Monday, May 28, 2012

We all need some "chuther"

So I didn't think I needed to do another version of "things Evie says" so soon,
but the list I keep on the fridge is almost full.
(The best part about this list is that Grace adds her own versions of her little sister's expressions as well).

Last weekend we loaded up the horse trailer and pickup and went to get some hay. Everyone in our area is cutting hay right now because it is so dry.

First of all, let me say that I do not remember hay bales being so heavy.
Does this mean I'm getting old?
Did I eat too many cakepops last week?
Thank goodness Caleb took on the hard job of getting them up in the barn loft.
It was all my piddly self could do to muster up the strength to get them out of the trailer and into the barn.
Sheeesh.
Again, another reminder of why you never ever see "fat" farmers and ranchers.
They all work too hard and too long to ever have back fat.

Wait. 
This post was about my girls...



Here they are sitting on the fence post by the hay field.
When we got home, we showered and settled in for a family movie night.
Evie suggested we all go down in the basement for the movie "Because we all need some chuther".
Evie.  I love you. And yes, we all do need each other.

Here's a couple more I found chuckle-worthy:

Instead of Little Red Riding Hood, we often read the steamier version which Evie calls "Little Hot Riding Hood".

While playing the Disney Princess Board Game: "Mom.  I know you like to get the princesses.  But we can't cheat this time.  Ok?"

During a random car ride: "Do you know what I want to be when I grow up?
A sticking together kind of family."

"If you don't brush your teeth they will turn black and you'll get Half-Teets".

During dinner, "I am allergic for carrots.  I can't eat them".

"We better not roll in the grass and have too much fun in these fancy clothes".

And the one that keeps me humble as a mom,

"Grace, if you don't get out of my way I'm going to crush your nuts".
Yowza.
Definitely must have picked that up at recess somewhere...


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Saturday, May 19, 2012

My love/hate relationship with Cakepops...

I have an on again-off again relationship with Cakepops.

I think back to over a year ago when my twin sister introduced us.
Like any new relationship, you were all I thought about.
I laid awake in bed dreaming of you.  And thinking about all of the ways we could create together.
I still had to go to work, but when I was home, we spent hours together in my kitchen.  Apparently we were so good together I had all kinds of people wanting us for their parties and graduations and weddings and showers.

Then after a while, although the money was coming in for our new found love and hobby, things started to turn south.

For starters, you started to make me fat.  I know, I know.  I am not "really" fat.
It's just that every time we were together you would cause me to lick my fingers. A lick here, a lick there.
If there were some broken "You's" lying around, guess who ate them?
And your fatty fatty candy coating?  With, oh, I don't know, like a thousand calories a tablespoon?  I ate you too.

Then strangers started to ask for our business.  I didn't mind at first.  But some of them got pretty picky.
(Imagine someone asking you to paint their kitchen nine different colors.  Not ever realizing with each different color you have to buy, open, and mix a separate can of paint).
My boundaries got to be pretty good by this point.

Something had to change between us.

Now, we are what I would call, distant, but good friends.  We aren't hot and heavy like we used to be.  I still enjoy you.  Occasionally, it is fun to get together and be creative.  My girls still love you.
One of our favorite things is come up with special creations for our friends and family.

But no more official "business" for us.  Or putting off playing with my girls so we can finish an order for someone. Or choosing "You" over more important things in my life like walking, resting, reading, or spending time with Jesus.  The money you brought me was nice for a while, but now I have time for much more. It is nice to have spending money from time to time, but I say "no" much more than I say "yes".

It's hard for me to say no. (I joke that I was born with a malfunctioning "No" button). I don't really like it because I am such a pain-in-the-butt people pleaser.  

Cakepops, you have helped me to practice my "no" well. My husband always says there is sometimes a fine line between hobbies and insanity.  
He is so right.  

Here are some pictures of us in our hay-day.


These little cookies are probably my favorite of all time.


One day I got completely psycho.  I feared finding my hair in them so I borrowed the girl's dress up baking hat.  I was still obviously way too enthusiastic at this point.


One clever mom asked me to make these for her son.
She glued graham crackers together to make an elaborate "real time" Angry Birds game for the party.  


I make these little apples a lot for teachers.
They make me smile and with all teachers do for my family, I am always happy to make these.


