Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wood Plank Accent Wall- Dining Room

This morning I finished up my dining room project. I'd posted photos of it yesterday on Facebook, but I felt that I needed to add just one more row of wood to the wall. I did that this morning, and I'm so glad I did! You can't tell from photos, but in person it made a big difference when compared to my height standing next to it. 
 Honestly the hardest part of this project was cutting the hole for the electrical outlet. We have the world's worst jigsaw and the blades bend and cut crooked. I even broke a blade while doing it. Thankfully my husband was nearby, so I begged for help on that part before I messed it up too bad. Honestly, if our jigsaw (which we rarely use, so I haven't bought a better one) was better quality, it would have been easy.
 So, to start off, I removed everything off of the wall. I painted about a third of the wall white. This wall continues over the cabinets in the kitchen, so I had to climb up on the counters and continue all the way over the cabinets. I used a stud finder and marked all of the studs with chalk. When shopping for wood, I decided it would be worth the money to get the tongue and groove shiplap wood instead of regular boards. I am SO glad I did, because it made installation a breeze. We bought the longest staples we could find, and I used an air compressed staple gun to install the boards. (Note: I avoided the stud that runs next to the electrical outlet, since my husband said that the power lines are tacked to that stud, and you can never be 100% sure where you are on the stud itself)
 I didn't stop and take a photo of the bare wood after I installed it, but you get the idea. Last, I used Minwax dark walnut stain to get the warm color I wanted.
 Turning my table this way and putting my cabinet and coffee cart on the same wall make the most use of my small space. I can't believe how much bigger it looks set up this way.
 Then I just shopped my house for decor. I knew I wanted to keep it fairly simple.
The hanging pots are actually white metal pails that I pried the handles off of. I used white clothesline rope from Lowe's and just looped it through the holes and tied knots. I am using fake boxwood, since that big plant on my cabinet is apparently the only indoor plant that I can keep alive. I've had that plant for about 8 years!!!!

My wood wall, and white planters were inspired by a photo I saw on Instagram account @elsielarson and her blog is called A Beautiful Mess. Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to find a look you like, and dare to try it!

Monday, June 9, 2014

San Francisco Trip, 2014

We returned last night from a wonderful family trip to San Francisco. It was completely perfect, well minus the amount of time it usually took us to find a parking spot. We were able to squeeze a ton of fun into just one weekend. Here's my recap.
 This was our first time crossing the new Bay Bridge. Maybe it's not even called that anymore? I don't know. It kind of freaked me out to look to the left and see the old bridge cut in half. The kids don't remember their previous trip to the city, because it was probably about 5 years ago for them. When we drove into the city they were freaking out with excitement over the size!
 The first morning, we ate at a restaurant called Plow. It was really good! They even had gluten free pancakes, made with almond flour. By the way, I want that sugar pourer! Most of the restaurants are teeny tiny, so we had to wait awhile for a table big enough for 6. You kind of can't be in a rush for anything in this city. Traffic takes time, parking takes time, eating takes time. Just kind of go with the flow.
 We had to park at the very top of this hill and walk down to the corner to eat at Plow. This isn't even all the way to the top.
 There was a bench part way up, and yes, the kids and I sat and caught our breath!
 Next, we went to Crissy field. It had FREE parking...HOLLA!! If you had any idea how much money we wasted on parking this weekend, you'd know why that's so exciting! ;)
I think there were more dogs than people on this beach. The kids loved looking for treasures by the water.
 It has a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also see Alcatraz to the right. (not pictured)

 There was a seaplane flying throughout the bay while we were there. My observant word to the wise... don't touch the big piles of sand. I watched every dog that walked past them, sniff, then pee on them. Yuck! A little toddler was playing with a pile of sand in the distance and it totally grossed me out. This is obviously the perfect place to take your dog though! Lots of dogs playing fetch in the ocean.
 I said hello to the Golden Gate Bridge, yoga style! I wish I could always have a soft beach to practice inversions on! So much softer than the floor!

 We drove to Union City, where we had reservations for the kids and their uncle to do indoor skydiving. It's called iFly. They loved it! We got some great videos of them. Next time maybe we will try it too. Book in advance, because we wanted to add ourselves after we arrived, but they were all full. This tunnel goes really high, and you can pay an extra $10 for the instructor to take you all the way up to the top a few times.
 After that, we went to Cultivate Festival in Golden Gate Park. It was put on by Chipotle, and there were food booths, farm vs. factory exhibits, etc. By the time we got there, it was FREEZING. Thankfully I brought a couple of blankets.
 We went to the last concert of the day, Neon Trees.

