Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Faux Granite Countertops (Take 2)

It's been 4 years since our counter tops have been refinished and they were looking like they needed a facelift. The paint was beginning to chip at the corners and sides, so I decided it was time to update them. 

When I first painted our kitchen counters years ago, I tried to go with a faux granite finish and it worked out okay. The tutorials I watched online called for using a sponge to get the look. Since I was too cheap to go out and actually purchase one (I know, crazy right?), I decided to use paper towels. This method worked out okay and we got lots of compliments on the look of them once they were finished. However, they never actually ended up looking like granite, so I recently decided to give it another shot.

I went out and bought a sponge this time (only one...haha- there I go being cheap again!) and it did the job nicely!! It does take some patience and time, but I think it's worth it in the end if you want to "diy" this. Plus, you save a lot of $$$.

Once the painting was complete, I gave our counters a couple of coats of clear poly and let them dry for 24 hours before putting our items back on them. 

Here's to hoping we get another 4 years (or more!!) out of  'em. :)


I will post a quick step-by-step process of how I painted our counters and hope this helps anyone out there who wants to give it a try!

Step 1: Prime your counters- I used a latex based primer. Use a couple of coats and let it dry for about 24 hours before moving on to step 2.

Step 2: Buy a sponge (trust me, this is a lot easier than using paper towels ;)) and dip it into a dark paint. I chose to use a dark gray that we already had in our paint storage stash. ;)
Let your paint dry before moving on to Step 3.

Step 3: Take your sponge and dip it into a lighter shade than the first color you started with and start painting over that darker color. 
Repeat this process a few more times lightening the color as you go. I chose to use a base white paint as my last color to lighten the counters and achieve the look I was going for.

Step 4: Once you've painted all your layers, let it dry completely and add a poly coat for protection.

Step 5: Sit back and enjoy all that hard work! :) 

We are very happy with the way our counters look. I think they ended up resembling more of the granite look I was aiming for. 

Have you ever tried painting your countertops? How did it turn out?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

When All 3 Of Your Kids Share a Room

Ever since our youngest turned 2, he has not been a fan of sleeping alone in his own room. He would fall asleep in his toddler bed (he was already climbing out of the crib) and around 2 or 3 in the morning wander into our room or his sisters' bedroom. It wasn't until recently that we decided to move his bed into his sisters' room so 1) he isn't alone and 2) we see if this move would comfort him enough during the night that he wouldn't wake up multiple times.

The plan worked! If only we had figured this out sooner!!

So, now all 3 of our kiddos share one room and surprisingly, it's not crowded at all. I feel like it's actually even cozier and comfier than before. 

The change involved repainting the walls with a color the girls chose- Benjamin Moore Iceburg. I was hesitant about it at first because I didn't really know how it would work with some of the other elements in the room. But I have to say, they were spot on with the color! We love it! It's a blue that reminds me of the sky on a clear summer day. :)

Here are a few photos of their new space. 

I spy a little boy reading :)

I did end up keeping the painted closet doors because the girls use this for their clothes. Our son's clothes are still in his old room, since he will be moving back there eventually.

 I spy a cute puppy! (even though he's actually not a puppy anymore, he's still cute)

The doll bunk bed was a DIY project from last year. A few of the dolls sleep there...and did you happen to notice the doll in the basket that is missing her shirt? Why do kids love to take clothes off of dolls and not put them back on? Something I'll never understand.

Behind the closet doors, the girls share an over-the-door organizer. It was a couple of bucks at Wal-Mart and holds plenty of their little toys and stuffed animals. Happy to have them off the floor at the end of the day!

This little spot next to the door of their room is special to me because it holds sweet memories of when our girls were little. :) We had the pictures taken at Colonial Williamsburg. Such a sweet day!

We still have that dollhouse I made for the girls a few years back. They still play with it occasionally, which is nice. Little brother and little sister have also doodled on it quite a bit. It's not lacking in color, that's for sure!

