We are finalists!!!

During a visit with my doctor recently, I was flipping through a Parenting magazine. This issue had a ton of giveaways going on, and some great info on some of the coolest baby/kid stuff out now. So, I decided to sign up for a few giveaways, why not right? While I was online I noticed that there was a “Family Road Trip” giveaway as well. How ironic! We had just decided recently that our next family vacation should be a road trip, pick a destination and just drive…stopping whereever we feel like along the way.

SOOOO…. we ended up being one of the top 10 finalists!!! Can you believe it?? We are so excited. Parenting.com requested a picture and a paragraph about our family. We submitted that about a week ago. And now it looks like voting has begun! Check it out here

It’s been an up and down last few years for us…it seems like one thing after another has hit us. Somehow, we have managed to keep our heads above water. We have been blessed for sure. With the kids getting older, we have also discovered that the amount of quality time we get with them is becoming less and less with the demands of sports and school activities. What a blessing it would be to have a vacation like this to bring us all together. After reading all of the entries, I find it hard to believe we are worthy of the prize considering the families and their stories that we are up against. BUT…. I won’t hesitate to say… click over and vote for us!!! :) It should be “an excellent adventure”!

Don’t forget to VOTE!!!

Vote here….

http://www.parenting.com/vote/meet-top-10-family-road-trip-finalists

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“Pin”to a challenge???

It seems it is that time again! Two of my bloggers ( are doing a fall edition of the Pinterest Challenge. Anyone game to join in??? My sister-in-law and I have been talking about doing a “pinterest” weekend for a couple of days and I think it will be fine to get started with a challenge!

So here is the skinny….pick a pin off of pinterest and make it your own, as in, tailor it to your own creation. Then come back and link up with me and these ladies. Make sure you check out all of the fun stuff that people do, there will be more pinning going on I’m sure!

These lovely ladies have given the challenge… can you handle it?

Sherry from Young House Love
Katie from Bower Power
Ana from Ana White
Emily from House of Earnest

Seriously, these are some very inspiring bloggers…check out their blogs, you won’t be dissappointed. And read the comments!!! There are so many great people out there, and they are just a click away!

I am going to scour my pins for the rest of the week and see what I can come up with. Hopefully something fun!! I hope you guys can join in!

Mid-century redo

I finally have my first piece to refinish!!! Can’t wait for the afters!! Here is a piece I picked up from Craigslist this week. Happy birthday to me!

Sorry about the picture quality… it’s a cell phone pic. I will see if I can get a better before picture prior to starting on this project.

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I am so excited about this piece! I am toying with a couple of options for it, but will most likely end up with a darker stain and possibly a painted top. Will keep you posted with all the details of how this comes along! And thank goodness for my mom and dad!! It is residing at their house for the time being and I am hoping my dad will help me with this!

Step 1 of Master bedroom rescue!

Cloth or plastic?

Not exactly the question they ask at the grocery store, huh? Well that is the question that we asked ourselves recently. Cloth diapers of plastic disposables? Some of you will cringe when you read this, but we are going cloth. At least that is the plan!! I finally picked up some cloth diapers today. And by finally, I mean after realizing that there are so.many.choices.out.there. These aren’t the same white cloths with cute little safety pins your momma used.
I ended up finding a local momma who was destaching(paring down her diaper stash) and bought some very gently used cloth diapers for my little man. We are starting with AIO(all-in-ones), pocket diapers and fitteds for night-time. I chose several kinds in hopes to discover which we like the best. I have to tell ya, one of the diapers I purchased is absolutely adorable. I can’t wait to get it on his cute little bum.

From all I have read from other’s experience… have at least 12 diapers, wash every other day, use a wet bag while you are out (I guess a kroger bag will work till we decide if we are committing to this). Some people love it, some people have no use for it, and some people have never tried it. I sure hope we are in the ‘love it’ crowd!! If you add up what we have spent on diapers since Ashton was born, it’s creeping close to a grand. Yikes! And going cloth is kinda like going green… no more disposables filling up land fills from our house!

So..here we go.. this will be a new adventure!!!

Anyone out there using cloths? How do/did you like them? Share your experience!

