November 7, 2013

Thanksgiving Chalkboard Art

I hate to always be starting my blog posts with "sorry I haven't posted in so long!!". But here I am again. It's been months since my last post. I've hosted parties and done some furniture and keep meaning to edit pictures and post about it but the truth is I'm just too busy to stop and write about what I'm up to! So hey, my posts might be months apart and I might be a terrible blogger, but when I do have the time I really do enjoy sharing my work :) So thank you for taking the time to come check it out :)

I love having a chalkboard wall in my kitchen. I don't let my kids draw on it because it's dusty and I'm a bad mommy (it's okay they have one of their own to draw on;) but I love sitting down with my computer open and my chalk in hand and creating some art to enjoy every time I walk in the back door.

For Halloween I didn't get my cute ghost and boo! up until the very last minute so for Thanksgiving I made sure to get it done right away so I have a whole month to enjoy it :)

I have my computer open while I work on my chalkboard because I'm not very artistic. I could never have come up with this on my own. I just googled "Give Thanks chalkboards" and after looking through pages of inspiration I used a little of this from one picture and a little of that from another picture and pieced together what you see on my wall. I'm quite proud of how it turned out!

I have terrible handwriting actually. My first few attempts of writing on my chalkboard I basically traced the letters on after printing them out on the computer. That worked good, especially for regular sized words, but for very big words that would have used a lot of ink and paper. 

So lately I've just been having what I want to write on the computer screen in front of me while I do it. That plus I now wet down the chalkboard before writing on it. It's amazing how the chalk glides over the board when it's been wiped with a wet rag. Also when I make a mistake it's super easy to wipe away just the portion I messed up on and fix it.

So there you have it! My Thanksgiving chalkboard art :)

August 30, 2013

Paris Grey Dry Brushed Dresser

Summer is over. I thrive on a schedule and the changing of a season so this is okay with me. I had a wonderful week and my kids are loving their teachers and classes. I'm really looking forward to this year. 

I apologize for the lack of anything home/decorating/furniture on the blog this summer! As you could see from my posts adjusting to diabetes was the only thing on the agenda. But I'm back to my usual antics now that the kids are in school :)

I've been wanting to share this dresser for months!! It's the low dresser that matches the Chest of Drawers I shared last April. They're a gorgeous pair I scored off of Craigslist. They weren't a steal but they were worth it.

Here is a before for you

I stripped the top and restained it using a Jacobean stain. I repainted the body with Annie Sloan's Paris Grey and then dry brushed over it with Pure White. I was determined to make a dry brushing video while working on this dresser so it took me a little longer to get to it. But I was able to make one that turned out.....okay.....watching it makes me want to punch myself. But you know, no big deal ;) 

Here's a link to the video if you're interested:
Link to Dry Brushing Video Tutorial

So once that was finished I waxed the painted parts of the dresser and was ready to stage it and take pics! Or was I? The hardware was missing. It had been so long since I had started this project that the hardware became buried in my office under a bunch of train tracks that I rescued when we flooded last Spring! sigh, so weeks later after I found the hardware and did a happy dance I finally was able to stage, take pics and finally show it to you!

It has the same great details and hardware as it's taller mate.

I'll be glad to move this one out my living room though. It's too big for that space!

I had to take a close up of the cutest little salt and pepper shaker.

My Aunt Heidi gave me those pieces of Delft and I love using them to stage my photos!!

Now that the kids are in school and I have 2 days off of work a week I'm hoping to share projects more regularly. Thanks for sticking with me through a tough summer!! :)

Sharing at:
The Real Thing
Make the Scene Monday
Miss Mustard Seed

August 13, 2013

A Day with Diabetes

**I promise to have a furniture post later this week!!**

So I've been thinking about writing a post outlining a normal day for Casey with type 1 diabetes. I debated wether anyone would care to read such a post until yesterday when my friend asked me exactly that. "What's a day like for Casey now that he has diabetes??"

So for my friends and family who are curious to know more about what Casey's days look like and for strangers who find their way to my blog due to the title, here's what a day in the life of an 8 year old with diabetes looks like.

Casey wakes up. He always wants breakfast right away so he goes down to the kitchen with his medicine bag and checks his blood sugar by pricking his finger.

His number is  129 which is a little high for first thing in the morning. 

He decides what he wants for breakfast and exactly how much of it he'll eat. Today he wants Frosted Flakes and decides he will eat 1 & 1/2 servings. Plus he will drink 1/2 cup of OJ. So we add up the carbs in the cereal and juice. I don't count the carbs of the milk in his cereal because he doesn't actually get that much of the milk in his mouth ever. It's just one of those weird things we've figured out!

