Sunday, January 29, 2012

How to make a changing table topper...super easy!

To be honest, there are some things that are just cheaper to buy than to make because the manufacturer can get the materials much cheaper by making them in bulk. However, and that is a BIG however, there are MANY things that you can make easily for much less than they charge at the store. Take a changing table topper for example. 

While registering at Pottery Barn Kids, we came across this very beautiful changing table topper. Not sure why you need them, but they say they are great and to be honest they make the changer look nicer than that padded pillow on top of a dresser. Here is the one we liked:


... but for $100, heck no. I can't spend that much on a little rectangular box when I know how much I can make it for at Home Depot.

So, Home Depot it was, with our gift card we still had as a anniversary present from my parents. Thank you mom and dad. 


So we decided to not add a bottom to it because it wasn't necessary, so we just bought a 10 foot 3/4" by 3 1/2" piece of pine. We chose pine because it stains really easily, but you could go with another kind of wood if you like. Then we cut the pieces at a 45* angle at the following lengths so that the box would fit together at the corners. 2 sides at 34 inches and the 2 ends at 17.5 inches. That will fit a standard 32x16 inch changing pad. However, the one in the picture above gave extra room for the lotion, wipes, etc. We already had a place for that, so we decided just to make it for the pad. If you want to incorporate that, just make the two side longer to accommodate.



Then we used our nail gun to connect the 4 pieces to make a box. If you have a nail gun, they are the greatest thing ever, if not, you can just use screws or nails, those will work. We used 2 inch nails with our nail gun.



Then, because we thought it was a little boring, we decided to add some trim to it. We got it at home depot. Although this is not the exact one we used, this one is similar. We also bought 10 feet of it and cut it down to size. 

Then we used wood putty to fill in the nail holes and fix the edges where they were not meeting perfectly. Like how we do everything in our kitchen. That is the beauty of city living without a basement or garage to do fun projects in. My only caution to those who do project in their house is have lots of blankets to lay on the ground and keep it well ventilated when using smelly products.



After we let the putty dry and sanded it, we then stained it with Minwax's poly and stain in one. We used a combination of 2 colors: black satin and bombay mahogany. We used more mahogany than black satin. Then let it dry for quite a while. We let it dry overnight.

If you don't see any use for the stain for future projects and don't want to spend much, you can make your own for cheap. DreamBookDesign has a great recipe for it and it costs about $3 to make. It is composed of Steel Wool and vinegar. "You take a plastic or glass {or not, considering ours cracked-oops!} container and fill it with white vinegar and a steel wool pad. Let it sit for about three days for a lighter steel stain, and the longer you let it sit, the darker steel stain it will be. FYI: the stain goes on fairly clear...BUT.. it definitely darkens over time on the wood. Ours darkened about 5 shades darker over the next few hours."



So the total cost for our changing table was:
Wood: $7
Trim: $5
Stain: Already had it, so $0 ($20 to buy or $3 if you make it)
Nails: Already had them, so $0 (could buy them for less than $5 though)
Total: $12 (or $20 if you made stain and bought nails)


Now his little snuggly friends are keeping it warm until he comes this Spring :)

I know this isn't super thorough, so let me know if you have any questions.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why it is great to have kids last in the family!

So as many of you know Joe and I are the youngest on both sides. Yes, many stereotypes of the youngest child are very true, which is why it is great we are both youngest, we can see right through each other!

So, back to why it is great to be youngest. Besides being our parents favorites, we are also the ones who get all of the baby stuff from our older sibs who altogether have 7 kids (6 being boys)! So...rewind one week when Joe's middle brother John and his family came over for dinner. They not only treated us to a yummy dinner from Boca Di Beppo (sp?), but they also brought over like 10 bags of baby boys clothes and maternity clothes! Hip hip hooray for that! So, here is a preview of some of the stuff that they brought over. Keep in mind, this is just for 0-3 months, we have the rest in storage! Thank you John and Priya for blessing us. We appreciate it more than you know considering we had nothing to dress this little guy in!