Chicks are just cool.


I made these for my niece's high school graduation party.
She showed steers so I put cute little tags of all of her favorite show steers through the years on them.


A family in Saint Louis wanted to brighten up a little girl's day since she had been diagnosed with cancer.  Again, so happy to help be a part of that by making these for her.


Very fun to make.


The little pigs are the easiest and I think cutest of all the animals.


More requests came in for puppies than any other.
I thought they were the hardest of all.
The ears were next to impossible to keep from breaking off.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our Bathroom is Finished!

I so don't want to be vain-y. (Why has blogging made me start making up words all of the time?)  Or braggy.  Or whatever.
But we finally finished our master bathroom!!!
And I am so excited to share.  

This is something that we, well, "I", have wanted to do for a while now.  God bless my husband.  He would be fine with a bar of soap and a water hose.

Our shower door broke off of the hinges several years ago.  Then because of our hard water, (we had to get a new water softener this week too....egads)
the door had corroded so much you couldn't even get it back on the hinges if you tried.

So for over two years we have held the door in place while we shower.  
I had gotten so used to this I found it pretty funny this past Christmas while visiting my mom, I told Grace to go take a shower.
She said, "But mom, I can't.  I don't have anyone to hold the door shut for me". 

This put the "Renovation Plans" into action.


Here is the "before".  White tile. White marble. Pink cabinets. All chipped brass fixtures. Not even worthy of taking a fancy photo.



Here are the "afters"...
I ended up using the same mirrors that I used before.
Our biggest splurge was on the countertop.
Our local town has a granite remnant place so this piece came out of their boneyard.
Plain ivory sinks though - $60 each.
Couldn't justify the fancy-smancy $300 ones. And I really didn't want it to get "too" busy.  This is the first granite anything ever to enter our home!


We ended up leaving our whirlpool tub in.
Again, this was just too costly to justify buying a new tub and taking all of this out.
Most importantly, we still use it. Not as often as we'd like, but it still gets used.
The most expensive part for the tub was buying a new faucet and having to pay someone to change the plumbing underneath.  (Apparently little details like fittings for fixtures like this change after 25 years.)
Spray paint took care of the remaining brass lurking around...

The shower is now custom glass (like the kind you find on a windshield of your car).  Kind of expensive.  $1200 for the whole thing. Fancy huh?
But I love it.  I also spent $16 more applying three coats of water protectant on it.  Hopefully with new "softer" water it will stay this clean...
You can cross your fingers.


I completely stole Kristin's idea for the curtain!  http://www.simplyklassichome.com/2012/05/master-bedroom-details.html
You can check out her post where she used a painter's canvas.
$6 from Lowe's.  Clever and thrifty. I bought the Better Homes and Garden's Curtain rod from Walmart and had the little clippy-doo-hickeys down in the basement.

The tile all came from "The Tile Shop".  In the end, I decided to go with natural stone instead of ceramic because of the amount we needed.
It was a couple more dollars a square foot but since it is the first thing you see when you walk into the bathroom, I'm glad we did that. 
(All in all, about $350 more).



Remember the golf ball eating potty?
Here it is!


Decisions, decisions about what to hang over it though.
It took me a while to decide,
but in the end I decided simpler is better.
So I found this cute washboard at a garage sale the other day.
Cleaned it up and nailed it to the wall.


The cabinets ended up looking great in here.
Still am tempted to do this in my kitchen now but cannot find the time.
Maybe one day when everyone is in school or time stands still.  Hee hee.


 Never mind the four colors of paint I had to put on the wall before "Eiffel Tower" won out.  And never mind the six weeks of showering together as a family.  I hope you like it!


Since I was busy taking pictures, I decided to take one of our master bedroom.
I redid this a while back (pre-blog days).  
Please don't mind the dirty carpet.
Cleaning has been optional in our house this month.



In other fun news, I broke out my cans of paint from my class last week.
Such fun.
Here are the first two things I got my hands on.
Old Ochre and Duck Egg Blue with dark wax.
Not too crazy or fancy but my first ever AS projects!
More to come.

Thanks for reading and letting me share!

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Thoughts on Being a Mama

Happy Mother's Day to all you mom's out there.

