Thursday, July 31, 2014

Venturing into the rabbit hole

Normally when I go to home depot I’m with Paul. Usually he comes with me to the paint department (because I rarely travel outside of that realm) and we spend like an hour there picking colors and then we leave. He often will pick something up elsewhere and sometimes I’ll need a large sheet of MDF board cut to size and so he’ll go with me and do all the talking. Now I’m a strong confident woman but for some reason when I get into Home Depot and am faced with all the rows and rows of things I don’t fully understand I just sort of freeze. I revert to some 50’s housewife that needs my husband to speak for me. I don’t love this, but thus far it is what it is.

Last night I was at Home Depot. I was meant to meet Paul there after work but his movie plans got bumped up and so I headed there alone after dinner. This trip I wasn’t just buying paint – I also needed to buy two tools. Gulp, I was feeling nervous. I know, I know, but still, nervous. I decided that faking it until I made it was the way to be. Boldly I strolled into the store, straight to the section labeled “tools” – it seemed like a good place to start. I looked around for an employee to help me make my decisions. We were looking to pick up a sander (for furniture projects) and a staple gun (for chairs and material projects). These are tools we’ve wanted to own for a while but have usually borrowed from people – it hit us the other day, why don’t we just buy them? It’s not like we’re stopping the up cycling free furniture train anytime soon – might as well own the tools to do it. You can see some of our past adventures in furniture redo's here and here!


I found the sander pretty quickly – and I would hope so! Paul had located which one he wanted me to buy, had sent me the link, and all I had to do was find this item at Home Depot. Pretty straight forward. While looking for a staple gun I ended up in the nail gun section marveling at how expensive they were (not yet realizing I wasn’t in the staple gun section) and marveling at how hard it was to find an employee! Finally after waiting 10 minutes (now it was 8:30, the store closed at 9 and I knew I still needed paint mixed!) I called Home Depot on my cell and asked them to transfer me to the tools department, I then asked the guy on the phone to come help me – and help me he did! He helped me narrow down what we wanted and pick a tool best suited for our needs.


Oh I felt proud! I made it through the tool section! With only minimal help and quickly. Then it was off to the Paint section – my safety zone. There was Johnny – one of my favorite two Home Depot paint guru’s. As per usual he was super super helpful. I ended up with the paint I needed (I’m doing something similar to this which I talked about here) but it took the full half hour they were still open – thankfully they stayed open, I was the last to leave at 9:10, mixing paint isn't fast!



My inspiration

My take on it and color choices
2014-07-31 08.28.07

My sketches for the buffet & secretary
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We'll see how it goes!! Having the paint makes it so much more real!

When I got home I felt so victorious. I showed Paul my spoils – look! A sander! A staple gun! Staples! Paint! Great, he says. Where are the sander pads? Ahh fail – I bought the tool but not the thing it needs. Dang it! To be fair neither Paul nor the employee mentioned that it needed anything, I definitely assumed it came with at least a first pair of pads, but still…lesson learnt, always ask “what else might I need”

And to follow up, I used the staple gun AS SOON AS I GOT HOME and oh man, it’s awesome. I’m not very strong so it’s a learning curve for me to use – Paul nailed it right away, but it’s awesome and my chair project was complete in record time. I have so many things to staple now #cantstop #wontstopstapelling

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2014: The year of the baby

If 2013 was the year of weddings (and it was, 13 weddings in one year) then 2014 is the year of the baby or the year of the pregnant women. I mean, it’s impressive how many pregnant ladies and subsequent babies are around this year. Shocking even. It’s all baby bump, baby bump, actual baby! At one point I started an excel spreadsheet list of friends who were pregnant, when they were due and if it was public knowledge yet. It was all too much to hold in my mind. That’s a ridiculous truth.
For us it’s been a joyful year – as well as one full of growing. Most people that know us know that we have been trying to get pregnant without success. Lining that up with a year of abundant pregnancies could make for an interesting year. But I will say that we are so happy for our friends, and we trust God for His timing in our lives. And so the year of baby continues – and I just found a whole bunch of photos of me and some of those babies! So, here are a few shots of adorable, sweet, babies. Oh, the babies.

Baby of the year #1: Coming in at 7lbs 7 ounces, Wyatt McCarthy was the first of the 2014 babies. Wyatt has slept peacefully through many lifegroups, engaged entire audiences using nothing but his ability to look adorable and won over all of the McCarthy’s friends. Wyatt has stepped up to the plate during long evenings of party prep by letting tired ladies hold him for some baby therapy – your service has not gone unnoticed, my friend!


2014-04-18 15.03.24


 2014-04-18 15.14.42

Irene getting some time with Wyatt – especially as she prepared to have one of her own!
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2014-05-09 18.44.29


Wyatt in stripes – we match – he knows what’s up.
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Wyatt’s beautiful mama and one heck of a friend. 
She rocks the motherhood thing and makes others feel good while she does it!
 2014-05-16 11.31.58
Wyatt is also the baby we see the most of! Thanks to church, lifegroup and friendship. 