 It was fun, and then after that we walked a mile back to our parking spot, which we drove around for 40 minutes trying to find yelped a pizza place. We totally rely on Yelp to read reviews, and see food photos when we're out of town. The place we chose was called Pizzetta 211 and it was SO good. Again, teeny tiny restaurant. We ended up eating outside by the heaters, which actually felt really warm after freezing our butts off at the concert.
 The next day we went to Ghirardelli Square and took a cable car ride.





 The streets are so much steeper than they look in the photos!
 We ended a couple of blocks past Union Square.
 My mother in law!
 When we got back to Ghirardelli Square, we went to my favorite cupcake place, Kara's Cupcakes.
 I had a gluten free chocolate velvet and it was delicious!
 My husband was dying for an authentic Chinese meal before we left town. He ended up asking our cable car grip (the guy who controls the brakes) for a recommendation. He told us Yuet Lee in Chinatown was his favorite.
We.pigged.out. It was really good! I can't help but think of all of the other restaurants, and what they have to offer. I think if you lived there, you could go to a different restaurant every day and still never eat at all of them.
We had SO much fun. Now it's back to reality of 103 degrees and housework. ;) I love that I can tuck away the memories of exploring, experiencing, and LAUGHING with the people I love, and use it as energy when we get back to the grind of every day life.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June Update

I realized it has been a LONG time since I've updated the blog. I've found that it is on the bottom of my list these days, and that's ok. Life is just too crazy to keep up with everything. I'm just gonna share a few photos of what I've been up to recently.
I've updated my shelf for the Fourth of July. This is my substitute for a mantle. I just pulled together a couple of past crafts (fireworks and flag blocks), and added a few vintage things that I already had. I used a roll of wide burlap and added some flags, super easy. I love adding old tins and greenery to almost everything now.
 I've been taking a yoga basics class at a great studio for about a month and a half. My absolute favorite thing to practice is inversions. I like having someone snap a photo, or setting the timer on my phone, so that I can see my form improve over time. I can't wait until I can do this and have legs that are completely flat, not in a V shape. I can't believe the difference that just these several classes have made in gaining strength and balance. I really can't do most cardio, because I want to be kind to my prosthetic knee. My surgeon told me not to run, so while it feels like the whole world is out conquering the world one mile at a time, I'm just working on perfecting my form. It turns out that this is exactly what my body needs.
 Last week, I took my kids to class with me, and they liked it! I don't know that they will go with me every time, because that would get expensive. It's such good practice for them though, so I'm glad that they ask to come. The sweat literally pours off of us. If you are doing yoga correctly, it is SO much harder than it looks.
 Our girls graduated from 3rd and 4th grade last week! I can't believe we have finished our fourth year of homeschool! This year literally FLEW by.
 Our wonderful teacher is retiring this year, and we are so grateful for all she has taught us. She means the world to us! Several weeks ago we decided that we are going to try independent homeschool in the fall. This will be our first year completely on our own. I'm nervous but excited at the same time. My summer will be full of a lot of curriculum research and planning for the fall, as this will be the first time that the materials aren't just handed to me.
We are LOVING our garden. The growth has been amazing. 
 We also got a new rabbit. Her name is Hazelnut, and sometimes we call her Hazel. She's the first gentle and non-skittish rabbit we've ever had.
 The harvesting has begun in parts of our garden. Some things will take some more time, but I love going out to check on the changes every day.
I'm ready to enjoy the summer!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Race for Hope Recap, Photos, and Sponsors!

Hello! We are excited to share with you some photos of the Race for Hope! We cannot thank everyone enough who attended, raced, volunteered, sponsored, bought raffle tickets, and bid on silent auctions! We are forever grateful! In the end, we were able to raise just over $10,000 for the Depew family. This is a tangible way YOU were able to help pay the high cost of his cancer treatment, and help his mother stay home and care for him, since his chemo keeps him from attending daycare. Amazing!!
How cute is this photo? It looks like he's standing next to his RC car.

