Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Favorites #1

Sharing some of my favorites seems to be a good way to wind down the week, right?  I totally stole this idea from fifty-hundred (my 5 year old's favorite number) other bloggers, but who doesn't like to see some favorites?  Plus, it gives me a chance to feature great ideas, which I don't do often enough!

So here they are....
#1:  Wall of Vintage Pie Plates ~ doesn't this just look cool?  I don't have a single vintage pie plate, let alone the amount needed to necessitate a wall.....but I think I'm going to start keeping my eye out for some!  This picture is originally from Martha Stewart, but I saw it over at Cozy.Cottage.Cute., where Sarah was lucky enough to score some pie plates!  Check her blog out, it's exactly what the title says, no false advertising there!

#2:  Paper Towel Cubby ~ From Southern Living, but originally found on Annie's Pinterest, I looove this idea.  It went directly onto my Pinterest's Dream Kitchen board.  Currently I don't have enough drawer space as it is, but eventually (years from now) when I have storage out the wazoo, I want to do this.

#3:  Speaking of Annie of Arlington Mama, she made an amazing growth chart (inspired by mine here).  I am loving it, especially the numbers!  She was smart enough to copy down heights the had marked on a doorframe and just transferred them over to the new chart.  Do yourself a favor and check out her blog ~ it's another great one!  (Another recent project of her's I love is the shower curtain she dyed!)

Oh, and speaking of my growth chart, it just made the Top 10 over at The DIY Club!  So exciting!!

#4:  Cookie Dough Brownies ~ need I say more?  Probably not, but I will.  I made these brownies to take on vacation and they were super yummy!  Super sweet too, so best with a cold glass of milk or if you are me, iced coffee.  Thanks, Chef in Training!  (I think after this recipe, you have officially passed the training!)

#5:  Fall Pillow ~ During the heat wave we've been having, I've been thinking ahead to the cooler temps of Fall....doesn't this pillow just take you there?  I think I originally saw it on Pinterest, but it's originally from Cluck Cluck Sew, back in 2009!  (One of the many reasons I love Pinterest....I never would have found this pillow without it!)

And now for a few plugs...

#1:  Attention All Coffee Lovers!  :)  As you know, our Just Love Coffee Adoption Fundraiser is underway!  Just Love is an incredible company that sells Fair Trade coffee to help orphans world wide.  There are many varieties of coffee available that you are able to purchase in ground, whole bean, or even green bean if you like to roast your own.  This specialty coffee is not even roasted until the order is received, so you know it is SUPER FRESH when it arrives!!  We received our first shipment yesterday (we tried the African Skies variety) and I could smell the deliciousness as soon as I opened my joke!  Also, I wanted to mention that if you have become wary about drinking decaf, hearing about the chemicals used in the decaffeination (if that is a word) process, Just Love offers organic decaffeinated coffee that uses a water-based process, so no chemicals.

***Anyway....... TODAY ONLY, there is a CHRISTMAS IN JULY SPECIAL at Just Love!  If you buy any 3 13oz bags of coffee, the Roastmaster will throw in another bag of his choice when your order is shipped.  Being fair trade specialty coffee and a fundraiser, the coffee is more expensive than the Folgers or Maxwell House you buy in a grocery store, but 4 for the price of 3 is a great deal!  (And it's never too early to start stocking up on gifts for the holidays!!)***

As a reminder, we need to raise between $25-35K for our Ethiopian adoption, and we get $5 per bag of coffee sold!  We are thankful to Just Love for this opportunity!  Feel free to spread the word to all your coffee-lovin' friends!  I have also added a PayPal donation button to the sidebar if you would like to donate in that way (PayPal does take out a very small fee).  I would never want anyone to feel pressured to buy coffee or donate, but I just want to let you know that these options are available if you feel led to do so!

#2:  Swagbucks ~ Today (and every Friday) is MegaSwagBucks Day, where there are larger than normal amounts of Swagbucks to be found by using the search engine!  Even more exciting, this coming Monday, 8/1, will be a Swag Code Extravaganza, meaning multiple Swag Codes can be found throughout the day.  If you have never heard of SwagBucks, it's a great way to earn FREE prizes (my favorite are the Amazon gift cards) through doing things like using SwagBucks as a search engine, finding codes, daily polls, completing surveys, etc.  Lots of ways to earn bucks to get prizes!  I save the Amazon gift cards I earn and use them around Christmas time ~ last year it really helped cut back on my Christmas spending!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  If you were featured, feel free to grab a button!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Red Chair

A few weeks ago, I had the urge to paint something red.

Does that ever happen to anyone else?  The color comes before the project?  A little weird, but I went with it.