Master bedroom inspiration

So the master bedroom.. needs help!! I haven’t really done anything in there since we moved in. No paint on the walls, very little hanging on the walls. What is on the walls goes with the bed-set that was handed down to me by my mom. Did I mention the bedroom set was also passed on to me from my mom? I have never purchased furniture for the bedroom that I picked out. Ever. So it’s time to remedy that. Enter: inspiration and Pinterest of course. I have been looking for ideas and inspiration on what I would really like in that room. It is a large room, but we have lots going on in there.

Here is the furniture in that room now:

King bed
2 night stands
tall dresser
long dresser with mirror
large cabinet my father made
crib 1 lg & 1 sm dog crate
small cheap bookshelf
bowflex workout bench

Yea… all that in that room. It’s a little much, and it’s hard to arrange. It’s pretty much everything against the walls. Bleh. Here are some pics of how it was a month ago, I did rearrange it, putting the bed in the middle of that wall that has the crib and dresser. But I am still not happy with it.

As you can see… it’s not much to brag about. It has no personality, it isn’t cohesive with the rest of the house and it clearly needs help. So my plan is to put together a plan. lol Gotta start somewhere right?

I have been busy putting together some inspiration. One of the sites that I have learned through other bloggers is Olioboard. You can put together mood boards with all of the info on the pieces that you are using. Or you can upload your own photos, or use ones from the web that strike your fancy. There is also a site called MyDeco. I like that one as well, but Olioboard seems to be my go to. I finished this mood board up a little while ago. It seems that I may be getting closer to a plan. At least I have some colors that I like and feel will flow well with the rest of the house.

Now I am no expert, but I will try and explain what my thought process was with this room.

1. We want a platform bed. That is one thing we have always agreed on. This is not necessarily the one we want, but something similar I beleive would work.
2. I love pillows on a bed. So we need some pillows that bring in the dashes of color.
3. Rather than bedside lights, I have considered the lights that hang above the bed, or attach to the bed. This isn’t set in stone yet..just throwing around ideas.
4. The nightstands- not sure on these. I like that they have drawers and a little texture. This area has room for change for sure.
5. The dresser… I love it!!! I am going to look at a craigslist find Monday that looks very close to this. I may end up doing a different stain or even something along the lines of this Anthropologie dresser. Not sure. But I love the look of the dresser.
6. An ottoman/bench at the end of the bed… for storage and it grounds the bed since there is not footboard. This ottoman is not exactly what I want, but close.
7. The jute rug, added for texture and for a base for the bed.
8. Sheepskin rug…I would like to use one on each side of the bed, or maybe a throw over the ottoman. 9. I like this rug as well, so I’m on the fence what to use
10. These IKEA curtains, I like how bright they are.
11. Bamboo blinds for some texture
12. Oops, missed 12*how did that happen? runs through my mind as my 1 yr old grabs my leg again*
13. Some sort of hanging light. I am in love with the concept of a drum shade on a ceiling light, I may end up doing that. But these lights looked pretty neat.
14. The colors-walls a light grey, with accents in green, yellow, orange and red. Seems busy, but it will tie together well.

Here are some of the rooms that inspire me. Little pieces of them just draw me.

This bedroom is found at House Tweaking, I love how this is a repurposed material, and makes the space feel homey (not to be mistaken with homely).

Fence headboard

This bedroom I love because it has a mix of styles that I like, it has clean lines which draws me in. This room can be found over at Young House Love

Bedroom at YHL

And this room I love because its a little retro, but it still feels relevant today. Love the yellows, and will def. be using some in my room.

This photo can be found over at House to Home.

My major inspirations on this decorating journey I am on can really be attributed to the blogs I read daily. Seriously, I am addicted to Young House Love, and Bower Power has helped a lot as well. I find myself on these blogs clicking links and reading for hours. It’s actually worse than that Pinterest addiction. So that’s that… it’s still kind of all over the place. Figuring out what really works for me, doesn’t get the snarled up nose from my husband, and ties into the whole look is taking time. I would love to find a piece of inspiration somewhere that will help bring it all together. The search is still on. Anyone else trying to put together a look or style(home or fashion)? Maybe revamping an old piece of furniture?