The large B/W picture above is another one of our favorites. It was taken about 2 years ago when our kiddos still loved each other. Just kidding! They still do. ;) 

The framed quote is from Katie Davis Majors, founder of Amazima Ministries (a ministry we support). It says,"I have learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person." You can learn more about this wonderful Uganda-based ministry here.

I also hung up a shelf (fence board that my hubby cut down to size) above the picture for all the kids' arts and crafts.

With all this, I hope the room is a place for our kiddos to rest and relax after a busy day. So far, it has worked out that way and for that, I am thankful!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Relationships in Church

I want to use this post to share about a topic that's been on my heart for some time. Read it if you wish, or not. Either way, here it goes.


It's such an easy thing to do and an easy way to hurt others.

It usually starts off innocent (or so we think) and usually we share negative feelings about someone with a spouse first. But then, we share more with close friends, other family members, and the negativity just keeps spreading. Often times, and sadly, without it's victim knowing.

I have been guilty of it and I'm embarrassed to say that. The Bible talks quite a bit about this (see James 3) and as believers, we are called to go to a brother if we have discord with them (see Matthew 5:23-24). How often do we even see that happen in the church? Unfortunately, not often at all. It's quite sad actually! We are called to a higher standard and yet so often within the church we don't build each other up.

This really frustrates me. It's one thing to share everything with a spouse and keep it between the two of you. It's another thing to go and tell a friend, and another friend who tells another friend, and so on. Again, oftentimes without the "victim" knowing there is any sort of problem or issue.

I'd like to share an example...let's assume all characters in this story are Bible believing Christians who attend church together.

Let's say Tulip and Apple are working on a church project together for a church program. Tulip is all excited about working on this project and gets to brainstorming ideas right away. Apple isn't as excited and wonders why she even got roped into doing something like this for the church in the first place.

Tulip and Apple have their first meeting to talk about their ideas and immediately Apple starts gossiping about a certain member of the church she doesn't like. Tulip doesn't know what to say or do and just sits there and listens to Apple complain. Fifteen minutes later they are finally talking about the plans for the church program.

That's how gossip starts. The next thing you know, Tulip is being talked about behind her back because she didn't engage in the gossip Apple wanted her to. All sorts of lies are being said about Tulip and she notices a few people that she knows start distancing themselves from her. She in turn begins distancing herself from others. She doesn't understand why so what should she do?

Well, as a believer, she is called to pray and go to her sisters in Christ about these matters and NOT to gossip about them see Matthew 5).

So that is what Tulip does....she approaches her sister(s) in a disarming way and shares that she has noticed her sister(s) is/are closing themselves off from her. And you want to know what a common response often is from this type of question??

"Oh, I didn't think anything was wrong. As far as I'm concerned, I didn't think anything happened between us and I don't know of anything that might have happened. Trust me, if I had a problem with you, I would tell you."

It may be laughable at first, but in reality this response is far too common within the church. And let me be clear, I'm in no way claiming innocence here. I've started and participated in gossip. Because of this, I've had to go to a brother/sister to apologize for my sin. Sadly, the outcome of some of these past conflicts have left a distance between me and the other party/person.

And this is why some relationships aren't being built up in the church and why trust is an issue among brothers and sisters in Christ. It's sad, right? We want to shift the blame when we are actually confronted with our own sin instead of immediately repenting of our wrongdoing and making our friendships stronger.

This doesn't even cover intentional malicious gossip. It's amazing what we will believe about someone we barely know when we are told something negative about them from someone else. We immediately want to put up a wall and make it about an "us verses them." I once read that if we actually invested in the person "whom we heard so much negativity about" that we would grow to like them, not hate them. A friendship would actually become something tangible. Wouldn't that be glorious?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

7th Birthday Scavenger Hunt

Recently, our daughter, Tess, turned 7! 

