Monthly Archives: January 2015

10 Months

Josh’s passed the 10 month mark a few weeks ago, so I figured I’d better get this update out before I forget what’s happened this month!

It’s been a busy month. My mom broke her leg and ended up needing surgery the same week to secure the broken bone. She’s able to hop around a little and even recently drove herself to work, but there are still many things she cannot do. So we’ve been making trips to my parents house to help out when we can.

All three of us got sick with a nasty cold earlier this month, and I think it hit me the hardest. It’s been over 3 weeks and I still have a sore throat. Josh got a nasty cough that lasted for about two weeks. Except for my sore throat we are all better, thankfully!

We also refinished two pieces of furniture, which was a blast! Check out my blog posts on the dresser and the coffee table makeovers if you’re interested.

This month, Josh has slowly been turning more and more into a toddler. (Mind you, he’s still not crawling, although he does this funny shuffle-crawl.) My easy going boy is a bit more demanding these days. He throws a mini tantrum whenever I take something away from him, and he waves his arms and squawks loudly when he is ‘displeased.’ When he’s in his walker, he’s a little maniac, running around and banging into walls, or racing off to something he knows he can’t touch (like the oven). It’s pretty amusing.

"Mom, why won't this door open?"

“Mom, why won’t this door open?”

We do in fact provide him with real toys. But loves the non-toys most. Like this nasty bulb syringe.

We do in fact provide him with real toys, but he loves the non-toys most. Like this nasty bulb syringe.

He still continues to have a longer attention span than me, and loves touching different textures. He’s been obsessed with that for several months now. He likes to see how things work. For instance, out of the huge pile of toys in the living room, his favorite thing is the clasp on a toy box we have. We find him lifting the latch up and down and inspecting it from all sorts of angles. And in his crib, there are these little silky ties that secure the crib bumpers to the crib. I’ve double and even triple knotted those things and he always finds a way to untie them.


And, as you can see from the picture below, he is not playing with the toy below but rather inspecting the bottom of it. I wonder if this kid is going to grow up to be a mechanical engineer or something?


His front top two teeth came in over the last month. Teething for Josh isn’t too awfully bad — a few doses of Tylenol or Ibuprofen here or there, but generally he tends to sleep and eat well through it. I’m really thankful for that!

You can kind of see his upper teeth here.

You can kind of see one of his upper teeth here.

He’s transitioned to wanting only almost all finger foods this week. I love it because (even if it is terribly messy) I don’t have to sit there and shove food in his mouth and he can eat it at his own pace. He loves it! He gets everything from quinoa to avocados to meatballs to bananas to fried eggs to cheerios. Overall I’m just glad he’s not a picky eater. If he’s fairly hungry, he’ll still let me spoon feed him baby food too. So we’ve got options, which is really nice.

Sometimes when the lighting looks good I'll go and grab my camera. This is just a random "good lighting" pic, nothing more.

Sometimes when the lighting looks good I’ll go and grab my camera. This is just a random “good lighting” pic.

There’s a measles epidemic in California right now which has me a little worried since Josh won’t be able to get his MMR until he’s a year old. The Measles is so incredibly contagious. There’s only a few cases in our area for now, and I’m hoping it stays that way!

I’m really looking forward to transitioning Josh to cow’s milk in a month or two. We are both really over formula. And he just doesn’t really like it — to the point where I really have to cajole him (translation: sing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ over and over and over….) into taking enough to stay hydrated. He also doesn’t like water too much either, and will never take more than 1/2 oz at a time. He still has really wet diapers so I’m not worrying about it, but at the same time it would be nice if he just guzzled down his beverage for once!

Another reason he doesn't drink much water: The sippy cup is just SO INTERESTING and a huge distraction for him.

Another reason he doesn’t drink much water: Every sippy cup is just SO INTERESTING and a huge distraction for him.

He still naps pretty well, and takes two naps a day. He’ll nap anywhere from 1-3 hours a nap. His naps seems to be getting shorter later, which is nice. He goes to bed usually between 6:30-7 pm and wakes up between 7-7:30 am. And yes, I still give him a bottle every night. He usually guzzles down 6 oz. If only he drank more during the day…

All in all, things are going pretty well. We just love this little guy to pieces and love to watch him learn and grow.

Josh with my mom the first day she broke her leg.

Josh with my mom the first day she broke her leg.


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Filed under Baby

Coffee Table Makeover

For the longest time, I’ve wanted to find a cheap coffee table on craigslist and fix it up to look exactly like the coffee table I saw a few years back on Grace’s blog. We had a decent coffee table than we paid $100 for on sale at Ikea, so I couldn’t really justify spending much money to buy another one. Our coffee table was just fine–functional at the very least– but I didn’t really love it.

