Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Food for thought

I found this here.  I thought it was very relevant and moving.

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a

battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son,

The battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret,

greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment

inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope,

serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence,

empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute

and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Be at peace.

Today was the funeral of my husbands step-brother, Nate.  It was a very sad and emotional time for everyone.  He was 30 years young.  I cannot imagine the emotions and feelings that Chuck, my husbands step-father, must be feeling.  It really shows me how being a parent is such an important, meaningful role that we play in our children's life and how much are children truly mean to us. 

From the day we learn about the conception of our child, we already are able to list the hopes and dreams we have for them even before we know their gender or even have their names chosen.  We never doubt what our kids may be able to achieve.  We hope and pray that no negative influence come in the way of these dreams.  We wish them happy lives filled with success, a loving wife/husband and of course, we want the grandchildren as well.  When we realize that we are unable to see those things take place, I can only imagine the terrible feeling that must be. 

When something pulls our child off a great path, it's hard to say what is the best way to intervene.  Is it tough love or do we keep letting them make mistakes over and over again with the hope that they will "snap out of it"...?  There is no right answer.  A parent who uses tough love and loses a child may say that they shouldn't have; or that they could've done more.  On the other hand, the parent that loses a child after forgiving and helping their child over and over again may say that tough love would have done the trick.  There is no way to know.  As parents we do what we feel is best for our child.  It's easy to say in retrospect, maybe I should have done this or tried that.  In reality, we do what we can and we try our best to ensure the well being of our children.  No one has the right answer but God himself.

At the funeral, Chuck spoke about unconditional love and the importance of telling the people you care about, especially your children, how much you love them.  Please do so.

I hope that you can all keep Chuck and the rest of the Brink family in your prayers. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bucket of dishsoap and a sponge....?

I can be somewhat of a freak.  When I see something that bothers me I have to get to work.  For example, last week I had to go to the front porch to retrieve a package that arrived.  (textbooks).  We rarely use our front porch as we usually come through the garage.  When I looked up while getting the package I looked up to see this:

The under part of our covered porch was so dirty and there were spiderwebs in the corners.  Yuck!  So this past Tuesday, I rolled up my sleeves and grabbed a ladder, broom, hose and a bucket of warm water with dish soap and a sponge and got scrubbing.  It was a messy job and I was soaked at the end of it but it was so worth it!  Look at the end result! 

Don't mind the beads of water...it was in the process of drip drying.
Looks brand new.

So me being me...I couldn't stop myself.  I started washing the entire front of the house with a sponge.  I know that people driving by must have thought I was crazy.  I know many people who I could've borrowed a power washer from....but I felt so good about the porch that I couldn't help myself. Then, I got the leaf blower out and blew the walkway and porch.

How wonderful!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Inspiration Monday!

I found a lot of things to share this week.  I cannot believe all the great ideas (especially for Halloween) out there!  The creativity that exists in this world is incredible.  I will start this week off with this Martha Stewart inspired Mouse Motel Faux Pumpkin tutorial over at Under the Table and Dreaming.  I love the spin on the traditional carved pumpkin.  Jude would be so amused by this!  I think that I will make one with a regular pumpkin---although if I did a faux I could store it and use it again next year.

Yesterday I visited my mother in law at her greenhouse and she was displaying all her little pumpkin varieties and small gourds in the entry.  I have always wanted to display them in a way that was more unique that just setting them in a basket with indian corn or on a ledge in a grouping.  Well....over at Be Different Act Normal they shared this idea from Kendra over at My Insanity.  I think that this is what I will do.  But instead of saying "Welcome" I may go with our last name or even our address and put it on the porch.  I think that it would be too cute to do this and set them on candle holders of different heights in the window sill.  I wonder if I could cut the tops out and put tealights in them....?  We'll see. 

Here are two other ideas that Be Different Act Normal showcased.  I love these felt garlands!  They look super simple to do and you can really make it your own with any pattern.  I was thinking that this could be cute in Jude's room.  Not the hearts...but maybe do a sports theme one with footballs, baseballs and basketballs or even dinosaurs since he loves them.  I also like the idea of doing holiday themed ones.  The hearts would be great for Valentine's day, eggs for Easter, bats for Halloween....you get the idea. 

