Thursday, July 26, 2012

Garden Update

We are finally getting some real veggies from our garden and we are so excited!! The first plants that sprouted were the snap peas. For almost a month we collected a few handfuls of peas every other day or so. The kids ate them up as fast as we could pick them!

The next veggies that are going to be ready are the peppers:

And I think the cucumbers will be right behind them.

The carrots are still growing like a forest. I looked online and I read that they are ready to be picked when you can see a little orange poking up from the ground. Still nothing doing there...

I'm still on the fence with the zucchinis... The leaves are growing like crazy - really huge!

But bugs are eating all them up! Before they are big enough to pick, the tops of them get attacked by little bugs and then they turn brown and shrivel up. Help! Has this happened to you? I'd rather not use any pesticide, but I don't want to lose all those veggies...

In other garden-related news, my hubby went out and got a box for the hose so it's easier to store and looks a little neater. I guess I can take off the sticker now... :-)

Now I just need to figure out what to do about the old hook. (Don't mind the dead moss and patches of grass. We're still working on filling in all the bare spots in our yard and it's been record-breaking hot here so no point in planting any grass seed...). It's bolted in to the bricks so it's gonna be fun to take it out and then there will be two holes left.... Any ideas guys?

What's been going on in the great outdoors by you? Anyone plant a veggie garden and get to eat from it yet?

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Simple Ways to Update any Room (Part 1)

I was going through some files the other day and came across an old list (old, as in before the days of blogs...) that I had cut out from House Beautiful that showed 101 ways to update a room. I couldn't find the list online anywhere (I checked - it's not the same list that's currently on their website) so I thought it would be nice to start a series for the next few months of my favorite 50 ideas and show five each week. It's amazing to see how many of those concepts are still popular and current today.

So here's the first installment of:

Please be sure to pin from the original source.

  • Paint a white paper lampshade your favorite color — the color you'll never find in the lampshade department
Here's a great example of a painted lampshade that gives the lamp a little more punch.
But I'd venture to say that this would also apply to covering a shade with fabric or even adding decals.
  • Wallpaper the inside of your bedroom closet. 
Wallpaper is a big investment and commitment to make and you can totally achieve the same gorgeous results using a stencil.


  • Use leftover wallpaper to line the drawers of your bedside table.
Again, you don't have to use wallpaper - fabric, wrapping paper or even scrapbook paper would work just fine. And it doesn't only have to be your bedside table - opening any drawer with a bright lining is always a fun surprise!
  • Find a tired old bargain brass chandelier at a thrift shop or antiques shop. Spray paint it white. 
You don't need to spray paint it white if that's not the look you're going for. There are so many beautiful ORB fixtures, as well as bright colors such as red, teal or pink.

  • Buy a photography or botanical book, take a razor blade, and cut it up. Put a dozen pages (the more, the better) in matching inexpensive frames, and hang them in a row or a block.


Have you implemented any of these ideas into your home? Please share and stay tuned for the next installment!

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer Fun Continues

Summer fun is already in full swing and the kids are loving camp. Over July 4th weekend, the hubby and I both had some time off without the kids so we headed to the newest tourist attraction in our area - Ripley's Believe It or Not. I had been to some other locations before, but this was a first for the mister. We left the place thinking that there are too many people in this world with too much time on their hands. A Justin Bieber artwork made completely out of candy - seriously?

They had a huge "penny" made out of a gazillion real pennies.

Then there was a "coffin" made out of cigarette butts and cigars. A little tongue-in-cheek in a not-so-subtle way!

And a scaled-down replica of Hogwarts made out of a half a million matchsticks. I can't imagine the patience needed to construct something like this.

They also had these really interesting glass bottles with wooden arrows through them. We could not figure out how they did this, so if you know please share!!

We do allow the kids to have fun also :-) Here they are playing some arcade games at Chuck E. Cheese.

And my sister-in-law is being kind enough to give my daughter swimming lessons this summer. I am so proud of how much she has progressed so far! Unfortunately, my son doesn't like to venture too far off the steps at the edge. We're making progress with him though...

What kind of summer fun have you and your family been up to? It's been so hot by us lately that even walking from the house to the car is enough to work up a sweat!

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Removable Chalkboard

I know that chalkboards have been done over and over again, but I didn't jump on the bandwagon until now. I'm not really sure why I waited so long because I love it!! At the end of a row of cabinets in the kitchen, there is an empty wall and I knew it was a perfect place to have one. Our cabinets are laminate (boo) so I wasn't sure how well chalkboard paint would work and I also wasn't sure how the hubby would like it (he does!) so I wanted something that would work on laminate and could be easily removed in case he hated it. I then stumbled upon a post on Irma's blog where she used chalkboard contact paper - brilliant!

I went right to and ordered a roll for myself.

My cabinet width was 24" and the contact paper is 18" so I measured 3" on each side (24-18=6/2=3) to center the roll. I also cut it to 30" tall and eyeballed how high I wanted it to go.

I carefully peeled off a few inches from the top and placed it down.

Then, unpeeling a few inches of the backing at a time, I carefully smoothed all the bubbles out. I first tried using a credit card, but I found it made tiny little nicks so I just used my hand.

After it's up, you have to prime the chalkboard by rubbing a piece of chalk on its side across the entire surface. Erase the chalk and then it's ready to use.

To dress it up a little, I wanted to put a frame of moulding around it. I took a picture on my phone of the moulding around the doorway of the kitchen so I could find something similar at Lowes. I came home with a pre-primed piece that looked great. Even though it was primed already, you should still sand down to make a perfectly smooth surface.

I did a few coats of spray paint before cutting it down and then another couple after to cover up any scratches that occurred while cutting.

I haven't quite gotten over my fear of power tools so I'm still using a miter box, but it really wasn't so bad cutting all the angles. It just took about 200 times longer than if I had a compound miter saw. Oh well...

This vinyl adhesive caulk worked great for attaching all the sides together.

I don't have any clamps either, so some frog tape came in handy keeping the pieces together until it dried. (Just a word of advice - even though it says you can paint after two hours, that doesn't mean it's actually dry after two hours so do yourself a favor and leave it overnight. Just saying.... :-)

My favorite way to temporarily hang something up is by using the amazing Command strips.

Just four sets of these velcro strips and it's not going anywhere!

Make sure to use a level so you know it's straight. And if it's not, it's as easy as pie to adjust it!

Now I've got a great memo board / message spot / menu / shopping list / etc. etc. that the whole family can see when we go in and out of the kitchen! Love it!

Do you also write like a third grader whenever a piece of chalk ends up in your hand, or is it just me?

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