Sunday, March 31, 2013

And the Big Surprise Is...

So I know a lot of you read my last post, and I think I caused quite a bit of curiosity with the mention of a big surprise. A handful of you even texted me to make a guess. When every single one of those texts asked the same thing, I wondered if the other 50-something readers had the same thought. I figured I should start this post by putting to rest the probably-most-popular-assumption.....
I am not pregnant. :)
It's funny how once you are married, the next question people ask is 
"when are you going to have kids?"

My answer:
 (in spite of my dad's encouragement that he is ready to be a grandpa)
in about 4-5 years

Now that we are all on the same page, any new guesses?

Well, without further ado...
 the big surprise is...

We bought a house!!!

Okay, so this picture looks like we bought a terrible patch of weeds, so let me clarify...

We are building a house!!!

 I think they broke ground a couple weeks ago. Due to some miscommunication we weren't informed like we wanted to be when they actually broke ground. I found out this last week by driving home this way from work. Imagine my surprise when I saw this huge cement hole.

I called my husband to tell him. We met there when he got off work so we could take some pictures together. Here he is standing in what will be his shop!

 My man by his man door.

 Our basement!

So excited about the size of the backyard!

The view we will have from our front porch.

 I picked 3 spots (based on cuts in the curb and cracks in the sidewalk) where I will take pictures through the various stages so we can see the progression. This is the first spot.

Picture location #2

Picture location #3
 When I left the house, I grabbed my camera and the tripod. However, I failed to grab the tripod adapter so that my camera could actually sit on the tripod and be used to take a picture of both of us. Needless to say that meant we had to come back the next day.

When we returned, we were greeted with wet concrete. 
This is our 2-car garage.

In addition to the 2-car garage, we added a 3rd tandem stall. 
The back half of this stall will be the shop.

A different shot of the basement.

When finished, our house will (structurally) look like this except a mirror image. 
Our garages are on the left and the front porch on the right.

As for colors, our house will look more like this palette.

After looking at some houses and not finding what we were really wanting, we decided to look more seriously into the route of building a home. We quickly found a builder and a floor plan we liked and made some customizations so that it was what we truly wanted in a house. 

The past month we have got to pick out all our appliances, flooring, counter tops, cupboards, door knobs, exterior colors, light fixtures, rock work,  and interior paint. Some choices were easier than others but it has all been very fun and exciting. 
I feel so blessed by this amazing house we get to move into in three months!
Keep coming back to see our house as it comes along. I can't wait until it starts to look like a house and you can see all the different rooms! I am FULL of so many decorating ideas and DIY plans. I look forward to living in this house for many years, decorating it, creating memories, turning it into a home, and yes, someday raising a family in it. I'm excited to be able to share the whole journey with you. I have been inspired by so many other blogs about home remodeling, decorating, etc. and I can't wait to join in.

Hooray for a new house!

So is that what you thought my big surprise would be?

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Blessed Week

What a week! Last Saturday, I blogged about making a dishwasher-safe Sharpie mug. I linked up to 10 parties and was then invited to link up at 3 more. This post became a record for my blog! 21 comments and 234 views is BY FAR the most my humble little blog has ever seen! I feel so blessed in this small thing. On top of the popularity of the post in those numbers, my post was chosen as a favorite from two of the parties. Thank you to the following blogs that featured my DIY project!


While this blog excitement has definitely been a highlight in my week, I have been blessed in several other ways!

On Sunday, we had some wonderful friends over for the first grilling of the season! The weather has started warming up and we all thought a little grilling would not only be fun but might coax summer to come sooner. We decided kabobs would be fun and then we could build our own. I prepped red onion, cherry tomatoes, green bell pepper, pineapple chunks, potatoes, kielbasa sausage, pork, and chicken and then we skewered away. Don't they look so summery?!

On Monday, we had a shocking surprise, which I will blog about this weekend! :)

Tuesday was my last day of school before spring break. We celebrated Easter by writing from the perspective of a bunny and sorting jelly beans! It was a fun day but also a little bit crazy as spring break is very much needed for all of us. That night, I tried a new recipe. I saw this pizza that looked so delicious! I adapted the recipe a bit for time and diet reasons. I used Pillsbury pizza dough from the can instead of making my own dough. I also cooked the pizza in the oven instead of a skillet. Finally, I did not use cheese as I don't really care for cheese and my husband is allergic to dairy. I did sprinkle just a bit of parmesan since it didn't seem like pizza without cheese but it didn't need it.
When it came out of the oven, my hubby was shocked at how good it looked. Then, after one bite, he said "you can make this again!" I love cooking and like to try new recipes. I feel so blessed because he both enjoys and supports this. He is fun to cook for and I love it when he loves the food. We both got to take some leftovers for lunch the next day. I had several other teachers eyeing it, asking if it was homemade, and asking for the recipe! Pizza success :)

