Saturday, June 1, 2013

Master Bath Redo with Rustoleum - part 1

We have currently been in our beautiful home for a little over a year now. The previous owners did an incredible job updating out-dated features of the house. They added crown moulding, granite counter tops, changed out brass fixtures with oil rubbed bronze fixtures. These are just touching on the things they put their hearts into. However, one room stood out to me that needed attention. It was the master bathroom.

The master bathroom had brass and silver fixtures. Most notably to me was the brass shower frame that loudly greeted me as I approached the bathroom. I desperately wanted the style of the rest of the house with the oil rubbed bronze to be consistent with the master bath. So my research began. I found a lady who did this exact thing. Kristi at Addicted to Decorating had posted about this ( She redecorated a master bathroom with Rust-o-leum! She soon became my hero!!

If you are wanting to do a project like this, please stop at Kristi's site for more specifics.  I used her advice and technique and encourage you as well.  I first started out with the sink fixtures because I thought they would be the easiest. However, they are quite curvy and I did not get all parts of the fixtures so I had to go back and touch up some spots. Really the one piece of advice I can give in a project like this is tape, tape, tape!!! You can never ever use too much unless you tape on the fixture. If you do get some residue on the counters, floor, wall, or anything you did not intend to paint, steel wool is your best friend! My heart sank when I realized my prepping work was not good enough but you would never know looking at it!

I've attached some before and after pictures on the sink side of the bathroom. Part two will have the shower and bathtub.

Until next time,
Kindest blogging wishes!!!

Master Bathroom before we purchased the house.

Fixtures were sanded, wiped, prepped, primed, and painted.
Fixtures completed and hardware added to cabinets.
Final product.  My awesome sister-in-law added her skills in decorating.
The chair however is not staying but it was helpful in the process.

Final product on the sink side.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

My "Something Greater"

"God will never leave you empty. He will replace everything you lost. If He asks you to put something down, it's because He is wanting you to pick up something greater." Author unknown. I saw this quote the other day and the last part really hit home for me. I left my job and returned home to raise my babies - need I say more.

I am by no means authority on raising babies. I struggle daily in trying to be a good mom and good example. However, this does not stop me from trying to teach them to the best of my ability. My little girl is almost four and since leaving my job to stay at home, we have been homeschooling her.

Our daily lessons include going through the alphabet doing writing and phonics. Mathematics, which thanks to her last daycare, we were able to start working through a kindergarten math book. She has grasped counting, sorting, categorizing, and pattern recognition. Recently, she has been learning about money. Teaching about money would not be complete without teaching how to earn it and how to make that money grow.

My daughter has two piggy banks. Over the years people have added to them, we've put money in them, and she has also put money in them when she finds it on the ground. So we took that money (a portion that she chose because she didn't want to part with all of it) and opened her a savings account. It was so sweet to watch her, wearing her sunglasses walk into the bank, hand her bag of money over to the bank officer and said "Hello. My name is ... I would like to open an account please.". The savings account we opened has a decent APR growth. Therefore, this helps her learn, overtime, one way to grow money.

Explaining how to earn money, I told her how daddy works at the hospital to pay for our home, food, and other fun things. I asked her what her jobs were. She gave lots of answers. Two that stuck out were 1. Feeding our dog and 2. Cleaning up the toys. I put a price on it. Our agreement is if she completes both tasks, she gets a said amount at the end of the day.

We have been doing this for a while and there hasn't been a night she hasn't done it. In fact, she has gone beyond what has been expected of her and arranges the sofa pillows, picks up our sons room if it needs it, and puts covers in their place. It just bring me so much joy to watch her embrace her new role as a gainful employee.

Going back to the quote I saw the other day, teaching my babies is "the greater" thing God wanted me to pick up and though there are struggles sometimes, I love my new job!

Until next time,
Happy blogging!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Official Post-Pregnancy Running - Part 1

While working full time, I often daydreamed about the amount of time I would have to focus on running when I became a stay at home mom. Running has always been apart of my life. I briefly ran cross-country in high school, ran many 5ks and 3 half-marathons. However, since staying at home, trying to find time to run has been a definite struggle. The balancing act has not been the easiest. Why you ask? Because there have been more things that have claimed my attention. Thus, the half-marathon I had planned running in this month, sadly I was not prepared for.

Now I am trying to squeeze it back in my busy life because I really miss it and it makes me happy. So for starters, I'm trying to get back to the running condition I was pre-baby. Last week, I wrote out a plan and was ready to go. However, my first run made me realize I have some muscular imbalance that needs attention before I up my miles so I don't sideline myself early in the training. As with all things, I need patience. This is a marathon, not a sprint... Literally...

