Friday, January 31, 2014

Fair Is Unfair {Family Friday}

One thing I would like to say to all parents out there, young and old.  There is NO WAY you can make everything "fair" between your children.  No matter how hard you try, it's not gonna work. So...don't try.  

It's ridiculous for anyone to expect things to be fair and equal between different people.  We live in the real world, like it or not, and we know that out here in the real world things are not always (or most always not) fair.  

And, in my humble opinion, why should they be??

As far as kids go, we do our best to treat each one as an individual.  So, in doing that we discovered, early on, there was no way things could be equal all of the time. Does that mean we love one kid more than the others. No!  Does that mean that one kid might get more attention, more money spent on them, more gifts, more privilege, lavished on them at one time or another. You betcha!  

Take this Christmas for instance.  We established years ago that our kids would only receive one gift from mom and dad at Christmas.  Now, you might say - "well that seems fair, everyone is getting one gift."  Well, it could be seen that way, except does that mean I have to wear myself out trying now to spend the same amount of money on everyone?  Ha!!  Not in this house!  Ain't nobody got time for that!!  This year, our oldest got a 'new' (to him) car.  You can bet your boots we did not spend that much on all three of the others combined!! But, he's a senior, he has received several academic accolades this year, and we wanted to surprise him, so we did.  

Surprisingly, we had no jealous kids (not even the other teenager).  They weren't looking at their presents and wondering where the rest was.  They were happy for their brother, and that was that.  

I'm not saying they never complain.  They do.  They are kids.  But, when they do we are quick to tell them that things don't have to be fair, and they won't be.  

For us as parents, we would much rather they learn how to deal with this now, and learn how to rejoice in other people's gain, then to call us whining about it when it happens out there in the world.

Give yourselves a break.  Love your kids individually for the awesome person God created them to be, and celebrate that whenever and however YOU choose, without worrying about the reactions of the other children.  They'll get over it.  And, their special time will come.  See, in the end things usually balance out - not perfectly equal, but equally special.  Just don't kill yourselves trying to make it that way in every little moment.  

Love and blessings to you moms and dads!!  Keep up the good work!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ways I Saved Money During My Kitchen Refresh

Posting a little later than usual but I wanted to share with you a few things that I have done so far to say a few bucks during what I have now fondly named "My Kitchen Refresh".

I shared with you here about my bargain paint brushes and primer.  Another obvious savings, was doing the work myself.

Another thing you might have noticed in the after pictures was that I changed out the hardware.  I started with this

And now we have this

{I still can't stop looking at the before and after - good grief!}  The existing hinges were an antique brass.  Not awful, but it was not going to match the oil-rubbed bronze finish I had picked out for the new hardware.  So, after a little ORB spray paint, they were good as new and they matched.  And yes, I even painted the screws that would be seen - and I did them all at once just like this.

Yes folks, that's an egg carton.  I just shoved the screws into the styrofoam and then sprayed them all at once.  :)

As I was pricing out the hardware, I was pretty sure I was going to use the same knobs that I used in our living room built-in update, but I wanted pulls for the drawers.  Why knobs on the doors - a couple of reasons for me - so my kids won't be as tempted to swing on them like monkeys, it gives things a cleaner look, and if we are being honest knobs cost less.  But back to the pulls.  I found the ones that matched the knobs, and although reasonable ($20), it was money I would rather spend elsewhere.  So, I put hardware on the back burner and kept thinking.  Then I remembered in my newly organized garage, I had a tub marked "household", and I think in that said tub there are the pulls I took off the living room doors...YES!!  

I liked the look of them, and, even better exactly the right number.  Not so great - antique brass. So, a little ORB spray paint, and voila!!

Boom!!  Saved $20

And, if you are curious about the knobs...they came from Target.  

Yes, their Threshold brand strikes again.  Kind of an unlikely place to purchase hardware, but they really have a nice selection.  These are particular reasonable at a little over $10 for 10 knobs. They are simple but very sturdy.  Perfect for me!!

