Letting Go and Letting God.....

"If you really want to make God Laugh, plan your life" -Mother Theresa

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The First Day

Once again, it was the first day.... Oh, I remember those times- it was really exciting and it seems to be for my little ones too. And this year was special. Princess started Kindergarten. We agonized over starting her- she is young- just turned 5 in August..... But I can't imagine what else she would be doing this year otherwise. She was certainly ready, but Mom wasn't quite prepared. To have only 1 with me- strange, sad.... It has been 8 years since monkey was born that I remember only having 1..... Even though we got everything ready and went to open house, it didn't quite sink in until that day. She was MOST excited about getting on the bus with her sissies....

There is always time to be silly:)

So can you believe Diva is a 5th grader?? Seriously, time flies! She is so grown up, so responsible, so independent. And she got up Early to DO.HER.HAIR.... what? I can't believe this is happening:)

Princess's official first day of school ever portrait.... This will be remembered Forever!

My pretties together!!!!!!!!

And Monkey is in Third grade this year. She got her hair cut short the week before school started, and she looks so much older.... Of course in this photo you just see her funky personality- she did her hair herself.....

Well another year...... I'm sure this year will fly too- lets remember to enjoy each passing day:)

Monday, September 13, 2010

ut oh, oh no

uhhhh man- that stinks! literally.... We walked in the door after a 5 day vacation to my parents' house in the beginning of August to the most horrible odor. I was thinking, "did I leave wet dirty rags out" but I would've had to leave 100 of those out to get that odor.... Think again.... yep, a toilet on the second floor was clogged and ran the entire 5 days. Y.U.C.K. The water flooded our master bathroom, bedroom and hall on the second floor.... It felt like we were walking through a swamp when we first discovered it...

In fact it went through the house the entire way to the basement. It leaked onto our tv, dvd player and cable box.....

This is the main level ceiling - in the formal living room. It effected 2 walls and the ceiling. The pipe runs across the ceiling. So one of the walls was in the front of the room with our bump out window and the other was the back wall, opposite....

This is another picture of the basement....

So after trying to clean it up ourselves..... I think we were in shock... We finally called the insurance company. They sent in a restoration company. They started ripping out walls and floors and ceilings.... I started crying.... My house was being ripped apart! They set up huge dehumidifiers and fans that were VERY loud- but 2 1/2 days later it was dry! This is what we were left with....

They gutted the master bath- yes, this is my vanity in my bedroom....

Initially only walls and ceiling were removed from the basement. They ripped out most of the padding under the carpet and put dryers under the carpet to dry it with the hope of drying and re-installing it. That effort failed so now the carpet down there will be replaced as well.
It has been a month since these pictures were taken. I'd like to have after pictures for you, but we aren't even close. Though I can say that the smell is gone. Thank goodness:) We have had the drywall on the ceilings and walls replaced but that is as far as we've gotten.
The good things- well, my new beautiful kitchen and central hub for the family was not touched, and none of the kids' bedrooms were effected. So thankfully we can still function as a family. However, we are living in a mess- things are piled up everywhere. And we are walking around on plywood floors.....
So when we first discovered it.... I honestly was in shock and trying to ignore it when we first walked in. I just unpacked the kids and didn't even walk around to access the damage. Hubs was walking around though and I could feel him getting more and more upset. He walked outside to gather more luggage from the overfilled van and I followed him. Just as I walked out, he was standing there with his hands full and a bird crapped right on him- funny now, but I didn't dare laugh then- anyway he was so upset, he said "seriously, could something more go wrong, please, come on." I stopped, hugged him (bird poo and all) and said we are blessed, this is nothing, it could be so much worse. Thank God we have a house, and that we all came home safe, and that everyone is healthy. At that point we put it into perspective. We are a team and well will survive. We were upset but there is a silver lining, more on that to come......

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Garden Hunting

Well, when little girls want to go hunting- they head to the garden:) They were in search of some butterfly's. This was the last weekend before school started. It was so much fun to see them working together towards a common goal. In fact this summer was a great one! We did sooooo much. Lots of fun camps and art classes and visits to the library. But somehow in there it seems we had lots of family times too......

