Friday, January 27, 2012

Project Family Room

This was our walk through on our house in April 2010 (that is our nice realtor in the picture).  This is the way the family before us had the family room decorated--LOTS of furniture, dark peach tile on the floor and fireplace, a built in holding the TV and taking up precious space in the room.  It needed some work and reconfiguring.  I am by no means streamlined or contemporary, but I can't stand clutter.  Thankfully, they had a beautiful cutout niche above the fireplace and some nice white shutters on the windows.

We tore out the peach tile (which was in the whole house practically) and put in chocolate, distressed wood floors.  We put travertine on the fireplace and tore out the built in.  Here is the family room in process right before we moved into the house.  The tile has been torn up, the built in taken out and the paint colors for the niche are being chosen--thus the weird colors on the wall.

Here is our family room currently.  I apologize for the dark picture.  I have the wonderful habit of taking pictures at the worst time of day.  That is setting sunlight on our fireplace, not some weird design.:

(Here is the blank canvas wall I mention below)

I'm working on my family room this year.  After unemployment for our family in 2011, we are thankful for the gift of an income in 2012 and ready to jump back into house projects.  We recently had both crown moulding and pocket lights put into our family room ceiling.  We were tired of squinting at our guests whenever we sat in there at night--or we'd turn on our really bright patio lights just outside to add to the illumination of the room (sad!).

I'm loving the lights!  We had four added to the room, one focal spotlight for our fireplace and one in the "hallway" between the family room and the kitchen. 

The family room is tiny.  We don't have a teeny, tiny house, but the smallest rooms by far are both the family and living room.  Entertaining can be an issue since we often entertain 50-60 people when we have ministry leadership meetings/dinners at our home.  We knew about the issue when we moved into this house, but the positives in the house/yard outweighed this negative.  Thankfully, the yard is nice and big, but even southern California has limits on how often you can ask guests to sit outside. 

Because of this, we used leather ottomans as a coffee table, which also can be separated and moved as seats.  Our small couch holds about 3 guests, and right now we have a massive leather chair by the TV wall.
We want to move that chair elsewhere and get two proportionally smaller armchairs on each side of the TV console.  We also have three barstools right where I am standing to take the pictures, as we have a breakfast bar counter facing out into our family room.  These are handy to turn around and act as additional seating.

In addition, I would like to put white federalist moulding wrapping around the bottom half of the room to brighten up this part of the house.  It gets very little direct sunlight, and I am a girl who likes light and bright. 

I also want to do a photo wall around the TV.  I can't decide if I should have white frames or black.  I love white, but I am thinking that since they will surround the TV and almost camaflouge the flatscreen into the picture wall, they should have black frames with large, white matting.  The TV will have too much "weight" with white frames around it.  I will do all black and white photos.

 I also want to paint the 80's brass on the fireplace glass with a black metal paint and, eventually, I want to get a larger, crown moulding looking mantle to cover our lovely, thin plywood one. 

Finally, I want some long, ceiling to floor white column curtains to frame the slider that leads out to the backyard.  It is immediately to the right of the couch.

What are your thoughts, my decorating friends?  Do you have any ideas for the wall around the TV?  What kind of armchairs would you buy for each side of the TV console and what color would you prefer to see?  Right now I have creams, tans, rusts and golds in the room, but I'm open to another color.  All those colors blend nicely with our dark, red undertoned kitchen cabinets and wood floor. 

I'm excited for project family room and can't wait to show you the progress!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Personalized Bulletin Board Tutorial

About a year ago, I made a giant, very affordable bulletin board with foam core and fabric.  You can see that tutorial here.  It was great until my 2 year old--whom we nicknamed Destructo very early on--got to it.  After a few swipes and knocking it off the wall, it started to fall apart, and pins were everywhere in the carpet.  Foam core had met its match.

My hubby asked if I could use a normal bulletin board with cork and decorate that for our wall.  It would hang more securely, and it would hold the pins more firmly.  In other words, it would be Destructo proof. 

I found two, smaller bulletin boards (one for each boy) at Costco and brought them home.  I was looking for some fun Mod type fabric, but I didn't find exactly what I wanted.  The fabrics were too feminine or too plain.  I knew the fabric needed to complement the tan walls and leather couch in our playroom, so I found a seafoam green fabric that worked.