In my search around the house, I came across this old chair.  I'm not exactly sure where it came from, but we've been using it as a replacement chair at our dining room table since one of our other chairs kept breaking.  (High quality stuff we've got!).  The only problem with it was the little crack (middle rung on the backrest), but oh and on hand....what could be better?

I found a great shade of red ~ Rustoleum Colonial Red in Satin ~ and went to work.  Cleaned it and sanded it.  The chair, as you can see, has one of the woven seats.  Since I really didn't want to get paint on it I fixed it up with a little painter's tape and some Glad Press N Seal ~ which actually worked really well!  I might have to start using it for my projects more often!!

The spray paint I used was Rustoleum's Ultra Cover (2x the coverage) and I was pleased at how well it went on.  After it dried, I decided to distress it with some sandpaper....but then I didn't like how it looked.  So I painted over the part I distressed, and for this chair, I was much happier with a non-distressed look.  Here's the finished piece...

I love the fun pop of color it adds!

What is your favorite brand/shade of spraypaint?  I'm always looking for great colors!

Linking to a few of my favorites ~ check them out!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Adoption FAQs

We're just barely dipping our toes into our adoption journey, but we've already been getting some of the same questions pretty frequently.  Here's a little Q&A that will hopefully help everyone stay informed!  I know that up to this point, this blog has been a mix of DIY, crafts, family life, frugal tips, etc..... well now you can add adoption to the mix!

1.  Why adopt?  Wow, what a question.  I feel like I could write a dissertation on this subject alone.  I could start with how I've always wanted to adopt, for pretty much as long as I can remember.....or about how when I went to South Africa in college, I came back with a love for Africa that would never fade.  Or maybe how I'm definitely pro-life, and it's time to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.  What about in the Bible where it says, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you" (James 1:27, NLT).  How about simply, that we as a family feel called to adopt.  It's not a decision we've made lightly.  We recognize it won't always be easy, and it will change our lives and the lives of those around us forever.  We're trusting God will prove Himself faithful in leading and providing for us during this process!

2.  Can't you have any more kids?  Ummm.....we are having more kids.  They just won't look like us.  In all honesty, we have no reason to believe we wouldn't be able to have more biological children.  See #1.

3.  Why Ethiopia?  Again, so many reasons that we are feeling called to Ethiopia.  I am a fan of all adoption (used to work in the foster care system), not just Ethiopia, not just international....but for us, it's where we are headed.  I've seen various statistics that Ethiopia has between 4 and 6 million orphans.  That's a staggering number.  According to World Health Organization Statistics, 1 in 10 Ethiopian children will die before their 5th birthday.  There's a severe drought in Ethiopia right now, the worst they've had in decades, that will likely impact these numbers even more.  You can check out this touching YouTube video for a few more statistics.  There's not one specific reason why we chose Ethiopia ~ it's just in our hearts.

4.  What kind of child are you adopting?  We have requested either a male sibling group between the ages of 0-3 years or a single male child between the ages of 0 - 2 1/2 years.  We have been told a sibling group will be nearly impossible, but we are okay with whatever happens. 

5.  How can we help? 
*PRAY!  Please cover our family and future child(ren) in prayer.  Specific requests at this point would be for fundraising to go well, for paperwork to come in quickly, home studies to go smoothly, and for patience during the long months of waiting. 
*If you feel led to help in another way, our fundraising has begun!  We are going through a great and reputable business, Just Love Coffee.  They sell Fair Trade Coffee in many varieties....ground, whole bean, and even green bean for people who like to roast their own.  For each bag of coffee sold, we will receive $5 towards our adoption!  Thank you for considering supporting us in this way!

More Q&A to come (and there will definitely be some crafty goodness coming up this week too!).  If you have any questions or anything you'd like to learn more about, feel free to leave them in the comments!  Thanks for your support!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bethany Beach 2011

We just got back last night from our annual family vacation to Bethany Beach, Delaware.  Thanks to some blogger magic you didn't even know I was gone, did you?  Well, except for all those comments I still haven't responded to.  I hope to get to them at some point, but sorry in advance if I don't!!

Here's a few of my favorite pics from our vacay....
My sweet kiddos

The 4 cousins

PS... my friend Rachel now has a baby looking at the cute birdie mobile.  Welcome to the world, Corrine Elizabeth!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rocking Chair Redo

Back here I showed you this kid's rocking chair that I bought at a yard sale...

Our Carly has this weird fascination with anything she can sit in or on.  She will find the strangest things to use as a seat....for example, back around Easter....

