Island all its own

Once upon a time we had an island. 

We really liked our old island. It started off a natural oak color and we refinished/repainted it the summer I was pregnant with Luke. Although old faithful really saw us through a lot (a wedding, move, and baby), we thought it was time we get something that looked more              permanent (for lack of a better word). We didn't like how the casters looked (it made it look like a quick fix) and at one point we took them off, but Josh complained how low the counter was (it didn't bother me because I'm short).
This was a before (taken from the website- horrible picture!)
and after we painted/stained it:

We have sort of been keeping our eye on them on a off whenever we are out and about. We frequently checked Lowes and we perused them at Read Deals the last time we were there. But we just never found one that we love- and that had the right price tag. (we bought our original one for $119). 

This one is beautiful- 
but for $959 we passed. 
and this was cute:
but the $419 price tag still stung a little. 

I have been shocked to see some of the furniture that Big Lots has. I'm not sure why, but it kind of caught me off guard that they have furniture. So insert this e-mail that we received: 
Love at first sight. It was everything we wanted. Larger island with more storage. Granite top. Oh did I mention BLACK granite top? (we have a black sink and black appliances). So it was love. And we loved the price. Since it was only $130 more than the original one we bought 5 years ago!
We planned a trip to Seneca that day, but because we've been burned before with online deals/stores not having items in stock we decided to call to double check that that particular island was in stock. They gave us the go ahead, and we made our way. 

Only to find THIS: 
So I very kindly told the gentleman in the furniture department that we did not drive 30 miles with gas at $4 a gallon (whyyyy is gas so expensive right now??) only to have the wrong "normal" price on the item. He assured me that if we could prove the price online that he would honor it so Josh and I whipped out our iPhones simultaneously to search for what we had found earlier. As we did that the salesman disappeared. Almost as soon as we found the online sale price he came apologizing that he hadn't marked the sales properly, and that the island was actually supposed to be $249, not $349. Vindicated, and sold!

If I said assembly was easy I would be the world's biggest fattest liar. It was anything but and choosing to start this on a Saturday night at 9:45pm was a bad idea. But we pushed through and finished!
It was everything we needed! It gives us 2 huge drawers (1 actually has dividers for foil boxes and ziploc bags). The only part that didn't fully come together properly was the drawers. Notice the 2 holes to the left of the top drawer? Those shouldn't be seen. But for some reason (either an un-level floor or too heavy drawers) the drawers slowly slide open. So we had to cram them back in, hence showing the holes. We're hoping to find some door/drawer weights and pop them on the back of the drawer to solve this problem. Hopefully the holes will disappear at that point. Our kitchen only has 1 large drawer (big enough to hold all our utensils) and this gives us another option since the "real" drawer is showing some wear.

When we talked about buying this we actually decided that we would paint it/antique distress it white. I was on board, Josh was on board, and then we brought it home... and what we thought was a walnut stain was really more like the orangey stain that is in our cabinets. I've yet to find a name for our cabinets... they're not cherry... I'm at a loss. It was incredible and we happy danced around it when we realized it.matched.perfectly! Plus with the black top it couldn't be better! I can't even imagine it white now. It just looks like an extension of our cabinets!
I thought of doing some sort of chalkboard paint on this... but I really don't want to mess with it yet. The new-ness factor hasn't worn off yet. Oh and see the trim around the base? Yep, it's actually on casters so it's mobile!! Yet with how heavy the granite top is it doesn't go anywhere unless you want it to. win-win.

So if I sound like I'm singing the praises of this new piece of furniture- well I am. We love it and it was seriously one of the best purchases we've made. Bonus? We sold the old island for $50, which bring our grand total down to $200! Just $80 more than the first one new!

House pain(ting)...

**Just a warning- this post is FULL of pictures!! Like a bunch of them!

When we put our house for sale last February we knew one thing we desperately needed was new siding on our house. We knew it could come back to bite us by not having it updated/painted, but it just wasn't do-able where we were at the time. But it was at the top of our "when we can afford it" list.

