Thursday, March 28, 2013

Don't Nap on the Couch

What you can't see in this last photo, is that Noah has on no pants or underwear due to the fact that we are potty training.  He's holding a fun-sized bag of M&Ms, and an hour after Blair woke up he found something in the small of his back (under his shirt) that he was relieved to discover was only melted chocolate...


Man or beast, don't nap on our couch if Noah is in the house.  He will cover you with toys, crayons, musical instruments, and melted chocolate all while sitting on your face.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More Than Meets the Eye

Let's play Two Truths and a Lie, shall we?  

1.  Blair was in Chicago for five days.
2.  I had both kids all by myself for five days.
3.  It was leisurely.


Ever since we started making our house our own, I have wanted to change this space we laughingly call The Hall.  It really isn't a hall.  It's more of a turn-around.  It has six doors, no natural light, and no electrical outlets.  

We started the change in this space a year-and-a-half ago when we pulled out all of the carpet.  Then we stopped and didn't do anything else.  That is, until this past weekend.  Blair was in Chicago, and I decided to take the bull by the horns and shake things up in the decor department.

Here's where it started:

This paint is the same that was originally in our bedroom and Rynne's room.  It made me think of our first cruddy apartment.  It had to go.

This mirror came with the house.  Nice mirror, but the copper finish is a little "frou frou" for me.  And by "frou frou" maybe what I really mean is that it's a little formal for my style.  I do like the square shape, though, and it was free, so I knew I wanted to keep it.

More unsightly, flesh-colored paint.

Just you wait.

After a couple of days of painting, here's the final result.  My apologies for the lighting in the photos.  Like I said, no natural light.  The paint color looks slightly different in all of these.  I used Olympic Low Odor, No VOC paint in Royal Palm with an eggshell finish.  It only took one quart.

I used some of the left-over spray paint from Kathrynne's curtain rod to spruce up the mirror.  So much better.  It brings a little color and playfulness to the space.

 This big black rectangle on the wall?

It's a chalkboard.  Blair and I see this wall as soon as we walk out of the bedroom each morning.  I plan to keep rotating Scripture verses on it.

A lovely spot for my chalk.

 And in those other two glass jars?  Why, I am so glad you asked!  Those are magnets.  Remember how the title of this post is More Than Meets the Eye?  Well, here's the more...

It's a magnetic wall!!

A magnetic wall that doesn't photograph well, but a magnetic wall nonetheless.  

I used three coats of Rustoleum magnetic primer top to bottom and all the way across then covered that with two coats of the latex paint.  One thing to remember with the magnetic primer is that it is primer.  Primer is much thinner than the latex paint and will drip and splatter if you aren't careful.

The wall looks great, Blair and I love it, Noah really loves it, and it's super cool!  I can't wait to get started using this.  I went ahead and put our English Magnetic Poetry set up.  We also have one in German if we're feeling super smarty-pants.

This space actually feels like a room of the house now rather than simply an awkward and unused space.  Just a little paint goes a long way in making a house feel more like a home.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Conversations With Noah

Noah:  "Mommy, where's Daddy?"
Me:  "He's in Chicago."
Noah:  "His car is here.  Did he walk?"
Me:  "No, sweetie.  He took a bus."
Noah:  "We don't have a bus, honey!"


Me:  "Noah, we need to go pick up Daddy."
Noah:  "But he's too big!"

Monday, March 25, 2013

A New Cooky Recipe

When your baby is asleep and your three-year-old needs something fun and messy to do, where do you turn?  The kitchen, of course!  If you're going to make a mess it might as well taste good, amiright??  Not to mention the close vicinity to a sink and lots of towels.

Well, the other night that's exactly where I found myself.  In the kitchen looking for a new cookie recipe to try.  I only had one egg and was short on a couple of other ingredients, so I decided to try my hand at creating my own cookie.  Now, I am no cookie-making extraodinaire like my mother is.  (As a side note:  If you haven't been over to her blog, go.  Now.  Order cookies.  They are gorgeous and delicious.)  However, I have made a cookie or two in my day, so I just started pulling out some of the basics.  Here's what I settled on.  I call them Nutty Chocolate Cooky Bars.  Noah calls them tasty.  Either way, they turned out great.

Nutty Chocolate Cooky Bars

1/3 c shortening
2/3 c butter
1/2 c granulated (white) sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
1 egg
1 c white flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c cocoa powder
2 c chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Preheat oven to 375*.  Combine shortening and butter in a mixer.  Blend.  Add egg, mix until combined.  Add dry ingredients except for nuts.  Mix until well combined.  Stir in nuts.  Press into large bar pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 20 minutes or until set.  Let cool and slice.  Enjoy with a glass of milk.


And wouldn't ya just know that they make the perfect make-ahead mix for the cabinet?

If you decide to make these, please leave a comment for me so I'll know what you think of them!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kitchen Storage

Yesterday, I was inspired by this post, written by my sister-in-law, to tidy up my kitchen cabinets.  I've found myself being rather lazy with them over the last few weeks (probably due to the fact that newborns are exhausting and when given the choice to either vacuum or organize, I'm going to pick the floors). 

