Sunday, August 27, 2017

DIY China Cabinet Makeover

You guys! I'm so excited to share my latest project. It's been so long since I've done something big like this and it felt great! I love transforming pieces into something new and refreshing. Since I acquired this china cabinet from my uncle I've been dreaming of the different ways update it to my style.

Originally I sought out to change this beauty into a farmhouse style but because of the hardware, I picked it totally changed the style to shabby chic. While not my favorite, shabby chic can be adorable every now and again. I think this turned out adorable!

Painting with Chalky paint

I used Valspar Chalky Paint finish for furniture in "Kids gloves" color paint. After removing all hardware and taking the doors off the bottom piece I applied three coats of paint. The paint is thick so you want to do thin layers otherwise you will see the goopy drippy dried paint... and that never looks good. It's better to apply multiple thin coats than slapping it on in one or two. I also noticed that the thicker I applied the paint the more likely it would have the crackle paint effect. This is great for a vintage effect but if you're not expecting or wanting this particular look it totally changes the style.

I had some left over sample paint we had played around with when we were renovating our powder room. I knew I wanted to paint the inside of the cabinet a different color to accent the piece but also not completely wash out my7 white china. I used the Valspar Gossamer sky for the accent color.


After the paint was good and dry, I took a piece of fine sandpaper and gently distressed the edges of each piece. Basically anywhere that could be distressed I made distressed. There were certain lips and crevices that I wanted to make sure stood out to show the lines and beauty of the cabinet.

Sealing Wax

For this step, I used the Valspar Sealing Wax (step 2) to finish it off. You really want to apply a thin layer of this. A little goes a looong way. Make sure to give attention to the small details, cracks, and crevices. The thicker you apply the wax the more tinted it will dry. With a white paint, the wax turned it more of a cream. Use a white cloth to rub off any excess wax to avoid yellowing. I only applied one coat. Just as a precaution, the thicker you apply the sealing wax the more "aged" it will look. If you are not sure I recommend testing out a small area before sealing your entire piece.

Once it's dry... takes about 4 hours with the wax, I added the hardware and reattached the doors.

Here is the finished product!!! What do ya guys think?

Make sure to follow along and stay connected!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Natural and Safe Carpet Deodorizing Powder

If there is one thing that makes a home feel happy and clean it would be a clean and fresh smelling living space. With pets, kids, and "man shoes" it can be hard to battle those unwanted odors that often get caught in the carpet.

We bought a carpet cleaner but we don't always have the time to clean them and wait for it to dry before my kids are rolling all over the floor. So I've been on the search for a smell good method to spruce up our carpets.

Carpet powder is something that I used a long time ago before I had kids and was considerate of the chemicals I brought into the house. Most store bought powders have been irritating to our dog's skin and I would assume the same for kids. Since we have kids I need to be extra careful about what we use.

Here is a safe and natural carpet powder that works like a charm!

What you need...

  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • essential oils ( I used lemon and lavender) about 15 drops of each.

What you do...

You can use a dollar tree Parmesan shaker or you can use an old ball jar with the lid. Put all of your ingredients into the jar and shake until the oil has dispersed.

Let it sit for 30 minutes and then vacuum up. Your house will smell so fresh!
If you don't have any young kids or pets that play on the floor you can also replace one cup of baking soda with a cup of borax. Baking soda and borax are both natural ingredients but borax can also be a skin irritant. Both substances also absorb odors really well. Borax is a natural pest deterrent so that is an added bonus!

This natural carpet powder has really been a godsend! My carpets no longer smell like wet dog thanks to this carpet deodorizer! Sprinkle this stuff before you're expecting company and they will wonder how you keep your house smelling so fresh!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Girl Scout Troop Leading: Parent Meeting Planning

It's that time of year again!!! Time to start preparing your troop year, if you haven't started already. Last year I wrote a post on what I included in the parent packet. This year I want to revisit this topic and also provide some additional posts throughout this month on how to plan, organize, and make it through another year of troop leading!

Last fall was my very first year as a troop leader. Boy.... did I not know what I was getting myself into! When I first set out to conquer the world of girl scouting and provide this grandiose idea of the best troop experience ever for these girls, there were a few things I underrated and failed to realize.

I didn't realize how important parent communication was.

I will say this again, I didn't realize how important parent communication is.

Communication is key to a successful year in leading a girl scout troop. Communication with your co-leader, cookie mom, and the non involved parent. I happened to have a very uninvolved and sometimes non-existent co-leader. I had parents, no matter how many emails sent, a clear cut communicative website, and phone calls, still misunderstood guidelines and date and times. There are some parents that you simply can't be clear enough with. For the others, it's important to make the communication easy. This is sooooooooo helpful for them and yourself!

Have that Parent Meeting! Set those expectations and guidelines from the very start before their girl even signs up. Keep in mind that you are the leader, the mother who is volunteering their time and energy for free, you set these expectations of how you will contribute your time. These expectations and guidelines can all be provided to each parent in a documented letter. Hand this letter out at the parent meeting, share it on your troop website, send it in a follow up email after the meeting. Make sure that each parent has a copy of this letter. No cuts, no buts, no coconuts! Comment below if you can name the movie.