So, there you have it.  Look for ways to re-use the old stuff, and look for supplies in unlikely places.  

So far the expense break down is as follows

Paint and primer for cabinets and walls -  $100
Painting supplies - $20
Knobs - $35

Not too bad if you ask me :)

Blessings Friends!!

Linking up with Wendy at The Shabby Nest

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Painting Is Done!!

Okay, so I know ya'll have been waiting on pins and needles to see the painting reveal since my last post...right??  Well, I could. not. wait. to get it done.  I slaved worked all weekend and thankfully I can say the painting is done!!  Thank you ALL for your encouraging word through the process!!  You are the ones that helped me make it through to this point!!

The color we chose for the walls is Dogwood Blossom - again, an Olympic paint color (this one I had mixed at walmart - their colorplace brand is way cheaper than most and has worked very well for me as a wall paint over the years).  

The back wall where the door is, is...chalkboard paint.  I did a chalkboard wall years ago in one of the bedrooms here, when it was a playroom for a short period, I have always had one hanging in the kitchen and had planned on using a wall somewhere for this when I started this project.  As I started painting that back wall with the Dogwood color, I immediately texted my hubby and said "I think I really want the chalkboard wall on the back wall", he answered with a "sounds good".  So, it was decided!! My kiddos can't wait to write on it, but wait they shall ;).  The door is painted with the same color that I used on my front door.  I just love the color so much and I have a ton of it!!  Remember it was a mis-tint on sale, so I don't know the color.  All the remaining woodwork (aside from the light box trim) got a fresh coat of Glidden's Antique White - the same color I have used on other wood in my house.  

I have no other details for you except pictures!!  Sorry for the overload, but I couldn't help myself!!  The before and afters are unbelievable, even for me!!  

I will say that waking up to the white the morning after it was painted was quite shocking to my system.  After living with the yellow for so long, the absence of color was like "woah".  But, I remember the same thing happening when we took our master bedroom from chocolate brown to white.  And now, I love it!!  

The next two things on the list are back splash and lighting.  The laminate counter tops I can deal with for now, but the back splash need to disappear.  Also, that dumb light box has gotta go, and I'm tired of a ceiling fan in the dining room.  Time for something a bit more grown-up for that room.  

However, projects of all kinds on now on hold for a week, as we prepare to host around 20 10th grade girls and 3 college sponsors this weekend for a church retreat.  I know it's going to be tons of fun!!  But, as always when I am working on a project, my house has been neglected the past couple of weeks.  So, that is where I will be focusing my time.  I do hope to squeeze in a money-saving tip post though!!  

Blessings Friends!!

If you would like to see how it all started, the posts in between, the money-saving post, and the posts after then check here:

The Beginning - 2014 Goal - Refreshing Our Home Among Other Things
Progress - Painting Tips and Kitchen Progress
Almost Done - Kitchen Cabinet Update
Money-Saving Tips - Ways I Saved Money During My Kitchen Refresh
Back Splash Update - Updated Kitchen Backsplash
Door Makeover - One More Tweak
Peninsula Update - Rustic Kitchen Island

Linking up with Be Bold ChallengeAlison at NancherrowBeth at Home Stories A to ZKristin at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia Sarah at Thrifty Decor ChickToni at A Bowl Full of Lemons / Abby at Just A Girl And Her Blog / Kristen at We Are That Family / Krista at The Happy Housie / Leslie at Lambert's Lately / Kristina at A Mother's Niche / Ruth at Living Well Spending Less / Wendy at The Shabby Nest / Stacy at Not Just a Housewife

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sticks And Stones - Family Friday

Maybe you are like me and you grew up hearing the words "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me".  I don't know about you, but for me that's so far from the truth.  I get the concept. You should not allow what others say define who you are, or determine your self worth, or change how you feel about yourself.  But, honestly words do hurt.  

