Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I admit, my number of failings as a daughter to get an anniversary card out to my parents are more than I would like to admit.  I take it for granted that they are still together, happily.  I know so many couples of all ages that grew apart and divorced or are still living together but don't really like each other.   But not these two...

Yes, they truly are this fun!  They love to laugh, spend time in their "Peace of Paradise" in FLA or their "Shangri La" in WI and spend time with their kids and grandkids.    They are open and generous loving and kind.  My dad is a homebody but my mom likes to go places.  They are both creative and enjoy building and crafting.  

Sometimes they are a bit different or unconventional.  Like they don't mind living in trailers and have an outdoor shower and an outdoor fire place. 

Like all marriages, I know not all the years have been easy.  They worked hard for so many years to provide for my brother and I.  They modeled what hard work is and what it will get you.  They provided us with a warm home and many memories of family vacations.  Two vacation memories stand out the most:  a camping trip in which Crystal and I heard, "You hungry Buck?  How 'bout a brat?" at 2 am (I know this makes absolutely NO sense to most of you, and that is ok) and a road trip to FLA were my parents thought it was a great idea to drive all the way there in their Chevy convertible WITH THE TOP DOWN!  My childhood was filled with parties full of my parents' friends and their kids.  Games of kick the can and Pictionary.  You will never meet two parents who are always on your side, always rooting you on and encouraging you to do anything you dream of.

Thirty-seven years ago they got married.

Thanks to my Aunt Janet for digging up these relics;)

Since then, they built an amazing life.  A life that produced two houses, two kids and 5 grandkids.  A life that they love.  Together.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!  Here is to many, many more fun years filled with laughs!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

DIY Groceries sign

Hey there!  I am sharing a cute little project that I did for our kitchen (with a little help from the best little helper ever).  Pinterest and Etsy are full of DIY adorable little wooden signs.  I realized I had the perfect place for one right above my pantry.

First, you need to decide on your word.  You could choose anything from Market, Eat & Drink, Grocery, Pantry and the list goes on.  I chose Groceries.

I didn't want to spend any money so I went shopping for wood in my garage and found this perfect piece of wood that would fit the word Groceries...

I apologize in advance for the poor lighting in these pics but I tend to do projects at night and there is a lack of beautiful natural light at that time of day.

Next, I stained it with Minwax Dark Walnut stain.

You could paint the board and distress it instead of staining it but I wanted some dark wood accents in the kitchen so I opted for the stain.

 Next, you need to make your stencil.  I chose the font Geneva and enlarged it.  I printed the pages out and cut them out of some binder dividers.  I had to piece three of them together to get all my letters on my board.

 This step is important.  Get your little helper to hold them where you want them so you can tape them down with super hero duct tape.

"Mom!  Mom!  MOM!  Take a picture of me!"
 I can't get that kid to stop wearing those jammies.  He will fish them out of the dirty laundry every night.  They are so gross and so bagged out.  But I pick my battles.

Alright.  Now you need your paint.  I used some left over cabinet paint I had on hand and added some royal blue and back to it.  I mixed it really well.  Then I got my foam brush and let the little guy help.

The key here is to dab the paint on with the brush and not get too much paint on your brush or your letters will end up looking like this...

No need to worry.  You can use a super small craft paint brush to line around the edges of the letters and make them all nice and smooth.  The smaller the brush, the better.  The little one I used below was perfect.

And then your letters will look nice and smooth.

Now you could allow this to dry and distress it a bit with a sander or by hand with sand paper.  I opted not to for now but may go back and do this at some point.

And now you are ready to hang it.  I used two saw tooth hangers on the back to hang the sign on the wall.

It turned out exactly the way I was hoping!  Did you spot the other change in the kitchen?  I painted the walls the same color(ish) as the cabinets.  I think it makes the kitchen look much brigher, bigger and more cohesive, less "choppy."  I say color(ish) because I didn't have enough of the cabinet paint left to cover the walls.  So I just added a bunch of Pure white Behr paint to the Dutch Boy cabinet paint.  In all honesty, I was just too darn lazy to go get more of the exact cabinet paint.  So now I have a mystery custom paint color on the walls.

Side note:  the ultimate goal is to convert all my trim to white trim.  This will definitely make the stain on the sign make more sense in that area.  Problem is, I simply cannot decide if I am going to just paint the existing trim or invest in replacing the trim with 1X4s painted white.  I would much prefer to replace it but not sure if I am willing to purchase all new wood for trim when the trim we have is fine, just not the color I want.  Decisions, decisions.  I guess you can say I am making a non-decision and doing nothing right now.  What do you think?  Replace the trim or just paint it??

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Dear Sydney,

I don't know how this happened but you are 14+ months old.