This event WOULD NOT have been possible without the generous business sponsors and raffle donors! Thank you to:
Pro Citrus Network
KRC Safety
KRC Graphics 
Sequoia Beverage Co.
Suncrest Bank
Bravo Farms
Madera Hobbies
Exeter Hobbies
Volmer Excavation
Zenbot CNC
The Planing Mill
Praxxair of Tulare
Green Thumb Landscaping
Valley Tire and Brake
Empire Supply
Rueben's Home Service
Smokehouse of Kingsburg
Ron Ribeiro of Lawrence Tractor (Hanford)
Valley Oak A/C
Willits Pump
Greg Gonzales Painting
Amigos
MonkeyPaintz
Cycle Art
The Smokehouse (Kingsburg)

Hopefully I didn't miss anyone! We also had individuals donate to our prizes, prepare our tri-tip (Thanks, Gary Colburn!!), and provide the volunteers with snacks and drinks throughout their shifts. We are SO thankful for each and every person that helped in any way. People even bought extra gift cards and brought them to me to add to the raffle prizes on the day of the race! 

Brandon sporting his Camden's Crew shirt while announcing a race.

 Whenever we give away a RC car kit, it always ends up being a child who wins it. It's always SO exciting to see their faces when you draw the ticket and announce THEIR name. SO awesome! This was his first time at our track and he walked away with a brand new car!

 Since this was the Race for Hope, I had this idea a couple of months ago. We wanted to give Camden (and his family) a brand new RC car, with his picture on the body, and the name of the race. To Brandon and I, this car represents the hope. The hope that we all have, that he will get to keep his vision when this is all said and done. He has a long road ahead of him, one that his family will need to take one step at a time. It can be overwhelming to think of how many years he will have to be treated/checked for retinoblastoma. One day at a time is very important, but we believe in the end, he will have retained at least a portion of his vision, if not all. At first I thought, maybe I'm silly for wanting to give a car to a baby, but then as we talked about it, we realized....this represents the hope. Madera Hobbies was extremely generous to give us this valuable car, Cycle Art gave us the body, MonkeyPaintz painted the body, and KRC Graphics added his photo and race info. Such an example of how everyone pitches in to help! Years from now, when he is driving this car, he will know the love that was shown to him on March 29th, 2014!
 Madera Hobbies also GAVE AWAY 12 RC helicopters to the first 12 registered racers. The other racers received a free hat, donated by Sequoia Beverage.
 A few of our wonderful volunteers!
 All of the kids made new friends and played well together all day! Two of these girls even raced in the kids class!
Chemo can damage hearing, so Camden got to wear his CUTE hearing protection during the loud nitro races. Thankfully he didn't have to wear them all day, because the electric cars are much quieter.

 Camden's story was posted on the driver's stand for all to see how he got diagnosed.
 The family sold shirts, and it was so touching that a lot of racers bought them and went and put them on right away! There were gray shirts all over the place!
 We literally had a mountain of prizes donated! Lots of prizes helped us get a larger crowd, so thank you to all who donated!
 Brandon giving the drivers their instructions.
 More of our fabulous volunteers!




 This girl. She and I have been "family" since I was a year old. She's the reason I met my husband. We were roommates before we both got married. She was my maid of honor. And now her son is fighting cancer. It kind of leaves you not knowing what to do or how you could possibly help. I'm thankful we had this opportunity to do something that will really help them. Their focus needs to be on him, not his pharmacy bills.
 Camden taking a morning nap on his Nana's lap.
 Sequoia Beverage was generous enough to donate a lot of LARGE items to hold a silent auction. This ended up bringing in a lot of money that we wouldn't have, had they not done this for us! The owner even put in a big bid, and then re-donated the item to the next highest bidder, so not only did they get his bid, but the second highest bid as well! We just couldn't believe it!

 I announced that we raised $9,700, but at the end of the day, after adding in the shirt sales and the rest of the food sales, it totaled $10,000! I was also able to share the warning sign of retinoblastoma with the entire crowd. Know the glow. See red, or see a doctor. It's fairly simple. It is not standard medical practice to check the eyes until 6 months of age. You should ASK your doctor before you leave the hospital, and at every well-baby check up to do a "red eye check". It takes about 30 seconds for the doctor to turn off the room lights, and shine their light into the baby's eyes. In flash photos, if the pupils do not glow red, they need to see a doctor. Glowing white pupils doesn't always mean cancer, but is a sign of a few different eye diseases that need immediate attention. The only reason Camden was diagnosed is because his parents wouldn't take no for an answer. They pushed the issue for an eye exam, and that's why he was diagnosed. Know the glow! Only ONE person in the whole crowd had ever heard of retinoblastoma. After I explained it all, I told them that now they can go and tell everyone they know. That's how education works!
Brandon presenting the family with Camden's car.
On behalf of this beautiful family, Brandon, and I, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!