Friday, August 31, 2012

Waterfall braid flipped under

Julie and I love to make fancy braided hairstyles.  Well, I really love to make them and Julie is a good sport to let me play with her hair.  I get a LOT of great hairstyle ideas from blogs.  Some of my favorites are Princess Hairstyles and Girly Do Hairstyles.  They both are incredibly creative with hair and have made up some great video tutorials.

The hairstyle I'm going to show you here is actually an original.  I made it up all by myself.

I started with a waterfall braid on each side and secured them together with a small rubber band. (Waterfall braid video tutorial)

Then I made another waterfall braid on each side using the same pieces of hair to go through the second braid.  So it looked like parts of her hair went down through 2 braids.

Everything was secured together in the back with a rubber band.  You can tell that the two sides aren't exactly even on where their braids are, but that's OK.  It doesn't have to be perfect.

I didn't get a great picture of this last part, but I took all her hair together and put it in a pony tail at the base of her neck.  Then I took the topsy tail, our favorite hair tool, and flipped that pony tail over, braids and all.  Final touch - add a cute hairclip.

There you have it - our original waterfall braid flipped under.  David took a video of me doing the waterfall braid, but it was so shaky, I think it might make you sick, so I decided not to post it on here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Last Tooth

No more wiggly teeth.  No more deciding who is going to pull out a tooth or when it's ready to pull.  No more money from the tooth fairy.  She's done.

Now it's on to braces...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to make your front door frame bright, shiny and clean front door frame looked like this...

Yeah, that's supposed to be white not grayish, dirt colored.  And, while it is dirt colored, unfortunately, that is not dirt.  It's mildew - yuck!  (That reminds me of those little "yuck" stickers we had when we were little.  You put them on household cleaners that would be poisonous if you drank them.  Anyone else remember those stickers?  I feel like I should stick one on that door.)

Our front door gets quite a beating.  It has no protection, no little porch roof or portico, just hot, direct sunlight all afternoon and pounding rain on it every time it storms, which has been quite a lot recently.  So all that lovely mildew has grown up on our door frame.

I've tried just cleaning it off with soap and water, but it comes right back.  Since I didn't automatically know how to clean off mildew, I turned to the internet, of course.  Luckily ehow knew just what to do.

And since I worked hard on cleaning it, I thought it was worthy of a blog post to tell you exactly how I did it.

To clean mildew off your exterior door and frame, you need these supplies:

Bleach, dish soap, vinegar and water
A hard, scrubbing brush
2 squirt bottles - Label one with "vinegar" and one with "bleach." 
 I used painter's tape to make my labels.
A hose with a multi-use kind of sprayer, gloves and a face mask
(I had gotten out a drop cloth thinking I would use it, but I didn't.  
Just disregard that part of the picture.)

Got all your supplies? 
Here's how you clean it...

1)  Make up the following solution in your "bleach" squirt bottle - 1/4 cup of bleach, 1 tablespoon of dish soap and water to fill it up.

2)  Next do your "vinegar" bottle - 1/4 cup vinegar and water to fill it up

3)  Safety first!  Put on those gloves and face mask.  You are dealing with mildew (or mold) and don't want to inhale all those particles or to touch them with your hands.

Mildew beware!  Here I come!

4)  Start by spraying down your door with the hose.  You'll want to use the mist setting for this so you don't spray those little mold or mildew spores into the air.  I found it was easier to do this step and the following 2 steps in sections, such as right side of the door, left side of the door and top.  If you don't, it's likely that the door or frame will dry before you get to all of it and you want it to be wet to do this.

5)  Spray the door/frame section with the bleach solution.  Take the brush and scrub.  Get into all the cracks and crevices to make sure the mildew is completely gone.  Then turn the hose to the strong stream setting and spray it all down.  The mildew comes off pretty easily like this but it did take several times through this step to get it all off.

6)  Once all the mildew is gone from a section, spray it down with the vinegar solution.  Once again, use that brush to get into every nook and cranny of your door or frame.  The vinegar gets off all the soap residue and just helps get it all squeaky clean.  Use your gentle spray on the hose and rinse off all that vinegar.

7)  After all your door/frame sections are nice and mildew-free, you can dry the door or frame with a towel and stick a fan in front of it to better dry it completely.  For me, it was afternoon by the time I finished cleaning and the direct sunlight was doing its job.  I had a lot of trouble keeping the door wet while I washed it, so I decided our door would dry just fine on its own and I could skip this step.

