Friday, June 29, 2012

Sweet Summertime Pictures

My friend Lisa at Shine Your Light is hosting a linky party every Friday where you can share pictures of your summer.  I thought this would be a great reminder to take pictures of my family (instead of only photographing my projects!) and to document what we've been up to this summer.

Since temps have been 100+ degrees here in Colorado, staying cool has been a priority.  That means playing in the water whenever and wherever we can.

We swim almost every day at our local rec center.  This summer Mary has mastered swimming underwater.

The yard sprinklers provided some after dinner fun one night this week.

Chloe has been at a soccer camp at a local college.  After camp on Thursday, we saw some girls in the college fountain, so my girls had to give it a shot too.

The most unique thing that has happened this summer, is that we have been adopted by two wild pigeons.  They showed up a few weeks ago and perched outside of the windows.  They would follow us around the house, spying on us from each room's windows.  The girls have named them Larry and Lubirda and have trained them to sit on their heads and arms.  At first, I thought the pigeons were a nuisance and I tried to shoo them away from our house whenever I saw them.  But, they've grown on me and I've even let Larry sit on my hand a few times.  I had to draw the line this morning when Larry tried to fly in to the house.  Can you believe they know how to use the doggy door to get into the garage?!?!?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bloggy Olympics: Paint Project

Have you been following the Bloggy Olympics?  I decided to take part in an event this week: the paint event.

I've had this wooden mirror in my garage for a while.  I got it as part of the dresser set that I painted for Chloe's room, but didn't need the mirror for her room.  I didn't really have a purpose for the mirror, but was afraid it would break if it sat in the garage much longer.  Not like I've ever broken anything in the garage in the past!

Emma and Tyler were very interested in those two dogs in the mirror.  This is the yucky little corner of the backyard where I like to do all of my spray painting.  It's really a dog run/kennel area that we never use, so I don't mind getting paint all over it.

Painting mirrors is so easy.  There is no need to tape off the mirror...get as much paint on it as you want.  All you have to do to get the paint off is to use a razor blade to scrape it off.  It usually comes off easily.

This is after one coat of Benjamin Moore Stunning.  See the primer sprayed right on the mirror and the blue paint?  No problem!

 I was inspired by these gold corners on picture frames by A Thoughtful Place.

I used some Martha Stewart metallic paint to add gold corners onto my mirror.

I like the way it turned out and how it looks with the other gold and navy stuff on my mantle.

Here's a little before and after of the mantle:

I still love the Gino Hollander painting that was up there.  It's just found a new home in my living room.  I'll show you more of my living room on Monday, if you want to check back.
Linked to the Bloggy Olympic hosts: Gwen (A Bold Abode), Cassie (Primitive and Proper) and Katie (Craptastic).

Also linked here: Liz Marie, House of Hepworths, My Simple Home Life, Happy Hour Projects

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Help Me Paint a Dresser

Are your kids opinionated?  Mine definitely have opinions on everything, from how I should cook dinner to what they want to wear.  As long as it's not harmful or too annoying to me, I generally let them do what they want (within reason and rules of course!).  It's not going to kill anybody if they wear mismatching clothes or have wild hair.

Of course they have opinions on how they want their rooms to look.  So far, I've been able to steer the younger two towards something that both of us like.  My oldest has requested a blue and green room.  I like this combo, but she wants her dresser to be a mix of blue and green.  I'm not sure how to paint this dresser without it looking too crazy.  I think I'm having a hard time figuring this out, because I'm really just a solid-color kind of girl.

She wants a bright peacock blue, like this vanity, and also a bright green.  She's a tomboy and doesn't like anything too girly.

I'm thinking something along the lines of this room for her:

Will you help me figure out how to paint this dresser blue and green?

Stripes are an option.  But what kind of stripes?

Source: via Suzanne on Pinterest

Only on the sides?
Source: via Suzanne on Pinterest

Various horizontal thicknesses?

Off-center vertical?
Source: via Suzanne on Pinterest

Thick vertical?

Or I could paint the body one color and the drawers another color...kind of like this?
Source: via Suzanne on Pinterest

These are the exact colors she likes....I guess they don't look too carnival-ish together.

I love O'verlays, but have yet to try them.  Maybe I could do a blue base and then paint the O'verlays green?  I have to measure to see if they even fit on this dresser.

Help a girl out!  What should I do?

