Friday, November 1, 2013

Meg vs.Time: Facebook Friday

I cheated a little this week, mostly checking on the group of parents of children with cleft lip and palate so that I could update the group blog, so I'll give myself a pass on that one. I also snuck a peek at some Halloween pictures; all those little kid costumes are irrisistable! On to the fun:

1. Instrument humor. Hehe.

2. This is how I feel all the time.

3. Ever wonder if you are wearing tights or pants? I see too many people that haven't figured that one out yet... This post can help you, as can this flow chart from Buzzfeed:

4. My kids are loving the InstaMinion app on Facebook.

5. In case "What Does the Fox Say" isn't enough shenanigans for you, Ylvis presents "The Intelevator"

p.s. There are four episodes of this. You're welcome.

6. Nice costumes, BYU!

7. Awesome graphic and Mindy Kaling quote from Beauty Redefined:

Happy Friday!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Meg vs. Time: The Return of Facebook Friday

It's time to cut back on Facebook again. I am doing somewhat better at cleaning my house and keeping up on things, but the computer is an all-too-accessible distraction, and a constant stream of trivialities is killing my productivity. And my nap time. So in no particular order, here are today's gems from the internet:

1. My Imaginary Well Dressed Toddler Daughter. 

I find this Pinterest board hilarious. You can follow on Facebook, Instagram, etc. etc. as well. I think she just published a book, too.

2. On a very related note, this post about Restoration Hardware children's rooms is spot-on and pretty funny.

3. Yes this.

I put the diapers in the washer first thing yesterday morning, and finally put them in the dryer just before bedtime.

4. Food for thought on sleepovers. Not there yet with my kiddos, but I had a lot of awesome and not-so-awesome sleepover experiences growing up.

5. I heart C.S. Lewis.

6. Marvin J. Ashton is pretty swell too.

And that will do it for today. Happy Friday!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Meg vs. Food: Cat in the Hat Cupcakes

My baby turned one a couple weeks ago, and I was feeling guilty for not planning much of anything as the house is still not put together and we were leaving to visit my grandma in Tokyo the next day. I knew I at least had to make his birthday cake even if I didn't throw a themed party complete with costume like I did for my oldest...

Little Fellow recently picked the Cat in the Hat as his favorite stuffed pal, so I went with that to create some Cat-themed cupcakes.

I snagged the cups on Pick Your Plum a while back (sort of on accident, but that is another story). Following some advice I found on Pinterest, I altered the add-ins for a box of cake mix to make cupcakes that were extra moist and tasty. You add in one extra egg (or two if you want it extra moist), replace the oil with butter and double the amount, and use milk instead of water. Of course I filled the cups too full so they spilled over, but I thought that ended looking even more Seuss-ish than I had planned so it was all dandy.

For the frosting I used this recipe for whipped cream cream cheese frosting. It is so perfect! The taste of cream cheese frosting with the lightness of whipped cream frosting; definitely my new favorite.

I was also making up some carrot muffins, so I used some of the batter to make an individual cake for baby boy to dig into.

Happy first birthday to my littlest guy!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Meg vs. Myself: Things I should have learned already

I thought I'd start imparting my housekeeping wisdom to myself, since I seem to need it. One husband and three boys in, it's about time I learned.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Meg vs. 30: Thoughts on failure and success

It happened. I turned 30. And as you can observe if you click on my tab, I came up short on my 30 goals for myself, and only finished about 2/3 of them. My normal self would say, "Why, that is 66%, which is a D." But with all the other stress going on (I have been on the phone all morning trying to get people over to the house to get things fixed for the tenants, while in the meantime my children run amok and my house is still 1/3 in boxes), I am rethinking how I will define success on my goals.

It was a success for me to put my goals out for other people to see when I came up short.

It was a success that I often chose to throw my efforts into supporting my husband and spending time with my kids instead of compulsively following through on everything I had wanted to get done.

It was a success that I survived a year where we had a baby, finished renovating a house, and moved several hundred miles, and still made sushi and rode not one but two horses.

And it was a success that I realized that next time I should try to make myself have more fun instead of pushing myself to "achieve" more. I already stress out over what I am an am not accomplishing. In my 20's I served a mission for a year and a half. I learned Japanese and spent summers with my grandmother just like I wanted to. I got two degrees and my husband got one and is in the midst of another. We got married, had three kids (who, I might add, are still surviving our parenting), and bought a house which we renovated and turned into a rental. Why should I feel like what I'm doing isn't enough? I need to push myself to do more to enjoy life! So my 40x40 list (which I already started compiling a while back, because that's how I am) will hopefully be a lot more fun and less stressful.

