3.26.2016

DIY Fancy X Farmhouse Dining Table!


I've been wanting to build some new living room/dining room furniture for a while now.  I have loved looking up plans on Ana White's site as well as Shanty2chic to get ideas.  Their collaboration for a fancy x farmhouse table was #1 on my list.  I love the look as well as the reasonable price especially compared to anthropolgy's $$$ retail store price tag!  Check out their free wood plans here.  

Well it was a total shock when last month my hubby looked the plans over and decided to help me build one!  I was over the moon thrilled since I'm about 7 months pregnant and most everyone thinks I'm nuts for wanting to build new furniture now.  My reasoning is, well that's why I want my hubby to do it!

The plans were pretty straight forward and we just followed it step by step.  He picked up the wood from Home Depot and got to work on the cut list.  It helped to work as a team so one person could square off when needed, glue and hold the x feet pieces in place while the other person screwed or nailed it together.  Our only big hitch was when we built the matching longer benches we didn't check the placement of the feet.  When it was all done we weren't able to push the benches under the table!  We wanted to be able to tuck them in so we had to remove the feet and redo that step.  Otherwise this wasn't a hard first wood furniture project to do together!  Here are a few pics during the building process (ignore my messy garage):





It was also the first time either of us had used a kreg jig and it was definitely worth buying!  We bought the small junior kit and it worked well for the steps that suggested using one.  I picked up the kreg jig R3 kit from lowes or you can always order it off amazon which can be found here.  We used it to attach the table top to the base instead of using L brackets underneath.


He planed a few areas to make it more even and sanded everything down really well.  Next, he applied wood conditioner before staining to help the wood absorb it more evenly.  I bought this minwax pre stain wood conditioner (pictured below) and that can be found here.

Then we applied two coats of red oak 215 minwax stain (we waited 24 hours between coats).  The wood conditioner did help out with staining it more evenly.  We tested it before hand on scrap wood to see if it made a difference and it did!

 He applied three coats of minwax semi gloss polyurethane to seal it.  He waited 24 hours between coats and he lightly sanded in between too.  We left it out to dry for two or three days before setting it up inside our house.  



Overall it cost us a bit more than $65 as suggested by Shanty2Chic since we needed to buy the kreg jig, wood conditioner, and a second can of both stain and polyurethane (I had 3/4 of a can of each already) in addition to the supply list.  I love our new dining table!  It'll fit our soon to be family of 6 plus a couple of guests.  Now I've just got to figure out how to decorate it!

2.27.2016

4th birthday party at Chick Fil A

We celebrated A's 4th birthday party at one of his favorite places.....chick fil a. Besides the chicken nuggets his favorite thing is the indoor playground and with the weather being pretty cold outside here on the east coast this was the perfect place!  Some of his preschool friends came to celebrate with him and he couldn't of been happier.



I made a few goodies for his friends to take home!  The sugar cookies with royal icing (tutorial can be found here) is the same as I've made in the past.  I used some blue americolor food gel to get a pretty blue color so I could pipe on the number 4 then I just put sprinkles on the rest.  I created a label for the cookie bags on my computer to print out and staple onto the top of the bag.  I also made a label for the bubbles to thank his friends for coming.  The happy birthday pennant is the same one I've done for their previous birthdays and I just taped it on the wall (tutorial can be found here).  I bought a red velvet cake from Costco and the candle/cake topper and the punch balloons are from target. 


This was a really easy birthday party to host.  No clean up and an indoor playground for the kiddos to run around and play!  The staff was super helpful and the place is nice and clean.  I ordered a small tray of chick fil a nuggets, a large tray of chicken cool wraps, a gallon of lemonade, and a gallon of sweetened iced tea for the parents to snack on.  I ordered individual kids meals for each of the kiddos.  They all seemed to have a good time and A was one happy kiddo!


2.25.2016

Best Vanilla Cupcakes!

For my sons 4th birthday he wanted to bring vanilla cupcakes with blue frosting to school.  In the past I have tried about 3 recipes for vanilla cupcakes and they have either been too dense, too sweet or just not as good as the 'box'.  This time I hit the nail on the head!  My hubby finally said this cupcake recipe was better than the box!


