Desk Remodel

So, unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the vanity prior to the process, but I will start from the beginning.

Step 1) I took the seat cushion apart and pulled out all of the drawers. the original paint was very similar to the new paint, weathered white from Behr. I wanted a chalk paint look, without spending the money. We mix 1 1/2 table spoons cool water, 2 1/1 tablespoons of plaster of Paris (mix together first), and 1 cup of paint. 2 coats did really well.

Step 2) Take off hardware and spray paint in black. I also trimmed out the edge of the desk in black. Great last minute idea by my crafty neighbor.

Step 3) Use decoupage for fabric and spread a thin layer on the outside of the drawer. We purchased upholstery fabric from Hobby Lobby during a 60% off sale. You can spread a thin layer over the top as a second coat, if needed. Once dry, I went back and trimmed any fabric that overhung. When sizing the fabric, I just flipped it upside down, place the face of the drawer on top, and traced it with a pen.dsc_0059

Step 4) Once the drawers dray, I let them sit over night, screw back in the hardware.

Step 5) Reupholstering the chair cushion was easier than I thought, laying it upside down, pull tight, and using tacks, tack the fabric in place. On a side note, this did take two times, I didn’t realizes the pattern on the cushion required it to face a certain way. When I had finished, it was upside down…oops!

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Second try!

Step 6) The final addition to the desk was the trim around seat. I didn’t realize that all I had to do was hot glue and press, but that was it to finish off our first big furniture refinish.dsc_0212

I have a few more pieces in my house to work on, but with the holidays coming, they may need to wait until next summer!

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Time Away

So the “back to school” time of the year causes my focus to switch slightly, and for my brain to take on even more. A teacher friend of mine shared a great metaphor for the end of summer transition for those in education. She stated it is like being retired for a few months and then being called back from retirement every fall. Due to this transition period, I have been out of the loop of blogging, and you would think the day before Halloween would be the last day to take some time to sit and reflect on the last few missing months, but here I am

During my time away from the computer, I have been getting my children and husband back on the “full time +wife+mom”train. So I felt that I would best use this time to share our end of the summer projects and goals as we move into the holiday season and I may or may not be pulled away from the screen for awhile.

Goal #1 Teach 6 year old to ride a bike

-I quickly found that just because I feel like I may be a pretty good teacher, I may not be that for my daughter. After hours of running up and down our street directing Big D on the basics of riding, it only took her dad one time of “watching” her, for Big D to take off and ride. I will tell you, when Little D learns to ride I will skip most of what I tried and go to the balance bike…what a difference!!

Goal #2 Teach 6 year old to tie her shoes

-As with above, after hours of instructing my 6 how to “quickly” tie her shoes, one afternoon at my parents and Big D was tying her shoes like a champ.

Goal #3 Finish crocheting both girl’s blankets

-After years of planning starting,unraveling, starting, and unraveling I finally finished Little D’s baby blanket (started during pregnancy) and Big D’s Frozen blanket. Both girls were so excited to have the blankets, and I may have passed down the trait of cuddling under their warmth in any kind of weather, during any season of the year.  This pattern got me started, but I quickly made it my own.

Goal #4 Refinish husband’s grandma’ vanity/desk.

-We were offered to have this older vanity, and in my Pinterest type brain, I couldn’t wait to get started.I had ideas of what I could do to let Big D slowly transition to a bigger girl room. Her love right now is Paris everything. I am not ready for this move yet, she is only 6. So I agreed to allow for a Paris decorated desk. I am in complete love of this desk. I have also offered more step by step of what we did.dsc_0213

Goal #5 Have a great start to my school year

-This was fairly easy, as I was able to begin the year with the same students. This year, I was not starting fresh with students or curriculum. I felt like the transition should go fairly smooth, and 8 weeks in, I would agree.

Recipe for chicken, broccoli, and cheddar soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped baby carrots
  • 4-5 cups of broccoli, cut up florets, stems if you want them
  • 2 cups milk or half and half for thicker, creamer soup
  • 2 cups (I used 2 cans) of chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups or more of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 teaspoons of hots sauce
  • 1 teaspoon or to taste salt
  • 1 teaspoon or to taste ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard (but I have made with yellow mustard to taste)
  • Optional: 4-5 boneless skinless chicken thighs, or 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast.

In crock pot, place chopped vegetables. If you are going to add the chicken, for a heartier soup/meal, lay the thawed chicken (you can do frozen if the crock pot is running all day) on top. Mix seasonings, broth, and milk in separate bowl then pour in crock pot. set crock pot to low, for 6-8 hours. You can try high for 4-6 hours, but careful with the milk, it may scorch. Once cooked, pull out chicken and shred with a fork. Place shredded chicken back in. Ladle out 1/2 cup of broth and mix in cornstarch. Once fully mixed, pour back into crock pot and stir. Pour in cheese. Stir and let sit, covered, for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted.