Caramel Apple Trifle

Boss’ Day was Sunday… did anyone know that? Well, my co-worker and I decided that we would whip up a little something for our boss to bring in on Monday. I am very good with desserts, and I really enjoy making things that people will scarf up. Ok, reword that, that sounded way too much like upchuck. SO… I really enjoy making things that people will devour. Enter: my brilliant plan to use my boss and other co-workers as guinea pigs. I had seen on Pinterest that you could boil a can of sweetened condensed milk for 4 hours and it will come out as caramel. I have been dying to try this. sweetened condensed milk in our house is like crack, so how could this go wrong?? ha… I got started on this at around 9:00 pm Sunday night.. mind you, I am not a night owl, bed time for me would be with the baby if I had my way about it. But, things to do, so I stayed up to get this little treat made.

Here is what I started with:
1 angel food cake
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 can apple pie filling
2 tsp cinnamon

I didn’t have 4 hours to watch a can boil so I opted to make this on the stove top in a saucepan. I poured in the sweetened condensed milk and stirred constantly on low for about 45 minutes.

That’s around the time that ASM decided to wake back up. Off I went to get him back to sleep. I removed the pan from the burner so it wouldn’t burn. That sounded like a good plan right? Wrong! When I came back it was firm, like fudge firm.

Great, it’s 9:30, we live miles from a store and I have to come up with something. I put the pan back on low to see if it would soften when it got warm. Lucky break! It softened right up, so I added some milk and a little sugar to it to thin it out a little. I stirred that around for a while, waiting for what, I am not sure, then turned the heat off the burner and moved the pan away from it. I have to note here, that it never turned that pretty caramel color. It just looked like warm sweetened condensed milk. I am sure I didn’t do it right, like how I read you should use a double boiler. Anyhoo, I didn’t take it off the stove, thinking that if I left it there it would stay warm = soft.
I then took the angel food cake and sliced it in half, then into about 1-1 1/2 inch pieces. Next was the apple pie filling. I must admit, slicing and cooking some apples would have tasted far better. But I knew I wouldn’t be worth a hoot if I stayed up late enough to do all that. I did doctor up the pie filling though. I added cinnamon to it.

Time to build this thing!! I made a layer of the angel food cake on the bottom of a trifle dish (you could use whatever clear dish you want, but I would make sure it’s at least 5 to 6 inches deep to get the pretty layering effect). Mine didn’t look layered like I would normally like… blame it on the “caramel”. I spooned half of the pie filling on top of the angel food cake, followed by half of the “caramel”. Then repeat that process over again with the rest of your ingredients. That’s it! Your done! These types of recipes truly are so simple. I covered it and put it in the fridge for the next day.

Remember how the “caramel” had gotten firm the night before? Well, 2 guesses on what it did in the fridge overnight, and it didn’t stay smooth and creamy if that was your first guess (although I appreciate the confidence in me lol). The whole thing was a big ball of angel food cake/sweetened condensed milk stuff/apple pie. Well, you know how you can remedy that? No, I didn’t put the whole thing back in the saucepan on low again. I just left it out of the fridge to thaw out for an hour or so. Then I drizzled it with store-bought caramel(duh, should have just bought that in the first place since I was short-cutting the apples), and spooned some cool whip on top.

So was this a pass or fail? Believe it or not.. this was a Pass!!! Everyone loved it! I thought it was a little too sweet, should have used pound cake to ground it a little. But overall, it turned out well.

SO has anyone else had a baking debacle lately? Any sinful treats that need to be shared with the world?

DIY canvas project

Thanks to my Pinterest addiction, I started this project last weekend. I have always coveted the canvas prints that add some dimension to a photo, but just couldn’t bring myself to pay that price. Well, when I spied this baby on Pinterst, I knew that I would be able to have a canvas with our favorite family photo. So here is my own attempt at making a canvas.
Now, before you start scrolling down, let me preface this with a little warning. I am a work in process on the DIY front. I love some DIY, but when I try and tackle a project, it never seems to turn out quite like I expect it to. Whether you blame it on misleading pics in the original tutorial, lack of access to the same resources, or just plain lack of ability on my part, it still seems that I am slowly but surely getting better at it.

Here is what I started with:

1 blank 8×10 canvas
1 8×10 photo (mine was just printed on paper)
1 sponge applicator
1 container of Mod Podge (mine is homemade – find the tutorial on that here)
acrylic paint in black

I began by trimming my picture down to fit up the edges of the canvas. I actually flipped the canvas upside down on top of the picture and used a pencil to trace where to cut. I brushed some mod podge onto the canvas with the sponge applicator and carefully laid the picture on top. It sticks pretty quick so I would take your time lining it up before you actually let it touch the canvas. I wanted it to dry on well before I proceeded so I flipped it upside down and used some cans of food to weigh it down hoping it would help it seal all the way around. I used the cellophane that the canvas came wrapped in under it to keep the modpodge from getting on the table and sticking.

