Friday, July 31, 2015

A Thrift Store Treasure

I decided to start working on some diy projects for my classroom and needed to find some old books.  So, I visited a thrift store close to my house and found just what I needed.  Plus, something I didn't even know I needed.  

Whenever I go to a thrift store looking for something in particular, I like to look around to see what other treasures I might find.  On this particular trip, I glanced up and saw the most adorable mail organizer.  I made a beeline for it before anyone else could snatch it up.  I was even more excited once I saw the $3.00 price tag!  

I thought this would be perfect for our house.  I am the kind of person who doesn't like stacks of mail sitting around on countertops and tables.  I always go through the mail as soon as I bring it inside.  I immediately through away junk mail, stash magazines in a basket on our fireplace and bring bills upstairs to our office nook.  Usually I put any mail addressed to Adam on the kitchen table.  I'm not going to lie; it bothers me when there's a stack of mail on my clean kitchen table.  And Adam doesn't exactly share my zeal for keeping every square inch of our house neat and organized.  (I realize I have a problem.)  

So, I thought this mail organizer would be the perfect solution.  Adam's mail will now have a home until he gets around to looking at it and my kitchen table can stay free of clutter.  There's also a space to put any letters or bills that need to be mailed.  I love the finish and its slightly rustic vibe.  And how cute are those labels?   

When I showed Adam my find, he wasn't quite as excited about it as me, but he did think it would be a good way to keep track of our mail.  He even told me he had some brassy, gold nails that would match the finish to hang it up with.  Boy, does he know how to make me happy, or what!  He used two nails side by side to help keep the organizer more stable and level.  

It's the little things in life that make me happy.   

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Classroom Design Plans

I can start putting my classroom together soon and I couldn't be more excited!  My mind is swirling with ideas!  

I have several parameters that I can't change, like the paint color of one of the walls.  It is far from the color I would choose, but it's something I can work with: sage green.  The other three walls are white. After some research on Pinterest, I have decided to go with a sage green and navy theme.

My goal for my classroom is to make it warm and inviting.  I want it to be a place where the kids want to be.  I want it to feel homey, like a family room.  

I've already started gathering furniture and decor.  I bought a sage green slipcover for the old, frumpy couch that came with the classroom.  I dug out the navy curtains that hung in my old classroom from the basement.  And my mom and I found a cute side table at a thrift store for just $5!

There's also the $20 Craigslist table that Adam is refinishing for me.  Best. Husband. Ever. 

I also plan to make some cute diy decorations to help jazz up the place.  I'll be sure to share the projects in a future post.  Let the decorating begin!   

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Oh, Jazzy!

Jazzy's antics continue to keep me entertained.  I've mentioned some of her more charming traits here, here and here.

Here are a few of her latest gems:

Jazzy will make a bed out of just about anything.  Before we had our garage sale, we started piling all the junk we wanted to sell in an extra bedroom.  We ended up with quite a mound of stuff.  One day, I was trying to find Jazzy and couldn't find her in any of her normal spots.  I wandered around the house looking for her.  I don't like to call her name because I'm afraid I might miss her doing something cute, so I just creep around from room to room.  I eventually found her laying on a mound of clothes and shoes.  She was fast asleep.  I guess the hangers and lumpy shoes are good for her back.  

Jazzy loves the sun.  Apparently, she also loves to tan.  She likes to make sure her tan is even, so she spends just as much time laying on her back as she does her stomach.  Sometimes I go outside and find her sunning her belly.  I think I might have to invest in some doggie sunscreen so she doesn't get sunburned on her delicate little belly.  

Jazzy's favorite pastime is going on walks.  Adam and I can't even say the word "walk" when she's around. Our code word is "outing," as in "Are you going to take Jazzy on an outing?"  We have several different routes around our neighborhood that we take her on.  She seems to know each route by heart.  That means she also knows when each walk is coming to an end.  When we get towards the end of her walk, she starts walking at a snail's pace.  It's not that she's tired or worn out.  She just doesn't want her walk to end.  So she starts walking reeeaaaalllllyyy slow and stops to smell and look at everything.  She's very ornery, but very smart.  

