Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rainbow Cake

I made my little ones a rainbow cake for a celebratory back to school dinner. They were thrilled! I started off with a plain yellow cake...
Then I divided it up into equal portions and tinted each bowl with gel coloring--it is more concentrated than regular food coloring. I bought mine in the cake decorating section at Michael's. I think it usually is used to tint icing.
Then I started adding the colors to my round cake pans. Here is where I realized I should have doubled my cake recipe...there really wasn't quite enough of each color.
Then I baked, frosted, and sprinkled with random Mickey Mouse sprinkles that I had in my cupboard. My little ones were thrilled to have cake on a non-birthday day...and even more thrilled to realize it was rainbow colors!!
See, it would have been even better if my layers were thicker...I'll have to remember that for next school year! This thread was my inspiration--lots of rainbow cakes to be found!

Monday, September 28, 2009

First Days of School

My babies celebrated their first days of school at the beginning of September. It has been quite an adjustment getting used to commuting to school. I'm now driving 2+ hours a day to get them to school. Ugh!
First up was my baby boy. He is attending preschool for the first time. Twice a week, just in the morning...he loves it!
I just can't believe he's old enough for preschool! I'm kind of still in denial about it. This is a new preschool for us and it is just down the road from my daughter's school. Her preschool wasn't willing to deal with my little boy's nut allergy. Luckily this other preschool is working hard to keep my baby safe!
Yes, he loved his first day! No tears or anything! Next up, Princess had her first day of kindergarten. She is attending Catholic school and looooves her uniform! Really loves it! She was dancing around the uniform store when we bought the jumpers and sweaters--the older girls were looking at her like she was crazy!
Yes, she was excited for school!!
My baby girl is getting so big!!
Heading in for the first time as an official student!!
Her first day of school was a two hour orientation and parents were allowed to attend. Since then, parents haven't been allowed in the classroom! She's in all day kindergarten and loving it! She cried on the first regular day and since then she's been fine.
And here are my babies on the first day they both went off to school at the same time. Sniff, sniff! (Although really I've been upstairs at my little boy's preschool so I've been able to hear him the whole time...but he doesn't know I'm up there!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 -- a date I will never forget. My flag flies in the honor of the victims of this devastating day in American history.

God Bless America!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I have a very happy little girl in my house and it's all because I spent one naptime working on a project for her. She now has a mama-made-sundress and loves it! It makes me smile to see how happy she is with it--she doesn't see the imperfections, she just feels the love I put into making this for her.
I'm not a fantastic sewer, but this truly was an easy project even though I made it without a pattern. I bought presmocked fabric from JoAnn's to make this sundress. I measured my little girl's chest circumference and then also figured out how long I wanted the dress to be. I cut the panel of fabric to the right width and trimmed a bit off the bottom. Then I hemmed it and sewed the dress into a tube. My next step was to make the straps--I just sewed two tubes (inside out) and then turned them right side out and sewed them onto the dress (after first trying the "tube" part of the dress on my daughter to figure out the placement of the straps.
That's it! Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy! (And yes, that is her own pose!) For more projects, visit DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Sunshine, fresh flowers, napping children, simplicity, beauty, peace

Visit Chatting at the Sky to read more about the appreciation of the little things

Monday, July 20, 2009

Family Room...a partial reveal

Yes the addition has been done for awhile...done as in "fully constructed"...not done as in decorated and ready for company! Still, I do have one area that I'm ready to share--even though it still isn't totally done. We'll be moving our office/computer "stuff" into the area behind the couch and we also have a new breakfast area...but in the meantime, here is our family room area...
This is our expanded family room area--we LOVE it!! Really really REALLY love it! There is tons of natural light (all of these pictures were taken with no flash and no lights on...after dinner!)
I'm glad we decided to add the three square windows--they really add some great detail to this big wall.
Isn't that entertainment center/bookcase thing-a-ma-jig a fabulous fit?! I love it!
Ignore the frog tape that is on the wall around the doorway on the right--we're not done painting that particular doorway! The doorway goes to the playcloset, not to a real room.

We've had the armoire for eight years and love it. It is from the Broyhill Fontana collection--I think everyone who was married 7-12 years ago either owns something from this collection or has a friend who does! Anyhow, we never had room for the bookcases until now...and now they're discontinued!
I've been stalking Craigslist for quite awhile looking for these...with NO luck. However, I was out garage saleing and spotted these in the back of someone's garage! Woohoo!! They had a lot of the Fontana collection--I even purchased their square coffee table, so now I no longer have a train table as a coffee table! I also bought a table and chair set from them, but that is a story for a different day. I forget the exact amount I paid for these bookshelves, but I think it was $275 total for both of them. I love them and the amount of STUFF I can store in them. The one on the right has my children's games and the one on the right has their puzzles.
Clearly I'm not done decorating our new fireplace, but I'm loving its clean lines! The tile is travertine and the fireplace itself is gas.
And, for those who remember my post about carpet choices, I ended up buying two 8x10 area rugs (similar but not identical) from Pottery Barn. One is behind the couch in the soon-to-be-office-area and one is in the family room. As you can see in the picture above, I couldn't go bigger without either bumping into the wall or covering up part of the hearth in front of the fireplace. We decided the rugs would be our 8th wedding anniversary gift to each other--after all they fulfill the "pottery" requirement of the traditional gift list...or at least they do if you remember where I bought them from!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spray Paint Your Kitchen Accessories