They got one! And they made so many memories this summer. We made a list of the things we wanted to do and had it hanging in the kitchen. We accomplished most of the things on that list. Some of the things were: sleeping out in the yard, hiking, a big family camping trip, biking, and visiting many parks and fun areas right around our house.

I think I enjoyed this summer more than any other summer we have ever had. I felt like it flew by but in a good way. Not because I didn't get to do the things I wanted, but just because we were having so much fun that I lost track of time!

Oh, and did I mention. We spent a lot of time in the garden this year. It was beautiful! and we are still enjoying some of the fruits of our labor.... tomatoes, flowers, sweet potatoes, jalapenos, they are still coming....
This summer, I noticed something more..... My girls are growing up, my girls are good sweet fun girls that I truly enjoy being around. I know, of course I think that, they are my girls- right? well, I can be honest- there are times during motherhood that you don't enjoy it- that you are tired and frustrated and feeling like a slave and you say things like I enjoy it cause you think you should.... but honestly, I really really really enjoyed motherhood and my girls and our family this summer. Thank you God.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I can't believe I have left everyone hanging for so long- lol...... We completed this project in June. Well the granite was installed in late April but the island top was not complete until June. These pictures are right after installation so there are still tools and supplies laying around and not a single accessory. Geez, I'd like to take some pictures right now- but its a MESS:)

We came home from a vacation 2 weeks ago to a MESS. Our 2nd Floor Master Bedroom toilet overflowed and ran all the W.H.O.L.E. time!!! So it destroyed the bathroom, bedroom, hall, formal living room on the main level and then down to the basement family room and guest room- Yuck! We have since had walls, celilings and floors ripped out, but not a single thing replaced yet..... (more on that soon..) We are living in half a house and things from the destroyed rooms are piled up in the usable rooms so everything is a huge Mess!! I am remaining positive - I'm Getting a mini house Remodel:) But seriously, lesson learned, turn off you water when you leave your casa.....

So here are a few pictures of the kitchen that include the tumbled tile backsplash that my husband installed, the granite countertops, and then the HIGHLIGHT, our gorgeous 2inch thick Maple island that my hubsband made and installed. He also used old ballisters from an old building my parents recently sold for the legs- what would I do without him???

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Grown-up View

Every now and again I realize that I am a very deep thinker.... I know, if you know me you are thinking, "really, you are just now figuring this out?" well not exactly, but I seem to forget and then get reminded over and over. Now, sometimes this is good and often its troubling- but every now and again I'm challenged and realize that what I thought was basic knowledge (mainly cause I have thought of it so many times) really isn't after all. That many other people have never happened about a particular conclusion that I have come to through my many deep thinking moments..... and subsequently I am essentially alone in my deep thoughts (I know I torture myself) Further, I realize that there are many other deep thinkers out there. And many who think of things that I would've never even thought of and I learn from those people everyday. Of course, there are those that don't think much at all and from those people- I learn too- I learn to chill, relax, smell the roses, and enjoy the moment.....

Why do I think so much? Well I wish I knew and most of time I wish I would stop (and so does my husband:)). But for now I am thinking of a greater purpose for my thoughts. Maybe if I share them it will help others think. Help others to consider things they wouldn't have otherwise. Or at least offer a different perspective. And most certainly stir thoughts, conversations (and knowing me controversy)!

Ok, so where am I headed here?? Quit rambling already!

I have come to the conclusion through much debate in my head that religion in an acquired taste and a journey. I know I didn't originate this thought but I have worked it over and over in my head since there are so many sides to this discussion. Is religion real? Is Christianity a hoax? Are we all hypocrites? Well, I don't claim to be a theologist but there is a few areas of this I can conclude on..... Through the stages of our life, upon our journey we must go through several phases of Christianity in order to fully appreciate it.

If we were fortunate enough to be exposed to some sort of Christian upbringing I would venture we start off feeling like God is Amazing and Loving and WOW!! Then we hit our tweens and journey through questions and frustrations viewing our faith. And for some, we never get past this..... Just as teens do, we buck authority and the same goes with religion. We begin to shake our fist in the face of the holy spirit and say, "you can't tell me what to do!" We view God as a ruler who wants to control us and ruin our fun. And if we continue that view into adulthood we often start to think religion is a made up venture created to control us.