So the carb count is 57. We divide the carbs by 22 because that's just the number that our doctor has told us to divide by at breakfast :) The resulting number is 2.59 which is the number of insulin units that Casey will take with his breakfast. The insulin doses in half units so we round to 2 & 1/2.

I prepare the insulin pen and inject Casey wherever he tells me he'd like his shot. 

{Casey always checks his blood sugar himself so I usually do the insulin for him. He knows how to do it and sometimes he prepares the shot or does the injection or both himself. But truthfully it's a lot of work. get tired of doing it so imagine an 8 year old being burdened with it.}

2 hours after breakfast Casey checks his blood sugar again. We want to check it to make sure his number is back to around 100. Too high would mean that he didn't take enough insulin with breakfast, too low would mean he took too much. 

{Caring for diabetes is a constantly changing thing. As he grows and his body changes his insulin doses will change too. Right now Casey is in the "honeymoon stage" of diabetes. His pancreas is still working and making insulin at times but it is slowly giving up. So right now Casey's numbers are a little higher than they had been a few weeks ago when his pancreas was working better and that is something we address with his doctor every couple of weeks.} 

His number is 99. This is a good number, our goal is to be around 1oo but for sure under 150. It's snack time so Casey looks through the pantry and decides on a snack. It has to be about 15 grams of carbs, no more. Anything more would cause his blood sugar to go too high which (over time) would be unhealthy. He decides to have 15 Pringles and a glass of Crystal Light.

{Having high blood sugar here and there is okay and to be expected. But having high numbers consistently would lead to complications later in life. Also having high numbers can lead to your body breaking down fat cells for energy and creating keytones in your blood as the waste product. This is very dangerous and another reason why we check blood often and limit snacks to 15 carbs.}

It's lunch time. We approach it just like breakfast. Casey checks his blood sugar and I ask him what he would like to eat and how much.

{Casey needs to know how much he will eat so he can take the appropriate amount of insulin. Once he takes enough insulin for a meal he then has to eat all the carbs we counted so that he doesn't get low blood sugar. This is why he always eats his high carb foods first, it's not something we told him to do or even thought of. It's something he figured out on his own and has always done. The boy has always been wise beyond his years.} 

He decides to have a hot dog without a bun, 1 serving of doritos and some fruit with water to drink. That adds up to 23 carbs. We divide by 20 because that's the number the doctor has told us to divide by at lunch. The resulting number is 1.15 which is the number of insulin units he will get (we round to 1). I prepare the insulin and give him his shot where he tells me he would like it.

{Casey always decides where he will get his shot. It's his body and it's important that we let him know that he's in charge of his body. We encourage him to alternate different areas when we need to but he is very good at remembering which arm we used last and lets me know to do the other arm or leg, etc.}

Casey has been playing outside and comes in to tell me he is dizzy and feels low. We check his finger and his number is at 83 but his insulin from lunch hasn't even gotten to it's peak yet which means he'll go even lower in the next 45 minutes. He eats a snack of 20 Cheez-its.

It's snack time again. Casey checks his number and it is 104. He picks out a 15 carb snack and has some crystal light with it. Crystal Light, Vitamin Water Zero and drinks of that nature are carb free (or very low carb) and are fun for him to get to have. I let him pick out lots of different flavors at the store every week.

It's dinner time. I try to make a meal that everyone will like at dinner but I don't specifically ask Casey what he wants. Dinner is dinner and you eat what mommy makes ;) When the food is almost ready I ask Casey to come up to the kitchen and see what we're having. I measure out a serving of the noodles or rice or potatoes etc. and ask him how many servings he thinks he will eat. He checks his blood sugar and usually gets his insulin shot ready since I'm still cooking and this can be a hectic time. His number tonight is 111. The number of carbs he's having is 59 so we divide by 22. The resulting number is 2.68 which is the number of units of insulin he'll get (we rounded to 2 & 1/2). Dad's home so a lot of times he will do the injection at dinner.

It's bed time. We start by checking Casey's blood sugar. He should be over 150 before he goes to bed to make sure he doesn't go too low while he's sleeping. 

{Low blood sugar is a constant danger for people with diabetes. Taking too much insulin, not eating enough carbs or getting a lot of exercise are all things that can cause your numbers to go too low. For Casey in his honeymoon stage his pancreas can randomly shoot out some extra insulin and cause him to have extreme lows. It's scary and can cause passing out, seizures, coma and even death. We carry a special emergency glucagon shot with us everywhere we go in case of this. Casey can usually feel when his blood sugar is getting low, he gets dizzy and sluggish. During travel baseball for the whole month of July we were battling lows. His teammates thought it was awesome his mom made him eat gummy lifesavers in between innings!}

Casey's number tonight is 92 which is too low for bed so he gets a bedtime snack. He loves it when this happens :) He usually gets some kind of dessert which makes it even more exciting. 

