A Little Beauty

As we are starting to grow our little hobby business, we got the privilege of taking on the restoration of this little beauty.

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This piece stole our hearts the second we laid eyes on it!  Such beautiful detail, solid wood, and lots of years of love shown through on their little beauty.

This piece was also super unique in that it opened as a desk on the top!  Super cool!  You can tell from the images above that she needed a little love…

Her owners really didn’t know what they wanted to do with it, they just knew that it needed a little help.  They left the restoration in our hands (I know, super trusting right?!).  As we worked on bringing her back to life, we keep saying “Man, we should offer to buy this piece from them!”

We sanded and re-stained the top, and slide out pieces.  We gave her a couple coats of gray paint, and finished her off with an antiquing glaze.  Gave the original hardware a coat of paint and put her back together.  Still in love!

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Wow!  We have to deliver her back to her rightful owners this week, but man we sure did enjoy working on bringing this beauty back to life!

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If you have a piece that needs a little love, we would be happy to take care of it for you!  Check out our For Sale page to see how to get in touch with us!

365 Days with the Lord

**Personal Post**

This year I have committed to writing out 365 bible verses.  Why?  Because it causes me to sit with the Lord, spend time with the Lord, and reflect on the words of the Lord.

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I have a little confession to make…I am not a good prayer, a good scripture reader, or even a good christian…none of us are really.  My goal this year is  to make God first.  Sure, I have made Him a priority this past year, but God and I have had a few disagreements in the past.  I just couldn’t seem to get a handle on the fact that ultimately I am NOT in control…and I really can’t have a full and complete life until I realize that God is in control…AND hardest of all…hand EVERYTHING over to him and STOP trying to control my destiny!

Many times I make decisions first and then talk to God about it later.  I am sure he gets a few laughs out of my fumbles, and sometimes he is probably even disappointed in my choices.  This year I will be purposeful in putting prayer first!

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I will tell you that my sweet daddy prompted this choice for me.  At Christmas he wrote a family letter telling all of us specifically, individually and as couples, how he is proud of us.  (We also watched the AMAZING movie “War Room” – watch it – you must!!)  At the end of the letter he included a small monetary amount and asked us to share this with someone in need.  I have held on to this money and have yet to be called to give it.  Finally, God slapped me on the forehead (like those V-8 commercials) and said, “If you would pray about it, and ask me, I would be happy to tell you what to do with it!”  So right there I promised God that I would pray over that money…and then it snowballed…I will pray over my marriage, my travels, my finances, my fertility (thats the hardest for me).  I will hand it ALL over to God!

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So shortly after that, while scrolling through Facebook, I found this Scripture Writing Plan.  In the past I had seen these and thought they were silly.  Why copy bible verses down?  Just read it and reflect on it and you should be good right?!  Well, since I needed some direction in my prayer I decided to try it…just for these 31 days…let’s see what happens…can’t hurt right?!

Let me tell y’all something…EVERY SINGLE VERSE spoke directly to me!  To my fears, my hurts, my wishes and dreams!!  Wow!

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I would turn on Pandora to “Vertical Church Band” and I copied one verse a day (it really did only take me 10 minutes + doodle time).  After I copied the verse I would spend some time doodling, praying, and talking with God. (Sometimes I would doodle first….depending on my mood that day!)  Taking the time to doodle is what really would calm me down, almost like meditation!

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It has created a peace in me…and proved that God has just been waiting for me to show up.  This small act of coping a verse a day has renewed my faithfulness and inspired me to reach a goal of writing a verse a day for the entire year of 2016!

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Will you join me?  Just try for a month and see what amazing plans God has in store for you!  Do you need help?  I will be happy to help you find a list of verses to start with, or go back and spend just 31 days trying the verses above…I promise you won’t regret it!

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Italian Foil Pack Chicken

Are you looking for a simple, super delicious dinner?  Try this one out!

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Have you ever made a foil packet dinner?  I have two on the meal plan for this week and I love them!  You literally toss everything into a sheet of foil, fold it up and bake it!  And the clean up is super simple too!

I sliced up all my veggies, but if you aren’t on a super tight budget you could make the dinner even faster to put together by purchasing veggies that are already chopped up! (I just loved cooked carrots!  So healthy and such beautiful color!!)

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So here is the simple process.  Slice the veggies, cut the fat off your chicken, put it all on a sheet of foil, spoon a little dressing over the top, fold up and bake…yep thats it!

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This particular recipe included 4 oz of chicken breast, sliced yellow onion, julienned carrots, julienned red peppers, and 2 tablespoons of Italian dressing in each foil wrapper.

