Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Yesterday our little town got disconnected. Cell phones, internet, everything... totally gone. For twelve hours

And you know what? It was awesome.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad to have it back this morning. It's a little eerie to have zero communication with the outside world, you know? However, I just have to say that there is nothing quite like being disconnected for half a day to make you realize just how much you use the internet. The music Eli and I usually listen to is on the internet. I couldn't finish watching the General Women's Meeting. I lost service in the middle of working on things for my Etsy shop that I couldn't finish. No online shopping, which could have been a real pain considering how much we buy from Amazon when we live in such a small town. No facetiming with grandma. No calling or texting Dallin. No checking up on social media, which (if I'm being honest) I've been overdoing lately.

So what did I do all day, without all those options?

I cleaned our house. I read the Ensign. I spent more time playing with Eli than normal. I sat on the couch during the quiet of nap time and let myself be still, something I haven't done in a long time. I hadn't realized just how much uneccessary stuff fills our time and unnecessary noise clogs the air. Even good things should be done in moderation so they don't distract from the better and best things. I knew all those things were true, but I guess it took a complete disconnection to really drive it home.

We have family home evening at the ballpark last night. Dallin had a softball game so we went early to play around before it started. Dallin pitched to me for a while so I could see if I could hit, and Eli had so much fun playing catch and trying to pitch. The weather was just gorgeous, too!

It reminded me that the kinds of memories (like this one) that aren't built upon technology are the ones I want to pursue.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Refinished Dining Table

We bought this awesome table at a thrift store not long after we got married. It really is a great table. It's solid wood, and comes with three leaves which makes it big enough to fit 8-10 people, which has really come in handy when we host family functions at our house. I never really loved the color, though. It's just not my favorite. I've tossed around the idea of refinishing it for a while now, but only got around to it a few months ago. 

I finally settled on staining it the same color as our cabinets, which I refinished almost a year ago (and still haven't taken pictures of... reason #4587872468 I'm not cut out to be a "real" blogger, haha!), and then painted the legs and trim with white chalk paint. 

It turned out so well! Look at what a difference it made:

I really, really love it! Plus it's given me some (much-needed) motivation to tackle some of the many other projects I have up my sleeve. Hallelujah!

It was a little time-consuming, but pretty easy. Here's how I did it:

First, I stained the top. I know from my experience staining my kitchen cabinets that it is much better to stain and then paint. Staining is messier and if you goof up it's easy to just paint over your mistakes. I used this stain in Antique Walnut, which I had left over from our cabinets. With this particular kind of stain you don't need to completely strip your surface, but it is important to sand it enough to rough it up a bit. I sanded with medium-grit sandpaper first because I really wanted to get through the lacquer, and then used fine-grit to make sure it was nice and smooth. 

Thoroughly wipe the entire surface clean of any sawdust, then start staining. I like to use microfiber towels which are cheap at Home Depot, but old socks work really well too, and I used a mixture of both on this project. I think I did about 3 coats of stain, with the last one being mostly touch-up and evening out the color. 

Once I was finished staining, I painted the legs and trim with homemade chalk paint. I used Bleached Linen by Behr, and made it with the calcium carbonate recipe found here. It was really easy to make, and so far it has held up really well! (P.S. This is my favorite paint brush, and it worked perfectly for this project.) The next thing I need to do is seal the white paint. I know, I know... I really should have done that already. I ordered some finishing wax from BB Frösch and had an unfortunate incident in which it got left outside in the heat and quite a bit of it leaked out of the jar. I'm still grumpy about that, so I'm doing the rational thing and just pretending it never existed and that leaving white furniture unsealed in a room frequented by a sticky toddler isn't going to end in disaster. Clearly I like the live on the edge! 

However, I did seal the table top using another great product by General Finishes: this water-based topcoat, also left over from the cabinet project. It's super easy to apply, and dries so hard. I've been so happy with it! I did 3 or 4 coats, just to be safe, and applied it with some foam paintbrushes like these ones.  

The chairs are Ingolf from IKEA. I considered refinishing them, but then made the (wise) decision that my sanity was worth the price of new chairs. Also, I needed chairs for a few other places in the house, so the black ones are still getting used elsewhere which makes me feel even better about that choice. 

Well, there you have it! Let's take one more look at the before and after, shall we? 



(This post contains affiliate links. If you use my links to purchase anything I'll make a small commission, which is much appreciated and will probably be used to buy beautiful things like this. Just kidding. Maybe.)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hello, Summer

The weather was so perfect last Sunday that we had to take a little trip to the river, which is only 15-20 minutes from our house. 

We went for a little hike (more like a walk than a hike)...

And then found a shady place upstream to let Eli explore. 

He had a reeeeeaaaallly hard time walking on the uneven ground. It was so funny to see him staggering around like a drunken sailor. 

Such a sweet little face. I love kissing those cheeks all day long. 

Dallin showed him how to throw rocks in the water, and Eli thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen. He laughed so hysterically that Dallin and I were cracking up too. He's so much fun!

Here is Eli launching a rock. He's got a pretty good arm for such a little kid... something he certainly didn't get from me. ;) 

I'm so glad we get to live in such a beautiful place. My goal this summer is to take advantage of that as often as possible. So far, so good!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Busy, busy, busy

It's funny how each stage of life brings new meaning to what it means to be "busy." I've been using this word for... I don't even know how long. My go-to response to, "How have you been?" is, more often than not, something along the lines of: "Good! But busy."

When I got to college, I laughed at my high-school-aged self for ever thinking I was busy.

Then I got married and had a baby, and I laugh at my college-aged self for the same reason.

And in five, ten, twenty years, when I have eleventy-seven ginger babies wreaking havoc upon my house and turning my hair gray, I'm sure I'll be laughing at my current self for thinking my plate is full.

The problem with having so much to do is that I start thinking I have to do it all. Something I've realized lately is that I have overbooked myself. I've got way too much going on in my life, including things that are unnecessarily stressing me out. There is so much I really want to do, but what really needs to be done? This morning, I started making a list in my head of all the things I've been spending energy and time on, and putting them into categories of good, better, and best. I came to the conclusion that it's time to reprioritize what I'm spending my time on. That's kind of hard. It's not easy to let go of "good" things.  But when good things start crowding out better things, then there is a problem.

This means I'm going to spend less time on things like blogging, both reading and writing (although I obviously haven't done much writing here lately anyway). It means putting my Etsy shop on vacation mode for a little while. It means limiting the free photo shoots I've been doing. It means reading Eli the same book five times in a row and spending more time soaking up his sweet baby-ness before he's all grown up. It means spending more quality time with my handsome husband.   It means taking time for myself too, because long showers and solo grocery store trips are so good for the soul.

In short, it means making this my motto for everything is doesn't fill my metaphorical bucket:

Wise woman. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Eli Thursday

57 weeks

One of his favorite things to do lately is stand on the bed in the nursery and look out the window. It's not quite as good as actually being outside, but when there's a cold spring wind blowing it's about as close as you can get. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Eli Thursday

Week 56

He's been a little sick the last couple of days, but I think his berry + yogurt popsicle helped cheer him up a bit. And if not, that messy face helped cheer me up a bit. It's a win either way.

Thursday, March 19, 2015