So here is to failure, and more successes like this:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meg vs. the Vanity: TileDOC Makeover

The vanity top in our bathroom has been the bane of my existence for some time. It was stained and yellowish and unattractive, but in a size that is no longer standard (aka expensive to replace). I finally found an affordable one, and it arrived all smashed to pieces (just like my dreams of an easy bathroom makeover).

Enter TileDOC. I actually found out about this product from the Giani Granite Paint website. I had considered using their products to re-do the vanity, but it can't be used in the sink, and I was short on time, so it didn't help me much. They recommended using TileDOC for the sink, so I thought, "Why not use it to spray the whole stinkin' thing?" And that is what I did. I sprayed and sprayed, coat after coat, two whole cans' worth of TileDOC.


Here is the sink before; beige and stained.

After, in my makeshift spray booth.


It is a little grainier than I would like, surely because I didn't do it right (I am too impatient for following instructions to the letter, though I tried), but it is much, much better than it was before. It doesn't clash with the tile anymore! And I am a happy camper.

Meg vs. The Bathroom: A new coat of paint.

I spent my last couple of days in Vallejo doing this, among other things. I wish I would have done this so much earlier! I think we bough the paint for it a year ago... I am so in love with this bathroom now; it makes me want to move back =).

Before: '80's peach. It almost came back in style, but not quite.

After: Cool grey. We used the same Behr Silver Drop that we used in the bedroom, but asked them to make it 50% darker than the original, so it is just a little bit more noticeably grey.

What a difference some paint makes! The only really annoying part of this job was that a little bit of the silicone caulking I did last year stayed on the wall around the shower (way to go, Meg), so of course the paint wouldn't stick and kept beading up. Finally I got desperate, and stood there and smeared the paint back and forth with my finger until it started getting tacky and dry, and what do you know? It mostly covered up the silicone. It was a small miracle, because I didn't have time to go hunt down some other product to remove or cover up the silicone.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Meg vs. the Stairs: Hiring it out!

Our friend took on the job of turning the back doors around (they used to open out over the stairs; not very safe!), framing them, and building new stairs for the sun room. They are amazing! So much better, so much safer. They even have a handrail =).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Meg vs. The Couch: My newest project.

What is under this sheet in our new living room?

John's grandmother's old couch! It is just the right color of gold to clash with the walls. Ideas are in the works...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Meg vs. The Dining Room: Chair Makeover

A while back my mom spotted these two chairs that had been abandoned in the parking lot of my sister's apartment complex. In that corner of the lot, there is a "No Dumping" sign, so of course everyone dumps their old furniture there.

They weren't the most stylish chairs to begin with, plus the seat cushions were fairly beaten up and there were several places where the finish had worn off. So my mom and I pulled off the seats and got to work staining them. We didn't have enough time to do gel stain like I used on the bathroom vanity and the bed, so after seeing this tutorial I decided to try out Minwax Polyshades. This lady uses this stuff on everything, with good results.

Like the General Finishes gel stain, Polyshades only requires minimal sanding, but unlike the gel stain it doesn't require a separate topcoat, so it really is convenient if you have a quick project. I have to say that I like the results of the gel stain a lot better--it is so much easier to apply (wipes on with a sock), while Polyshades is brushed on, and it is thin so it is very drippy if you're not really careful (particulalry on the details of these chairs). It also wouldn't dry in my mom's garage for over a day when it was kind of foggy out, so we had to put a space heater in there to get them to dry. Overall, I would recommend this product if you don't have time to do a gel stain + gel topcoat (which totals nearly 2 weeks of dry time in between coats), or if you are only going to do one piece of furniture and don't want to buy two different products.

I re-covered the chair seats with the same fabric I used for my entryway bench, and clear vinyl over that to make them easy to clean. I didn't take pictures of the process, but there are plenty of tutorials on Pinterest. It basically boils down to pulling the fabric over the seat and using a staple gun to secure it on the back.

Here they are all finished! Hopefully our renters will appreciate how much better they look.

And wanna see something kind of eerie? My mom recently saw this post on Pinterest. At first glance we both thought someone had gotten a hold of a picture of my chairs. 

I suppose great minds think alike!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Meg vs. the Bed: Refinishing done!

