Saturday, May 30, 2020

Two Furry Additions to our Family

Hi, everyone! How is your weekend going? It was almost 100 degrees here today! A storm came through in the evening though and cooled it down a bit. I hope you are all staying cool.

Well, we did it. After being cat owners for 12 years and saying we were DONE with cats. We decided to get two kittens. It's really not our fault. We tried to resist. Really! But our 8 year old son finds extreme comfort from cats. When he is having a hard day, he calms down when he pets our cat. So, you see, we had no choice! We were doing it for him!  

How can you say no to that face?

Calico kitten named Pumpkin

And how can you say no to these balls of fluffy cuteness! 

Calico kitten name Maizey

Calico kitten

I think the girls are in love! It was all they could talk about for the past day since we told them. 

I love this man. A kitten curled up on his chest! He is also so servant-hearted. He pulled the car over on the way home and took care of the kittens messes after I seriously was about to hurl. And he only laughed at me once. Or twice.

Calico kitten

Calico kitten

My kids have never gotten to experience kittens before. We got our cats before they were born. It's fun to see them with this stage. The girls were singing them lullabies and the boys were having so much fun snuggling them, even after getting peed on! Well, after he quickly changed.

Alright, I am done bombarding you with pictures. Here's to new adventures! 

Soon we will need to adjust our cat litter issue. My husband will be building something better than what we have going on right now. Coming to a blog near you soon!


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Friday, May 29, 2020

Stair Makeover

Stair makeover with paint

I know we have a tendency on any social platform to only show the good and gloss over the mistakes. Whether it be about our every day lives, or failed recipes or projects. Well, that's just not me. Life isn't perfect. And neither am I. And my projects certainly are not. In fact, I feel like I fail more often than I succeed. And even though failure can be frustrating (and time consuming!), I am truly enjoying the experience of learning new things. I just wish I could learn a little faster! Don't we all?

So, this project. I wanted to rip out the carpet on my stairs soooo badly! Last year we took out our downstairs carpet and vinyl and replaced it with laminate. I love it! 

This kids loves to help!

Laminate flooring
                                        Such pretty floors!

I saw all these beautiful staircases on Pinterest and I wanted one! However, I didn't want to break the bank. For that reason, I tried the cheap option of simply refinishing the existing treads and risers. 

Old stairs with carpet

This is my staircase before. It is difficult to see how abused these poor carpets were. I wanted them GONE!


Benjamin was so funny. He didn't want me to tear out the carpet. He kept saying "But then it won't be comfy so I can't nap on it!" When I started pulling up the carpet, he pushed it back down and said "maybe next week." 

He got over it quickly when I let him help!

OSB covered stairway

What was under our carpet was.... OSB! It wasn't as simple as slapping some paint over it. I knew it was OSB going in so I wasn't surprised. I decided to cover it with joint compound so the strands of wood wouldn't show through the paint. 

First coat of joint compound on. We only had one day without the kids, but the joint compound says to wait 24 hours between coats. I tried speeding up the process with the heat gun. Still didn't dry enough. We did the first coat way too thick. 

The next day my husband sanded it all. 



We didn't have plastic to cover anything. Such. A. MISTAKE. I am still finding dust in places, a couple of weeks later! 

We did one more light coat of joint compound. Next a coat of Kilz Klear bonding primer and sealer. Then started painting. We chose a porch and patio floor paint in dark walnut. 

We did the first coat of paint on every other step. I tried to go as fast as I could because I have little children with short legs that can't skip steps. 

On the second coat of paint, I used this fun little tool that you can use to make faux wood grain in the paint. It was really fun and easy to use! 

After all the treads and the landing were painted, I coated them all with Minwax Polyurethane for Floors. 

Finally came painting the risers. This is where I am really not pleased. I was trying to convince myself that the treads were alright looking, but when I go to these risers I just knew my stairs were going to look ridiculous! You can still see the texture of the OSB, the joint compound left it bumpy in places (even after tons of sanding). 

Refinished OSB stairs with join compound

This is what it looks like at the moment. I am not super pleased with it. Especially because someone, who shall remain nameless, chipped the edges of the treads. But, it is what it is. We are going to add a stair skirt and baseboard on the landing and call it good for now. Eventually I am hoping to get stair treads that match our lovely laminate floors and new risers. One thing at a time.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread! I know, I know it's not the right season. But in my household, there is no wrong time of the year to consume warm, yummy, sugary, cinnamony deliciousness! Just like there's no wrong time of the year to barbecue. Mmmmm burgers, grilled smoky ranchero chicken breasts... okay focus Monique! 

I love to make pumpkin bread. It's so easy and it makes your house smell amazing while it's cooking. I've tasted many recipes for pumpkin bread over the years, but this one is my favorite. It's moist, super sweet and bursting with flavor! My kids love it for dessert, breakfast, snack, anytime! There's no wrong time for comfort food. And right now, I think a lot of us could use some comfort food. So go ahead and have a slice or two, or the whole loaf. I won't judge.  