Still can't believe that our little girl is not so little anymore. Seems like yesterday I was holding her in my arms rocking her to sleep her first night home after being born. My how time is flying!

To celebrate 7 beautiful years, we wanted to do something a little bit different than what we've done in the past.  We decided that spending the day as a family would be best. 
Since my husband was out of town the week of Tess' birthday for a work trip, we rescheduled to a weekday when he got back.

I wanted to come up with a fun way to celebrate our girl's big day, so I thought that making a scavenger hunt would be fun. The hunt began at our house and took us across the river. It was a fun day for all (most importantly, the birthday girl)!

Clue #1
    Happy birthday to you!
    Happy birthday to you!
    Let's celebrate this day,
     By opening a gift or two!

Tess began her birthday by opening a few gifts- one of which was a floral dress she wore for her special day.

Clue #2
Let's all go somewhere,
Let's take a drive.
It will be a surprise!
And very soon we'll arrive...
(Where do you think we are going?)

The first destination was a park in our area that we've never been to. We ate lunch by the water with ducks and geese nearby (which was fun for the kids), and let the kids run around together. Even though it was a hot day, water and shade helped and we made some good memories!

 Fun kids' play area!

We made it to the top of the hill! Hooray!

Both girls brought their new purple sunglasses to wear, but for some reason decided to take them off when they were running around. Of course...  ;)  

This girl...she ran up and down these stairs and never tired out! We wouldn't be surprised if she tried out for the track team some day. She's got endurance! 

Clue #3
 Why don't you open another gift?
It's something you can wear,
And maybe something colorful too,
Perhaps you will want to share!

Hooray for colorful jeweled shoes! Tess was so excited to wear these with her new dress before heading to our next stop. We also got her a colorful pack of molding clay (but left it at home for her to open so it didn't melt in the car).

We took a little detour to the mall nearby to cool off from the heat...which led us to a pet shop where the kids got to see lots of puppies.

Our little boy was enthralled with these particular puppies in the window. So much in fact that he kept talking to them. :)

Deep conversations...

After we were all cooled down, it was time for the next clue.

Clue #4
Do you like cheesecake?
Of course you do, why do I even ask. 
Let's head to your next destination
Where eating will be your task!

Any guesses on where we ate dinner?

The Cheesecake Factory! Yum, yum, yum!!!!

Always creating something with her food...  

Not only did we all enjoy a nice dinner, but we also ordered some delicious cheesecake. We asked our waitress if she could sing to Tessa.  She and a few other servers were glad to do so. 

We ordered the chocolate mousse and birthday celebration cheesecake. So, so good and most importantly, the birthday girl approved!

Time for a group hug!!!

This picture cracks me up! Love the love these 3 have for each other!

I say it every year and this year is no different...happy, happy birthday, sweet girl! We love you so much and are thankful for your kindness and thoughtfulness towards others. Keep loving big!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Our New To Us Outdoor Play Set

Where do I begin with this one? 

I guess I'll start by writing how this blog began. LoveOlympiaJune was born 4 years ago as my way of sharing online the process of flipping furniture pieces.
While my blog has changed over the years as I began to write about more than just refinishing furniture, I've started to return to my original focus.  However, today's post will not be about that.

Recently, a neighbor and I were chatting about whether to buy new or used items for our kids. This particular friend mentioned she uses Facebook Marketplace.
My husband and I had been talking about the possibility of building some kind of outdoor play space for our family and ran the numbers on what it would cost to do so. We concluded that it would cost somewhere between $500-$700 for all the tools, materials, and lumber to build. I really didn't want to spend anywhere near that amount, so I thought this was a good chance to check the FB Marketplace out.

