Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Don't Give Your Family Your Leftovers This Thanksgiving

 Hey there, friends!

I know today is Tips and Tricks Tuesday, but I’ve had something on my heart that I need to share.  Yes, this is still a DIY blog, but my focus has been shifting a little as my priorities have changed.  Today, I want to talk about the stress we can have during Thanksgiving.

Holidays change us sometimes, and not for the good.  In our efforts to make things perfect and provide a memorable family day, we tend to lose sight of what’s really important during this time.  Yes, we say it’s all about family and enjoying their company, but I see more and more that “perfection” is creeping its ugly head into our homes. In our desire to make a picture- perfect tablescape, and deliciously prepared food to be consumed by neatly groomed family members, we can easily become frustrated and irritated when thing don’t match our ideal “family day.”

I’ve been the mom that wants the kids to look perfect, to have the table look as close to a magazine picture as possible, to hear everyone say how tasty the food is and … here it is … good job. The woman that can do this is surely to be praised. But at the end of the day, if I cooked my heart out and had a beautifully decorated table but failed to make my family, instead of perfection, my priority, I completely failed.  I’ve been there, too.

When we commit ourselves to having a Perfect holiday, we can tear down anything that stands in the way of it- even precious family.  Have you ever yelled at your kids because they’re in the way as you’re getting their meal done?  Have you ever become irritated with your husband for not helping out more? Have you ever become so frustrated that you just want to take that turkey and shake it until it decides to work with you?  I’m nodding yes, too.

So this year, I thought it would be good for us to talk about the busy holiday season and determine in our hearts that we aim for joy and not perfection.  I don’t want to be so busy that I give all my efforts to the dinner and give my family whatever is leftover of myself. That’s usually a half smiling, wish I would have acted differently, can’t wait to get this day over with- mom.  Not the Thanksgiving I envisioned.

So as my heart set out to change, my desire for a joyful countenance and attitude followed.  Here are some of the lessons I had to learn. These lessons have been a blessing to Lewisville each and every holiday.

1. Commit your way to the Lord and your thoughts will be established (Prov. 16:3). This is the verse I meditate on while I’m in the planning stages of the holidays. It’s been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. We must have an action plan during this busy season. Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t just happen in a few hours.  There’s lots of prep involved, so sit down and write out a list. In fact, write a few list. When I sit down to do this, I pray that the Lord will bring to mind what needs to be done, and what things I can do away with-that’s our thoughts being established. Here’s what my lists look like:

List 1. -Menu:
Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, sweet potato casserole,
green salad, green bean casserole

Now, I can get my grocery list together. I also found that if I cook and prep half the meal the day before, the holiday is so much easier. I prep the turkey the night before, placing it in an oven bag with chopped veggies. It goes onto a baking rack and pan, then in the refrigerator for the night. This saves me at least an hour. You can also make the mashed potatoes and just about everything else, the night before and refrigerate them overnight. Put them in a crock pot on low for a few hours the day of Thanksgiving. This has been my life saver. The more I prep, the easier my day goes.

List 2. -Games:
Board games, cards

List 3.- Schedule/ tips:
Shower and dress (if I don't do this first, I may not find the time later in the day)
Quiet time with coffee
Easy breakfast- cereal, oatmeal, eggs & toast.
Start the Turkey!
Clean as you go
Snacks for Lunch or appetizers if dinner is after 2pm.
Have the kids set the table

2. Don’t be a Martha! You know the lesson of Mary and Martha (Luke 10). We can get so busy in the kitchen, complete with hands on our hips and complaining, "no one is helping" from our lips, that frustration wells up inside. Don’t go there.  Choose better. Choose to take breaks, to play with the kids, to have a cup of coffee and a conversation with your husband.  Play a game, check the turkey, smile, laugh, check the casseroles.  Choose to go at a GRACE Pace rather than the day dictating a fast pace for your family.

  - Accept help and ask for help when you need it!

  - Have a game plan with your husband. When the kids were little, it was more helpful for me to have him play with the kids and keep them busy while I was busy in the kitchen. These days, my girls help in a big way, while my husband and son entertain guests and act as taste testers. They also like making snacks and drinks for everyone and acting as our house DJ's, putting on songs at your request.

3. Think like David. There was a point in King David’s life that his friends wanted to stone him, and let’s face it, that would send any of us into a state of depression. “But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” (I Samuel 30:6) He talks to himself, encourages himself, and gets his eyes back where they belong.  We need to do the same. When I’m feel overwhelmed or getting frustrated at how my day is going, I take a minute and …talk to myself… usually in bible verses but sometimes it’s as simple as, “you can do this;  you’re almost there; smile; be joyful.”  When you purpose in your heart to be joyful, everyone benefits. I have to be intentional in this area- speak kindly, answer softly, settle your heart.  If I don't, my anxiousness takes over my attitude and the family gets grouchy mom. Grouchy mom is not fun and I always regret being grouchy mom!
- keep the TV off as long as possible and play music instead. 
- a walk (with the family preferably) is always a great way to relax
Finally- Be Thankful!
I hope you all have a wonderful, not perfect, Thanksgiving.  May you smile when the milk is spilled, laugh when the turkey burns, and kiss cheeks as you clean the mess. Enjoy your families!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

A White Painted Table!


Remember when I talked about the DIY project that I Seriously didn't Like! Well, it's all done! Here's what I started with- a traditional table from the thrift store given to us from a friend.

I painted it last year with LATEX paint. BIG, BIG mistake. It started looking awful within months.  Look at the evidence below. Embarrassing!

So I finally decided to get my act together and repaint this table. First, I had to strip the paint off- which is the part I don't like. Of all the DIY projects in the world, I hate stripping paint the most.