Three coats of finish and two layers of topcoat later, here she is. It is nice to have one project checked off. Now I just need to get the room done so I can put the bed together and see the whole thing! Also, you can see the back of the wardrobe I picked up today (a Craigslist purchase) with a great deal of help from my siblings--my sister babysat and my brother did the heavy lifting (and was mostly my bodyguard going to a strange house in Oakland. Turned out it was a small-ish middle-eastern lady, but you never know). The wardrobe will go in that room as well, and my mom is staining my old desk and bookshelf to match all of this so it will all go together. Now I just need to hunt down one more wardrobe for the second bedroom and all the furniture will be ready!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Meg vs. The Garage: New Automatic Door!

Ever since the guy came to put it in, all John and I keep saying is, "Why didn't we get this done sooner?!" I suppose the answer is just that we have too many projects on our list. But it is so nice to have, and nice that it forced us to clean out the garage before the installation =).

The night before--you can actually see the whole garage floor! And we let the contractor keep that awesome car poster.

Our pretty new door! It really highlights how badly the house needs painting.

No more old wooden door falling down. Lovely.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Meg vs. Renters: Staining a new bed.

We found renters! I have been so consumed in finding a place/finding renters/creating leases/getting the house ready that I haven't taken time to post my goings-on, but I will try to catch up a bit, since I really have been chipping away at the projects.

Anyhow, we are going to be renting the house out to three students. We realized that to compete with the rest of the housing market for local students, we need to leave the house furnished. So I have been on a Freecycle kick finding the additional things we will need to turn our little boy/baby rooms into grad student rooms. And once we move, I will be on a new Freecycle kick trying to replace everything we left behind.

I got a full-size bed for the front bedroom that has storage in the headboard and underneath, which is perfect because then I don't have to buy a separate dresser! It was a light honey maple color and pretty worn, but I was planning on leaving it as-is because, well, I didn't really have time or space to do anything about it. Then John reminded me how much better it could look if I stained it the same color as the bathroom vanity, and said that if we put that old bed in the room after re-doing all of the walls and making it look nice, it would "automatically date it ten years." So...I ordered a bigger can of stain from Amazon. Last night I put on the first coat:

And tonight the second coat:

It really does look so much better, and I think it will be a really beautiful piece of furniture, so I'm glad John talked some sense into me, even if it means I won't sleep for a few nights...

I used General Finishes Java Gel Stain (disclaimer: that is an affiliate link), and am following this tutorial from Monica Wants It, just like I did for the bathroom vanity. I love this stuff! Only a very light sanding required before you get to slap that stuff on. Just the way I like a project! Now I just need to get the room done so I can put the bed inside! It is still looking pretty scary in there, and I have less than 3 weeks to moving day. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Meg vs. The Bathroom: Vanity Tragedy

I have been waiting for nearly a month for this package so I don't have to look at my stained vanity top anymore. It arrived like this.

I wanted to laugh, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Then I wanted to cry, but couldn't do that either. Now I just want to go to sleep! Just 3 kids to get down and a room full of holes to patch between me and my pillow... I'll deal with this fellow tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Meg vs. The Garage: There is always more...

The installer came out to take official measurements of our garage so they can order our new garage door. I was hoping this would be one project that someone else would do for me, but what do you know! There is a loft area in the garage, and about half of it needs to be taken down to accommodate the new tracks and garage door opener. Add one project to the list for the week!

I am also getting a couple more quotes for exterior repairs and paint this week, so before long this place will look like a whole new house! Pictures to come...

Meg vs. the Walls: Patching

I spent the night patching all the gaps and holes in the bedroom walls created when I pulled off the wood paneling. Just me, my putty knives, a gallon of spackle, and my iPod. It is looking only very slightly better, but by tomorrow night hopefully I can start priming, and then we'll be making real progress. Our friend has a texture sprayer and is going to come help us out with that part once I have the room primed and taped and prepped. We are so lucky to have a friend who knows everything and has all the tools! I am looking forward to these projects being done so I can stop pulling all-nighters. That is just what happens with little ones to look after all day!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Meg vs. The Walls: Removing Wood Paneling

I did this to the front bedroom today:

Before. This doesn't quite portray the ugliness of the painted-over,
falling-off-the-wall wood paneling.

After: Yikes! It always gets worse before it gets better, right?

So before Thursday when two more girls come to see the house, we hope to patch the walls, sand everything down, do a coat of primer, spray texture on the walls, and do a second coat of primer.  Then paint and moulding... Phew! I am tired already, and I need to clean out the garage before the contractor comes to measure for the new door on Wednesday.

As I was attacking the paneling, I was thinking about how nice it would have been to have done this earlier and been able to enjoy living in the finished house. But then I thought about how busy and preoccupied I have been these last couple of weeks trying to get everything done, and I am glad that I wasn't crazy focused on the house so that I could focus on these guys, who were relegated to the tent today:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Meg vs. The Bathroom: Mini Moulding!