If you are like me, it just never gets old looking back at pictures of your babies.
I love looking at the pictures of them swaddled in blankets, wearing their little pink and blue beanie caps to keep them warm, sleeping in the hospital.
Because we all know they save their "real" cries for when you get home!

Before you were a mom, you probably, like me, didn't even know what the heck swaddling was.

Before you were a mom, you probably, like me, didn't even really like kids.  Or maybe ever thought you wanted them.

Before you were a mom, if you were like me, you likely didn't even really know who you were.


Maybe I like looking at these hospital pictures because in that very moment, your entire world changes.  Few days in our life are so defining as these.

The focus very quickly went away from "me" in this moment.
And almost in an instant, I found patience and selflessness that I didn't knew I had within me.


And how fun is it to watch them grow?
This is one of my favorite pictures of Evie from last year.
She was helping water down the burn pile and as she was spraying she was singing Eric Church's "Drink a Little Drink, Smoke a Little Smoke".
Nice song choice, Evie.



This was the only digital picture I have of Grace, back in the day when we still used film.  Egads!  
I should also mention that Grace has quite a complex about why there are no more pictures of her across our slide show on our kitchen imac.
I try my best to tell her most of her baby pictures are in "albums".
She looks at me very funny. 
Kids these days...


People always say that kids grow up fast.  But the funny part is, we grow up with them.  My character is constantly tested, but hopefully being refined and strengthened through this whole motherhood thing.

I remember when Grace was born and my own mom came to stay with us to help.  I am forever grateful for the two separate weeks she devoted to us after each of our girls were born.  
As she left the first time and I was begging for her to stay, I remember telling her I could never repay her for all she had done for me.
She looked at me and then looked at my babies and said, "Yes you will."

I love you Mama!  Happy Mother's Day!

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Friday, May 11, 2012

The Perfect Parent



It is starting to get daylight here about 5:30 a.m.  There is no complaining on my part about that. Since we have our girls, I find the time in the morning quiet is precious to me.  

Today I took our puppy for his first "official" walk & run with me.  Careful not to out-do his little legs, we only went about a mile and a half.  This is bittersweet somewhat because I have to leave Tally at home.  Tally is our 12 1/2 year old yellow lab that has been my companion as long as I can remember.  It's not that she wouldn't keep up with me, because she would give it her all.  It is just that she will suffer for a couple of days of soreness.  
It made me happy to have canine company again.



This is the road leading back up to our house.  It is about this time you always here a rooster crow.  Sometimes there is a turkey gobbling down by the creek.


This is the view as I enter some corn fields, right about daybreak.  I adore the old wooden gambrel-roofed barn in the distance.  

As I was running and admiring creation, I started thinking about God.  Not only how much He simply adores us but how much He must have liked us to give us so much to enjoy. 
Then I saw the fields.  It made me think of His perfect parenting.  As our "Dad", He could have created the world and then over-parented us, given us a direction booklet and then made tractors and fields for us.
But He didn't. 
He simply created for us.  He must have known and believed in us that we would figure it out.  Even knowing we would mess it up at times, He let us have "dominion" over all of creation.  He trusts in our goodness and in our capabilities.

I mess up so much with my kids.  
But I really hope to take God's lead on this one.  Which means sometimes I need to keep my mouth shut, not telling them "what I would do".  I want to trust that they can figure it out.  Love them in their messes and mistakes.  Let them go.  Believe in them.
All the while reminding them how much they are liked.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My First AS Chalk Paint Class



Sooo.

I really like my husband. 
He served me so well today.
For Mother's day, he (which I say because our girls aren't technically old enough to carry credit cards) gave me a three hour Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Class held at our local mall.

Never mind that I just flat out said this is what I wanted and signed myself up, but he celebrated with me, marveled at my creation, and said, "HAVE FUN!"

Boy did I.

Disclaimer:  If you know what AS Chalk Paint is...read on and smile for me.
If you don't...you'll either be extremely intrigued after this post or I am really sorry to bore.  (sigh).



This was our adorable instructor "Rose".  She is the owner of the "Wood Icing" store in our mall.
She also, besides being so warm and friendly and fabulous, is the only AS Chalk Paint carrier in Missouri other than KC.

You can find her here:

(GREAT stuff on there btw).



Here was my frame I started with.
Should I mention I was hungry when we started?
Thank God for Rose.  She gave us pretzels.  I ate almost all of them.
Oops.


