Friday, October 26, 2012

New Dresser for Little Man

I am starting with a picture of the finished dresser because I am just about giddy with how it turned out.

Over a year ago I came across these two tall narrow dressers at a garage sale and snatched them up for $20 total.  Then they sat in the garage and collected junk on and around them until I finally got motivated to tackle this project.

Once I decided what we really needed for our family, furniture wise, I decided to sell one of the two dressers on craigslist.  This is the one I decided to keep for HB's room.

Yes, those are Winnie the Pooh handles, you are not seeing things.

If you can get beyond the paint job and the character hardware it has a wonderful shape to it.

I hauled the drawers outside and sanded, and sanded and sanded some more.  Let me tell you, had I known how hard it was going to be to remove every last bit of the paint in order to stain it, I probably would have chosen a different finish.  I also would not have taken this on in mid summer in Arizona. We'll chalk those decisions up to learning experiences.

Finally done sanding!

I used a Minwax dark walnut stain and love how they turned out.  The stain looks different on different parts of the drawers which turned out to be a happy surprise.

Now for the dresser body itself.  I knew I was going to be painting it so I wiped it down really good and then primed it with Kilz.

OK, I admit it, I forgot to take  a picture of the dresser during the painting process but you get the idea, paint, dry, sand with brown bag, paint, dry, sand edges to get that distressed look, finish with wipe on polyuerethane matte finish. I used Valspar, Ultra in Night View for the paint color.

Keep in mind that I painted the dresser for how the room is eventually going to look, not how it looks now.  In other words the next project for this room is new paint on the walls.

I also found some Spiderman wrapping paper and used spray adhesive to line all his drawers.  When shopping for liners I was drawn to the graphic print ones but this is for my three year old, not me so this is perfect for now and can always be changed later.

We got the hardware from Lowe's.

One final look because it makes me happy.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Strength for Motherhood!

After starting my fitness journey I came across my this amazing program, Stroller Strides!  I was doing fine working out on my own, but dang it, motherhood can be lonely.
I found classes in my area (we had moved from Wasilla, AK to Anchorage).  I fell in love with Stroller Strides before I had even been to a class.  Just the idea of it and I wanted what they had!
In fact, my husband and I had been toying with the idea of owning a small business or at least something I could do from home.  While searching the website for classes I noticed the franchise was for sale.  SOLD!  I seriously called my husband, before even attending a class, and asked if I could buy it.  He did assure me that I should go try it first, but was totally open to the idea.  I went to my first class confident that if wasn't just a "walk in the park" but an actual workout, I was going to be buying it!
My original Anchorage crew.  Man, I miss those ladies!
My first class was in late winter in Anchorage.  They were holding classes in an indoor water park.  I was about 5 months pregnant with my second daughter.  I arrived at class in long pants and a long sleeved shirt and my single jogging stroller.  The instructor, Jen, who soon became a good friend and continued to teach for me after I bought the franchise, was so nice and taught an amazing workout.  I was not dressed appropriately for 80 degrees and 80% humidity that the water park provided though.  I left drenched in sweat, but oh so happy!
Not long after that I bought the business and have loved it ever since. 

Playgroups- Ahhh!  How much does this former 2nd grade teacher LOVE crafts!

1st anniversary of our Phoenix Stroller Strides classes!

We moved to Phoenix about 2 years ago so I sadly had to sell my Stroller Strides in Anchorage, but missed it so much, I bought another one in Phoenix!  I just feel like this is my thing, what I'm meant to do.  I love playing with the adorable kiddos and watching them grow.  I love watching the moms settle into this crazy thing called motherhood and along the way get their pre-baby body back.  I mostly love that I get to be a part of women's lives during this MONUMENTAL phase of life.  The friendships made during this time in a women's life last, and my girls have made their best friends at class.  This is when you can't hide behind a facade.  You are too tired, emotional, and in love with this new person to fake it.  So we are real.  You can come cranky, tired, and covered in spit up.  It's ok, we truly get it.

 I wake up every day feeling so blessed that this came into my life and that I get to do this for "work".

