On Thursday night, a storm blew into North Texas that resulted in one heck of an ice storm. Dallas and Fort Worth were covered by up to 1.5 inches of ice – not snow, ice – on Thursday night, resulting in most schools closing on Friday.
The kids were stoked to have a snow day, so we made sure to go out and place in the “snow” a bit.
Since it was actually all ice, we had to hop around a bit to break it up, making it able to be picked up and played with.
Even Mia got to go out and enjoy the cold weather with us!
The kids had fun breaking the icicles off the fence, collecting frozen leaves, and making ice-angels.
After we were sufficiently frozen, we ran back inside to warm up by the fire, then decided to do some unplanned for smores. And by unplanned for, I mean unprepared for. We used mini marshmallows (meant for Hot Cocoa), and Nature Valley Granola Thins with Chocolate. Hey, man… You work with what you’ve got!
A few hours later, we headed out for round two, and Brendan promptly knocked a huge icicle down off the back porch, which the kids just HAD to eat.
The only downside to this gnarly Texas weather was that Patrick, of course, still had to work today. Which means he had to weather the nasty roads – and inexperienced drivers – for his normally 30 minute drive to work. Luckily once he got there, he was good to go for 8 hours, but that puts him leaving work after the sun has been set for a while, temperatures have had a chance to drop significantly, and ice has been given time to re-form. Oh goody.
Overall, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed – and put to good use – our Snow Day. Tomorrow morning, it’s Christmas tree time!
…walking around the house with a big hunting bow in my hands. SO unlike me.
Patrick got this bow years and years ago, then loaned it to his ex-wfe and just recently got it back. It was pretty scuffed up and the arrow rest was busted, so it clearly needed some love to get it back into excellent condition again.
While I can’t restore it back to it’s original shine (due in part to the at-home-camo-job Patrick had done before, discussed below), I knew I could at least improve upon what was there with an all-over paint job.
Years ago, Patrick decided that he wanted his once red and black bow to be camo. He attempted sanding it down to paint it, but got frustrated with the process and settled for the Do It Yourself Camo kits for bows and rifles, that are essentially comprised of Camo Tape.
The tape used on his bow was a soft finish tape, unlike duct tape, which actually helped when it came time to strip it all off. The quality of the tape was higher, thus the quality of the adhesive was higher, and it came off mostly in large pieces.
You can see the remaining adhesive left behind from the tape.
Once I got all the tape off, we tackled the remaining adhesive with nail polish remover. That cleaned it all up pretty quickly. It did remove some of the remaining paint, but most of it was gone from Patrick’s earlier attempt at sanding it down, so we went into this knowing it would need to be painted over.
With all of the tape removed, it was time to use a sanding sponge to scuff up all the remaining smooth areas of the bow, prepping it for a coat of primer.
Once all the surfaces were sufficiently scuffed, I went to work taping off all the strings and mechanisms of the bow, protecting them from overspray. I also removed the broken arrow rest. At the same time, I taped over all the Hoyt logo panels, the sticker on the back-side of the bow stating it’s draw weight, etc, and all the metal casings for bolts that would later be re-attached.
With everything taped up, it was time for a coat of primer. I used what I generally stick to, Zinsser Cover Stain Primer. Two thin coats and we were ready for some paint!
For my paint colors, Patrick chose the Rustoleum Camo colors shown here
The next part of the process was pretty labor intensive. I did some research of camo painting, and found lots of tutorials. I watched several and took a few tips from each one in order to come to the style I preferred. I decided to go with a multicam camo, as I know that is Patrick’s preference. When you study multicam, you’ll notice that the majority of the space is either dark tan, or green.
The lighter tan is used sparingly, and generally in clusters while the dark brown is used sparingly, and is spread out, often overlapping the light tan. Since that was my first color to tackle, I started with a thin coat of tan spray paint.
(Some of the upcoming photos were taken with my ipad, as I was taping off the patterns upstairs).
While the tan paint was drying, I set to work making my stencils. I opted for male stencils instead of female, to allow for a more precise line around each color-area. To do this, I took a piece of wax paper and covered both sides of the paper with line after line of overlapping painters tape. I bought the thin tape b/c I was working around such small areas on the bow, but thicker tape would have worked even better.