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** Don’t judge my wrapping skills…not pretty I know, but most effective! **

While these babies were cooking it filled out house with the most amazing smell!  They came out of the oven perfectly steamed to fork tender!  Hubs scrapped off the veggies, so I ate double helpings.  It was so delicious and definitely in our “make-again” folder!

Italian Foil Packet Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
 Ingredients:

  • 4 heavy duty sheets of aluminum foilIMG_5319
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, julienned
  • 4 large carrots, julienned
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basel
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite Italian dressing

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375.
  2. Cut excess off breasts, and cut into 4 oz pieces (if you have pups, don’t throw away your excess – see below)
  3. Put carrots in the  microwave with one teaspoon of water and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Mix the basil, garlic, and Italian dressing together in a small bowl.
  5. Place one piece of chicken on each sheet of foil (season with salt and pepper)
  6. Cover and surround each piece of chicken with carrots, peppers, and onions.
  7. Spoon 2 tablespoons of dressing mix over each chicken.
  8. Fold the sides of the foil over the chicken, covering completely.  Seal the packets closed.
  9. Place foil packets on a baking sheet, and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

So if you have pups, like we do….save your scraps you cut off of your chicken.  (Spilling secrets here – I always cut a little more off than necessary because I know it’s going to the girls ;0)  I wrapped up their scraps in foil, and only added carrots and 1 tablespoon of Italian dressing – NO onions, peppers, or salt & pepper.  Onions are BAD for dogs – DO NOT feed your babies onions!  I baked their chicken with ours and made a special dinner bowl for them when it all came out of the oven!

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Yep – my 2dogs are spoiled rotten!  They loved the chicken of course and gobbled it right up!  The hardest part was keeping the kitty out of their bowls long enough for me to snap a picture.  And I leave you with a quick little video of  the girls saying “thank you” for their special chicken dinner! :0) Their sweet tails wagged the whole time they were eating!

 

When Are You Guys Having Kids?!

** Personal Post **

Confession – I have had this post in my mind for a couple of years now.  It will be by far the easiest post to type and the hardest one to make live on the blog.  I finally decided to be honest, to share our story with the world, and to hang on for the rest of the ride.

I was talking to a dear friend the other day.  A friend who recently conceived her first child, and then heartbreakingly lost the baby, and is now pregnant again with a tiny blessing.  We were talking about the strange secret society that women have…and how sad it is.  When women go through something devastating they feel so alone.  It doesn’t matter how supportive your husband is, he just can’t understand the struggle the same way.  But once you announce this struggle to a couple of friends, and the word starts to spread, its like everyone you know has gone through the same thing, or something similar…and you really aren’t alone.  It’s comforting when you see that these friends have made it to the other side, and there is still hope for your dreams to come true.

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(Insert Deep Breath and Anxiety Tears HERE) So here I am to tell my story.  The story of a dream still waiting on God’s timing to come true.

My amazing hubs and I have been sweethearts since high school (thats a long story for another day), and I couldn’t have found a more perfect match.  We got married over 10 years ago in a picture perfect day that I will never forget.  We wanted a couple of years to just enjoy each other, get our feet up under our marriage, and grow our careers.  Basically we needed to grow up before we had kids.

Fast forward 5 years, and we have bought our first home.  We are both in graduate school, both teachers, two awesome pups, and everything looks great for starting a family.  All of our friends keep saying things like “You two will be the first to have kids, we just know it!”  A year goes by, and then two…

Fast forward to year 9 of our marriage…still no bambino…my heart is starting to break.   I am absolutely in love with all the sweet babies that my friends have, but my heart breaks a little every time a new “I’m Pregnant” comes along.  My heart breaks for me, my husband, my family.  People keep asking “When are you two going to have a baby?”  “You guys are going to be such great parents, what are you waiting for?”  Well, folks, we aren’t waiting…we are struggling.  Some comments, even though they aren’t meant to be, are very hurtful, “It must be nice to be able to buy a boat…a corvette…a Tahoe”  “I remember how nice it was to just up and go travel without the kids.”  Well, just so you know, I would trade places with any of those people in a heart beat!

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As we continue to try to grow our family, we are still living life.  Taking in a 14 year old (who changed our lives forever), getting a boat, our dream car, taking in a German Intern, and traveling any chance we get.  All of these things have enriched our lives and we wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything in the world, but we still have a huge hole in our house….that baby’s room that still sits empty…waiting on our family to grow.

