Thursday, April 29, 2010

A little before and a lot after

I really started getting serious about making our bedroom a soothing, comfortable place to be when I realized that I had painted or redone every room in the house but ours. And really, I need to recharge at night, to feel happy in my bedroom, and I just didn't.

So here is the before of my bedroom. It's the only picture I could find of right in the beginning stages of the redo.
I'm in this picture because it was a photo for something else, sorry but it's the only before photo I have. If you haven't noticed by now, I'm horrible at taking before photos. I jump into the project too fast and then forget to document it. Sad really.

We bought the iron-like bedframe at Ikea when we moved to Washington 3 years ago.

And while I liked it, I didn't like sitting up against it to read and it just didn't feel cozy the way I wanted my bedroom to feel.

We had some lamps that also just felt too modern for what I wanted and so I moved those to a different part of the house and then I perused Goodwill until I found a matching pair that I liked. I then painted over the brass with an heirloom white spraypaint and bought some new shades.

I really wanted a fabric headboard, but I couldn't afford to just buy one. So after seeing my neighbor make one, and then finding a really great tutorial on Centsational Girl, I made my own, with a little help from my friends next door.

I'm still working on getting the wrinkles out, I ironed it beforehand and pulled it really tight and even sprayed it with some wrinkle remover, but to no avail. So now I just tell myself it gives it character.

The fabric is actually just a curtain panel from Walmart. It was 15 dollars. I bought 4 more for my bedroom window so that there would be some uniformity throughout, and because I couldn't make them for less then 15 dollars and I really liked the color.

So then came the search for the right paint. Living where it is gray a lot, you would think I would shy away from that color. But I was seriously drawn to it. I don't know why. It's soothing somehow, and with walls as high as mine, I really didn't think it would darken or depress the room at all.

And it didn't.
I went with Chinchilla gray by Martha Stewart. I only had to use 1 and a quarter gallon for this entire room. Probably the best price for paint I have found considering how well it covered

I'm still figuring out what to do over the bed. I'm thinking a large tree sillouhette, but I don't know yet. And I think my friend is right and I need bigger side tables. The headboard dwarfs them now.

I love the bedding, though. It's from the shabby chic collection at target. And I got it for 50 bucks on clearance. It was the only one on clearance and I still don't know why, but I was pretty excited.

I really wanted to decorate my room differently then the rest of my house. Not so bright and retro. And I wanted to find something inexpensive for my huge amount of wall space. So taking from The Nester, I found plates I loved at Good will and hung them. The blue lamp is also from good will just with a new shade. I never did find it's partner. :(

What I love about this picture is that it represents generations in my family. The little yellow chicken feeder was my great-grandmothers. The pitcher and basin was my grandmothers, and the rocking chair was my great-great grandmothers which my mother had reupholstered.

So after moving the furniture around so that everything was on a different wall, we somehow ended up with an empty space. So we shopped the house and brought up our leather chair and ottoman to fill the corner. I spray painted a bookshelf that Jeff's sister gave us in that Slate Blue from the frames and I think it will come together nicely eventually.

I'm not loving the arrangement of the pictures and mirror, but I can live with it for a little while until I figure out what else I want there. I'm also thinking the bookshelf is too small. But again, I can live with it for now until I find another cheap piece to take it's place. I'm also thinking a gold pillow, paint the frames a lighter color. Stuff like that is really easy and adds the right drama to the room, it's just finding the right pieces at a low price.

All tolled, I spent about 200 dollars including the paint to makeover this room. But I spent it slowly over about 6 months. Cuz 200 at one time is just not in the budget. But I was patient and it's almost there. A few more tweaks, a few more good finds or even shopping my own house and I will have a bedroom that I can really relax in.

I'm really happy with it and the late, late nights and sore shoulders were all worth it. Truly.

Oh, and the heart with our initials in it? It is staying. I did it kind of as a love note to my husband when I missed him, thinking I could paint over it later. But he really likes it, and he asks for so little. So it's for keeps.

Just like him.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A little more time

So, my bedroom is kind of a mess. And I really want to have it completely together before I show you all the after pictures. So I guess that's a little spoiler. But I promise, tomorrow. I'm super excited and anxious to show you. But I'm just having one of those days.

Between waking up late, visiting teaching (cuz I can't seem to stop talking) and general lack of order around here, I just can't seem to catch up.

So please forgive me, and stay tuned tomorrow. Really, I promise, for sure this time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

While he was out

So what, you may ask, could have caused my utter exhaustion and quite possibly a case of shoulder impingement syndrome? (That and I think my right arm may be bigger than my left.) It's subtle changes, things that have always bugged me but that fell below the line as far as decorating importance. But now that I have done it, I am so happy and wish I had done it sooner. I do hope, however, that the build up wasn't too big so that now you are waiting to see my kitchen remodel I tackled all by myself in one weekend. Cuz that ain't it.

