carb reloading. 
We wanted this thing to seem quite official for them.

I'm so proud of you Grace. 
What you did took a while to accomplish.
I remember the first few miles we would run together in January and your sides hurt terribly!
But you stayed with it.
And I remember all of the Sundays you watched kids in the nursery at church, serving others.
The 26 books weren't a stretch for you at all.  But again, you did that too.
And Evie, I'm proud of you also.
You supported your sister quite well.
Next year you can officially participate and I can't wait.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I heart Louisville, Kentucky. So. So. Much.

I simply adore the city of Louisville, Kentucky.

I first visited there in 1984 when my family took our show heifers there for the Shorthorn Junior Nationals.

Ever since then, I have had a special attachment to the place.

It was the home of my first "real" job after college.
I got to live there for about two years working for a grain company.

We went there this past weekend to pick up "Clay" our new Vizsla puppy.

Our first stop after our five our drive was to Cherokee Park.
Ahhh.  Beautiful place right off of Grinstead in Louisville.

Please don't notice my hat head-hair.
I wore a cap all day and then took it off right in time for pictures.
Sometimes I can be dumb like that.
Tally's hair looks quite nice though.


After we checked into our hotel, our friend Holly told us we HAD to go to Lynn's Paradise Cafe.
Now I see why.
There are crazy statues all around it.
Highly recommend it if you travel to the city.
Not sure what my girls are doing here?


Here's the postcard in case you need to remember this place.


A closer up version of that horse by the entrance.
Grace of course, thought it looked like a skinnier version of her horse Trip.
(Who btw...almost always looks like he's ready to foal.  Even though he's a gelding.  But I can TOTALLY relate to you Trip. I like food that much too.)


Look at the cute little frosty mugs that came with our malted beverages?


After a delicious meal of hamburgers, cheesy grits, and ginormous helpings of macaroni and cheese, we decided we had to end the meal with a milkshake.

What is this delicious concoction you say?
Since Kentucky is known for their fine bourbon,
this is a Chocolate Bourbon milkshake.

And since I liked it so much I asked for the recipe.

In a blender mix:
Vanilla ice cream
Walnuts
Chocolate Chips
Kentucky Special Reserve Bourbon

Top with whipped cream and more nuts and chocolate chips.
Eat and don't drive.
The girls were quite jealous but too bad.  You can have one in 11 and 16 more years.

Definitely how I prefer my whiskey!


More fun on the way out the door. 
I love these things.


Like all money traps, er, I mean novelty venues,
a funky and fun gift shop is adjacent to the restaurant.
You can find fun things like Bacon bandaids, fire ant mints,
cupcake dental floss, and macaroni & cheese air fresheners.
You know, all the necessities in life.


Here are Clay and Hailey leaving their fabulous Kentucky home of Holly & Pooh.
(I hope you can figure out which one is the dog.  Pooh would be a terrible human name).



Clay made it to his new home in Missouri just fine.
Hailey went to her new home as well, just down the road.
He and the girls seem to be getting along splendidly.


Life is so hard when you are a puppy.



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Friday, April 13, 2012

Puppies and Toilets and Spitting on Babies

Happy Friday!

This weekend we are traveling to go pick up our new puppy!
And, his adopted sister for our friends.
The red one is ours.


Someone please remind me how cute puppies are at this same time next week.
Please remind me that their little breath and teeth are adorable.
Even when they make little piddle puddles on the floor.
And chew on my coffee table.
And bark and howl all through the night.
Remind me okay?


Speaking of things that go potty, we bought a new one the other day.
I can honestly say in my near 38 years of living, I have never purchased a new toilet.

Our miracle worker friend Dave is helping us retile our bathroom.
(I'll post fun pictures of this project soon).
Apparently it was easier just to remove our existing potty, since we can use it at the farm house anyway.

So we bought a taller, shinier, NEW toilet.
And our old one is in the garage.
It is taking all of my courage not to make a planter out of it somewhere out back.
But I don't want to be "that" girl.

And if you look at the box carefully, you can see why I laughed out LOUD in Lowe's.
I had to buy this one.
Because apparently you can flush an ENTIRE bucket of golf balls down it in a single flush!
Who knew?  Seriously.  Who knew?



In all of our dust and puppy preparing today, we also decided to bake some Ranger cookies.
I'll post the recipe up for you if you'd like under my cooking tab.
My sweet and fab friend Kim makes them all of the time.
Any cookie with a Rice Krispie component gets a "heck yes" from me.

While we were working the mixer, I gently reminded Cowgirl Evie not to stick her finger in the mixer. 
She sometimes has really bad ideas like that.
She looked at me and said, "Yeah, we don't stick our fingers in mixers.
And we don't spit on babies."

I don't even wanna know...



P.S.  I've become too obsessed with the show Dexter lately.
I'm convinced there are serial killers everywhere.
If you watch the show you'll totally know what I'm talking about here.




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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why I'm not on Facebook...

See all these horrible looking pictures of me?
I bet I would have never posted these on Facebook.


Not the most flattering pose.  Let's pray I was nursing a baby at the time.
I'm afraid I wasn't.  Oh well.


And not only do I have confetti in my hair in this one, but clearly Mama
did not make time to brush out her bed head!  



Here is one of me when I was nursing baby Evie to a point of pure baby-roll fatness.
I love healthy babies.  Especially babies with binkies.
And for me it was ALWAYS a myth that I would lose weight if I nursed.
Never happened that way.
I held onto that belly fat as if my life depended on it.
I so look like I have four chins in this picture and I so don't care.


And finally, I have no idea why my husband thought it was a good idea to take this picture.  
Remember how there is not enough liquid in the mixer and too much flour and then you turn it on too much?
Nice overalls too, huh?

Oh right.  Facebook.
So I really don't have ANY beef with anyone who chooses to use this particular social media.
I like Facebook.
I think it has it's place in our lives.
But I realized a while back that it is just not for me.
I tried it for a while.
Then every time I would log off, it felt like I had just overeaten a bunch of fat free cheese.
I had eaten, but wasn't satisfied.
Kind of like when you read a People magazine.
How fun it is to look at all of the airbrushed pictures of famous people.
But after I'm done reading, I end up feeling fat, ordinary and ugly!
And who needs that?

So...that is part of why I decided to end my relationship with Facebook. 
I didn't like the way it made me feel.
I didn't like looking at some of the pictures people would post that always made them seem too happy, too perfect, or too whatever.
I became insecure.
Ugly and green monster parts of me would come out.
Then I would get plain annoyed.

One day a lightbulb went off.
I realized I didn't "have to" do what everyone else was doing.
I got to be just me.
And I could choose to delete my account whenever I felt like it.

The best part is I haven't really missed it.
What about you?
Any thoughts or helpful ways to navigate the multitudes of social media available to us?


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