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I have struggled so much with our fertility.  I have questioned God.  I have been angry, sad, devastated, heartbroken, hopeful, and defeated again.  Then something happened this year.  We joined a church that we love (another long story about the journey to find our church home), and I found a peaceful place with God.  I was able to talk calmly to my hubs about our fertility and we began the newest part of the journey (our journey) to parenthood.  I went through testing and hormone treatments, Hubs went through testing, and everything keeps coming out good.  We are all clear, healthy, nothing to be worried about….so where is the baby!?

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This past week we went to the final testing procedure.  I underwent an HSG procedure at the hospital to see if my tubes were open or closed.  The results of this test would help us make some big decisions about moving forward.  I was terrified of the physical pain.  I was told it would feel like birthing contractions – yikes! (and totally not fair).  I was terrified of the results.  What if I am the reason we can’t have kids?!  I didn’t know how I would handle that.  I spent a lot of time with God that week asking for peace.  I just wanted to be able to stay calm and have a peace about the results either way.  I believe that God has an amazing plan for our family and I just needed to put all my trust in Him.

So…the test went amazingly!  I am all clear.  Results were good.  Tubes are open! Doc says try for a couple more months, and if we aren’t pregnant we can move forward with either adoption or an IUI procedure.  But as I walked out of the room (with happy tears running down my face), she said “I don’t need to be the first call when you are pregnant…but I would like to be in the top 5” with a huge smile on her face.

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So are we pregnant?  Nope…not as I type this post…but I PROMISE we will tell the world when we are (or when we adopt!).  We know that we have a special support system that will lift us up in prayers.  We know that God’s timing is perfect.

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I wanted to write this post for a few reasons: 1) Stop asking when we will have kids….we will have them when God is ready. 🙂  2) Stop thinking that you are alone in your struggles….if you are struggling with fertility you are most definitely not alone!  3) I also wanted to bring to light, that no matter how good someone’s life looks from the outside…everyone is working through a struggle on the inside. Remember that and treat others with compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, and all of this with love! (Colossians 3: 12 – 14).

A Quick Rainy Day Upgrade

Yesterday we decided to do a quick upgrade to our basement.  Yes, our basement is pretty much done with any updates we can do, but we still have the stairs…ugh…the carpeted stairs.

IMG_5092Our ultimate goal is to get the carpet off the stairs and change them over to wooden, but right now we just don’t want to make the mess. One little thing we CAN go ahead and do is take down the ugly railing…and give it a facelift!

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“What!?  What are y’all doing now?  No – you can’t do anything without the three of us in tow.” 🙂  My crazy photo bombers!

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So the hardware got a coat of spray paint and a little time with my dear friend the DeWalt Sander, a coat of our favorite stain, and the final coat of varnish on the wooden rail…

And you have a beautiful little upgrade.  It just adds one more little piece of character…a little piece of us!  We love it!  Now to dream for what’s next!

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Cinnamon Roll Smoothie

I love smoothies…they are simple, quick to make, and can easily be packed with fruits and veggies!  They are also perfect for taking on the go!  This morning we were looking for something a little sweet.  I guess we are trying to wean ourselves off the holiday eating cycle.  This Cinnamon Roll Smoothie was the perfect transition smoothie!

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Cinnamon Roll Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 5 mins
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print
 Ingredients:  

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 3/4 cup milkIMG_5065.JPG
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons of Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to the blender.
  2. Blend until very smooth.
  3. Add a straw and Enjoy!

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Trying Something New (for us)

If you know us…or have even read part of our blog…you know we LOVE antiques!  I am especially in love with antiques that have a family history.  Take a peek at this beauty…

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Hey – be nice!  Yeah, so she is a little worn and torn, but that is what makes her so beautiful!  She has a long history and many stories in those scratches.  This dining hutch belonged to my paternal grandparents, and was then passed down to my parents.  This hutch is part of the dining set that I remember growing up with!  She held all our precious things like grandmother’s china, my first tooth, my brothers first haircut clipping, our piece of the original UGA hedges, etc.  She has been moved from state to state, house to house. Hubs and I think she is PERFECT – she just needs a little CPR to be brought back to life!

The poor gal was covered in scratches (from kids and cats and dogs and who knows what else) and the handles were falling off from her move up here from Florida.  She was definitely looking a little rough, but Hubs and I could see the beauty underneath it all.

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We started by taking out all the drawers, taking off the cabinet doors, and taking off the hardware.  When I pulled a drawer out, I saw this beautiful company stamp and stopped to do a little research (don’t you love smart phones?! – get answers to your questions right away where ever you are).  The Temple Stuart Furniture Company began in 1910 and ramped up production of furniture after WWII.  This particular factory closed down in 1960. We are not sure the exact age of this piece, but we don’t really care.  We are more in love with the memories that she holds in that beautiful wood grain….now to bring her back to life!