With my sheet of tape finished, I took a sharpie and marked out shapes similar to camo patterns I found online. Check out Pinterest or Google Images for samples of Multicam patterns. I then cut those out using a small pair of scissors. Since these were going to represent the light tan areas, I stuck with smaller sized pieces, in longer shapes and several coordinating small circular pieces to cluster around the larger stickers. With the tape on each side of the wax paper, each cut out section made 2 stickers, so I had coordinating shapes for each end of the bow. You just peel the sticker off the wax paper, place it on your surface and press firmly on all edges. One tip that a tutorial i found pointed out is that longer strips should go horizontally, not vertically.
With my stencil stickers in place, I took the bow back outside and gave it a once-over with dark brown.
While that was drying, I cut out the pattern pieces for my dark brown. For the dark brown, I went slightly larger than the light tan pieces, and stuck to the same idea: longer, narrow pieces, some small circular pieces to cluster. I did, however, use a bit more creative license when it came to the shapes of these pieces.
With the brown dried and the stickers placed over the brown paint, I threw on a coat of black. Patrick wanted some black mixed in with the camo, but since we were using black for the surface color of the handle, I wanted to keep it minimal. Though I completely forgot to take photos of it, I did a few very small stickers, placed them over the dried black paint, and moved on to the next color; Green.
With a coat of the forest-green paint over the entire surface, I got to work cutting out the larger pieces from my tape-sheet. These were intended to be more as “background”, would layer over the white, brown and black, and would cover a good bit of the surface of the bow. I was more relaxed in the shaping of these pieces, and in several I cut sections out of the middle of each piece.
With these stickers in place, I took the bow outside for it’s last coat of paint. This time I knew I needed some blending to my colors, so I got my tan, brown and green ready and went to work spraying short, light lines of paint across the surface. I went in a diagonal across the bow, overlaying each color until they blended together well.
At this point, Patrick was bouncing off the walls with excitement.
Once this coat was dried, it was time to slowly and carefully peel off the stickers to reveal the finished Camo pattern. I think I held my breath the entire time, but was pleased to see a great multicam hidden below all those layers of tape.
The white patch near the top is actually the black, which was a glossier paint than the Camo paints were, and is reflecting the light in the hallway.
At this point, we let all of the paint settle over night, so we would be ready to tackle the rest of it in the morning.
My initial plan the next morning was to tape over the camo and spray the handle, edging and backing all solid black. However, after seeing the camo, I was worried that the tape might pull up some of the paint. With how many layers of paint you put on with this method, you end up with some pretty prominent “edges” to each color-area, and I was concerned those would get caught by the tape and be pulled up.
So instead, I taped off every other area of the bow and did 2 thin coats of clear-coat over the camo to help seal it. When taping off the handle, I took care to place a piece of paper over each of the taped-up Hoyt panels, so they wouldn’t accidentally get peeled off when it’s time to remove the tape from the handle before the final coat of black paint.
Once the clear coat had had about 2 hours to cure (according to the bottle of spray paint, it was dry to touch in 15 minutes, workable in 2 hours), I set to work removing tape from all the white areas, and prepped to tape over my camo facing.
As it got later in the day, the temperatures dropped, so I had to start being careful about how/where my paint was drying to keep it above the 50 degree mark stated on the bottle. But check out the awesome sunset I got to enjoy while working out there!
I threw a quick coat of black on 1/3 of the bow, let it dry for 20 minutes, then on the 2nd 3rd and let that dry for 20 minutes, then on the final 3rd and let that dry for 20 minutes. At that point I called it a night and brought it in to cure overnight. I removed the tape from the camo areas before going to bed.
In the morning, I did a quick touch-up coat of black in areas that I noticed needed more blending, but made sure to keep the over-spray away from the camo areas. Once the black was all sufficiently cured, we put a coat of clear on one side of the bow and let it dry for several hours. Then we flipped it over and did a coat of clear on the other side, and let that cure for several hours.
At that point, we were all done and ready for use! Time to re-install the sight, and install the new Whisker Biscuit I bought Patrick as part of his Christmas gift 😉
I wish I had been more intentional with the photos I took in the beginning so I would have had a better before/after shot, but you get the idea.