When I started to look I found a Rainbow Play Set that was listed well below our build cost just hours before. I wasn't sold on the price and this play set was located in Richmond. Not really what we had in mind. However, something in me said to just write the lady who was listing the swing set.  I contacted her and we negotiated on the price.  Afterwards, I told my husband about our FB exchange and he wasn't too happy about it, ha! I understood though...I mean, I didn't want to have to rent a trailer AND drive to Richmond just to get a swing set. Long story short, this lady and I agreed on a price that we thought was fair. We rented a trailer and hauled to Richmond one Saturday with our kids.

Once we got to Richmond, we were pleasantly surprised when we saw a Publix down the road from where we would be, so we decided to hit that up later in the evening. That alone should make this all worth it, right? (we really love Publix!)

Now before actually meeting this family, I got the impression they were believers. Something about the way the lady wrote, how quick and responsive she was, and how kind she was just gave me that impression.

Once we got to the house, we all got out and got to work. We thought it would only take a couple hours to take this beast apart...but boy were we wrong!! It took 6 hours!!! 6 hours!?! 
My husband was pretty patient with everything and even said to me that normally he would get really frustrated given the circumstances, but something about being at this family's house put him at peace. That was comforting!

I don't know if you are wondering what our kids did during ALL that time, but I'll tell you anyways. ;) The family who was selling this play set has 2 girls, ages 12 and 14. They took to our kids right away and played tag with them, raced around the yard, ate snacks and watched a movie together. Our kids were sooo happy playing and running around that day that they didn't even seem to mind that mommy and daddy were busy trying to figure out how we were going to take this thing apart and get it home safely. 

Another blessing was that this lady's husband did end up helping us, and one of their neighbors even came over to let us borrow some extra tools which helped speed things up a bit. Once we thought we were home free, we got what we thought we needed apart and got ready to put it in the trailer. Well, come to find out we had to take even more of this thing apart because it was too big to fit. Womp, womp!! 

Thankfully, our kids weren't ready to leave yet so we kept at it and finally got the last piece apart around 7:30pm. We noticed that there was a little bit of wood rot along the bottom of the boards on the tower and some of the bolts were rusted enough we would have to buy a couple more. Upon seeing and hearing this, the family insisted we take some of our money back. They generously refunded us half of the price.

Once all the pieces were inside the truck and we were ready to leave, the man began to share how he reads the Bible with his girls and how he went through it cover to cover with his daughter in 4 months. That was so encouraging! It felt like we had known them before and couldn't help to think how much God's hand was a part of this.

Even though it ended up being a long day, we had a lot of laughs with this family and seeing our kids run around happily with their girls made it all worth it. We exchanged numbers and some pictures of our kids playing (I won't share those here, but we do have one of them printed and hanging on our wall at home). The lady even gave away some toys to our kids including a toy airplane, skateboard, and other little goodies.

That day left such an impression on me, it's weird. I don't know, but the whole experience had both my husband and I pleasantly surprised because this was something we normally do not do. It's not like me to message someone I don't even know and head to their house to pick up something. I've almost never done that with furniture. I always meet in a public place. In saying all of this I wouldn't necessarily recommend someone do this on a regular basis by the way.

I sent some pictures to this family of the play set during and after setup and am now ready to share them on the blog. Get ready for lots of pics!

Before we (or shall I say my husband) could begin setup, we wanted to lay out all the pieces to see how they would fit between our 2 crepe myrtles. 

To keep our kiddos entertained, we busted out another thrifted $10 find- our Melissa and Doug easel. Tessa loves any Mo Willems book, so she got to work writing and drawing.

Lydia and Gavin found a few ladybugs and also played with the chalk wall that came with the swing set.

We did a little bit of reading. ;)

We wanted to stain all the wood, so I taped up any areas we didn't want to be sprayed.

  Staining in progress!

Putting up the roof!

I even got in on the job while little Miss Lydia snapped some pictures for us. :)

Almost finished!!!

Have to say, it looks like a brand new play set! 
Our kiddos have been using it whenever they can and we've already had a few families over to play on it with them.

Here's to many more days like this in the summer!