The other idea featured over at Be Different Act Normal is this.  How cute for so cheap?  It only cost Katydid and kid $3 to make! Here is the link to the tutorial.  I love the goth feel of it (which surprises me) but even more...I love the crow.  I actually just saw some for a buck at Dollar Tree.  Now I must get one and construct this!  It will look beautiful on our front door!

Another great dollar store fall wreath tutorial was featured at Thifty Decore Chick.  I think that if I made this one, I would actually hang it inside out home rather than outside due to the materials that are used.  Since the wreath above will be occupying the door underneath our front (covered) porch protected from inclement weather...these are better off inside.  I could just hang them on the nails that are already in the wall for pictures taht are currently up.  This way there are no additional holes.  Another idea is that these can be displayed by hanging them on the inside of the doors.  I think two would be wonderful on each of the french doors leading to the backyard.

I also found this on my reading list this week from All Things Thrifty.  I am sure that I could gather up enough fallen sticks in our backyard alone to complete this project.  This would look great on either side of the picture window on our front porch.  I think that I would add a few of the crows i mentioned above at the Dollar Tree and perch them on a few of these branches!

Last but not least, since we are a football family I must buy these!  I am so glad that Poca Cosas feautured them so I knew that they existed.  Last year I know that they had football ones...but there were just the shape of a football printed on the front rather than having an actual football shape.  Clint would love to dunk them in some milk, Jude would go to town and eat them as fast as he could after screaming "foot.....ball" (he always pauses between the two words) and pointing at them over and over again.  As for myself, I would split the two cookies and scrape out the inside and eat the cookies...without dunking.  I hate to dunk my cookies and Clint loves it.  I just hate all the floaties afterwards. 

Well there you have this weeks installment of Inspiration Monday.  I hope to blog more this week than last...but with classes that have started and trying to get things done around the house, it's been hectic.  Don't fret though, before and afters will be featured soon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Inspiration Monday!

I thought that I should begin my Inspiration Monday with something I found for Jude.  It's still a bit early to implement, but cannot wait to use it when the time comes.  I found this featured over at Be Different...Act Normal.  (which is a great blog I follow).  Camille from The Mother Lode (which is saved to my favorites) was the one who masterminded this particular idea.  It is a game called The Alphabet Rocks, a game that teaches kids to match lower case and upper case letters.  How great is this?  I think that it would be great to have a magnetic version as well.  Simply glueing magnets to the backs so that they can be used on the fridge would be a fun distraction for Jude while I get dinner ready.  Camille was even kind enough to share this link to the template.  Be Different...Act Normal always links some great ideas and The Mother Lode is full of inspiration, so I suggest you add them to your reading list.

Next, I saw this over at Greenbean's Crafterole awhile back and I have been meaning to share it.  I thought that this would be an excellent idea for party favors or a shower.  It is soap in the shape of a popscicle--stick and all!  It has a great step-by-step tutorial and even tells you where to get the items used in the tutorial, go planet earth.  I love the way they used a scallopped cutter to make t look like a bite had been taken out of it!  Seriously, the next shower I help with or summer party I host....I think that I have to make these! 

I saw this over at Frugal Life Project which is another great blog that I follow.  This is an idea for Jude as well...and has to wait til later when he can understand the concept of chores and responsibilies.  I figure in about another year, this can be used.  It is a sort of job application for kids to take on additional house responsibilities for an increase in allowance for the agreed upon time.  The idea was actually on Living Locurto (which is amazing) and Amy was even kind enough to share a printable version of the application with everyone.  You can find it here.  There are really great names for the positions.  For example, there is a Zoo Keeper position for taking care of the animals, President of Environmental Protection is the person who ensures that lights are turned off that are not being used, takes care of the recycling, etc.  How neat is that?  I think kids---like adults, love titles so this is wonderful!  I highly suggest taking a look at these two blogs as well.  Although, I must warn you that they can be highly addictive.  You think you're just going over there to take a peek...and next thing you know you are hours in!  Frugal Life Project features some great promos that are going on EVERYWHERE as well as feautures great projects like the one mentioned above.  Living Locurto is wonderful with all their free printables and party ideas!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Big boy bed?

