From an end table and crates to a classy Kids Table

From an end table and crates to a classy Kids Table

I was recently searching for the perfect kids table for our hall downstairs right outside of the play room. I am so excited about getting everything set up and I really want it to be done so we can just enjoy it. The one I had settled on for purchasing was the Altra Folding Owl Pattern Kids Table/ Ottoman Set by Cosco. It is collapsible and easy to store, and looks sturdy enough the little one who would be using it. I love things that can be easily put up or transformed and this seemed to fit the bill but at $60 seems a bit steep.

After some more searching online I had mostly given up on finding something reasonably priced. Yesterday I happened across a beautiful vintage solid wood end table at the local Habitat Restore for about $22.



My favorite thing about this is that even though I painted it, I can still later use it as just an end table instead of a kids table, Also the ‘chairs’ I made from crates will make great matching foot stools  later on. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIgnore the picture frames, that was a failed DIY project. So I just picked up 2 crates from Michael’s and painted them grey, then painted alternate planks on the side yellow for an accent. I also took the knobs off the drawer to the table and painted them yellow. We had some scrap 3/4′ plywood and a jigsaw so we cut out seats for the top of the crate. My plan had been to buy travel pillows from Wall-Mart as the cushions to go under the fabric and staple the fabric down but when I went to get them I realized that travel pillows were $3.94 and a regular pillow was only $3 so I bought one big pillow and just cut it in half. It worked perfectly. Also I was out of staples for my staple gun but had some small nails so I just nailed own the fabric by hand. It worked great but was pretty time-consuming. All in all I love how it turned out. We plan in putting a small piece of 1/2″ board under the seat on either side so that it won’t slide off. I toyed with the idea of hinges or something like that to make sure little sister couldn’t knock it down on herself but because the plywood is 3/4″ it is so heavy that it really wold be hard for the little one to get it off at all without help.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


I am very pleased with it overall, I am not sure if it works for the location I planned on putting it in but I am sure it will be perfect for somewhere, and I love that the ‘seats’ provide extra storage for her art supplies. I might sew a lining for the crates just so you can’t see what is inside.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For anyone who wants to do one I will add a list of supplies and approximate cost

$22 Thrift Store End Table

$20 Crates from Michaels (2 with coupons)

$4 One yard Fabric (Wall-Mart home decor Fabric section)

$3 Pillow (or foam or stuffing)

A full afternoon without the little one to work: Priceless. (so glad I have amazing friends)

Things we had on hand, Paint, scrap wood for seats and a saw to cut with, and a hammer and small nails to secure the fabric.

Total about $50



Influenster: Some fun Makeup and Hair Supplies!

Influenster: Some fun Makeup and Hair Supplies!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore From my Influenster box: I had fun trying the makeup I was sent, I got a Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner and a NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum. Lately I have started wearing some eyeliner but normally I use the liquid stuff because I find it easier than the pens, but I have to say this pen does hold up to its advertised “Glides on easy”. I had no problem applying it but I do tend to use my fingers a lot when working with makup and It did smear pretty easy when I was messing with it. I love the dark rich color and it’s pretty cool that it is water proof but even after wearing if for a few hours it still smeared easily. To me there isn’t much point of being waterproof if it never ‘sets up’. I might still occasionally use this pen, but I won’t be buying one when it runs out. The Sugar Plum Lipstick on the other hand is the color I have always looked for. I am terrible when it comes to picking out that color that looks classy. I always seem to pick the colors that seem to say “I am twellve and just ate a popsicle” or “I’m going for the pinup look” and this color is neither of those, it just stands out enough to show I am wearing lipstick but is neutral and wintery enough to wear casually or when I dress up. I am super excited about this one!

Another great treat that they sent was the Eco Tools Hairbrush! I have a pretty tough scalp but I still hate brushing my hair because it is super thick and tends to knot easily. It always hurts and I tend to break quite a few hairs. I was so surprised when I used this brush, it has bristles that are fine and don’t catch and it didn’t hurt at all. Here is a before and after while I was doing my makeup I tried out the brush too.

The box also included a sample of No7 Protect and Perfect Advanced Sachet, an anti aging serum, and Rimmel Gentle Eye Makup Remover. I am always nervous wearing waterproof makup like the eyeliner I put on earlier so I was not surprised when it didn’t want to come off even with the Gentle Rimmel Makeup Remover. I think it took off my Mascara and it was very gentle on my eyes but the eye liner wanted to smear everywhere and it didn’t fully come off even with several attempts. I think I will continue to use the Eye Makeup Remover for my other eye makeup though, just not with the waterproof liner. I don’t have too many lines yet but the No7 Serum is nice, maybe I will pick some up in a few years 😉 .

I hope you have enjoyed my review of these products. If Influenster likes my reviews I will continue to get more free stuff to try out and review! :) Keep a look out for more of my reviews of the cool free products Influenster sends me to check out!   “I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.”

More from Influenster: Decaf Peppermint Green Tea, and Candy!