I found the recipe on this blog called hub pages or click here.  I added an extra 1/4 c of 2% milk otherwise I followed her instructions and they turned out great!

Her recipe is:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla (add more for a super-vanilla taste)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Bake at 350f for 15-18 mins.

I made a buttercream frosting, added 2 drops of blue food gel and piped it on top.  I felt like making them 'fancy' so I did a rosette.  The rosette is really easy you just start in the middle then circle around until you reach the outside edge.  



My son thought they were so pretty and couldn't wait to bring them to school to show his teacher and friends.  

2.17.2016

RH Inspired Pipe Shelves!

Restoration Hardware no longer carries these modern industrial looking shelves but regardless they were pretty pricey to say the least.  I love the look of them but not the price tag!

This project is super easy and quick!   Measure out the space so you know how much wood you need.  For this particular project I had a scrap piece of wood that worked perfect for the empty wall space on my kitchen wall!  We cut it in half and sanded it down so the edges of the wood were smooth.  I didn't bother to stain, distress and/or seal but you could if you wanted a certain wood color or look.


We went to Home Depot and picked up 1/2" pipes that were 10" long, 1/2" floor phalanges and 1/2" end caps from their plumbing department.  I needed 4 of each and since they were already black I didn't even need to spray paint them.  The floor phalanges got screwed into the wall with 4 screws each (those we already had).  We marked out where each was going and used a level to make sure it was straight.  We also weren't able to match the wall studs on both sides so one side needed drywall anchors before attaching 2 of the floor phalanges.


Then attach the pipes and finally the end caps.  Remove any stickers and lay the wooden boards on top.



Done!  Well then someone has to clean up.  I snapped this picture before I cleaned up the drywall mess....

2.12.2016

Non candy Valentine's Day treats!


This year I decided to send a snack rather than candy into school for Valentine's Day.  Every year the kiddos come home with a shoe box or bag stuffed full of candy and trinkets so I thought it would be nice to send something other than candy.

They chose apple sauce and chips.  I know it's not the healthiest of all snacks but it's not candy so win-win, right?  I hopped online to search what was out there.  I was surprised to see so many options!  These were their two of their favorites so I'm going to print them out and stick them onto snack sized bags of chips for my daughter and attach them to apple sauce squeeze packets for my son.  Plus, this looks super easy!

I found the chip label from a blog called eighteen25 or click here.  I added a heart background as well as my daughters name.  I think it made it a bit more girly and saved her from writing her name on each one!


The apple sauce or awesomsauce tags were found from a blog called dimple prints or click here.  I chose the one on page 3 because the apple had a mustache!  Then I typed my sons name on each one.


Print and cut out the labels.  Pick up your favorite snack sized bag of chips and/or apple sauce containers and tape on the 'notes'.  Quick, simple and best of all easy!  


Happy Valentine's Day!

2.08.2016

DIY Chinese Red Envelopes

Happy Chinese New Year!  It's the year of the monkey.  I thought it would fun for my kiddos to bring some chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil to share with their friends at school. I remember those being one of my favorite things when I was a child during our Chinese New Year visits to the older relatives.  I asked their teachers and they both said it was ok to send these in.  I was planning to just send a bag of chocolate coins then thought it might be neat to send them in individual red envelopes for each student.  

After looking at the Asian grocery store I didn't find any I liked.  They were all very elaborate and busy so I went online to look for a template.  I found one on a blog called Lil Country Librarian or click here.   I needed to edit the file so I could fit two envelopes per page rather than one.  I also added the Chinese character for monkey, a picture of a monkey and the year.  Then I printed them out, folded in two of the three tabs, glued, put two chocolate coins into each one and then folded the last tab over on top.

What you'll need:
Red paper
Printer for a template
Glue stick
Scissors
Chocolate coins



The kiddos really liked them and were excited to take them to school to share with their friends!

2.04.2016

Make It Yourself! Whole wheat bread


I decided to give bread making a try.  I've been trying to think of things that may be better homemade and bread was one of the items on my list.  I found this recipe from the blog Jenny can cook or click here.  Her recipe is by far the easiest and simplest that I've seen from searching online.  But best of all it's worked the three times I've tried it!  She also has a you tube video so you can follow step by step and see exactly how everything should look.

