Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Sound of Gravel

I recently finished a memoir called, The Sound of Gravel.

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Now, I don't read on a regular basis and sometimes wish reading was something I enjoyed. However, this book had me at it's first page and I was able to finish it quickly.

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Let me back track a bit.
I first heard about this book through another blogger, Emily A. Clark. Occasionally, Emily blogs about books she has read, gives a short synopsis about them, and will recommend them to her readers as she sees fit. Not too long ago she did this with 9 books she recently read. When I reached her description of, The Sound of Gravel, what she said about it stuck out to me. She says this about the book, "If you choose just one from my list to read, pick this one. This is the first book that ever prompted me to immediately email the author after finishing it."

Um, what? I had to know more of what this book was about!

Being that I respect this blogger and knowing that she has read lots and lots of books, I decided to head to the library to pick it up. 

I will give you a little bit of information about the book without giving away too much detail in case you are interested in it. Like mentioned before, this book is a memoir. It's about a girl named Ruth Wariner who grew up in a polygamist family in the 80's. From the get-go, it's easy to see that the character of this woman, who was a little girl at the time, is resilient and strong. She endures poverty, heartbreak, and tragedy. There were a few moments in the book that made me cry because of what she went through. It was all so hard to believe and very disheartening. A few times I even had to put the book down and walk away from it, even after just reading only a couple of pages. With all that she went through, I'm in awe of the strength and positive outlook she now has as an adult!!

It's seriously one to read...and if you are an avid reader, you could definitely finish this in a couple of days. But be warned, it does get a bit dark. It's very eye-opening, however, and very sad at the same time to know the things some kids endure.

Let me know if you have ever read this book before or are planning to read it now!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Special Visitors

Last week, my in-laws came up for a visit from Florida and the kids were thrilled! We Skype with them about once a week, so when we get to see them in person, it's a real treat. They stayed for a few days, so we were able to have some fun and visit some places.

One of the places they wanted to see was Busch Gardens. Hooray!
We decided to go on a Saturday- the weather was supposed to be clear and comfortable, but it did end up raining in the late afternoon. Anyways, we all had a good time and were able to stay a while despite the weather.

Our first stop at BG was Sesame Street Land- the kids really wanted to get their picture taken with Abby (which surprised us because they usually aren't fans of characters in costume), so we did!


The girls kept giving her high-fives afterwards, which was really cute. 

We rode a few rides in that area and then headed over to the bird sanctuary. 
The girls LOVED it. The birds were so colorful and bold as well. When Poppie first walked in, about 3-4 birds just flocked to him and began walking all over his shoulders/back. I wish I had taken pictures of that, but you'll just have to take my word for it. ;)
It probably helped that people were feeding them when we got there, so they had no problem landing on folks- thinking they would get more food.
That part did make the girls a little nervous at first, but they warmed up to the idea of getting close enough to feed the birds.

So fun!!

After playing with the birds, we decided to hit up some more rides, one of which was the carousel. 
We went around on the carousel a couple of times. That's always been a huge hit at BG.

Beautiful girl!

I wish I had more pictures to share of our BG visit, but we were all enjoying the day, so that's all I've got!

It's all about making those great memories, right?!

On one of the less cloudy days, we took a trip to the beach. It had been our first time since the weather has gotten warmer and clearer.  

I crack up at this picture below of our sweet Lydia watering the York River. She jumps at the chance to water things in our yard, so it makes sense to do it at the beach, right? :)

The kids had so much fun playing in the water and the sand, and even made a few new friends. 

Tess showing Poppie her water duckie.

Another fun thing we did with family was make home-made icecream. Mmmmm!!! 
We stuck to a simple vanilla recipe and mixed in lots of mini M&M's. We bought some cones for the icecream too and it was a hit, as you can see from this next picture. Our son devoured his while also making a pretty big mess, so I had to take a picture.
It's one to save for his photo album, for sure. Ha!

