Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Father's Day Tie Board

We've added one more item to our shop just in time for Father's Day! You can check it out here!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

  I hope we can all take a minute today to remember those who made it possible to live where we live, love who we want to love, worship how and where we want to worship, and all of the MANY other freedoms we are so blessed with. I know many of us will have the day off today and be able to spend time with friends and family for fun and food, but please don't forget what makes this day so important. Here are a few photos to help bring in that spirit of remembrance and thanks!

Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC.  If you have not been here before and ever get a chance to go, TAKE IT.  It is a remarkable place to visit and the feelings you have there are so amazing!

These next 2 photos touched my heart so much.  I am so thankful for the men and women who have sacrificed their lives so we can have our freedoms.  It was not only the soldiers who sacrificed, but their families.   Let us remember them all today!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!!!

I saw this video the other day and it is adorable! It made me a little teary eyed. So I thought I'd share it for all of you fabulous women out there on this special day!! Hope you were all spoiled today!!! Happy Mother's Day from the sisters!!

It is worth it, I promise!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

How to fix a Bowed Shelf

  Maybe this is a weird thing to post about, I am not sure, but maybe it will be useful to someone else!  I had this shelf I had purchased from a furniture store that I absolutely LOVE.  It is a beautiful cherry wood color, simple but beautifully crafted, at least in my opinion.  It was perfect except that within the first few months of having it with my books on it, the shelves all started to sag.  I don't know if it was just my luck or not because the store had the exact same shelf with lots of heavy books decorating it and they were not sagging, so who knows.  Anyhow, it has been like this for a few years because I was just not completely sure how to fix it, but I knew I wanted to fix it and not throw it away.  So with a little inspiration from my mother-in-law and some help from my friends at the local Home Depot, I have FINALLY been able to fix my shelf and it is working AMAZINGLY well.

I don't know if you can see the bowing in this top picture as accurately but it was the best one I could find with books on the shelves.  It was from about 5 years ago, right after we got it.  The picture down below is one of the shelves turned upside down and you can really see how badly it is bowed.  It should be lying flat on the ground!

Here are the steps I took to fix my shelf:

****I am going to make this note right here and it goes for all of the pieces you need.  Whether you purchase your wood from a Home Depot, Lowes, or other wood supply store, if YOU do NOT have a saw at home, just ask them to cut the pieces to the length you need.  They are SUPER nice and willing to help like that!  Just bring your measurements with you!  Make sure to measure at least 2x's to get it right!

1.  I measured underneath each shelf from side to side, inside the framing and purchased 1" X 2" boards that would be the supports on the inside, back of the bookcase, underneath the shelf.  As you can see, I also had to purchase 1/4" X 2" piece of wood also that is a little shorter than the 1" X 2" because of the way the framing is, otherwise there would have been a 1/4" gap between the back and my support piece of wood.  You may or may not need this additional piece.  
  a.  If you DO need this piece, mark on your 1" X 2" the left and right sides of the framing that are vertical so you know where to attach the 1/4" piece.  For example, on my bottom shelf, the left side vertical piece was 2 1/4" in but the right side was only 2".  I marked those lines so I could glue and attach my wood right there.  Once it was dried, the piece fit into the back perfectly!
    b.  Once your sides are marked, (I would also mark L and R just to keep them straight, and mark both pieces of wood for which shelf they belong to) apply wood glue to the 2" part of one of the pieces of wood and put the two together.  (Make sure the 1/4" is on the back side with L on the left side and R on the right side!)  
     c.  Then you will C-clamp the pieces tightly together using a piece of cardboard or something similar to protect the wood from indentations.  
      d.  Once C-clamped, screw together using FLAT head, 1/2", wood screws.  Let it sit overnight or several hours until the glue is nice and set, then move on to the next one.

