Saturday, July 8, 2017

Our Playroom Renovation

We've lived in our house for nine years now and we've never once touched the playroom.  It was a dingy two-tone white/tan color and some of the paint was peeling off the stucco walls.  Even though we both wanted to give it a makeover we never attempted because it's such a large room and there's so. much. junk in it.  Now that the girls are older we are finally starting to clear out some of the toys and I woke up one day and thought, "Today's the day.  We're doing it."

It took me two weekends of cleaning, painting, and cleaning again but it's now so much brighter looking and we don't cringe every time we walk in.  It needs some decorations but I'm cheap so I'm just going to wait until I come across something on clearance or at a yard sale that I can't live without versus going out and spending a ton of money buying new things.  We also need to do another big toy purge but they did really well the first time so I don't want to push it just yet.

Here's a before/after of the main toy wall.

We got rid of boxes and boxes of junk and I moved some things around to make it easier for the girls to find what they wanted.  The bookcase on the left holds all their movies and games in one easy location instead of spread out in several rooms.  I also cleaned out the plastic storage box and emptied an entire drawer of toys.

The bookcase is my favorite part of the new room.  It was a loud blue color and I painted it white.  Now it matches the room and looks like a brand new piece of furniture.

"Kitty Area" is another thing I'm proud of.  We never use this main door and it the closet next to it made the whole area look dark and dirty so I decided to paint both doors white to brighten it up.  My husband was opposed to the idea at first but afterwards he agreed it was a huge difference.

I would like to find some large pieces of art and an oversized clock to hang on the walls eventually.  My kitchen is my next big reno project!

Monday, July 3, 2017

May 2017 Books

May was a GREAT reading month for me.  Even though I didn't read very many books I managed to finish off several large books this month.  I go through spurts of "Eh, why read when I can watch TV?" and "WHO CARES ABOUT TELEVISION LET'S GO TO THE LIBRARY!" and this was a definite library month.  Six of these books were from there and I just appreciate the heck out of our library for taking such good care of us.

I enjoyed so many of these books!  My favorite was The Host by Stephanie Meyer.  It's my second time reading this book and I loved it even more than the first.  Say what you will about Meyer's Twilight series, this one is nothing at all like it. 

I FINALLY finished Anna Karenina after I downloaded the audiobook and listened to it while I worked on painting my kitchen.  I didn't love it but I did enjoy it a lot more than I had expected.

Stephen King has a new short story out and Gwendy's Button Box was a quick but enjoyable read.  He should stick with short stories because for the most part they are better than his doorstop novels.  Not as much rambling and just enough to creep you out and then leave you.

Outlander was a spur of the moment book decision for me and I'm glad I made it.  I've had it for a couple years now but never picked it up.  It definitely could have used an editor to shorten it by a couple hundred pages but the action started to pick up about halfway through and was a little easier to take.  It almost read like a Scottish fanfic.  I started the second book in the series but I think I'm one and done with the Outlander universe. 

I hope the rest of the summer is as good of a reading month as this one!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

April 2017 Books

For some reason I didn't do a lot of reading in April.  School was starting to wind down but stress at my second job kept me too jittery to do much besides worry and get angry at everything near me.  I did do myself a favor and decide enough was enough with the Titan books though.  After 17 volumes I just couldn't deal with it anymore and I gave up.  I know this series is a lot of people's favorites but to me it was just a rehash of the same scenes over and over and I could read one book in about 30 minutes because there was so little dialogue. 

Bug and I finished a grand total of THREE books together this month!  She of course loved her Beverly Cleary (always a favorite in our home) and I discovered the 13-Story Treehouse books at our local library and picked the first one up for her.  She thought it was the greatest thing ever and begged me to get the next one as soon as we had finished it.  I think they're a little cheesy but they're not aimed at my age group so my opinion doesn't matter as much as hers.  Bug just thought they were hilarious. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

March 2017 Books

March was my month of Titan books.  I read nine of them and not much else.

This series is not one I would honestly recommend to anyone wishing to start in this genre.  Death Note was so much better and easier to follow.  Attack on Titan is heavy on the pictures but not on the plot and it really started to drag for me by the end of this month.