Last week I posted about starting our big kitchen cabinet makeover project--we're painting our oak cabinets white and adding beadboard and trim. I'd love to show you my finished kitchen...but I'm not finished yet. I'm not even finished with the first half of it! Ugh!
I did, however, finish a different project related to my kitchen. One of the comments on last week's post was that I should paint my spice rack white. This was a lightbulb moment for me! You see, I also have a wood paper towel holder that I've been thinking I need to replace because the wood is all dried out. But why should I replace it when I can spray paint it?!
I admit to a brief moment of hesitation over spray painting my Crate and Barrel spice rack...after all, it was a wedding present eight years ago. Then I remembered that I'm kind of tired of it anyhow. However there was zero hesitation about spraying that Target paper towel holder!
Woo! Way better! I'd love to show these to you in my kitchen...but the kitchen is in disarray and the counters are covered with cabinet doors. Stay tuned...the kitchen cabinet project is ongoing!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


, Hanging upside down in the backyard is what summer is all about...
The pride on my little girl's face as she achieves something she has worked so hard at is what being a mama is all about...
And the happiness on her face is what childhood is all about.

I really enjoy reading Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky and I hope you will too.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cabinet Pulls ~ Decisions, Decisions!

By now I'm guessing you've probably seen yesterday's post about painting my oak kitchen cabinets white. Instead of putting another coat of primer on them, right now I'm obsessing over handles and drawer pulls.

I could go traditional and do bin pulls like these on the drawers...
And knobs like these on the cabinet doors...
Or I could go a bit less traditional and do something more funky like these...
Well, really I would do forks and spoons, not just spoons. I'm not sure I'm funky enough for forks and spoons though...but my children sure would get a kick out of them!

What do you think? And polished chrome or brushed/satin nickel?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Kitchen Cabinets Part I

This is my kitchen...lots of oak and gold handles and oak...and more oak. Did I mention that I don't like oak? Now that we've expanded our family room (yes, I know I haven't posted "final" pictures of that!) and have a such a light and bright space with crisp white woodwork...well, the oak kitchen really doesn't flow with the space.

I've been planning our kitchen re-do for quite awhile, but I wanted to wait until the addition was done. So, now is the time! We spent the three day holiday weekend starting this project. We didn't get as far as I wanted, but we made good progress. I was hoping to get one side (the stove side) of the kitchen done. That didn't happen, but I do like what did happen!
My plan for our kitchen is to put beadboard on all the exposed ends of the cabinets as well as in the flat panels on the cabinet insets. Crown moulding will go on the tops of the cabinets and trim will be added to the bottom edge of the top cabinets. Quarter round trim will go along the base of the cabinets to transition to the hardwood floor. Everything will be sanded and painted a crisp white.
First we removed the cabinet doors and everything in the cabinets on one side of the kitchen. Then I started sanding the cabinets while my husband started cutting beadboard. We clamped up the first big piece of beadboard to see what we thought...and we loved it! Now my husband was beginning to see my vision for the kitchen!
I kept sanding and my husband kept cutting. I sanded all the doors using a random orbital sander as well as sandpaper along the edges. I primed and painted the old hinges with spray paint as we're hoping to reuse them. We attached the beadboard to the cabinet sides and door fronts using Liquid Nails and then my husband used finish nails and a hammer to attach the crown moulding and other trim pieces. Right now the budget doesn't allow for the purchase of a nail gun and compressor, but that sure would have come in handy.
This is my husband's first time cutting crown moulding--I think he did a fantastic job! Oh and take a look at the countertop. We have laminate counters with oak trim (yes, more oak!) that we're trying to save. I taped off the edge and primed it...and it is looking like it will work.
At this point the cabinets have one coat of primer. I'll be priming them again before painting them with some high quality white latex paint that I bought from Benjamin Moore. I'm painting everything with a brush. We have a paint sprayer, but it isn't a very good one because we don't have an air compressor (that whole budget thing again) and I decided that sanding out drips from our cheapo paint sprayer would be a huge pain because of the beadboard. So far the brush is working really well!
The beadboard panels fit perfectly on the flat surfaces of our kitchen cabinets. The faces of the cabinet boxes stick out just a bit on the front--so on the corners of the cabinets the edges aren't even. Does that make sense? Here's a picture where you can see how the beadboard just nestles right in there.
Still a lot (a LOT!) of work to go, but I'm already thrilled with how much better our kitchen is looking. I really and truly love what we're doing to the kitchen! Stay tuned and I'll post more pictures as we continue with the process.

Click the box above to go to A Soft Place to Land and see more projects! Or head over to The Shabby Chic Cottage for more Transformation Thursday projects!


My Endless Summer Hydrangeas finally are in bloom! Oh how I love them!
I have them planted all along the side of my house and they seem to be thriving there.
They are taller than my 3 year old!
I just love seeing them in bloom. They're blooming earlier this year than usual because we have had a few spells of extra warm weather...although not today, that's for sure!