Sunday, January 29, 2012

My husband thinks I've flipped my lid.

Our bathroom is the fun part begins.

I've had a hard time finding a bathroom vanity that is well-made, affordable, and small enough to fit in the space while still providing storage.

Before this whole project started I mentioned to Micah that we could make our own vanity out of a dresser. He said "Um, I don't think so." He tends to not see my vision at first.

So I started searching online and in local stores and everything looked cheaply made and/or was ridiculously expensive. I mean seriously, the drawers were already broken on the displays. Then I came across this beauty online.

I showed it to Micah and Jon {the guy helping us with the bathroom}. Micah thought I was joking. Jon wisely said nothing. They both hated it. Seriously, what's to hate? It's glorious!

So logically I took a facebook poll {isn't that how all minor life decisions are made?} to see if my friends thought future home buyers would be deterred by my choice of vanity.

Of course everyone agreed with me because 1. they are my friends for a reason and 2. the people that hate it will never actually tell me and 3. no males responded.

So really, the facebook poll accomplished nothing except to boost my confidence.

Since the the one I loved was the style of a converted dresser, I went back to my original idea of converting a dresser.

I went to my favorite antique store that very day and found not one, but two dressers. I negotiated them both for a great price. Jackpot.

Then I came home and googled the "how to" and found great examples that got me really excited:

upstairs bath traditional bathroom

So today after church I dragged the whole family into the antique store to show Micah what he would be coming back to pick up {the place is an endless maze, you could seriously get lost and not be found for a month in there}.

I was so excited to show them my perfect vanity dresser. After weaving our way to the back of the store I said "HERE IT IS. ISN'T IT AMAZING?"

Micah was grimacing. Skylar frowned and said "Really??"

And that was it, that was the only reaction I got from them.

Micah continued to grimace for a couple more hours.

But the dimensions are perfect. I love the way it looks.

But alas, this story is not over. {And at this point you are probably wishing I would just end it already.}

I knew my ever-supportive friend Lindsay would be excited and understand my idea. So I was telling her on the phone that I had rushed straight to the jailhouse yesterday and found two dressers. She of course got all excited with me and then told me about one she had completely fallen in love with last fall but had decided not to buy because she didn't technically need it. She described it perfectly. The very same dresser.

And as for the second dresser I bought, it was a little too big for the bathroom. So that one is going to be in Finley's room.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I won't miss you at all.

Bye-bye grimy shower door and bulky cupboards that take up way too much space in our tiny bathroom.....

Bye-bye hideous tile that never looks clean.....

Bye-bye hidden shelf with a sliding mirror door that is always splattered with toothpaste...I never have to clean you again.....

Bye-bye insufficient light source......

Bye-bye stinky little pug in the pink polo....just I'm getting a little carried away......

This weekend is the start of our bathroom renovation! Demolition starts tonight. Woo-hoo! {Here's praying there are no scary secrets hidden behind these 100 year old walls....}

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ways we entertain ourselves.....

Moustaches came in the mail! SWEET! (Thanks Kristy!)

 And when we offered to put one on Skylar? Total meltdown.

Apparently the thought of having facial hair terrifies her. {Just wait until she meets her first bearded cafeteria lady! Every college seems to have one.}

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A new hobby.

I have quite a few friends who are avid couponers and consistently score amazing deals.

I love a good bargain but coupons have never worked for me.

It requires a certain level of organization that I just don't have.

If I come across a coupon for something I would normally buy then I'll clip it.....but then I usually forget it at home or lose it in the black hole that is my purse.

So generally I just grab what I need and throw it in the cart without much thought.

I always compare brands in the store, and if there happens to be a coupon hanging there then I'll grab it, but half the time I've lost the coupon by the time I get to the register.

Once I joined the Grocery Game website, but in the end I never used it.

I've checked out some of the many couponing websites that do all the work for you, but I didn't even know how to read all the abbreviations or where to find the coupons they were talking about. It's like a secret language.

I've even bought the Sunday paper for the coupons and there wasn't a blessed coupon to be found in it.

So this past fall when our local MOPS group asked for suggestions I said "Couponing!" mostly because I wanted someone to explain it all to me. It kind of annoys me that I haven't figured it out.