I have decided to begin the process of moving Jude to a "big boy" bed.  Today I started sanding a twin headboard and footboard that I got for free.  I plan on painted it and putting his initials on the headboard.  It may be a few more months until he moves to a twin bed because we will first convert his crib to a day bed (which may happen tomorrow) and see how that goes.  It will be interesting to see how many times he gets out of bed.  We will be putting up a gate to ensure he doesn't wander around the house in the middle of the night.  His bedroom is well baby-proofed, so no worries there.  Also, he plays in there all the time by himself and we have never had any issues.  I will post pics from the headboard/footboard makeover soon!

At what age do most parents move there child to a daybed/big boy bed?  I am apprehensive about whether I am doing it too soon.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Inspired by my BFF across the country.

I am constantly inspired by influential women, including my best friend Kristen who lives across the country in Washington.  She recently posted on her blog, LoveK about organization.  She is actually featuring her entire week on organizing different areas of her home and life.  (Check it out)!  Her post about her laundry area really struck a cord with me as mine was a COMPLETE disaster!  It has been too convenient to just throw things in the door and shut it really quick since we try and keep the door closed as Jude has an obsession with opening the dryer and crawling in.  In addition, it was kinda dangerous in there for a 1 year old actually.  There was loose change around collected from pockets (choking hazard), golf tees (a poking hazard), things he could trip over (brooms, mops, etc), chemicals and it was dusty....it was simply just a mess.  So after seeing Kristen post, I knew I had to take action. 

Luckily, Jude takes really great naps so yesterday when he was napping, I got to work.  He napped for just over three hours, so I had plenty of time to get things done! 

Take a look at the before--

Here are the trip hazards.  There were out of season coats, large amount of plastic shopping bags, reuseable shopping bags, etc.
Cleaning supplies, old dog treats, q-tips (Jude was carrying them around and brought them to me while I was in there-random).
A crate below that was empty, a laundry basket of miscellaneous things waiting to be washed (rugs, placemats, reds, cushions).
My steam mop, a tote full of things needing to just be put in their proper place and Jude's diaper pail.  We leave it in the laundry room because we use cloth diapers and its most convenient to put them in the laundry room since they will need to be washed.
Stuff stacked on the dryer.  My bento, laundry products, trash for lint and things found in pockets, a basket full of random things collected from the washer and dryer.

Now for the after:
I removed all of the things that were hanging in there and placed them in its owners closet.  I swept and mopped it and put all of the handled cleaning irems inside neatly.
I hung the plastic bags on a hanger so that I can put them into the recycling bin the next time I go to the grocery store.
I placed all my cleaning supplies from the shelf, the top of the washer and dryer and from random places in the house into this basket. 

I placed this jar on the shelf for loose change we find in the laundry.
Here is the shelf--all organized!
I removed the basket that was just collecting random things that needed to be washed and put the diaper pail in its place.  I washed the things that were in the basket and put them away.  I repurposed the bin that was under the basket and am using it for dinosaur storage in Jude's room.
I placed a bright placemat on the dryer and set the trash on top.  I also washed the canister that held dog treats and placed my reuseable grocery bags inside so I knew exactly where they were.
Since Jude's nap was so long, I even had time to hang the brackets and paint the wood for a new shelf.  I had plans to add an additional shelf for quite some time so I had the wood cut already.  I wanted one on top to house small appliances I don't often use.  My large rice cooker, crock pots, bento and heart shaped picnic basket now have a permanant home.

I am so happy with the end result.  When my husband came home, I told him to look at the laundry room and how nice it looked.  He said...."did we get new tile?"  I didn't quite understand but then he followed it with---"it's just that I haven't seen the floor in so long"....(because it's been so messy).  He's a funny cat! 

Just wanted to send a message of thanks to Kristen for getting my butt in gear!  Love you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My treasures!

I cannot believe the wonderful treasures I have found at garage sales this summer!  I am amazed everytime I score a great deal.  I thought that I would share a few items that are in the garage now waiting for some refinishing. 