So here we go.

This is the "art niche" on the landing as you go up my stairs. We have no certified fine art. But I felt that my children's art still qualified and I didn't need an art appraiser to come out.

I originally bought Ikea frames so that at least they would be uniform and cheap (that was my SIL Amy's idea, thanks Amy) and then my oh so clever husband arranged them.

But it just never stood out the way I wanted to. Then last week I saw on Centsational Girl a post about frames and implementing color. So I took paint I already had, painted the square behind the artwork, then I spray painted all the frames a flat black, added a few more pieces that had been waiting to go up, and voila!!

Like I said, subtle, but makes a world of difference as you walk up the stairs, and really highlights my children's art. So I'm pleased. Ouch. Shoulder Cramp.

Next. I have a pretty good sized wall in the hallway upstairs by all the bedrooms. For forever I have wanted a wall full of family pictures after seeing a special on Stephen Covey. They showed his beautiful home in Provo, Ut and in their downstairs his wife had this huge wall completely covered in framed pictures of her children and grandchildren. Then and there I knew that one day I wanted the same thing.

So I've slowly been working on it. This is kind of what it looked like before, I had taken a few frames down to paint them, but you get the idea.

So after trying to envision what I wanted, I did something crazy. Super crazy for me, the girl who loves color on every wall in the house. Are you ready for this? You won't believe it.

I painted the wall....WHITE!

That is something I haven't done, maybe ever. It was pretty exciting.

So with the wall painted white, I wanted the frames to stand out but not clash with the art niche frames, since you can see both at the same time when you are standing in the upstairs hallway.

So I went with Rustoleum Painter's Touch spray paint in Slate blue.

And truly, for this one, the difference is AMAZING. To me anyway.


So yeah, I kept busy. And that's not all I did. But I will save the BIG project for tomorrow. Less you get bored with all of these before and afters.

But just for fun, here's a sneak peak.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go ice my shoulder.

Monday, April 26, 2010

He's back

My superman.

He's baaack, he's baaack, he's baAaAaAck!!! (sung in a terrible opera voice.)

Yes, my friends. Jeff is home. I am happy.

But very tired. I worked myself to death in order to accomplish some projects before he got home.

I accomplished them, but I think I now need a weekend to recover from my weekend.

But did I mention, he's back?

Funny how 3 days can feel so long.

Anyhoo, I will have pictures to post tomorrow of what I did. I'm pretty excited about it.

I would post them today, but I left the camera on overnight and the battery now has to charge.

Like I said, so tired, worked to death, that kind of thing excuses me from remembering to turn electronics off. Right?


Friday, April 23, 2010

Ever so briefly

Jeff-as wolverine. Hot, I know.

I am looking at a long weekend ahead of me. The one who makes me laugh is gone on a trip with his parents. And I miss him.

Last night it was cold in the house, and as I curled up I couldn't help but miss the way Jeff always snuggles up behind me as we fall asleep. He's always running a little warmer than me anyway, so I am never cold.

Of course, the knife, mag flashlight and telephone I sleep with when he's gone keep me comfortable as well (yes, I am THAT paranoid). But it's just not the same.

I have some projects in the works to surprise him, cuz I like to do that, and I don't sleep very well when he's gone so I stay up late a lot anyway. And if I'm on top of stuff next week, I'll post about it all.

But for now, I just miss him. As he was driving away last night I was already missing him. I would never be a good wife for someone who travelled a lot. I know people say they get used to it, but I don't think I would.

So have a lovely weekend with the ones you love. Half of my heart is in California. So I'll be whole again on Monday.

Til then.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A letter to my once beloved

Dear Darling Waste Management,

Oh, with great dismay I write to you, my once beloved. Ere the sun had set yesterday eve, I looked upon my front drive, only to discover that my garbage was still there. Lying about, forgotten, strewn and picked by the passing crows that haunt this once garbage free dwelling.

I had to ask myself, what could I have done to have deserved such depraved behavior. Had I offended thee? Had I, in a moment of wanton forgetfulness not given you that which you desired most? Full payment?
No, upon review, I was comforted in the knowledge that I in fact owed thee nothing. So what could have brought about such behavior on your part?

It was then that my dear friend informed me of the wage dispute amongst those in your employ, and how you remained firm, completely immovable to their demands. And thus, it is now to be, that there is none to take their place in the removal of all that is unwanted.