Baby of the year #2: Charlie Raphael was born in late May to Paul’s step-brother and his wife, Tyler and Sara. Watching Sara bloom over the course of her pregnancy was lovely (we worked across the street from each other during this time). She handled everything that came with pregnancy so well and took naturally to being a mom. Charlie is adorable! Holding my newest nephew was a treat and I can’t wait for more cuddles at Christmas!


2014-06-22 13.26.57


Getting to be Auntie Tara to sweet Charlie – awesome!
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Uncle Paul & Charlie
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Baby of the Year #3: Livia Brown came the same weekend as Charlie to my dear friend Tami. Sadly there is a ferry in between us but I am so excited to meet Livia - and see what great parents Tami and Eric make! I've talked about how awesome Tami is before, and I am so so so happy for the three of them as they get to enjoy being a family! Also look at that personality in Livia already!



There was a bit of a pause as we waited for the next batch of babies – and as of July they started to come in waves!

Baby of the Year #4: Amariah Rivisto was born to Rebekah and Tony Rivisto on July 3rd, fitting as an American Canadian combo their baby’s birthday fits in the middle of the two. Amariah was born one year and 2 days after their wedding – what a fun way to celebrate. As the Rivistos live in Washington and I’m up in Canada I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her but I’m so thankful to facebook for keeping the channels open. She’s a doll!


Baby of the Year #5: Donovan Jenkinson was a surprise leading baby, coming a few weeks earlier just in time to make Baby #5. Dylan and Deve planned their baby prep in good time - their shower and maternity shots ended up happening exactly one week before his early arrival. Good thing they planned early! Donovan and Deve have been at home still but I can't wait to meet this little one. Dylan seems healthy and happy when I see him, so that bodes well for how they are all holding up! Plus his facebook personality is already amusing. 



Baby of the Year #6: Immanuel Chibota (Farai) was long awaited and much over due, but in perfect condition. Irene and TC have been constantly in my newsfeed as person after person visits them and their sweet new son. Farai is a very popular young man! Also so are his parents. Visiting at the hospital was lovely and I can't wait to see them again and have some more sweet snuggles with Farai. 



Baby of the Year #7: Another surprisingly early baby, Madeline Janz was 6 weeks early weighing just  4lbs 4oz, but wide eyed and crying (as one wants a baby to be when they are born!). Rob and Emily are amazing parents - Madeline is still at the hospital learning to be a healthy baby and they are superstars. I watched Emily with Madeline and saw a mother - she was competent and kind and patient and at peace. Rob loves Emily and Madeline so practically and kindly - it's a joy to watch them all thrive in this relationship. I can't wait to Madeline can go home and experience 24/7 time with her amazing parents. 


I'm not in this photo but I did take it!

Phew - and those are just the babies born between April and July to people I'm close with! My newsfeed continues to be alive with pregnancies and births and cuteness overload. Paul always says that facebook is overrun with moms and I don't mind a bit! I'm so proud of my many friends who have had their babies already and those that haven't yet! I can't wait to meet and hold your babies, and make you dinner when you're home from the hospital. It's such a joy to watch my friends enter this next stage of life! So proud of all of you and how awesomely you are rocking at life! 

And dear Lord, may I not have a missed a baby in this post!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday, July 28th: Point Roberts, some cycling fun and a bunch 'o babies



Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 
Monday: Spaghetti with Spaghetti Squash for me!
Last night I whipped up some spaghetti for tonights dinner - I'll make fresh spaghetti for the house, and use some roasted spaghetti squash for myself. Then I'll pop out to visit a friend and their new baby and then head home to prep lunches. 

Tuesday: Hot Dogs, Pasta salad, Spring Salad, Potato Salad & Popsicles
Tuesday night is lifegroup night and to celebrate another super hot week we're heading out to Sasamat Lake as a lifegroup for some lake play and hot dog eating. It's going to be awesome! 28+ weather, great friends, food and a beautiful lake. I CAN NOT WAIT. 

Wednesday: Pizza Night (Cauliflower Crust for me!)

Wednesday we will be be doing the first of a few room switches - moving our furniture from the downstairs guest room to upstairs (where our new guest room will be) and moving the furniture from the new guest room into the old guest room, where the new student room will be. Then I can decorate and put the room together - we have a student that moves in on Monday! 

Thursday: Mediterranean Boneless Pork Chops

Thursday I have two good friends coming over for dinner - this meal looked tasty and fun. I will add a rice medley (brown rice, wild rice and white rice) all served with mushrooms. Mmmmm.

While I'm busy hanging out with our friends Paul will be busy moving furniture. Our student Rachel leaves Thursday and Friday our new student Sam moves in. Rachel's room was unfurnished but we will be furnishing Sam's room. Paul will move in the RAD new dresser and nightstand we got, a bed and a desk. Then after my friends leave I will be popping in to make it look great, hopefully, using cool things from around the house. I hoard bedroom decor items like it's my job. Because it is my job.  Well my home job, that is. My 9-5 is an entirely different thing.

Friday: Easy Roast Chicken with grilled veggies & baked rice
Friday night Sam moves in! I'm hoping she and her family will stay for dinner so we can get to know her people, but they are coming all the way from Alberta and might want to taste and sample Vancouver food - totally reasonable. 