Once it was dry I flipped it over to see what I had.

It adhered very well! So the next step was to do something about the sides of the canvas so that it would all look like one big piece, not a glued on photo. In the tutorial I was using for this, she used scrapbook paper on the edges. I didn’t really have anything on hand that I wanted to use, so I just painted the sides black with the acrylic paint using the sponge applicator again. I also sponged a little over the edges to cover the photo slightly and give a shaded in effect. Here is what I had at that point…

I let that sit to dry for about 20 minutes before I moved on. I didn’t want black acrylic paint to mix in with the mod podge if it was still wet. I took the sponge applicator and lightly brushed the mod podge over the entire surface of the photo. Here is where I ran into some trouble. In the tutorial I was using, the mod podge went on almost like paint, but mine was beading up like water. My first thought was that I hadn’t mixed it correctly and had used more water than I should have. So I pulled out another container of glue and added glue to it, probably about half of that bottle. I shook that up really well and tried again. Once I had put the first coat on I lightly dabbed it with a paper towel to avoid the modpodge from drying spotty. So I didn’t try that second coat until that was dry. I had the same results with the second coat. At this point I took a break from it to figure out what I might be doing wrong, if anything. My conclusion? No clue why it wasn’t looking the same. But once the second coat dried I realized that the effect I was getting was ok. I did notice that the photo wasn’t sticking on the edges all the way around so I had this odd little effect that showed white underneath…

I simply took a small paintbrush and painted underneath a little with the black acrylic paint. Then I covered that with a little more modpodge so it wouldn’t be so matte from the paint. The acrylic paint that I was using was extremely matte finish, almost chalky.

So I let that dry and left it alone for a few days… then went back to it to see if I like the finished product.

The verdict? I like it. It’s not exactly what I had pictured, and maybe I should buy a bottle of mod podge just to compare the DIY version to, but I think it turned out quite well. Here it is on my picture wall(not its home, and that wall isn’t complete, but I wanted to see it on a wall).


So what do you think? Would this pass for a photo canvas? Has anyone else done anything fun with a photo lately? Or finally tackled a Pinterest project?

***Update: I found this blog post on Pinterest and it makes sense to me. I thought I should pass on the info to all of you so that you could make a more informed decision about making your own mod podge. I did purchase some mod podge and I found it to be easier to work with, give a nice finish, and dry faster. I will hang onto my homemade stuff to use when I can, but if I am making something to keep forever and ever….I will use the real stuff. Maybe years from now I can see if my crafts yellow…maybe not. Hope this helps someone out!

Weekend wonders

Well another weekend has come and gone. Fall is finally in the air and we are loving it! Exciting news of the weekend? We ran a 5k on Saturday!! Can I get a woot woot??!! ok, enough celebration, cause we packed those calories back on the rest of the weekend. oops! The 5k was pretty crazy, this is the 3rd year our family joined in (although I opted out last year since it was about 1 month post-preggers). I think I forgot over the last 2 years how hard the Fincastle 5k is. It’s like 75% hills! Ok, maybe more like 50% hills, but still, if you have ever run a 5k, that’s a lotta climbing. We made pretty good time considering none of us really trained very well for this. Jeff came in at 31 minutes, G-mike was right behind him. Izzo and I stopped at 34 minutes. Not too shabby eh?

Here is our BEFORE shot…

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And after the first mile… see all those kids? Speed bumps… there were a ton of kids…

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And look! We had cheerleaders!! Grandma and ASM came out to see us!

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This picture was taken atop Cematery Loop (a.k.a Killer Hill) What a beautiful morning… and what a major pain getting up that hill.

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And AFTER!! Still have smiles on our faces!!

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Our next stop was the arts and crafts show at the Civic center in Roanoke. This time of year there are always lots of shows and festivals… it’s one of the reasons we love fall! I fell in love with this artist. Whenever ASM gets his own room, we will be picking up something from her for sure!!

And then it was on to Ikenberry’s, a local orchard, where they were making apple butter. You can see them cutting up apples to throw in that big pot t make the apple butter. All you need for that pot is a 5 lb biscuit.

