Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stenciled Desk

This desk has been sitting in my garage for so long that I can't even find the "before" picture of it.  It was plain brown, nothing exciting.  I found it for cheap and thought it would be a fun make-over project.  Little did I know it would take me months to get around to it.

I painted it with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White and used Paris Grey diluted with Old White for the stencil design on top and for the drawer.  I've found that a dense foam roller works the best for stenciling.


As you can see, the edges got a little gloppy and you can see the line where the stencil overlaps.  

To get rid of the glops, I first went over it with a sanding sponge and then with 150 grit sandpaper.  I was going for a slightly distressed look so if the sandpaper took off a little more paint in some spots, I was okay with that.  Some shapes were misshapen because paint had gotten under the stencil.  It was easily fixed by going over the grey with white using a small paintbrush.

I distressed the edges of the entire desk just a tad.

I'm so happy with the way it turned out that I wish I had a spot for it in my house.  I didn't realize how attached I was until I sold it.  Watching it drive away in the back of someone's car made me a little sad.  But I'm sure it will look fabulous in it's new home. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Day of School

Last Wednesday it began...again.  Packing lunches, doing homework, being on a schedule.  Everyone did great the first day.  They were excited and nervous so they woke up early and were ready to go...with thirty minutes to spare.

Bryn, 3rd grade; Brayden, 6th grade;
Kylie, 8th grade; Zander, 1st grade

The girls picked their hairstyles out the night before so we could be super-efficient in the morning.  I enjoy doing their hair.  It gives us something to do together and makes them feel good when they get compliments.  Kylie's friend told her, "Your hair is always perfect and you make it look so easy."  Kylie started wearing make-up this year.  Just some tinted moisturizer, mascara and blush to enhance her natural beauty.  When did I become old enough to have a child who wears make-up?!?

 Bryn isn't always in the mood to have her hair done.  She'd be happy to put it up in a ponytail every day.  She humors me and let's me do her hair most of the time.  Besides, her little face lights up when she tells me her teachers and friends noticed her hair so she does get some joy out of it.

This year was a big change for Brayden since 6th grade is part of middle school.  He was nervous about having to rotate classrooms, change out for P.E. and be on a larger campus. Poor thing didn't eat lunch at school for the first three days because his stomach was in knots.  On the second day of school he and Sam weren't paying attention and went to lunch after an assembly instead of going to class.  They had two lunches that day.  At least they were lost and confused together.

I always make cookies on the first day of school so they will sit and tell me about their day. The chocolate chips help to coax more than a "School was good" out of them.  They were all in good spirits, as you can see.

Everyone gave a positive report except for Brayden.  He discovered that he's actually going to have to do homework this year and work hard.  At least he hasn't lost his sense of humor.

 As for me, this is my golden year.  All the kids are in school full-day for the first time and I only have to drive to two schools.  Next year they will be at three different schools.  So I am going to enjoy this year.  Maybe my baseboards will get cleaned for the second time in six years.  Maybe I'll paint more furniture.  Maybe I'll find some home-schoolers to give piano lessons to.  Oh the possibilities!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wet 'N Wild Palm Springs

Our last day of summer vacation  we went to Wet 'N Wild in Palm Springs.  I was a little leery because of the mixed reviews I read online.  The family we went with had gone before and had a positive experience so we trusted them and went for it.  The big draw is the lack of crowds and the fact that they have water slides for all ages.  We were not disappointed! 

There was hardly anyone there.  We weren't standing shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers in the wave pool like I've done at other water parks. The longest wait line for a water slide was maybe ten minutes.  Except for the Flowrider, that was a long wait time but only because they give each person a good amount of time to "surf".  And it was worth the wait. 

They offer a good variety of slides ranging from tiny ones for toddlers to medium ones for little kids to regular ones for wimps like me and scary ones for those who are brave. There were three slides that Zander could go on in the jungle gym area.  They were big enough that he didn't feel like they were baby slides and Justin and I could go on them, too.  Zander proved to be one brave kid when it comes to water slides though.  He went on four of the regular slides and thought they were the funnest things ever.  As I was going down them I got worried that Zander would find them too fast, or the drops too big.  Turns out, I'm a bigger chicken than he is.  He even went on a tube slide.  I don't do tube slides.  Being enclosed makes me claustrophobic.  Bryn, Brayden and Kylie were daredevils and went on the Pacific Spin slide that shoots you down a tunnel and into a ginormous funnel where you go up the sides.  Scary!  Bryn thought it was the greatest thrill ride she'd ever been on.  On the way to the water park Brayden said, "I'm going to try more things this time."  And he did.  It seems I will always be left to sit by myself while everyone else goes off and does things I'm too chicken to try. 

It was fun going with friends.  Sam is Brayden's best friend and our families get along well. It always worked out that there was an adult to take kids to different areas of the park so everyone was happy and it was go, go, go all day.  Natalie and I even got to sit at the edge of the wave pool and chat for a bit. 

