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It looks like I’ve done a good job of letting ages pass between posts lately. That’s the way it is these days. Life is happening so dang fast, and the few quiet moments I have, I generally spend sleeping or binge watching Roswell or some other long-gone show that is free on Amazon Prime.

But, for a quick update on our little girl: there’s still no real update. Not really anyway. The last court hearing was about six weeks ago but the decision was delayed because a family member had come forward and more time was needed to evaluate this person.

In the last six weeks, we have been given the impression by our county social worker that the family member will probably not end up with Our Sweet Girl, and that the recommendation is to “fast-track” her case for permanency with us. Nothing is final though. And I know of other families who have been told the same thing and still had to say goodbye to their babies.

We’re trying to stay positive and hopeful nonetheless. The next court date is in about three weeks. So please be praying with us that a decision can be made. Of course, we want the decision to be in our favor and we pray for that. But ultimately, we want her case to move forward.

The other big detail in our life that I haven’t mentioned here in this blog is that I’m pregnant. Whoop! Yay! We found out about a month or so before we finished our fost/adopt certification and at that point felt totally committed to the process so we went for it.

In fact, the timing of this pregnancy actually felt like confirmation that we were on the right path. The thing is, we’d been trying to have another baby since I got the all clear after Harry was born. At that point, it had been about two years. And if it had worked any sooner, we probably wouldn’t have gone through with the fost/adopt plan.

So when we found out our wonderful news so late in the game, it was like God was reaffirming our resolve. Like he was saying, “Yes, I was waiting for you to go down that path, and because you’re opening your hearts in that direction, I’m going to overflow it with all the things you knew you wanted plus all the things you didn’t even know I had for you.” So here we are, less than two months away from having another baby!

There you go. A very brief update. I have a few topics in mind that I keep tossing around. Things I’d like to share here. But I’m not ready to dig into them yet, so I’ll let them stew a little longer. But I didn’t want to let too much time pass… Or maybe I should say, too much MORE time. Ha! Because it’s already been too long.

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Disclaimer: I started drafting this post back in January.  I didn’t post it then because I needed to collect some pictures of the various projects.  I’ve been kind of busy with all other life stuff and forgot about this post.  But better late than never, I suppose!  Enjoy.

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So, it turns out the nesting instinct is just as strong when you’re adopting as it is when you’re actually pregnant.  And, you’re not too pregnant to actually do all of the stuff that looms over you, so that’s a plus.

Paul has been on break for the last two weeks and we have had the most productive two weeks we’ve had in a long, long time.  Two weeks ago doesn’t even feel like two weeks, that’s how much has happened!

The first big project that we completed is the office/guest room smoosh.  I wanted to clear out the guest room to convert it into a nursery, but to do that, we had to make space in the office.  So we had to completely reorganize the office, get rid of one of the desks, and make room for the bed.  In the process, we also baby proofed the office, covering all the outlets, organizing cords and making sure it meets all of the home study standards.  I still have a pair of scissors on the desk, lol, but I’ll be sure to put them in a locked cabinet before the home study.  I will also mention that when I redid the office a few years ago, I did not create enough storage space.  This turned out to be very problematic because as time passed, the office turned into a dumping ground for random stuff.  All that had to be dealt with before we could bring down the guest bed.

Office Make Over

 

One element of this project that I am particularly proud of is the new wall shelves.  There was an old cheap, falling apart bookshelf in the garage that wasn’t storing anything too important.  So, we moved things around and dismantled it.  We salvaged the shelves and Paul put some brackets on the wall above the desk.  And Boom!  We had more storage space for the office supplies that need to be readily accessible!

Once we got the office ready, we brought down the bed and it turned out it was too tight of a fit to leave the corner bookshelf where I had wanted it.  So, we got creative and tipped it on it’s side.  Paul built some stools for the other side of the bed and now there is a lot of storage space under the bed.  I’m also calling it a loft bed, now, because it’s just too high tobe a normal bed.  Haha!

Office Guest Bed

 

The next project we completed during this Christmas break is refinishing an old dresser I had bought from a local buy/sell group.  I sanded it down, and painted it a dark peacock blue green color and swapped out the ugly old handles for brushed nickel looking ones.  I also decided to paint an old end table we’d had tucked into a closet to match the dresser.  Paul was a little concerned about the color I picked, but once it was on the dresser, he loved it as much as I did from the beginning.

