Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Annual Camping Trip Round up

We just returned from our annual Wads/Groth camping trip today.  Read about past camping trips here and here.  This year, we chose Governor Dodge State Park in Dodgeville, WI.  The forecast showed blistering heat and rain, but we went ahead with our plans anyway.

I had already whipped up some camping sangria and we could not let that go to waste!

Peach infused vodka
White wine
7 up or Sprite
fruit: I used strawberries, apples and blueberries
artificial sweetener
mason jars and lids

Put 1/2-1 packet of sweetener in the jars (I put 1/2 because I was afraid it was going to be too sweet and it was perfect).
Chop up your fruit and fill the mason jars about 2/3-3/4 full of fruit.
Put 3 shots of peach infused vodka in each jar.
Fill the jars up with white wine.
Place your lids on the jars.
Put on ice.
When ready to drink, pour 1/2 of a jar into a solo cup and fill the rest with 7 up or Sprite.

And they were

 Here we are just getting to the campsite and still clean and excited:)

We set up camp in the heat and humidity.

(Last year our little tent leaked during a good rainstorm at night so we invested in a much larger 6 person tent with screen porch and some cots.  Game changer.)

Peek inside:

Dining room:

And then we had to eat immediately.

 And we embarked on our 3 night camping adventure.  Including swims in the lake, ribs by Cookie, sparklers and glow sticks...

Unafraid raccoons visiting the campsite every night and stealing butter out of coolers, a torrential downpour and wicked thunderstorm the first night and morning camp coffee...

Children games of Wall-e, hide and seek and paper Barbies...

The shortest hike on the hottest day...

On the second night, after our rib dinner during which we listened to scary thunder sounds for almost a continuous hour, we got an alert on our phones of a tornado warning, not watch, for the next half hour.  This prompted a flurry of activity including throwing our kids in the cars, stowing the chairs away, adding stakes to the screen tent that lifted off the ground in a gust of wind all while consoling the kids that "of course it is going to be fine!  Nothing bad is going to happen!"  Then we quickly made a mad dash to the local Wal-Mart (where else) where we shopped our anxieties away.

 Rainbow after the storm.

Then we treated the kids (and ourselves) to A&W ice cream.

The next day, we continued on our merry camping adventure.

 (One of the craft project for the kids: nature dream catchers.)

We also made a trip to House on the Rock (which I don't know why I have never ever been there before).

If you have not been there, please, please go!  It is amazing!!

And back at the campsite, we watched the kids fight play.

And then, we were spent.

More memories in the books:)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The "Good Days"

I have this terrible compulsion to read every single parenthood/motherhood/toddler town article on Facebook.  Articles about how fast the little kid years go by.  About how tough it is now but someday, those articles promise that I will look back at this time and miss it.  I will miss the little messes.

The messes that are easy, although maddening when done 50 times per day, to clean up.  The tiny, high-pitched voices that echo through the halls screaming, "MOMMY!?!"  Gallons of bathwater on the floor.

Tiny sticky hands constantly reaching for me.  Countless nights of mombie-ing through the house tending to baby people that are scared/sick/lonely/hungry/just plain not tired.  Crates overflowing with teeny tiny shoes.

Finding half eaten chicken nuggets/breakfast sausages/pieces of gum strategically placed behind chairs so I don't find them until days later.  Never getting to eat a full, warm meal or drink an entire coffee while it is still hot because there is always 1-5 other needs that require attention.  Sippy cups strewn throughout the house that you hope to God are not days old with curdled milk.

I certainly cannot contest the fact that time really is flying by at the speed of light.  I don't know how my first baby is almost 5 and my littlest baby is almost closer to 2 than 1.  I don't know how the hell I got to be closer to 40 than 30 but I am.  Time is sneaky like that.  Just keeps going on and on regardless of what you are doing.  

But I find it impossible that I will be upset by being needed just a smidgen less every moment of the day and night.  I truly find it hard to imagine how having just a few more moments of time to myself would be so bad.  But they all say its true, I will soooo miss these "good days."  

So I am trying.  Really trying to see these days as beautiful messes and maybe even live in the beautiful mess for just a bit before quickly sweeping, collecting, wiping and mopping it up.  Maybe even capture the beautiful messes with my camera and keep these moments forever.  Or better yet, share more of them here on the blog.  I mean, you would love to see a days old chicken nugget perfectly hidden behind an ottoman, right?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Open Shelving

Hey all!  Hope you had a great (and safe) 4th of July yesterday!  I am making some more changes in my dining room.

Previously, I had showed you some pics of the table and new room rearrangement.

This pic shows the back wall where I was not done making changes.  You can see the big coffee sack framed to the upper right.  I decided to take that down and put some open shelving up.  Open shelving is red hot and trending right now.  It is not always the best thing to jump on what is trending but I decided to go for it.  That area has always been a challenge for me for some reason.  Maybe it has something to do with the kid kitchen that lives just below it.  Or not.

Anyway, I picked up some small wooden corbels at Home Depot and painted them white.

Then I hung them on the wall.