In Stride,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Wreath

I've had the stuff for this wreath laying around since before we moved into our new house but between moving, two sick toddlers and traveling to Idaho, I have hardly had time to decorate. My fall decoration box is still closed with everything still in but today, I had some motivation during nap time to do this wreath.

All you need is: a wreath, fabric, twine (or jute...I'm not sure of the difference), hot glue gun, ribbon and the letter you would like. I bought everything from Hobby Lobby. The fabric was left over from the boys' lamp (that I would like to mention was broken during our move by our movers...sigh....)

Wrap your letter in the twine. Every couple turns, I used a little hot glue to keep it in place. Some letters will be more difficult then others. I think letters with more curves will be a little harder but just wrap it until it is completely covered.

I used this tutorial for the fabric flowers: Cherry Street Cottage

Use your hot glue gun and glue the flowers into place. I used three flowers but you can use more or less.

Cut your ribbon long enough to go around the wreath and hang on your wreath hanger.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Motherhood made me get fit.

If you would have told me 10 years ago that my life would center around motherhood and fitness I would never have believed you.  I was working full time (as a teacher which is exhausting), happily married, and settling into a new home.  On the other hand I never worked out, ate TERRIBLY (think Burger King and Taco Bell all the time), and felt horrible about myself.  I had slowly gained 30 pounds without even concerning myself with it.

Fast forward 3 years and we decided we were "grown up" enough to have a baby (whatever that means).  I had an uneventful pregnancy, but definitely used it as an excuse to eat for 2!  I had a wonderful and easy delivery that resulted in my first daughter.  Ahhh, it was awesome!

However, to my surprise I didn't leave the hospital in my pre-pregnancy jeans!!!  Anyone else been surprised by that?  I mean, I gave birth to a 8lb 13oz baby, plus all the other fun post-delivery stuff.  Surely that should have gotten rid of the extra weight.  Ugh, oh well.  I quickly became consumed with taking care of this little person that totally turned our lives upside down.  I just ignored that it was still bothering me.

                                             (at Jeannie's wedding- 3 months post-partum)

When my daughter was about 9 months old I finally hit the wall.  Don't get me wrong, I had plenty of crazy 'calling-my-husband-phone-calls-because-I-didn't-know-what-I-was-doing-or-who-I-was times', poor guy.  I finally decided that it was really bothering me that I wasn't wearing anything except pajamas and sweat pants.  It bothered me that I felt only like a mom, nothing else.  I certainly didn't feel attractive and that definitely affected my relationship with my amazing hubby.  Mostly what bothered me was that I also had this gorgeous, perfect little girl that I became acutely aware would be following in my footsteps.  I couldn't do this anymore.  I did not want my daughter to inherit any body/weight issues I hadn't resolved.

(That's me on the left.  This is the picture that changed everything)

I decided one day, right around when the picture above was taken, that was it....I asked my husband if we could buy a treadmill.  He, of course, knew better than to say no.  I am sure I hadn't been that pleasant to be around.     
I bought a treadmill and signed up for a half marathon 6 months from that date.  That seriously was the turning point!  I woke up early 6 days a week before my daughter woke up and I followed a Hal Higdon training program!  6 months later we flew back to Phoenix (we had moved to AK) and I arrived 50 pounds less than I started my pregnancy.  I felt amazing and knew I would never go back.  I finished that race and have since gone on to run several more and even became a certified group fitness instructor and purchased a Stroller Strides franchise.  That will need a post to itself! 

Am I perfect?  Heck no!  I have bad days where I just want need Amanda's Kryptonite rice krispies.  I am, however, trying to take care of myself every day.  Not just for my health, but to model to my girls that when they are moms they have to take care of themselves too.

                                                                    (post race party)
  (50 lbs lighter than when I started)
I can absolutely say that motherhood has made me re-evaluate everything and try to become a better person every day.  I have my daughters to thank for the new path that my life has taken.  I love that every day I make strides in my own fitness and get to help other moms make strides in theirs.

In Stride,

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cork Board Cabinets

We moved into base housing this past weekend. Moving with two toddlers is no fun at all. Unpacking with toddlers is also no fun so our house is very slowly coming together.