However, if we let go of our notions created in teen hood and begin to have full circle thoughts we can lead to the conclusion that God loves us like a Father. If we let go of the bitterness of control and stop bucking authority we can open our hearts to see that this is all Love. If my 4 year old daughter wants to play in the street, I set boundaries and I say NO. Why? Is it because I want to ruin her fun? Cause lets face it, playing in the street when you are a kid is fun! Is because I want to control her? Hardly, since I realized the second day of my first born's life that I wasn't going to be able to control anything!! I do this simply because I Love her. I want to protect her. I want to save her from experiencing as much pain as possible. At four I can explain that being hit by a car is a bad thing but she doesn't quite get that and if she does she forgets as soon as she thinks of how fun it would be to ride her bike down the middle of the road. So I set rules, that if she follows will make it simple for her to avoid the pain of being hit by a car. Do I hate her if she ignores the rules? Do I damn her to Hell? of course not- but I am so sad when she gets hurt- and when she hurts, I hurt... God feels the same way.

In Christianity this is a full circle moment. I no longer view God's laws as made up rules created to ruin my fun, or control me or scare me to death. I now see them as a Gift. God does not want pain. He loves us like a Father- like I love my daughters. He wants to protect me. Imagine a world with no pain..... No molestation, no rape, no drug overdoses, no divorce, no adultery, no murder, no abondonment, no hatred- isn't it a lovely thought? Well that it God's world.

For a minute let go of all other notions and entertain the thought that His rules were meant to protect. Meant to heal. Meant to Love. He set simple boundaries because He loves us. They are a basic set of standards to Protect us. I mean if He wanted Control why in the world did He give us Free Will? Again, I am beginning to allow my oldest child more independence because I Love her, trust her and want her to choose to have a happy life. I want to have a relationship with her based on trust and guidance and above all Love....

Allow those who deserve to love us do just that!

Now, one step further. To be Christian or to believe in Christ is not a statement of perfection. This does not mean that we follow everything perfectly. We are not perfect- hence the need for Christianity:) and the desire for a relationship with Christ- Acceptance, Forgiveness and above all Love! (I have a feeling I will be exploring this notion deeper in the near future)

A quote from the Grotto at Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, MD is the opening picture to my post.

Peace to All!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

its been so long

I feel as though the last few months have gone by with a whirlwind. Its funny that it seems that when you have the most to blog about you have no time to actually blog:)
I am disappointed because I had this huge plan to blog about everything and now I am so far behind I don't know where to start. I hope I can get things organized and get going.....

So some things I haven't posted about but want to:
Diva's dance competitions
ML's First Communion
Our kitchen remodel stage 2
Tons of other smaller projects around the house
The talent show
Brewbusters- an end to an era
Everyday life with my little 2
ML's soccer star
Marian- May Crowning
and on and on and on.....

I have had so much on my mind: writing a novel or memoir (I know, seriously?), running a 5K, Organizing my girls' summer, having another baby, going to school, starting princess in the big K, my new shed, serious new curb appeal, my garden- ahhh, my garden makes me smile:), the final kitchen push, a new back porch, organizing my girls' bedroom so they can keep them clean- AMEN:), decorating the play house/fort, a new office hub for the house, a new mudroom, a new computer, and on and on....

So where do I begin...... Actually with the last one- since a new computer would make my blogging so much easier:)

Or more importantly at the positive side of all of this- all my blessings- remembering my most important word GRATITUDE- and concluding that that starts with me- I should smell the roses and not be so hard on myself:)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tweaking an already good thing!

