Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Menu Planning

Dinner with Small Group

Main: Italian Roasted Chicken / Sides: Couscous and Steamed Veggies

Main: Pork Loin Chops / Sides: Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

Main: Honey Lime Grilled Chicken / Sides: Whole Grain Rice and Green Breans

Date Night! 

Youth Leader Dinner
Main: Bar-b-que Chicken / Sides: Hasselbeck Potatoes, Broccoli Salad and Roasted Corn

Main: Left Overs

Sunday, May 20, 2012

DIY: Corks-Cork Board

Recently it seems our fridge has turned into a paper catcher for grocery lists, business cards, coupons, schedules, etc.  You name it, it's probably on our refrigerator, and the moment you open the door...down goes the papers!  I finally decided it was time to clear this baby up.  

I had pulled out an old cork board but that seemed to plain, so after searching the craft room I found three bags of corks I had purchased at a local craft thrift store.
 They were so cheap and I knew eventually I would find the perfect project for them.
I pulled together supplies from around my house; an old board I had been using in the pantry, a bottle of wood glue from the garage and I a nice sharp knife to cut to corks in half...
 Important Note: Real corks are VERY hard to cut through.  If I had to do it over again I would purchase a cutting tool from a hardware store.  Synthetic corks do cut very easily, however they do not look as nice as real corks.
 Here are the easy instructions:

1. Cut all your corks in half, this is the hardest part...

2.  Decide on the pattern you want to use on your board.  Lay the pattern out to be sure you have enough corks to cover the space and your design will work.
3.  Once you have your design, measure the center and make a tiny mark.  
 4.  Put a small amount of glue on the back of each cork and place it onto your board.  You will need to push down hard and hold for a minute to be sure the cork half's adhere to the board.
5.  When all your corks have been glued down place a flat heavy object, like a book, on top of the corks and let dry for 24 hours.
5.  Drill your board into the wall and viola, instant cork board!
I love love LOVE how the alternating design on my board turned out...
And how does it work....
Beautifully!  The corks hold nice and tight, it has become quite the conversation piece and is a great addition to our growing family command center.  Since I had everything on hand, this "Cork" board was F-R-E-E!!!  I may just need to make another one for my craft room.

Happy Crafting!

DIY: Easy Vase Makeover

Since our living room color scheme is changing to red and teal, I wanted to add some pops of color.  To save money I decided to head to good will and pick up a few new vases.  I found two that I knew would fit perfectly and with the .25 cent price tag I couldn't beat it.   I rounded out the group with a third vase I had on hand.   
 I picked up a few bottles of acrylic craft paint in teal from Joann's and I used a bottle of red I had on hand.
 The process was very easy (I apologize I didn't get process pics).

Step 1. Clean and dry the vases

Step 2.  Squeeze 3/4 of the bottle of paint into the vase and add about a tablespoon of water to thin it out.

Step 3.  Swirl the paint around in the vase to cover the inside, if the paint is still thick add a small amount of water to continue to thin it out.

Step 4.  Once the paint has covered the vase up to the neck, turn the vase open side down onto a thick rag and allow the excess paint to drain out.  As the paint drains it will cover the inside of the vase to the top.

Step 5.  After about 30 minutes turn the vase over and allow it to dry for 2-3 days.
I love the way they turned out!  In total the three vases cost $1.75, not bad for quick and easy decorations.

Happy Painting!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Things people say...

One day very soon I'm sure I will blog about the different things people have said to us over the years in regard to infertility and adoption.  Today I leave you with two that have been said to me a few times recently and I'm not going to lie, they hurt...

"So what about his real parents..." (speaking of our little man)

"You have a baby it's a little easier for you..." (speaking of the fact that we adopted a baby, as if that means our infertility disappears!)

Suffice it to say, sometimes you just have to practice grace...


Friday, May 11, 2012

A different kind of Good Friday...

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven...Ecclesiastes 3:1

A number of times in the past I've sat down to write this blog and the words never seem to make it from my heart to the page, but this year I feel confident to put down on paper what I feel in my heart.  I beg you to read this post in it's entirety...

As I approach this mothers day, I feel burdened and heartbroken, not the normal course for a mother.  I remember feeling this same burden just a year ago, my very first mothers day.  Sitting in church service, surrounded by mothers of all ages, I should have been overjoyed.  On the contrary, my eyes were filled with tears and my heart ached so deeply I couldn't breath as I recalled so many mothers days before this one.  When I should have been feeling joy I was burdened with anguish over those I knew desired so badly to be in the moment I had been given.  Seven years I waited, patiently for my time to celebrate, but I felt no sense of celebration.  