We packed a lunch and ate it in the car...with the air conditioner running, of course. It was 105ยบ.

Justin, Brayden and Kylie did the Flowrider.  It was entertaining just sitting and watching people try to do tricks.  You start at the top of the "wave" and jump onto it with a boogie board.

Kylie was able to get up on her knees...pretty cool.

Brayden did well also.

The spray is pretty big when you wipe out.

Justin had some fancy moves.

He even managed a barrel roll and he got one leg up...pretty awesome.


We stayed until the park closed and then grabbed a bite to eat at Chipotle before heading home. You know how every once in a while you find a family outing that works out fabulously?  Everyone is happy.  Nobody complains.  You make great memories.  You're that brand of happy-tired from a day of playing hard.  This was one of those days.

Another Mermaid Sighting

Summer vacation is over.  Gone are the lazy days of no schedules and sleeping in.  I was really getting used to that lifestyle.  But I suppose the kids do need an education.  It helps that we said goodbye to summer with three straight days of fun.

On Saturday friends invited us to go to the beach with them.  Zander and Brayden decided to get in on the boogie boarding action this time.  They both did great riding the waves.



Brayden was digging a massive hole and the others kindly offered to bury him.  He laid back, relaxed, closed his eyes and was blissfully unaware of the mischievous goings-on. 

Still unaware...

Moment of discovery..."Hey!  You made me into a mermaid!"

We got Chick-Fil-A milkshakes on the way home and crashed in front of a movie after removing the mounds of sand and salt from our bodies.  The next day we went to church and then drove out to Orange County to say goodbye to Justin's cousin.  Jill and her family are going on a three-year adventure to New Zealand.  It was nice to spend time with that side of the family and eat a delicious Mexican dinner.  Our third day of fun was at a water park in Palm Springs, which I think I'll make a separate post for.  The "f" on my keyboard isn't working.  Nor does the comma or the number 5 key.  I have to copy and paste them from the character map and it's getting a little irritating.  I'm going to take a break, restart my computer and see if that will magically fix the problem.  Wish me luck.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Love Notes

I was cleaning some of the paper clutter off my fridge this morning and found an apology letter from Zander. 

"to mom from Zander.  Sorry for being a but.
to mom from Zander.  I'll never ever do that again.
from Zander to mom.  I love you."

 I don't remember what he did to necessitate a letter of apology but I do remember that when he handed it to me he said, "But, remember, I'm not perfect.  Only Jesus was perfect." 

I also found this picture on my phone.  Looks like he found a way to entertain himself while we shopped.  Goofball.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

Our ward Pioneer Day celebration was yesterday.  At a park.  Where it was 99 degrees in the shade.  Staying in my air-conditioned house on my comfy couch was looking pretty good.  Justin had helped organize the event though, so I bucked up and drug myself to the park.  Not only that, I even entered a pie in the pie contest.  I think I earned enough bonus points to skip the ward Christmas party this year ;)

The heat zapped any ambition I may have had to tackle a traditional pie crust so I opted for a graham cracker one.  I had a little inside info on the judges' pie preferences.  Justin likes berry and Andy likes rhubarb.  After a little Google searching, I found a simple strawberry rhubarb pie recipe.  Sure to win two of the judges over.  I have to say this is a very tasty pie! 

The judges gave prizes to the top four pies and my pie was one of them!  Okay, so there were only eight pies, but, hey, not bad for my first pie contest.  Justin said he would've awarded me first place if they had one.  He may be a little biased though.

The crumble topping I adapted from a different pie recipe.  I thought it would add a little crunch and made it look appetizing, too.  Here's my version of the almond crumble topping:

1/2 C. flour
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. butter
1/4 C. sliced almonds

Mix all the ingredients together.  I spread the crumb topping out on a small cookie sheet and baked it for 20 minutes at 350 to give it a little crunch.  This recipe makes enough crumb topping for probably four pies.  I saved my leftover topping and put it in the freezer to use on a future pie.  Since I'm an award-winning professional pie maker now.

Oh, and serve this delicious summer-time dessert with whipped cream.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Family Fun

Aunt Patty and her family drove down from Las Vegas and we all got together to spend a relaxing, fun day at the beach together. 

The boogie boarding gang.

It wasn't always graceful, but it was entertaining.

A ginormous uprooted seaweed plant washed ashore.  

The roots were home to skinny, long-legged starfish and purple sea urchins.  The kids were fascinated.  I've never seen starfish like that...they were weird.

Azie and her mini-aquarium.

There was also sand crab hunting...less creepy than those starfish.

Grandpa and his brood of grandchildren.

It can be challenging finding something for that many people to do together.  The beach was perfect.  It was good for all ages with plenty of room to romp and play.  Kids were so busy some of them didn't even stop to eat.  We made some good memories!