I love Jazzy!    

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Craigslist Adventure

Adam and I have used Craigslist to buy and sell several different things.  We've always had pretty good luck.  The table in our entryway is an old telephone table.  We bought it on Craigslist, repainted it and added new hardware.  It turned out pretty cute and it means more to us because we created it together.  

We've also sold several items on Craigslist.  Most recently, we sold a glass coffee table that didn't sell at our garage sale.  It's a great way to get rid of stuff you don't need and to make a little extra cash.  

I have been scouring Craigslist every day this summer in search of a table and chairs for my new classroom.  I had very specific criteria.  I wanted it to be solid wood so I could easily refinish it.  I wanted it to have four chairs.  I wanted the table to be big enough, but not too big.  And I didn't want to spend more that $40.

I finally found the perfect table and chairs and the owner was only asking $20!  So, Adam and I went to pick it up and it turned into quite the adventure.  We had to drive to Kansas City to pick it up.  Once we got to the neighborhood, we were pleased to see it wasn't too sketchy.  There were, however, lots of cats roaming around the neighborhood.  Lots and lots of cats.  

We found the house and made our way to the door.  The lady next door was feeding, like, 8 cats on her porch.  Yikes.  When the seller opened the door, there were more cats inside.  They welcomed us in and as Adam was walking through the door, one of the cats dashed out the door.  Oops.  The owner didn't seem too concerned.  They said, "Oh, he'll probably come back."  Adam did go back outside to look for the cat, while I stayed inside and made awkward small talk with the owner.  I chatted with them while they took a bunch of crap off the table, which was odd.  Usually when people are planning to sell something, they don't have all their belongings piled on top of it.  

Adam came back, sans cat.  The owner said, "That's okay.  It can just be an outdoor cat."  Well, okay then.  Adam started to take the legs off so it would fit in our car.  We didn't have the right tools, so I suggested we see if it would fit without taking the legs off.  We brought it outside and Adam wiped off all the cat hair.  It didn't quite fit, so he got back to work on the legs.  Adam was able to get the legs off once he was outside because he "could breath now that there was not the overwhelming stench of cats."

Once the table was in the car, Adam started wiping down the chairs.  I guarded the car so none of the neighborhood cats climbed in and came home with us.  I don't think any got inside.  I haven't found any if they did.  

As we were driving home, Adam kept talking about "the woman" we bought the table from.  I had to set Adam straight and let him know we bought the table from a man.  Adam's response: "Either way, they were nice."  Very true.  

The table and chairs are a bit rough around the edges.  It will need to be wiped down with vinegar, sanded and primed with Kilz primer to get rid of any lingering cat smells.  Then, it will just need a coat of navy paint and it will be ready for my classroom.  

We got a table and an adventure out of the deal.       

Monday, July 27, 2015


I have some exciting changes coming up in my life for the upcoming school year...I am going to teach again!  My official title is Title I Reading Interventionist.  Basically, I get to work with 6th, 7th and 8th grade students who struggle with reading.  It's the perfect gig.  I get to focus solely on reading with individual students or small groups of students.

Reading has always been my favorite subject to teach, mainly because I love reading so much.  I was the kid who brought a book to read when my family would go out to eat at restaurants.  I used to put my pillow at the bottom of my door, turn on my light and stay up late reading as a kid.  Now you know all my secrets, Mom.  

There's nothing more rewarding than seeing a student get excited about a book.  My favorite part of teaching fourth grade was our read aloud time.  Especially when our time would be up and the kids would beg to hear more of the story.  Reading is such a joy and I am so excited to get the opportunity to help kids realize that joy.  

I've been busy going through my books and pulling out titles that middle schoolers will enjoy.  It's been quite a chore seeing as how I have box after box of books in our basement.  Just ask Adam.  He got to drag them all downstairs and will get to drag them back upstairs to my new classroom.  I love you, Adam!   

This doesn't mean I am giving up on my dream of being a stay at home mom.  If I am lucky enough to get pregnant soon, I will still be able to finish out the school year.  I think being able to teach will help my state of mind.  I will get to do something I love and feel like I am contributing to the world.  I talked about my struggle with not teaching here.  Now, I'll be proud to tell people what I do for a living.      