 Easter 2015

It seems nearly impossible that I am the mother of a 4 year old and one year old!  You are quite the little smarty pants.  I'm scared for what is to come when you are a pre-teen...

But lets not get too ahead of ourselves.  Lets focus on what you are doing right now.  Right now, you have finally decided, at just under 14 1/2 months, that you are going to be a full time walker.  Prior to this, your preferred mode of getting around was the ever popular knee walk.  Now we just need your feet to grow to fit into all the cute shoes you have!

But what might even be more exciting is your language development.  You are right on the verge of a vocabulary explosion!  Everyday brings new words and sounds.  This past Monday, you added "poop" and "blue" to your repertoire.  And on you started making the sound "ssssss."  I just know Sully is on the tip of your tongue.

Speaking of Sully, he loves you so much.  So, so much that he just can't keep from bugging you:)  Sorry but it is only the beginning of a long brother/sister bickerfest.  No worries, I have no doubt you will put him in his place very soon:)

My sweet baby girl, everyday is fun and new and exciting.  I am enjoying seeing life through your eyes just as much as I did seeing life through the eyes of your brother at your age.  You are social and silly and so darn smart.  How lucky and blessed could one Mama be?


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Headboard Reveal!

Hey everyone!  I am finally getting around to showing you my headboard reveal. As I told you in my last post, we got a new king sized bed a few months ago and it prompted a removal of the dark wood in our bedroom. Which was a huge job because there was a ton of it!  If you follow me on IG, you were teased with this pic a few weeks ago...

I recruited my handy parents to help me:)

I was crushing on all kinds of upholstered headboards all over Pinterest and knew I could may my own. I started with plywood for the base. I actually had to get it in two separate pieces because I could not fit one large piece in my car. At home, we laid them out and attached them together with a 2X4. This also served as part of the cleat that holds the headboard to the wall. I apologize for my lack of pics to show you the process step by step.  Blogger fail:(

After attaching the plywood together, we brought it in the house and laid a layer of quilt batting over the front of the board.  Then we laid the velvet fabric over the batting.  Then we had to flip the whole thing over and staple the batting, then the velvet to the back of the plywood, all the while stretching the batting and fabric taut.  Once the fabric was stapled, we flipped it back over.  I had to decide where to put the decorative nails.  Right along the edge?  Or on the front right next to the edge?  My mom suggesting placing the nails about 6" in from the edge and about 2" apart so that is what we did.

I got the decorative nails and rubber mallet from JoAnn Fabrics.  Once the decorative nails were in, we stood back and had to adjust a few of them that did not seem to be in line with the others.  Then we attached the headboard to the wall with a 2X4 cleat that we drilled to the studs.


If you are super observant, you will see I removed the yarn from the deer heads a replaced the bedside tables with flea market finds.

I also added a DIY sunburst mirror to the wall next to the window.

Pillows.  They are a big deal.   You need to have the correct pillows.  I didn't have any king-sized pillows at first and it didn't look very lush.  I bought 2 king-sized pillows and then put 3 regular sized pillows in front of them.  There is a body pillow (tan) in front of those and then 3 decorative pillows, that I sewed myself, in the front.

Kind of in love with this little doily pillow:)  I just cut my fabric, which I found in a tote in the basement, to a length to make an envelope pillow, sewed the doily on with my sewing machine and then sewed up the edges and placed a pillow I already had in the envelope.  Easy, pretty and free!

 Note:  My early 20's self would be cringing right now knowing I made a doily pillow for my bed.

The other two pillows were made with my favorite remnant fabric ever.  The fronts are with the remnant fabric and the backs are drop cloth.  These are envelope style as well.

From this...

To this...

Time for a nap!

Joined the link up party at http://www.thoughtsfromalice.com

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Master bedroom makeover

So my dream came true a few months ago and we got a king-sized bed.  Now the whole fam can sleep in our bed!  Which ends up happening about 3-4 nights per week.  It is the season of life we are living now and it is nice to be able let it happen in our new giant bed!  Obviously, we had to get rid of our old bed and frame.  Which prompted a mass removal of the sea of dark wood going on in there.  I was ready for a change!  

Here is the room with the new bed but everything else the same as it was before.

The dresser is built well, has great storage and I really do like the hardware and metal detail at the bottom.  But it was so dark. Like black hole dark.

I recently saw this dresser on Fixer Upper...


and I fell in LOVE with it!  The wood is more natural.  Much lighter than what I currently had.  
So I had my inspiration.  We hauled the dresser out to the deck and I got to sanding.  