16 ounces canned pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups sugar (yes that says THREE CUPS. Don't be afraid!)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon (or keep going until your soul says that's enough!)
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2/3 cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and sugar.

Add eggs, water, oil and pumpkin. Mix well with hand or stand mixer. Mix well! We don't want any chunks of pumpkin in the batter. Pour into 3 greased loaf pans.**

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Let the loaves cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before you turn them onto a rack to cool completely. 

*Now it's totally delightful just like this. But if you want to take this recipe to the next level, you can add chocolate chips or a cinnamon sugar mixture to the top of the loaves before baking! Fabulous! 

**Note: My loaf pans are on the small size. They are: 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2.  

Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments below!


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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Girls Bedroom Makeover

The girls bedroom definitely needed a simple refresh and some girly touches.

This is what it looked like before. Banged up walls, Elaina's mattress on the floor, and Emma's farmhouse bed (our very first build) on the left. As proud as I was of our first build, the girls desperately wanted bunk beds like their brothers. But I wanted them closer to the ground so we went with the Better Homes & Gardens Tristan bunk bed for it's low profile. 

Painting room pink

The girls wanted pink walls, and I didn't want to think of Pepto-Bismol every time I came in the room. So we compromised on half a wall of pink. Which left me with the bottom half to try out the faux board and batten that I've seen all over the internet!

We had these leftover wood pieces from ripping the planks for our farmhouse table and they worked perfectly for the battens! My little helper is having fun priming them. She loves anything craftsy. 

Since I didn't want to have to replace our existing baseboards, I cut the end of the battens at a 45 degree angle so that it didn't stick over the edge of the baseboards. Not my preferred look, but I wanted to work with what I had. 

 Jeremy said that I would have problems brad nailing the battens into the drywall and not the studs. And he was right. Don't tell him, it'll go to his head ;). But since these weren't going to have to hold any weight I wasn't too concerned. There was a section that kept pulling away from the wall. Nothing a lot more caulking couldn't fix. :) 

The girls love their new bunk bed. And they LOVE the pink wall. Emma was squealing about how pretty it was. I still need to touch up the pink paint, install a window sill (it's crazy to me that our house doesn't have window sills!) and possibly buy them a pink rug. :) But for now they like it. 

And apparently, so do their dolls. 


Friday, May 22, 2020

Craftsman Farmhouse Table

Craftsman Farm House Table

Hi! I hope everyone is doing well through all of this craziness in our world right now. We've been keeping busy over here. One of the projects we completed was this long dreamed of farmhouse table! I got the inspiration from Ana White's website. Here is the link to the original plans.

I was so excited to get this project started! We made some MAJOR modifications to this table. First of all, the dimensions were changed. We wanted it longer and wider to fit our family plus a few guests.

The most time consuming part of this project was getting the table top smooth. I wanted the kids to be able to do paperwork on this table, so it was important to me to make the seams as tight as possible. To accomplish this, we first made sure to square the edges of the planks with our table saw. Not easy when you're an amateur and you have warped boards. But my husband is a master Googler (that's a word right?), and he saved the day. He screwed the board we were trying to rip to a spare (and straight!) piece of MDF. He used the MDF as the guide so that when it went through the table saw it cut our planks so that they were straight! Hooray! 

Pipe clamping large boards

Then we started attaching the table top planks with pocket hole screws and wood glue.

 Table top all assembled!

Smoothing large boards with hand planer

Next came planing the tops so that it was completely smooth. That took quite a bit of time. But so worth it!

Stained wood table top

The fun part: staining!

The funny part: my clumsy self knocking over the can of stain. If you know me, this is not surprising. I'm sure going to miss that pair of flip flops.

Now that the table top was done it was time to build the frame.

Large table frame

 In the original plans there was also a stretcher that went across the bottom. I wanted to be able to push in chairs at each end so we omitted that. However this table needed to be secure, so we put cross supports across the table. That makes this Mama breathe easier knowing my children WILL be getting on top of this table when I'm not looking! 

My husband had the idea to make the table legs removable. Since this thing is heavy and huge it would be easier to move if we can remove the legs. 

Table leg pre-stained

But my favorite part of this table has got to be the table legs! I showed my husband what I wanted and he got it done! He cut all those tiny trim pieces and all the angles that just confuse me. I think he's a keeper!

Finished table leg with white paint

Aren't they gorgeous?! My painting leaves quite a bit to be desired, but I'm still pretty darn pleased with it!

Craftsman Farm House Table

It is far from perfect but I am still so proud of our work! Not too bad for only our third big build :) 

Making memories around our new table! This is what it's all about!

Thanks for following along! Until next time.