Finally, scoop into bowls and serve with crusty bread. Garnish with a sprinkle of cheese.

This is a soup I put together before work, and let cook all day on low. The only thing is the smell of cooked broccoli, can be overwhelming to some. This is a meal that is great for those fall and winter days, that all you want is a full belly and quick meal.

Recipes for disaster, success, and warm bellies.

Living in Michigan allows us many wilderness enjoyments. I love the fact that I can see a “rafter” (I love that Google can make me look smart) of turkeys foraging in a field, a herd  of deer (I knew that one on my own!) grazing, and many more beautiful examples of how God took extra care and time when creating Michigan.

As much as I love all of God’s creatures, there are many that I question their need and importance, other than to give God a chuckle when he sees them in action, such as the mosquito (although I have read they help pollinate the cocoa plant…chocolate is a necessity in our house) and most recently the skunk. You see, the skunk in Michigan is the natural season keeper. You know spring is upon us when the distinct scent wafts through the air, and you rejoice that fall is here, when you can again open your windows at night without worrying about the potent odor resting in you house for the next few hours.

If this was the only potential issue that would arise from the skunks living in nearly every crevice in Michigan, then we would just deal with the annoyances, but unfortunately in the Davidson home we also have a member of the family who enjoys an evening romp hunting for chipmunks, squirrels, and whatever else may be lurking in our tree lined property. Remy (or as he is affectionately called Wiggles) is our families lovable mutt, half beagle and half Australian Shepard. We at times call him our baussie.DSC_0302

You see, the beagle half of Remy drives him to follow his nose into every nook and cranny on our property….as well as others property, at times. This leads us to the event that occurred on August 31st at 1:25 am. Remy was persistent about wanting outside. In the past this was due to an upset tummy. We have learned that it is better to oblige the midnight run, then deal with the morning mess. Now, we were aware of a skunk problem, between our neighbors houses, their dog was unfortunate enough to meet the back end of the skunk.  So my husband went out on the deck with the lights on, to hopefully deter any animals from staying close by. Remember that beagle nose? Well, Remy had already been aware of the skunk, hence his persistence, and bolted toward its location by the tree closest to our house. Even with the hollering of my husband and the warnings from the skunk, Remy chose his fate, a snout full of the most noxious smell I have ever come across.

You would think, at this point the skunk would make a quick getaway from the chaos that was beginning to brew, but oh no, he chose to hide under our deck stairs, which only drove our now partially blind, hacking, and confused dog, crazy. Basically, my dog had been pepper sprayed by the skunk, and continued to not obey the natural law and order of things.  Instead, he began to dig, and lunge at the skunk under the steps. In the meantime, my husband and I had gathered the necessary materials needed (best recipe for de-skunking) to combat the odor that was causing the two of us to feel as if we had been sprayed as well. Now I had never known this, but skunk spray up close does not smell the same was when you drive  by an unfortunate soul that has met it’s end with a vehicle on the road. The best way to describe it, is burning rubber x100.

My husband was finally able to spray the skunk out from under the stairs by using our garden house, but at this point he had already done his damage. Not only was our family pet, shamefully hanging his head and drooling profusely, our house, that had been opened up to let in all of the fresh end of summer air, was now filled with fumes.

We commenced the cleaning cycle of the de-skunking mixture, peppermint mouthwash (another recommendation), and dog shampoo. Using a rinse cycle in between. The biggest hurdle, the central target was our dogs muzzle. You can not get the mixture in their eyes, well we did our best. By now it was after 2 am, and my husband and I were wet, wide awake, and smelled of wet dog and skunk. I chose to diffuse some oils to help with the stench in our house, using peppermint and lemon, also cinnamon and orange the next day. I also left bowls of vinegar around the house as a deodorizer. The night ended with us changed, cuddled in bed, with an pouting dog in his.

Now, I am also a teacher, and preparing for my first day back at school, in less than a week. To add insult to injury, the magnificent district that I work in, is finishing up the amazing task of building two new elementary schools. Due to the massive amount of construction, I am (as well as the rest of the staff that I work with) trying to put together a classroom and sensory room, in one week. When at home, I am trying to get planning and scheduling under way, so that I can begin meeting the needs of my students as soon as possible.This can only be done with the tremendous support of the people I work with every day, as well as my loving family.