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I fell in love with this little guy… they had all kinds of cute home decor.. I was quite impressed with the selection.

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And of course, we had to take advantage of all of the “props” they had ready for us…

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And let me tell you… he thought he was big stuff on that little straw bale they put out there just for his little diapered tush.

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We wrapped up the afternoon at G-mike’s peewee football game(good game!) And ASM decided he was hungry… so ensued the “Hummm!s” His word for Feedme. We handed him over an apple that we had in the car.. score mom and dad!!! He loves apples. Little squirrel teeth marks in it from his 4 little front teeth.
And yes, he is in fact rocking his sunglasses on his head.. those are baby sunglasses. He puts them up on his head like his momma does hers :)

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Of course, there was another festival on Sunday.. and mandatory donut eating was on our itenarery. The Clifton Forge festival was going on this weekend as well, and every year we stand in line to get a dozen(or more) of the donuts they make fresh. So, one dozen donuts, a little bit of fudge and a sugar crazed 1 year old later we were heading home for the evening. Of course, ASM came down off his sugar high as we were getting in the car and snoozed the whole way home. What a great weekend!

Anyone else festival hop this weekend? Or eat themselves into a sugar-induced coma? Or maybe ran a 10k or 2?

Pinned anything today???

I have something to admit… I am addicted to Pinterest. There, I said it. I don’t think I need any recovery from it though..I love it!! Pinterest is a site where you can virtually “pin” pictures from the internet onto a “board” and save them up to reference later. The “pin” links back to the original site (usually, although it can be buggy on occasion) so you can “pin” that picute of cookie dough truffles and when your looking for a yummy recipe to make one day, you can check out your board that you saved all of the goodies to and link back to the cookie dough truffle site. Make sense? Well thanks to Pinterest, I have had lots of inspiration on things around the house. And food, and clothes, and photographs.

Here are some pins that I have tried. I will post my results on a couple of them once they are complete and I am happy with them…

Canvas
capiz

You can find info on those here and here.

You can find things like meal planning…
meal planning

Or some really neat home decor…

cool home decor

It really is an awesome place to be. I have used it to plan out birthday parties, and I am going to use it as a place to collect Christmas gift ideas.

It is scary when you get in there and you just-can’t-break-away. I have to admit there are times when I am on there that I wonder what some of these people do all day long. There are some members that have thousands of pins. WOW… that takes some time! I actually envy thier ability to pin all day long… I get like 30 minutes tops. And that is generally more in the morning around 5:15ish when I am eating breakfast. If anyone is interested in joining send me a message and I will send you an invite. I promise you won’t regret it :) Ok, well, maybe a little for all the lost time in the day pinning away. But it will be time well spent (I tell myself that each time I close out of the webpage).

I can promise that you will feel one thing when you leave that site… Inspired!!!

Johnson’s Farm..maybe not THAT natural

Well, our Peaks of Otter hike was switched to a Johnson Farm hike.

Just as fun, not so hard, and much faster. This hike is in the same vicinity as the other. It’s about a mile or so up, and once you get there, an old farm awaits you. This little nugget is sitting in an open area up on the side of a mountain. We are moving here, I may be late for work every now and then with the commute though. Although the lack of indoor plumbing may put the move off for a while…

We packed ASM on and headed up.

It isn’t a difficult hike at all, pretty simple trail. It was originally built in 1854 and a family lived there. The old farmhouse and other out buildings are still standing. We saw this interestingly scary scarecrow when we first got to the farm… I am not sure I want to look out my window at night and see the moon shining on this dude… how about you?

We walked around the farmhouse and let me tell you, I want to do natural, but I do have some limits!! That is the soap they used for washing clothes, hair, table, etc…

People back then knew how to work, wow. I guess they didn’t have much choice. Either do it or go without, and sometimes going without just wasn’t an option.

Check out this sewing machine… how’d you like to work with that baby?? lol, thanks, but I will pass.

Virginia has a ton of places to hike. One of the joys of living in the mountains is having access to many hiking trails, many of which have awesome endings (i.e. waterfalls or views when you reach the end).

I was able to get a few good shots of the boys. Decent enough for our little camera.

So that was our Sunday… much prettier than today for sure. What a great way to spend a fall day. We will tackle the Peaks soon though, hopefully right after the leaves start changing..it’s absolutely beautiful up there in the fall.