After he has a strawberry shortcake popsicle he goes up to the bathroom and does all of his asthma and allergy medicines and brushes teeth. One of us (Casey, Scott or I) get his bedtime insulin ready. A lot of nights Casey gives himself this injection.

{Casey's bedtime insulin is taken at the same time every night and is very different than his meal time insulin. His meal time insulin works almost immediately and peaks 2 hours after injecting. The bed time insulin works slowly and basically lets off a tiny bit of insulin each hour of the day for 24 hours.}

After hugs and kisses and prayers Casey goes to bed.  

As you can see diabetes can feel like a lot of work. But every week it gets more and more a habit and is becoming 2nd nature. As long as Casey sticks to a schedule, takes the right amount of insulin and is careful about snacking things go very smoothly. But sometimes sticking to a strict schedule with smart snacks is not so easy for an 8 year old. Sometimes people offer a snack of donut holes at a playdate after he's already eaten a snack. Even if he hasn't had a snack he can only have about 3 donut holes. Meanwhile littler kids run around and eat 8 over the course of the whole playdate. Casey can't do those things. Those are the kinds of times that he feels different and deprived. It's hard, even on a kid who's acted like an adult his whole life. We've been told by every one of Casey's teachers over the years how responsible he is. We've talked about how God made him that way to prepare him for his life with allergies and asthma and catastrophic teeth grinding. We found out this summer that God was actually equipping him with the personality he would need to live his life with Type 1 Diabetes.

August 2, 2013

Deep Thoughts

Sometimes it's easy to be selfish. I don't even realize I'm doing it. 

Casey has been acting strange lately. He doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything. I offer to have friends over and get a head shake "no", I tell him his friend has invited him over and get a "no way." Today I sat here thinking "what is going on?!?" Could this have to do with diabetes? Is his asthma bothering him? Did travel baseball just wear him out?

I still don't know that answer but as I sat here thinking something dawned on me. I've been talking about going back to school with diabetes non stop all summer. I talk to my friends about it and my family about it and my nurse and doctor about it, but I haven't talked to CASEY about it.

Turns out he's feeling nervous. Sometimes it's so easy to think about my kids as MINE and to think about them going through trials and hardships as something that affects ME. Sure it makes me nervous to think about Casey being out of my care for 7 & 1/2 hours a day! But that's not what I should be thinking about. It's his life and his trial and this is happening to HIM. 

I'm definitely going to be thinking and praying about this differently from now on. 

In my defense I think thinking selfishly about your kids lives is something that comes naturally. Especially when they are young. When you are blessed with a tiny baby their little life is your life. They can't do a thing without you and when you are a stay at home mom you go years spending all day every day with them. Then little by little they become independent. Going to school, playdates and more without you and leading their own life. 

One day when my kids have grown up my husband and I hope that they will move. Move across the country or to another country or wherever God leads them. We've been told that we won't feel that way when the time comes but I hope that isn't true. I hope that we can be UNselfish enough to want them to go lead the life God has planned for them. They are not here to make us happy. To make us feel fulfilled. 

When I got married I had this idea of how I wanted to live right here where I grew up and have kids and live in a split level and send them to Timothy Christian where I went to school and just have the "perfect" little life. Well here I am, God has blessed me with exactly that. I am super grateful, but I understand now that there's more to life. Maybe this is where I should be and God is using me exactly as he wants. But maybe there could have been much more to my life if I had been willing to trust Him and do something a little different. 

So that's why I am going to stop thinking about my kids lives in a selfish way. It's their lives and I'm just here to guide them and teach them, but they need to live them.

July 8, 2013

Deck Restore Review

Last year our deck wasn't lookin' so hot. We knew we needed to do something but weren't sure which direction to go. We thought about pulling all of the boards off and replacing with composite decking but that would be a very expensive project  with a deck of this size. 

So we looked into other options. Of course there was the option of sanding and restaining. In order to do that we would first need to screw down all of the boards because they had only been nailed down and a lot of them were popping up. And since we live in Chicago where the weather can be very harsh staining would be something we'd have to redo every other year to keep it looking fresh and nice.

Then we heard about Deck Restore available at Home Depot. It looked good, it sounded good and the price was doable. A little on the expensive side because of the size of our deck but promised to last 8 years!

