Pallet Herb Garden Tutorial

It’s planting time! I cannot tell you how excited I am for planting and spring and NO MORE SNOW! We live in Michigan and definitely had our fair share of snow this year. I think we even set a new record too! I have to say that I don’t think I have ever experienced cold days in April and May until this year. Cool days, yes, but not cold. But that is behind us, now on to summer!

La dee, dee da, doobie do be do ba…….

I got a little carried away there with thoughts of summer, Olaf, Elsa, and all their friends.  Anyway, back to my topic: planting. Continue reading “Pallet Herb Garden Tutorial”

It Was Time

I finally did it. I took the initiative and got it done. I put aside all other things and made it happen. What is “it?”

A new pincushion.  I know, I’m weird. Here is my poor old one:


Such a sad sight isn’t it? I had finally had enough of trying not to let the stuffing spill out everywhere as I worked. So I did a little search on my favorite little site that rhymes with “interest,” and voila, I found the perfect replacement. The tutorial was great so I am not going to rewrite it all here; head over to Sew Mama Sew and check out the free tutorial! But, before you head on over, here are the pictures of my finished pincushion.

ImageNot only is it a pincushion, complete with a flannel strip in the middle for needles so you don’t lose them, but it has a “snipped threads” detachable fabric bag and a pocket for scissors and seam rippers etc. It is also weighted so that you can set it on the side of a table (or arm of a chair) and it won’t fall off – such a genius idea!


I love how bright and cheery it is!Image

While I was at it, I decided to make one for a friend who needed some cheering up:ImageWhile I liked the original tutorial, I did make a few changes. First off, I used sand for the weight instead of rice as I wanted the option of sticking the whole thing in the washer if needed. I also made some slight changes in the size since I was using scraps from my stash. Otherwise, the tutorial was great and very easy to follow. Make sure and post pics below if you try your hand at it!

Our Crazy Life: Basement Edition

Hello! I am glad to be back! The move is over and we are settling in well. And I have to say, I am so glad it is all over. As well as trying to pack with a one-year-old, we were also patching nail holes, painting, and finishing up our basement.

Before we put our house on the market, we had to do something about the basement floor. We had a tiny leak last spring which got the carpet wet enough that we had to rip it out. Since then, we have lived with a pretty junky basement (not quite the selling type, ya know?).

And then we decided to just go ahead and redo the entire basement floor. (Why we get these ideas, I’ll never know- we love to make more work for ourselves.) Here is the laundry room as we were in the middle of pulling up vinyl tiles.

After it was all said and done, we learned a lot about refinishing and staining floors. Here are the DOs and DON’Ts that might make your life easier if you decide to take the same path.
  • Do rent a diamond grinder to grind off old carpet glue, paint, and any other junk that is stuck to your floors. We rented ours from Home Depot but you could get yours from most tool rental stores. Some floors won’t need such a heavy duty tool, so definitely research the best option for getting your floor back to the bare concrete. 
  • Do use a hot iron to remove old vinyl tiles (place a steaming iron on a tile for about 15 seconds and then use a paint scraper to peel back the tiles; its amazing how easy this is!), don’t attempt to chip away at the tiles with chisels…its AWFUL and doesn’t work. And just so you know, this will ruin your iron; mine has been banished to the home improvement bucket for future projects.
  • Do purchase a massive squeegee to use while grinding the floors down. You have to grind the floors while wet so there ends up being a lot of water on the floor that needs to be guided to a drain. Don’t even try to grind the floors without water; you will go through the blades in no time and they aren’t cheap! Hook up a garden hose to a tap to make the “wetting” process easier on yourself.
  • Do clean your floors, re-clean, and clean them again. This is a must. If your floor isn’t clean, the stain won’t stick well. Mops (using a “wash” and “rinse” bucket for sure), sponges, and scrub brushes all work well. Don’t use the cheapo twist mops for this; they disintegrate pretty fast when used on concrete floors. 
  • Do make sure that the floor is completely dry. Also, a vacuum job right before you stain isn’t a bad idea either. 
  • Do grab a friend to help out with the staining process. We used a garden sprayer to apply the stain which worked okay but we were new to the whole thing so we had to figure it out as we went. If you are going to use the sprayer, make sure to use some masking paper (12″ is wide enough) on the walls to protect them. Have one person spray the stain and the other use a roller to blend the stain on the floor. We used 3/8″ nap microfiber roller, but would recommend something else. Work fast as the stain soaks in quickly. We ended up with a lot of roller lines in the first coat, which didn’t look good at all. After a second coat, rolling in the opposite direction, and a second coat with two people rolling the stain, we had a finished floor. It ended up darker than expected, not quite as “semi-transparent” as we expected, but we like the finished product despite that. What do you think?
We also painted the paneling to update the walls a little.  
The variations in the floor color are from the reaction of the stain with the components of the concrete. There are also concrete patches that took the stain differently. If we did it again, we would try applying the stain with rags to try and get a more even finish with the first coat, however you could also apply the stain with paint brushes. It is recommended that you apply a sealer top coat for high traffic areas and for some extra shine; we didn’t use it as we liked it as is. 
What home improvement projects have you worked on lately? 

Who said “Yum” has to be expensive?

