Saturday, June 29, 2013

Boston Bound

*Insert Augustana's song Boston here*

Hubby and I are going on our first vacation together since our honeymoon last year!  (I know, I know, not that long a time ago.)  But it's our first time flying together.  And certainly the farthest we've traveled together.  Boston.  I. Am. Stoked.  We both are.  We're going to visit his family that's up there, see his dad, and meet his step mom for my first time.  So many firsts on this trip!  I've never been to Boston.  I've been to Cape Cod, but only for about 2 days to go to one of my cousin's weddings yeeeears ago.  (Which was an amazing trip as well and another story all together!)    Have I already mentioned how excited we are?  I am actually going to be going to bed soon.  Our flight leaves at 6:45am! (Much thanks to Mama in advance for driving us to the airport at an hour that no human was meant to see!) I've been packed for a week, and have had a packing list ready about 3 before that.  And not to mention, a list that lists out all of my outfits, each outfit grouped together by brackets.  I might or might not have my 4th of July outfit already picked out as well.  I would rather be over than under prepared! To get everyone excited, I have included a few things I'm really looking forward to.  Just a few.....
  **What are some things y'all recommend not leaving Boston without having seen?**


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Home Makeover: Parents' House

It all comes down to Hubby and I watching too many home makeover shows.  Oh who am I kidding?  Is there such a thing as too many?  They really got us to thinking.  I couldn't think of anyone more deserving than my parents for a home makeover.  Hubby is actually the one that brought it up. My parents work so hard  and deserved a nice surprise. I know it's easy to get overwhelmed and feel like there's know way you can change something in your house or get it cleaned up or get it the way you want it to.  It was quite an undertaking.  We put in about 40 hours of work in one week's time.  We had lots of help though from a couple of family members and my friend with Rayah Sunshine and her husband. 

  We started out working in the living room with tearing out the carpet.  There was beautiful cherry finished hardwood floors hidden beneath the blue carpet.  Parents had already torn the carpet out of the dining room and so we made the living room match!  The only thign we had to do to the floor was pull up the staples that had been holding down the carpet pad, then polishing it with wood cleaner.  Grandma made new valances out of curtains that we found at Ross.  I'll be putting up more pictures as I have the time. 
    For the dining room, it was really just a matter of organizing.  We hung all the pictures in a wall collage that had been sitting on top of the piano.  This cleared off the top and made it seem less cluttered.  Hubby hung the collage as I told him where to go.  To his probable frustration, there was a lot of, "ooh a little more to the left, a little more, oh too much, just a bit more...etc."  But he did a wonderful job hanging them! 
[Before]                                                              [After]
The kitchen was another story.  This is where the most work was done, as you can see.  I'll be adding more progress pictures odwn the road as well.  It was amazing.  A lot of sweat and tears went into it.  The tears being from me getting so frustrated with trying to get all the cabinet doors back on.  **note to self: if you are doing a project that requires removing all of the cabinet doors, be sure to label where they go back!  My eyeballing size compariosn only got me so far.**  I lost count of the number of times that I got a door up on the hinges thinking it was the right size, when in reality it was not the right one!
My parents like to collect colorful bottles.  I loved these.  They got to stay.  And most of the colors actually matched our new color scheme.  It's like they knew!  One thing that was taking up a lot of space on the counters were cookboks.  We solved that by getting a bookshelf to put in there.  (Bookshelf donated by our cousin, Lauren.)  It also allowed me to get some of the teapots that had been on top of the fridge down where they could be seen.  But I'm getting ahead of myself!

Before we could do anything to the countertops, we had to finish everything above them. That included scraping the layers of old wallpaper off the section above the cabinets, and sanding.  We made sure to wear our protective gear!  *Note: It might be better to use actual industrial facemasks that you can get at Lowes, Home Depot or any other home improvement store.* 

All of the kitchen tile had to go.  There were some loose tiles coming up that were a big tripping and toe stubbing hazard.  Underneath those tiles was a layer of tar-like soaked felt rolled out.  The tiles themselves were easy to pull up.  Even though the flooring we had was what you would call floating flooring, we still swept the floor really well and removed as much dust as possible.  It was made so much easier by using a shop vac to get everything up! 

The countertops I think were one of my favorite features! Whereas before, they were green linoleum, we painted them to look like granite!  This process was so easy, and under $50 to do!!  For a tutorial, go Here.  All you'll need is a big bottle of black acrylic paint, glitter paint that dries clear, and about 3 other neutral colors. (I used a medium gray, darker tan, and a vanilla color.)  You will also need a sea sponge that you can tear apart, (Sea sponges have the best and most varied texture,) and a clear polyeurothane coat.  (Though if you wanted to do a lighter background color, you might want to get a different type of clear coating, as this one might yellow with age.  But it doesn't matter if you have the darker base.)  And *poof* granite counter tops!