Here's her recipe:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread flour or all purpose flour (I used all purpose)
2 teaspoons or 1 packet of instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup 1% milk heated to 120f for instant yeast (I used 2% and microwaved it for 45 seconds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg (room temperature)
*1/4 cup additional all purpose flour if needed 

Instructions:
In mixing bowl add in flour, yeast, sugar and salt

Stir in milk then add in oil and egg

Beat on high for 2 minutes

Switch to low speed and add 1/4 bread or all purpose flour slowly until dough forms a mass

Remove dough and place on floured surface to knead 50 turns


Cover and let rest 10 minutes

Shape dough into greased bread loaf pan


Cover and let rise in a warm spot until 1" taller than bread loaf pan (about 35 minutes)
*Since its cold here on the east coast I warm my oven to 100f then turn it off and place the covered bread loaf in to rise.  For me it take about 40-45 minutes.  

Bake at 375f for 30 minutes (after 15 minutes cover loaf with foil tent to prevent over browning)


That's it!  Super simple but delicious homemade whole wheat bread! I've made a fresh loaf on Sunday for the past three weeks and each loaf lasts us the week.  I leave it wrapped in foil on the counter and just slice what I need to make their lunches.  My husband and kiddos love it.  I like knowing what's in it and that I was able to bake something they enjoy.



1.25.2016

DIY haircut

Ever thought of cutting your own hair?  I've been debating whether or not to try as my hair is long overdue for a trim.  The plus side is I would be saving a ton of money if I am able to pull this off.  There is also no real downside because if it looks terrible I'll just go to a professional to fix it.  So after researching different techniques or ways to go about cutting my own hair this is what I think I'll try.


This ponytail haircut looks fairly simple and easy to do.  The long layers or long layers with a boost in the back seem like safe bets!  The picture and instructions can be found on the blog how to hair girl or with this link.

1.10.2016

DIY kitchen soap cake stand

This easy and simple DIY will make a good spot for your kitchen soaps, sponges and etc.  I've make cake stands before to use at parties and don't know why I haven't thought to use one next to the sink.  It's a cute way to organize and keep the sink area less cluttered. 


I headed over to goodwill to find a decent side candle stick and ceramic plate.  I was able to find ones I thought would work well for my kitchen for only $0.99 each!

Clean and dry the plate and candle stick holder.  Turn the plate upside down, use some super glue to rim the top edge of your candle stick, then turn and place it in the middle of your plate.  Hold the candle stick down onto the plate for 10-20 seconds.  Leave it to dry overnight.  

Voila!  That's it.  Easy peasy, wasn't it?  Now just decorate with your favorite soaps, sponges, etc.  

8.16.2015

Founding Farmers in Washington DC



Founding Farmers in Washington DC on Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the four restaurants owned by the farmers restaurant group.  We went to have dinner there and their motto of 'natural and quality' rang true in our meal.



We ordered the bread appetizer with fig, prosciutto and marscopone as well as the cornbread skillet with honey butter.  The fog, prosciutto and marscopone was my fav but hubby liked the cornbread more.  


Next, we had the fried chicken salad, short rib entree and boneless rib eye entree.  For sides we chose red skin mashed potatoes, pearl pasta and green beans.  All three were delish but if we go back my picks would be the fried chicken salad and boneless rib eye over the short rib entree.


The kiddos loved the food too!  The service staff was helpful, friendly and best of all quick.  With the kids in tow I was worried about having a long wait without a reservation but we were seated quickly (less than 30 minutes) and with food on the table shortly after we ordered.  We are definitely going back to explore more of the menu!

8.08.2015

Cute Succulent Terrarium idea!

FWe just bought a new (old) house and I have begun pinning away ideas on how I want to decorate it!  I do not have a 'green thumb' more like a 'black thumb' so house plants or herb gardens are definitely not an option.  I have seen a few of these succulent terrarium photos around pinterest and I think I will give this a try.  I love that each one is unique and beautiful but best of all easy to maintain.

How to make a succulent terrarium. This would look great in my office; it would look great anywhere; and I think it would make a wonderful gift idea, as well.

This is not my photo.  The original tutorial can be found here on bowerpowerblog.com

7.11.2015

Make It Yourself! Lunchables

How easy is this?!