Here were the two colors I chose for my frame.
Base coat: Emperor's Silk
Top coat: Country Grey


Here is where Rose showed us how to make a "glaze" with the olive green color.


This was the product Rose created (didn't I tell you she was kind of like a genius?) which makes a beautiful, antique-y cracked finish on the paint.


Here is my frame after I put on a coat of the Country Grey.


And here is the dime size amount of clear wax she gave us to use on the frame.
And the best tip that she gave us I thought.
(If you want more you'll have to take her class because I don't want to steal her thunder).
She said a very common mistake is that people use WAY too much wax on the furniture or wood.  A little goes a long way baby. (My translation).


Taaa daaahhh!!

My finished frame.  (I used dark wax over the clear).

What a fun day.  I can't wait to paint anything and everything!

I'm so glad I took the time to:

Treat myself
Do something I enjoy
Spend three hours in solitude
Learn something new
Get hands on experience from what I've read in the books.
Thank you my sweet family for the gift.
I promise not to paint any of you.



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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Our backyard. Years later...

There is nothing I love more than being outside and working in the yard.
I love growing things.  I love taking care of plants.  I have too many of them and I really think the idea of a "green thumb" is true.
Because I didn't get a "sewing thumb".  
Although that would be really nice some days.
And I didn't get an exercise "thumb" either.
One look at my jiggles would explain that predicament.  

It is never a chore for me to want to plant, weed, water, or work in the yard.
(By the way, my little Evie keeps calling "weeds", "weets". I think it is too cute to correct her).
I went outside today because our peonies are blooming.
Although the worst thing about peonies are the little pesky ants all over them, I still adore them.
They smell good and they look like giant fluffy cotton balls. 
The white ones are my very favorite but my white shrub is now too shaded by our tree in the front so it stopped blooming.



I cut some from the backyard and put them in a vase by our kitchen.
Ahhhh.
(The little tray underneath is full of vinegar so it can catch any of those little ants decide they want to invade my countertops).

While I was outside I spent some time looking at how things have grown since we moved here almost 10 years ago.
Our back yard was completely bare.
We started by pouring an exposed aggregate patio. (The kind with little pebbles in it).
When it came to planting, I started with shrubs.  And then some wise person told me to plant perennials.
I was just learning about our Missouri climate and plants at the time so I armed myself full of gardening books and I set to work.  I studied what needed which types of light.  I found what would work with our heavy, dark, clay-like soil.
And realized through much trial and error what our sometimes hot but humid summers would do to plants.

Since I grew up in Texas, your main concerns with plants are finding things that will survive the heat and protecting yourself from rattlesnakes.
You never wanted plants that you couldn't see under because snakes would crawl under them, and well, let's just say rattlesnakes are something you don't want to mess with.
(The last thing my mom would always say as we ran out the door to play when we were kids was, "Watch for snakes!")

Sometimes I really don't miss Texas....

I am amazed at what has transpired over the years.

This is underneath the deck "before".



And later.
I added three boxwoods a friend was removing from her yard.
In the whiskey barrel is a knock-out rose bush.
The rock was the hardest part...3 cubic yards at 19.97 per yard.
97 wheelbarrow-loads to get it there...several cuss words and weeks of work.



This is the other view under the deck.
Before and blah...




And here is after more rock.  The big stones were 17 cents a pound at a local material supply.  
That is a poky-pointy pyracantha bush.
It has white blooms in the spring and orange berries in the fall.
Other than that, I don't know much about it other than it was on clearance.
I have heard they are invasive in some areas....but it works perfectly here.




When we first moved in this big circular sand patch was in the middle of the backyard.  This was after roundup, weed pulling, and soil amending.
I have no idea why it was there.
Maybe they had a hot tub?
Plans for a weird shaped pool?
Or aliens landed?



Here it is today.
Now it is one of my favorite places in the yard.
Three holly bushes, five knock-out roses and lots of liriope.
Because we have so many dogs, they like to use the bathroom on the one side where they look so sickly.
(Big frowny face here).



And here is the "before" view right after we poured the patio in 2004.



This makes me tired just looking at this.  



Here it is now.  
The shrubs need trimming.
The dogs have definitely taken their toll on the grass.
But it is home.
And I like it.
Did I mention I like planting things?



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