Words can be affirming and beautiful, and words can be destructive and ugly.  These destructive and ugly words DO indeed hurt.  They hurt when they are heard and they hurt when they are said. Did you get that?  Both parties will experience pain.  The person who said it, and the person who receives it.  

How do I know??  Well, because I have been on both sides.  Many times, words are not meant to hurt.  But they do.  After all, I grew up in a time when sarcasm was everywhere!!  I love sarcastic humor.  I use sarcasm in my day to day.  Sometimes though sarcasm doesn't come across as funny. It just comes across as mean.  

As my children have gotten older, I have noticed that they have the same pattern of mouthiness. Many times, not intended to be disrespectful, but many times sounding very disrespectful.  

When I first heard those sarcastic comments coming out of my little ones - I began looking for something to blame.  It was those TV shows they were watching!  It was public school!  It was those new friends they were hanging out with!  Then one day, I heard that sarcasm come out of my mouth, towards one of them.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks.  They got it from me.  They are mouthy, because I am mouthy.  Awesome.  

Words are like building blocks in these little ones lives. Words can make them feel ten feet tall. And words can make them feel like an insignificant speck.  And for us, if we are going to expect them to choose their words carefully with each other and with us, then we need to learn to do the same.  Wow, that's gonna be hard.  

The truth is mommas.  We mess up.  It happens.  We do life the best that we can, and sometimes we mess up. God knows that.  If He didn't know that, then He wouldn't have sent a Savior for us. God forgives, and we should to.  When we mess up, we fess up, we show love, we forgive, and we move on.  Hopefully we've learned something that will make the next mess up less painful.  

Last night.  Here in our own home, we messed up. Words were slung carelessly in the air.  Hurtful words that hurt coming out and going in.  Love was shared, forgiveness given, and today we move on.  Bruised but not beaten. Resolving as a family to choose our words wiser. Building up not tearing down.  

Sticks and stones may break bones, but words can break a spirit.  Choose your words carefully. When you mess up, fess up, and share love and forgiveness. 

Blessings friends!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kitchen Cabinet Update

Drum roll please...the cabinets are all painted and all the doors are re-hung (well, as I am writing this, six doors are not , but I am waiting on hubby to get home to help me with that :))!!!

So, without further one side of the room at least)!!

I cannot EVEN begin to tell you how much I Love it!! It is so much brighter in there!!  I am always amazed at what a coat of paint can do to a room!!  The color we chose was Olympic's Gray Beige.  I chose their Olympic One paint which is a paint and primer in one.  I like this option when painting over wood.  I find that the paint is thicker and covers better.  I also went with the Satin Enamel finish rather than semi-gloss like I usually use on wood.  I have used satin on a couple of doors in my house and I really like the way they look and they have held up nicely.  So, fingers crossed this will too. 

It's a perfect middle ground between cream and gray :). In some light it's more creamy and in other light it's more gray.  I think you can see that in the pictures even. Did I say I love it??!!??  One of my happiest surprises is how it kind of makes those awful laminate counter tops disappear...kind of.  Enough that I don't HAVE to replace them. 

I shot this photo to show you the contrast with white.  

Not a huge contrast, but enough to make this girl happy.

I am doing this kitchen DIY on a tight budget...and I have a rather long list (don't we always). But, so far so good.  I have a post in the works that will share some of my money saving tactics from this part of the refresh.  

This weekend I hope to finish up the trim (to white), and the door to the laundry - something fun, also the yellow walls must go.  It has literally been there for 12 years.  Once I glazed part of a wall, hated it and put the yellow back on.  The sad truth is that when I first painted all those years ago, the yellow wasn't so yellowy, it was deeper - more mustardy.  Crazy what a few years on the wall will do to a color.  

So, more painting in my near future, and then I will have to take a break from the kitchen to do regular life stuff for next week - birthdays, church stuff, kid stuff - fun stuff!!  You will get to see the other side, as well as before and after shots, when I come back with a full in-progress reveal. If you are curious about the before you can check that out here.  Thanks for following along.  If you want to see the in-the-moment updates, follow me on instagram!!