Prepping for our two week road trip out east I have been writing down ideas for homemade pre packaged food for us to eat on the road.


Here's one idea of what I had for some quick and easy lunches for the kids.  I used pre sliced tilmock cheese and cut them into 4 squares.  I reused the wax paper to hold 6 slices of cheese together.  



Using snack sized zip loc bags I filled each with 10 slices of pepperoni and 6 squares of cheese.  That's it!  Hardly any prep time and an alternative to sandwiches while we are on the road.  I have two sleeves of ritz crackers as well that I'll add in when its time to eat.  

7.06.2015

Easy travel outfits

We are about to embark on a 2.5 week road trip that is taking us to 6 national parks and 2 national monuments so I was looking up easy travel outfits that would also mix and match easily.  Here are a few of my favorites and the best part is most of these outfits used items I already had in my closet!


Wardrobe re-design - the Mother's Day edition http://styleunearthed.com/wardrobe-re-design-update-the-mothers-day-edition/


The original post for this maxi skirt outfit can be found here


The original post for why you should pack black leggings can be found here.



This pretty much sums up the other items in my suitcase but instead of cargo pants I chose a pair of jeggings and instead of a black mini I chose to pack a pair of black shorts.  This site has so many great ideas it's hard to pick which is best!  Click here to find your perfect travel wardrobe.

6.28.2015

DIY Hello Kitty 6th birthday Party!

My daughter loves Hello Kitty so it was no surprise that when it came time to plan her party she asked for a Hello Kitty Theme.  We chose The Jumpy Place and it was a awesome!  Inside you must wear socks and there is a party area just off to the side of all the jumpy sections.  Their party package included the table cloths, plates, napkins, and 3 balloons.  The staff was really friendly and helpful and I think all the kids had a great time!


Here are a bunch of little diy things that I did to make it Hello Kitty themed for her birthday.  (Ignore the milk carton and sandwich I forgot to remove them before taking a picture!)  I printed out 2 hello kitty images and taped one on the table and one the wall.  The little food labels were also printed on computer paper and I just wrote in what was in the sandwiches.


For the food:  I made turkey, ham, and pb&j sandwiches.  Fruit skewers were made up of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and grapes.  From costco I bought a large box of individually packaged chips, bottled water (I printed off hello kitty labels that can be found here and here), and horizons regular 2% and chocolate milk cartons.


DIY happy birthday pennant is the same I used for their previous birthdays just different colored card stock paper.  I used the triangle template to cut out the card stock then printed out the letters to say Happy 6th Birthday Kayla onto computer paper.  I cut out the circles and glued them onto the card stock triangles.  This year instead of stringing the pennant we just taped them on the wall.  (tutorial can be found here).


The hot pink number 6 is made out of hot pink tissue pom poms that I taped onto a cardboard cut out of the number 6 (tutorial can be found here).





This year I decided to make her birthday cake rather than buy one.  I did buy a hello kitty cupcake kit which had the hello kitty candy and hello kitty cupcake toppers but I used those on the sandwiches instead.

I bought a box of dunkin hines pink and yellow cake mix and just followed the directions on the box.  I used a home made brownie recipe for the third layer (recipe can be found here).  For all 3 layers I used my spring foam circular pan and let them cool.  Then starting with the brownie layer I cut off the top so it would sit flat then I added a thin layer of cream cheese frosting and worked my way up then I frosted it all around.


I used leftover red royal icing from her goody bag cookies to write Happy Birthday Kayla right onto the plate.  


These were her goody bags.  I printed off the labels to say Thank You For Coming To Kayla's 6th Birthday!  I also printed off labels for the bubbles that I purchased from the dollar section in target that said Thank You!  Kayla.  We had a pack of hello kitty tattoos at home that I threw in to give to each child.








I made round sugar cookies frosted with white royal icing and red sprinkles as well as hello kitty sugar cookies frosted with white royal icing, red royal icing for the bow, yellow m & m for the nose, and black royal icing for the eyes.  I used a black frosting pen for the whiskers.  Tutorial for sugar cookies with royal icing can be found here.

All the kids seemed really happy with their goody bags and Kayla was so happy her friends could celebrate her birthday with her.  We can't believe our little girl is now 6!