Sunday, March 15, 2015

DIY Dresser to Entertainment Center

Spring is in the air. The windows are open. The kids are playing outside. What more could a Momma with a brain full of projects want?! It is time to start.

Today I am working on a DIY home decor project. I am turning a pretty awesome dresser that I purchased at a garage sale last Summer into our entertainment center.


See the before picture above. This is how I found it at a garage sale. I had my eyes open all season long and was excited when this one popped up. Before, I was assuming that I would end up finding a plain old wooden dresser that would need a fun color coat of paint or two and all new hardware. I knew about how much I was willing to spend on such a thing. When I saw this cool red dresser that was already painted well AND had decent looking handles AND came with two baskets?...I was shocked. The price was $170, which is more than I would usually spend on a used furniture item but when I took into consideration the time that I would save on getting another item to the same condition, it seemed like a no-brainer trade to me. So, there she was, all pretty like, but still needing my touch to make her just right. All of those eye-sore electronics and cords would have a home very soon.

There are three items we want to be housed in this unit: the receiver, the PlayStation whatever and the XBox thing-a-ma-jiggy. I chose to remove one drawer and both baskets, as they were good size openings for our electronics. I will be using those two baskets somewhere else in the house. But that's a project for another day.

The two basket compartments were already finished nicely on the inside so I only had to build a cubby in one drawer space. A not very aesthetically pleasing hole in the dresser so I had myself a little project. Yay!

Family trip to Home Depot!

The twins are really enjoying Home Depot trips. I predict two handymen!

I purchased a piece of sanded plywood that is 1/4" (thick) x 2'x4' in order to make two sides and a bottom for the cubby. They even cut it for me in the store. Cost for the wood: $9.92.

I put the boards into place and used a few finishing nails to secure them. And then it was time to use power tools. Double yay!

I wanted all of the cords for our electronics to go out the back of the unit. That means I got to drill holes into the back panel. I used a hole saw attachment for our drill and put a hole in the back of the three electronics compartments.

Now all she needed was some paint in her plain wooden cubby. I decided on Saffron Strands (yellow) by Behr. I love this color and had some leftover from our Music Room Makeover project. A penny saved...


I am very pleased with how she turned out. I will take a better 'after' picture when we have the living room painted and the electronics installed, but for now this one will have to do. We are also going to have the TV mounted up onto the wall above this piece. I can't wait to have it nice and organized. Thank you so much for reading and please come again!

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Monday, March 9, 2015

There's No Such Thing

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...As a perfect day. At least not when you have five kids. Maybe if you just have one kid...maybe. I wouldn't know though so for now I will just assume...and whine a bit.

Oh, but I try. Some days I feel it stronger than others. Of course I want to be a great mom every day. I want my kids to be happy and feel loved and special all of the time. It's a mom thing, I'm sure. But this morning, standing in the kitchen, feeding the three littles their breakfast, staring out the sliding patio door at the sunny bright and glorious morning it was turning out to be I thought to myself, "Let's get out and do something fun today!" The teens are off of school. My preschooler is off for the day, too. We could all go, the six of Como Zoo!! Yes!

So, I proceeded to pack a picnic lunch for my brood (because seriously, feeding six people at the zoo is sooooo expensive!). I also packed the diaper bag as quietly as I could so that the toddlers woulsn't see me. If they catch me they will freak out, start yelling "Bye, Bye!" repeatedly and throw their shoes and jackets at my feet constantly, for however long it takes to really be time to go "Bye Bye." Not an un-stressful event.

By this time it is about 9:45 A.M. and I decided that it was an okay time to ask the teens to get up even though it was a no school day and I really try not to wake them up unless I have to. Family time is a good enough reason in my book sometimes. So, teen number one got up no problem. Teen number two rolled around with an arm over his eyes, blocking out the hideously beautiful rays of sun shining so annoyingly through his bedroom window and mumbled in a pathetic little voice over and over, "Why?" I smirked, as he couldn't see me, and said, "Because I love you. I love you so much that I want to take you on a picnic so...get up." He rolled around some more and as I was leaving his room I heard him mumble something along the lines of, "Ugh, don't love me that much." Ha! I retort, "Oh, but I do, My Love. I do. Time to get up!"

Five kids awake, fed and nearly ready. What?! Yup. By 10:30 A.M. we were all in the car and on the way. I was admittedly on edge for the drive whole because my twin toddlers are car pukers. The worst. Driving anywhere that is a half hour or more away from our house is always a risky situation. Sigh. So, I watched them like a hawk all the way there, ready to pull over and catch some vomit at a moments notice. Luckily, we made it to the zoo without incident. Whew!

I had also decided to be brave and bring no stroller. I repeat...No Stroller! The twins are two and a half years old. I wanted them to use up lots of their pent-up-being-stuck-in-the-house-all-winter-long energy while also learning to listen and follow me in public. This could have gone horribly wrong didn't. They were total champs. Or as they prefer that I call them..."Big Guys."

The zoo was not busy at all. We got great parking. The kids got up close with any animal they wished. It was amazing. I knew going into this venture that it could have been the complete opposite. A day off of school and it was almost 50° outside for maybe the first time all winter long. As a Minnesotan, I was shocked but in a good way. It was probably one of the best trips to the zoo with my kids that I have ever had. Truly.

We even made it all the way back home afterwards with no vomiting, although I had taken off their jackets and kept the windows open a bit trying to keep them at the perfect temperature. Looking back on what I have written so far really magnefys to me that I have so many things to think about all of the damn time. Like one of those plate twirlers of the old variety shows. It can feel like that sometimes. I also know that I am only remembering some of the day's details. Ah well. I am sure most people quit reading this ridiculous account many paragraphs ago.