Our old Ikea coffee table.

Our old Ikea coffee table.

So I sold it for $45.

After a few months of intermittently checking craigslist, I finally found the winner. And the price was right, $50. Here’s what the coffee table looked like when I bought it:

{Coffee Table: Before}

{Coffee Table: Before}

The lady who sold it to me said that it had been an oak stain previously and that she had refinished it with an espresso stain. It looks nice in the picture but the stain job on the legs and drawer was really poor. So I thought about just painting the legs/base white and keeping the top unchanged except for one small problem. Trapped water.

Trapped water.

Trapped water. See that white hazy-looking area?

After asking a few questions and reading up on it, I discovered that there really wasn’t any way to get rid of that white spot (actually, there were three spots). According to my research I may have been able to deal with it if it had recently been stained, but the lady who sold it to me told me that it had been in her storage unit for a while (and that’s probably where that trapped water came from since it had been a little damp in there).

I had my heart set on using Minwax’s Dark Walnut stain for the top anyhow. So I headed off to the hardware store and happily bought my sandpaper, Minwax stain, a new paintbrush, another $3 sample of Behr paint and two small cans of Minwax polycrylic which happened to be 75% off and only $2.20 a piece. Altogether, I spent $26, but it would have only been $17 if I had left out the paintbrush and the extra can of polycrylic (which I didn’t need for this project but wanted to buy because it was marked down).

I applied my dust mask, loaded the sandpaper in the orbital sander, and got to work.

Let the sanding begin!

Let the sanding begin!

At this point I was feeling quite a bit less enthusiastic about the whole sanding process (translation: my arms turned into jelly) and thankfully my hubby mostly finished the sanding by himself. (The guy could sand for about 20x longer than me. Never mind that I lug around a 20 pound baby all day every day!)


It’s getting there…



We moved everything into the front yard so as to keep things as quiet as possible while our little guy was sleeping.

We moved everything into the front yard so as to keep things as quiet as possible while our little guy was sleeping. And yes, my husband is wearing a bacon shirt.

In the meantime, I sanded down the drawer of the coffee table and the legs with a very fine grit sandpaper and put a coat of Zinsser primer paint on it. Once that dried, I applied a coat of Ultra Pure White Behr paint on top. But it was just too white, and looked rather harsh. So I went back to the hardware store, stared at all 50 choices of white shades, and came home with another $3 sample can in the shade of Magnolia Blossom.

In the meantime, the coffee table was finally sanded. My hubby said there were just a few more small areas to work on, so I took the sander with a fresh piece of sandpaper and gave it a go. Less than a minute later I hit a patch that looked like this:

Particle board. Can you see it?

Particle board. Can you see it?

I felt like a real dummy to not even check to see if the table had a veneer. But it did. Between the last owner sanding it down, and us sanding it down, it looks like we had just about sanded off all the real wood. I wasn’t sure what this meant and whether it would stain well at all, but there was only one way to find out…

Minwax Dark Walnut stain.

Minwax Dark Walnut stain.

I took the plunge and stained it using an old paintbrush I didn’t like to use for actual ‘painting.’ After I was done, I looked at it carefully. It did look lighter in the “particle wood” patch. So I let it sit for 24 hours to let the stain fully soak in. It was already as dark as I wanted it, so I didn’t apply another coat of the stain.

The next day it looked a little better. There were some shiny spots on the table that I wasn’t sure about. My cousin and her husband were helping me with some of the staining details and they said I might as well ignore it since the entire top would by shiny after applying the top coat anyhow!  So I sealed it. I put on 3 coats of Minwax’s polycrylic on the top, leaving 3 hours for drying time in between each coat. I also finished painting the rest of the table with the Magnolia Blossom white paint and sealed it with 2 coats of polycrylic. Coffee tables can take a beating from small children so I wanted it to be {somewhat} durable!

After a coat of polycrylic.

After the first coat of polycrylic.

Lastly, I hauled the coffee table inside and put it back together. I could not be more pleased with the results! It was exactly what I had been hoping for!

{Coffee Table: After}

{Coffee Table: After}


(I guess this is the epitome of laziness: Too lazy to even remove my running shoes for the picture.)

(I guess this is the epitome of laziness as I didn’t even bother to remove my running shoes for the picture.)

Thanks for checking out my little DIY project!


Filed under DIY

Dresser Makeover

I have a confession to make.