Blair and I are making the switch from plastic to glass storage in our kitchen.  We're doing this little by little due to the fact that glass storage is more expensive than plastic.  We already have many, many glass quart and pint jars, and since I can't use a pressure cooker on my stove, I store dried goods and mixes in them.  Why keep the jars and bags of beans in the cabinet separately when you can combine them and save on space?

Dried beans and lentils are easily distinguishable in the jars, but biscuit mix and pancake mix look very much the same.  I used to label the flats of the lids with a Sharpie (because that's how my mother does it), but Sharpie doesn't come off.  About a year ago, I ordered a chalk pen from Amazon.  Originally, I just used it on my chalkboards, but I discovered that it doesn't erase well.  I noticed on the package that it can be used on glass, so I started labeling the tops of my lids with it.  It wipes off easily with a little rubbing, and I can use it on the jars and containers I store in the freezer.  

I keep the soaking and cooking directions for beans and lentils written in this cookbook my Mimi bought me as a child.  By doing this, I don't have to keep the packages.  Less clutter.

For items like couscous and quinoa, which are tiny little pellets (and I make a huge mess with every time), instead of using a canning ring and flat I use...

The green lids from parmesan cheese containers!  I save them.  All of them.  You never know when they might come in handy.  From quinoa to letting your three-year-old put pipe cleaners through them, they are great to have around.

Simple.  Glass.  Storage.

Organization achieved.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Our New Bathroom

Well, ok.  We don't really have a new bathroom, but with an $11 quart of paint, it sure feels like it.  For more before pictures of the bathroom, go here and here.  



The room feels so much bigger and brighter in this color (the room actually photographs well now!).  The chalkboard cabinet is the first piece I've painted with chalkboard spray paint.  Up until this, I've always rolled it on with a foam roller.  The spray paint works just as well, and for items you can paint outside, it's much quicker.

I love the little touches of green in the boxes ($1 from Michaels four years ago).  I keep odds and ends in one and my toothbrush charger in the other.  Even just switching out the hand towel made a difference, and I like the light switch and outlet covers much better against this paint color.

I have a shelf planned that my Darling is going to build for me when he has time, but other than that, this room is done!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Past Due::A Before and After

Now, I adore tarnished silver.  As far as I'm concerned, it's right up there with mercury glass apothecary jars and hobnail milk glass vases.  

However, even I must admit that there comes a time when you must say "enough is enough" and drag out the silver polish.

I split the difference by only polishing the outside of the bowl.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Let's Cook Supper

I made cheesy quinoa, baked potatoes, fried okra, and peas.

Noah made a mess.

It was a lot of fun.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Not to Brag, But...

I have a wonderful husband.  So many women think their husband is the most wonderful man in the world.  And, naturally, we are all correct in our thinking!  But, with all of us who think that, there are so many more women out there who do not have wonderful soul mates.  Their husbands simply don't measure up to what they thought the "love of their life" should be.  They are disappointed and unhappy.

My Blair, however, is so much more than what I ever thought a husband could be.  After seven years of marriage, he still takes out the trash, helps clean up after dinner, and puts his dirty laundry in the hamper.  These things, however, are trivial.  They are not what go into making a successful life together.  Ironically, though, they are the very things that destroy so many.  

My Blair works very hard.  He teaches high school, which in and of itself would be enough to make me check myself into a mental institution, but on top of this he works two part-time jobs.  He conducts our local youth orchestra.  His music training is in voice, so this is not a job that comes naturally to him.  He has to work at.  And he does.  Because, with Blair's standards, if you are going to do something (especially in music), you do it well.  You research it and learn and improve.  My Love also ministers to our church through music and Scripture.  He feels a burden for his congregation and seeks to nurture them with words of God.  Working in a church is not simple work.  It may not take up the bulk of his time, but when you are working with people's hearts and souls there is much to prayerfully consider (always, whether you are a pastor, minister of music, or teacher).

My Blair works hard here on Lankford.  Not only does he create and build beautiful pieces to improve the aesthetic and function of our house, he works hard to make it a home.  He is a wonderful father.  Is he a perfect father?  Of course not.  There is only one Perfect Father.  But he loves his children and strives to teach them with the love of God.  He disciplines and plays.  Instructs and sympathizes.  Makes jokes and soothes scraped knees.  He gets up in the middle of the night to calm the fears from a nightmare, and he rises early in the morning with a fussy baby.  I don't even have to put gas in our car because he takes care of that, too.  There are weeks and months when he is rarely at home, and rather than feeling relieved as many men would, he feels like part of him is missing.  

Today is not the anniversary of our first date.  It's not our wedding anniversary, and it isn't his birthday. But today is still a special day because it's one more day that I get to call him mine.  My love.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Every Little Boy Needs a Tent

After seeing several of these on Pinterest, I decided that Blair and I could easily make one.  We whipped one up in about an hour for under $30.  I got a large dog bed and a new pillow for the inside.  He loves his special reading tent.