I hate how our culture showcases candle light dinners, steak, lobster and the like as if it is something you MUST have if you want to have a good date, or even just a dinner out. Spending $50 or more for one night’s dinner is very hard for me as that is one weeks worth of food for our family! Now, have I done it? Yes, but only a few times. Unlike many people, I would much rather go to the grocery store and buy food and cook a fancy dinner at home. I know that it doesn’t have quite the same feel as a restaurant, and you do have the work of cooking and clean up after, however it is so much more enjoyable to me when I know that it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg for a feast fit for a ladybug (you catch my drift?!).


I heard a great sermon this last Sunday that talked about money and our culture; how we think we are broke and yet if you make $25,000/year, you are in the top 2% richest people in the world (according to Global Rich List). How crazy is that?!?! It got me thinking about what I am responsible for in our budget: food. Where I strive to make sure each meal is around $5 or $6 so that each serving is $1 or less, there are people living on $2/day for all of their living expenses. I can do better than that, right? Learning about the real numbers of our world’s poverty made me come to a realization in the realm of preparing meals for my family.

Food is a energy source for our bodies; it’s prime purpose is not meant to be an emotional experience

Okay, Okay, yes I think that food should taste great, but I think that too much time and effort is put into finding the perfect blend of flavors so that when you take a bite your whole world is made better. While I already knew this to some extent, it really clicked when the preacher was talking about the money aspect of it. Keeping this in mind, I hope to think twice before I pin the “Buttered Lobster, Pillowy White Rolls, with a side of Succulent Lemon Green Beans and Decadent Molten Chocolate Cake with Taiwanese Blueberries” recipes on Pinterest, for example. Sure, I think that all sounds wonderful (I wonder if it even exists…), but I can probably get more nutrition out of a different meal that costs me a lot less. I think there are times when a fancy dinner is okay, but fancy AT HOME dinner is so much cheaper! Try it some time 🙂

With all that being said, I would like to share with you some sites that I visit often to find inexpensive, nutritious meals to prepare for my family. These particular two sites also break down the costs of the recipe so I know exactly how much I’m spending- which also helps a lot!

Both of these sites have whole wheat options if desired, and really try to create wholesome recipes on a tight budget. I’m very thankful for these sites as they do a lot of the work for me when it comes to figuring out what recipes fit with the ingredients I have on hand and also what fits into our budget. Below I listed a few of our family favorites from both Budget Bytes and P&P. I hope you like them as much as we have! 

Chili Cheese Beef N Mac (we use ground turkey)

**If you are interested in hearing the sermon I talked about, definitely click the link 🙂 It was a great lesson about breaking free from the bondage of debt in our lives…and much more! 

His and Hers

Like I mentioned in my last post, I am very into anything DIY. My most recent projects include making “His” and “Hers” apron sets as wedding presents. The groom apron is made with his favorite sports team fabric and the bride apron is very girly; complete with lots of ruffles! (I love ruffles, I think I would put them all over our house if my husband would approve). Once I get a set done- I have 3 to complete!- I will definitely post some pictures J Once finished with the currents projects I am planning on adding them to my Etsy shop as a “made to order” item as well. Customers would pick the general color scheme of the bride apron and then the sports team fabric for the groom apron (or stripes etc if the groom is not into sports).  Sewing and crafts are my big hobby but I also love to be in the kitchen; a good apron is always something that comes in handy. For guys who are not into “kitchen cooking”, tailgating season is upon us which brings plenty of grill time. And what better way to grill out than to also support your favorite team?!

On the topic of “his” and “hers”, it is Ovarian/Prostate Cancer awareness week. Although I am a nurse, I do not work with cancer patients and so the statistics of the different types of cancer always stun me. Yes, there are many diseases that tear the body apart, but few are as deadly as cancer. It is a great accomplishment to overcome such a sickness- so to all you cancer survivor readers: WAY TO GO! You fought the fight and WON! In support of the victims of ovarian or prostate cancer (whether current or past), I would donate 10% of apron sales to ovarian and prostate cancer foundations, unless otherwise specified.

My maternal grandfather had prostate cancer which metastasized to his lungs (and other parts of his body) and sadly did not win his fight. I was only 8 so I don’t remember much, but he was living with us for the last few months and I do remember the day he died. It’s interesting how vividly you remember some events in your life and yet others pass by unnoticed. My mom sent us kids outside to play and a little while later I came inside to find out that he had passed. That was the day I also saw my dad cry for the first time. I said “Dad, you’re not REALLY crying are you?” He responded, “Yes, I am. I am sad.” “But you NEVER cry. You’re not really crying.” He looked taken aback and was silent after that; a very awkward kind of silent and I am pretty sure I hurt his feelings. I have always regretted that comment, but I was only 8 and I guess 8 year olds don’t know much about holding their tongues. While in nursing school I made a medical family tree for one of my classes and found out that my paternal grandfather also had prostate cancer but had gone into remission. As far as I know, he has not had any problems since (J). Knowing this fact, I am very aware that my father and two brothers are at high risk to also have prostate cancer. Scary thought, huh?!

Anyways, if you know someone who is/has been victim to ovarian or prostate cancer, be sure to say a word of encouragement to them this week. Cancer is a tough battle and those who survive do so with the help of their family and friends beside them. If the “right” words don’t come to mind, a smile or hug often speak more encouragement than words ever could.

~ Ruth