In the winter, I love my dark green room, painted "Green Briar." But every spring I wish it was lighter. I have no overhead lighting in my formal living room- or music room as we call it. I have a huge bay window in there but since its off my covered front porch not a lot of light comes in there. So it is overall a pretty dark room. In the spring I always want to lighten it up and freshen it. But painting it seems overwhelming- and I know in the winter I will regret it- plus my hottie loves the color. Well since I started following all these awesome blogs I've realized that I can have different art work and accessories for different seasons- which it great for me cause I change my mind ALL.THE.TIME:) So thanks ladies for making me feel comfortable switching it up;)

I love spring. I love decorating. I love the Goodwill and the other thrift stores in town. I was out one Saturday afternoon doing the dreaded big grocery store trip and well, I have to pass the Goodwill to get there, so I thought- "um, I'll just run in real quick" famous words I speak often... And this time, boy was I glad I did! I ran into these beauties- white canvas stamped (by some other lovely creative person) with this green design. Perfect for switching out in my room in the spring- a way to lighten up the room. Bonus- the set was $6.97!!

Aren't they lovely? Well I thought so. But once I put them up I thought maybe they were just a bit stark and lacking character. So I thought I would try adding a bit of glaze to them to add to the charm. I wasn't sure what color to do since I didn't want them dark....

Lucky for me my good old friend had this taupe on hand so I gave it a try. And I loved it- it ages it a bit- plus its a bit shimmery- but not too much....

Here is one without it and one with it. Can you tell? It was hard to get a picture to show it- but trust me- its PERFECT!

Then- I just so happened to have a ton of topiary forms that I picked up at another local thrift store. I have 3 large ones and 3 small ones. These are the small ones and were $.50 each. I bought some moss at the dollar tree and used less than one bag for both of them. I put on the moss with hot glue.

I also picked up these 2 ceramic pots at the dollar tree to put the topiaries in. I had to cut the foam form on the bottom a bit to make them fit but it was easy peasy. and What a deal! I made both topiaries for $4!

Here are some after shots of the top of my piano. I've also done some other things- switched out the curtains and so on.....

And that little guy, Mr. Bird- I picked him up at the dollar tree too. Man, I love that place too!!

And there you have it- a lighter, fresher look! It looks a ton better- the before included a black framed Renoir print- I really like it, but its really dark. And I did this for only $12- and I'll have all of this for every spring to come. I have learned so much from my blogging friends- guilt free, c.h.e.a.p., mind changing ability:)
I'm linking to A Soft Place to Land - DIY day - check out all the other creative inspirations!

Monday, March 8, 2010

"You"nique for the Unique

Ok, so it was Christmas and a few of my besties and I decided to draw names from a hat. Well, I was extremely thrilled with the idea! I mean, my besties have some of the best taste in this part of the northeast- so woohooo! I was about to get an awesome gift!!
Then reality set in- I guess that really didn't happen until we actually pulled the names. Then- you guessed it- I got the girl who has it all! How do I sum up this sweetie- um, she is eclectic, honest about her feelings, extremely generous- oh and LOVES to SHOP! Yep- now that is a lovely UNIQUE compassionate Chic but also the hardest of the bunch (in my opinion) to shop for. Remember the part when I said she was honest about her feelings- well that was not an understatement. Now don't get me wrong here- that is something that I truly admire her for - she is upfront- what you see is what you get- not even close to Fake. Well even though I find that admirable in this particular instance it scared the heck out of me:)
So what do you buy the girl who has everything, is eclectic and will certainly let you know if she doesn't care so much for it- I was shakin' in my boots!
Well- this is exactly why I love Blog world!! I knew I needed to do something fun to match her personality and certainly something that was one-of-a-kind so she wouldn't already have it- so off I went to search my blogs. It just so happened that I saw a post about someone making a skirt into a purse- ahhhh perfect- she loves purses!! I hit the thrift stores and found a few skirts- I bought two. The one I liked was hot pink corduroy- I was worried about the color- I mean not many people can pull off a funky hot pink corduroy purse- but Jules- well she has the funky unique personality for just that. Now I was getting excited! I was planning to simply sew the bottom shut- turn it right-side out like the post I saw- sweet and simple. But once again my perfectionism and need to please took over- I wanted her to love it- so the fury began! I just so happened to be taking a sewing class at the time and we just so happened to be making quilted purses with linings and pockets- this made me want to add pockets for organizing- I mean she has 5 kids- she needs all the help she can get:) Then I just went as funky as possible- cause she is so Fun- I had to do it up for her!