How could such a thing be? Art thou so convinced of the rightness of thine own position, that you cannot see that these brave souls spend their days in the removal of other’s garbage? And that perhaps, an increase in their wages is much deserved? That it is their rightful place to ask for more?

So now, I am left alone with heaps of discarded trash. The remains of a thorough cleaning of the place where we house our vehicles, the leftovers from a great party given in behalf of our child who was baptized now towering over us.

And whilst my neighbors have remained mute on the subject, I can assure you, they share my sentiments.

Yours is a regrettable position my dear. For it seemeth impossible to not alienate those who work in your behalf, without also alienating those who require your services.

I imagine yours to be quite the quandary. Yet, I hope that ours may continue to be a mutually beneficial relationship in the weeks to come. I would exhort thee to settle this quickly and generously so that all involved may move on and benefit from the future removal of our garbage.

Yours truly,

Mrs. Donald Allen

Translation: My garage stinks and I really want all the trash gone. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Office Assistant

Anyone looking for good office help?

I have someone with good organization skills. She's especially good at rearranging closets and drawers full of toys.

She has exceptional computer skills. She will have your computer running like it never has before in no time.

But, be warned. She can be very tempermental if you don't share your food with her. And she has a tendency to wear her pajamas to work.

Other than that, she would be the perfect addition to any work environment.

If you can afford her 1.3 trillion dollar salary, that is. She's pretty pricey. Although she may consider trading her highly sought after skills for a lifetime supply of fruit snacks and granola bars. She's a pretty tough negotiator, though, she may get you to include hugs and kisses as well.

Take it from me though, totally worth it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Beautiful Day

Yesterday was a very special day for our family.

Charlie was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint by his father, my dear Jeffy.

In our church, children are baptized when they are 8 years old. We call it the age of accountability. The age when they truly begin to understand right and wrong and to make their choices based on that knowledge.

And our children look forward to this. Anne Marie mentioned this week how she couldn't wait to turn 8 and be baptized.

And yesterday, Henry kept asking me if he got to get baptized too. I assured him that when he turned 8 he would get to as well. Then he proceeded to tell Jeff, after looking up Jeff's nose "You have spider webs in your nose!!". His mind switches topics really fast, obviously.

One of Charlie's best friends was baptized as well, so between all of the beloved family and friends, there was quite a crowd. And we appreciate everyone's support of our son.

Charlie also received a special gift yesterday. A gift he will have with him the rest of his life. A gift that will be more valuable to him than anything else he will ever receive. You can read about this gift

So now will Charlie run around in a little bubble of perfection, making no mistakes, doing no wrong? Nah. He is still Charlie. And just like the rest of us, perfection will not come in this life.

But we are so proud of him. He is a wonderful young man full of promise, shining with the light of the gospel. And we love him. So much.

Congratulations Charlie boy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

You can never be sure with birds

In keeping with my semi-bird theme this week, I would like to share a little story with you.

Last week I went to the zoo with my sister and her children. It was a pretty decent day for being outside and we had not been to the zoo in a while.

So we made the usual rounds-lion, sharks, monkeys, all the favorites.
But we got a little more than we bargained for when we went to see the elephants.

We enjoyed listening to the zoo keeper explain to us about elephants, what they eat, where they sleep and the difference between Asian and African. Did you know that elephants can weigh about 5 tons and female elephants are pregnant for 2 years and nurse for 3? They are my heroes! Seriously, a year and a half and I'm done with the whole process. Can you imagine being an elephant? Well, I feel like an elephant when I'm pregnant, but I digress.

As we stood there, this lovely peacock found it's way into the area with the elephants. The zoo lady explained that there are 9 peacocks at the zoo and they all have their own territory and this was the territory of this particular bird.

But moments later we see not one, but two peacocks throttling toward the fence where all of the onlookers were.

The zoo keeper said "Well, I guess this wasn't his territory and now he's getting chased out. Give him some room to get out, everyone. "

Right about this moment the peacock flys across the fence at full speed, obviously trying to keep his tail feathered hind-end from getting thrashed.

The majority of us, including the people only 2 feet from this bird, took a little step back to give the bird some room.

But one guy, one lone man with an obvious terror of birds couldn't take the pressure.

Even though he was a good 20 feet away from the bird, he had to make his get away. Cuz you never know, that bird could have made eye contact with him and decided upon a new enemy.

So this young man, probably in his late teens, early twenties, literally scrambles as fast as he can to get away from the bird that is nowhere near him. But in the process, he forgets that his girlfriend and baby are right behind him.