I'm excited to see what this school year will bring...and to decorate my classroom. :)  

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Anyone who has been trying to get pregnant for a lengthy time knows all about the TWW.  The TWW, or Two Week Wait, is the two weeks from the time you ovulate until the time you know whether or not you're pregnant.  Even though it's only two weeks, it can feel like an eternity.  

Your mind starts to play tricks on you during these two weeks.  Aside from making time stand still, your mind also does other lovely things.  Your mind convinces you that you are pregnant.  I've been trying to get pregnant for two years now, so that's 24 months.  For the last 24 months, my mind has convinced me that I am pregnant each and every month.  My mind has been wrong for 24 months.  That's not very nice, mind.  

Your mind starts thinking things like...
-I think I'm feeling a little nauseous.  Maybe that means I'm pregnant!
-I think I felt a little twinge in my stomach.  Maybe that means I'm pregnant! 
-I am feeling more hungry than usual.  Maybe that means I'm pregnant!
-I am feeling more tired than usual.  Maybe that means I'm pregnant!
-My boobs are tender.  Maybe that means I'm pregnant!
-My nose is more sensitive.  Maybe that means I'm pregnant! 

And then your period comes and you feel very silly for thinking you could have been pregnant.  But I have high hopes for this upcoming two week wait.  I hope my mind will tell the truth this month! 

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Painting Itch

It's been a little while since Adam and I have painted any rooms in our house.  When we first moved into our house, we painted nearly every wall.  Part of me wishes that we had left some spaces "undone," because I have the painting itch now.  My target is the kitchen.  

Don't get me wrong.  The color we chose for the kitchen and family room is a lot better than the color it was when we moved in.  We chose the warm, almost orangesicle-ish color to tie all the finishes in our kitchen together.  We didn't have the time or money to change everything in the kitchen when we moved in.  We did have hardwood flooring installed and switched out the backsplash.  However, we kept the cabinets and counter top the same.  But given the chance to re-paint it, I would pick a different color.

I causally mentioned re-painting the kitchen to Adam recently and was pleasantly surprised that he wouldn't mind changing up the color.  We talked about different color options and both decided a light gray color would be perfect.  It would work with the counter top and backsplash, but still change things up.

So, I perused blogs and paint chips to come up with the perfect color.  Let me tell you, gray is a very tricky color.  We looked at roughly one million paint chips.  I had no idea that finding a gray would be so difficult.  All the samples we looked at were too purple or too blue.  Some grays had too much green in them, while others had too much brown.  

But I think we may have found a winner.  We had Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter color-matched in a sample at Home Depot.  If I could offer only one tip for home ownership, it would be to always get a paint sample before you commit to painting an entire room.  We would have some ugly rooms if we hadn't sampled all the paint colors in our house.

We painted a patch of our wall in the kitchen that is under a picture.  That way we can cover up the patch until we are ready to paint.  We think it's the perfect gray for our kitchen.    

Now that we have the color picked out, we just have to wait for a paint sale and the time to paint it.  I'm very excited!      

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rescue Dog

I took Jazzy for a walk the other day and came across an old man walking his dog.  Since Jazzy is a little rude to other dogs when we go on walks, I usually cross the street so Jazzy doesn't have a chance to be rude.  The old man didn't let the distance stop a conversation from happening.  Here was our exchange:

Old Man: What kind of dog is your dog?

Me: Some kind of terrier mix.  I'm not really sure since she's a rescue dog.  What is your dog?  

Old Man: She's a rescue dog, too.  She rescued me.  

Jazzy's a rescue dog in more ways than one.  Yes, Adam and I rescued Jazzy because she needed a home. But really, Jazzy's the one who rescued us.

Jazzy came into our lives when we really needed her.  I don't think we really knew how much we needed Jazzy, but somehow she ended up with us when we needed her most.  She helped fill the holes that we both had in our hearts from losing our baby.  

There is so much stinking love in her sweet face when she looks up at us.  And in the way she wags her whole body when we come home.  And in the way she sneaks in a kiss when I'm not paying attention.  And in the way she nestles in next to me on the couch.  