We always like taking family photos at the end of each visit. Our Lydia doesn't look to happy in this next picture, but she was...I couldn't get the lighting right so the picture didn't snap right away- I think she was just caught off guard. :)

Meanwhile, our oldest, Tess, had no problem posing for the camera no matter how long it took to take the picture
Hands on the hip while waving her wand around= fabulous!

So sweet! 
And our pup does have a rep for photo bombing our pictures, so seeing how he shows up in this last one is no surprise. Ha! After all, he is part of the family!

Thanks Mema and Poppie for visiting! Always great memories made!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Thrifted Dresser- and Some Tips on Restoring Furniture

About a month or so ago, my daughters and I headed to one of our favorite thrift stores in Williamsburg. It actually ended up being our last stop before heading home. After looking inside the D.A.V. shop for a while and thinking we weren't going to find anything, we decided to leave. On our way out, I spotted some furniture outside (somehow I missed it on our way in) that included 2 dressers and 2 nightstands. Quickly, I checked to price of each piece and I'm sure my jaw dropped. The dresser was listed at $9 and the nightstands, if I remember correctly, were priced at $5! 
You would think that with a price tag of $9, I wouldn't even want/need to inspect it...but I did because it's something I always do JUST in case. It looked to be in great shape!
And since I had been looking for a taller dresser for our master bedroom, and finding out it was a Broyhill, I knew we 
would be getting it!! 


Once home, I couldn't wait to get it cleaned up and painted!! 
I wasted no time and started right away. It was in pretty good shape already, but needed a deep clean. My little girl wanted to help with this part and I was all for the extra hand!

After this step, my helper and I put a quick coat of primer on it and let it dry.

Once the dresser was primed and dried, we added a couple coats of BM Dragon's Breath. Highly recommend this color if you are looking for a dark, muddy, gray! It's really a gorgeous color that looks good on cabinets and furniture, in my opinion.

I had decided to keep the original hardware since it was in good shape and just needed a quick clean.

Here is the finished piece in our room!

This is a nice close-up of the dresser- it shows the dental molding near the top that we love and the gorgeous color.

With 5 drawers, there is plenty of storage. We just love it!

This gray also looks great with our wall color- BM Edgecomb Gray- another amazing neutral to use.

Some tips to consider when painting furniture like this:

1. Inspect/Clean- a pretty important step in the process. You want to make sure that before you buy and/or paint, you have checked for any damage and removed any dirt, etc.

2. Primer- I usually always prime our furniture pieces before painting them. This helps the paint bond better to the furniture and creates a smoother finish.

3. Rethink- Before buying all new hardware, think about reusing it. Just clean/polish your hardware and it can look like new.

4. Storage- depending on what you are looking for, it's not a bad idea to think about how much storage you will need before buying something. 

5. Size- this is also important and goes along with tip #4. The reason I chose this particular dresser was because we were looking for the right piece that would "fit" between these 2 windows. I also thought something taller would look best there as opposed to something short and long.

6. Color- I personally think that darker colors look great on furniture. Especially if your walls are lighter in color, going with a darker color is a safe choice.

Hopefully, some of these tips help you see the beauty in any thrifted piece. :)
Not bad for a $9 dresser!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

DIY Centerpiece Box

For some time now, I have been wanting to either find or build a wooden box for our dining room table. I've seen a lot of smaller planter boxes used as centerpieces around the blog world and really loved how cute and functional they appear to be. It wasn't until recently that I decided to make one using some left over scrap wood we had stored in our garage. 

I actually just used some 1x4's we had left over from a picture frame I made years ago...it was falling apart and I ended up saving the extra wood after taking down the frame. Glad I did because it saved me a few extra bucks! Since we already had everything on hand to create this project, it cost me nothing but time. My kind of project! :)

I had my little helper available to hammer the nails to the board. She really loved that part and did a good job!

Once it was put together, there were a few areas that still needed to be stained. Thankfully, I had some left over Espresso stain from a previous project (used to make those picture frames). 

I also decided to add some handles to the side using pulls we already had.

I simply love how it all turned out! Now we have a place for all of those Mason jars I've collected. :)

If you are looking to spruce up your table, give this project a try! It's super simple once you have all of the materials and it's totally functional as well!