Blessings friends!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Family Friday {Freedom For Teenagers}

Sorry I missed a week or two of Family Friday, but I was doing family stuff :).  Today I want to speak to teenage parenting.  How much freedom should I give my teenager?  How old should they be to date?  What's an appropriate curfew for different ages?  When should my daughter be allowed to wear makeup?  When should they be allowed on social media sites?  When do they need a cell phone?  Should I be monitoring their Internet usage?  Should I monitor their social media activity? Do they deserve privacy?  All valid questions right??

Well I am here today to maybe challenge your thinking. As our kiddos approached the land of teenagers, we began discussing how we might handle things just like these.  As we were discussing we stopped.  We were entering foreign territory as parents.  We didn't really know what we wanted to do, but we didn't necessarily want to do it the way our parents did.  And, honestly, we knew we couldn't because the world is a different place now.  

We decided that some of these things that kids expect today, were actually privileges that would need to be earned - freedom to do things, privacy, later curfews for example.  Then some things were to be regulated by us, and the rule would be close to the same for all the children - cell phone, and social media, and Internet usage.  Then others would need to be decided on a case by case basis - dating, makeup, curfew.  

We decided when WE thought it was appropriate for our kids to have cell phone, or social media accounts. We did not consider what their friends were doing or what other families were doing. This was all about us and our family standards.  

My kids expected freedom, respect, and trust to just be given to them.  Sorry, for me and my hubby that just didn't work.  We were teenagers once...  Freedom came from showing us they could be responsible. Responsible with checking in, being home at the time that was agreed on, and making good choices while they were out.  Privacy doesn't come easy.  We have a family computer that stays in the living room.  We have wi-fi in our house, but they are not allowed to have laptops in their rooms.  The Internet can be a bad place people. Social media can be fun, but it can also be a bad place. Keep an eye on your kids activity.  I am always "creeping" on my kids stuff, and I'm very open about it. At first it was weird for my oldest, but now he's over it and doesn't care (also, I'm hardly checking on my 18yr old these days - don't tell him though ;)).  

Trust is an iffy one.  It's hard to get and hard to keep. For me, if my kids tell me something, I'm going to believe them unless they give me a reason not to.  I got my bluff in on them early, because I have my ways of finding out things.  They have just learned that it is hard to get one past mom.  But, by being responsible and trustworthy my teens have earned that trust.  

I have seen too many teens make one or two bad choices that leads them down a road they may not have chosen.  But, now they are stuck.  It only takes one or two bad choices to get you there. As a mom of teens I want to have every opportunity to intercept them before those bad choices are made.  I'm not naive.  I know I can't be there all the time, and I don't want to be.  But, I'm also not naive enough to think my kids are solid enough to have all freedom, privacy, and trust from the get-go.  Baby steps folks, baby steps.  

In my opinion, every kid is different.  That's why we chose to set some things as they come.  While one of our kiddos might be more responsible and be ready for a later curfew at 16, the next one might not be.  So, why set an age precedent.  Roll with the punches, and know your kid!!  :)  Don't tell your daughter "you can wear make-up when you're 13" when she may not want to wear make-up then.  Maybe she'd be fine to wait until she was 15.  Don't tell your kids "you can't date until you're 16" when they may not be interested in dating this soon.  Sometimes these arbitrary dates make kids excited about things they would otherwise not even give a second thought, or you put yourself in a position of having to allow them to do something they're not ready for. 

Teenage land is a scary, emotional roller-coaster, fun time.  Wallow in it.  Enjoy every moment. Celebrate their uniqueness.  God created them to be the person they are - perfection in the making.  

Blessings friends!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Direction and Focus

I am still up to my elbows in paint in the midst of my kitchen refresh.  Progress is being made but it feels like I am moving at a snail's pace.  I knew it would be like this!!  I just wanted you to know that I haven't forgotten about you :).  As I was getting closer to making a decision to start this project I needed a direction.  I have been all over the place with ideas over the past couple of years and like many people I have more than filled my kitchen pinterest board.  I love pinterest like I love design magazines for inspiration.  In a effort to cut our budget I let go of those magazines, so I'm thankful for a place to search for those ideas in a way that works for me - visual first. day about a month ago I was looking through my board and noticed a trend - light and bright.  