I can't begin to explain how much I love Jazzy and how thankful I am that she's a part of my life.  I know Adam feels the same way.  It warms my heart and just about makes me cry when I catch him talking to her.  Or when he gets down on the floor to play with her.  Or when he bends down to let her kiss him on the cheek when he comes home from work before he puts down any of his stuff.  

I know Jazzy's just a dog, but she's a member of our family.  She's our baby.  

Okay, I must end this post before I turn into more of a blubbering mess than I already am. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Little Garage Sale

This past weekend, Adam and I had a little garage sale.  We had been putting stuff we didn't need or want in a big pile for quite sometime now.  So, we decided this past weekend was the perfect time to get rid of it all and hopefully make a little extra cash.  

Even though I checked the weather a few days prior and it was supposed to be sunny, it decided to rain on us.  We put everything out in our driveway only to have it rained on.  So we drug it all back into the garage.  Once the sun came back out, we put everything back in the driveway.  Then it rained again.  So we brought it back in the garage and that's where it stayed.  Despite the rain, we had a pretty good turn out and made more than we thought we would.  Plus, we got to get rid of a bunch of stuff and free up some more space around the house.  

Here are a few tips and tricks that led to a successful garage sale.  

1. Have plenty of signs.  Don't bother buying the fancy garage sale signs, just get some bright poster board and make your own.  I used some leftover yard flags as the stakes on our signs and it worked out great.  Put signs at the end of major roads and direct traffic to your house with plenty of signs along the way.  Here's what our signs looked like after spending a day out in the rain.

2. Advertise your sale on Craigslist.  We put up an ad the afternoon before the sale, so people could plan ahead.  We also re-posted our ad the morning of the sale.  Include pictures and list some of the items that you will have at your sale.  Don't forget to delete your ad after your sale is over.  

3. Set up your items like you would find them at the store.  We tried to set out like items together so it was more visually appealing and easier to look through everything.  Adam set up several tables and we used tarps to set items on, as well.   

Look at this fabulous clothes rack that Adam came up with!  Give an engineer a ladder, a rod and some clamps and you've got yourself a clothes rack.  People tend to look through clothes more so when they are hanging, as opposed to when they are stacked in piles. 

3. Clearly mark your prices.  We used painter's tape to mark the price of each item.  It was something we had on hand and it won't leave a sticky mark on the items like some stickers do.  We also used signs to show the prices of items we had lots of, like clothing and books.  That way we didn't have to individually price each item.  

4. Sell water or snacks.  Since it was supposed to be hot and sunny on the day of our garage sale, we bought bottled water to sell.  We didn't sell a single bottle.  But, I really think we could have sold a bunch if it had been hot and sunny like it was supposed to be.  This would be a good way to get kids involved, too.  

5. Have a cute dog around to lure in customers.  Jazzy was right in all the action during our garage sale.  She hung out on the porch with us and then greeted each person who came.  She was a big hit.  

All things considered, it was a successful sale.  Good luck with your next garage sale! 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Watercolor Note Cards

While my mom was visiting, we were feeling crafty.  So, we used some materials I already had on hand and whipped up some cute note cards.

We cut up and folded some watercolor paper to make note cards.  We paid attention to the dimensions so they would fit into extra envelops I had leftover from another project.  I went with a folded card, while my mom opted for postcards.  

We used simple watercolors to design the front of our cards.  We made a variety of designs and ended up with some cute ones.  

This would be a very easy project to try on your own.  You very clearly don't need to be an artist.  Just pick up a paintbrush and go with it.  You could do something as simple as polka dots or a heart to landscapes or portraits if you have more talent than us.  Monograms are also an easy idea. 

My mom decided on postcards.  What a sweet way to send a note to someone you love.  Anything handmade always brings a smile to the receiver.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Jazzy Takes A Dip

It is officially summer and the high temperatures these past few days have proven it!  I had bought Jazzy a little, inflatable pool a little while back, but had yet to let Jazzy take a dip.  My mom, who was visiting me, convinced me to let Jazz try it out.  Jazzy's not crazy about being in the bathtub for her baths, but I thought she might like to get in the water when it was boiling hot outside.  