Thisis the finished product of the kitchen.  Like I've mentioned before, I'll have to come back and add more detailed pictures and different angles so you can get the full effect.  With painting the cabinets white, and laying down light flooring a little lighter than the ceiling (which Daddy put up all by himself!) it really opened up the room!  The next thing is to get an island to go in the middle!  My husband and I got one at Big Lots last Black Friday and have loved it!  My parents recently went on a trip to North Carolina and brought back a pie safe and an old drying station that came from the family farm.  Either one of them would make a perfect island!

In another picture I will include later, I made my parents a coffee corner.  We are a big coffee drinking faimly, so I thought it only appropriate!

All in all, it was such a rewarding experience!  We got to help some deserving people with some changes to their house that might have never been able to be done without a little help.  They have always been so good with providing for us.  I figured it was time we gave back.  They got back Tuesday evening, returning to a new house!  Mama said they must have walked into a stranger's house!  They loved all of it.  At first glance, they thought the counters were granite as well.  So I'd say our work was accomplished.  We loved having been able to make a difference in our parents' lives.  They were such deserving people!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Refreshing Summer Poppyseed Salad

My friend, Shurayah and I love eating at a Jenks restaurant called Sushi Hana.  We get a roll called the Summer Roll.  A delicious roll with salmon, mango, cream cheese, with a thin slice of avocado and strawberry, drizzled in a creamy poppyseed dressing.  It's so refreshing! This salad is my version of that delicious roll without the $16 price tag.

I bought a head of green lettuce to cut up. It's cheaper than a bag of salad, only $1.49! It lasted me for a good 3-4 salads for 4 days at work. 

Feeling extravagant, I cut up a whole avocado into cubes to put on the salad.

Sliced up Strawberries and put in shredded carrots.

Then drizzle on the dressing.  Delicious and refreshing.  To make sure everything was nicely mixed and evenly coated, (I'm a big fan of evenly dressing coated lettuce leaves,) I put the lid back on it when I was ready to eat it and shook the dickens out of it!  Voila!!  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Dumpster Chair

 I think it's time for me to reveal my fun chair project, even though it isn't completed.  I just couldn't contain myself any longer!  (Though not as hard to contain as the other secret I am carrying. But all will be revealedwith that next week!) 
    Mom and I were coming out of church choir one Wednesday night when we happened to look over atthe dumpster in the parking lot.  Behind it was this beautiful wicker chair.  True, it was a little worse for wear but Mom and I immediately saw the potential.  We don't know whatthe story was of this poor little chair, but one person's trash (or discarded stolen property) is another man's treasure.  We loaded it up in one of our cars and drove back to the house.  Plans were already formulating in my mind. 
    The first step was to scrub the tar out of it.  It was dirty and icky, with the white hidden behind a layer of grime.  I tore out the irreparable seat, (no one would want to sit on that!) and hosed it down. 
Hubby was all too eager to use one of his power tools to saw off the funny old key box that was on it.  **Safety note: when using a grinder or similar tool that produces sparks, it's advised to wear protective gear, such as shoes so you're not doing it barefoot and protective eyewear.**
 Here she is all scrubbed up and ready for paint!       And here she is painted.  It took a can of spray paint (I used an interior/exterior safe spraypaint from Lowes,) and then some.  Hubby said I could have used less had I used proper spray painting technique.
My technique: Just holding my finger down on the nozzle and spraying  the dickens out of it until everything was covered.
His technique: Followingthe lines of the chair so that excess paint wasn't being wasted on empty space.
I then put on a clear coat of enamel type spray paint that I found in Hubby's man cave.

 I was thinking this type of fabric to make a seat out of.  To do so, I am going to measure the opening of the chair, then cut a fitting round piece out of a piece of plyboard.  I will then get some foam (which you can get at any fabric store) and fashion a cushion to adhere to the wood seat.  I will take my fabric, place the center of it on top of the seat cusion, and pull tight, stapling it around the bottom ring of the wooden disk.  After it'sstapled all the way around, just cut the excess off the bottom and put it in the frame of the chair! 
    Really, this matches nothing in our house.  I suppose I should have thought of that before I started painting it, but the bright shiny red can of spray paint on the shelf was calling my name!  Maybe it will be an outside chair.  If that's the case, then I hope to find the vinyl, outdoor table cloth type of fabric to cover the seat with.

I promise that as soon as I get around to making the seat cushion, that I will put it on here.  Right now our secret project is taking up so much of our time that all we do is come home and fall straight into bed. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

I Love My Daddy

Happy Father's Day!!  Let me start off by saying that I love my daddy!  That's right, I'm 27 years old and still call him daddy.  I don't think I will ever be too old to call him that.  Daddy is such an endearing name.  It encompasses how much I love him, look up to him and appreciate him.  I have included some growing up moments with Daddy.  Pictures from our summer trips to North Carolina (which I haven't been able to go on in a couple of years because of having a bnig girl job,) taking our gun safety class together, buying fireworks to bring back to OK, and one of my favorite Daddy moments: him giving me away at my wedding. 