I went back and forth on paint color for a while and really I didn't care that much except that I knew I didn't want white for the cabinets like I have done with the rest of the woodwork in the house.  So, hubby and I took a trip to the paint store and we met in the middle. I was leaning more towards grey, but weirdo that he is, he hates grey.  Says it's not a color.  

I am so happy with the color we chose (which I will share with you eventually)!!  I tend to be all over the place when I am working on a project.  I have so much trouble focusing on what needs to get done.  Also, it tends to spark my mind wandering to other projects that I want to do elsewhere. I made a list yesterday of all the things swimming around in my head for the kitchen, and it was really good to get it down on paper...and a tad overwhelming.  But, I am going with the attitude of a little bit at a time, and one thing done before the other thing starts.  We'll see how long that lasts.  

How do you do projects??  Are you zeroed in on the task and focused or are you all over the place??  Either way - isn't it fun!!!

Blessings friends - I'm off to paint!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Painting Tips and Kitchen Progress

I have been elbow deep in paint, and I have spent lots of time crawling around on my kitchen floor this week working on the lower section of the kitchen cabinets. Sooo ready to be off the floor!!  

All the frames and insides are done on the bottom, I just have a million drawers to paint, and a bazillion doors.  (I kid.  It's really only 9 drawers and 15 doors.)  I am hoping it will be a little warmer the next few days so I can spread the doors out in the garage.  

My family has been just precious through this whole thing so far.  

Stuff is everywhere.  Nothing is where it is supposed to be.  There is always wet paint to watch out for, and other things in your way.  Yet they have not complained once, and they have been sweetly encouraging me.  :)  My middle boy even made a sign for me!!

I am taking a break today from the painting to run some much needed errands (groceries), so I thought I would check in.  I also wanted to share a couple of my painting tips.  I try to do all DIYs on the cheap.  I don't like spending a lot of money on paint because I change my mind a lot.  I will spend a little more on the paint I use on the woodwork and cabinetry, because The Lord knows I am not doing this again for a looonnnggg time!!  But, still I don't like to spend a fortune.  Enters my new best friend when it comes to woodwork - tinted primer folks.  I know, I know, this is not a new concept, but I never gave it a thought because I thought it would be more expensive (and I always find the cheapest primer), and I didn't think it would be a big deal with light colors.  Boy, was I wrong.  While I was waiting for them to mix my paint at Lowe's I went searching for the cheapest primer on the shelf, and to my surprise this was it.  $10 a gallon folks!!

And then, I noticed it said it was tintable, and I thought why not?  The coverage is awesome and it has saved me a ton of the expensive paint.  I have used two coats of primer and one coat of paint on everything and I have gotten excellent coverage!!  Typically I have had to use two coats of primer and two coats of paint - a waste of money and effort.  So, tint or not I would highly recommend this as far as cheap primers go :)

Not a sponsored post - just really impressed with the product.  

Also, call me a rebel, but I don't use expensive paint all.  I have a couple, and honestly, I don't like them.  I buy these very inexpensive brushes that I think are about a buck a piece.  I use them until they get yuck, and I throw them away.  

I don't notice that they leave more brush marks, and I feel like I have more control with the thinner brush, as opposed to the thick fancy ones.  Maybe it's because I used these for years when I could absolutely not afford the better ones, but they are my go-to brushes.

I'm so hopeful that I can get the uppers painted next week and have my kitchen back for the most part!!  Oh, by the way....loving the result!!  Couldn't be happier!! Wishing I had done it sooner, but my sore shoulders and back remind every morning why I didn't  :).

Thanks for checking in with me!!  