So instead of making a quick getaway, he tripped over his baby in the stroller and had to do the "arms flailing, short quick steps" maneuver in order to not land on his face.

Of course, by the time he looked up to see where the demon bird was, it was long gone and he was left only with the disgusted look on his girlfriend's face, and my sister trying to unsuccessfully keep from laughing her head off.

Can you imagine what his girlfriend must have thought of him at that moment?

I can guess she wondered what he would do if a REAL danger approached them. Would he push her and the baby out of the way to get away from the vicious chicken? Or the attacking pigeon?
Would he grab the baby as a human shield in the event that a seagull got too close?

Believe me, there have been some great jokes made around here at the expense of this poor guy.

I don't think I would let it slide if I was his significant other. I might randomly scream as we walked down the street "oh no, not a sparrow!!"

Or, I might surprise him awake by making loud clucking noises in his ear, and squeal with delight when he jumped out of bed only to hide under it.

But the best, the absolute funniest?

On our way out of the zoo we saw one of the peacocks in the parking lot, Maile's sister in law Kim
saw it and said, not in a hushed voice "It's a peacock, everybody dive!!!"

To which my reply was "Um, that guy is right over there."

And he was. He was loading his baby and his girlfriend into their car not fifty feet away and heard it all.

But it was hard to feel sorry for someone who placed his own safety above that of his baby's and girlfriend's lives.

Even if it was over something as fierce and scary as a peacock.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

So I was nominated (or spammed, I really can't tell) to do a blog interview for Blog .

You can see it here. If you want. You don't have to. Oh, but if you do, and you vote for my blog, I could possibly, remotely win 900 bucks.

Why they chose 900 dollars as the give away amount, I'm not sure. But I would gladly take their weird prize money amount off their hands.

Just saying.

Oh, and that bird I told you about yesterday? She is STILL attacking my window. All day yesterday, and she has started today already. Sheesh.

P.S. I guess I was wrong. It's 1000 dollars TOTAL worth of prizes, not the weird, random 900 I came up with. Oh well.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 a bird?

Yesterday afternoon, I kept hearing this noise. Kind of like a *thwack* thwack*. Upon investigating, all I found at first, was this:

Just a nice little birdie sitting on the fence outside my kitchen window.

Until suddenly......

The little creature literally flew itself into my window, over and over again.

At first I thought that maybe it was just trying to fly away and got confused by the clearness and cleanliness of my windows.

Wait, give me a second to catch my breath from laughing at the probability of that.

Ok, I'm better now.

So since it obviously couldn't have been the crystal clear condition of my windows, I had to wondered what this bird was doing.

Was it mentally challenged? Hit itself against one too many windows?
Did it hear the crying and screaming of the little ones inside and was coming to their rescue?

I just couldn't figure it out. And the silly thing continued doing this for 3 hours.

So I decided to sneak outside and see if maybe this bird was protecting something, a little nervous it would fly at me and attempt to peck me to death.

I was scared for my life, I tell ya.

But it didn't try pecking me, it just scooted down the fence a safe distance and watched me.

Upon further search I found this:

Now, you may be asking yourself what that is. I'm still not sure. But it kind of looks like feathers sticking out, doesn't it?

So what I decided, through some impressive deductive reasoning, is that this little birdie has built a nest on the overhang above the kitchen window. And while sitting on the fence keeping a watch out, little mamma bird saw another bird encroaching on her territory.

So she opened a can of crazy on that other bird and attacked with all her might.

So yeah, she may not be the smartest little thing around, what with attacking her own reflection and all, but she is mighty brave.

I've heard of how mamma Bears will attack any creature, even bigger creatures, to protect their cubs. So I've always hoped I would be like a mamma bear.

But I may have switched. I think I'd like to be crazy like a mamma bird.

It just feels closer to home somehow.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go help Nora. She just dumped a bowl of peaches on her head.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back to life

My glasses look awesome on her. Too bad the sun didn't come out enough to need them.

Spring break is over.

The kids went back to school today.

The house is too quiet, even with Henry and Nora and Elle running around.

Last week went by way too fast.

We took two trips to the zoo.

Went visiting to Grandparents and cousins in Ellensburg.
We watched an awesome little movie called How to Train your Dragon. Highly recommend.
We went to Issaquah and ate lunch with Jeff.
We enjoyed the very tiny amount of sunshine. We even ventured out to the busiest McDonald's ever so that little people could play in the play land. Not sure I will ever do that again during a school holiday.
I got to enjoy a little girls night out, which Henry let me know he was unhappy about by wailing as I left, "I want you to come baaaack!"
The next morning he crawled into bed with me, all excited "You came back!"
"Dat make my heart happy"
Mine too, Henry.
Now, back to reality. Unfortunately.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I listened to a suggestion that my friend gave me to have a button on this blog that leads to my other blog.