Unfortunately I don't have a before picture of the skirt- but I think you get the idea. The side angled pockets were part of the skirt. I added a purse strap that I bought at JoAnn's with my coupon and a magnetic close. I was shooting for a hobo bag. The flowers I made with material that I used for the pockets and lining. I followed blog posts once again for these. I did use a light weight interfacing between the lining and corduroy to help shape it. Anyway, check out the pics to get the idea.

But the best part- well that was her extreme excitement when she opened it. And the reaction from the rest of the gang too. I'm telling you- to impress these ladies the way that I did- well that was far better than receiving any day. And Jules- well, she told me this was her favorite gift this year- that is priceless:)
(PS- I did get an amazing gift as well- I cried when I opened it- my bestie hit the nail on the head- she is such a great shopper and thoughtful friend:)
linking too
metamorphis monday at between naps on the porch
and DIY day at A Soft Place to Land

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Cabinet Transformation that has Us Smiling

Join me at Kimba's DIY day!

I can't even believe the difference a few bucks and some sweat will make! I have been trying to convince my husband to do a mini reno in the kitchen for quite sometime. As a carpenter (by hobby), he has the utmost respect for WOOD! He wanted to wait until we could gut the kitchen and he could build respectable cabinets- I love his dedication to wood- but that would've been years away. He often works 6 days a week and we have 4 very active and busy girls - so we can't always do what we want... In fact he really wasn't even on board of starting the mini-reno due to little time- but I set a start date and said I'm doing it with or without you. Good thing he decided to help me out cause I could've never pulled it off without him:) So this first detailed project of the kitchen reveal really highlights that!! Since I didn't think I was going to have his help I decided I would not change the cabinet doors and just paint them as is. But after I took the doors off- he said- "well, if we're going to do this we better do it." He thought that it would look like the same kitchen if we didn't change the doors. And though I am sure it would've still been a huge improvement just to paint- changing the doors make a huge difference- a classic update!

So remember these old cabinets? With the groove and ugly oak grainy finish? And that awful hardware?

Well- they are really different now! Here is how we did it: First I ordered new hardware from a seller on ebay. I bought new hinges, cup pulls and knobs in satin nickel for $112. That's a great deal considering I have a ton of cabinets! I choose satin nickel because I was pretty sure I was going with a brown on the bottom cabinets and I was afraid an oil-rubbed bronze would blend too much.

Ok, so my next big decision was colors. A very long time ago I saw this inspiration picture which features green bottom cabinets. I had been planning for a very long time to go with green- in fact I was going to go with my wall color and then paint my wall a more neutral. However, when the time got closer to paint I was afraid I would get sick of the green more quickly and wouldn't be able to easily change colors with it. So I wanted a color that would match more things. I didn't want to do all white for many reasons -1. I have four kids and I didn't want the cabinets to look dirty all the time. 2. I have a whitish floor (that I strongly dislike) and have struggled with paint colors against it (I painted my entry way 3 times before I was happy with the color against the floor that I hate- but can't replace at the current moment) and 3. I am a colorful person- I am pretty risque when it comes to color- I don't like to be neutral in any area of my life - I think my friends would agree- I'm not Switzerland:)

So- what color should I go with? I just so happened to see many blogs out there using some really dark browns and I liked it. Plus I read a blog from a designer that said mixing dark stained wood cabinets with painted ones gives a classic look that's not trendy- Perfect! I knew I couldn't have the dark stained wood since I needed to paint what I had but I thought I could get the same effect. However, when I mentioned this to various friends they didn't think it would be a good idea. I mean- go with the wrong brown and it looks like POO - in the kitchen- yuck! But I was confident. So below you can see my experiments:

I thought the one on the right was too poopy so I choose the left one which is Rustoleum Espresso Brown in satin. The great part was it comes in a brush on form and a spray paint. I used the spray paint on the inside of the doors and on other projects/accessories in the room. The upper color was easy to choose since we have used that on other cabinets in the house- in particular the adjoining family room has built-ins (done by my husband) painted in the same color. The color is creamy white in semi-gloss and is Olympic from Lowes. Now, you may be thinking- "why did she use a semi-gloss on the uppers and a satin on the bottom?" - well that was done for 2 reasons -1. My local hardware store only had the espresso brush on in satin (this product is not mixed)- 2. A dark color always shows up more shiny than a lighter color so I think if I would've used semi in the brown it would've looked lacquer like.