Areas that need my attention are my quadriceps for the sake of my knees and all my core muscles. My knees have always been a problem every since I played soccer in high school. After an MRI done on my left knee 5 years ago revealed worn cartilage, my doctor told me if I was to continue running to use shoes that had excellent support and shock absorption. I found the Nike Structure Triax to be the best fit and have since gone through 4 generations of them before getting pregnant with my son. Following my pregnancy I had shoes that were worn, especially since most of the miles where due to trying to walk my boy out of the womb. So during my little brother's visit, we went to Luke's Locker and bought my glorious Nike's! He bought some too - Nike Pegasus. Great shoes, I might add!!

As much as I would love to run out the door and do my previous routine, pre-baby, I need to set goals so I avoid injury. So my goal for the next month is to increase my sessions from an occasional run to 3-5 times per week whether it be running, cycling, elliptical (which I've never done before but need to add to my regimen) or swimming (my favorite!!). Keeping up with my strength training, but adding Pilates and mucho stretching! Monthly I will update you on my training and in time I will be back to running full speed. You are now my witnesses!!

Until next time,
Kindest blogging wishes!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving at Our Hacienda

It's Thanksgiving time and what better time to spend it with family eating all kinds of food! This time last year I hosted Thanksgiving in our tiny apartment with a giant tummy extending out as I was 6 months pregnant. My parents came into town and I had a great time talking and cooking with my mom, watching football with my dad, and hanging out eating with my hubby and daughter. It was very peaceful!

This year we are having Thanksgiving dinner in our beautiful new home! My mother-and father-in-law are already here and my beloved brother is en route. I had pulled out my recipes I did last year and tossed the ones I didn't care for and now trying new ones.

Everyone has a job. My husband has to work at the hospital, total bummer for us but really good for the sick children needing diagnostic imaging done. My brother is in charge of the turkey. My mother-in-law is in charge of the ham, cheesecake, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and green bean casserole. I'm in charge of mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, sweet potato casserole, broccoli rice casserole, corn casserole, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. My daughter is to keep papa lathered up with hand sanitizer so nobody catches his cold. My son is to try new textures of food. Our dog is to clean up the scraps. Whew!!

We have many things to be thankful for and our health is a big one! My father-in-law is in remission from non-small cell lung cancer! Now he's been in remission for some time now and how blessed are we that it's gone and get to share an awesome meal with him! We are also thankful for our salvation in our Lord and Savior!! Sure there are crumby things in the world that can get us down but what if we focused on what we have instead of what we don't have. How much different would you feel? and how much happier would you be??

Happy Thanksgiving to you all from our family to yours!!!

Until next time,
Kindest blogging wishes!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Homemade Cleaners Worth Trying

Staying at home has kept me busy doing what moms do such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc... However, something I never thought I would be doing is making my own household cleaners! Now, don't get me wrong. I do enjoy the convenience of buying the items myself from the store but once my friend told me of how easy it was to make my own laundry detergent, I was on fire! I explored every cleaner I could.

I've made laundry detergent from scratch! A lot of it! Ten gallons to be exact! The recipe I used was from the Dugger's website: ( The only issue I have is there is NO smell after the clothes have been cleaned which I prefer to have. However, I spent $10 on raw material and it will last me for 2-3 yrs! I think that's pretty cost effective.

Then I've made fabric softener. I've used several recipes and think the current one is pretty good. You can find the recipe here: I added probably 20 drops of lemon essential oil and it leaves a subtle smell that's not too strong. I even saw a person using aluminum foil balls to reduce static on clothes. I have not tried that but am interested to see if it works.

The next cleaner I made was originally supposed to be just bathroom cleaner but since it works so well it is now an all purpose cleaner that I can use when my kids are around. My sister- and mother-in-law told me about it. It is just equal parts of Dawn soap and white vinegar! Spray, let sit a bit, scrub a little, and rinse. It's smells like pickles but it goes away after a while.

My most recent struggle is dishwasher detergent. I've tried a few recipes and cloudy dishes have caused me much irritation. The recent one I'm using is definitely better but my Pyrex measuring cups still remain cloudy while the other dishes are squeaky clean. I owe the positive change to Lemi Shine. You can find the recipe here:

You're probably wondering why I'm doing this. Well, it's because I'm trying to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals my little ones are exposed to. Sure I can't reduce all of them but if I can just reduce a few then I'll be happy.

Until next time,
Kindest blogging wishes!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Answering the Question, "What do you do all day?"

I was asked yesterday what I do all day after I said I had made our own laundry detergent. Well, at first when I started to stay at home, I fed my boy nonstop it felt like, cleaned, and tried to keep our daughter busy and out of trouble all the while being sleep deprived. Now it's a bit of a different story.