The first item I want to introduce is this amazing table I bought for Jude.  I had been looking for a table for him to color/draw/paint/read at and play with his toys.  We are planning on moving Jude from his current room to the guest room as it is more spacious and it will allow him to have different areas in his room.  A place for sleeping, a place for playing, a place for reading and a place for crafty things.  When I was first thinking about the space, I was looking for a round table where I could set three chairs around.  The reason I wanted three was in case his two best pals, Eli and Maddox (when they get about 6-9 months older) came over to play or his two cousins, Dominic and Addison.  The height of this table will not allow chairs, so I thought I would sew floor cushions or make stools with a nice cushy pad.  I am still on the fence about it, so we will see.  I plan on painting this table because I don't want it to be wood tone but we will have to see what we decide for the wall colors first. 

Can you guess how much I paid for this table that we will get so much use out of over many many years?

Drumroll please!

It was $3.00!  Can you believe that?  I was amazed and thrilled. 

It was the perfect size and very sturdy.  Jude has already crawled on it a gazillion times and stood on it. 

Here is Jude standing next to it.

Item #2 is actually something I found at an estate sale I went to with my Father in law, Ron.  I know you all prolly think I am nuts about sales but I am nothing compared to ol' Ronald.  He is retired, so that is just what he does.  He is an avid collector and loves antiques.  But even more, he loves a great deal.  I must also mention that my father in law is very charming and makes friends very easily, like my husband.  When he goes to a sale, he really gets to know people and they warm up to him quickly.  Sometimes so much that they invite him into their home.  Also, he is great at "making deals" and getting a better price out of them.  A great convenience of having Ron around (besides that he is the BEST father in law a girl could ask for) is that if you are looking for something, all you have to do is mention it to him and he will find it for you at a sale and give you a call.  He will describe it in great detail, tell you the price and then tell you what price he can prolly get it at for you.  It's amazing and I cannot tell you how often I use this service of his!

Anyways, I bought this cabinet for only $35.00 at the estate sale. 

My plans for it is to paint it an aged white and glaze the edges and details.  Then, I am going to paint the back panel yellow and do a design on the entire back as well.  I am thinking about doing one of these designs.  If I did the first one, I would have the outlines be the white and the main color be yellow.  If I chose something like the second one, I'm not sure which elements would be white and which would be yellow.

The third item on my docket is this shelf.  I found this at a garage sale yesterday and got a great deal on it. Something drew me to it.  I loved the details around the edges.  This isn't a normal shelf.  You cannot tell from the pictures but it is almost like a shodow box of some kind.  The outside frame will stick out from the wall and the shelfs you see will be against the wall so it will jut out a bit.  I must mention that it is quite large as well.  I have no idea what I am going to do with this, where it's going to hand or what color it will become.  But, I assure you I will find a purpose for it. 

How much did I pay, you ask? ONE DOLLAR!

Yes, just one smackaroo!


The following item is one that I saw from the car as Clint and I (and Jude sleeping in the backseat) were driving by a garage sale.  I saw it right away and loved it from afar.  I thought it was going to be super expensive since it was massive.  Right now, it is a gold hue but for some odd reason something is telling me it should be yellow.  I don't know what my obsession with yellow has been recently, but I thought it would make this piece look modern and fresh. 

Want to know how much I paid? 


Actually, Clint paid $15.00.  He bought it for me because he knew I was in love with it.

Look at all the detail?  I was drooling when I saw this mirror!

Lastly, I bought this HUGE lamp at Goodwill about a month ago for so cheap.  It had the ugliest, worn down and broken lamp shade I had ever seen and there was no saving it.  In fact, I left it behind and asked that they just throw it away.  The lamp stands very tall and is very heavy.  Most importantly, it works!  This will get an update and a space as soon as I find a lampshade that will look right on such a huge lamp!

And for this bad boy----$1.99!

Ah, the joy I get from money well spent!

Inspiration Monday's!

I recently expressed my love for Monday's. The reason I love Monday's is because it is the day when I look at my Blogger Dashboard and review all the posts of the blogs that I follow. It is from these blogs that I get a lot of my inspiration. Some of these women come up with the greatest ideas!