Probably won't stay that organized for long...only downfall to the conversion to nursery from dining room is no closet, this will have to suffice.


Hard to believe this little thing will fit him! It is sooooo tiny :) Can't wait to meet him!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Need a book recommendation...this one will change your life!

There are few books in my life that I can say literally changed my life...ok, the Bible, but 2 others just so happen to be by the same author. 

When I was a junior in college, studying abroad in Barcelona, and had pretty much walked away from my faith in God, my mom sent me a book. It was written by Heidi Baker and called "Always Enough." 

This book was the first book that re-ignited my love for Christ and sent me running back to Him. Heidi Baker is someone that I want to be like in my Christian walk and is an inspiration to many. I fully recommend all of her books. She is a walking example of Christ's hands and feet here on earth. 


Though Always Enough was amazing, it is "Compelled By Love" that has recently changed my life. So, Matthew 22 says:  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” As Christians, we are really not very good at doing that. We are the first to judge and love would probably not be the first adjective to describe Christians by non-Christians. This book goes through the beatitudes and is amazing. I just finished it today and am changed and compelled to love more like Christ. God uses her stories and her writing to reach to the inner-most part of your heart and change it to be more like His.  As it says on the back of the book...

In Compelled by Love, Heidi Baker gives you a glimpse of total dependence and authentic Christian community by taking a fresh look at the Beatitudes. In the war-torn, poverty-stricken country of Mozambique, she and her husband have experienced God's miraculous provisions and witnessed the transformed hearts of people caught in desperate life-or-death situations. Join them and discover the reality of God's kingdom here on Earth.

-For anyone wondering if they could truly live a life of radical love...
-For anyone wondering if the Beatitudes mean anything...
-For anyone wondering how to follow Jesus all the way...


"If God is not with us, we do not want to continue. If the Sermon on the Mount is simply impractical, our mission work is hopeless. We have no backup plan. We have nothing but Him."
--Heidi Baker



This book will undo you and transform your heart for the poor in spirit and the broken-hearted. Get some tissues ready as you read this book, because you will cry, laugh and just plain be inspired to love God more and love people more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

God can even use Salvation Army to bless our socks off!

So anyone who knows us knows that we adore Salvation Army and Goodwill and many of you have reaped the benefits of what we have found there, but this pretty much tops the list. 

So, as you know from our previous blog, Joe and I have been desperately searching for a chair, either rocking or glider, to go in our nursery. Not just any old ugly one though, a cute one that looks kind of like a arm chair but is comfy and can go back and forth. 

So I found this one from Pottery Barn Kids as my inspiration, but yea right I would ever spend more than $1,000 on a chair for my nursery.



Attempt 1: We tried to take our yellow arm chair, which I love and add a rocker bottom to it. Um, definitely don't have the tools to make it perfectly smooth and round on the bottom, was a really bumpy ride. I was so bummed. Attempt 1 = failed. Meg = Sad.



Attempt 2: A friend pointed me to this blog, Mrs. Wigglebottom, which is so cute. She and her husband too are very thrifty and bought a chair at Ikea and added a  swivel rocker base to the bottom (click on link to find out how). So fun and looks adorable in her nursery, but I really liked the old fashioned look of the rocking chair. Attempt 2 = not really attempted. Meg = a little bit of hope, but still looking.



Attempt 3: Joe and I are at Ikea getting a couple of odds and ends and then going by Goodwill to try to find something. Yea right like we would find our perfect chair at a Goodwill. Why would anyone want to get rid of something so beautiful. Well, this is where God (and our Aunt Carol) step in. We were frustrated and about to give in and just buy the rocker part, when a little blessing called our phone. See, Joe and I are never in Arlington Heights which is why this is such a miracle. So, Carol calls and says, hey, just dropped Scott off at the airport and swung by the Salvation Army in Arlington Heights and I found your dream chair.....Excuse me, WHAT?????? You mean you are down the street at the Salvation Army we decided to skip because we were too tired!?!?!?! So, our lonely little chair was sitting amongst some ugliness just waiting for our perfect little nursery :)