I made one bulletin board by stapling the fabric into place along the edges--my teaching skills in making bulletin boards came back to me.  I didn't like all the wrinkles and loose fabric that resulted, though.  I picked the most wrinkle prone fabric in the store.  I ironed and ironed until my hand hurt, but it seemed to only multiply the wrinkles. So I made the second bulletin board by using spray adhesive.  I sprayed the cork and smoothed the fabric over the cork.  MUCH better!  I stapled the edges and then I glued a thick, dark chocolate ribbon around the edge of both bulletin boards.  I used my photo drink coasters to hold down the ribbon as the glue dried in the corners of the ribbon. 

The stapled edges before the ribbon was glued around the edges.

Do you see the wrinkles?  Ugh!  The second one is MUCH better, but I didn't take a prep picture of it.

Finally, I printed out each boy's name on dark brown vinyl on my Silhouette.  It added a little fun touch to have each board labeled with chunky letters.

Voila!  My hubby hung up both of the boards, and now we are ready to see if they are Destructo proof.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Low Carb Chicken (tortilla if you want it) Soup

I told you all that I am doing Atkins.  You can read my post here.  One of my favorite meals whether I am dieting or not dieting is chicken tortilla soup.  In fact, you can read a previous recipe I shared for this yummy meal--a thicker, higher carb version than the one I'm about to share. 

Recently I had the chicken tortilla soup at Cafe Rio and fell in love.  It is really brothy, with tons of fresh ingredients.  I get it every time I go.

So, when I wanted to cook a low carb version of chicken tortilla soup, I thought of my favorite order at Cafe Rio.  I have to say, it turned out to be delicious!  If you are looking for a good comfort soup or a good diet recipe, I highly recommend this soup.

First I boiled my three chicken breasts in 2 boxes of chicken stock.  Then I shredded and chopped up the cooked chicken (keep the stock for the soup).
Add 2 cups of water to the stock and bring to a simmer. 
Add some taco seasoning into your soup to taste.  I added very little, because I was wanting a very fresh ingredient taste.
Drop the chicken into the liquid again.
I chopped up a small yellow onion and let it simmer in the soup for a couple of hours.

When you are ready to eat, mix a couple tablespoons of lime juice into your soup.
Spoon some steaming hot soup with the chicken and onion into your bowl.
Put a couple of tablespoons of fresh salsa into your soup in your bowl and stir.
Put 2 generous tablespoons of guacamole into your bowl or add fresh chopped up avocado.
Sprinkle a little Mexican mixture cheese into your soup. (Usually Jack and Cheddar blends)
Chop up fresh cilantro and put it all over your bowl of soup.
If you aren't going low carb, heap some tortilla chip strips on the top of your soup.  I didn't add any, and I still was happy with the soup.

Your kitchen will smell so good, and you will feel full on hot, healthy soup!
My hubby will get some cornbread on the side, and I've had this soup at Rubio's Baja Grill with lots of rice in it.  This won't do for my Atkins friends, but it might be something I add to my husband's bowl to make it more filling.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Women in the Word Wednesday: Kindness

Tomorrow or Friday I should have a post about some new vinyl letters and bulletin boards I have been making for the boys, but I wanted to share something that happened on my street this morning.

I had gotten up early to work out with a friend, and right after my friend left I heard screaming outside.  I knew something was wrong, but I was upstairs with my son in the front bonus room.  I looked outside the window to see if I needed to call 911 and just find out what was happening.  Two neighbor ladies were outside, and they had their dogs.  The one neighbor was walking her small terriors on leashes, but she was in front of the other neighbor's house.  The neighbor not walking her dogs was taking her daughter to school and, upon opening the garage door, her medium sized dog (not a violent breed--a wheaton) ran out and started growling at and chasing the little dogs on the leash.  The screaming was coming from the neighbor with her dogs on a leash. 

This went on for about 20 seconds before the neighbor was able to grab her dog away and get him in the garage.  She was horrified and turned to the dog walking neighbor to apologize profusely.  The other neighbor, whose dogs had been chased, started to let a stream of cussing and hateful words come screaming from her mouth toward this lady.  She continued to walk down the street to her house, turning around every five seconds to continue screaming at this family and their unleashed dog.

What the angry neighbor did not realize (no one is extremely close on our street), is that this family she was hating and yelling at was in the midst of a terrible trial.  The husband had been rushed into emergency quadruple bipass surgery just days before Christmas and had only recently come home from the hospital.  They are in financial trial right now, and the wife is trying to run the house, take care of her two teenage kids on her own and make sure her husband is healing and not facing any of the stress.  Her naughty pooch was not a purposeful offense.  I'm sure she did not expect there to be two dogs right outside her driveway when she opened the garage door to drive her daughter to school.