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Paint in the Kitchen

Last Wednesday was a long day.  Big K was out of town for work.  I had been busy shuttling the kids around and entertaining them at home.  I was looking forward to relaxing in the evening.  Instead, as I was making dinner, I decided it would be a good idea to pull out a can of paint and start painting the kitchen.  I can multitask - cook dinner and paint at the same time - no problem!  Don't ask why I thought this was a good idea because I'm not really sure.  I was questioning my decision as 10:00 rolled around and I really wanted to be in bed with a book rather than in the kitchen with a paint brush.

I used Benjamin Moore Gray Owl to cover up the sandy brown that was throughout my house.

In this light the paint reads light blue, but it really is a light gray.  It's much lighter than the dingy brown that was in there.

I'm thinking about changing the curtain above the sink to something a little more subdued or neutral.  I've had this one for about a year.  How often do you change your decor?

As you can see, I don't have a lot of decor in the kitchen.  I like to keep the counters uncluttered...until they inevitably become overflowing with papers, magazines, etc.  I used to have a bunch of stuff on top of the cabinets, but it started to look dusty and cluttered to me, so I took most of it down.

I like this Mexican pottery that my utensils are in.  I got in on one of my first trips to Mexico with Andy.

Now, I'm obsessed with painting my cabinets white and/or gray.  I'm a bit intimidated by the project though, especially since my cabinets are in good condition.  I'm afraid I might ruin them.

I would also like to add a tile backsplash.  One of these days all of my projects will be done!  Then it will be time to start over.

Aren't these lilies pretty?  I have a bunch of them blooming right now.  I will have a little tutorial for you later this week on how I painted the vase too.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Best Sugar Cookies

You know those big, puffy frosted cookies at the grocery store?  They look so good, but usually have a weird, chemical taste to me.  So, I thought I would try baking my own version.  Of course, I turned to Pinterest for a recipe. 

I found the perfect recipe at Annie's Eats.  Look at how beautiful hers turned out.

Here's my version before I let the kids go at them with the sprinkles.  The cookies are perfectly soft and buttery.

Be sure to check out Annie's Eats for the recipe.  But, be warned, this recipe takes THREE STICKS of butter for 24 cookies...not so good for bathing suit season!

In other news, you might have seen me pinning random stuff to a Pinterest board called "TSI blog."  My boss has asked me to write weekly blog posts for her business, Third Sector Innovations.  The posts should be of interest to nonprofits, for profit businesses and government entities.  Although its not a fun as home blogging, I was honored my boss asked me to do it and it pays the bills!  So far, I've written one post...The Top Ten Employment Law Mistakes...scintillating stuff.  Now, I need to think of more topics.  If on some crazy chance you have any ideas, send them my way.  :)

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Book and a Movie

I promise I will be back with something decor-inspired soon.  But so far my summer has been filled with fun activities and relaxing.

If you are into relaxing with a good book, I just finished "Honolulu" by Alan Brennert and would highly recommend it.

"Honolulu" tells the story of a girl named Regret, born in a Korean village around the turn of the 20th century.  Regret wants more for her life than the life of a repressed Korean woman can offer.  She decides to become a picture bride (basically a mail order bride) for a Korean man living in Honolulu.

Once in Hawaii, Regret quickly learns that the streets aren't lined in gold and life is not as she expected.  Regret learns to make her way in this new world.  The author does a great job of weaving real history into Regret's story and brings life to Hawaii of the 1920's and 30's.

I liked "Honolulu" so much that I'm now reading Brennert's first book, "Molokai."

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

"Molokai" is the story of a young Hawaiian girl who contracts leprosy and is taken from her family to live in the leper colony on Molokai.  I'm only a few pages into this book, but it already seems like it will be just as good as "Honolulu."

As for the movies, I took the girls to see "Dolphin Tale" at the dollar movie theater this week.  I don't know how we missed this movie when it was in the theater (it's already out on DVD.)

Source: via gina on Pinterest

I am such an animal lover and love inspiring animal movies.  I rarely cry at movies featuring humans, but throw an animal in there and I'm a blubbering mess.  This movie was no exception.  The girls and I deemed this movie, "our new favorite."  If you are looking for a great family-friendly movie, get this DVD.

Have you read any good books and seen any good movies lately?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Camping Trip Recap

Blogs are such fun, pretty places to visit.  But, as we all know, our lives are not always as perfect as they may seem on the old bloggity blog.  Just in case you were starting to think I was a perfect camper after I posted my camping tips and tricks, I thought I would share how our camping trip really went.