Now for the transformation. I got this basic idea from a Lowes creative idea magazine a long time ago. Basically cover the middle with a panel and then frame with molding to give the look of a paneled door. My husband put it all together in his own way- and I LOVE IT!

Here is the hardboard we used for the panels. Since it was going to be painted we wanted to go with an inexpensive product. This comes in large sheets (the picture is one already cut). I think the sheets are $6.50 each. Next, we went and got a basic molding. The one we choose was simple and inexpensive but didn't have the lip to cover the panel so my husband cut one in.

This is what it looked like when it was done. After this I cleaned the cabinets with TSP- an commercial strength degreaser and pre-paint cleaner we got at Lowes. Next, I filled the previous hardware holes with wood filler (since we were using knobs and not handles and we were putting them in a different location)- let it dry and then sanded it. I then did approximately 2 coats of primer (Bullseye) and 3 coats of paint.

And here is the result!! I am thrilled with it- and so is the hotty!

If you are thinking about doing this- I say "Go For It!" It is a ton of work and will take tons of time- but it is so worth it- and is very affordable!

See you soon:)

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Kitchen Reveal

I've linked up to BNOTP Metamorphasis Monday! Check it out!

Ok, so its time for the REVEAL!! I have compiled some before and after pictures for effect. I plan to blog about each individual project and at that time will show you before/during/after pictures. I will also include more detailed information- like- how to, tips, colors and cost. But for now I think this post will speak for itself.

Big Open Kitchen!! Great bones and awesome potential!

(I've got some girls set for a life of drama)

You can see my test spots under the microwave, on my quest for the perfect brown!

TADA!!! - ok so here is a run down of what we did- Refaced the cabinet doors and added tounge and groove beadboard to the island (compliments of the hottest carpenter around - my husband), new hardware, painted the cabinets - Espresso brown on the bottom and creamy white on the top, painted the trim, used/new to me chairs that we painted and reupholstered, new lighting, new treatment (panel with chalkboard paint) for the door to the basement (done primarily to cover a big hole in the door - but happens to be the hotty's favorite part) and the start of new window treatments.

We removed the scalloped apron from above the sink and replaced the flourenscent bar with this fab retro fixture.

More detailed picture of the refacing- it was a groove solid panel door before but the hotty added a panel and molding for an updated look.

We did the recessed lighting/pendant transfer kits above the island. I got these at Lowe's and then picked my own shades. And some new rugs from Walmart site to store.

Here you can see the chandelier that I bought at a thrift store awhile back and sprayed out with oil rubbed bronze paint, a more detailed picture of the chairs (before and after pics to come) and a new curtain. You can also see that I sprayed alot of my accessories out to match the new look (in particular the curtain rod and rings). BTW- it was Bunco night at my house- hence the score cards, bell and di on the table- he..he..he..

Ok- here is where I am having some difficulty- I can't figure out a window treatment for above the sink- I've tried a bamboo blind but since the window is an odd size I will have to custom order it and that will be too pricey- any suggestions?? My hotty wants some privacy but I want a sleek look?? I also need to do some better accessorizing but that is for another time....

So there you have it- phase 1 complete (almost). So next- phase 2 - that will include new countertops, backsplash, faucet and new counter stools at the island. Then - maybe- I hope- a new floor and new appliances.....
A basic breakdown:

Paint $100 (but this includes many spraypaints for the chairs that I didn't like and didn't use)

lumber for refacing and beadboard $175

hardware $112

lighting $100

chairs- set of 8 $120

Stay tuned for details concerning cost, supplies, colors and more detailed before and afters....

Thanks for stopping by and taking a peak!