I LOVE furniture makeovers. When I’m in the middle of a project, I  wake up in the morning excited to get started on it. I’ll check my weather app on my phone: “Is it 50F outside yet or is it still too cold to paint? When can I get started?” It’s really turning into a hobby for me these days.

As for furniture building, we do have a little history together.

When I was in high school my Grandma bought me this old ugly wooden chest with a beautiful cedar interior that she intended for me to use as my hope chest. We sanded it down, stained and sealed it with polyurethane, and then added some legs to it that I picked out at the hardware store. I was 18 then, but I was absolutely enthralled with how it turned out. We had taken something fairly ugly and made it beautiful in my eyes. The chest still sits in our bedroom today. I will never get rid of this piece of furniture because of the memories I have from transforming it with my Grandma (she passed away when I was 23).

My hope chest. (My husband loves to store his clothes on top of it now.)

My hope chest, with the lid a little propped open from too many things jammed inside it. (My husband loves to store his clothes on top of it now.)

When I went away to college, I had need for a bookshelf and a small kitchen table. My Grandma was pretty sick then, so this time my Grandpa helped me build both a bookshelf and a table using the same stain combo we used to match the hope chest. The table is dismantled and it lives in our rafters now (it only seats 4 people — it’s more like an apartment sized table) and the bookshelf lives in my little sister’s living room (since the house we bought a few years ago had a giant whole-wall bookshelf already built in). I had to dig around a little to find some pictures of both the shelf and table… they aren’t the best quality but here you go:

I spent half a lifetime digging this picture up from the recesses of my computer brain. This was our first apartment we lived in when we got married. It was pretty ugly, but I did like our table. :)

I spent half a lifetime finding this picture in the recesses of my computer brain. This was our first apartment we lived in when we got married. It was pretty ugly, but I did like our table.

This is really the only picture I could find, and it's a terrible one. It's just a basic bookshelf, except that I added moulding on the top and bottom to make it a little fancier (please ignore the hideous sofa that we had to beg some poor college student to take it away for free...).

This is really the only picture I could find with the bookshelf in it, and it’s a terrible one. It’s just a basic bookshelf, except that I added molding on the top and bottom to make it a little fancier (please ignore the hideous sofa that we had to beg some poor college student to take away for free…).

The last time I built something, or even refinished something, was a few years ago when I used a gel stain to refinish our bathroom cabinets (but that’s a whole post in itself). So I’ve was missing my little hobby. When some friends of ours kindly gave us a dresser, I stared at that dresser for a few years to see what I could do to it to help it match the decor in our room a little better. This was the dresser:

Dresser pre-makeover

Dresser: Before

It’s a nice dresser, but I didn’t really love the hardware on it, and we didn’t have any other furniture in that stain color. I began reading Virginia’s DIY furniture makeover blog and saw that she had great ideas for using all kinds of paint. Her furniture looked spectacular! So I followed her tutorial for her dresser (read about it specifically here) and this is what I came up with:

The finished product.

Dresser: After.

Since the dresser was laminate, I used a Zinsser primer which worked like a charm. I then spent $3 on a Behr paint sample at Home Depot and put on two coats with that single sample can of paint. The color I chose was Provence Blue. I then sealed it two coats of Minwax’s polycrylic– which was easy to use, low odor, and fast drying.

The hardware was important to me as I felt it would really make the dresser stand out a bit more. I went to the hardware store and looked around, and basically discovered that the pieces I liked were around $4 each. With ten pieces to buy, that was too expensive for my budget. So instead, I found a knob for $1.30/piece that was just the wrong color for my tastes, paid $5 for a can of Rustoleum spray paint (also Virginia’s idea) and painted them all. They were bronze and I painted them silver.

I spray painted the knobs to make them silver.

I spray painted the knobs to make them silver.

My hubby had to drill new holes for the new hardware and patch the old holes from the old hardware (the patching was the very first step). He put on the new knobs,  and now I was thrilled with the final results!



All in all, this dresser makeover cost about $50. It would have been cheaper if it didn’t need to have the old hardware holes filled — the stuff my husband bought to seal the holes (I can’t remember what he used, sorry) was NOT cheap! The primer and polycrylic were a little pricey but even the smallest containers of it will last for at least one or two more projects. In fact, the primer alone would last for several projects. The cheapest part was the paint itself. Ironic, isn’t it?

So that’s the story with the dresser. Next time I’ll blog on the coffee table. It’s currently in the garage awaiting it’s next coat of paint. Gotta get to it before the little buddy wakes up from his nap. See you next time!


Filed under DIY, Furniture Makeover