Friday, August 30, 2013

Let's try this again.

I religiously worked out for years. In the process, I lost 55lbs after my second son through workouts and adjusting my diet. I managed to keep it off too. This habit pretty much ended in the Spring of this year after taking time off to remodel my kitchen.  After the kitchen was finished, I could never manage a consistent routine of going to the Y other than a few times a month.  Angel-baby wouldn't stay anymore in the childcare room, the drive was a good 25-40mins each way depending on traffic, it rained a lot... The list went on an on. There was always a reason why working out didn't seem like a good idea. Not anymore. The kids are back in school. The baby has nap time. I'm ready to get back on track and start  spending a little more time on myself. I really miss the way I feel after a good-sweaty workout. I miss the way my clothes fit too. It's a good stress reliever for blowing off steam in a positive way. There are no more excuses. I'm on this! 

I have been searching the classifies for the last couple of months for a good deal on a NICE used treadmill. Not like my previous elliptical that was $300 and provided a effortless workout. I finally found what I was looking for this week and debated for days before I actually bought it. I decided to bite the bullet and spend the money for me and my sanity! This thing is the real deal with all the bells and whistles and heavy. I had to help J drag it (broken down into 2 pieces!) upstairs to our game-room. That was a real workout in itself! It folds up nicely out of the way and uses a special magnetic key that has to be in place to run so the kids can't play on it. This machine is the Cadillac of treadmills and I plan to take full advantage of it. No driving required, no hot-sticky-muggy-mosquito infested weather to run in and no childcare needed if I play my cards right. I feel good about this.

I set some new goals to workout with my treadmill 3-4 times a week mixed with my free weights dvds. I think I might have a shot at sticking with this?! I would like to hit 300 miles by the new year. If 10 lbs happen to drop off in the process then all the better! I put the 3 boys on the bus this morning and jumped right on while Angel-baby was still snoozing. I need to gear myself back up to my old running pace but I did ok for my first workout in months. I managed to get a 45 minute workout in for a total of 3.75 miles mixing running and walking. The best part, when I was done all I had to do was fold it up and go! It was such a nice way to start the day and to be done with my workout and have it out of the way. I think I might pin some more treadmill workouts on pinterest to mix it up. I might even pin a couple of healthy workout recovery snacks while I'm at it. 296.25 miles to go. Cue up some Ludacris and I'm back to my old game! 

New Work out space. TV, Fan, DVD player, Free weights and bar.

Not too shabby for secondhand.

Folds up out of the way for the most part. Wish I had a better space for it but it will work for now.

New workout partner (she wants to know why we both can't just do this outside!).



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chalk it up! A DIY how-to for creating a front door chalkboard.

I may or may not be slightly addicted to chalkboards at the moment. I have noticed a few others out there in the land of Pinterest that share my same fancy and have seen them popping up in the most unexpected places. My newest favs are the front door or porch chalkboards. There was even a pin where the whole front door was painted in chalkboard paint, cute for a playroom maybe. The possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can display on them. Think welcome signs, house numbers, birthday greetings, holiday wishes and birth announcements. Anyways, I knew I wanted one to add a little more curb appeal to my ever-lacking front porch and thought this would be a good way to do it.

One weekend while shopping with my sister, I found what I was looking for lying next to the side of a donation box in the parking lot of a target. I know what your thinking and I debated about taking something that was supposed to be donated too but: (a) It was a Saturday afternoon and no one was coming to collect this anytime soon. (b) This was a clothing donation box for clothes and shoes so I felt I was doing them a service by taking the board off whomever's hands that would have to get rid of it. (C) Technically it wasn't in the actual box but lying next to it. I pulled over and threw that bad boy in my car.

All it needed was a good cleaning. There was gooey sticker stuck to the front and some crayon on it. Overall it was in good shape and real slate. I scrubbed the sticker off best I could and went over it a few times with regular spray cleaner. I decided to use my own leftover chalkboard paint to spruce up the finish. 
 

 
After it dried, I grabbed my chalkboard paint and gave it 2-3 even coats letting it dry in between.



I picked up 1- 12ft piece of casing that was on clearance from the hardware store for $7.38. I had my helpful hubby J, build me a frame to make it a little more beefier around the sides. It was nailed into place and stapled on the back at the corners for added support.

Love this guy! (My foot. See, I was indeed present with a tasty beverage in hand keeping him company while he put this together for me.)
 
Next he drilled holes on both sides with a large drill bit so I could run some large utility twine through to hang it. I knotted the twine on the back. I had to rehang it later and tie the knots on the front so the board would lie flat against the wall. Oh well, live and let learn, huh?

Sorry it's a blurry pic. I was doing this in the garage and was quite humid! I think my camera actually fogged up a bit. 