Today it’s in the low 30s here in Texas, and we have a “Significant Winter Storm” coming our way. For those of us in Texas, this means icing of the roads and potential for some snow. That might not seem like much to some (heck, I learned to drive in a city that is consistently ranked in the top 5 cities in the country for snow fall each year!), but in this area, where local governments are grossly unprepared to manage icy roads, it can be extremely dangerous.
So aside from sending Patrick off to work for the day – since we don’t really have a choice in the matter – the kids and I are keeping ourselves cooped up in the house with the fireplace blaring and activities to keep us busy like movies, snap circuits, our WWUSA prgramming, and more.
So today’s post is going to be a quick printable for your family. Here goes!
You want to help me more?! SURE! Here’s a load of laundry!
About 3 months ago, I made the kids to a quick “to do” list on some scrap paper. Their lists included things like “pick up all the clothes in your room” and “put barbies/legos back in their place”. It was small, quick jobs that helped get us closer to that larger goal of an organized play area, without overwhelming them or causing bickering. To my surprise, they happily crossed off all their items and brought the lists back to me, begging for more ‘jobs’.
Another thing my kids love to do is use our home-made dry erase board to write/draw on, so I decided to combine the two, and make them each a cute, permanent fixture in their rooms to keep track of their responsibilities.
Brendan’s is Blue/Grey to coordinate with his room colors, and Lily’s in Pink/Brown to go with hers. We included a few blank lines to fill in responsibilities that might occur once in a while (or even just once) but aren’t common.
The chores listed on each one are representative of what we expect of them based on their ages and our current needs, so feel free to edit the downloadable PSD file to make the chore list better suit the expectations you have for your kids. You can also easily personalize each one with your child/s name in Photoshop.
I printed ours at Kinko’s as an 11×14, trimmed the excess paper off using their table-top paper cutters, and then framed them in the ultra cheap document frames from Hobby Lobby or other craft stores. Quick and easy!
You can download the PINK CHART HERE and the BLUE CHART HERE.
If you enjoy this printable, please consider pinning it on Pinterest or sharing on facebook! Thanks!
The funny thing about the process of house hunting is how fast your news can change.
Immediately after my last post, we went and looked at the houses from that post.
Our fist choice house turned out to have a contract written on it the night before we could see it. Our second choice was a quick no, once we realized it was nothing more than creative photography that made the living room look so spacious. And the third, well that one was interesting. We got there and were impressed by the house from the outside…. more so than we expected to be, actually. Yet when we got to the door, the key didn’t work! We hope to come back to this house at a later time, but don’t have a appointment scheduled yet. With our list significantly shortened, I begrudgingly suggested another house. A house we both loved the outside of, but weren’t too fond of the living room in. Sure enough, once we got in we realized that the “oddly laid out living room” was really just another unfortunate product of poor photography skills. The house was stunning.
So, I intended to log in this morning and share how we had put an offer on a beautiful house. 2 stories, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2600 square feet. It was beautiful with upgrades such as heavy, decorative iron doors, custom bathrooms, and designer light fixtures. We submitted our offer and crossed our fingers. Our offer was fair, and included a bit more than asking, with the request that they pay part of closing costs.
Unfortunately, today we received their counter offer which told us loud and clear that they were unwilling to take 1cent less than their asking price, or pay 1cent towards closing. While we loved the house, we had our own hesitations on it, and ultimately decided to walk away from the deal.
While it was a hard decision, and one we definitely didn’t take lightly, I’m content in knowing that we made a smart decision.
There were a few functional issues with he house that we weren’t fond of.
1.) There was an awesome finished playroom over the attic, but it only was accessible through one of the secondary bedrooms. That room couldn’t be made into the baby room or the kids wouldn’t be able to play in there while a baby sleeps, but I also don’t want to referee the battle over which kid gets that room. Not to mention, having to keep the room unavailable for impromptu, unchaperoned 2am play times.
2.) All those fancy upgrades?? While it was all beautiful, when we really sat down and talked about it, it wasn’t the style we were dreaming of for our first home. We picture less heavy wrought iron and more bright white with great lighting… so we would have been ultimately paying 30 years of interest on an up-charge for the upgrades we didn’t love, and would eventually replace. Not a smart choice.