What did I include in our troop parent letter?
    • Troop Leader contact information (phone numbers, email, address)
    • Troop Meeting information
      • Day and time of the week
      • Location
      • What they do at the meetings (overall layout of troop meetings)
    • Uniforms and Handbook
      • What badges to purchase before hand
        • Council ID
        • American flag 
        • Troop Numerals
        • Insignia tab
    • Troop Dues
      • What does troop dues cover
      • How much?
      • Due date
    • Importance of volunteers
      • Positions open
    • Share site
      • Shutterfly offers an amazing share site to keep the parents up to date on meetings. I would strongly recommend checking it out!
You can download a copy of the parent letter I used here --->>>> Download Parent Letter

In addition to a parent letter, you will want to make sure that your parents have all the information they need to get their girl started. A Parent Packet can assist in this department!

What do you want to include in the parent packet?

Each girl/parent gets a blue folder with their name on it. Last year I used this as a parent communicator folder that was brought to every meeting and I would send home a letter of updates and information of the next meeting. This year I will not have the parent communicator folder. As a Girl Scout we teach to use resources wisely and with the age of technology communication can be done via the web, reducing our use and expense of paper.

Below is what I included in the folder for the parent packet...
  • Parent letter (including troop expectations, rules, meeting schedule)
  • Parent Helper sign up form
    • Uniform handout (explains the items needed for uniform for the parents to purchase, unless you will purchase the entire troops)
    • Forms
      • Girl Membership Registration Form
      • Adult Membership Registration Form
      • Medical History form (both girl and adult volunteers)
      • Permission slips

    At the parent meeting take time to go through your parent letter and your expectations for the troop. Go through the different forms included in the packet and make sure parents know the next steps and what they need to do for the first troop meeting. Make sure they understand where and how to register and that this is done before their girl attends an official meeting or outing. If you can collect the registration and health forms at the parent meeting it will make things a lot easier for you!

    Keep following along... I will be posting some more helpful planning tips over the next month and other ways to get you started on your troop leader journey! Please follow along on Facebook!

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    Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    What a Parent of a Congenital Heart Warrior Wants You to Know

    For the most part I try to be optimistic, but I can only be that way for so long until something breaks inside of me and I am just pissed. I get angry when people say the wrong things even though it's out of best intentions and love.

    We recently discovered our soon to be third little girl has a heart condition just like her older sister. I got through the crying and depressive stage pretty fast but the anger side of grief is not ready to pass. I am tired of the cliche responses from people looking on the outside in. I just really don't want to talk about the situation but people want to push and say things like "it will all work out" or "you've been through this before, so you've got this" and "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". These all seem like uplifting things to help a grieving parent but they don't always help.

    The killer one that really turns in my stomach is "God only gives us what he knows we can handle." As someone who has found Christ through my struggles, I find this statement to be unbelievable false. I do think certain things happen to us with purpose, despite how awful they might be. I also believe in random events and evil that is out there. Regardless, things happen that go beyond the laws of what we can handle and sometimes it does break us. It can break us in tragic ways where one takes their own life and it can break us in smaller ways, where one suffers deep down inside where no one else can see. This is not strength, this is change and not always for the better.

    I know how I'm feeling in the NOW can be off putting and make some people want to turn away and I don't blame them.

    I'm struggling.

    But please, take a backseat to the advice and just be there when I'm ready to talk. Even if I am never ready to talk, that's okay because sometimes I can talk things out just on my own.

    If there is one thing that I have gained from all of this, which I'm sure there isn't only one, it's that I am more reserved with my emotions than I used to be. My husband actually thinks I don't cry enough... even as a hormonal pregnant woman.

    I think I have this anger bottled up because I don't think people really understand what it's like to have a child with a congenital heart defect. How could they, really?

    We recently raised funds for our annual Congenital Heart Walk in Chicago. This was the first year that Bella really understood what were were walking for and why. Yes, I walked at 38 weeks pregnant!

    Holding her sister's hand and she proudly walked for herself!

    What a Parent of a Congenital Heart Warrior Wants You to Know

    1) Just because they've had corrective surgery does not mean they are cured.

    2) The first time your child starts complaining of chest pain your world starts to get a little shaky and insecure.

    3) We can be strong and make this look easy but deep inside we are screaming with anxiety.

    4) As much as we try not to, we hoover. It's just something we do and we are always on the lookout for something so please don't judge.

    5) We blame ourselves. Maybe just in the beginning. Maybe for years. We always question if there was something we could have done differently. Sometimes even after the guilt has gone away it comes back later.

    6) This is a lifelong battle not just for our kids, but for us as a family and as parents.

    7) We pray our children will outlive us.

    8) This never gets easier to deal with. We live with the constant knowledge of could be.

    9) Strep throat and other illnesses are scary... Rheumatic fever can affect the heart even in patients that don't have any heart conditions. It can significantly complicate existing heart defects and conditions and all of this from the common strep throat.

    10) We are fighters, too. We fight the feelings to cry, to freak out and rush to the ER when something goes wrong. We fight ourselves to stay calm and brave so our kids can be too.

    11) We get angry. We get angry that we are at a fight with CHD and it can be ruthless and it impacts the quality of life in all members of the family.

    12) It changes the family dynamic. It changes the way we are towards one child over another and everyone picks up on this. Everyone in the family feels this battle.

    Thank you for listening and thank you for just being there:)

    Baby number 3 is due in less than a week and I hope to have some cute baby pictures soon!!! Follow along on Instagram!

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