Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fake It Till You Make It

It's insane how stoked I am over this transformation of our kitchen pantry. Afterall, it is JUST a pantry but I'm in love and am in awe at the fact that I totally went against the grain of meishness (best bff word ever) and ORGANIZED =) You see as women, we always compare ourselves. It's funny that the older you get the more you care about things like the shape of your lawn or how everyone elses house appears more in order or their kids look more well behaved or how other mom's appear effortlessly chic when here you did your makeup on the way to work in the car with your one shaved leg or in this case how others have time to organize and clean their closets lol It's silly. It's petty. But the truth is deep down we do care. I do and it would be easier if I didn't! Anyhoo, about the pantry. After taking a before picture, I instantly became motivated to pretty up my neglected shelves and make the time to fake some organizing.


Who knew a pantry could make me squeal! I'm not going to lie- it was a process getting there. First, I got black thick liner and cut it to fit the shelves so containers would stay upright rather then topple over between the grooves like they had been. Duh. Suprisingly, it was the least time consuming part.

Next came organizers. Seriously dig em. I got them all from Target and Roth's Dress For Less which made it a super affordable project (the entire transformation cost under 50 bucks). After consolidating all of the boxes and bags we have so much more space!

   As far as the little touches which I'm all for, I put our canned goods 
in a plastic tote to save space.
     And added a coffee station instead of our coffee bags 
and filters floating around.

Then I decided to be really NERDY and label things....
From a magnetic strip, I cut out small pieces and covered them with paper, labeled them, and placed them on each lid. SIMPLE.
On the bottom shelve I got spiffy baskets and clips ($1 each) for all of the miscellaneous mixes and teas and used the same paper.
So happy with how it all turned out and it was worth the time! Now to keep it that way =)

Out with the old- In with the new

Ok. The title is a little cliche but I found it to be fitting looking to the new year ahead and the fact that I'm doing spring cleaning through every possible nook and cranny and my blog is no exception. Christmas "break" ( I have 5 days off he he) has been filled with snuggles, cartoons, tents indoors, tag, presents, fits (a.k.a tantrums for young and old), and cold medicine. Amazingness and sickness. But waking up christmas morning and seeing the excitement from our girls was seriously the best gift that I received (don't worry honey-I loved the case of wine you gave me and am putting it to good use as we speak!). And the girls? Nevaeh's favorite even over the news of getting a PUPPY and her transformer's mask was the homely dollar store stockings for her guinea pigs. And Ruby... the winner was....wait for it.... a box....

In fact, she was not interested in other gifts except her box. Even though I have been doing projects GALORE I had to pay tribute to the blessings of simplicity. Dude. I think I need to get me a box like that!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Deck The Halls

It's on. The countdown for Christmas is here. And tis is the season for ugly sweater parties like the one we had last night!
We still have plenty of spiked eggnog left over which my husband (and my nerdy sweater muse) gleefully dumped in enough rum to satisfy a pirate but hey it was splendid. Of course the highlight was spending time with other families and seeing all of the kids play under one roof and have a blast. At least I hope they did!

 Here's what we did to keep all ten munchkins entertained....yes 10!
I saw the idea of decorating felt trees on pinterest and thought that it was super simple and clever. First, I cut out ornaments, garland, and stars out of felt so each child had their own bag full of decorations including a trunk for their tree.
We let our girls have at it the night before and it definitely passed the test! 
They loved it!
Next, we lined the halls with trees for the party. . . I have to say I'm digging the one that ended up with three trunks. Quite the joint effort!
 For the older kids, we wanted to have an activity of some sort upstairs.  
So, we let them color on the wall.
We lined the wall with easel paper and used our leftover painting tape to make sure it stayed put and gave them plenty of washable markers.  
 For such a simple project this actually proved to be REALLY entertaining. Today, Ruby was even more ecstatic to be able to scribble on the paper. . .
But don't take my word for it!
Projects in the hallway. I think I'm onto something. . .

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yes. I have hearing aids.

So here is a curve ball. . . not all of my posts are projects. Thank God =) Some are tidbits of love and life and just being real. Call it glorified journaling. Or in this case sharing a part of me that I don't often share. I have hearing aids.

Before kids. Before a career as a hearing specialist. . . I started working as a telemarketer/receptionist for a hearing aid office and was planning on working there just short term. But when my hearing was tested, I was told that I had a  sensorineural hearing loss (nerve damage in the cochlea/inner ear) that required hearing aids. I had what we call a "cookie-bite" hearing loss. It's as if cookie monster ate the mid frequencies of my hearing and left me with that of a 70 year olds. Needless to say it was NOT the outcome that I expected. But that outcome changed my life.