2.  For this step, you will want a nice firm 1" X 2" pine or hard wood.  Something that should be very stable for it.  This one does not have to be the exact length of the shelf. Mine was about 2" short of the entire shelf length.  
I took the piece I made in step one, and one of the pieces of Pine I had cut and on the BACK, UNDER side, I lined this up to match the indents of the shelf with the PINE piece in the FRONT.  It should be about  1" short on either side of the piece from Step 1.  
   a.  Put wood glue (in small dabs) on the 1" side (facing the shelf) of the PINE piece and put back in place.
   b.  Put your cardboard piece on the top part of the shelf (the part touching the ground) and start attaching the C-clamp just to the PINE piece while making sure to keep everything lined up.  The wood piece from step 1 should remain flush with the shelf at all times or you will need to readjust.  If you let it dry overlapping the edge, it will not fit into the bookcase.

   c.  Once you have the first side C-clamped, C-clamp the second side and you will start to see the curving straighten out.  
d.  Wipe off any glue that got smeared or squished out and remove the piece from Step 1.

3.  Turn the shelf over and measure how far from the end your piece of wood is now glued.  For example: my Step 1 piece brought my Step 2 piece out 1 1/4".  If I measure between 1 1/2" and 1 3/4" in, my screw will be attached great.  Do the same from the side end and mark where they cross.
b.  Once you have both ends marked, measure the distance between those 2 marks and divide it by 3.  Mine came out to 11 inches, so I marked the 2 middles screws 11" from the 1st and last screws, 1 1/2" from the back end.  Screw these in with 1 1/4" FLAT head, wood screws.
c.  Again, let this set over night or several hours until the wood is good and dry!

4.  This step has 2 options.  If you don't care about appearances on the front, don't follow this part.  If you don't care about appearances on the back, follow this step!  Take your Step 1 piece to the bookshelf and fit it to the framing.  Turn it sideways so you can see the screws and the back of the bookshelf.  Mark 4 spots (similar to Step 2) where you can screw all 3 pieces through the back.  Approximately 2" from the L side and R side, and then 2 evenly in the middle.  Just make sure you will not be hitting the screws in the board of Step 1.  (this is why you are turning it sideways).  Once marked, drill a small pilot hole through the back of the bookshelf.

5.  Once you have screwed the Step 2 piece to the shelf, you can put the Step 1 piece back into the bookcase framing.  Line it up with the side framing where the shelf will go.  It doesn't have to be perfect yet!

6.  Once you have completed Step 3 and your shelf is dry, and you have completed Step 5, place the shelf back onto it's support frame with the new one in place.  Once it is in there, look underneath.  If your Step 1 piece is not flush with the bottom of the Step 2 piece, either take a scrap piece of wood or a hammer and GENTLY tap it into place.
b.  Do this with all of the shelves.

7.  Move the bookcase out so you can screw your finishing screws into the backside.  You will use 1 1/2" FLAT head, wood screws for this.  Just line them up with the pilot holes you already drilled and you are set. Sorry that I am messing up the back of your shelf but they are usually against a wall, right?  You can always cover them with the little plastic covers if you want.
a.  Second option if you do not want to go through the back, just go ahead and drill your 4 support screws through the front side, going through the PINE wood first.  Again, you can always cover with the plastic screw covers or the wood plugs.

8.  Finally, find a stain that matches your shelf color and stain away.  I just used a little foam brush and it worked great.  The front side required about 3 coats, but it dried really quickly.

  It was kind of a long process because I only had 2 C-clamps, but I definitely think it was worth it!  My shelves are perfectly lined up and my books actually go straight across now!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas

1/3 C. honey
1/4 C. lime juice (about 2 large limes)
2 tsp. to 1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
12 corn torillas
2 C. mexican cheese blend, shredded
1 14 oz can green enchilada sauce
1/2 to 3/4 C. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350*. Place the cooked/shredded chicken in a medium bowl, set aside.  In a small mixing bowl combine honey, lime juice, chili powder and garlic, whisk together.  Pour over chicken.  Allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for up to an hour.  

Heat a large griddle until a frop of water skitters across.  I add a little oil, and I mean a little, in between each tortilla.  Heat the tortillas for 15-20 seconds on each side, until they are flexible, they can have a golden spots on them. Have a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and place the warmed tortillas in between the paper towels until ready to use.  
Mix the enchilada sauce and heavy cream together.  Spread about 1/2 C. on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add a large spoonful, about 2 Tbps. of chicken to each tortilla.  And a tablespoon or so of cheese and roll up.  Place the enchilada seam side down in the baking dish. I line them up so I have two rows, spreading across the 9" part of the pan.  Repeat for all remaining tortillas, chicken and cheese (reserving some cheese to add to the top).
 Add any leftover marinade to the cream mixture.  Pour over the top of all the enchiladas.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  
Bake enchiladas for 30-35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 

This is seriously one of my family's favorites.  There are never any leftovers, sadly. We usually serve it with lime-cilantro rice, black beans, and chips and salsa.