Bug and I read the second book in the Secret Hero Society series and she absolutely loved it.  She's a huge DC universe fan and she was so excited when she recognized random characters that you don't see very often.

A woman at work loaned me a book about the Shawnee National Forest and I will say that be default it was my favorite this month.  I loved seeing old views of some of the places I enjoy going to and how they've changed over the years.  It was an interesting read.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

February 2017 Books

My reading slump was OVER this month and I am incredibly thankful.  I read quite a few great books and it was so nice because I was really worried I was going to repeat 2016 and just go through the motions with reading bleh books.  I read SIXTEEN books in February and ended with a total of almost 4,000 pages of books!

I listened to several audiobooks in February and read a few smaller books which is why my count is so high.  My number one pick this month was Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok.  I love books centered around Asian characters and this one was so moving and sad that I could not put it down.
There were a few meh picks this month.  I really didn't care about the children's books I picked up.  Attack on Titan was a new manga series I started during this month which was another not very good choice for me.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bug's 10th Birthday

Bug's 9th Birthday

Both of my babies are now in double digit ages and it makes this mommy feel so old and so sad.

This is the second time she's asked for a Minecraft cake.  I made a Stampy Cat cake two years ago and this year she wanted her new favorite YouTuber:  DanTDM

She told me she wanted a cake of his character's face so I searched around and found one that was made out of different squares of fondant.  Unfortunately, I've never worked with fondant and didn't feel like starting now so I replicated it using a star tip and colored frosting.

First I started with a plain cake mix that I dyed blue since it's her favorite color.  One thing I've learned is that if you make a boxed cake mix, use milk instead of water and butter instead of oil.  It makes the cakes so much yummier!

I crumb-coated it (not very well but oh well it gets covered up by the design.  I counted out the grid pattern and used toothpicks to scrape them through the frosting so I had a better idea of where the squares needed to go.

I tried to dye the blue and black colors a couple different shades apiece.  I used a dab of frosting for half of it then added a tiny bit more of food coloring to make it darker for the other half.  It doesn't show as well in the photo but it makes it look more Minecraft-ish.

Bug loved it!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

2017 Adventures: Dixon Springs

We didn't go hiking near as much last year as we did in 2015 because we found out Bug had allergies and asthma and it took us a long time to get it under control.  Being an hour away from the nearest hospital and no cell reception was too scary for me so we just stopped hiking.

This year we have Bug on some new medicines that seem to be making her symptoms better and she feels a lot more like herself finally.  So I promised we would try it out and see how she feels.

January was abnormally warm for a couple of weeks and there was one day that was a perfect 70 degrees and sunny so we headed out to try a brand new hiking location in the Shawnee National Forest.

Dixon Springs is a beautiful little park with a swimming pool and some amazing scenery.  There are giant boulders you can climb on and the entire area is surrounded by bubbling creeks.

The best part of Dixon Springs are the waterfalls that are almost hidden in the back of the park.  When we first started our hiking adventures two years ago Goose wanted most to see a big waterfall and oddly enough this was our first one.

There's a bridge spanning across the falls and it took us a while to find where it started but it just meant traipsing through more of the pretty area.

On the top of the bounders there is a tiny road with three old churches side by side on it.  They were all identical in varying stages of disrepair.  This was the oldest one and our favorite.

After taking a break at the playground we went searching for another area to explore and found a hiking path called Ghost Dance Canyon.  This path was incredibly tiny and hard to maneuver and I'm not sure we even completed the entire trail but it got to where we were climbing over slippery moss-covered boulders and we thought it would be best to turn back.

We did get to see a lot more of the rushing creek on it though.

You also pass underneath the highway and the bridge looks so giant as you are underneath it.

Across the street from the park is a store called The Chocolate Factory and they are popular for making shaped chocolates.  There are chocolates that look like deviled eggs, bacon, flowers, and Goose's favorite, mice:

Our first hike of 2017 was so much fun and we are looking forward to a lot more adventures this year!