Colorado is experiencing a severe drought and the lake in the state park we visited was a casualty of the drought.  Instead of a nice swimming beach to play and frolic the day away, the water level was so low, that all we were left with was a stinking, muddy mess.  OK, no big deal, we had other activities eating!
The tinfoil dinners and grilled corn were delicious.

Oh, eating...we forgot the taco beef and the marinated chicken breasts in the freezer.  Oops!  We also forgot stuff to make sandwiches.  Did I mention that we had to take two cars because we brought so much stuff with us???  How could I have brought so much stuff, yet forgot so many things? Good thing my kids like cookies and chips because we had plenty of those.

One thing that went 1000 times better than planned was our visit to Rifle Falls.  The falls were breathtaking.  It was fun to wade around and be sprayed by the mist because it was 100 degrees outside.  The falls are surrounded by caves that we explored. 

We decided to head back to our campsite for some lunch.  We were surprised by what we saw at our campsite.  The tent was wildly flapping in the wind.  Not only was it 100 degrees outside, there were gale-force winds as well.  Upon closer inspection, we realized that one of the tent's metal poles had snapped in the wind and broken through the fabric.  Not good.

My little tree hugger wanted to pose and get her picture taken with every tree.  I guess trees are kind of a novelty when you are born and raised in the desert.

At this point, we all decided that it might be a good idea to pack up and head home.  The combination of the heat and being blasted by a dusty, oven-hot wind had gotten to us all.  The idea of a clean cool shower and sleeping in our own beds won out over another night in the tent.

Even if things didn't go exactly as planned, we made some great memories and everyone had fun. 

Camping is long as it's only for one night!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day to a Few Good Men

This morning I was listening to an interview with Sargent Shriver's son, Mark, who has just written a memoir titled, "A Good Man."  Sargent Shriver married in to the Kennedy clan, but more importantly, founded institutions such as the Peace Corps, Special Olympics and was the architect of President Johnson's War on Poverty.  When Shriver died in 2011, tributes came pouring in hailing him as "a good man."

According to Mark Shriver, a "great" man is someone who wields lots of power and influence;  while a "good" man is someone who is kind and treats people well, whether they are in the spotlight or not.  A good man is just as friendly to a waitress as he is to heads of state.  He treats his wife and family well.  He stands up for what he believes.  He loves unconditionally.  Mark recounts a story of falling down and crying as a child.  A Kennedy uncle reproached Mark, saying, "Kennedy's don't cry."  Sarge scooped up his sobbing son and said, "It's OK.  You're a Shriver.  You can cry."

This made me think of the good men in my life.  I am fortunate to have been raised by a good man and married to a good man.  While my dad and husband may be very different in some ways, they are alike in the ways that matter.  My dad is a quiet, intellectual type.  He is very even-keel, never getting very angry or upset.  My husband is the life of the party.  He loves to talk and can get very excited about things that are important to him.

Here we were on a river boat ride on the Mississippi with my parents.

PopPop is never to busy to read Mary a story.

Andy is always ready to celebrate with the kids.

On the gondola in Breckenridge, on our annual family vacation.

Serious PopPop can get silly with his granddaughters.

Andy always likes to ensure a fun time for the girls.  Here we were camping last summer.


My dad and husband are two of the nicest people you will ever meet.  Have you heard this quote?

Source: via Suzanne on Pinterest

This describes both of them perfectly.  They both love their families unconditionally and would do anything for them.  They are good examples to my children.  They are generous and bring out the best in people.  They stand up for what is important to them.  Although they both have had busy lives and careers, they are never to busy for family.  Their faith is also important to them.

My father-in-law was ill and died shortly after we were married, so I didn't have a chance to know him well.  However, I know that he was a good man as well.  He came from a dirt poor background in Alabama to become a well-respected and liked lobbyist in Washington, DC.  He overcame many adversities, but was always a good person.  Most importantly, he was a wonderful father to my husband and his three siblings.  He loved his wife deeply as well.  I'm so glad that my husband blogs about his father at "Dumb Dumb Daddy-O" so I can get to know him better.
That's my father and mother-in-law on the right.  My husband is in the green shirt.  His sister Carol and her husband Brent are on the left and my brother-in-law J is in the stripes.

Wishing both my husband and my dad a very happy Father's Day!  I love you both so much and am so lucky to have both of you in my life.