Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Laundry Room Renovation-Part 4

 Life has been SO FULL these past few weeks! We were in a whirlwind of activity surrounding my sister's wedding, with all of the preparation that is involved with that. I am happy to announce she is happily married, and I couldn't be happier for her. The wedding was beautiful, and my sister was absolutely gorgeous! She looked like a princess, and I am pretty sure her face hurt by the end of the day because she never stopped smiling. She and her hubby went on a cruise for their honeymoon to Cozumel, and I really missed our daily texts. It was kind of sad. 
As soon as we got her married off, we dove head first into VBS preparation. Why is VBS so exhausting?!? A friend and I were in charge of decorating the preschool areas. There was lots of crafting and painting involved, and the kids loved being at the church building playing hide and seek.
 (Pictures to follow soon!)
And then there is school. We are getting to it when we can, but there are only so many hours in the day.
So, we have been extremely busy.
And there hasn't been a lot of time to dedicate to our laundry room, or laundry for that matter!
I will say that it is almost completely finished. All of the painting and caulking is finished. There are a few places that need some touch up paint, but that will have to wait a little bit longer. We are also adding new lighting. I am SUPER pumped about the lighting. It's going to add so much character to the space. 
Y'all are going to love it!!

So here are some pictures of the progress.
Hubby cut wooden slats like he did for the half bath walls. It was so much cheaper to make our own than to buy the pre made slats we used in the kids bathroom.

We painted the wainscotting a bright white to lighten the room up because there are no windows to allow natural light in. We ended up with what looks like faux ship lap. That was totally unintentional. I have never really been a huge fan of the white ship lap look. I know, I know...all of you Joanna Gaines followers are probably ready to burn me at the stake...just kidding. 
(I really do love that show, by the way, and it's fun to see someone on TV of whom I have a lot in common with).
Anyway, it has grown on me, and I really do like it, but if we get tired of the white, then we can paint over it....some day....in the very DISTANT future!!
(The walls are "Gravity" by Valspar.)
See that florescent light? It's going bye bye, and I CANNOT WAIT for the new fixture to come to life. It's so exciting!!
I'll give you a little hint...
Barn Wood, and Pulleys.
 I have to find a few decorative items to soften the space up because it's very stark in the laundry room right now. I tried an antique store, and once again was reminded of how cheap I am. And the prices weren't really that bad. I am just a thrift store girl at heart. The prices are so much better at thrift stores and I am so grateful that we have some amazing little gems down here. 

I'll be sharing the lighting progress when we get a few minutes to breathe.

If you missed the first few posts about our laundry room progress, click the links below to see how things have been moving along. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bachelorette Weekend-Part 2

Y'all, there is nothing worse than going hungry on vacation.
It just ruins the whole experience. You can't focus on the fun because all you can think about is what you're not eating at any given time.
I had that happen, once. At Disney World. 
One Word:
It won't happen again...if I can help it. 
I can assure you that we didn't go hungry during my sister's bachelorette weekend getaway. 
If anything, we were full as ticks the whole time. 
Saturday morning, I prepared a big ole country breakfast so we could have plenty of fuel to tackle the day's activities.
I saw on Pinterest where people are serving Biscuit Bars at weddings, and I thought that was such a cute idea.
A super easy breakfast, that will fill anyone up.
Now, I am a gluten free girl, and it kind of hurt my feelings to know that I wouldn't be eating any biscuits. I love me a biscuit, especially with gravy.
Biscuit and gravy makes this country girl's heart sing...along with a side of grits.
Lip smackin' deliciousness. 
There are days when I crave a good biscuit, and will cave in and eat it,
but friends, I wasn't willing to deal with all of the issues I encounter after indulging.
So, I watched my sister and her friends eat the biscuits.
I felt like Captain Barbossa offering Miss Swan the apple. 
Hopefully I didn't look this creepy offering them their food. HA!
 On the menu:
Buttermilk Biscuits
Assorted Jams
Country Ham
Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits (per request of the Bride)
Orange Juice
I think everyone's favorite dish was the Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits.
I will share the recipe in another post.
They were truly divine.
Once we were full, we went for pedicures.
That was an experience I won't soon forget.
I made sure to find a place that had excellent ratings. The place I picked had a 4.9 star rating out of 5, and there were hundreds of awesome reviews.
I thought we were set.
We must have gone on an off day...
One girl had her legs slapped numerous times with steaming hot towels wrapped around them. Imagine 6 girls all turning, leaning forward and looking to see what the commotion was all about..at the same time. It's not every day you hear somebody being slapped while getting their pedicure. My little guy told me hated me, then tried to flirt with me, and then didn't give me a massage. Booooo! Another girl sat in her chair for what seemed like days because her person was new, and was slower than molasses. She was the first to sit down and the last of the 7 to get up.
It was an adventure, and something to laugh about for years to come. 