Tuesday ended with an extra blessing in the form of a very TALL person---my "little" brother. He was driving from school to my parent's house and texted me after 10pm to see if I was still up as he was driving by and wanted to know if I wanted a hug. Isn't he so great? Of course I wanted a hug! I climbed out of bed, and tiptoed to the front door. My brother is 6'8" and gives wonderful bear hugs! He is 2 1/2 years younger than I am and we are very close. Because he goes to school six hours away, we don't get to see each other very often so a late night hug and 3 minute catch-up chat was awesome!

On Wednesday I had the majority of my parent/teacher conferences. I was blessed by several of my parents telling me how much their child loved being in school, loved learning, and enjoyed having me as a teacher. Those are the things a teacher needs to hear every so often to know it is worth it. :)

Thursday presented a new job opportunity for me! One of the 4th grade teachers at our school is not able to come back after break due to some personal reasons. They needed a long-term sub to take her class so they asked the ALP math teacher. That meant, there was no one to teach ALP math for 3rd and 4th grade in the afternoons. From previous conversations, my principal knew that I was interested in intermediate grades and that I loved math. Since I am a half-day AM Kindergarten teacher, she asked me if I would be interested in taking over those two math classes. While it does mean I have only 10 minutes to switch from Kindergarten to 4th grade math in a classroom at the other end of the school, no time for lunch, and giving up a good chunk of my spring break to develop lessons, I said "yes"! I do have interest in teaching an intermediate grade at some point. I think this is a great opportunity and  will give me a good experience to know if I do enjoy 3rd and 4th grade and teach some deeper math concepts. I think the hardest part for me right now is trying to transition my brain from adding and subtracting within 5 with my Kindergartners to very bright students. My frame of reference is a bit skewed as of now :)

I got to end Thursday with a great phone chat with my best friend. It has been a long time since we talked and it was so good to catch up. She has been my friend since we were 8 and no matter how long we go without seeing each other or talking, we pick up RIGHT where we left off and are laughing right away. She always has the best stories to tell. I am very blessed by her friendship and love the time we do get to spend together.

Today I was blessed by some quality time with my husband. We got to sleep in and get some much needed rest. Then we handled some business related to the surprise from Monday. :) We also went for a drive around the area. A little basketball filled the afternoon and evening although my bracket is totally dead now.

I am very much looking forward to this weekend and the following week of break. I hope to be productive and yet find time for relaxing as well.

Check back soon to find out what the surprise is :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

DIY Chevron Mug

How many of you have seen the Pinterest posts for making your own Sharpie mug? They're all over, right? But if you've searched enough, you also have seen people say it is a Pinterest Fail. The Sharpie is not dishwasher safe. Back in January, I had a hangout day with several of my girlfriends. I bought Dollar Store mugs for all of us and we used my Sharpies to design our own mugs. It was a lot of fun, but I warned them it might not be dishwasher safe. I have still not used or washed this mug yet so did not really know what would happen.

home is where the heart is: DIY Chevron Mug

On Friday, my teacher partner approached me with an idea for gifts for our reading switch teachers. She thought maybe the students in each group could decorate some sort of travel mug for their teacher. Then this idea popped into my head! I had seen this blog post about dishwasher safe Sharpie mugs, but had not had time to try it out yet. I told the other teacher about it and that I would test it this weekend before we had the students do it.

With that said, I left school and stopped by our new JoAnn's to get a Sharpie oil-based paint marker and then the Dollar Store to get a white mug. I used a 50% off coupon at JoAnn's so the marker cost $1.84 and the mug cost $1.06. This project cost $2.90!!!

Sharpie is not the only brand that makes these markers, but they were the best price. They sell them in extra fine, fine, medium, and bold tips. You can get individual markers or a pack of 5. I chose yellow although I was a little bit nervous that it would show up very well on the white mug. My skepticism comes from the regular Sharpie markers not being very bold on the mug.

I used a ruler to measure and cut 2inch strips of masking tape. I then cut each 2inch strip in half (vertically) so that I had two skinnier 2inch pieces. I started at the top of the mug and worked to overlap tape pieces in a chevron strip pattern. This definitely took some work, patience, and good eyeballing. I asked my husband several times if it looked right. My mug tapered which made it hard to keep the stripes the same going down the mug.

Once the mug was all taped off, it was time to paint! The directions on the marker say to take the cap off and depress the tip one time with your finger. Put the cap back on and shake to get the paint flowing. (Shake it with the tip down). Then press the tip down a few times on the surface to get the paint flowing steadily.