Now, don't judge too harshly on how silly the quality of it is- I don't have photoshop, and I just wanted to get a quick button on here.

So voila. My very own button for Keeping the Monster in the Cave.

It will change as resources become available. (Anyone out there know how to design a blog button?)

But for now, it works. And fitting that it shows me horking down an awesome cheeseburger from Dicks. I'm just saying. Best. Burgers. Ever.

Stuff of Nobel Prizes?

Last weekend I spent an hour or two making bread and doing general household type things.

I assumed, incorrectly, that Henry was somewhere playing with Anne Marie.

When my bread was finally in the oven, I thought I should go check on everyone and see what they were doing.

Jeff was on the computer, check.

Kate and Julia were reading, check.

Nora was napping, check.

Charlie was looking at his Pokemon cards, check.

And Anne Marie was on the trampoline. No check.

Because where was Henry?

Oh, just doing something he is sooo good at. With a permanent marker, of course.

But it didn't end there.

And in addition to the closet door, he also found time to mark up a couple of bedroom doors, the counter in the bathroom, kate's bed, the walls in his own bedroom and the wall leading into the playroom.

It. Was. Not. Awesome.

So we looked through our arsenal of color removing tools and pulled out our one and only hope.

The Mr. Clean magic eraser. If you don't own a box of these and you have small children, then I'm just not sure what to say to you.

It got all the marker off the doors, the counter top and the wall. The doors don't even look like there was ever a smudge on them. It will pull some of the paint off the walls if you have flat paint (thank you SO MUCh harbor homes for the flat paint everywhere, didn't we mention we had a lot of kids?), but otherwise it is a miracle worker.

I kept saying, over and over to Jeff that I couldn't believe this product hadn't received a Nobel Prize for Science, or something. A Nobel Prize for making my life easier? Do they have those? They should.

And it saved Henry from additional wrath on my part. And that is certainly worth the money spent on a box of Magic Erasers.

The end.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


On Sunday, as we sat around talking after General Conference, I heard Henry screaming outside.

My first thought was "Who is making him scream?!"

Because, you know, more often then not, someone has done something he doesn't like.

So I went to open the window to find out who was hurting/bothering/teasing Henry.

But this is what I saw.

Henry got hurt somehow while jumping, and Charlie and Anne Marie were comforting him.

Instead of the tongue lashing I was about to give somebody, it was so nice to just be able to close the door and go back inside, happy.

I love when children surprise you.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Being Brave

Today, I would like to announce a new blog I am starting.

It is called Keeping the Monster in the Cave.

It's the beginning of a journey for myself and whoever else wants to come along.

If you're curious then pop on over
here. I will be glad to have you.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Pepsi Challenge

So as most of you know, I am highly addicted to Diet Pepsi.

I love the way it burns as it goes down and makes my eyes water.

I prefer it poured into a glass with no ice. Plastic makes it lose it's fizz somehow, you know.

I crave it almost hourly and prefer it to pretty much any drink (although milk is pretty much neck and neck, but it has calories for cryin out loud)

But I have a huge problem. Well, besides the fact that I'm addicted to a beverage.

She will scream at me if she sees soda anywhere in the vicinity. She will scream and scream until she gets it.

She will choose it over any other drink. Which I'm sure is not good for a 20 month old's growth.

She will cry, wail and throw herself on the floor if she doesn't get it.

It's pretty pathetic. Almost as pathetic as an adult woman who can't seem to overcome her need for pop.

But the dilemma is that in order to keep Nora from having it (cuz, yes, I am a good enough mother to realize that she really shouldn't drink it), I probably need to stop drinking it as well.

At least at the house.

I guess I could be a closet Diet Pepsi drinker, or drink it in the van late at night.

But as I thought of all the places I could hide to drink my DP, I realized, hey, maybe I shouldn't drink it either.

But I shudder at the thought, I literally scream inside at the idea of losing the bitter, biting, burpable love of my life.

But I do love Nora more, I do.

So I'm extending a Pepsi challenge to myself.

I have 3 bottles left at home. I will finish those, and then after that I will not bring it home anymore.

I will only drink when going out to eat.

Can I do it?

I'm honestly not hopeful, but I'm going to make an attempt for 1 month. Until May 2, I will only drink soda pop when I go out to eat.

Wish me luck. I will need it more than I know.
And please, please, please, if you love me at all DO NOT give me a lecture about how bad this is for me. I already know that. And I pretty much don't care.
Thank you very much.
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