We started with the belt sander to get all the varnish off the top.  We then used the hand sander to bring back the beauty of the original wood grain.

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We chose to go with a Dark Mahogany stain on the top of the hutch to bring out the beauty of the natural wood grain.  Then we covered the top with three coats of a spar varnish.  I plan to protect that pretty wood…I also want to use this piece as a serving hutch in our basement and need a durable top to protect it when we put food and drinks on it.

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Once we stained it, there were a few nicks and scratches that didn’t come out, but I am IN LOVE with them!  It leaves a little character to the old lady.

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Now for the bottom – um, we were nervous about this one!  This is the first time we have tried to refinish an antique and actually give it an antique look.  We usually give our pieces a nice clean finish that makes them look new, but with this one we wanted something a little different.  We were worried about getting started because the top looked so beautiful.  We didn’t want to mess up the bottom…but there is nothing you can do but just dive in…so that’s exactly what we did!

We started by lightly sanding down the doors, drawers, and sides.  The goal was just to get the “gook” off and scuff up the surface, not to take it all the way back down to the original wood since we would be painting it instead of staining it.  (Above:  2 pictures on the left are before sanding, top right is after sanding)

Next came the paint…Ugh…this was a difficult decision.  You can see that we bought paint + primer to hopefully take less coats (we did two coats), and you can also see that I changed my mind after we already had the paint mixed!  Thank goodness the paint guy was in a  great mood today.  He remixed my “Touch of Grey” to “Saddlehorn Grey” because I thought the first mix was way too light.

The paint went on great!  Truth:  At this point in the process I still think the paint is too light.  You can see the nice contrast between the dark stained top and the lighter bottom, but I was hoping for more gray.

Now for the super scary part!  We bought two types of antiquing glaze and tried them both on a scrap painted piece of wood first.  We have never used this type of product before, so Hubs had spent hours researching how to use it.

Both products went on easily and achieved the type of look we were going for, but the Rust-oleum was a brown tint, and the Valspar was a black tint.  We went with the Valspar for this project.  Sorry there are no pictures of the process to apply the glaze…we were nervous…and it is a FAST multi-step process.

  1.  Apply the glaze all over your product with a foam brush, making sure to follow the wood grain and get in the nooks and crannies.
  2. Use a shop towel (no lint) and wipe off the glaze.  Leave the glaze where you want it…like in the edges and creases.
  3. Use a damp sponge to clear the large surface areas of excess glaze.
  4. You have 15 minutes to work with the glaze.  If you wipe away too much, just re-apply and re-wipe.  The hardest part was trying to keep each piece somewhat consistent on the “look” and amount of glaze left on the piece.

Here is a before and after of one of the drawers with the antiquing glaze:

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I was so worried, but in the end I really love the overall look!  We continued on glazing and wiping to finish the drawers, doors, and cabinet.

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After the coat of antiquing glaze went on, I am actually kind of glad we went with the lighter grey.  It darkened it up a little and added so much character that I don’t think we would have seen on the darker grey.  Plus I have a happy husband that didn’t have to go back and have the paint remixed a third time.

Hubs wanted to give the top of the hutch an over-the-top finish.  He wet sanded the dry varnish and gave it one last coat, then buffed it to the perfect shine…the result was a glass-like finish on the top!

 

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We sprayed a protective satin finish clear coat over the entire piece.

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The hardware was our final dilemma.  At first we liked the natural patina look of the handles and we were just going to clean off the hardware and reattach it.  But once the drawers were finished and we held the hardware up to it, we decided the color was way off.  So off we went to 3 stores hunting new hardware…no luck.  Nothing would fit the pre-drilled holes (of course).  So we ended up with a can of Rust-Oleum spray paint, and back to the original hardware.

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We are so pleased with this refurbished piece!  I just love that with a little bit of elbow grease, you can take something old and tired and turn it into a beautiful piece that will last another 70+ years in the family! (sorry for the bad lighting in the basement…these pictures really don’t do the finished piece any justice!)

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If you are looking to have a special piece of your own refinished, check out our For Sale Page to see how you can get a quote for us to do the elbow grease work for you!

And just because….Don’t you just love my little blogging partner?!  He has made his own little spot on my grandmother’s chest in my office.  It took me a long time to heal the heartbreak of loosing my Enzo, but I have finally let Gauge into my heart…man oh man I love this wild child!

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