At a glass works shop at Wilmington's Cotton Exchange Shops.
(That wooden armadilla on the top shelf is Cora the Armadilla; our trip mascott that year.)

< Dad, Nan Sarah and I at her home in South Carolina.

>Buying fireworks accross the state line on our way home from NC.
                            Such a sweet, sweet moment in all our lives: the day I became a Linde.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Branson: A Photographic Journey

As promised, I found more pictures! Though they're not from past trips like I'd mentioned, (in all honesty I haven't started to look for them yet) they're still fun to look at. The kiddos (and adults) had a spinning, diving, and quacking good time!

It rained our last day there, but we prevailed and ducked on!
I love this picture of Grandma. She was so sweet to have planned this trip for the kiddos. We all remember how much fun we had as kids and she wanted to spread that joy on to the precious kiddos.
Honorary captain licenses for all the kiddos because they got to drive the duck when it was in the water.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Branson, Here We Come!

    Growing up, some of my fondest summer memories were the trips our family took to Branson, Missouri.  It would be my parents and sister, Grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousin, and sometimes our family friends whose father used to be the preacher of our old church.  We would always stay at Lakeshore Resort, which is sadly no longer there.  Men would fish, children would play and women would go shopping.  Grandpa would always tell us that we had to be quiet on the doc or else we'd scare away all the fish.  Boy was that hard to be quiet!  One of these days I'll try diggin up old pictures from those trips to put up on here. 
    We had a real treat in getting to bring our little cousins, the next generation!  Suddenly mine and my sister's roles were reversed and we found ourselves as part of the adult group instead of the kids!  It was a sobering but exhilirating experience as we found ourselves saying some of the exact same things our parents had.  We all got to be kids though when we went to Silver Dollar City!  We rode all the rides, saw all the sites, looked in a few shops, and ate all the delicious amusement park food.  The only thing that I lacked trying (yet again) was the red velvet funnel cake.  One of these days I'm going to get my hands on one of those!!
    I know these photos only show a limited amount of what all we got to see do, and who all was with us.  On this trip were 4 rowdy, loving, precious kiddos, and 4 adults; yours truly, Sister, our Mama and Grandma.  It was pretty neat having 4 generations present!
[Hanging out before we left for Missouri.  He looks just like his dad, my cousin did at that age!]
[Sadly, the archway McDonald's was closed for construction.  Always loved stopping there]
[Welcome to Missouri!]
[I'd like to take all of the construction cones and make em into something more useful than a construction site...]
[Chillin at the hotel before we left for SDC]
[There be cowboys here!]
[Well I can tell you that their trespass was not lollygagging!]
[The big lobby at the Branson Towers where we stayed]
[All of the kiddos got to drive the Ducks!  A trip to Branson isn't complete without riding in one of these once wartime vehicles.  They drive from the land straight into the water! And drive right back out!  How many vehicles that you know of can do that?]

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hidden Things

We came accross some interesting things hidden in our backyard this past week.  We have a tree that's outside of our sun room, with leafy branches partially obscuring our view to the south.  Hubby pointed out to me a beautiful thing in the middle of it, hidden behind its shade.  A single rose.  A beautiful, thriving single rose.  It even smelled wonderful.  I was amazed.  Apparently there is a small rosebush behind this tree.  It almost makes me want to cut it down so we can give the rosebush more room to grow.  But then, if we cut it down we won't have any shade or shield on that side of the house.  So for now it sits in its protective cove between the tree and the house. 
Then, as my eyes were traveling along the ground, (yes, I sometimes walk looking at the ground.  You never know what you're going to find!) and lo and behold Hubby points out some wild strawberies growing all along the base of our AC unit.  Upon further inspection, they actually grew all along the base of our house in that back corner.  Pretty neat!  I might have to see if I can harvest some to eat later...that is if they are supposed to be edible.

We had a baby shower for my cousin who is due to have her baby any day now!  This will be their second.  We are so excited to welcome a new precious little face into the world.  Pictured above are one of my summer favorites!  Pineapple Cream Cheese Sandwiches.  Our family in North Carolina make them every year to bring to the family reunion, so these simple sandwiches ccontain a lot of memories.

                               [Baby Shower food!]

Hardy har har.  I tried cutting my own bangs over the weekend.  I think they look a little better now.  I'll have to include an updated picture later.  I had no idea what I was doing, but I had to try!  Lesson learned: don't squish down bangs to cut them; they'll just spring right back up to be waay shorter than intended.  I'm okay with them now.  They should be the perfect length in about a week or so since my hair grows so quickly!
  All in all it was a productive and relaxing weekend.  Got to spend time with family, cleaned the house, ate, ate, ate, and have made progress in a huge plan that Huby and I have brewing.  More to come on that!