We got started last spring and it was an undertaking to say the least. Pounding in every nail, then drilling hundreds of holes and adding hundreds of screws. 

Finally we were ready to replace a few boards, sand, power wash and apply the Restore. 

You start by brushing on the solid stain in between each board. 

Then use the honeycomb roller they sell and a long pole and apply it thick onto every board of the deck. 

It was slow going and a little back breaking but we wanted to make sure it looked perfect. I'm trying to remember correctly, but I think it took Scott about 4 hours to put the first coat on.

I did the second coat myself a couple of days later and while it was faster I was still being very careful and trying to keep it looking very neat so it took me a few hours. 

We went with the color "Beach" which is a very light tan. I was trying to match the siding on our garage. 
The surface is a little bumpy to walk on with bare feet and it still gets super hot in the sun, but it is less slippery and has no splinters so we're very pleased with it. And it looks beautiful too!

For the railings we bought the solid stain in the matching color. I rolled it on with a regular paint roller and used a brush where I had to. This was not a fun job. I only finished one coat before deciding the rest could wait 'til later in the year. And actually I didn't even finish that first coat all of the way!!

So later in the year turned out to mean a whole year ;) I was dreading getting back to this job but as I put the second coat on it was looking so nice that it kept me motivated to keep going. This stain will need to be reapplied more often than the Restore on the deck boards, but I'm hoping one coat every other year is all it will need. And that would be totally worth it.

I used a roller and then my paint gun to paint the lattice underneath the deck white. I love how the bright white makes the tan deck pop. The Restore survived it's first winter with no problems at all. We power washed it (with a gentler tip) and it looks good as new.

It was two years in the making but was worth the wait and the work. We've been enjoying lots of quality time with each other and with friends on the deck and in the pool. And we're hoping that by the time the boards need a new coat Casey will be 14 years old and able to do it for some spending cash ;)

PS- I was not paid by anyone for my thoughts on this product. Neither Home Depot nor Deck REstore have any idea who I am :)

July 4, 2013

Quick Fun Little Girl's Dress

I love to sew. There is something so exciting about picking out your own fabric and making something completely from scratch. So the other day when I felt like I just needed to sew something I went to my Pinterest board for inspiration. 

I knew there were a million other things I should  be doing so I looked for the quickest, easiest looking project I had pinned. Which of course ended up coming from one of my favorite sewing blogs, Make it & Love it. 

Here's the fabric I found for a dress for my Lainey Bug

Super cute, isn't it? I found a new fabric store in my area that has more choices than my usual places, Joanne's and Hobby Lobby. But there were no sales or coupons so I don't know how soon I'll be going back :(

In just a couple of hours I whipped up a super cute dress for Lainey that she loves. 

Sorry about the shadows...I'm still learning how to take pictures when it's too bright outside. I'll learn though ;)

So here's the part I'm struggling with. Buying a yard of the white and 1/2 a yard of the pink fabric ended up costing me about $15. I could easily buy a dress from Old Navy for that much money or less probably and could even possibly get a dress on sale from the Gap for that much. So is it really worth it to be sewing my own clothes if it doesn't even save any money?? Or is there some magic way to find and buy amazingly cute fabric for a steal??

Regardless I still really enjoy sewing and Lainey had lots of fun helping and overseeing so it was worth it :)

Here's a picture of the dress that Ashley from Make-it and Love-it made for her daughter. You can click on the link below the picture to be taken to the tutorial!!

June 23, 2013

Dry Brushing Video Tutorial

Remember the Dry Brushed Antique Dresser I shared a couple of months ago? 

While I was working on it I was also working on it's shorter, longer sibling. I restained the top and painted the body that same week but decided I would make a video tutorial of the dry brushing process when I had a spare moment. Well I finally had a spare moment yesterday ;)

I posted the video on YouTube and put a link to it down below for you to click on. Let me know in the comments if it's not working or anything please! :)

Also a disclaimer: This is my first video tutorial. I was nervous. :) The more times I saw/heard it while I was editing the more I wanted to forget the whole thing and throw it away! Hearing your own nervous voice for an hour straight isn't the funnest way to spend an evening ;) But my whole reason for making it was to be helpful to one person out there who is nervous about trying dry brushing and my hope is that that one person will find it and feel more confident :)

So here goes nothing.....