We hit the outlet mall in Pigeon Forge, and later that evening, we went to the Dixie Stampede.
When it first started, the spoiled part of me thought, "this doesn't hold a candle to Disney."  Once the show started rolling, it turned out to be really fun.
My favorite part was when a man came out in a chicken suit dancing, and I laughed so hard I thought my food was going to hit reverse.
I had tears rolling out of my eyes.
It was truly a good time.

These girls made this weekend a blast!
I have one more post to share about this weekend. I'll share the welcome bags I made for the girls, and all the loot that was inside.
Stay Tuned!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bachelorette Weekend-Part 1

My sister is getting married in just a few short weeks, and I am so excited for her.
Last weekend, I got to host a super fun, completely exhausting bachelorette weekend for my sister and 5 of her closest friends.
I was a little nervous planning this weekend because I know nothing of bachelorette gatherings, and when you search Pinterest for anything related to that subject, you will find that most of it is down right raunchy.
Homey don't play 'dat. 
I am so glad I had months to plan this getaway because I was able to find inspiration from so many areas, and I was able to keep it clean and tasteful.
(You can check out my Engagement Party Pinterest Board to see where I got a lot of my ideas).

Saying that my sister is a HUGE Vanderbilt fan is the understatement of the year. Just a few examples of her obsession: she buys season passes to all home games (no matter the sport, no matter how awful they are), just about everything she owns is black or gold, the wedding colors are black and gold, and the wedding is at Vanderbilt. She is such a huge Vandy fan that when she has children, they may be in danger of being named something like Commodore or Anchor. ;-) I kid, I kid...sort of. :-)
Since the colors for her wedding are black and gold, I wanted to keep with that theme. Fortunately these colors are really popular right now, so it made it extremely easy to find the perfect accessories for our weekend getaway.
I hunted high and low on Etsy for an invitation, and this is the one I went with. It's so pretty, and I love anything that sparkles. The shop owner was great to work with, and the turn around was really fast.
 The glitter and the icons on the bottom of the invite were what sold me.
We stayed in an amazing cabin on a lake. It was a very peaceful area. Unfortunately for our neighbors, we made it a little less peaceful!
There was an incident that involved a car alarm and loud cackling of 7 hens that disrupted any semblance of tranquility. 
EVERYTHING echos across a lake :-)

Our menu for Friday night was a Taco bar and Ice Cream Sundae/Float bar.
I brought a lot of stuff from home because I didn't know what would be furnished at the cabin. 
The coke glasses were a Dollar Tree purchase and went home with my sister. The candy jars were also a DT purchase.
This chalkboard frame came from the dollar section at Target. 
I used a picture from Etsy as inspiration to draw the sundae and quote on the board. Don't you just love chalkboards? I think I could sit and draw on a chalkboard all day long.
The glitter boxes, straws, chalkboard picks and ice cream cups are from Hobby Lobby.

I borrowed the Coca-Cola crate from a friend. There was actually a Pepsi crate at the cabin. One of the girls said she was so glad that I didn't put the Coca-Cola bottles in the Pepsi crate; she would've been mad if I had...obviously she was joking :-)
Aren't these little chalkboard picks so cute? You will most likely see these used in every upcoming party I host. LOVE!

We were able to eat dinner out on the covered porch. It was kind of chilly, so it seemed to keep the little bugs away thankfully.
The views were spectacular.

I found the burlap place mats at Hobby Lobby on sale, and I embroidered the W's on them. They went home with my sister after the weekend was over as well.

I had so much fun getting to spend time with this great group of girls. Learning more about each and everyone of them.
  I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.
I love a good laugh, y'all.
In my next post, I will share what we did on Saturday, so make sure to check back!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Old Sewing Machine Table turned Outdoor Planter

Hey Y'all! I am back after a two'ish week break. I needed to focus on healing.
I developed shingles, and let me tell you...that's stuff is NO JOKE!
Thankfully, it's passed, and I have learned so much about myself and how I handle stress (actually how I don't handle it.)
I am taking baby steps, and learning to say no, and learning to just breathe.
It's SOOO hard y'all!