Yep, that would be her brother's Easter bucket.  Anyway, when I saw the rocker pictured above at a yard sale, I knew she would love it.  It was priced at $5 but I offered the $3 I had in my pocket and they accepted ~ good deal!

A few coats (ok, a lot of coats) of Rustoleum's "Sweet Pea" and here's what it looks like now...

The stuffed monkey is in place of my little monkey who wouldn't sit still long enough to have her picture taken!  She really does love her new and improved chair though.  And I should wasn't Rustoleum's fault that it took so many coats of paint.  My primer spraypaint was clogged and I couldn't get it to work, but I really wanted to do the project right then and there (ever happen to you?!), so I didn't use a primer....which won't be happening again.  (Note to self:  buy more primer, or else this will happen again!)

Linking to a few of my favorites ~ check them out!

Always such an honor to be featured ~ THANK YOU!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Rachel's Birdie Mobile

My friend Rachel recently shared some pictures of their adorable nursery, just perfect and waiting for Baby to arrive any day now.  I think they did such a great job ~ I love that it is neutral, since they haven't found out if Baby is a He or a She....but it's neutral without being the typical yellow and green.

There are so many great things about their nursery, but what I really fell in love with was the mobile Rachel and her team of helpers came up with!  Rachel doesn't currently blog, but she gave me permission to share some pictures with you...

Isn't it amazing?!  Here's what Baby will see...  I can't wait to see pictures of a smiling little baby batting his or her tiny hands at the birdies!  Rachel, even without your sweet mobile-making skillz, you're gonna be one great momma!

If you'd like more information on making the mobile, Rachel's original inspiration came from here.

Think she's awesome?  Feel free to leave the momma-to-be some comment love!

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's Official!

Long story short.......we found out last night that we have been officially accepted into the America World Adoption's Ethiopia program!!!  We are so excited to expand our family in this wonderful way!  More details to come, but for now, we're getting ready for vacation!!!

We would love to have you praying for our family during this upcoming time of paperwork, home studies, fundraising, and waiting!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

First Aqua Experience

Remember back here when I showed you this cute little table I found at my fave thrift?

If you don't remember, that's ok.  I know you were probably so stunned and amazed at my favorite find (Steven Q Urkel) that you couldn't concentrate on all my other great stuff!  The table was only $4.50 and since I didn't spend an arm and a leg I decided to experiment with a color I don't normally go for.  I have been seeing so much great turquoise and aqua furniture and thought it would be fun to try.  I bought a can of Rustoleum's "Aqua" and got to work!

Here she is after the paint was all dry (it's clearly a she, didn't you see those legs?!)....

She was looking a little too clean-cut for me, so I sanded some of the edges to let the original black paint show through for a more distressed look.

Sanding was a definite improvement, but I still wanted to tone down the color a little, so I mixed up a little glaze (I just added some water to the black paint we had left over from the shutters and porch swing).  I used a sponge brush and did a small section at a time, painting and then wiping off.  (I really have no idea if this was the correct way to do anything, but it worked for me!)

The finished product was looking a little "beachy" to me ~ perfect for summer.  I threw on some random summery-type things from around the house ~ a bottle, an old picture of Jon & I at the beach, and I took the bird nest out of the cloche and put in some sand dollars and starfish.  Here's the result...

Yep, the baseboard is half painted.  This is in our upstairs hallway, where we ripped up carpet and still haven't gotten around to finishing up the painting.  Just pretend you don't see it.

I do like how the table turned out and I'm glad I took the aqua plunge.  I'm not sure if it's really me, but at $4.50 and a can of spray paint, I won't feel bad if I decide to change it again in a few months!

Linking up to a few of my favorites ~ check them out!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Hunt for an Outdoor Thermometer

I mentioned back here that I've been looking for a new outdoor thermometer for our screened-in porch.  The requirements are pretty simple:  non-digital, non-cheapo-plasticky looking, and numbers big enough to see from inside.  I haven't been able to find "the one" so I turned to Amazon.  (See one you like?  Click on the picture to take you to it's Amazon page).

This one's very similar to the one we already have....does the trick but pretty blah.

Here's what I've been seeing a lot of in stores....I like it, but I wish the clock and thermometer were reversed.

I could proclaim my love for the Black & Gold, but ok, I might be a smidge tacky.

I like this one, but the only problem is it's a little smaller than I wanted.

I like this one, but what's a hygrometer?

This one could be nearly perfect....but's almost $50!

Ooooh, this looks fun, but I have no idea how to use it.

Hmmm....maybe this one....

Which one is your favorite?  Any other ideas of where to look?  (I've checked Home Depot, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond....and I'd like to try to get to Hobby Lobby).  The search continues...

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