Well, it was nearly perfect. It had a stain or 2 on the seat and pine legs, but nothing a little Nature's Miracle and stain couldn't fix :) And then, here comes the best part! It was originally $45, which is good. But why settle for good, when you can settle for the MLK Weekend Sale and get half off, making it $22.50!!! What a steal, thank you God!! See, He even cares about fulfilling our silly little dream of having a beautiful rocker in the nursery. It is a good God we serve :)
Attempt 3 = success!!!! Meg = elated, still can't believe the deal we got!

So, after a little staining and a little cleaning, here is our new chair, which we LOVE :) 


Looks a lot more at home in our nursery, huh?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Knit, Purl, Knit, Purl....

I used to make cowl scarves all of the time, but haven't made them in a while. I decided to pull out one that I had started a while ago and finish it. 

Half way done:


Completed work (thank you Jeremiah - my nephew - for modeling this even though as you said it is too girly for you:


My favorite one to make is the cowl where I switch from knit to purl (pictured above). I know very little about knitting, but this one is very easy and always turns out pretty. 

Before we get started you will need scissors, yarn and knitting needles. Here is what I use:

Yarn: I usually use two different kinds of yarn. I love alpaca, but it is quite a bit more expensive, so I sometimes use one that is mixed wool with synthetic. I get my alpaca wool at yarn.com (link) or I get the wool/synthetic from JoAnn's or Walmart (link). Just make sure whatever yarn you buy, it is super chunky. It will look funny with that big of needles and a think yarn.

Needles: I have used both plastic and wooden. I like them both. I don't like making scarves with small needles because they take so long. I am into instant gratification and I like chunky scarves, which is why I would go with a size 19 needle. (link).

Tutorials: If you have never knit before, here are some classes that were helpful for me. I taught myself completely from youtube.com and I know you can too!

Now you are ready to begin. Cast on 15-17 stitches, depending on how wide you want the scarf. Irregardless, if you want the cool pattern, it needs to be an odd number.

Then you start with a knit stitch and alternate knit, purl, knit purl all the way across. Then you repeat row by row. I just keep going until either my yarn runs out or I get it to the length I want it.

When you have cast off, then I stitch the two sides together.

Get ready for compliments, people love it and when they hear you made it they will freak.

Let me know if you have any questions.

P.S. Here is a great resource for patterns (link)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Converting an arm chair into a rocking chair experiment

I have had this AWESOME yellow chair since I was a little girl and I love it! It is the kind of chair you just sink into and never want to get out of. I have decided to make it my nursery chair. However, I really wanted a rocking chair, so thus the experiment. 


I am going to try to turn this (free):


Into this (from Pottery Barn Kids for $900!!!!)



Looks pretty simple right? I just need to go ask the experts at Home Depot how to add that to the bottom.

Any suggestions are welcomed :) We will let you know how it goes...hopefully well!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Snow Day!

Since I was a child, I never believed meteorologists. So when they said it was going to snow yesterday I was like yea right. Well, they couldn't have been more right! It snowed all day long. It was gorgeous! It was even more gorgeous because I worked from home so I didn't have to leave the house.

Just before our evening started. I love the look of snow on the trees. Just gorgeous!


Jack liked it for about 30 seconds and then stated limping because his feet got cold. Poor guy!


Much better, give me a bone and a soft blanked and I am happy!


So after we got in and settled, I quickly got bored so I decided to finally take a crack at some of the recipes I have found on pinterest.com. I have to say I was excited about this recipe, but I had NO idea it would be my new FAVORITE soup in the whole world. I got this recipe from A Farmgirl Dabbles. I have not made one bad thing from her blog. I didn't have to change this recipe at all and it turned out delicious...and it was so easy! Because I am trying to not eat a lot of wheat, the one thing I did do was make it with rice noodles instead of mafalda pasta. Still tasted good :)

Here is the soup simmering, getting ready to get in my belly!