Saturday: Easy Garlic Chicken with grilled veggies
Saturday night we don't have specific plans but it's a long weekend so the hope is that Saturday and Sunday we can lake it up and cycle and do fun things. Also we'll be taking an hour or so to prime a few pieces we're working on for the house.

Sunday: Dry Pork Ribs with grilled vegetables
Sunday should be a day of fun and relaxation followed by church and dinner - usually someone ends up coming over! Especially on a holiday Sunday.

Monday: Cilantro Lime Baked Shrimp
Monday morning I will be painting the pieces that we prime - we have two nightstands, one buffet and one secretary to paint, as well as a couple pieces of art work to create. Then in the late afternoon we'll be picking up our new Japanese student at the airport, letting her settle in while we keep painting and then we'll all eat dinner together and hopefully Paul and I will be able to finish up any painting that night. I'm really excited to see these pieces coming together. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pillow Talk

I couldn't decide how to title this post "Pillow Talk"? or "The most ground breaking, spiritually invigorating and full of depth post yet". It was a real toss up.

Last fall I started a project. Last night I completed it. I was most of the way done back in April when my friend Laura took these photos



I loved the way the room looked but a) the curtains weren't hung and b) I was missing a few big statement pillows, per Nancy's suggestion. We'll the curtains went up months ago but the pillows remained unfinished. The bed still looked great, the pillows I had on hand were lovely!


Lovely AND inexpensive! The front three personalized pillows were from Pick Your Plum. I just needed to insert a pillow form into them. They were the most expensive part of this overhaul, purchased exactly one year ago, for $43.96. 

Then came the two grey pillows in the back - they are placemats from Superstore - coming in at a whopping $3 dollars each plus stuffing (roughly $5 to stuff both), they were super easy to turn into pillows and I loved what they added. 

But something Nancy had suggested kept sticking out to me - there needed to be bigger "anchor" pillows, to help balance the bed out. These pillows were all on the small side. When Nancy was here we searched high and love. Pillows are expensive y'all! We kept finding ones that were close (though not perfect) and none of them cost less than $30 each, usually way more. I was discouraged. Then we headed to Crate & Barrel where we found a bunch of other cool stuff...no perfect pillows BUT I noticed a cheerful material sticking out of a bucket. A dinner napkin. Hmmm. Could this be my new pillow? I bought 6 napkins at 5.95 each and headed home. Then I proceeded to do nothing about it. A while later I tried to sew them and couldn't thread my machine. 

Finally last week I had my friend Judy over for a sewing / threading lesson and BAM, my pillows were taking shape! I only had time to finish one last week and I left it in the living room and people were constantly holding it and hugging it. It seemed like a hit. 

Sewing them was really easy once I could thread my machine (of course). I took two sides and pinned them together inside out. Then I sewed 85% of the way around them leaving a space for stuffing. Once they were sewed I stuffed them, then hand stitched the entrance closed. The tension is making sure the whole is big enough for your hand and stuffing to fit in, but not so big that the unsightly hand stitch marks will be obvious. 

Finally last night I finished sewing and stuffing the other two (as well as sewing up four more pillows for the living room - though I ran out of batting for those) and ran upstairs to see how it looked together. AMAZING. I was so happy. 


Paul: "Explain to me why our bed needed more pillows?"
Tara: "It looks better" 
Paul: "It looks harder to make the bed"
Tara: "Do you hate them?"
Paul: "No, not hate"

And that's a win in our house. 



Considering I used 3/4's of a $20 bag of batting to fill the three pillows, plus the cost of the napkins ($5.95 for each side), we are coming in at $50 for the three pillows. Bringing us to a total cost of $105 for all 8 pillows. While $105 seems like a lot - to purchase similar pillows at Target or HomeSense ranged from $15 a pillow to $35, assuming we spent an average of $20 a pillow it would have cost us $160 at least. I'll consider it a win, especially purchased over a year. 
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Red, White & Blue


Last year I chronicled our fourth of July parties past and threw a small Fourth of July party - it was warm and sunny, complete with signature drink. Great party!



Menu Plan Monday, July 21st



Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 
Monday: Mexican Pie
Tonight is Mexican Pie - we have to pick up some furniture in Vancouver and Point Roberts, so an easy quick dinner is important. I put this together last night in preparation for tomorrow.

Tuesday: Sausages & roasted veggies with rice
Tuesday night is BOTTLING night. We have ordered wine from West Coast U Brew - recently we did a batch of cider and beer and this is our batch of wine! Chilean Malbec and German Gew├╝rztraminer; tomorrow we bottle these bad boys up! Woot woot! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: July 14th (Heat Wave)



Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 
Monday: Chicks-on-a-stick, Mushrooms & Zucchini stuffed with quinoa and vegetables, served with Rice.

Tonight we are having guests over - not only are these guests people we LOVE to talk to (and who are so affirming of us it's ridiculous) but also they are people that are good at life. Paul and Keith will spend the after dinner time chatting and Judy will be giving me a sewing lesson. Seriously. These guys rock. 

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