Then I bought a pine board and had the Home Depot guy cut it down to give me 2 30" boards.  I stained them with my favorite stain mixture, 75% Minwax classic grey and 25% Minwax dark walnut.  I placed them centered over the corbels, predrilled some holed and screwed the boards to the corbels.  Done.  Then came the hard part, decorating/staging the shelves...

 I used all stuff I had on hand already, meat grinders, basket, baking ware, sifter, scale I got from an antiques mall, bird houses and the Craftshop orb.

Oh, and I got some chairs that I am in the process of painting white with chalk paint.  I have one coat on and I.just.can'  So that is how they will live for a bit.

Stay tuned for more changes to this wall!

Friday, June 19, 2015


It has been quiet on the blog lately.  Life is so full these days.  Which is awesome and great and wonderful.  And exhausting.  Like all parents out there, I find it hard to find perfect balance in my life.  A perfect balance that allows me to be efficient and effective at work, present at home and fulfilling to myself.  I am not perfect so at any given time, something usually suffers.  Lately, it has been the blogging.  Although, I have been quite busy on projects, makeovers and crafts.  I just have not shared them because I could not put the perfect words to the perfect pictures with the perfect lighting (or as perfect as I am capable of with my limited photography skills).

You see, I have this problem with perfection.  Sometimes it is crippling.  If I can't do it perfectly, why do it?  I don't want to put a product out there that was not put out there with my best efforts.  This problem with perfection has been with me ever since I was little.  If I could not be one of the best players on the team, why play (basketball, softball)?  It can make your life really small.  Until you are living in a tiny box, terrified of not being perfect.

I am old enough and know myself well enough now to see it for what it is.  After about 2 weeks, I realized where I was heading.  Instead of being disappointed I had to go back on my medication, I was relieved I had a solution.  Grateful to have something to pull me back to where I want to be.

So lets not waste anymore time and let me show you what I have been up to....

Here is a before pic of my dining room.  Lots of room for parties:)  We used it a lot when entertaining but not at all when not entertaining.  I wanted this to be a more useable space.  I mean, its huge and it was just sitting idle most of the time.  And my craft/sewing/toy/guest room was busting at the seams.  So I thought, why not move all my craft supplies to the dining room and get a nice, big table to craft (and dine) at?  And that was the purpose behind the change.

Also, I wanted to purge the laminate book shelves that I painted black 10 years ago.  It was time!  And I wanted to change up my gallery wall.

This the best before pic of where my fireplace was that was taken within the past 6 months.  Oops.

After selling my table, chairs and bar stools, I moved the fireplace to the area where the dining table was.  Between the patio door and window.  Immediately, the room felt different.  More cozy and it made sense.  I should have had it there all along!  Gah!

To fill the empty wall this move left behind, I searched thrift stores for a small dresser or cabinet and I was fortunate enough to find this guy.

I sanded it down (I LOATHE sanding).  Then I took a 50/50 mixture of white latex paint and water and painted sections then rubbed it off.  Like I was staining.  I put the knobs back on and it turned out PERFECT!  Double bonus, it is on wheels!

Now it houses all the craft supplies I could possibly cram into it (decorative paper, felt, scissors, writing utensils, cards, laminator, chalk, glue, stapler, ribbons, etc).  Next to it, I hauled up a wicker chair from my basement for some additional seating which can also be pulled up to the new table.

Speaking of the new table, I wanted to go with a big farmhouse, chunky table.  My parents came and I put my dad to work immediately building me one.  

Look at him!  What a guy!

Once done, we brought it in and placed it right in the middle of the room.  I bought a nice sisal rug off of Rugs USA (they had a 70% off sale + free shipping) to anchor the table.  (I got a good teasing about having 8 rugs on this floor of our house from the hubs.  He hates rugs.  I love them.  I win.)

See what I mean about the new fireplace placement?  Its perfect!

But the table was not done!  I stained it with a mix of Minwax Weathered Grey (75%) and Minwax Dark Walnut (25%).  It looked really pretty but it was not quite the style I was going for.  Too dark and competed with other elements in the room.  So I white washed if like I did the new cabinet.  

Pic during the white washing process.

The top white washed.

Then I sealed it with 3 coats of clear Polycrylic.

I painted the skirting and legs white and the table was done.  

Pay no attention to that back wall.  Still working on the details there.

I bought two of these mid century modern style chairs off Overstock for the ends of the table.  I am still working on what to do for the rest of the chairs.  I will figure it out but have a few options I am considering (lucite, wood, benches).

I embellished the chandelier with some wooden beads I strung on fishing line.  I have more and plan on adding to it at some point.  

It is certainly coming together.  From here you can get a glimpse of the new gallery wall.  

I wanted to get Syd's silhouette up and I wanted to extend the gallery wall to wrap around the corner. Everything else was worked in going away from that point.

The furniture in this area was also rearranged.  Feels good to change things up.  They had been the same for SOOOOOO long.

I mean, come on....

I am thinking it is time for the blinds to go.  They seem too reddish now.

And there you have it.  Still a work in progress.  But it is coming along nicely.  What do you think?  Suggestions for side chairs or benches?