Hope you enjoy!  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Your Love Bucket

 I have been contemplating some things I can do to strengthen my marriage and relationship with my husband because, lets face it, relationships can be hard and if you don't work on them, like anything else, they will fade out and die.  That is not something you want to have happen to a relationship you obviously have invested yourself in, or you wouldn't be married, have children with, or whatever the case may be, right?  I have also talked with one of my sisters and a friend very recently who have also been having these thoughts so I figured there may be others too who are sharing these feelings.  I really love Michelle's idea about keeping the notebook throughout the year and writing in all of the reasons they make you laugh or make you happy, but, let's face it, if you only give it to them once a year, there are 364 other days you may not be expressing those feelings and appreciation to them.  So here are some ideas for you to do on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis to help strengthen your marriage and make things fun again!

1.  Leave little notes for them to find letting them know you appreciate what they are doing for you: working to provide for your family, mowing the lawn, taking out the garbage, washing your car, helping with dishes....whatever they have done to help you.

2.  Put "Conversation Hearts", stick-figure pictures, or other little notes in their lunch letting them know you love them, or giving them something to look forward to when they return home that night!

3.  Try reading the book, "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman.  This should help you figure out what your spouses "Love Language" is so you can help "fill their Love Bucket".  (Borrow it from the library, most will have a copy of it!)  These are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.  Most people have one or two very apparent ones and if you don't know how to speak in this language, they may not feel your love for them, have a hard time expressing it to you, and make your relationship difficult!

    Here is an example.  My Love Language is very much Physical Touch, but my husbands is Acts of Service and Gifts.  He would much rather have the house clean and dinner started instead of a hug and kiss when he gets home, and I am the opposite.  It took me a really long time to realize this.  I can always tell a big difference when I have the house cleaned up and his attitude than when he comes home to a dirty house and cereal for dinner!

4.  Do something they like to do.  Relationships are about 2 people, not just one, so we need to learn to be unselfish and compromise.  This may be something as small as letting them choose the movie you will watch or which restaurant you will go to.  Try doing something they like for a date every once and a while too.  For instance, my husband really likes to play the Playstation 3 and I am not a big fan, however, I think playing with him for a date would be fun.  Now, I will put limits on it like the shooting games but anything else would be fair game and fun.  Try finding the thing you can do that he likes and you might blow his mind!

5.  A Service A Day.  I have always heard as I was growing up, that you will love those you serve, and if you don't like someone,start finding ways you can do service for them and you will learn to love them.  I have seen this over and over with my all of the people who have become my best friends.  It can be the same way with your spouse!
   We tend to get in ruts with them and just do the same things over and over and it can become feeling like a duty or obligation, when really it is a choice to do nice things for them and serve them.  Try looking for one nice thing, above and beyond what you normally do to give service to them once a day.
  For example, my dad makes my parents bed every morning.  He loves doing it and I think is secretly proud at how good he is at making it.  I think if my mom were to quickly make the bed one morning every once in a while he would notice it as something nice she did for him that day to say thank you for always making the bed.  Now, if she were to do it every day for him, he might start thinking she doesn't think he can do it good enough for her and take offense, so you need to think of something different every day!
  One more example and I will move on.  My husband doesn't really like to mow the lawn and I really don't mind it, but have PLENTY to do inside the house.  Every once in a while, I know he is busy or tired, so I will just spend a little bit of my inside cleaning time to mow the lawn for him.  I figure it is kind of a toss up because he likes the inside cleaned too, but would really rather not be mowing the lawn himself.  Just be creative and have fun.  Don't be offended if they don't notice your service, it is meant to be service, not jobs for pay!