So, I don't any great creative projects this week. But know I have a ton of ideas for coming weeks. In the mean time, a simple post with cork board contact paper.

I love hanging things on my fridge but hate it looking messy. I also like to keep simple papers with notes from B. So, when I saw cork board contact paper at Target, I knew just what I would do.

Simple to put in. Just cut around the hinges. Because its not real thick. 698 have to put your pins in at an angle.

Quick. Easy. Simple.

I Did What I Pinned Wednesday! 10/3

Are you on Pinterest?  If you are, you know it is very easy to pin all of these wonderful things that you are certain you are going to do and then never get around to them.  We thought it would be fun to start sharing some things that we have actually pinned and completed and let you know how it went and what we thought of it. 

First up, Jeannie with this gorgeous wall art. 
I cannot for the life of me find the original source for this picture so if you know where it is please let me know so I can give credit.

Ummmm not loving my version.  The colors I used aren't great and I think I should have used smaller petals and more of them.  I lived with it for a while....

Then one day I took all the petals off (I had just glued them on so it wasn't hard to do).

You can see that the lettering is still the green color but I cut out the lettering in vinyl with my silhouette and then sprayed over all of it with a gray I already had. I am much happier with this piece and still can't help but sing the song whenever I read it.

So, the first thing that came to my mind that I have made recently from Pinterest was this Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake from Southern Living. I made it, took it to my husband's granny's house for family dinner, devoured it...but forgot to take a picture.
It was delicious! The only real "reviews" I have of this recipe is to note that the recipe calls for a 14 cup bundt pan. I only have a 10 cup, so I made a few giant muffins on the side to not overflow the bundt pan. Also note, don't let the praline frosting (it's delicious as well)cool too much before pouring it over the cake.
I will make this recipe again!
Click here follow me on Pinterest!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Well, it's fall. Any normal year, this is my favorite time of the year. In Alaska, we have a limited amount of time to enjoy the fall colors before winter gets here and I try to make the best of it. Alaskan scenery is gorgeous all the time, but I love when the leaves turn yellow up again the light blue sky. This time makes for some of the prettiest here in AK.

However...this year hasn't been cooperating. I believe I told you about the record snow fall last winter (beating out the record from the 1950's!)? Well, the record breaking winter was followed by one of the rainiest summers I have ever experienced, followed by a series of hurricane-force wind storms this fall. Winds were over 100 mph in the higher elevations. Thousands of people lost power which resulted in us losing our hot water heater for days. (Lucky for me my mom lives a few miles away and they had hot water!) I am blessed that the worst part of the damage for us was the lack of sleep and showers, others are still fixing the damages caused by the random Wednesday storm.

 These pictures are in our parent's backyard. Because the ground was so wet (record rainfall) when the wind started blowing at 80+mph the trees just tipped right over, pulling the root systems right out of the ground. The first picture is our dad, he is 6'3", so that shows you how tall those roots stood up.



THEN, this past Saturday, September 29th, that's right SEPTEMBER....I woke up to it snowing outside! I don't mean a little bit of frost on the ground that makes it appear to look like it snowed, I mean it was full on shaken snow-globe style snowing!


Determined that it is still technically fall (contrary to what the Alaska weather thinks), I made some yummy pumpkin snickerdoodles that I pinned from Six Sister Stuff. The snow eventually subsided, the sun came back out and there are minimal traces of snow left....for now.

Here is the recipe to make your house smell of wonderful fall:

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle
adapted from Six Sister Stuff blog


For cookie dough
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 large egg
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

To roll the dough in:
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Dash of nutmeg

-Cream together butter, shortening, and sugars.
-Add egg and pumpkin puree, mix until blended.
-Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & cinnamon, mix until combined.
-Chill dough. (30 minutes in fridge or 10 minutes in freezer).
-Meanwhile, combine sugar, cinnamon and spices of your choice in a bowl.
-Scoop dough using cookie scoop of your choice, roll the dough in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and place on cookie sheet.
-Bake for 7-9 minutes.
Cool and enjoy!!

What do you bake to make your home smell like fall?