Once the paint was stripped off, I started over with two coats of primer. The spray primer is for the curvy legs of the table. Notice the beautiful day outside.

I used TWO coats of primer...

and made sure I sanded it down after each coat. This step is so important. I used 220 grit sand paper and it felt so smooth after sanding it.

I did run into trouble though. I used my Purdy brush for the primer, then used paint thinner to clean  it. I didn't clean it thoroughly though. I had to youtube how to clean a brush properly and realized I shouldn't be using my brush for both latex and enamel paint. Oops!  Lesson learned. I soaked it in paint thinner, but hate using such harsh chemicals. If oil based paints and primers dry on your paint brush, they're pretty much useless. My brush came back to life, but my rule of thumb from now on will be to use disposable sponge brushes whenever I use enamels.

 I LOVE sponge brushes in general. I so dislike cleaning paint brushes, and I always feel that these sponge brushes give me a smoother stroke anyway. That's my 2cents on brushes.
Notice again the beautiful day!

I used the spray enamel on the legs.

And I decided my thrift chairs could use a fresh coat, too.

I painted a THIN coat of white enamel, then let it dry for 24 hours. That's the hard part- just waiting. I gently sanded any imperfections then painted another coat. Looking back, I wish I would have painted a third coat for extra measure, but I think the two coats will hold up. 
I used a new sponge brush with each coat, using long strokes from one side to the other- starting from the middle and working my way to the head of the table.
By the way, this was Sunday. Nice day, but we had been warned.

Finally, it was time to protect my paint. I thought about using a furniture wax, but the more I investigated, the more I realized wax may not be the best decision. I decided to use polycrylic, a water based protective finish that won't "yellow" the white paint.
Still, a nice day, right?

And here it is. I love my drab to fab black chairs, but they'll be getting a paint job next just to have a more cohesive look.

The enamel paint dries hard, not soft and pliable like latex paint. The table isn't so delicate now. It can handle my family, our meals, books, computers, toys, etc.

I love my "new" table.  My family loves it, too.  It was a bit of a pain to get through this DIY project, but as usual, it was so worth it in the end. What do you think?

Oh and by the way,
I finished the table on Sunday, and this is what happened on Monday. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tips and Tricks Tuesday

Ok, November is here! When did that happen? That means the holidays are right around the corner, and I'm feeling the time crunch already! Anyone with me?
I have a few parties planned and they involve beautifully set table scapes, games and of course a fabulous meal.
So to get my feet wet, we all have to start somewhere, I've decided to get inspired with DIY Thanksgiving napkin rings and name place cards. Here's what I found. Let get inspired to bless our families this holiday!
For most of these, you'll need a hot glue gun, ribbon or burlap. 






 Here's a great way to get started! Just glue burlap around tp roll 2inches wide.





So now the trick is to narrow it down to what I'm going to do????


Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's the Little things that make a Blog and give me a monster Headache.

So this is not your average DIY post, but it (kind of) is if you happen to write a blog or thinking about starting one.
For most of you, this post is just to announce that I now, finally, after two years have a new Pinterest Pin button.  Just hover over a picture like the one below, and a P (for pinterest) will magically appear!

By the way, this is my fall mantel, not complete but in progress.  Everything you see came from the Dollar Store, except for the split peas of course.

I've been working on another website for the past three days, which just encouraged me all the more to look at my own little blog.  I haven't liked my pinterest button that once occupied the bottom right side of each post, but that little button was added on two years ago.

old pin button is now gone!
To make a long story short, html coding has to be changed, deleted or added to have any fancy little bells and whistles on a blog. It takes a while for me to figure out what code needs to be changed and exactly where that code is.  I have nearly 3000 lines of code. 

So for those of you who blog, this DIY post is for you.  I learned three valuable lessons in the last 48 hours. That's about how long it took me to take code out and put the pinterest hover code in. Blah! If I never see my htlm code again, I'll be just fine with that!

Lesson 1- I now know how to find htlm code fast
Instead of scrolling down line by line, blogger users can do this.
                1. Log in
                2. go to template
                3. click on edit html
                4. expand the code by selecting widget next
                5. Now all your blog code will pop up. Hold Ctrl  and select the F key.
                6. A small box will show up on the top right corner of you html code box. Now enter in the exact code you're looking for.  I put in <div style="float"....>. You have to put in the exact code.
                7. Hit enter and it will take you to the location of the code. LIFE SAVER for me.

That's what I learned to get rid of my old pinterest button.

Lesson 2. Pinterest has changed and you now have to verify your pins in order for them to get seen on your main page. Again, you have to add a "meta <tag>" which means playing around in the htlm code area. They provide a code but you have to know where to put it in the body. That's where lesson 1 helps again.

Lesson 3. Sometimes, you're just not going to figure everything out. I had to search in Pinterest for an easy code to add so that hover button can be added to my pictures.  I tried, really tried, to figure out what pinterest was talking about on their tools page, but their code explanation was beyond me. So I found someone who found someone who has an easy code to follow, and they tell you exactly where to put it. This is where I found the easy hover Pinterest code.

Now, those little things on my blog are complete and the monster headache is gone!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tips and Tricks Tuesday

Well, Hello, hello!
I must say that fall has finally fallen in a big way around here.  Our yard is covered in leaves, leaves, and more leaves. We've raked, gathered, swept, and filled bags, but it still looks like we haven't touched a thing. This is a job ... for the kids!

So today's Tips and Tricks Tuesday is a little different. I loved last weeks Halloween alternatives. If you missed it, go HERE. That post inspired me to create those candy labels. So that's just what I did this weekend.

Here's the label.

You can download the pdf file and print them on sticky labels of your own. Stick the labels on your candy, and pass them out as usual. There are 30 labels per page.
Just a note when printing. Make sure your printer is set to labels!