Dresser Update

Another project we worked on was getting the previously called guest room to qualify as a nursery.  So what does that mean??? It means a crib!  Yay!  My parents gave us the crib for Christmas, so Paul got it set up.  I also created some prints (inspired by Pinterest, of course), framed them and hung them on the walls.  I would still like to do a little more decorating, but I think that will come with time.

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The next project we worked on was building gates for the top and bottom of our stairs.  This is one of the requirements for the adoption process, so it was a high priority.  I had been thinking about a gate for the top of the stairs since we had Harry, but he’s never really been allowed to roam free upstairs.  And now, he knows how to do stairs by himself so I thought we sidestepped that phase.  But since we needed to get it done, I revisited the ideas I’d had floating around from way back.  I am not crazy about the pre-fabbed baby gates.  They tend to be cumbersome and expensive and not to mention major eye-soars.  Pinterest to the rescue yet again!  I’d seen a number of homemade, farm-door style gates and we decided to use that as inspiration.  Eventually, we used plywood covered in fabric and chalkboard with some pretty and chunky hardware.  I am very happy with the outcome!  And it’s a good thing I like it since we have two!

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Once the gates were completed, I moved on to the closet for the nursery.  A few years ago, I painted it green to match the green in the room.  That actually made a huge difference in making it so much more attractive.  There are no doors, so we’d hung a curtain up instead.  The problem was that there was only one shelf and one rod across the length of the closet.  It was a very inefficient use of space!

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I went back and forth in my mind about how much time and effort I wanted to invest in the closet.  I also didn’t want to spend a fortune on it.  So I scoured Pinterest yet again and took a field trip out to The Container Store in Pasadena with a couple friends to get ideas.  Eventually, I decided to add a column of shelves on one side and another rod with a shelf above it that only reaches half way across the closet.  I also wanted another high shelf that stretched the length of the closet.  But of course, I couldn’t do any of this until is was painted pretty to match the room!  I used the same paint I had used on the dresser and end table.  By using left over wood from other projects, our total cost for this closet makeover was only about $75, which makes us both happy!

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With a few final touches to the nursery, like a ribbon chandelier I made from a wire cupcake tower and some more art on the walls, I feel like the nursery is officially ready.  I know that once we actually start using it, it will start to fill up and looked lived in. I can’t wait to get to that point.  image-8

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I have seen the family birthday calendars on printers and been wanting to make one for a while. To be honest, I’d love to make one for my home. But we decided to make one for my mother-in-law this last Christmas. My husband is the youngest of eight children, almost everybody is married, and almost everybody has at least one kid. So total there were nearly 40 tags that we wanted to include on the calendar.

I found an Etsy shop called Custom Vinyl Decor that sold the birthday calendar kit. They were incredibly helpful and super fast.  I look forward to shopping there in the future!  The kit included the vinyl cut out with the family name and the word celebrations, as well as 25 tags and hooks to hang them onto the board. We had to get our own board, paint it, and because our family is bigger, we needed to find more tags and hooks. And searching for the little tags which are made out of wood, I found some heart-shaped ones and decided those would be great for the anniversary dates. I don’t have the most beautiful penmanship, so I decided to print the names and birthdays from the computer, then mod podge them onto the wooden tags.

I found a one and a half inch circle hole punch, so it was an easy job punching out the names and months to apply to the discs. It wasn’t quite as easy cutting out the hearts to look right, but in the end I was very pleased with the way everything looked. I used some of the same paint from the plaque itself on the edges of the tags, that brought everything together making it look the right color and very very pretty.

We had our board printed, all of the tags were painted and had their names on them. And that’s where the real “fun” started. I put the word fun in quotes because that’s the last thing it actually was. Putting the little rings onto the discs was super hard. We had to use pliers to open the ring slip it through the holes then close the rings. Then we needed to link them together and make sure they close tight enough that the disks wouldn’t fall apart. The whole process took a long time and was very tedious. My husband and I did it together, though, and the moral support of doing it together made a big difference.

Once completed, it looked beautiful. Of course we wanted to wrap it since it was a Christmas gift. And in the process of wrapping it, several of the chains fell off the board. We would reattach it, try to attach a better this time. Than restart the wrapping process. When my mother-in-law opened it on Christmas I think one of the months fell off. But we came prepared in my husband was able to pull out the players from the diaper bag and fix it in a snap.