Link to Dry Brushing Video Tutorial

**Please excuse the kids talking and laughing in the house is never quiet :)**

Linking up to:
Silver Pennies
Nifty Thrifty Things

June 13, 2013

Taking Back Control

(2 days before diagnosed, last day of 1st grade)

Last week my 7 year old son, Casey, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It came basically out of nowhere. After a month of on again off again drinking & peeing spurts I decided let's just take him in to be checked. Sure I was sick to my stomach that morning waiting for our appointment, but I kept telling myself to stop being silly, that I'd be embarrassed afterwards for asking some family members to pray before we went in...

And that's when diabetes took over. 

After being diagnosed we were sent straight to urgent care being told we were lucky he was healthy enough to not need a 2 day hospital stay as most children do. We spent the rest of the day there getting insulin, IV drips, blood tests, and lots of information.

We left with a nauseous, tired little boy, a bag full of samples and leaflets and our heads spinning. Don't get me wrong, they did a wonderful job helping Casey and us through the whole ordeal. There's just only so much information one brain can take in in a 5 hour period, especially when that brain is still trying to cope with a new diagnosis.

It's 6 days later. My house and my life feel like they have been taken over by this disease. Leaving the house takes 3x as long as I double check I have enough alcohol swabs, lancets, pen needles, and test strips. Planning lunch causes me to break out in a sweat, I need to know how much he is going to eat exactly, how many carbs will be in that meal and what his blood sugar is before he gets started. Then plug it all into a formula that decides how much insulin to give him 10 minutes before he eats. 

My house is a mess of papers and empty boxes and books and half put away groceries. My week has been about surviving from one meal to the next. I feel like our whole summer bucket list is a thing of the past. How am I going to plan a trip to Six Flags Great America when just packing a lunch stresses me out? How am I going to take my daughter for our special mommy/daughter day to the American Girl Store when I'm the only one who knows how to take care of Casey?


I'm taking back control.

Starting with my mind set. I will stop looking at my friends' pictures on Facebook and feeling sorry for myself. I will stop feeling like our life is over. I will get this mess around me cleaned up so that our house feels normal again. We will accomplish every single goal on that summer bucket list and we will enjoy it that much more because we will know that diabetes won't get in the way of our life. 

I heard this on the radio yesterday,

"God doesn't always call on the qualified. Sometimes he qualifies the called."

We may not always feel qualified to do the things God calls us to do, but with His help we are more than able. Can I get an AMEN???!!!

May 29, 2013

Summer Bucket List

4 & 1/2 more school days until summer break! I'm a little excited, can you tell? I worked a lot this year and felt super busy all the time. I like to stay busy and have a full calendar, but this year was a bit too much.

Without any planning on my part it turns out I won't be babysitting this summer. I'll miss the extra smiles and hugs but they'll be back come September, so I'm going to take advantage of this down time :)

On Memorial day me and my 7 year old, Casey, sat in the garage and talked out a list of all the things we want to do this summer. I realized that I definitely needed to write it all down to make sure it stayed fresh in our minds and didn't get put on the back burner by other distractions.

So where better to write it than on our kitchen wall where it will remind us every morning during breakfast?!

I plan on keeping it up all summer and crossing things off as they happen. And definitely adding to it as we think of more fun things to do together! 

This is my last summer with my kids before they both start attending school 5 days a week :( I will still get Lainey back by lunch time every day though :) 

Time sure does fly, but as long as I can look back and say "we had fun and didn't let busy schedules keep us from being together and making memories" than I will be okay with it. I want to enjoy every minute of this season of my life so that when the next season comes I will be ready to enjoy it.

May 28, 2013

A Surprise 65th Luau

My May Goals had a bit of a theme to them this month. Obviously, it was the outside of our house. You probably just figured it's the beginning of Spring/Summer and Heidi just wants to start the season by finishing all of the outdoor work, right? Well there was another reason. A secret reason. 

My mother in law and us kids were throwing my father in law a surprise 65th birthday party, in our yard!!

When it comes to the yard Scott is a bit of a say the least. So for weeks we worked HARD finishing up landscaping and the deck and the playset and cleaning the garage and on and on....

The pool deck is 100% done and I've already written my review of Deck Restore but I wanted to wait until the pool is open and blue again before taking my beauty shots :) The playset only got one coat of solid stain and scattered storms have been going on for over a week keeping me from finishing. But it looked nice enough for the party and I'm excited to finish it up soon.

I'll be sharing the "Summer Fun Bucket List" my son, Casey, and I made tomorrow, but for now here's some pics of the Luau we had in our yard and garage on Saturday :)

As you can see from our attire we had unseasonably cold weather for our luau....I'm very bad luck when it comes to weather. If you want nice weather, don't let me be a part of the planning. Now you know! ;)