Now, the dresser actually has wood veneer on it.  So I had to be super careful to not sand too much and go right through the veneer.  I did do that in a few areas, but I just call that extra character:)  I used 150 grit and my rotary sander.  It took me about 3 1/2 hours.  Then, I polyurethaned it and it turned a bit too orange-y for me.  So I lightly sanded with 220 grit sandpaper (by hand this time) and applied a coat of Minwax Weathered grey.  

Here is what it looks like now...

Still a bit orange-y but I am fine with it for now.  It is MUCH lighter and that side of the room feels less heavy now.

I really really like it!  And I am glad I do because all that sanding was a huge job!  As you can see, I removed the large mirror that came with the dresser.  In its place, I picked up a mirror from a thrift store.  It was gold when I got it.

I dismantled it and painted it with some homemade chalk paint.  Once it dried, I lightly sanded it by hand with some 220 grit sand paper.

I got rid of more dark wood by spray painting the previously dark frames white and adding some gold leaf paint detail to them.  Then I put a card with a G in a frame, using Washi tape from the Target dollar bins.

Oops, forgot to make sure they were straight.

On the other side, I balanced it out with a metal G sign from Michaels and used a frame I found in my Grandma's shed around it.

I added a basket from Michaels with extra sheets, a knitted throw and a pillow.  Recognize the fabric?  Yup, my most favorite fabric remnant ever.

So those are the changes on this side of the room.  I know, I know.  I have a lot of finishes going on there.  Gold, silver and black.  I don't care, I love them all!

Up next, the bed wall.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 29, 2015


So here is the rundown of our little family vacay.  It was the first time we took a kid, much less two kids, on an airplane.  We were nervous but the kids on the plane turned out not to be our biggest issue with airport/airplane travel.  

Kiddos enjoying the play area in the Milwaukee airport. 

What was an issue was all our crap we brought with us... 

Three carry on suitcases, three "personal" carry on items and 2 ginormous car seats.  And let me tell you, you really want a cart for all this stuff!  But they are insanely hard to find once you get off the plane.  Like pretty much impossible to find and if you think asking airport employees will help, you are wrong.  Worst of all, we had to connect in O'Hare and had about 50 minutes between arriving and our next flight leaving.  So I entertained the kids while the hubs went on the incredible journey.

Surprisingly, kids love car seats when they are not actually in the car.

The hubs was able to find a cart and we loaded up and trekked across the airport for our connecting flight.  Only to find out after we got there, we forgot Sully's suitcase at the last gate!  The plane was already boarding once we got to the gate.  My poor hubs, he basically had to sprint back to the last gate and sprint back to our current gate.  By the time he got back, the door to the jet way was closed but they let him on.  Whew!

We made it uneventfully to Tampa and picked up our rental car and drove an hour to our destination. 

The next day, we headed to Cochina Beach on Anna Maria Island.  You guys, wow.  It.was.beautiful.

Crashing waves!

Watch out!  Shield your eyes!  Wisconsinites on the beach!

As you can probably tell, one year olds don't really dig the beach.

But chips and Grandma help make it tolerable:)

Thankfully, 4 year olds love the beach and the ocean...

Back at Grandma and Papa's, she is all smiles:)

My parents' neighbors had a sweet little pool and the kids really enjoyed that!

Syd getting all kinds of Grandma and Papa attention.

This guy lived up EVERY second of vacation!

Here is our next trip to the beach.  Could this kid be any cooler???

One year old toes not happy to be on the beach.

I can't hardly handle her suit.  And his goggles.

Searching with shells with Papa.


On Sunday, we went out on a boat to do some fishing.

Our catches for the day.

We rode around for a bit after fishing and look what we saw...
It was pretty special:)

The last day, we went to the Mote Aquarium.

Obligatory jellyfish photo...

Syd waving at all the fish...

This pic says it all, doesn't it?  They are hot, tired and kind of done.  

Our plane rides home went well.  Our only hiccup was when we were on the plane leaving Tampa and the hubs turns to me and says, "I think I left me phone in the airport."  Oops.  He sure did.  But after a few phone calls once we got home, and it was mailed to him.  He got it 2 days later so all is well.

I am so happy we went.  I am so glad we didn't let the fear of crying kids on a plane deter us from making these memories.  A special thank you to my parents for sharing their little piece of paradise with us:). 

A funny thing happens when you see your kids in unfamiliar settings.  You see just how vunerable and little they are.  How much they depend on you for so much.  It's humbling when you realize how much you are responsible for as a parent.  It's also kind of scary.  Scary and amazing at the same time.  Seeing the world through their eyes is exciting and new all over again.  It's great to remind ourselves that we share this Earth with other people and animals.  I am beyond grateful to be able to provide this opportunity to my kids. Now that I have been back to work for a whole day, I am eager to get planning our next adventure!