So they brought in a local expert--a sweet christian lady named Erin who was on the Extreme Couponing show using our local Price Chopper. {Some of her information is region specific, but she has a video series on her website}.

She started talking and it was like drinking water from a fire house. The amount of information was completely overwhelming. The hour she spent talking was just the tip of the iceberg.

So I signed up for her class.

That's right, I spent last Saturday at a couponing seminar.

I've always been a little afraid of those binder-wielding, shelf-clearing, register holder-upers.....and now here I was spending a Saturday morning surrounded by them.
But thankfully, that's not what this class was about. No binder lugging required and she teaches good coupon etiquette.

I learned all kinds of things I didn't our local Price Chopper doubles all coupons under a dollar, and if you see a special that requires you to buy $25 worth of merchandise to get $5 back it's actually referring to the regular shelf price not the sale it may actually only be $15 worth of merchandise. Add your coupons, get your $5 store credit...and you've got a bargain.

So armed with my new knowledge I bought the Sunday paper {apparently they keep the coupon inserts behind the counter because people steal them}, made my list, gathered my coupons and headed into Price Chopper with great trepidation.

While fumbling through the aisles in a store where I never shop, I ran into a fellow couponing classmate who gave me a tip-off about a half price nut sale in aisle 9. And she had a coupon. There was a wild look in her eyes. She scared me a little. I decided it would throw off my game to pursue the nut deal, and stuck with my original plan.

My #1 goal was to only buy things we can actually use. Unless of course it ends up being free, then I'll get it anyway because someone will use it.

I have to say it was kind of fun. I felt victorious because I finally know how to do it!

My first attempt:

All of this loot was about the same price as one box of Thermacare, just over $10.

{I wouldn't normally buy this random assortment of stuff, but it's all things we will eventually use}.

So this will be my new hobby in 2012....dabbling in the art of couponing and potentially saving lots of money in the grocery department. {Or just ending up with a stash of medical supplies big enough to save a third world country}.

Friday, January 20, 2012


A few pics from our uneventful day......

And a snowy night...........

Happy friday!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Plan toys.

I do about 75% of my shopping on Amazon. I'm obsessed with Amazon and their free shipping.

It was on Amazon that I first discovered Plan toys. Now that we own a few of them I feel like I can vouch for their quality. I am completely hooked. They are really simple, well designed, and my kids love them. They are the kind of toys that you can pass down to your grandchildren.

{And call me old fashioned, but I love that they don't light up, play music and vibrate obnoxiously. Does anybody else worry that we are completely overstimulating our children with all of this stuff?}

Finley got this pounding bench for Christmas (thanks Granbabe and GranStud).......

I got these ABC cards for Skylar. We have spent many hours doing them. She loves them.....

And I think this Lacing Sheep is the cutest thing ever....

They have so many other great things. Definately worth checking out!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The "fun hangover".

Uncle Josh is home from China and we can't stop smiling!!!!

I mean, we are soooooo happy!!!!!!!

Seriously, we love him so much! Welcome home Uncle Josh!!!!

Okay, so maybe I didn't pick the best time to take a picture. We were heading out the door to drive 5 hours back home. Finley was beyond ready for his nap. Skylar was in melt-down mode.

BUT I forgot to take a single picture all weekend.

A weekend full of Skylar and Uncle Josh practicing dance routines together and doing a stellar performance to the Lion King's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight". Not to mention baking virtual cupcakes on his ipod, baking with Noni, getting treats from Papa, and watching way too much football. She had a blast!

And then she had a "fun hangover".
But I made my miserable children sit on Uncle Josh's lap anyway.

And this was the best one I got:

We really are glad you made it home safely Josh and can't wait to hear about your new life in NYC!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

9 months

Nine months old in the blink of an eye.....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Chiweenie

An ugly dog....

breed with another ugly dog.....

results in an even uglier dog....

If you're thinking...."Hey wait, you have a pug and they don't get any uglier than that!" I totally understand.

I once came out of a gas station to find a stranger waiting by my car just to tell me that Jack (who was sitting in the driver's seat) was the ugliest dog he'd ever seen.