6.  Go on Dates.  Yes!  This is still extremely important!  What did you do before you got married that got you to fall in love with this man?  You were probably going out with him, seeing him out in all different settings and having fun with him.  Dates help you get away from the stresses and pressures that are at home.  Please try to remember to keep work, money, kids, and all other home problems at home.
  Budget for this so it can be a reality.  Dates don't have to be expensive either...sometimes the funnest ones don't cost a thing!  Decide what is financially possible for you, but make it a must.  Do a babysitting swap with a friend who has kids if you need to, to help make it possible to have your date night!
    Here is a link to some dating sites or ideas:
          Stay At Home Date Night
          In House Date Night
          Impress Your Man
          Book Date
          The Dating Divas
          Love Actually

7.    Another book to try.  I would suggest buying it because you rip out the pages and I would doubt the libraries will have copies because of this!  Once you rip them out though, you can always put the his and hers into ziplock bags and do them again later.  The book is called, "101 Nights of Grrrreat Romance," by Laura Corn.  This has 101 different dates to go on.  Every other one is his, then hers.  They range from little to no money, traveling to a destination (dinner) to staying at home, and so on.  Each week (or how ever often you two decide you will date), one will decide which page to rip out and then follow the instructions for that date.    You can modify it a little if you need or like, but all of the instructions and things you will need are right there. It is a lot of fun, especially when you are both participating in the planning.  I know how NOT fun it is to be the only one to plan date, get the baby sitter. . .

8.  Try a NEW nightly ritual.  By this, I mean more than just saying "I Love You", although that is VERY important.  Everyone needs to hear and know this, EVERY day.  Here are 2 examples of what I mean by this and you can come up with your own if you don't like them and/or have something different!
   I was reading one from "The Dating Divas" that was really cute I would like to try myself.  She said every night before they go to bed, they say, "I love you today because. . ." and then proceed to say a reason why.  It could be something they did that very day, something in general, or something that has previously happened that has been on your mind.  Another reader said their version of this is on a small white board.  Every morning, he writes his reason on the board and hangs it on the fridge before going to work so she can see it when she wakes up.  She will then write her reason while he is at work and leave it on his pillow to find that night!  How cute!  I love it!
   My other idea comes from my son.  For the past few years, he and I would take naps together, a lot, because he wouldn't go to sleep well at nap time once he was first sleeping in a big bed.  I was totally okay with that because I LOVE naps!  So, he started turning towards me and asking if I would hold his hand while he fell asleep.  We would just hold right hand to right hand and both fall asleep like that, facing each other.  It was so sweet and I LOVED it.  Then, he went to kindergarten and I was so sad to lose that with him.  I told my husband we needed to start that at night because I just felt like that was such a connection I had with my son, it would be awesome to have with my husband, falling asleep face to face, hands joined every night.  He is not totally sold on it, and we have only done it a couple of times, but I am working on him.

9.  Get them random gifts or treats.  Maybe not everyone likes to be given things, but I really haven't met that person, have you?  You don't have to spend much money at all.  When you grocery shop, just think of their favorite candy bar, gummy treat, or chip, and buy that especially for them.  Buy them a $5.00 movie you think they would like, wrap it up, and just out of the blue give it to them or leave it under their pillow to let them know you are thinking of them.
  My husband apparently likes rye bread.  I didn't know this until last year when I heard him telling one of our friends, so I have been making it a point to buy a loaf of rye bread to send with him for his sandwiches in his lunches.  No one else gets the bread, I just keep it in the freezer and only pull out the slices I need for that day.  He also likes gummy bears, so I just bought him like 2 pounds of it yesterday so I could surprise him with them and send some in his lunch as well.  Maybe it won't mean a thing to him, but maybe it will make his day!

10.  Do things for him you want him to do for you.  I am not talking about manipulating him!  I am saying this.  A while ago, I was feeling down because I hadn't heard I looked nice, or thank you, or whatever else you start feeling when you are down, and then it dawned on me that I hadn't told my husband he looked nice in a long time either.  I hadn't told him thank you for going to work every day for us, or thank you for providing food and a home for us.  I hadn't been being as kind and caring as I was wanting him to be being either.  It really made me start thinking about the things I was saying and doing too.  I can't expect him to be full of compliments and thank you's when all I am doing is complaining and nagging, right?
   If you want him to be opening doors for you, try opening his door for him when you are inside the car.  Offer complements and gratitude daily.  Be respectful and kind.  As the golden rule states, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!"

Hope this helps brings some spark back into your relationship!

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