The final result:

Don't mind all those brown spots on the white door frame...
that's just all my paint peeling off because of the sunlight on it all the time.  It's not dirt :).

Just as a little side note of warning:  If you have peeling paint on your door frame, using a stiff brush will make it peel more.  Also, if you are cleaning your door as well as your frame, test a small part of your door with the bleach solution and the brush before you clean all of it.  I didn't do this and my door has more of the distressed look now.  

But it's clean!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

June Reading List

I'm reading 24 books this year - books that I already had in my house.  See the whole list here.

So...I'm really late on reporting on my June books.  What can I say? Summer happens.  Kids are home, I have less time to read and even less to blog.

Way back in June, I was supposed to read Rebecca and Bringing up Boys.

Hailed as the best gothic novel of its time, Rebecca is a change from the genre of novel that I normally read. The second Mrs. de Winter arrives at Manderley, her new home, just weeks after marrying her new husband.  Expecting to be swept into the world of high class parties and friends, she is surprised when Manderley is more of a tomb than a honeymoon.  What secrets surround the death of Rebecca, the first Mrs. de Winter?

Knowing that this was later made into an Alfred Hitchcock film, I approached it with trepidation.  I really don't like horror stories.  What I found, instead, was a very boring book.  Seriously!  This book was so slow moving, I literally feel asleep reading it more than once.  It was more Jane Austen, less Stephen King than what I was expecting.  I did not finish it, so I never did find out the secret of Rebecca's death.  But that's OK.  Obviously, I don't recommend this book.  Maybe it gets more exciting later on, but it didn't hold my attention long enough to find out.

Reading this book didn't happen.  I still really want to read it, so it's going into my pile to read later in the year when I have a free minute.

Confession: It's August and I still haven't even started July's books.  I've decided to skip them and go on to August's books (which I'm half-way through the first one - yay).  Like the James Dobson book, they are going into the pile to read later.  Look for August's review at the beginning of September.

For August:  Not Too Busy to Pray and Betrayal in Paris.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Organizing Your Junk Drawer

Occasionally, I get the organization and decluttering bug.

So when I decided to organize my junk drawer, my first step was to find a tray that worked inside the drawer.  Luckily, I found the perfect tray in the office section at Walmart for only $2.

Step two?  Let your organizing-happy, 9-year old HAVE AT IT!

Seriously, after buying the tray, I did nothing.  Julie did it all.

And it looks great!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Netgalley: Scent of Rain

Scent of Rain by Kristen Billerbeck

Daphne Sweeten has been trained to be a professional "nose," a gifted perfume creator who can recongnize 1000's of different smells.  Well, she used to recognize smells.  After being jilted at the alter, Daphne's sense of smell is gone, vanished into thin air.  Worse still, she gave up the perfect job in Paris to move to Dayton, OH for her fiancee, the one who, like her best sense, is no where to be found.

Daphne must now create great smelling household products without actually smelling them.  Can she mask her issues enough to keep her new job and convince her boss, Jesse, that's she worth the addition to his budget?  Can Jesse move past his past to give Daphne the chance she deserves?

My Thoughts:

I'm a big Kristen Billerbeck fan (love the Spa Girls series), but this one just did not cut it for me.  My first problem was there were numerous cheesy lines in the book about smelling and the sense of smell.  My eyes almost hurt from rolling them so much.

I thought the ending was horrible.  I literally clicked back a page when I saw the words "Epilogue."  Surely the book wasn't done.  Nothing had been resolved.  After reading the epilogue a few issues were resolved but there was so much story, especially concerning Mark, the ex-fiancee, that I thought still needed to be told.

I also had a hard time following some of the timing in the book.  There was one reference to a date, but I didn't know if a week had gone by or two weeks or what.  It seems like a new section would start up and the characters would be somewhere different but we weren't told where they were or how they got there.  I had to look back in the book several times to figure those out.

Lastly, I thought it was totally unrealistic that Daphne would fall in love again so quickly after being left at the altar.  If she loved her fiancee so much that she was going to marry him, how could her affections change so quickly?