Pictures found on Pinterest
At the end of the day, though, the decision really boiled down to what was right for our family. Our primary goal is to be sure that we can easily pay our mortgage, make upgrades to the house as we go along, and still live our lives – complete with dinner dates, movies, cupcake runs, etc. Those are the activities we aren’t willing to sacrifice in exchange for a bigger or fancier house. So, onward we go…. And we start compiling our next list of houses to see…
Well, the time has finally come for us to buy our first home together.
We’ve spent the last almost-six-months scrimping and saving so that we would be in a better position to buy at the end of the year and what do you know? It’s the end of the year!
We got everything set with our pre-approval this week, and now it’s on to finding houses to look at. Unfortunately, this is a TERRIBLE time of the year to be looking. Plenty of buyers are out there, evidently, but very few sellers, which means that out of the 15 or so houses on the market that fit into our price/requirements (ie: 4 bedrooms, geographical location, etc), once we rule out ones with low rated schools or non existent yards, we have (literally) 3 to look at.
So those three addresses have been forwarded back to our realtor to set up appointments to go see, and we hope to have news of an offer in the next few weeks! That’s not to say we will for sure decide on one of these, or that we might not add in other options as we go along, but as of today, this is what we are looking at for the moment. So please cross your fingers, say a prayer, or do a happy dance – whatever floats your boat – that we are able to find the right home and community for our family!
This year I knew we needed to either buy, find, or make some stocking holders for the new stockings we’ve been making to use this Christmas, but I hadn’t been able to find anything I loved, and with $20 as the average price tag of *each* stocking holder, I had to really love it to spend $120.00 + tax on a set of 6 (5 for us, and 1 extra for a future addition).
With the new stockings being white and gold, I wanted something that would tie in well with that color scheme, and I wanted to stick to our semi-rustic decor theme we’ve been keeping with. So I settled on something kind of winter/woodlands styled, and decided to go with woodland animals. I was thinking animals like a fox, moose, deer, etc, but the only thing I found for sale was at Anthropologie, which they call their “Woodland Stocking Holder”.
While beautiful, their color options are limited to brown and bronze, which looked suspiciously similar to one another, and their animals are limited to this which looks like the cross between a deer and a ram (someone correct me and tell me the real name of this animal, please!), a pug and a Scottie dog… neither of which were appealing to my woodlands theme. And at $38 a pop, I knew I couldn’t talk myself into a $228+Tax splurge that I didn’t even love in the first place. . I also knew I wanted all 6 to be different, so I decided at that point that it was time to formulate plan be: Making our own.
In passing conversation, I told Lily what I intended to make and she loudly declared that her animal would be a unicorn. Also not keeping with my woodland theme, but I’ll work with it because at least it’s something she’ll love.
I recalled seeing little plastic animals at Michael’s before, so Patrick and I ran out to price them. They ranged from $3.00 to $11.00 depending on the size of animal you purchased. We chose 6 that we felt matched our theme well (one of which was a horse, since they didn’t have a unicorn). Our total spent was around $32.00 including tax. (We also used a 50% off one item coupon on two of the animals, so be sure to check your Michael’s coupons online if you try this tutorial).
After that, we headed out to Target. I’d heard they carry plain stocking holder plates which you can dress up however you want. They are sold in sets 2 of for $10.00, and come in 3 colors (A silver, an ORB color, and a coppery/gold color). They were on sale for $9.00 per set of 2, but even so, buying 3 sets was going to add another $30.00 or more to our over-all price, which I wasn’t thrilled about, so I scouted the Cartwheel app, and sure enough they had 10% off all stocking holders! I also checked out our Shopkick app and discovered we had a collective 5,000+ kicks sitting there waiting to be cashed in. We had to get a little creative with how we cashed them in, but in the end we wound up with $24.00 worth of Target Gift cards for free. In the end, our total for the 6 stocking holder bases was $0.30 + tax. Can’t beat that!
We headed home to start on our project, and grabbed a can of Rustoleum Champagne Mist on the way past the home supply store.
When we got home, this is what our haul looked like
Since the animals are a matte finish paint, and the Rustoleum paint is supposed to be prime+paint in one, I didn’t bother using a different primer on them at all, and just took straight to spraying them down. 2 extra-light coats was all it took, and some time in the sun. Maybe it was just me, but this paint stayed tacky for a VERY long time. I finally gave up and did a clear coat over them using Clear Acrylic Spray, and that finally took care of the tackiness issue.