Therefore, I decided to do something new; Inspiration Monday's! I will be posting about different projects and ideas that I found out there in the blogosphere and will be sharing them with you. Not only will you be able to get this information in a summarized format with links directing you to the project or idea itself, but it will be a means of organizing my project to do list.

Look for the first post this coming Monday!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Media Day.

Every year there is a media day for football teams.  It's when local papers come and take pictures of the teams and the players individually and get interviews with the coach about the upcoming season.  Each year Clint asks me to come so I can take photos of the players individually as well as a team photo and some candids for the teams website. I thought that I would share a few.  After the media was gone and all the photos done, the coaches, players, Jude and myself went to one fo the coaches homes to have a cookout and enjoy his pond. 

Jude had a great time running around the school and on the field.  He loved riding on daddy's shoulders and also swimming with Kenzy in her pond.  Here are a few photos from the day! 

Had to share.

The other day, I went to check on Jude while he was napping and found him sleeping with his legs crossed and his butt sticking up in the air.  This is exactly how my mom says my brother use to sleep and it made me smile.  It reminded me of my brother instantly. 

A small update with a lot of added convenience.

I purchased this wire shelf from a garage sale in New Lothrop about a month ago for a quarter!  Yes, just a mere twenty-five cents.  I didn't know what I was going to do with it when I bought it but I found the perfect solution. 
I cleaned off the dust and spray painted it to match the buffet in the bathroom.  Next, I hung it in between the cabinet above the toilet and the shower.  It's all about finding ways to make our family life run as smoothly as possible.  I cannot tell you how many times Clint or I have yelled for one another to bring us another bar of soap from the hall closet or how many times the hubby has asked me where a clean hand towel is.  This takes all that away.  I make sure now that it is stocked with a few bars of soap, toilet paper and bath salts on top and the bottom contains clean hand towels.  Now everything is within reach and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this cheap find!

Oops! How did I forget?

As I was revamping my blog I noticed that I forgot to post my tutorial on the Jewelry Board that I made!  I don't know how I forgot, especially as it was featured in my post about the bathroom update.  It has come in handy and has completely made me more responsible with my jewelry.  I use to just set things everywhere; night stand, kitchen island, bathroom counter, medicine cabinet, ashtray of vehicles, pockets, etc.  Now, with the aid of my jewelry board, I know that I have a designated space for these things.  I use the jewelry board to house my dangling earring and necklaces.  In my jewelry box on the buffet below, I keep my rings and post earrings.  It's a great system.

Well here is the how-to:

First, I simply went to my local Goodwill to find the right size frame.  I was lucky enough to find this hideous painting of geese flying over some Fall trees.  The painting was ugly, but the frame was just the right size I was looking for.  I painted it the same Caribbean Blue color I used on the handles of the buffet I refinished.

Next, I had to gather my supplies.  Luckily, they were all items I had on hand or could borrow from others.
I needed some thin batting and a piece of fabric large enough to fit over the backer board of your frame. You could also cut a piece of thicker cardboard to fit and cover that.  Also, I needed a staple gun, a regular stapler, scissors, staples, wire cutters and chicken wire. 
I simple cut the batting large enough to wrap around the painting that was inserted.  I used a regular stapler to stable it around the edges.  Make sure you stay close to the edge as they may show depending on the lip on the frame.  I cut off any excess batting that I could.
Next, using the wire cutters, I snipped the chicken wire to size and wrapped it around tightly.  I pushed the board back into the frame and used the staple gun to to staple all the elements into the frame.  The staples must be long enough to penetrate though the painting/board, batting and fabric but short enough that they do not go through the visible side of the frame.  Unfortunately, I didn't take this into consideration when I was doing this and there was some damage done to the visible side.  Also, as I was stapling I made sure I was securing the chicken wire down at the same time.  Once it board is staple gunned in place, snip off any excess wire that may be sticking out.  Be careful as the chicken wire has sharp pointy ends!

Here is the finished product!

Before                                       After

And here it is with my baubles on display.