So at 3 am, while I am trying to get a few hours of sleep before I head in to work on my room, I am listing what needs to be completed, as well as child care for my children, and the dreaded meal planning as I head back to a normal work week. So as I process all of this, I decided, what better thing to do, then plan a meal that will cook all day and help subside the smell of skunk, at least for a little while. I decided on a new broccoli and cheese soup that I found, while browsing the web one evening. I chose to follow some of the basics and added some of my own. Here is the recipe for chicken, broccoli, and cheddar soup. Both my children loved the soup, this can be challenging with Big D, as she is picky and not a huge meat eater. I would make this again, even without the chicken.DSC_0299

As I sit here typing this post, I am continuing to list in my head (a curse at times for teacher brains) all of the things I must complete before Tuesday commences, and I begin my 9th year of teaching special education, and Big D enters her 1st grade year. I am hoping that my new found planner/organizer will lead the way. After researching and discussing with my friend and neighbor (who also knows the joys and sorrows of teaching special education), I decided to try out the Erin Condren planner. Later in the year I will be posting areview of the planner and how it has change my life…hopefully.

With the last sip of coffee, I hope that I have provided a little chuckle for you as well as God, as you peek into the life that I live…thankfully, I think!

 

 

Ranch, the other white food!

I am not sure how popular a mixture of condiments are in other places, but here in Michigan, ranch dressing is second to none for many. I personally, feel like I have a pretty wide pallet and prefer a mixture of seasonings, spices, and flavors.

My husband and Big D prefer things very mellow and basic, although my husband is becoming more adventurous. Big D has finally stepped out and decided at age 6, she likes mustard, and that is as far as it goes. Don’t you dare put other sauces or seasonings on any food she ingests, or there are tears. Now I do have to say, she has matured quite a bit in her eating habits. From the day she was born, her food needed to be a certain way, partly due to sensitivity and partly due to her being Big D. 6 years later she is at least trying everything that is made, and we found out this summer that steak cooked medium-rare, you read that right still mooing, with a little salt and butter, is the only way it is editable!

Here is where things get interesting in our house. I have had many friends tell me about their children eating a little food with a whole lot of ranch dressing, but due to Big D’s bland tastes, ranch was never something she preferred. Little D was born just over a year ago. From the moment she was conceived, she was the complete opposite of her big sister. It should not have surprised me that her eating habits would be the same. Once introduced to food, she enjoyed  there became an infatuation with all of it! There wasn’t a morsel she could turn down (including cat chow…maybe wanting seconds).

Fast forward to toddlerhood. You would think that I was prepared for a picky eater, being that I live with just a couple, but boy did Little D throw me for a loop. She has done a 180 degree turn, and would like to live off of yogurt, cheese, and muffins (cat chow might still be an option if provided).

A couple nights ago, was like any other night. We sat down as a family with dinner on our plates. My 6 year old was telling me she didn’t like chicken patties, instead of fighting (chicken patties are so full of nutrients LOL) she had a sandwhich, Little D began trying her food. She decided very quickly that our dog would like the chicken and potatoes better, and swipe some on the floor. Trying to get food into her belly, I grabbed our ranch dressing. I swear we hear angels singing. If Little D could talk, I am sure she would demand why we had not provided her with this golden food sooner. I showed her how to dip her chicken into it, and thought, for a fleeting second, what a great idea I had. Then it all came crashing down. My, now 16 month old, wants “Bobo” (not sure how this resembles ranch) with everything, and unless I am hand feeding her with other food, she would prefer to eat shovel it into her mouth.

There is that saying “Do everything with good intentions”. I will remember that at her next doctors appointment, when I share that her only food group consists of ranch dressing.

Crafting in babeland

As the summer comes to an end at our house, I am trying to check off all of the things left on my to do list. Looking back to June, all of my plans seemed so attainable for me… for a single, twenty-something, with no cares in the world!!!

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Priorities in our house allow for chaos in the background. Tomorrow is supposed to be a rain day…cleaning camp will commence!

So, I sit here, on this 90 degree day, trying to finish my the next project, for Big D, with Little D sitting on my lap. To many of you, this may seem like a wonderful Mommy daughter moment, instead I am trying to measure fabric to fit onto a desk, all while fighting to keep her away from the measuring tape, scissors, and pens! Some may wonder, why not complete this project during nap time, well that would be great, except today I chose to also catch up on sleep, as Little D is in the process of a growth spurt, and getting up before the morning sun. I also can not work on the project at a table, as Little D has learned to climb furniture, and has already shown that she cannot fly 3 times today.

All of this said, as this summer comes to a close, I will cherish the moments that I am so lucky to share with my daughters. No other career allows me so much time with my children to build a lifetime of memories. So when the girls have their own children, I can explain to them why the fabric is askew and not quite perfect