The roof took precedence this summer (more on that here) and we planned to have the siding re-done in the fall. There were a few decisions that had to be made, so waiting a little while was ok. We had to decide what type of siding we would get: vinyl, hardy plank, or use the same stuff we have- wood paneling I guess it's called? The major box stores all wanted waaaay too much money for vinyl siding plus we weren't entirely sold on doing to whole house. See only 2 sides of our house get direct sunlight for most of the day. Direct sunlight= major-o exposure to the elements damage. The sun literally FRIES those 2 sides of the house. The other 2 (the back and right side) were still in pretty great condition. So when the vinyl siding people quoted us close to 10 grand to re-do the house, we almost coded. And we just couldn't "fix" something that wasn't broken. Hardy plank siding costs double that BTW. So we knew that our decision had been made- only replace 2 sides with wood paneling which eliminated the big box stores. We actually had a guy from Lowes tell us that he was sorry he couldn't help us, and that we were making the right decision just replacing the 2 sides (with how great the other 2 sides looked). That meant alot seeing as we knew he would have loved to slap some vinyl up there!

We used the same contractor we hired for the deck to do the siding. This guy and his crew are amazing! The 2 projects they've done for us have always been completed in 1 day, they were done sooner than they originally said, and for less than was originally quoted. They are fabulous! He assured us he could get siding to match and that we would eventually never even know the back and side were "the old stuff" and the front and other side were "the new stuff".

We really didn't have to prep before they got here. Here is the before (if you look you can see ever so slightly the bowing/warping that was happening where the wood met the brick):
I did have to cut the hedges because they were a little out of control. Notice the bush on the right is a little less trimmed than the others... after 8 wasps flew out I decided it was a little out of my control.
I left for work with the old siding up, and came home with the new siding up! Part of what saved us a good bit of money was they covered up (they didn't remove) the old siding. Also they left it raw so that we could paint it ourselves. Putting up paneling/doing trim work= not something we could tackle in a reasonable amount of time. Painting= now that we can do!
I wish I had some close up before pictures of how bad the siding was. The wood had some water damage and it was bowing in some places. The paint was chipping BAD and it wasn't the kind of chipping that you could sand over/re- paint. It was like totally out of control! Also where the siding met the brick it was warping from all the years of the house settling (you can sort of see it in the before picture). I mean it HAS been settling for 35 years!! Although it was pushing away the brick facade, we were assured in our home inspection that the brick has NOTHING to do with the foundation and it's just for looks. So although the siding pushing the brick away wasn't bad for the house, it was pretty unsightly. Here is a shot from the back of the siding touching the brick. Now imagine about 2 inches of siding being pushed out from the brick while simultaneously splintering...not good.
We also had part of the overhang replaced. Before the roof/fascia board were re-done some water had leaked into and ruined the plywood. Although the water problem has been fixed since February (when Josh replaced the fascia board), the water damage was DONE. You can see it here.
This was the best "before" picture I had (this was Christmas last year). See the peeling and chipping on the right side? It was worse in the corner but I purposely cut it out of this picture :)
Also when they took the plywood out, there were 4 wasp nests making their home... YIKES.

Day 1 looked like this:
Josh was off so he was able to prime most of the raw wood. When I got off work, I helped a little- but it was HOT!

Day 2:
The only way we were able to complete the whole front of the house in one day was Lulu to the rescue. My mom came up to keep Luke and Josh and I put in a SOLID 9 hours of painting. Mom also put in 2 hours while Luke napped. Whew.
Can you tell I'm ready for fall (I love my new wreath!)??
This is how far we got on the left side:
{my phone takes HORRIBLE pictures at dusk!} Alot done, but definitely not finished!

Day 3:
We had the left side to finish. We had pretty much primed the whole thing on day 2 so that made it a little easier.
We had painted the right side of the house and the back of the house waaaay back in June when we actually decided to pull the trigger on this project. It was so nice to know that what we were doing this past weekend was actually phase 2 of the whole project. (And I assure you the back and side of the house are not visible to the general public. It was not noticeable at all that our house was 2 different colors for 2 months!)