Blessings friends!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 Goal - Refreshing Our Home Among Other Things

I did say I would be back to share with you my goal list for the new year.  I really didn't forget, I've been spending much needed time with family, and honestly I've been trying to formulate a reasonable list.  :)  

Since we managed to get the house cleaned out and organized in 2013, I now feel like I can focus on decorating.  We have lived in this house for 12 years now and aside from a new coat of paint here and there, there still is the same list of things I want to change that I had when we bought the house.  You know little kids, money, time, kids, just didn't allow me the energy or brain power to get it done.

I have had trouble committing to many of these projects, because I don't want to do them half-way.  I want what I want and I don't like to compromise.  But, I have learned that you can't always have everything exactly as you would like, and "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" (thank you Nester).  So, this year I have decided to dive in, and do some of the projects I have been putting off.  Piece by piece, as finances allow, and maybe compromising a bit here and there where finances won't allow.  

So, I am naming 2014 the year of "Refreshing".  I have plans for basically every room in the house for at least a touch of refreshing.  I'm excited and not the least bit overwhelmed.  Looking back over the past year was helpful in that I realized how much I had gotten done, even though it felt like the list was still long!!  I think it's good to pat yourself on the back now and then!!  Along with our home, I am also hoping to refresh myself personally.  These past few years have beaten me down and wore me out, to the point of me forgetting about myself altogether.  This year I plan to live a healthier lifestyle - mind and body.  More good stuff in, more good stuff out.  I'm sure you'll be hearing more about that later just as I will be sharing the home refreshing!!  :)

As far as the home, I am not giving you a list per-say, but I will tell you I have a kitchen, two bathrooms, living room, master bedroom, and three kids rooms to put my loving touch on, and I just couldn't wait to get started!!  If you follow me on instagram, you got a sneak peek of the first project I am diving into...the kitchen.

My kitchen is plenty big, and pretty functional.  I have tweaked placement of things over the past 12 years and I think I have it down to a science!!  But, the look of it is stuck in the past.  

I have wanted to change it for years, but I haven't done anything because of the all-or-nothing disease.  "If I can't have granite counter tops and new appliances then I can't do anything because it won't look right."  I have been telling myself that for too long. So, about a month ago I finally picked two paint colors - one for the cabinets and one for the walls.  And...Friday I started priming.  After 12 years I have finally committed to this project.  The list is long, and who knows how much of it will actually get crossed off, but at least for now there is a start!!

Kids go back to school today and I think I am ready for routine again.  I have been so blessed by relaxed schedules and time together, and I hope you were too!!

Blessings friends!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What We Accomplished in 2013

So back in January of last year, I laid out a very hefty list of to-do's for the year. Just the other day I decided to look back and see how I did.  I knew there were many things I didn't get to, but then I knew that when I made the list.  :)  I realize now I think it was more of a wish list than a goal list HA!!

Here is the list from this post in January.

 #1 on my list is De-cluttering - everything!!

#2 Organizing - everything

#3 Kitchen redo - including decluttering, organizing and updating (hopefully)

#4 Redo Craft closet

#5 Finish doors in hall - painting and molding

#6 Garage redo - clean out, organize, blah, blah, blah

#7 Kids bathroom update

#8 Backyard landscaping - making it a more usable space

#9 Fireplace update

#10 Finish Master bath update

#11 Master closet update

I did a post here that was an update of some things that were done at the mid-point of the year if you would like links to progress posts!!

#1 and #2 are complete!!  Above all, decluttering and organizing needed to be done before anything else could be done.   

#3 - the kitchen has been decluttered and organized, and in the process I realized that it functions fairly well as is.  The update is going on the list for next year.

#4 craft closet is done!!  and I love it.  Check it out here.

#5 the doors in the hall are painted, molding

#6 is DONE!!  I never thought it would get done but we did it.  You can check out the finished product here.

#7-#11 nope, nada, not even a beginning was made.  

But, hey - that's half of the list!!!  I think that's pretty good for a year :)

I'll be back in a couple of days with my list for 2014!!