In the end, I think it was a beautiful gift and a very fun way to commemorate the whole family and all of the wonderful milestones we have every month of the year. But, I would definitely start more than two weeks before Christmas. I think if I given myself a month or so to get it done, it would’ve been a much smoother process. I still want to make one for my own home, and I might include birthdays on both my husband’s side of the family and my side of the family. It really is a wonderful visual aid in helping us see what a beautiful family we have and how blessed we are.

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The holiday season just passed, and with it, craft season. That’s right, I decided to go with crafts, homemade Christmas gifts this year. As a single income family, and lots and lots of people we want to give gifts and love to, we simply couldn’t buy presents for everyone. So we decided to make them.

A couple months ago, my grandmother decided to officially finalize her retirement from baking. She cleaned out her baking supplies and gave a lot of the old pans and other goodies to my mom and me. One of the things she gave us is her boards. Boards that she put the cakes on. They’re not quite cardboard not quite wood, but something in between. And in all shapes and sizes. Okay, they’re mostly round, but there were a few other shapes and they did come in varying sizes.

I decided to use these to make something for our family and friends we wanted to give gifts too. If you look on Pinterest these days, you will find a plethora of plaques for walls with cute quotes and sayings on them. And many of them appear to be chalkboard. So that’s what I decided to do. I made chalkboard look-alike plaques with Christmas quotes and sayings.

I started out by painting all the boards that I was planning to use white. I had to do a couple coats on some of them because some of the boards were a little beat up. Then, the real fun started. I use my cricket to cut out words and other cute shapes. I cut them out of freezer paper, then ironed them on to the boards waxy side down. I then put a light coat of black paint over the whole board. While the paint was still a little bit tacky, mostly dry but not 100%, I gently peeled off the freezer paper.

Since the freezer paper had been ironed on to wood, it didn’t peel off totally 100% cleanly. But, that gave a look of distress that I was actually going for. I then used a fine sandpaper to smooth out the wood and even distress some of the black paint. Following that, I gave it a coat of mod podge to seal in the design.

Once they were completely dry, I asked my husband to drill a hole in the top (not that I couldn’t do it myself, I just wanted to help😉). I slipped in a ribbon to tie it off and voilà, super cute little signs to be hung on people’s doors in place of wreaths or on walls of peoples hallways.

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My husband is brilliant. Not that I didn’t already know this interesting factoid, it’s why I married him after all. But he showed his brilliance once again recently when he was cleaning out the garage.

I had put an old spice-rack in a yard sale pile thinking I had no need for it. It was full of spices I didn’t use and, as much as I liked how cool it looked on my countertop (it made me feel like a better cook than I actually am), I figured I could get a little cash for it since I honestly didn’t use it. But DH saw it when he was cleaning and organizing our junk and thought of a great idea for it.

You see, when we had our house tented for termites this last summer, we had to bag everything. It was a horribly tedious project that happened to highlight how many sprinkles I have acquired over the last few years. I have a couple dozen little cups of sprinkles in all the colors of the rainbow. And when DH was cleaning the garage he saw the old spice-rack and for some reason thought of the sprinkles.

And that’s how my brilliant husband came up with the brilliant idea to use the old spice rack to store my colorful sprinkles beautifully displayed instead of hidden away to be forgotten about. .

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Don’t they look pretty?

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Bathroom Facelift

We, or rather, I love doing projects around the house.  In fact, it’s one of my favorite things about homeownership,the freedom to paint the walls whatever color I want, and other fun things like that.  They can be quite a headache sometimes, of course.  That’s why DH doesn’t love these projects quite as much as I do.  But we both agree that the projects are always worth it when we’re done.

One room we hadn’t gotten to was the guest/future-kid’s bathroom.  But, I have been wanting to give it a facelift for a while, and DH is on summer break, so we decided to get it done.

As you can see here in the picture, it’s a decent bathroom.  Nothing special, but not unusable either.  It got the job done, but we really wanted a bathroom that would be an oasis, a relaxing place to refresh and rejuvenate.  I know, that’s quite a lot to ask from a little space!