In a previous blog regarding my update, the reduction of our joint income went down but our quality of life has surprisingly increased tremendously! However, my mind is still going a million miles a minute since quitting my job. So I've been keeping busy analyzing the things we buy. Everyday I'm researching different techniques to do or make from real professionals as well as feeding the family, cleaning, schooling, and running (well that last one is a daily struggle).

In my family everyone is mechanically inclined but since I'm a girl, I never really took interest to it until just recently. Now, I do pride myself in the ability to detect a battery problems a few days in advanced just by listening to the turnover time it takes for a car to start or determining the make and model of a car by either the head lights or tail lights, though some cars have proven to be a little more difficult to identify. That's about it though, until... YouTube! Oh yes! That's right!! I learned how to change my cabin and engine air filters! Being so excited, I thought I'd entertain the idea of changing the oil too but I felt that is best left up to professionals who have the tools and do it daily. So the car research stopped there.

Then, there was the laundry detergent that busted me loose on the idea of making more of the stuff I use on a daily basis. My friend posted on Facebook that she had made hers so then again, watched YouTube and there you have it! A years worth of laundry detergent for $9 and the next batch will be only $1 for another year. Next was the fabric softener, dishwasher detergent, anti-static remedies with aluminum foil, shower cleaner, deodorant and I can't forget I learned how to take apart my dryer to clean out the internal lint trap!

So I've tried to do as much by myself for car maintenance and cleaning supplies. Next I turned my attention to food!! Who doesn't like bread?? If you said "Me!", skip to the end... I, for one, love bread! However, in my recent research I thought it would be really cool for my daughter and I to make our own sourbread starter. It was quite similar to growing dendritic cells, a cancer cell line or cloned T cells that I was used to in the lab but I knew it would taste better.

I mixed equal parts of flour and water together covering it with a lid with holes and sat it on the island in our kitchen hoping the right yeast would drop in and take over. After a few feedings, I started to see bubbles like yeast was growing!! My daughter and I were so excited!!! We came back the next day to feed again and an ugly blue mold took over!! We had to toss it out. You can't make good bread with blue mold... Gross. Unfortunately, that was a failed attempt but I'm still researching it and will try again.

Once I have that down it will be deer season and what better way to stock up on meat than going hunting and learning about deer anatomy in the process. Ok... Ok... I might not be able to because my brothers live far away and I don't have anyone I trust enough to go out there with me. It's a good thought though and it's a leaner meat than the cow. Just sayin'...

LlUntil next time,
Kindest blogging wishes!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sugar, Honey, or Molasses: The Sticky Truth

Do you prefer sugar or honey? Maybe agave nectar perhaps? Well why not molasses? This line of thought came to me when I was making miniature cup-cakes (not to be confused with cupcakes) for the youth group at our church. Cup-cakes are small cakes that are mixed in a coffee cup and microwaved. When I was making them and adding sugar I remembered one in the group has type II diabetes. This meant white refined sugar was a no no. So I remembered I had agave nectar to use and made our buddy his own personal cake. My thought ended there.

A couple of days later, me and my daughter made peanut butter play dough. I had just enough honey to use for the recipe and then it was gone. Beside it in the pantry was a barely used bottle of molasses. I bought it during the Christmas season to make my old coworker ginger bread men cookies with raisin buttons (which reminds me, I need to perfect this recipe before Christmas gets here). I wondered if it was a good substitute for honey... So what did I do?? You guessed it, I researched it.

Surprisingly, I found that molasses is profoundly more nutritious than sugar, honey, and in most cases even maple syrup! For example, in a 1/2 cup of molasses vs 1/2 cup honey:
56% vitamin B6 vs. 2%;
35% calcium vs. 1%;
44% iron vs. 4%;
102% magnesium vs. 1%;
70% potassium 3%;
41% copper vs. 3%;
129% manganese vs. 7%;
43% selenium vs. 2%;
22.4 mg choline vs. 3.7mg

I know, I know... 1/2 cup (or 8 T) of molasses is a bit much but it gives a good contrast between the sweeteners. As seen in the link below where I found this data, maple syrup has more zinc and manganese than molasses. Sugar and agave nectar only have trace amounts if any nutrients.

Do we then totally substitute molasses for everything? No. A major benefit of agave nectar is it contains cancer fighting saponins and inulin. Using honey grown locally can stimulate the immune system to adjust to the local allergens. Sugar on the other hand... Simply put, it just tastes good. So moderation and variety is key as they all have something appealing. However, for our morning waffles or pancakes, molasses is the new favorite goo for all in my house. Me for the nutrients, my husband and daughter for its sweet taste, my dog for an accidental treat (as my daughter would say) and well, the boy is too young for such things.


Until next time,
Kindest blogging wishes!!!