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We got home at around 3:00 P.M. and everyone was still pretty happy. One teen ran off to play basketball with a friend and the other one down to his XBox. The three littles played nice in the toy room until 4:00 and I decided the twins needed a little quiet time in their room while I started dinner. They were only mad about that for a couple minutes. No biggie.

I found a batch of chili that I had frozen a while back and chose that for dinner. Nice and easy after a long day out with all of the kiddos. Threw in a couple trays of fries, why not? Chili Cheese Fries it was with hardly any cooking effort.

I go to check on the twins at 5:00 P.M. and Z had fallen asleep but not E so I brought them both back down to the toy room. I didn't want Z to sleep too long and be up all night but, he actually stayed asleep even after I brought him down so I just let him be. He slept through dinner. My first sign that the night was possibly taking a turn. But at that point I think maybe I can still keep it up. I was exhausted but wanted them to be happy still so I decided that we should go to the YMCA since Z slept so late. It is their favorite place to go, after all. That way Z could use up his energy so he would still go to bed at a normal time, right?

Halfway to the YMCA and Z started crying that he was hungry, "Hun-gy Mommy. Hun-gy!" The one time I do not pack granola bars in the diaper bag for our trip to the gym. Total bummer. We got all the way into the gym and up to the childcare counter and he has a total meltdown. Lucky for us there is a Subway in the building so I checked in DJ and E and proceeded to sneak back out with Z so that E wouldn't see us. Not an easy task as they are pretty attached to each other, you know, twins and all. I succeded and bought him a ham sandwich kids meal. We sat down, just the two of us, while he ate the whole thing. It was actually a very sweet little unplanned dinner date. He was so cute and very happy.

When he was all finished eating he got excited to go to the childcare room and play. He practically ran all the way there through the hallways. We got in and he started to have another meltdown out of nowhere because he was suddenly very thirsty for water, mind you he drank all of his milk just minutes ago. He couldn't stop crying. E saw us and came over just as I was getting Z my water bottle and then he started to have a meltdown from the other side of the wall because he wanted water now too. It didn't end. They just kept crying and we all had to leave. Z kept saying, "Go bye bye." No workout for Mommy. I had packed up and drove all the way to the gym with three kids in tow for nothing. At least it felt that way. We got to the car and Z started crying that he wants to go to the YMCA. (Insert face palm here) He continued crying all the way home.

As I drove home with the sound of my youngest son crying I though to myself, thank goodness there is a box of wine at home. Then, I immediately remembered that I had to pick up one of my teens from baseball practice at 9:30 P.M. and that there would be no wine for me anytime soon. Ugh! Lol. So, I decided to sit here and write this stupid story and torture you, my readers, instead. So sorry.

Anyway, my point...let's pretend there really is one. Shall we?

It doesn't matter how hard I try or how good my intentions are going into a day like today. With five children, five personalities, five wills, fifty fingers, twenty limbs, five mouths and so very much more, I can not and will not ever make them all happy at the same time. We won't ever have one whole perfect day from start to finish. There is always going to be "something." Someone is going to cry. Someone is going to fall down. Someone is going to hit someone else. Someone is going to have an accident. Someone is not going to like the food. Someone is going to spill. Someone is going to say something mean. Someone is going to puke. But you know what? I am going to keep on trying. I am going to keep on taking them places and trying to give them that perfect day. I am going to pack picnics and wake them up early when the mood strikes me. I am going to keep trying even when I am exhausted. Even when I know how it's all going to end.

Because I am a Mom and that's what we do.

Now, I will go pick up my kid so I can come home and have that glass of wine.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Caramel Iced Coffee Concentrate Recipe

I love iced coffee. Maybe love isn't a strong enough word here. Let's just say that if money were no object than I would go to Caribou every damn day and get myself one. Yum! Kind of like Mary-Louise Parker's character in Weeds who has a to-go cup of the delicious nectar from the addictive bean practically glued to her hand at all times. That would be me...only less stoned.

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If you enjoy twisted shows where the "heroine" constantly makes poor life decisions yet is somehow adorably lovable and entertaining at the same should watch Weeds. Seriously. Jenji Kohan has got that genius on tap! Love her.

Back to the subject though...Iced Coffees. In April 2013 someone had shared a recipe for this decadent sludge on Facebook and I had to give it a try. It was so good that I saved the recipe for future use. I decided to make another batch up yesterday and went over to my laptop to see if I could find the original recipe link so that I could Pin it. Not much luck. All I know is that it may have started out as a modified Pampered Chef recipe. So, all I can say is that I didn't invent this recipe but I did make an optional modification to it and took nice pictures. The only Pin I could find used a stock photo of coffee and the web link went to a dead website and was created only a year ago so, I'm calling dibs. Ha! Here it is:

Caramel Iced Coffee Concentrate Recipe


1 1/2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Instant Coffee crystals
1/2 Cup Caramel Sauce
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tsp. Flavor extract of choice (optional)

I decided to add a dram of this Butterscotch flavor extract to my batch last night. I imagine many flavors would be available and tasty. Think cinnamon, hazelnut, chocolate and so on. And even if you don't use any at all the coffee drink will still be super good. This was the first time I even tried the extra extract. Do what you like.


Bring all of the ingredients in a saucepan to a boil. Allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

When ready to enjoy, mix 2 Tbsps of concentrate with 8 ozs of milk. Pour over ice and enjoy!

Like yours a little stronger? Just add a little extra concentrate. So easy. So tasty.

I love that I can just go to my fridge and get a Iced Coffee without leaving the house or breaking the bank. Every little bit helps the budget when you are raising five kids, right? I hope you have a relaxing Sunday and thanks for stopping by!