I am sure she retreated into her home and sobbed.  I would have after being screamed at like that.

The whole scene upset me.  I was so sad for both of the ladies, and I dropped to my knees and prayed for them.  I prayed for peace, for love, for understanding, for patience, and for remorse.  I prayed for me too.  How often do I assume the worst in people, have no patience for mistakes or circumstances they are facing, and, though I don't scream obscenities at them, I hold bitterness or anger in my heart.  What a powerful reminder for me this morning!

The scene provided a good discussion on kindness and forgiveness with my son. 

Whether or not other people are in hard circumstances, God calls Christians to forgive.  It is just that more powerful of a reminder, though, to know that many people we face in our day are probably dealing with their own trials and stress.  How painful to know that we might be adding to someone's sadness or despair with our impatient words or looks. 

I encourage you today to have compassion and kindness for others.  It will help you heap on forgiveness and patience as you go throughout your day. 

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”  (Matthew 18:23-35)  C. S. Lewis

Ephesians 4:1-2  “I . . .urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love”

Monday, January 16, 2012

Spring necklace

What is canteloupe orange, watermelon pink and summer sky blue all over?--my new necklace!  I went into a little boutique store in our neighborhood mall today--Francesca's Collections for those of you who live in the area--and spotted this spring necklace. 

I didn't care that I don't have the perfect top or dress for it yet.  It was about 20.00, and it made me think of cotton candy colors and sundresses.  I love it, and I wanted to share. 

My five year old said it looked like candy and was worried my two year old would eat it.  It certainly was a sweet find for me on a cloudy January day!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Airplane Party Invitations

My baby is turning 3 in March.  I can't believe it!  I have started planning ideas for the party, and I want to make sure I get the invitations out soon, as everyone's calendar is full.

I am going to do an airplane theme with orange and aqua as the colors.  I'll be sharing more decor and theme ideas as we get closer to the party, but I thought I'd share the invitations with you.

I have the Silhouette, so I looked up shapes about airplanes.  I found some cute shapes, and I loved this "ticket" idea. 

I printed them out in the party colors.

You have air mail!

I linked this to:
I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom

Monday, January 9, 2012

Canvas Verse Tutorial

I have a good friend who has a birthday this week!  I thought it would be fun to create a subway style canvas piece with her favorite Bible verse.  It wasn't difficult, just time consuming.  It will get easier now that I've made my first sign.

Get a blank canvas.  I got mine at Michael's.  I bought a 12 by 14 inch size.

Paint the top of the white canvas white.  Why, you ask?  I'll show you in a minute, but it is for touch up purposes.

Once you let the white paint dry (mine dried overnight), you can cut out your adhesive vinyl letters.  I used my Silhouette to write out most of the words from Jeremiah 29:11,13.  Next time I will play with the size of each word and have more variance.

Tape off lines equadistance apart from one another on the canvas.  My masking tape lines are 1 and 3/4 inches apart.

As you attach the vinyl letters, you can play with spacing and take off the masking tape as you go.


Now you need to choose a color to paint or spray paint your canvas.  I wanted a distressed look, so I wasn't going for glossy, perfect coverage.  My 2 year old dumped his snack bowl on the wet paint, so I had to actually add more spray paint than I planned, which took some of the grayish look I wanted away.  If you want an even spray, do a few coats.

Peel up the vinyl letters after the spray paint dries.  MAKE SURE your vinyl letters are pressed down tightly before you spray, as you get bleeding into the white space.  Don't worry, though,  because you painted the canvas a white that you can match and touch up!  This first letter was my worst one.

Here is the final product.  I dry brushed some white to make the canvas look more distressed.  The edges look great with the dry brush technique.

I like it!  I want to make one for my house that is in softer font and with a mustard or sage color.  I hope my friend likes it!  Have fun creating!

This post is linked to:

Todays Creative Blog

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Atkins, Hypothyroid, and a Metabolic History of Me

(At my mom's house, helping her cook a poached salmon dish with lime and ginger)

Like the other 5 million people New Year's dieting, I'm buckling down again in order to lose holiday pounds and the pounds I needed to lose before the holidays.  When I need to lose weight, cutting out sugar and limiting carbs is the most successful method for my metabolism. 

I didn't have to diet until I was about 28 years old.  I was always the "skinny" girl who ate whatever she wanted and still wore a size 2.  It was not something I flaunted, but I sure took it for granted.