Here is my mug all painted. I decided to leave the handle white since that would have been really hard to do in the chevron (at least for me). You can't really tell in the picture, but you can somewhat see pen strokes. I found that if you pressed the tip down every so often, the paint would come out and spread better rather than look like a marker.

I let the mug dry for over an hour before taking the tape off.

There were several places where the paint had seeped under the tape and my stripes didn't have nice crisp edges. I dipped a q-tip in rubbing alcohol and "painted" it on top of the areas I wanted to "erase". I used the dry side of the q-tip to actually wipe the unwanted yellow off. This worked really well!

According to the blog post, the mug should go in the oven WHILE it preheats to 350. I put mine on a tray so that it wouldn't fall over. Once the oven reaches 350, set a timer for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, turn the oven off, but leave the mug in the oven while both cool down. I left the oven door cracked open a bit to help this part move along.

It came out looking great! I was so excited/proud of my work!
Finally it was the time for the dishwasher test. I grabbed my other Sharpie mug so that I could compare results.
Here are the mugs before the dishwasher.

And after.
NOTE: The before picture was taken at night so I did use flash. The after picture was taken this morning with natural light. The dishwasher did NOT change the shade of yellow on the Chevron mug, that is due to my light source. The dishwasher DID however fade away several of the polka dots from the regular Sharpies.

Conclusion: regular Sharpies are NOT dishwasher safe, but the paint Sharpies are!!!

You might see some bleeding of the yellow and think my edges aren't that crisp. That is NOT what it looked like when I finished with the rubbing alcohol. I'm not sure if the oven or dishwasher did that. It's a little bit fuzzy but I'm okay with it. I am still so excited and pleased with how it turned out! Also very happy that the yellow really contrasts with the white unlike the regular yellow Sharpie.

What do you think? Would you try this? If you do, let me know how it goes!

Thank you to Emily at Scribbles from Emily for the tutorial!

As you saw in my post earlier today, I did buy the pack for my students and I am excited about the cute mugs they will create for their reading teachers!

I've linked up at the following parties:
five days five ways | feature friday free for all
Here Comes the Sun


Keeping It Simple

More the Merrier Monday

        Positively Splendid

A Grand Exception

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to sleep in. I look forward to Saturday mornings just for the sake of NOT being awake for them. I love the sound of no alarm clocks. Mmmm! My hubby knows not to plan anything before 10:00 am for Saturdays and that even a an appointment before noon is pushing it :)

BUT, once in a great while there is a grand enough reason to make an exception to my lovely rule.

The alarms went off at 7:30,  hubby made a delicious breakfast of champions, we bundled up in several layers, and I made a hazelnut latte to help keep me warm. We grabbed all the coupons in sight and headed to the mall for...

JoAnn's Grand Opening!

Our new store actually opened two weeks ago but Thursday, Friday, and today were the grand opening days. Each day, the first 100 customers received a gift card for either $10, $20, or $250 and you could enter a drawing for a $500 card. There were also several coupons for these days specifically. My mom went and got a $10 card on Thursday and put in entries for us. I had to work Friday but this is where my amazing husband comes in.

EVEN THOUGH Friday is his day off and day to sleep in and EVEN THOUGH it's the first weekend of March Madness and he had basketball games to be watching...he woke up early and got to JoAnn's before 9am to stand in line for an hour to get a gift card for me and enter us in the drawing!! you can tell by the picture, he went with me AGAIN this morning (and, YES, there's basketball on again this morning)! I didn't even ask him to! Isn't he the best?!?!?

We got there at 9am and were numbers 27 and 28 in line and he was one of 7 (proud) men (to support their wives love of crafting).We played 20 questions to pass the time and keep our minds busy from thinking about how dang cold it was.
Between him yesterday and both of us today, we got three $10 cards! YAY!

 I only bought 2 things (gotta use those 50% off coupons you know!) A couple craft projects recently have made me realize that I need a good variety of paint brush sizes so I got this great value pack for $4 (with the coupon). The pack of Sharpie paint markers is for school (I will explain why in my next blog post) and cost $7.50 (with the coupon).

We were in and out in 11 minutes! Sure I could have spent longer in that wonderful store! But my husband had done a really nice thing for me so I wanted to get home as soon as we could so he could watch basketball. On the way home, I mentioned how blessed he really was! Two years ago, he never would have imagined he would spend two mornings of March Madness weekend in an hour-long line in the freezing cold weather for a craft store gift card! Yep, he's blessed :)

Do you like to sleep in? What would your exception to the rule be?