More from Influenster: Decaf Peppermint Green Tea, and Candy!

This is a continuation of my review of the #VoxBox I got from Influenster:

The rest of the box included some really nice stuff including Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea. Joe and I enjoyed a cup of that with a chocolate biscotti and it was divine. I wouldn’t normally try a green mint tea but I didn’t even realize this was green tea until after I drank it. It had a strong but not overpowering Mint taste and we both thought that having some chocolate with it was perfect and I plan on picking up a box.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There was also Candy in the influenster box, Fruit Vines Bites by Redvines and I got to try a few, but my husband decided to sneak them. He thought they were amazing and I have to agree, they are similar to Twizlers but they don’t give me that sick plastic aftertaste that i get when I have Twizlers.

I hope you have enjoyed my review of these products. If Influenster likes my reviews I will continue to get more free stuff to try out and review! :)

“I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.”

My First Influenster Box!

My First Influenster Box!

I came across a website recently called Influenster and found out they send out free stuff to people to test and review! How cool is that? So I got my first box (the VoxBox)  and now I am going to attempt to review each item that I got over a series of blogs. The first thing I was super excited about was a container of all natural McCormic Thyme that came in perfect timing for my Christmas Dinner Pot Roast. I often don’t use recipes when I cook meat, so when I saw the Thyme I added it to my plan to cover my roast with minced garlic, and a spice mix I had on hand with powdered Garlic, Tenderizer, Pepper, and Salt. I roasted it for about six and a half hours around 250 degrees and it was so tender and moist. The Thyme didn’t stand out after it cooked down, but it provided a nice background flavor in the gravy, which was delicious!

Here is the before and afters:


Above is the picture of the rest of the items in my box. Keep a look out for more blogs about the products I got and my reviews of them.


“I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.”

Our Newest Season as (Foster) Parents

Our Newest Season as (Foster) Parents

This last month, or 33 days I should say, has been probably the most drastic change Joseph and I have ever faced in our 5 plus years together. On June 21st at 4 in the morning we became (Foster) parents to two very active, rambunctious, loud, busy, happy young boys. As far as foster situations go, we have had it pretty good. They have been ‘normal’ 3 and 4 year old, but as I think anyone with toddler/preschool kids knows, even ‘normal’ isn’t easy. They are sweet, caring loving little guys who are best friends, and that has been a great comfort to them in this transition time. As much as I think starting with one child would have been a better decision, I am also happy that we got to experience siblings who are so close and able to comfort and help each other.

For Joseph and I, we went from relatively calm lives with little to no agenda outside of his work, to fish sticks, and bath time, and 2 am wake-ups for nightmares, and Joseph being greeted at the door with “My robot needs batteries” and “Hannah said you have to fix it” (Not exactly what I had said) Their lives were turned upside down that night, but so were ours, and I think we are just now finally settling in and realizing how much has changed.

As much as I love being a mom, and fixing boo boos with band-aids and getting to buy them the toy they really want or the ninja turtle shirts, this has been so difficult in so many ways I think we were not prepared for. For the first 2-3 weeks or so I didn’t even realize I hadn’t had a break because we were so busy adjusting to each other. When I started to want to take a break I realized we had very few if any resources to speak of for consistent relief and time to be refreshed.

Almost everyone who becomes a parent has about 9 months to prepare for what they know will be a small 5-9lb child, who will eat milk or formula and attach to mom and dad, and have mom’s eyes, and dad’s nose etc. Heck, even the ‘normal’ foster care placement takes into account your home, your belief system, the children’s history, medical needs, and just overall how they would fit in your home.

For us it was more like, “hey, I know it’s 2:30 in the morning but will you take these kids who are 2 and 3? Yeah they are boys, thats about all I know. Sure it’s fine if you just can take them till Monday and we can move them then.”

At around 6am when I got them to bed and looked at their paperwork I realized that we in fact had a 3 and 4 yr old sleeping downstairs, not 2 and 3. Also no one told their worker that we were only a weekend placement option and several people were out for training or vacation so we just rolled with it and at some point decided to keep them for the rest of the time they were in care. Not our brightest of move but so far we are all still managing to hang in there.

Back to the baby thing though, most people have the 8-9 months going for them, we had plenty of time to prepare but we were shooting for the newborn-12 age range and boy or girl. A little harder to shop for and be emotionally prepared for. Also when you have a baby people expect you to drop off the face of the earth for a while, and have an adjustment period, they bring you food, make sure you are doing ok, etc. When you get a foster kid no one really knows what to do, and that’s ok, I don’t really know what to do either. There is no what to expect when your expecting foster kids handbook, and every family is different in what they need or want.

For us we have decided that having a Y membership is a must, and after next week we will finally have one. I was terrified to leave the boys alone so I could take a shower in the morning for the first few weeks. They were still getting into things they shouldn’t every time I wasn’t looking and our house is full of those little closets and crannies where I have stuffed things trying to keep them out of sight and away from kids. We had all the normal things like crayons on the wall downstairs, and pouring water in the sink/tub/toilet out of their cups, and them getting into the fridge to get a snack, all while they were learning the new house rules and discovering that they were not allowed to do some things that had been ok before.