After I wrestled with my own vanity and overcame the stereotype that comes with it - I was fit with hearing aids. Most importantly, I knew I wanted to help others make the same incredibly beautiful yet awkward transition into better hearing. The truth is, if I didn't have hearing loss, I'm convinced I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing. So there you go. You never know how God can use something in your life!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Projects 101- Before and After

The beautiful thing about a laundry room is that when it gets too messy...I can just close the door. How often have I done that in my own life? Too much if I'm honest with myself! So I'm opening the door. Oh yes. At it's worse.

There. Do you feel better?

We painted the room grey and added yellow accents. I say "We" because it truly was a family affair which meant even the little one in diapers was having at it with a little paint brush in hand. The idea was to make it more modern and more importantly FUN.

I knew I wanted plants that would preferably survive without a lot of natural light. Ok- well no natural light. I'll let you know how that goes but for now they are my cute  little plant munchkins!

Instead of keeping things all matchy match, I added some flare. I mean who wouldn't love looking at the clash when doing mundane laundry? Don't answer that.
Next was tackling our utility shelves....


Since we don't child-proof our cabinets (or anything for that matter), we have to have all of our cleaners and meds high enough that Ruby can't reach them. But our shelves also were becoming a place for miscellaneous storage (as evident by the old video games, VHS of 200 cigarettes, and of course what everyone needs- a fuzzy lamp)...Drum roll......


Now we have cleaners in one tote and meds in the other =) We painted the shelves and trim black to pop and I spray painted the fabric bins a brighter yellow. I'm stoked to start having extra towels in the laundry room and to have a more functional space.


Love this design. I used a stencil, paint, and a permanent marker to define the edges on yellow paper. As far as deciding to paint JOY on the wall- I just went for it.

I'm planning on blowing up all of our photo booth pics but for now this one is my fave.

This is wrapping paper (with felt designs) that I simply put over canvas.


I spray painted the covers of the
light switch and outlets. By the way after spray painting yellow so
much I felt like a big banana.

Next on the list is installing a funky light and getting a real rug...the black one in the pic is John's father's day blanket from the girls that I'm "using" (shhhh). What do you think? Is there a room that you're inspired to redo? After all, who doesn't love a good before and after!!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Projects 101- Salt on a slug

It started with a table and chairs that I wanted to incorporate in Ruby's room and create a little coloring/craft area. I wish I could say that all of my ideas come to fruition right away but they do not. Because of the fact that my nature- to the core of me shouts "ALL OR NOTHING", the in-between or rough draft phases are equivalent to putting salt on a slug (it's not a pretty sight). So when I have an elaborate idea, I want to make it happen all at once. Hmmmm doing projects when you have two little ones is NOT that way. Maybe someday I will actually learn this, remember this, AND embrace this fact.
Before in my homely garage
So it's no surprise that this table/ nook took me a few weeks and a few tears. Yep. Tears. See when my pretty little table was finally complete after spray painting it several times I finished it of with a protective spray that was supposed to add coat to preserve it disintegrated the paint. My loving hubby then stripped the rest of the table for me and I got to redo my weeks worth of work.

But I can say the final result was worth it. I rearranged her room and added a little station for her and she loves it!

 My favorite part is the magnetic strip we put up for her markers. I used old soup cans and covered them with fabric to vamp it up. It's hung low enough she can take them on and off herself.
Here's how to make these nifty holders...

STEP 1: Add magnetic strip vertically
and reinforce with superglue


  STEP 2: Cut your fabric in a rectangle (make sure it's long enough to fold into the inside of the can) and sew the edges

STEP 3: Mod Podge your fabric
onto the can and press

STEP 4: Add a coat of 
Mod Podge over 
the fabric and let dry!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ruby's Miracle Story- The Longest Blog Ever

Ruby Rox. Our little Miracle baby. It's only December and yet I'm already thinking about March when she will turn a whopping 2 yrs old! She has beat all odds to be in this world and has quite a story and testimony already. It may not be the rosiest of events but as I sit and reflect, I am completely blown away at God's GRACE and hand over our lives and hers.