Here's a trick I found that made this whole trimming/cutting in easy peasy. I used a piece of cardstock and slid it under the wood. I'd paint and then move it down the wall. This was the part of painting I was DREADING and it actually went super fast with this method. We talked about tape, but I HATE taping! Oh and on the new sides they added the flashing that goes between the wood and the brick to hopefully prevent water damage!
Also this is the best paint brush EVER invented...
I am not being paid or perked to say this either. The small handle makes it lighter and more mobile than larger heavier brushes. It's angled for cutting in and it really is amazing (and it's less than $5 at Sherwin Williams!). I was talking to the man there and he said that before these brushes came out on the market he would actually cut paint brushes (and sand/round the edges) for the contractors who requested it. They said the shorter handle worked better. Low and behold a few years later SW started selling brushes just like those he made! I thought that was awesome!!

And I would have died without my painting/trimming cup! See that ledge? It makes it super easy to knock off the excess paint to cut into corners.
Oh yeah- and we had a catastrophe. Remember my sand art? It's gone- smashed into a million pieces on the floor. It was sitting on a shelf in our living room. Well when the guys were working they were hitting/nailing the side of the house pretty hard. The vibration knocked the sand art right off the shelf.

Although I was majorly bummed because I really LOVED that, I know it's not the end of the world. But I am sad that the sand from our vacays got all mixed together. Good thing it wasn't an urn with ashes-right?? We didn't even THINK about taking things off our walls. When Josh got home they immediately told him "ummm I think something fell off the wall because there was a REALLY loud crash!" Oh well. Accidents happen.

The vase is to the left of the rocking chair back in the corner! And how that thing landed on it's bottom is beyond me! It also knocked one of my favorite frames right off the wall. I guess our house isn't earthquake safe!

As for the color?? It's called Sparrow by Behr. Here were some of my thought's when choosing it and the close runner up...
I bought 2 samples well over a year ago- 1 of Sparrow and the other Pewter Mug. I slapped them up all over the house and diligently checked it in the different types of light: daytime, morning, dusk, and artificial light... And honestly? I couldn't tell the difference. I actually forgot which spot was which color- I know, real scientific huh? So when it was actually time to have the color mixed I really couldn't go wrong (I did love both colors), but what ultimately sold me on the Sparrow was that on down it's card was black. I want my gray to have a BLACK base, not a bluish-cloudy hue. I just wasn't sure with the Pewter Mug. The color Quietude 2 steps up on the card looks like a pale blue to me, so I decided against it because of that fact alone. A couple samples just didn't give me the grounds to make such a huge decision. Black is black and I knew I couldn't go wrong there! Here she is for her close up:
We won't be able to finish the highest point on the house until the Labor Day weekend when we pick up a better ladder from my parent's house. The one we have isn't letting us get close enough to carefully cut in.

So what's left?? (besides actually finishing the painting)
-Paint the crawl space door...

-Shutters. We need to figure this out. The shutter fasteners are a 1 time use only. So when they came off the old siding they are useless. We need to buy new ones, but unfortunately Home Depot doesn't sell the Wedgwood Blue color any more. So we will either keep the shutters the same color, buy white shutter fasteners, and color match paint and paint the fasteners ORRRR we'll spray paint the shutters black and buy black shutter fasteners. Decisions decisions. I'll keep you posted with that decision!

-Paint the front/side door. I am just not loving the blue on gray (which will also weigh into the decision about the shutters). Maybe because in color world gray is sort-of a shade of blue?? I want something with more contrast. But I don't want it to look all black and dark either. But I'm leaning toward black shutters with a black front door. Also I am seriously considering painting the side/carport door a really FUN color. Just to change it up and not be so matchy/matchy... we'll see.

-Re-paint the trim white. Some of the trim up is new and is only primed. Some is old and needs to be repainted. Tackle it all at once? yep. And did you know there are about 15 shades of white to choose from at the paint store... REALLY? and I took 3 samples home and I can't tell you for the life of me the difference between them!