Our friend came over yesterday and helped John start putting molding around the ceiling. I love it! John also spent hours scrubbing all the grout and construction mess off of the tub and floor, and I installed peel and stick vinyl tiles in the inside of the vanity. Once the molding is done (this week, most likely), we just have to wait for our countertop and cabinet doors to get here (both in the mail), and then we will be DONE! Hooray! And none too soon; we already had a potential renter come look at the place yesterday, and two more students are coming Thursday to check it out; fingers crossed we get all the rooms rented out so I can stop obsessing over that and get these projects done.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Meg vs. Babies: Cloth Diapering, four months later

I have been meaning to do a follow-up post on my blog about my experience so far for anyone who is interested, and as a friend recently asked me about how things have gone, I'll use mostly what I wrote to her:

So far the Alva diapers have been as good as I could expect. First off, I have still been using disposables overnight, in part because we still had a lot of disposables left and in part because I was wary of changing things up at night time. So I can really only speak for the daytime from experience. I also keep disposables in my diaper bag for use when we are out and about, just because it is more compact, and we had them anyway. Also, I ordered 20 but they sent me 22 diapers, but then on the two darker blue diapers the elastic on the back got loose after the first couple of washes. So it was kind of a wash there, but maybe avoid that color? I thought it was odd that it was just those two. I would have contacted the company to get them replaced, but since they were extra from what I ordered anyway, I didn't.

The Alvas have worked pretty perfectly for my 2-year old up until we started potty training this week, and really only leak if I forget to change him for too long, even with only one insert inside. As long as I remember to do it every 3 hours if I haven't noticed a stink or wet diaper before then, we are good. John even forgot to change him into a disposable one night, and even though he woke up pretty soggy it didn't get out onto the bed, so if I were to double up the inserts we might even manage night time with him. 

I have had some leaking issues with my little guy at nap time (now 7 1/2 months, started when he was about 4 months). Most of the problem comes from the wet part of the diaper making contact with his clothes and then moisture wicking out. I started rolling the top of the diaper in to keep any of the interior fabric from touching his clothes, and that has reduced the leaking significantly. I know some brands have more of the PUL waterproof fabric around the top to prevent this very thing, but I figure I am getting what I paid for. I also started doubling up my inserts pretty much all the time, putting one microfiber insert closest to the baby and a bamboo insert behind that, since the microfiber soaks up more but the bamboo is more resistant to leaking fluid back out when it is compressed. I probably don't need to, but it really doesn't create any more work for me, so I figured, why not? He has also had less leaking now that he is rolling around and doesn't always stay sleeping flat on his back. 

The cloth diapers also contain the crazy baby poop explosions much better than disposables. I have only had one time when Luke exploded out onto his clothes since we started, as opposed to at least one every other day--he likes to save it up, and explode all at once. I'm sure you wanted to know that =).

Before we potty trained our big guy, each kiddo had 10 of the diapers dedicated for him, and I washed them every other night, so they were going through no more than about or five a day (granted, that doesn't include nighttime). But I think as a newborn they would have needed 8-10 diapers per day.

I did use disposable viscose liners for my 2-year-old. You really don't need them until after baby starts solids, since the runny yellow poop will just come out in the wash. And it also depends on the baby and what they eat. Our 7-month-old doesn't really need them because his poo is of the consistency that it plops right out of the diaper and doesn't leave much mess. But that wasn't the case with our big guy, so they basically functioned as a filter to keep poo from sticking to the diaper where it is tougher to clean it off. More often than not I could just lift/dump the liner with poo into the toilet and not do any additional washing on the diaper before tossing it into the diaper pail.

Okay, I think that is pretty much everything. If anyone cares, feel free to ask any questions and I can elaborate (although I think you already know much more about my kids' poop than you ever wanted!).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Meg vs. Time: Facebook Friday

It is getting harder and harder to find things I want to repost. More proof that I should kick my Facebook habit. But here are a few gems:

1. This article:  "I Read All the Baby Sleep Books." Spot on.

2. Emily is back blogging on For the Love. If I get my act together, I will be too... Anyhow, she has lots of good things in store!

3. This is pretty awesome. (Excuse some of the language.) This guy plants gardens in the inner city.

4. The Red Cross has mobile apps to help you during emergencies. Sometime when I jump into this  millennium and get a smart phone, I will have to download them.

5. My nephew got his yellow belt!

6. So true. Except I would have to have to have the figure to wear all of those clothes...

7. Last but not least:

Now there is some wisdom. Happy Friday!