Before I could get too far on the painting, I did have one issue to tackle: The horse that wanted to be a unicorn.
I considered using some wood putty to form the horn, letting it cure, then using e6000 to glue it on, but i ended up taking a thin dowel and shaped it into a horn using a combination of sand paper and a pencil sharpener, then glued it on using e6000.
Once the glue was completely cured, the unicorn took a turn in our spray-tanning booth and came out a lovely shade of gold.
I did the same process, spraying the bases gold. Once everything was completely painted, clear coated, and cured, I used a small dab of e6000 glue on the bottom of each foot… err, paw? hoof? whatever the case may be… and then pressed them into the base and let them cure overnight.
The next morning, we were excited to see our new additions on our mantle!
The photos of them on the mantle show the color more true-to-life (the ones below are reflecting the red in our wood floors), but here are closeups of each animal.
Patrick is the Elk.
I’m the moose (one of my favorite animals)
Brendan is the wolf.
Lily is the unicorm.
Hayden is the bear.
And any future addition will be the raccoon. 🙂
All in all, this project cost us around $40.
Clear Coat: $0 (already had)
For a total of $6.88 each!! Not too bad!
Now the prices we paid, we wouldn’t expect most families to be able to get that same deal because of the gift cards, etc, we had through shopkick… but if anything, it’s a great reminder to sign up for those programs! Get you shopkick app and get your 45 points everytime you walk into Target! Someday you’ll use it for something cool!
What I’ve learned since becoming a Parent is that shopping for multiple children is HARD. You have to be sure everyone has at least close to the same amount of gifts to open. You can’t spend obviously more on one child’s gift, lest their feelings get hurt. And lord knows if one kid gets the awesome gift, bickering will ensue.
This is the first year we will have all three kids with us on Christmas Morning, which makes equality in gift giving that much more important.
Keeping three lists of wants and needs separate, remembering what we are asking Santa for, and what we are asking Mom and Dad for… well, it’s a challenge.
So this year I’ve given into my Type A tendencies and I’ve created a spreadsheet to keep it all straight. Organized by child and approximate price-point (Small, Medium or Large gifts), I can now be sure that I’m buying one gift for each kid that is approximately equal before moving onto the next set of gifts. There’s also a stealthy “S” column for the gift designated for the big guy 😉
Ours below is an example. It’s basically their wish-list typed out. While we likely won’t buy all of these items, it’s nice to have a list put together so I’m able to quickly reference what they’ve asked for.
If you like the look of our Christmas Shopping List, you can download a Photoshop-Ready Version here, which can be edited to include your kids names. Or a PDF file here, which can be printed and filled out by hand.
Now, to figure out what Hayden wants from Santa…
The kids did their annual Fun Run at their school. It’s a yearly PTA-managed Fundraiser where the kids get to collect donations from family and friends, and then see how many laps they can run in 30 minutes.
This year, Patrick and I volunteered at both class times (though P had to cut out a bit early during Lily’s run in order to go to work), which was a lot of fun because we got to be right there, cheering on the kids.
Brendan’s class went first, and our official job was lap counters. I have many more great photos but I don’t want to post them without permission from parents, so I’ll limit it to just a few.
Brendan completed 36 laps in around 24-25 minutes (he had to take a bathroom break at one point, which ate into his running time)
A few hours later, it was Lily’s turn to take to the track. She completed 35 laps in 30 minutes.
Between the two kids, they raised $100 for the PTA.
We are so super proud 🙂
Last year it was time for new Christmas stockings for the kids. H was staying with her Mom on Christmas, so I knew I needed – at a bare minimum – two stockings done by Christmas Morning.
I went out hunting for fabric and wanted something different, that I knew I would like for several years. I spied some cute gold fabric with sequins on it, and pictured it with a white fur cuff at the top. I loved the look, but the fabric was a jersey knit which means that as it was loaded up with presents, it would stretch out.
I quickly found some quilted batting type material, and thought that would make a cute lining for the knit fabric, and would protect it from stretching. I bought enough of all 3 fabrics to make 6 stockings: One for each kid, one for each parent, and a spare for any future Spivey Baby we might have.