My mom and I showed Jazzy how refreshing a dip in the pool can be.  

She did come scope out the pool.  She was curious about it, but not so sure she wanted to come in.  

So, I tried to lure her in with treats.  

She wasn't having any of it.  The pool was not for her.  But after blowing up that silly pool and filling it up with water, I thought Jazzy should at least give it a try.  So I picked her up and put her in the pool.  

She didn't mind standing in the pool as long as I fed her treats.  But as soon as the treats stopped, she was out of there.  

My mom tried to show Jazzy how exciting the pool could be, too.  She didn't have luck convincing Jazzy either.  

Oh well, at least we gave Jazzy a chance to take a dip.  I don't think she'll be taking any more dips on her own in the future...unless a treat is involved.  

Friday, July 10, 2015

Office Nook Transformation

A little while ago, I talked about my plans to change up the office nook in our bedroom.  After finding all the perfect items, our office nook transformation is complete!  

Here's what was going on before:

That little bulletin board was looking pretty lonely.  So, I started collecting artwork and office organization items from garage sales and clearance aisles.  Once I had all the goodies I needed, I made a plan for how to put them on the wall.

First, I laid out the items in different layouts on the floor.  I ended up with the following combination of items.

-"So In Love With You" Framed Print (TJ Maxx, $10)
-Clock (TJ Maxx, $6)
-Burlap Artwork (Target, $4)
-Clothespin Bulletin Board (Already had it.  I got it for $6 at Hobby Lobby.)
-Metal File Folder Holder (Target, $13)
-Magnetic Strip (Garage Sale, $1.  I saw the same thing at The Container Store for $13!  I love garage sales.)

Once I was happy with my layout, I made paper templates of each item by tracing them on paper.  I put a mark on each template where the hanging hardware was located, as well.  That way, I would know exactly where to put the nails and screws.  

Jazzy was kind enough to help me out.  

Then, I taped the templates on the wall and played around with the placement until I got it how I wanted it.  From there I just hammered nails right on top of the templates.  


I did have to use Adam's expertise at one point.  He was kind enough to help me get the drywall anchor situation sorted out for the metal file folder holder and magnetic strip. 

As a final step, I used some industrial strength Velcro to hang the power strip on the side of the filing cabinet.  Now the cords are hidden between the desk and filing cabinet instead of in a heap on the floor.    

Here's the final transformation:

It's such an improvement.  I love it!  

I ended up moving the canvas photograph of Adam and I above my dresser and moving the photograph above my dresser to the hallway.  Eventually, I want our hallway to be our family photo gallery.  I told Adam about my plan and said we should put a photo of Jazzy next to the photo of us.  He responded by saying, "You better take some pictures of Jazzy.  We don't have any pictures of her."  Haha, very funny.   

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

2 Years, 1 Month and 2 Days

It's been 2 years, 1 month and 2 days since we lost our baby.  

Even though 2 years, 1 month and 2 days have gone by, I still think about her all the time.  It's hard not to think of her with all the everyday reminders.  I think about her every time I go to our backyard, where we sprinkled her ashes.  I think about her every time I walk past the empty nursery in our house.  And while I don't burst into tears each time I think about her like I used to, she's still very much a part of my life.

Every once in awhile, I will go into our empty nursery.  I pull out the sonogram pictures from the drawer they are buried in and look at my sweet girl.  I re-read all the thoughtful cards that people sent to us.  

There is so much love in those cards.  And the emails and Facebook messages and texts and phone calls we received.  I always knew people cared about me, but I don't think I really understood how much I was loved until we lost our baby.  It's incredibly overwhelming, in a very sweet way.    

It's a weird to think that so much time has passed.  In a lot of ways, it feels like just yesterday I was sitting on our couch with no clue how to pick up the pieces.  But then I think about how far I've come.  It's been a long road with lots of anger and sadness, but also lots of love and growth.  I feel like I'm a stronger person now, more equipped to handle life.  I'm better able to respond to other people who are going through sad times.  