But one persons ugly is another man's beautiful.

And I still think pugs are the cutest dog ever created by Chinese royalty.

So no offense to the Chihuahua and Dachshund owners of the world.

But we saw a Chiweenie live and in person at a pet store and......well....why?

Not sure whose idea it was to breed those two, but two wrong do not make a right.

{At least they gave it a fun name}.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fish tacos

We love fish tacos, but they are hard to come by here in Northern New York.

And there are so many ways to make them--from types of fish, to preparation of fish, types of tortillas, sauces and toppings--it's almost easier to make them at home so that they are exactly the way you like them.

I'm not a fan of fried fish or mayonnaise sauces, so here's my version using tilapia:

Marinate five tilapia fillets in 1/4 cup of oil, 1 teaspoon of chili powder and the juice of one lime. Let sit for 20 or 30 minutes and then pan fry. (Micah likes his breaded for a crunch factor, so you can dip some in bread crumbs before pan frying if that's you).

La Tortilla Factory makes some amazing tortillas that are part corn, part flour and they are sooooo good. If you warm them in a pan with a little cooking spray they taste freshly made. We have them in our regular grocery store, and if we have them then you probably do too.

For toppings I use a little bit of grated Gruyere, fresh cilantro, sliced avocado and some shredded cabbage. I toss my cabbage with some red wine vinegar, oil, salt and pepper before adding it to the taco. {If you prefer a cream sauce of some kind there are numerous yogurt, sour cream, mayo or avocado sauce recipes out there to try}. Have fun with it and customize your fish taco!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Birthday boy.

Micah turned 30 today!

We woke him up with breakfast in bed: chocolate chip pancakes, heart shaped eggs, cantaloupe, and a birthday picture from Skylar--all of his favorite things.

And all of his favorite people of course. What good is your favorite breakfast without a crowd watching you eat it? {And little hands helping you eat it.}

For someone used to waking up at 4:30 {by choice} and having a few hours to himself every morning, it was a whole lot of excitement right away.

But at least he actually slept in until 7 something.

He spent the day flying his new toy helicopter with the kids, ice skating and watching veggie tales.

Birthdays have changed a little bit over the years.

But there will always be cake, candles and singing.....

And "dad gifts" like a hat with patches, a portable car vacuum, and a new lunch bag....and of course the remote control helicopter.

And he danced around the table several times when he opened the vacuum.

Yep, times have changed.

Happy birthday to my best friend and an awesome dad! Welcome to the next decade!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Oh happy day.

Skylar sat in the window looking out at the driveway and waiting....

and waiting.....

and waiting.....

"Uhhhhh mom, it's taking her too long to get here!"

"She'll be here in the next few minutes"

In a MINUTE??"

"No, in a few minutes."

"ONE minute?"

"Do you want me to call her and find out how many minutes?"

A long, dramatic sigh......"Nooooo, I'll just wait".

Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

Then "AUNT B IS HERE!!!!!!!"

Followed by hugs, kisses, a small dog attack, more hugs and hours of playing.....

They even had coordinated outfits.

Oh happy, happy day.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Grace for the new year.

I am always working toward {and failing daily at} my goal of parenting with grace.

And to be honest, I'm not even sure I fully comprehend what grace is myself.

But a new year is a new start and a chance to refocus and continue to refine.

So in 2012 I am striving toward....

Listening rather then lecturing.

Responding rather than reacting.

Engaging rather then dismissing.

And praying rather then judging.

Knowing that the days can feel long but the years are fleeting.
And someday my nights will be uninterrupted by bad dreams and teething babies, and I'll have plenty of "me" time, and I won't have an audience in the bathroom, and things will still be where I left them, and I won't have to pretend to be Prince Charming or Mufasa all day long, and maybe I'll even lose the last few pounds of baby weight.

And when I send them off into the world someday I don't want to wonder if I did enough, said enough or loved them enough.
I want to shower them with grace now {even if some days I only manage a sprinkle} so that they will see Him in me--because otherwise all of my doing, saying and loving will fall short.

And I am going to mess up a lot. A lot. A lot.

But His grace is sufficient.


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