Overall, the premise of the book was unique but there were too many problems with the telling of the story for me to give this a good review.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

I received a complementary Kindle version of this book through NetGalley.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ice Cream Fiends

My ice cream fiends love themselves some free Chick-fil-a ice cream.

Free, of course, because Chick-fil-a lets them trade in their kids meal toy for an ice cream.

Which makes it not really free...

But they think it is and they enjoy it, so it's all good.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Olympic Inspired

The Olympics may be done, but the inspiration continues.  You probably can't tell, but he's wearing two swimcaps...just like Michael Phelps.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tyndale Blog Network: Bees in the Butterfly Garden

Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang

Meg Davenport is the epitome of a lady.  Raised in a high society boarding school in New York during the late 1800's, Meg is shocked when she hears the news that her absentee father, John Davenport, has died.  Trying to learn more about his life, she attends his funeral and meets all of his friends.  While there her image of her father is shattered.  He was not a society gentleman at all, but was instead, a con man and a thief.

Ian Maguire has learned from the best.  As John Davenport student and protege, he can pull off cons with the best of them.  But Meg has him baffled.  She is convinced that she will follow in her father's footsteps.  Ian, however, is determined to keep her in society and out of crime.

Despite his original objections, when Meg decides to make an extended visit with Fifth Avenue friends, Ian sees an opportunity to lighten them of a little of their famous gold bars.  Can Meg pull off this hoax without losing everything?  Can Ian keep his heart in check long enough to do what's best for Meg?

My Thoughts:

I have to admit, I chose this book mostly because the heroine had my last name and there aren't many books out there like that.  But that fact aside...

I enjoyed the premise of this book - high society girl turns con artist in the late 1800's.  Lang did a great job of explaining what would be involved in pulling off a reconnaissance and robbery if modern technology were not available.  I really enjoyed reading those parts of the book.

I also really liked the themes of justice, grace and mercy that were woven throughout the book.  The Pemberton family had some very good real-life examples of how justice, mercy and grace could be carried out in every day life.  It made those themes more understandable to the reader.

Other than that, this book was very slow moving.  I kept waiting for the action to pick up and it never really did.  The characters were interesting and well developed, almost too well developed.  I have to admit that I got bored reading this and almost quit half way through.

I would love to give it higher marks because it had a lot of good qualities but overall, I just can't give out more than 3 stars to something that didn't hold my interest.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

I was provided a complementary copy of this book for review by the Tyndale Blog Network.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to play with your cousins

Kindle Fire...bringing families together.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Booksneeze: Tidewater Inn

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

Welcome to Hope Beach
Where the sea breeze is fresh, sun sparkles on sand . . . and trouble appears with the force of a hurricane.
Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the seaward shore of Hope Island could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.
But Libby soon realizes that only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father, who willed her the inn, has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brothers and sisters are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, Libby’s under suspicion for the crime, and her handsome lieutenant clearly doubts her innocence.
Libby’s dream-come-true is becoming a nightmare. Can she find her friend and establish her innocence? Must she sell Tidewater Inn and lose her family again? Or can she find a home for her heart on the beautiful shores of Hope Island?
My Thoughts:
I love a good mystery tied in with a good romance, and this book has both.  Colleen Coble does a great job of keeping you guessing about who's in cahoots right up until the end.  The book was easy to read and the story line kept me engaged and wanting to read more.
Libby is cute, lovable and easy to relate to in her struggle to please God and to please others. At times I felt like she should have been a little bit more worried about her kidnapped friend,   but for the most part, she was a well-written character.
I love the description of Hope Island and all the residents there.  It makes me want to vacation there but to not tell anyone about it - to keep it my little secret hideaway.  
Overall Colleen Coble delivers up another great read.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
I was given a complementary Kindle version of this book while participating in the Booksneeze program.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 13, 2012

They're Moving Up in the World

You might think it's crazy early, but today is the first day of school for our school system.

My babies are in Fourth and Second grade now.

Sniff, sniff, sniff...

Although my kids LOVE school and were very excited about returning, there was also a little bit of anxiety in there too.  Hopefully, once they get back into the routine of things and figure out that fourth grade and second grade are really quite doable, all that anxiety will go away.

For me?  No anxiety, just smiles...I finally get time to go to Walmart alone again, to clean my house without little people coming and uncleaning it right behind me and last, but not least, I get time to blog again.  Sigh.

Here's to a great year at school!