-Clean the gutters. It needs a good clorox/water rub down. See the black mildew-ey grime?

-Re-paint the outside lights (ORB maybe?). The brushed nickel on gray walls just isn't doing anything for me.

-Spray the hardware. We are slowly working our way through the house spraying all the inside doorknobs and hinges Oil Rubbed Bronze. I would LOVE for all the doorknobs on the outside to match as well! And if I go with a black from door I definitely won't be using ORB for that hardware... I told you there were a lot of decisions!

Oh yeah and we decided to leave the shutter off the carport window. It was cute, but it made the space feel smaller than it actually was. Plus we don't have to paint those shutters or rehang them! Bonus!

Whew we have our work cut out for us! But it's fun showing our abode some TLC! Oh, and the push behind all this was because our house was for sale... well- it's not anymore! We have decided since Josh's new job in July to stay put a while longer, which means we can actually ENJOY all this hard work we are doing! We love a challenge and really want to just stay in our quaint house. Although we would love something larger with another bedroom, we just feel that this is where we belong for right now. Oh, did I mention he has a 2 minute commute???

1 year!

I've been officially blogging for a year this month! What a year it has been. I have SO loved keeping up with this thing and looking back at what was accomplished. I am such a list maker and I love tackling projects, and this is a way that I can remember all the hard work! So to celebrate I want to look at numbers. I love numbers, and they put everything into perspective!

If you remember back in January I moved the blog from wordpress to blogger. So these numbers are the 2 sites combined dating back to last August. 

Posts: 157  
Comments: 76
Pageviews: 5,993
Most Popular Post: homemade laundry soap!
People have read the blog from Russia, Turkey, Germany, the UK, South Korea, Denmark, the Bahamas, Canada, France, and of course the US. That's incredible!! I don't even know anyone in Denmark or Russia!

I love my humble little blog. I love recording things without any pressure. And I LOVE that y'all read it. So thanks for that! 

Weekly Update: 8/20-8/24

I can't believe this week is over. It went so quickly, and it was a really enjoyable week with my new class!

We snuck in a visit with baby Harper on Tuesday. Oh my that 2.5 week old is adorable. He slept in my arms for nearly 2 hours... how I miss those days!

Luke is doing so well in school. His teachers say his behavior is good, and he comes home so excited every day. I wish I had half of his energy!

He is coming home from school telling me that he wants to watch "Batman" which I think it hilarious because we have never even talked about Batman at home! It shows how much they really do pick up a school and it urges us how carefully we have to watch what he is learning!

At the tail end of last week we thought he was getting a cold, but he must have seasonal allergies. His poor little eyes were swollen and he was super congested and whiny. Thankfully Benedryl came to our rescue and he has been fine ever since!

He has made tremendous improvements with going to bed this week! He had been freaking out when we put him to bed (crying, fussing) but he asked if we would leave the door cracked. Sure enough he now goes down without a peep! So glad to figure out what was freaking him out!

We had the siding replaced on two sides of our house this week. I'll do a post about it soon. There were several factors that came into our decision to just do two sides, so I'll share that then. Now raw wood paneling + tropical storm Isaac coming= getting paint up pretty quickly! (like I called my mom at 7am this morning begging her to come keep Luke this weekend so we can get finished!)

We also had a catastrophe with something I blogged about last week. More on that later!

First day jitters!

Well it's that time of year again! Just thought I'd share a peek into the world where I spend 9+ hours a day!

The desks all ready for the first day of school!
I reorganized all my cabinets at the end of last year. I sorted all my materials into the units that I teach so it's easier to find everything. The labels were free at!
My desk area.
It's amazing what goes on inside these fours walls! Lots of learning and lots of laughter! I'm looking forward to my 5th year in 5th grade... and just where did the last 5 years go??