To say the pregnancy was complicated would be an understatement but our little Ruby was meant to be. From the very first ultrasound, we were told there was a blood clot forming next to her in the womb and we should prepare to lose the pregnancy in a matter of weeks. But God had different plans and the blood clot became smaller and smaller and no longer threatened her growth. Next came kidney stones for mama. This was something we had way too much experience with and in fact were prepared to have procedures and surgeries (I've had 17+ to date) like I had with my pregnancy with Nevaeh due to my chronic kidney issues. But this time was different. I was told that I needed immediate surgery right after she was born not only due to my kidney stones but when they had gone in for one of the procedures they found a "mysterious growth" in my bladder which the surgeon felt was cancerous as it had grown so fast and they "had never seen anything like it". After several consults, we were told our best option would be to have our little girl prematurely up at OHSU so we could way out our options for possible treatment. Wah? John and I prayed and cried and prayed and cried but felt that we needed to wait until Ruby was full term before undergoing any more tests and exposing her to any more radiation or trauma than she already had been nor have the extra risk that comes with being a preemie. And that's just what we did. We waited. And I'll tell you this. I'm not very good at waiting. And I'm even worse at letting go of control. I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL and that drove me crazy. The not knowing. But it was the very best place that I could be because the only thing I had left to do was trust. Was to let go.

At 37 weeks Ruby came into the world scrawny and adorable. She was placed on my chest and it was love at first sight but I started wondering why I hadn't heard her cry and why she was blue! Realizing she was not breathing, the nurses took her from me and John stopped recording as they put a tube down her throat to get some of the fluid out of her lungs that she had ingested. And then beauty, she started breathing. She never did cry those first hours. They pricked her feet. Nothing. They gave her her first bath and still nothing. We had quite a mellow chellow baby on our hands! We stayed an extra day after the dr determined the heart arrhythmia that he first heard with her was gone completely. Within that first month, I had the surgery on my kidney stones and another stent placed as well as a biopsy done on the growth. When they went in to take the biopsy, they were surprised to find that it had shrank almost completely and after preparing for the worst and deciding to accept whatever came our way, the biopsy came back 100% benign. But that is not where the miracles stop.

A week later, Ruby and I made a special trip up to Newberg, Oregon to visit my best friend Kayin until two teenagers ran their stop sign. We were both going 60 mph. When I saw that my car was going to hit them head on all I could think of was my 5 week old in the back seat. I closed my eyes and said the shortest prayer I've ever said in my life. Dramatic I know but true. When I opened my eyes after the impact, both of our cars were in a ditch, with my car pinning theirs. And Ruby screaming. Ruby was screaming. She was alive. I was alive. Smoke. My pants were soaked from the water in the ditch and I had pieces of my front teeth that had broken off in my mouth.  I felt like a million bricks were on my chest and felt as though I had broken every bone in my body. And then mommy mode kicked into gear. I crawled in the back seat and unbuckled Ruby. More yelling and screaming. This time from the other car. The driver and a bystander pulled the teenage passenger out of the window and layed him on the grass next to me (we later found out had crushed his pelvis). The ambulance transported us to the trauma unit due to the speed of the accident. They cut off my shirt. I loved that shirt! My chest and ribs were bruised but NO broken bones, NO fractures and more amazingly my little girl Ruby Rox DID NOT HAVE A SCRATCH. God's Grace and protection. Ruby Rox- Our miracle. And her story has just begun.

"For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Projects 101...Sake anyone?

Ok. I lied. There's not a drop of sake left but I promise we enjoyed it for you! When I think of sake I think of many nights of amazing conversation over sushi and unforgettably when we took our daughter Nevaeh to our fave Japanese restaurant for her first solid foods as a baby which involved a california roll, noodles, and a traditional bowl of miso soup. Perhaps this is the one area as parents I feel we are doing right- introducing our little ones to different foods and cultures. In turn, they have acquired quite the palate and will chomp on sheets of sea weed for a snack or try anything from duck to chicken feet (as Nev calls "paws" ) or other unique delicacies often from a dim sum house. Notice I haven't discussed table manners which do not apply to our 20 month old!

But back to Sake. Even if you are not a fan like I had been- keep reading with an open mind. Surprisingly, Sake has a variety of flavors and boldness that even a wine snob like myself can't deny. The real moment for me was at Sakeone's tasting room in Forest Grove, Oregon. 

We first went there on a whim and I was honestly just there for the intriguing tour they offered as a sneak peak into how it was actually made other then the failed attempts in my kitchen (fermenting rice is quite an odd household smell). In my firm opinion, I thought Sake's all tasted the same. But after tasting their Momokawa Asian Pear Sake, I am now a believer.

 I'd like to think that we are connoisseurs and not merely lushes but we definitely have had had our share of samples. So to pay homage to my sake memories, I decided to show you what I've done with the bottles throughout the years....

What You'll Need:  Empty bottle, Paint, Mod Podge, & Scraps
For inspirational scraps I cut out pictures from a Japanese Bargain book and paper I had previously stamped
After painting the bottle and letting it dry, modpodge the scrap/s on 
*Note: when applying the layer of mod podge over the scrap, it will go on completely
white but rest assured, it will dry clear


 So share your heart over some sake. If you still end up not liking it at least you now know what to do with the bottle!