I also feel like I'm finally at a place in my life where I can move forward.  It's taken two years to get there, but I'm so glad to finally be there.  It's not that I've moved on from my baby, I've just come to accept it as a part of my life.  She'll always be a part of my life and there will still be times that I cry about her.  But I'm doing a better job of looking forward rather than looking backwards.  

I am feeling hope more than ever.  While the acupuncture treatments haven't done the trick just yet, I really feel like a healthy pregnancy is in my near future.  I'm very happy to have more hope in my life.        

Monday, July 6, 2015

Somebody's Silly

Jazzy keeps me endlessly entertained.  She finds new ways to put a smile on my face each and every day. Here are a few of her latest gems.  

Can you spot Jazzy in the picture below?  

How about now?  

Yep, that's her in the vines, in the rocks, in the very back corner of our yard.  She has the entire yard to play in and she chooses the most awkward spot to lay in.  It can't possibly be comfortable to lay on a pile of river rocks covered in vines.  But she seems to be quite content in this spot.  When I can't find her, chances are she's in her spot.  Silly girl.  

She also amuses me while we're in the house.  While I was catching up on Grey's Anatomy the other day, I found Jazzy on the couch like this...

Maybe she doesn't like all the surgery scenes in Grey's Anatomy or maybe she's sick of Derek and Meredith fighting.  Whatever the case may be, she made me chuckle.  While I'll never be able to figure out which charming thing she'll do next, I can count on it making me smile.    

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bathroom Shelf Reveal

My very talented husband Adam started working on a bathroom shelf project a little while ago.  He finished up this weekend and we got to put it up.  It was a very exciting time!  

Here's what we had going on in the bathroom:

Not terrible, but we could do better.  So Adam got busy and cranked out some beautiful shelving.  Once it was built, Adam let me decide where to hang it.  Then he used measuring tapes, levels and rulers to make sure it was precisely centered.  I'm glad he knows how to use all those tools, because I sure don't know how!  

After taking off the old shelving, drawing some guidelines, and making a few test holes to find the studs, our wall was looking a little rough.  

Luckily, the new shelving was big enough to cover up all but one hole.  I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get rid of the pencil lines and a little Spackle and touch-up paint to fill that hole.  No one will ever know what's behind our shelving.  Shhh...don't tell.  

My favorite moment of the whole hanging up the shelving process was when Adam touched a screw that he had just tried to drill in the wall.  It was nice and hot and Adam said some version of hot + shit, which sounded a little something like, "HA-SHIT!"  He always makes me laugh.  Of course, laughing at my sweet husband who just built me something with his very own two hands is not very nice.  Sometimes you just can't help it.

Anyways, here it is: 

Isn't it gorgeous?  I love that it looks pretty, but it also serves as functional storage.  

Allow me to give you a little tour of each shelf. 

-Glass lantern full of extra bar soap (Target, $3)
-Pumice stone/nail brush (TJ Maxx, $2)
-Shell from the beach in Gulf Shores that my mom found (Free!)

-Washcloths (TJ Maxx, $9)
-Glass Sand dollar (Souvenir from Gulf Shores, $4)

-Glass jar w/ shells and candle (already had it, can't remember where I got it from)
-Sand castle picture holder (have had it forever, got it on clearance for a buck or two at Kohl's a long time ago)
-Life's a Beach sign (whipped it up myself and printed it on leftover scrapbook paper, so free)
-Shell (Free)

-Glass jars with cork toppers (TJ Maxx, $4 for a set of 3)

-Sea-themed book (Red Racks, $0.50)
-Candle (already had it)
-Leftover vase from my wedding with shells (Free)

-Glass container w/ cork lid, filled with sand and shells (Container was $0.25 at a garage sale, sand and shells were free from the beach)
-Brass anchor (Hobby Lobby, maybe $3-ish)

I was able to use lots of stuff I already had, which helped keep the price of the project down.  Adam used a lot of wood that he found in the clearance lumber bin from Home Depot and wood left over from other projects.  

I love that it houses extra soap, washcloths, cotton balls and Q-tips for guests.  Yet, it still manages to be pleasing to look at.  I can't wait to see what Adam builds me next!