See infertility doesn't care if it's Mothers Day.  Infertility doesn't care how many times you have attempted and failed to conceive.  Infertility doesn't say bravo when you attend a friends baby shower or hold their new born baby in the hospital.  And infertility doesn't just go away when they place a baby in your arms.  This throne in the flesh is a constant reminder of what you cannot do and what you have no control over.  What is so seemingly easy for others is so painfully difficult for you.  Mother's Day is a reminder of what you desire, what you long for daily and wait for patiently.  And while you put on your best smile, mustering up every bit of strength you have to celebrate with the mothers you are blessed to know, you are quietly crying inside.  

I find myself asking the question: why if I have been blessed with a precious son do I still feel such a heavy weight?  I truly believe it's because God has called us to carry the weight of one another burdens.  By recalling to memory the seven years prior to our little ones adoption, the pain and anguish of infertility along with three failed adoption process', God is helping me to remember their are those who are still struggling.  Many of them close friends and family members.  That's not to say this burden should take away the celebration of the great blessing God has given me in my son, nor should it diminish the joy I have in being a mother.  Rather it is a matter of reverence for me personally.  Because I still struggle with the pain of infertility myself, there are parts of Mother's Day that will forever remain a silent painful struggle.  It is a thorn in my flesh, however I choose to see this thorn as Paul chose to see his:

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Please do not misunderstand me, I DO NOT for a moment believe the thorn of infertility is a messenger from Satan nor do I believe I have even a muster of strength as great as Paul, but I do believe God has put this into our lives personally so that His power, His plan, His purpose and His glory might be displayed in our life.  Without this thorn we would not have our beautiful precious son!  Without this thorn we would not have met the precious young woman who gave birth to our son.  Without this thorn we would not have been able to give a voice to those orphans who cannot speak.  Without this thorn we would not have been able to minister to so many other hurting couple's.  And most importantly without this thorn we would not be the same believers we are today.  Because of this...All the more gladly I WILL delight in this weakness, for when I am WEAK, then I am strong.

So in preparation for this Mother's Day I have decided to observe a "Good Friday" of sorts.  Around Easter we observe Good Friday to remember the sacrifice Jesus made when He died on the cross for our sins.  This is in NO way to be anything like that, but it is a day I am setting aside to remember and pray for those who share this thorn in the flesh.  If you have those in your life who share this struggle I would greatly encourage you to pray along with me.  Here are just a few ways I will be praying:

For Couples who struggle with infertility - For peace, comfort and strength to continue on.  For a sense of God's presence to know they are not forgotten.  For great assurance that they are fearfully and wonderfully made.  For confidence that they are nothing less than God designed them to be.  For laughter to replace tears, joy to replace heartache and mourning to be turned into dancing.  For peaceful guidance to make Godly decisions on the direction they should go.  For understanding and grace for those who don't understand or say the wrong things.  For understanding and grace for one another, to grow closer through this journey.  For the Lord to show Himself in mighty ways.  

I pray as we approach Mother's Day that we might be sensitive to all those who struggle with what should be a day of great joy.  Not just for those dealing with infertility, but those dealing with miscarriage or the loss of a child, for those who have lost their mothers, for the sacrifice of those PRECIOUS birthmothers and for all the babies just waiting for a Mommy of their own.  May our hearts be burdened for one another.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Menu Planning

Since the pantry is undergoing a facelift, I have dubbed this week "Clear Out Cooking".  This means I am strictly making meals based on what I have on hand.  I thought this would be a challenge but surprisingly enough it was easy to come up with 2 weeks worth of menu's.  I can't wait to see how small the grocery bill will be this week!

Dinner with Small Group

Main: Oven Baked Chicken / Sides: Couscous and Steamed Veggies

Game Night - Dinner with Small Group

Main: Chili Lime Steak Salad

Main: Bar-b-que Chicken / Sides: Potatoes and Broccoli

Main: Date Night (WOOHOO)!

Main: Left Overs

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fab Refurb: Bedroom Dresser - Progress update 1

I have to apologize, I keep forgetting to take pictures during the day, so these are a little dark.  I promise the next set will be better :).

The primer is all dry and so I was able to lay down the first coat of paint.  I decided to use Rust-Oleum Heirloom White paint.  After the first coat the dresser was looking beautiful...
I adore those drawer fronts...
The bottom drawers were looking good...
The back detailing is beautiful...