Anytime I am on the mend from an illness, I always have the urge to get up and do something. I don't do well sitting still, but sometimes life knocks you down and you have to listen to your body.
I had plenty of time to dream up different projects with all of that sitting I was doing with those nasty shingles.
So as soon as I was feeling up to it, I was out in the garage tearin' things up.
I had an old empty sewing machine table sitting in my attic that was given to me by one of my mother's friends. I knew I could do something with it, but I just didn't know what.
So it sat in the attic for more than a year.
Hubby kept trying to make me get rid of it because it was taking up space, but I refused. 
I am so glad I didn't throw it out.
I finally came up with a fun way to repurpose the table.
I turned it into an outdoor planter.
This was its original state.
Sans sewing machine.
I used the wood from the stand my porch swing used to hang from, and created a box to slide inside the table. Building the box took 40 forevers!
I went with my tried and true Krylon red. This was the first time for me to use this all-in-one paint and I LOVE it. It was super easy to use!
I made sure to drill a few holes in the bottom of the planter for drainage.
I also roughed up the top with my orbital sander, just to knock off the sheen.
Two coats of spray paint, and she was ready for assembly.
I used the plastic that Lowe's gives you for your car to protect the floor mats as my liner for the planter. Dual purpose, and it was free!
I had some leftover dirt from some previous plantings, and it was just enough. Lucky me!
I also poked holes through the plastic for drainage.
I made sure to get shade tolerant plants, since they would be under a covered porch. I always seem to ignore the suggestions on those little plant tags. 
You know what? Those people from the plant stores kind of know what they're talking about, so I chose to listen this time :-)
I love the varying heights of the plants.
I can't wait until they fill in a little more.
This was an inexpensive build, and I was only out the cost of spray paint and the plants.
I am so thankful for days when I can create what I imagined. It's so fun!
So, who's ready to make their own? I would love to see pictures if you decide to recreate this piece!!

Friday, April 29, 2016

American Girl Doll House Inspiration

Raise your hand if you have a daughter who is obsessed with American Girl Dolls.
Sister LOVES A.G. dolls, and I will have to admit, I really like them too.
The dolls were first released in 1986 (when I was 5), and have been going strong ever since.
I had friends growing up who had them, and I always wanted Samantha.
However, the dolls are very expensive, and always have been, so I never got to own one.
I survived, obviously.
Anyway, Sister fell in love with the dolls, and we started with the Target brand of Our Generation dolls. We weren't investing in something that expensive if she wasn't going to play with them.
She did play with the dolls, and really didn't notice that they weren't the real deal. She did get frustrated with the hair though. That's the biggest difference between the cheap dolls and the real dolls. The hair is WAY better with the real American Girl line.
After realizing that she truly would play with these dolls, we stepped into the real world of American Girl with a Bitty Baby. 
Bitty Baby is so precious. 
I miss those days (sniff). 
For those that don't know, Bitty Baby is the line geared towards the younger girls. 
We graduated from Bitty Baby and now Sister has two American girl dolls.
At first, we had all of the kids' toys upstairs, including the dolls because I don't like seeing toys strewn all over the house.
However, one of our lovely guests decided that Isabelle needed a trim last year, (grrr) so all of the A.G. stuff is in Sister's room for safe keeping.
Which has created a bit of a storage issue, as seen below.

There isn't a good way to store everything she has, so it's tucked away in little pockets everywhere in her room which is driving me bananas!
I needed a solution!
I knew that Ana White would have some plans for a doll house. I have used her website for plans before. We built a dollhouse bookshelf which is currently being used as a Barbie house, and I built a see saw for the kids.
Her instructions are easy to follow, and there are PICTURES!
This particular build is massive, and it has pocket screws (which I don't know how to do), so hubby is going to have to help me build this one.
He just doesn't know it yet!
I'm thinking this will be a great project this summer after we finish the laundry room and get through some of the yard work.
I found this picture under the brag posts from Ana White's website. Isn't this adorable? Someone took a tremendous amount of time in making this dollhouse special.
 People are so creative when it comes to making doll house accessories! I love this little living room set.
 And there are some really crafty mommas out there.
Look at this amazing washing machine made out of a baby wipes container! So clever!
I can't wait to get started with this project! Hopefully Sister's room will look a little more organized once we complete it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Donuts

Ever since I had my gall bladder removed, I have had issues with gluten. I have no idea why, but I have. I also can't eat things that are high in fat without severe stomach issues. My diet is high in fat, but it's the good kinds of fats that you find in things like avocados or olive oil.
Even though I have these digestive issues, I haven't quite been able to quit bacon...because, well let's face it, bacon is DE-LUSH-US!
I miss being able to eat a good piece of bread, or cake, or a cookie, or a DONUT!
I truly miss donuts, friends. 
Being gluten free really has it's sad moments, but because it's become such an issue with so many people, there are tons of options out there for weirdos like me. Or as Jim Gaffigan refers to us: terrorists :-) (that guy is so funny!)
Recently, I started doing a good portion of our grocery shopping at Aldi.
I used to be really afraid of Aldi because their tomatoes used to last for 4 weeks, and their cucumbers can be the size of a small football at times, and that's just not natural.
But times are changing and they have started offering a large selection of organic items AND gluten free items.
Gluten free items are so expensive, but at Aldi, they are much cheaper.
Most of their gluten free items are the "live G free" brand.