I filled in the corner cuts on the frame with paintable wood filler and sanded it down when it was dry.



I gave the new frame two coats of chalk paint in Old World. I really didn't want to use my good chalk paint on this but I was completely out of regular white paint and I wanted to finish this project quickly so I used what I had on hand.

all finished!

Im so excited about the possibilities for this chalkboard! I know, I'm kind of a nerd that way. It was such a simple project and the total spent was the price of the casing, so it was under $8. I can't beat that! I think it's such a fun way to add a little bit of unique curb appeal.  I'm on my way to jazzing up my front porch and I want to do it economically through up-cycling or repurposing so this worked out perfectly. I still need to add a few plants, new rug and maybe a light fixture. I'm always on the search for a good deal so who knows when it will all get put together but it's off to a good start!

Just in time for football season! Go Tigers! 



Monday, August 26, 2013

Simple tricks for keeping you organized and ready for school!

The most anticipated day of the year has arrived, well for moms anyways! It's back to school day around these parts and boy were these boys ready! I use a few simple strategies for keeping our school days smooth sailing. I am sending my newly ordained 6th, 3rd and kindergartner off to school and with another added kid to the mix this year, our mornings are crazy hectic. 

Yesterday was spent reorganizing all the closets and drawers. This chore is a real joy for me...every last minute of the 3.5 hours it took...for me and for whatever lucky boy that had to try on every article of clothing to see what fits. Well, boys #2 and #3 had to try clothes on, boy #1 is almost certainly...without a doubt...outgrown everything he owns. Every. Time. J and I, then went to 2 stores to get lunch supplies for snacks, school lunches and after school treats for 3 times 5. I came up with a lunch menu for the year that I hope will satisfy all 3 picky eaters! I finished the day by cutting boy #'s 1 and 2 hair, made sure they were all showered and their teeth scrubbed (we've been seriously slacking in the teeth brushing area lately) and had them all in bed by 9:30.  8 and 8:30 for the first 2 and 9:30 for my 11 year old who wanted to know why he couldn't stay until 10! Long day, but it was all done with a HUGE smile on my face and song to my lips!

I snagged a great tip from my friend Jennifer over at classic style home, who lays out the whole week of clothes on Sunday via a hanging closet organizer. I followed suit, and now have everything ready to go for the week!  Such a clever idea and one less thing to have to worry about in getting these kiddos ready in the morning!

The 2 boys that share a room/ closet, organizers were kind of a snug fit but I made them work with a little bit of elbow grease. All set for the week. 


Snacks and water bottles are packed the night before so all we have to do is pop them into their backpacks in the morning. Having a lunch menu all planned out, makes it easy to put lunches together in the morning. We use reusable plastic bento boxes in their lunch bags and opted just to use water bottles this year. I want to keep everything running smoothly as possible in our hectic mornings. I'm all about simple connivence these days. I gave my menu to J, and he whipped up this cute little printout to hang on the side of the fridge.  

Nifty lunch menu


I have a handy little info-command station hung up in the kitchen for storing all of our important school papers and supplies. I use folders in various colors for each boy to keep everything together. Smaller baskets are for pencils, crayons, scissors, glue-all the basics supplies and crafts needed for homework related activities. The large shelf holds all my favorite cookbooks. 

Command Center Station

I find if I'm well organized and everything of importance has a place then it makes for a more stress-free environment. Once the boys walk in off the bus, lunch boxes and back packs are empty and special papers get filled out and any important dates get added to our calendar on the fridge. If not, I forget things or papers go missing. A few minutes worth of time save a few hours of headache later. I want to enjoy our time together in the evenings, not stress over details. These simple tricks seem to work for us now. I hope these 3 guys have a wonderful school year full of knowledge, friendships and great memories!

Off to school, fall 2013.

My Kindy boy, was so excited about getting to go all five days this year and no nap time! My 3rd grader was excited about being able to switch classes in the afternoon and have 2 teachers now. My 6th grader said I could take pictures of him outside but none in school and we could walk him as far as the front office! Hey, whatever works for you Home-slice, I'll take it! It has been a LONG summer!





Promptly after drop off, Angel-baby and I got together with one of my besties over breakfast. We followed that by a little shopping. Such a great day! 


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What do to with a 1930's vintage Philco radio? Why chalk paint of course!

I know I have a million of things to do to get ready for school which starts next week; but I keep finding myself getting sidetracked by various small projects around the house. While the idea of sorting closets and cleaning out dresser drawers thrills me to pieces, for some reason I can bring myself to do it. I started this little gem yesterday during nap time. By the time I caught up on my last 3 episodes of True Blood, it was finished!