When I hit my late 20's, my metabolism started to finally slow down, and when I got married at 28, I started Atkins a few months after my wedding.  I was still very normal and by no means overweight, but some of my coworkers were going to try the diet and I was hoping to lose about 10 pounds and reach "skinny" status again.  I was able to lose 15 pounds fairly easily, and I kept 10 of those off for years. 

Then, I had my children.  By the time I had my second boy, I was 34, and my genetics dealt me Hashimoto's disease (a type of hypothyroid disease).  I wasn't diagnosed right away, but I was frustrated with dieting and working out and not losing weight very easily.  In addition, I was able to GAIN weight by blinking.  When I told my mom I was exhausted as if someone had given me sleep medicine, and I also was having insomnia, she sent me to her endrocrinologist.  The diagnosis was Hashimoto's--my immune system was attacking my thyroid.  It was a relief to know I actually had a medical reason for all the symptoms I was feeling.

Within two years, the amount of synthroid (medicine) I need to take has tripled as my Hashimoto's progresses.  Last spring, I had clumps of hair falling out of my head when I showered or brushed my hair.  It was horrible.  Thankfully, God gave me thick, thick hair, and what would cause bald spots on many heads just thinned my hair.  Now, after my synthroid has been adjusted and raised, my hair is growing back in and I have many "fly away" hairs sticking up as my hair recovers and regrows.  Pomade is currently my best friend.

There are a couple of myths I want to debunk:  Hypothyroid patients don't just have slow metabolisms.  I get foggy brained, low energy, dry skin, brittle hair, digestive issues, and other fun side effects.  For some reason, many doctors and people think hypothyroidism is just a term for being "fat" and blaming it on a medical issue.  I wish.  Everyone's metabolism slows as they age, but this is much worse than the norm.

Also, hormone thyroid replacements, such as synthroid, don't help you lose weight--at least that isn't my experience.  They help you not continue to pack on the pounds like before, but you still have to work hard at dieting and working out, in fact much harder than a non-hypothyroid patient in order to lose the same amount of weight.  I have had people say, "I wish I had hypothyroidism and got medicine to lose weight."  Um.  That isn't quite how it works, unfortunately.  In fact, often thyroid patients can get their TSH levels back to normal and still feel many of the side effects of an underactive or overactive thyroid.  Everyone is different, so it is a tricky disease.  I highly recommend going to see an endocrinologist often if you are diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease.

Overall, it is just a good reminder that I'm in a decaying shell and to concentrate on my eternal state and relationship with God more than I do on eating and exercise.  Every gray hair, skin blemish and wrinkle remind us that we are falling apart and fighting an eventually losing battle to physically stay the same. Still, I need to take care of what God has given me and be healthy so I can be an effective wife, mom and friend.

You might hear me share some Atkins type recipes over the next few months as I diet.  Last night we had grilled Mahi Mahi with kalamata olive butter.  Tonight I made a chicken and sage soup with lemon zest and chicken broth.  My favorite low carb food is Perfect 10 bagels.  They are high in fiber and protein, and they have only 10 carbs in a whole bagel. 

Are you starting a new diet or way of eating?  Link up your post or tips in the comments!  It is great to encourage one another as we aim to eat better, live a healthy life and get moving!

I linked this to: House of Hepworths

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Eureka! Our Anniversary Trip to Gold Country

I love California history.  There is something about the west, Manifest Destiny, and pioneers that has always intrigued me.  So, needless to say, I really enjoyed our recent anniversary trip up to the Sacramento area.  We celebrated 9 years by staying at a bed and breakfast right above Sutter's Mill, the original gold finding spot that spurred the California Gold Rush in 1848.

Usually there would be some snow, but we are having an Indian Summer in California, so both our anniversary night and our following trip to Tahoe involved little to no snow.  I'll write a separate post about our Tahoe trip with friends, but here is a brief pictorial summary of our anniversary trip!  God blessed us with a wonderful time and safe trip!

We left early in the morning and got to Sacramento around 1:00.  We stopped by the Capitol building.

The Governor's office. 

We drove to our Bed and Breakfast and got to spend about an hour at the Gold Rush town and Sutter's Mill site.

Here is the Sutter's Mill replica.

Sutter's Mill

Ryan is pretending to find gold at the original location where gold was discovered.

The town was so cute and quaint.  I wish we had been there earlier in the day, as things were closing or already closed.

The beautiful river that began the Gold Rush.

Our Bed and Breakfast, Bella Vista, which I would recommend.
The view from our room in the bed and breakfast.

Our family room and kitchenette.  They only had a two bedroom available, but it was nice and spacious!

My wonderful hubby--Happy Anniversary, Ry!
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