I have some pretty amazing parents and students this year!! Here was a "goodie box" that one student brought me this morning! :) 

Labels for dry goods

All of our dry goods finally have labels! Since re-organizing all our cabinets and buying containers to hold everything, it has been super frustrating remembering what was in each container!
I was trying to figure out if I wanted to vinyl/label everything, or if I wanted to use chalkboard vinyl to label it. There were pros and cons to each. Pros? The labels can easily be changed to whatever the contents of the box. Cons? The labels can easily be changed ;) Like if you run your finger over the label it'll erase. BUT I would much rather deal with that frustration than have to peel/transfer all the vinyl over. The chalkboard vinyl was so thick I didn't even have to use transfer paper. It just came off like a sticker.

I keep my piece of chalk in the corner of a cabinet so it is easily reachable. I have since put the chalk in a baby food jar just to contain it a little more!
What a simple fix that was!! Love me some chalkboard vinyl!

EDIT: I've done a recent post showing how our labels are holding up! Check it out here.

Sand Art

EDIT: This piece of art doesn't exist anymore :( Learn about it's fate here

I love the beach. There is just something about the waves, water, and sand that relax me like nothing else... and that says alot since I have a toddler in tow! 

As much as I love the beach, I love our memories from the beach even more. Photos speak louder than words ever could, but sometimes there just isn't the wall/album space to display photos from different trips. We always collect seashells, but never really do anything with them. As soon as I saw this inspiration on pinterest (because I can't come up with any idea on my own) I knew what I needed to do! Sand art! 

It never occurred to me just how different sand is at different beaches. I assumed that all Atlantic Ocean sand looked the same. And I assumed all the Gulf of Mexico sand is the sugary white goodness (boy was I wrong!!). So since we took 3 beach trips to 3 states in 3 weeks (Gulfport, Myrtle Beach, Destin) I thought it would be a perfect way to start a family tradition- oh how I regret not having sand from ALL the beaches I've been to! (Hawaii, California, Clearwater, Ft Lauderdale, Rhode Island, Bahamas, etc)... but you gotta start somewhere right??

So I made it a point to collect sand from the 3 beaches we visited this year. At some point during our days on the beach I brought a water bottle full of water that I forced myself to drink while out in the sun. Once the bottle was empty I filled her up with sand, capped it, and threw it in my beach bag. Many times I forgot about it until we got home. Once home I poured it out and set it in the sun to dry. I used a funnel to get it in the vase with some swirly lines. 

I absolutely LOVE the differences in color from each of these places! On the back of the display I used a label maker to mark where each sand layer is from along with the date that we visited! Once this vase is full I plan to seal the sand so it'll forever be preserved! It's unreal to think how relatively close Gulfport and Destin are and how vastly different the sand is! I would love to compare the Atlantic Ocean sand to the Atlantic Ocean sand from somewhere else too! I'm pretty sure Cocoa Beach is on the agenda for next year so I'll have to compare that to the Myrtle Beach sand!

Coat Rack

When I shared about the progress of Luke's room, I gave a sneak peek to his new coat rack. Before this we just used ON Command hooks stuck on the wall behind his door. It worked ok, but you could really only hang 1 coat per hook before they started falling off. 

Here were a few inspiration pictures:
So mounting multiple pieces of wood without so much as a visible nail hole seemed like a lofty idea to me. When looking at the inspiration picture I just couldn't figure out how they did it- unless they glued the whole thing to the wall or there are nail/screw holes you can't see. 

I wanted the chunky layered look in the inspiration picture, so I started by painting a white box on the wall. I made sure to use froggy tape since it's like the best painting tape ever invented. I didn't really put much thought into this- but I did measure the board I was eventually going to use and I added like 3 inches on either side. I made sure it was level too... 'cause if it wasn't level it would look wonky. 
Next I got to work getting the knobs onto the wood. No pictures of this step, but it was pretty self-explanatory. Figure out where you want the knobs, mark it with a pencil, and drill a pilot hole a little smaller than the screw your using. I found these knobs at Hobby Lobby and of course they were 50% off! The only one that gave me a major headache was the red striped one. Nope it's not screwed in... good old super glue did the trick. Somehow I managed to get the screw lost (!?) in the wood and then the head of the screw stripped... so I was up a creek without a paddle. So far it is holding great! The rest of the knobs came with washers and nuts, but because the hole was a teensy bit smaller than the knob screws, the washers weren't needed. 
After I mounted all the knobs on the wood, I nailed the board to the wall. I wanted it to look really rustic so I chose some really rustic looking nails (those suckers were like 5 inches long!). 