Prior to Christmas, I was able to knock out two stockings, but couldn’t find the type of monograms I wanted for the cuffs. I didn’t want to do full names, but just a first initial for each. I decided to forego an initial for that year and just put small tags on each stocking with names.
This year it’s time to crank out the rest, and I want them initialed before Christmas. Of course, I pitched the home-made pattern I had made for last year. I can’t fathom why I would have done that and I’ve been kicking myself all week for it… but I was able to quickly make another using measurements from last years stockings.
This week I set to cutting out the pieces for each stocking, which is probably one of the most time consuming parts, so I thought I would share the pattern and how to assemble them for anyone interested. It’s very simple, quick, and you can fancy them up however you please! Not including fabric cutting time, I timed how long it too me to make one stocking, start to finish. Without distractions, it took me 27 minutes and 10 seconds to do one full stockings. Granted, I’ve made a few at this point and know how to do it, but that does give you an idea as to how simple this project is.
Before we get started, I’m just going to keep it real and say “don’t judge my table”. This is my $5 craigslist find that is used and abused for all of our messiest crafts, to save our prettier surfaces from the wear and tear. I promise you this isn’t what my real furniture looks like! 😉
First things first. Print out the Pattern located HERE.
Cut it out and assemble as directed.
(Note: Since I had to use a lining b/c my outer stocking fabric was stretchy, there were a few extra steps. Those steps will be noted in Blue with a ** around them. If you don’t use a lining and instead just do one layer, please disregard those steps)
Lay out your fabric and cut out 2 pieces of your cuff fabric, and 2 pieces of your stocking material.
**If you have to (or just choose to) use a lining like I used, cut out 2 of those too.**
Lay stocking pieces with right sides together.
**If using lining, pin lining to “wrong” sides of fabric, then take each set of fabric pieces and place them “right sides” together.**
Using your sewing machine, run a straight stitch around the sides and bottom of the stocking, leaving the top open. Your stitch should be about 1/4-1/2″ away from the edge.
Take Cuff pieces and place right-sides together.
Sew along both “long” edges, making a tube.
Turn stocking right side out.
Determine where on your stocking you want the cuff to start. Mark that line using pins. Leaving cuff wrong-side out, slide down over the stocking, lining up one end of the “tube” slightly higher than your marked line on the stocking. Pin in place.
Using your sewing machine, sew a straight stitch along your marked line.
Now, when you turn your cuff right side out and fold it into itself, it might be a bit bulky… This next step is optional, but i had better luck when I did go ahead and do this (and it only took a few extra seconds.). Inside of the line you already stitched along the long edges of the cuff, sew a second line. It will be at an angle, making the open side of the cuff slightly more narrow than the part that is sewn onto the stocking. You can see better below, what I mean.
Flip cuff up, revealing right-side.
Fold excess down into the stocking until you have a 5″ tall cuff (or larger if you prefer). Once measured, pin, turn cuff down over stocking, and sew a running stitch along the bottom edge of the cuff to the hidden seam allowance inside of the stocking. This will keep it from unfolding when gifts are removed.
Flip cuff back up, revealing your finished stocking!
You can also use a small piece of fabric to add a loop to hang your stocking on.
From here you can embelish how you want. I have a friend who is embroidering some initials for ours, and those will be added soon. In the meantime, I’m just glad the stockings themselves are done!
I hope you enjoy the tutorial and pattern. If you make a stocking, please share a link to your blog post about it in the comments here. I always love finding new blogs to read. Or if you Instagram it, please tag @Jackie_reivey so I can see it there! Happy Holidays!
Like most couples, Patrick and I have a collection of ticket stubs and random memorabilia from our past dates. With this months date-a-thon (which I’ll be posting about a bit later), that stack is getting bigger – quite literally – by the day.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the posts on Pinterest of how to make a shadowbox for our tickets and what not, but frankly I’m not much of a scrap-booking kind of girl, and I really like my quick-and-easy printable projects as they fit so conveniently into my schedule.
I put this together in Photoshop and have been using it for probably two months now, so I thought I’d share for anyone else who is interested.
Simply print at home on standard printer paper or card-stock, slip it into the back of a shadowbox frame, and start inserting your tickets. You can use a drill to cut a slit in the top of the shadowbox for easy insertion of your tickets, but we chose not to, in case we want to re-purpose the frame in the future.
Download it here