My grandmother had this lovely 1930's antique radio in her attic or third floor as she called, for years. I always loved the piece. It reminded me of the scene from The Christmas Story where Ralphie and his brother are both listening anxiously to Little Orphan Annie and it's snowing in background and the fireplace is lit up all nice and cozy. It's such a different time. Boy #2 wanted to know where the picture came out. When I explained it was their modern day ipod he lost all interest. I inherited this piece and it's been in my bedroom for years. Yesterday I dusted it off and decided to give it a fun new color. Cue my chalk paint in Antibes Green. 

The radio I was working on was a Philco Model 71 and the 22L series. It had the model number and series stamped inside. I did a little research and found that it was from the year 1932. The Philco Compnay tried to expand its radio-phonograph line but it was the wrong time for this. It was the worse year for the Great Depression and only sold 3,100 models. The original selling price was $129.50. Knowing my grandmother and her sense of saving a buck (I'm sure she inherited that too) this was probably bought on sale! Anyways, it was neat to read about it.

Inside stamp.


Before. The finish was bleached out in spots and covered in scratches. It was missing a knob and the material over the speaker rotted away. I love the details in these old pieces. The fluted edges, scrolled legs and all the details in the moldings. Working on antiques really reminds me how crappy a lot of today's furniture is made.

Some before shots.





The first thing I did was give it a good rub down with a wet cloth and let it dry.

Followed by 2 coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Antibes Green.

I lightly dry brushed 2 coats of paint working from the corners out.

Instead of sanding the paint down this time I used a wet paper towel.  I concentrated on the darker parts to even out the paint some. With a little bit of applied pressure it worked the same way as the sandpaper (which I was out of) and you don't have to clean up the green dust afterwards. Bonus!

When distressing, I always pay attention to where the wear and tear will most likely happen naturally. Corners and edges.

The last step is sealing the paint. I used Briwax furniture wax in light brown. Work in small sections applying with a clean rag and then buffing to a shine.


I replaced the rotting fabric by unscrewing the back and replacing it with more of my scrap burlap. I tighten the screws back into place and put the knobs back back on. It's missing a knob but I moved them around so it's not as noticeable now.
 

After! 



I love it! It's in front of my bedroom right now in a little enclave. I can't decide where it will go permanently. I hope to have hubby J, hang our TV over the fireplace to open up our family room and give us more space in there. I might use it as a end table or put it in the foyer. I want to show it off and enjoy it! Such a simple project and now it looks like a brand new piece! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Wrap Up!

I really need to work on making some time to keep up with my blogging! Seems like our summer is coming to a close and school will be starting next week! (Did you just hear a loud squeal sneak out, sorry!) I am ready to get back on a schedule and have some normalcy and routine again. I LOVE my kids but I think we are all ready to get back to the grind. Hopefully, I will have a little more free time to indulge in my crafting and blogging. 

To recap our long, hot summer, I would call it more of a stay-cation then anything else. There was week long trip to rainy Panama City Beach for the 4th of July. Boy #1 went to Washington D.C. with his Poppy  to see the sights of our Nation's Capital and my sister. Boys #1 and #2 went to a 3 day apple camp held at our local apple store where they participated in a total of 1 out of the 3 days. They were not into the early morning wake-up. They are in for a rude awakening....insert evil laugh here!... The boys went to the movies and saw every kid movie that came out this summer! We water-sledded and made many trips to the pool! Angel-baby LOVES the water! I finished my Dinning room remodel and I'm in the final stages of my backyard overhaul. We celebrated Angel-baby's first birthday and had some late nights with our neighbors and even managed to have a few kid-free date nights for our sanity! We capped off the summer with a weeklong stay at my parents house in Austin, for a change of scenery. We hit the Children's Museum and ate at some of Austin's favorites places, The Shady Grove, Homeslice Pizza, and Annie's Ice Cream. We met up with some our cousins for swimming and grilling. The boys played mini-golf at The Peter Pan and went swimming in Barton Springs natural springs, where it stays a brisk 68 degrees year round.

This week will be spent organizing closets, separating all the school supplies out, coming up with a lunch menu that they ALL will eat and meetin' and greetin' with their new teachers. New school clothes have been bought, along with shoes and back packs. We are looking forward to great school year followed by all the fun festivities that fall brings! Until next time, Summer! 
 
Some of our Summer 2013 memories.

PCB 2013

Swimming.

Date night.

Angel-baby's first birthday!

Water-sledding!

Enjoying late evenings!

Eating NY Pizza in Austin.

Shady Grove.

Not digging the hat as much as she thought she would!

Children's Museum, Austin with Cousins. So. Much. Fun!

Watch out, ladies!

Love these two cuties!

Driveway Sparklers!

Incredible-fun!
 
Ice cream.

6th grader who is almost as tall as his mom!

Hanging out in Angel-baby's rearranged room!

Snuggle Puppies.

Littlest yard helper.

Sleepy pool days.