I found myself saying things I never thought I would have to, like “Don’t poke the cat in her butt hole!!!!” or “Who peed in the cat’s water dish??!?!” but for the most part I think we are adjusted now and the cats are mostly recovered from the shock. They boys at lest know the rules, so I feel better about taking a few minutes to my self every now and then.

I know that as Joseph and I figure out Parenting, especially parenting other peoples kids, and as we gain more experience and develop a routine things will get easier, but for now we are learning to fly by the seat of our pants and trust that God will take care of anything we missed. I am hoping to use this blog to review new toys and play things we come across, as well as a place to talk about the difficulties and joys of our foster care experience. I look forward to hearing feedback and suggestions from other parents who take the time to read this blog, and I hope that in my down time I can consistently keep it updated. This is my “it’s way past my bed time but I really needed to process” Post so I hope I was able to communicate well, I will probably review and edit it when I am more awake.

Until then good luck,


Our Newest Toy

Our Newest Toy

download.jpg VTECH Fly and learn globe #6042I love Craigslist! After getting this toy for $15 I can say I would be willing to pay full price for it if I ever need another! I love that it allows kids to play with a globe on their own and learn the names of different continents as well as the wildlife native to the continent. It has the names of the oceans and several different settings where you are asked to find a location, a landmark, or an animal.  The joystick makes the globe spin left or right and moves the little airplane magnifying glass up and down. The up/down controls are a little hard for smaller kids, but overall it was a huge hit with my 4 and a half year old and 3 and a half year old. We had to set a timer so they could take turns. I think this will be my next gift idea for kiddos as well. This model as well as a newer one with more activities is sold on both E bay and Amazon for about $20-$40 including shipping.


A Meal to feel good about!

A Meal to feel good about!

Today for our big meal I cooked very pale foods but they are packed with health benefits. I started with the brown rice, which I have learned to always start first because it takes forever. The Tilapia I pan fried in a small amount of Olive Oil after tossing it in some flower seasoned with garlic salt. Flouring first is a deal breaker for fish for me, I have a hard time eating it without crunchy breading because it can get a little to mushy by itself. For the veggie dish I cut up a head of cauliflower  and 2 heads of garlic and tossed them in about a tablespoon of olive oil. They roasted on 400 for about 20 minutes, tossing once half way through cooking. The plate looked so pale and sad so I added some cucumber slices to brighten it up.


After cooking I decided to do some research on my food to see how nutritious it really was. I came across this great article about Garlic, and lucky for me I did actually cut up the cauliflower and garlic about 45 minutes before cooking which is what this article says is the key to maintaining it’s ability to produce allicin which is Garlic’s most health promoting ability. The Tilapia brings in a good amount of protein as well as the good fats that fish have(Omega 3 fatty acids) and studies have show that eating Tilapia can reduce your risk for heart disease. I did find a good article about Tilapia outlining the benefits and risks of eating fish. Cauliflower is high in antioxidants and fiber and is a good lower calorie food that is very filling. Here is a recipe similar to what I used, but instead of adding the garlic minced I left them in about 1/2 clove size because I love eating roasted garlic cloves. Joe thought the roasted cloves were a little weird in texture but I love ’em. The brown rice is arguably better for you than other starches but for me it just added the perfect nutty mild flavor to this dish that all-ready had several strong flavors.

Our $200 Kitchen Makeover

Our $200 Kitchen Makeover

I have to say that when I was looking at giving our kitchen a face lift all I kept coming up with were crazy cute ideas that I would love to do but they were either way way way too expensive or they were cheap and they were not going to be extremely sell able when we put the house on the market.  I really needed something that we could pull off ourselves that would look good and not cost a fortune. The first great find was a nice pastel yellow paint at the Re-store for $2. That covered redoing the cabinets. The second decision was much harder to come to but after much research on line and several trips walking all around Lowes I decided to go with pill board. It is about $20 for a sheet that is 10’x4′ and so we only needed two to cover the entire kitchen  back-splash including behind the stove.

After picking up all the supplies, cutting, measuring, cutting, measuring etc we mad a few more trips around to borrow a Jig saw and get more glue. All this time I was either helping with the cutting and measuring or painting cabinets. Finally after about 8 hours of work we had the back splash in place and several cabinet doors painted.0130141456a

Day two we worked on painting the exterior of the cabinets. I have decided not to paint the interiors just because I don’t want to displace my kitchen supplies again. For the lower cabinets we decided to do them ‘the right way’ and strip them first. I think we determined there must be about 10 coats of paint on them and boy did it take a lot of scraping and stripping to get it all even and clean. I have to say that they did look better than the top ones that we did not strip before painting. The yellow doesn’t show up very well with the crappy camera I have now but you can at least see how the back splash turned out.0130141456