Hanging the hoodie with a hanger is just for the prettyness factor. I won't be hanging his jackets all winter by a hanger. But I thought it looked nice for the time being!

I was really shocked at how easy this whole project was and how little it cost! The knobs were right around $2 each and I already had the paint, nails, tape, and drill/bits on hand!

It's about time

I set some goals for this month and re-cap some old ones before it's really too late. This post will be a whole lotta boring and a whole lotta clicky linkys, but for my mental sanity it needs to be documented!

So let's start with July's goals that I never wrapped up... here's the post. Here is the list:
-Organize and put together our family cookbook.
-Fix Mr. Sock Monkey
-Make another hooded towel
-Organize car documents
-Embroidering project (4 shirts!)

I actually didn't do too shabby! Our family cookbook got finished. Mr. Sock Monkey is all fixed up (see him sitting pretty here).

 I organized the car documents and they now reside nicely in both our cars and I worked on a few embroidering projects (tutu and onesie and a few shirts).

I didn't get to the hooded towel and I am still majorly procrastinating on one of the shirts. My co-worker is so gracious to be so nice about the procrastinating "illness". (I've had these shirts since June- yep I must be really ill). 

Other things I got to in July:
Kitchen Week: pantry, freezer, and cabinets
Made some DIY cleaners
Organized a mess at the Church craft closet
Updated 365
Used some spray paint for a planter change-up 
Gulfport wrap up along with some Treasure Hunting
Talked about how thankful I am to be at this point in our lives
and created some art!

So there's JULY!

Onto some things I needed to finish from June...
I had pretty much failed in my attempts at being successful. I have since gone back and finished most of those goals!
1. Dry goods are organized and they are actually now labeled! (post coming later!). 
2. ringtones- I have downloaded songs, now I just need to plug my phone into my computer and finish it!
3. Making liquid hand soap was one of the things done in June. 
4. Work in Luke's room 
5. blogroll and categories- Finished that in June too. 

Wahoo!! I'm feeling the accomplishment!

And now for the Summer Goals!! yikkkeees.... where did this summer go y'all??? Seriously!
1. Make a pantry. 
Inspiration photo:
Our after photo:
2. Make liquid hand soap (I told you this was a whole lotta repetition!)
3. Make Christmas Stockings. And this is where my awesome streak ends... I have chosen the fabric... and I have the layout of how I want them to look- but I haven't touched the scissors to start this yet. Maybe when I make the hooded towel and my machine is in sewing mode, not embroidery mode!

4. Dry goods storage (and more repetition- sorry). 
5. Finish Luke's room- can we say 95% done?? 
Here's a list of what still needs to be done... but I am feeling great about this space!

6. Go somewhere I've never been. I really wanted to go to the National Park in Arkansas where you can look for diamonds. We didn't make it to Arkansas this summer, and we ended up in Gulfport instead. This still fits in this goal because I have never been to Gulfport before!!

7. See a Stone Mountain Laser Show- sadly this didn't happen. I think Luke might have freaked out a little, so maybe next year??

So what are my August goals??
Not.a.thing. I'm just going to blog about whatever my heart desires. Since this month is almost half over and I'm busy setting up my classroom I don't want to hold myself to anything. I want to wrap up things I've started, and start fresh with new goals in September! 

Although I'm sad that summer is over, I am secretly glad to be back into a routine. Luke just does better with a routine, and I feel like things around the house get done better when I'm working- crazy but true! We are so ready for cooler weather and to wish this record setting summer good-bye!