Turns out I only have one before shot. Sorry! I thought I had some on file, so I didn’t take any before we started the project. But this still gives you an idea of what we were working with.

Our plans started with repainting.  I used left over paints from other rooms in the house, so we ended up with white, cream, and green.  I also planned to have molding put around the mirror, and near the ceiling.

When the handyman came over to put in the molding, he strongly discouraged us from framing out the mirror as I had wanted to.  He pointed out that the molding would have to be glued to the mirror and with time, if the bathroom was used regularly, the steam would erode the glue and ruin the molding.  So, we decided to have the builders grade mirror just removed, and we went with a framed mirror instead.

Of course that meant we had to go back and repaint the wall where the mirror was pulled off, but it was so worth it in the end!

Luckily, the mirror came down nice a clean. The wall still had to be cleaned up and textured before being repainted. But in the end, it looks so much better with a framed mirror.

I found this mirror at Ross for only $35! What a steal, huh! I had expected to pay closer to $100 for a mirror the right size and look.

I wish I had a before picture of this light fixture to show what a huge transformation a can of spray paint can make! Before, it was a crusty old chrome finish, it looked so out-dated. We didn’t want to pay to replace it altogether, so we took a can of hammered bronze spray paint to it instead. I can’t tell you how happy I am with the result.

This angle here shows how we painted the bathroom. We decided to paint the walls white and the ceiling green. The cream we used for the molding was also used on the cabinets down below.

Here is a finish shot of the bathroom. The framed mirror looks so great and the shelf set I found at Target is a great way to add in some additional decorations and color.

I was so excited when I found this curved curtain rod at Ross for pretty cheap. It makes me feel like this is a posh hotel bathroom! The curtain itself was a Target find also, and is what I used as inspiration for the rest of the bathroom.

I found a couple prints on Pintrest and created a few myself. Everything in the frames I simply printed off from a colored printer. I am really happy with the finished product. A great combo of guest friendly and kids friendly.

Here’s a better angle of the artwork in the frames. I love the “Suspicious Owl Suspects Something” and also the picture of the soap saying, “Rub me on your butt!” Very fun and silly.

At the end of the project, we are both so thrilled with the way everything turned out.  Our future kids are going to have the best bathroom in the house!  In fact, DH has said a few times that he wishes this was our bathroom.  But I supposed we will just have to do something similar to ours in the future.

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Yesterday, I shared the garden markers I made from mason jar lids.  Today, I want to share the solar lanterns that made up the other half of my dad’s garden themed birthday gift.

There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to make these puppies, and since I didn’t photograph the whole process, I’m not going to give a full on tutorial.  But, here’s the basics…

I started by finding garden solar lights.  I had to shop around, because I remembered seeing some at The Dollar Tree, but when I went to The Dollar Tree to buy some, they were all sold out.  I asked the clerk if she could check some other stores and save me the trip, and she begrudgingly obliged.  Turns out, the previous weekend, the solar lights I was after had been the featured item in the Sunday ad, and all the stores were sold out.  I ended up finding them at Big Lot’s for about $2 each.  Not too bad.  The ones I found were like these, but obviously much cheaper.

Once I had the lights, I twisted of the top, and went shopping for mason jars.  I wanted to find jars that were small enough to really show all the light, but still had a big enough mouth for the light fixture to rest on.  I ended up getting wide mouth pint sized jars.

I removed the inner lid and only kept the rim.  I glued the top of the light to the screw on rim using my ultra awesome powerful glue, E-6000.  While these were drying, I got to coloring the insides of the jars.

To color the jars, I poured some high-gloss modge podge into a bowl.  Now the insides of these  jars shouldn’t be exposed to the elements in theory, but I wanted to use the weather resistant solution any way.  I mixed several drops of food coloring into the modge podge until it reached my desired color, then poured it into one of the jars.  I rolled the jar around until the entire insides were full coated, then I poured out any remaining mixture.

I repeated this step until all the jars were coated and then I moved them to the oven warmed up to about 350.  I imagine they could have just as easily dried at their own pace, but the oven allowed them to dry in a flash.  As the jars dried, the color went from a creamy opaque to a crystal clear.

When the jars and the lids were all dried, I screwed on the tops and wrapped around some wire to make a handle.  I used needle nosed pliers to twist the ends of the wire into cute little swirls.

And, they were ready to go.

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