You must add the yum cheesy stuff. It is amazing!


I had one happy husband with this one!


Needless to say, we will make this again. So yummy :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

6 months!!

I cannot believe that we have made it to the six month mark already! It is amazing the difference from 5 months to 6 months. Our little boy must be doing well because my stomach grows by the day! Friends told me that would happen, but I didn't really know what to expect. I have gained 8 pounds in the last month! That would make me so angry if I wasn't pregnant, but hey, the little guy is growing so I am happy! Sorry terrible picture of me and it was on the phone so it is blurry...my bad!



How far along: 24 weeks

Total weight gain: gained 18 lbs total
Maternity clothes: oh yes, packed up my regular pants a few weeks ago!
Stretch marks: None and hoping not to get any
Sleep: Not sleeping to great as I was a stomach sleeper and can't do that anymore :(
Best moment of this week: Our six month appointment: He is doing great!
Miss anything: Nothing really, maybe just having more clothes to choose from.
Movement: This baby is a gymnast, doesn't stop kicking, especially right before bed.
Food cravings: still oranges and then tomato, avocado and cucumber salads. Oh and peppermint ice cream for dessert.
Anything making you queasy or sick: nope- hooray!
Have you started to show yet: Getting bigger every day I feel like! 1 pound at least a week from here on out, crazy!
Gender: BOY!!
Labor signs: none, it will be crazy when I say yes to this.
Belly button in or out: In, but getting shallower (is that a word?)
Wedding rings on or off: On
Happy or moody most of the time: Super happy
Looking forward to: Leaving for Mexico a week from tomorrow for our little baby moon!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spring...I mean January cleaning

Joe and I were wanting to buy a house/condo this year for several reasons. One being that we have a third entering our family in just a few months and one bathroom and two bedrooms will be a challenge with family in town. Two, we have become junkers and too much cool junk we have in our house. And three, I love change.

However, after looking around a lot and not finding a fixer upper that we loved, common sense kicked in. We live in a great place, in a fun neighborhood, inexpensive rent...and really, do we want to move our whole house and have a fixer upper on our hands when baby comes to town. So after the initial disappointment, I was content with our mature decision. 

In order to make me happy, I decided I just needed to change the whole place around. Sell some furniture, re-purpose other furniture and buy a couple of things. Then enter Carol DeGraeve, Joe's aunt and our good friend. She is #1 a blast and #2 an incredible designer. She spent the whole day helping me and I couldn't be happier with the result. 

Sadly, you will have to wait until tomorrow or the next day for pix as I need my wide angle lens! Stay tuned and thanks Carol once again! :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas

Hope everyone had as great of a Christmas as I did. It was such fun spending a week in Kansas City. I don't remember the last time I was home for a whole week! Here is a re-cap of our week.

After the Christmas Eve service:


Hanging out with two of my favorite ladies (mom and sis) at my parents house:


Katie and Jeremiah at the Xmas luncheon...man Jeremiah is getting tall!


And now for celebrating with my moms side of the fan in Salina. Games, games and more games...so fun!


When we are there we split into teams and play competitions over two days and give a gag gift at the end to the winning team. It always begins with knock-out...with guns. Yes, I know, sounds dangerous, but it isn't. So proud of my hubs for winning! Pretty stellar pic by my cousin Maggie too, she is soooo good!


Everyone preparing their guns for shooting. True western Kansas style!


Father and son dueling:


Then a break to celebrate mom and dad's 40th anniversary. Such a blessing to have parents who still are so in love. Thank you mom and dad for teaching us what a beautiful marriage is and how to keep it so strong when you have been together so long!


And back to games. Johnny did  a great job, but Brad (my teammate) won with 14 marshmallows. Chubby bunny master!


Dinner break with Uncle Mark's famous ribs...



Thank you everyone for such a great time. It was a wonderful way to celebrate our Savior's birth with fun and family.