 Most gluten free baking mixes are really grainy, and when you bake whatever it is you're baking, it always turns out dry and hard.
Friends, not this brand. It's almost like eating the real deal.

So, I decided to pull out my donut maker 
and see if this mix would make some good donuts.
I followed the waffle instructions and I also made substitutions.
For regular milk, I subbed with coconut milk, and for the oil I used coconut oil instead of the vegetable oil.
I made a few donuts for me that were plain because I can't eat chocolate. I developed a nice little allergy to chocolate (I have my father to thank for that one...he suffers from the same issue).
For the kids, I added a few
Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate chips

The mix worked perfectly in the donut maker and the kids thought they were delicious!
So we have a winner!
Now we have a nice go-to treat for special occasions.

*This post contains affiliate links.* 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend(Part 1) 10K Recap

 Hey Friends!
I am finally getting around to posting about my experience at my first runDisney event, the Princess Half Marathon weekend.
The Princess Half Marathon races had been on my bucket list for about 2 years, but I could never remember to register for them until 4 months after registration opened...which is too late because the whole weekend sells out in hours. Crazy, I know.
So, January of last year, I decided to start planning a surprise Disney vacation for the family with this particular race weekend in mind. 
I wanted to participate in the Glass Slipper Challenge (10K and Half Marathon), and I was so excited to see that the half was scheduled on my 35th birthday.
Happy Birthday to ME!
I was a nervous wreck on registration day because the runDisney site and Active.com froze 5 minutes before registration opened. 
Thankfully, I was part of a Facebook group that had the direct link posted immediately at 12 p.m. EST, and I was able to register in 2 minutes. 
After a near nervous break down, and $330 later (budget buster, I tell ya), I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.
I spent the rest of the year saving money towards the trip, and working on my training, making sure that my body was ready for the back to back races.
That was the easy part.
The part I wasn't ready for was the getting up 2 days in a row at 3:00 a.m. EST...which is 2 a.m. here.
The picture below is me trying to act like I am happy, when really, I am questioning why on Earth did I sign up for this torture.
It was chilly and I was sleepy.

The 10K started at 5:30 a.m. 
RunDisney wanted all runners on the bus by 4 a.m. to ensure that everyone was at the start line on time. The bus ride was short for me because I was staying at Port Orleans Riverside, and Epcot was a quick 10 minute ride away. After arriving, you had to stop at the tables for bag check. I didn't have a bag, so I was good to walk on through.
I got my picture taken in front of the PHM flag, and made my way to where all the action was.
There was a fun little dance party near the start line, and there were several people dancing and having a good time. I didn't join in because I was alone, and I didn't have the courage to jump right in on my own. :-) 
We lined up in our corrals around 5:00'ish, waited a bit, and then we were moved to the start line. I was in corral A, so my group got to go first.
The start of the 10K was really underwhelming compared to the big production of the Half Marathon start line.
Fairy Godmother had a few words to say and then she counted down.
There were fireworks.
But the fireworks were kind of like a little baby sneeze. 
Just a spurt.
They do that for each corral, so that was pretty cool.
I will say I prefer the fireworks over the shot guns they use here in Alabama!

 The race went by fast, and there were just a few character stops. There are only 6 miles to fit characters in, so there isn't the ability to have that many.
This was the only stop I made. I figured I would never see these two in the parks, so I stopped for a quick pic and moved on. If I hadn't made this pit stop, I would have gotten a PR, but I wasn't there for PR's. I was there to have a good time!
 At the finish, we were handed our medals, and a box of goodies. Then you had the ability to take pictures with different princesses. I chose to take one with Aurora. She's one of S.R.'s favorites.

 And here's the box of goodies they give you along with a Mylar blanket to keep warm once you cool off.

 So...my thoughts on this race.
It was fun, and fast. I loved running through Epcot's World Showcase and the Boardwalk area. It was beautiful with all of the lights glowing, the fire blazing, and the Disney music blaring. 
But it was too quick.
If you are new to running, and all you can do is a 10K, then yes, you should do this race. 
However, if you think that you could possibly do more, I would go for the half. The experience is so much better!
And you have around 7 months to train once you secure your spot in the race.

If you would like help planning a race-cation at Disney and participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend, contact me at crystalw@destinationsinflorida.com and I can help you plan a magical vacation!