After the first coat I sanded the entire piece down with 220 sand paper to get all the little bumps out, then came a light cleaning to remove all the sanding dust.  I decided to do another coat today and the finished product looks AMAZING!  Tomorrow I hope to add the clear coat and move this baby in to her new home!  Now on to find drawer pulls.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

DIY: Makeup Board

In our rental home we have one full bathroom, unfortunately the vanity is not very large (sorry for the yellow picture).  With daddy, mommy and baby plus overnight guests using this same space storage is a  huge issue....
In an effort to free up some space I decided to make a magnet board for my makeup.  After house hunting I found an old unused cookie sheet and some left over white spray paint.  It only took one good coat to cover the back side (sorry I only have the before)... 
Next I purchased some tiny heavy duty magnets for $2 a package at Joann's.  I pulled out my trusty glue gun and my already sorted make up and I was ready to get to glueing...
 I glued  a magnet to the back of each piece...
While the glue dried I decided to put lip sticks and brushes in a jar I already owned, but when I looked at it on the counter it just looked disorganized and U-G-L-Y!
So to the pantry I went!  I have seen several people use coffee beans, but around here those are a precious commodity, not to mention I wanted something lighter.  It only took a moment for me to spot some soup mix that, I'm sad to say, I have had for a LLLOOOONNNGGG time.  I knew the beans would be the perfect color in the bathroom (okay did that sound really funny to anyone else :))...

 After pouring the beans in the jar I added the brushed and lipstick back in and viola!  Much better...
The pan just ended up being the perfect size to squeeze inbetween the counter molding and the medicine cabinet, that's right that baby is just snuggly shoved in there with no screws or adhesive, go figure...
The white was just to plain so I decided to mod podge scrapbook paper over the top.  I used paper I had on hand and it was a perfect match for the bathroom.  I also made some little labels using stickers... 
I absolutely LOVE my makeup board!  It is easy access, out of the reach of little hands and free's up some much needed cabinet space.  Oh and the jar of beans ended up being a great addition...
 So what do you think, I would love to hear how you solve storage issues in your house.


UPDATE: You will need to use 2 magnets on the back of larger pieces like Bare Minerals containers.  

DIY: Menu Board

I confess I am one of those crazy menu planners and weekly I try to get my menu's up on the blog (that is when we are not dealing with the plague of sickness!).  Since I have a terrible memory I decided I needed a menu board in our kitchen.  If this were not a rental we would already have a chalkboard painted on the end of one of the cabinets, but since that is not an option I decided to make a hanging one.  

First task was to find something in the house I could use instead of purchasing something new.  I found a great piece of wood on one of the pantry shelves.  Since the pantry/coat closet (yes it is both, more on that another time) is getting a make over I knew I wouldn't be using it...
 So out to the garage this cute little board went.  Using some chalkboard spray paint I had I hand, I sprayed down one side.  I gave the board 2 heavy coats, allowing a day in between each coat.
After spraying the board I drilled two tiny holes at the top for a ribbon and viola!
Isn't it cute!  I am really surprised how easy this project was.  It is so much fun changing out the decor on the board weekly.  It is a nice addition to the kitchen (so sorry for the terrible lighting, forgot to get a daytime picture)...
Eventually I am hoping for a family command center in this area, but for now this is a much needed improvement.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fab Refurb: Bedroom Dresser

I am SO excited to share this refurb with you!  Since moving to NY we have been on the hunt for a dresser to go along with our vintage romantic inspired master bedroom.  I have been checking second hand stores and craigslist, but with a budget of only $50 it has not been easy.  Well while I was sick and stalking craigslist to pass the time, I spotted this baby for just $40 (yes it does have drawers, I took them out before I took the picture)...
I was beside myself when I got the email that I was the first one!  So helpful hubby headed out to pick it up for me.  He checked over the piece to make sure it was just cosmetic issues and hauled it home.  Once I was healthy enough I began the refurb with a good cleaning... 
I always wonder what a piece of furniture has seen in it's lifetime and I'm guessing this one has seen ALOT!  The doors were the worst, but it really just looked like a staining gone bad.  The top had water damage but just on the surface, nothing a good cleaning couldn't take care of...
The exterior drawers have been stripped and stained and stripped again so I decided they needed to be painted as well.  I will be changing the hardware as well, just not a fan of those drawer pulls...
The interior drawers were the nicest part.  I am guessing this is what the original piece looked like.  The jury is still out on whether they will be painted or not.  I just love the rich tones and with some wood conditioner they would sparkle!
Upon further inspection of the interior I found the LAYERS of paint and stian this dresser has seen.  After seeing this it was settled that this piece would be painted...
The legs were in great shape with the exception of a few chips.  Nothing a hammer, screw driver and a little patients couldn't take care of...
After a GOOD cleaning and several days of researching painting furniture I decided to use spray paint this time around.  I started with Rust-Oleum Primer...
After the first coat of primer you could really see the true beauty of this piece and all the little intricate details...
 Even the detail on the drawers could be seen a little better...
I decided to do two coats of primer since I was going from dark to Heirloom White.  I am getting so excited to see this piece finished...that will be a few days no doubt!