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Having a creative soul oftentimes means you don’t have any control over the ideas that are born nor the fact that the initial skill level required isn’t equivalent to the skill level you possess. This has been the case a lot lately, especially for my last born (project): the girls room make over. They were quickly out growing their toddler beds and for the longest time I had been vacillating on the configuration because they weren’t ready for their own rooms yet.
Picture after bunk bed picture none really either fit the budget or the design I wanted so I told my husband I wanted to do built in bunk beds. We, actually I had been talking about it for a couple of months then I decided to get the help of my neighbor for the design and measurements before I purchased anything. My husband sometimes needs to be motivated, it’s usually when the first purchase is made. After a weekend of carefully measuring, cutting, and beginning to build the frame I had successfully got my husband to temporarily trade in his suit for a tool belt! Six weekends later with some help from our neighbor and his tools we have beautifully built-in-bunk beds. There is a tricky angle that we have yet to finish with crown and waiting for the delivery of the supplies for their ladder but the girls are sleeping in their big girl beds and love it! The bedroom makeover is happening in phases; phase 1 was a big deal-the beds, phase 2, I always loved window benches so I decided to build one of those- that’s to come, phase 3 is the dresser and accessories.
Phase I: The Built-in-Bunk Beds
Phase II: The Window Seat/Bench
As a kid, actually even now as a woman I’ve always wanted a window bench and with the extra space the bunk beds were allowing I jumped at the opportunity to add one for my little girls. This was a project that I figured I could take on by myself and I did for the most part, though for the heavy duty stuff I did solicit a little help, I managed to do a large percentage by myself. The original plan I decided to follow instructed me to basically screw four boards together for the base; I did not think this was going to make the foundation strong enough so I decided to wing it. I had a tri-fold screen that I loved and really wanted to somehow incorporate into the design of their room so essentially my measurements started there. To enhance the durability of the foundation I had 2×4’s cut and began my frame. From there I added plywood sheathing for the walls (top, sides, and back). I added my screen, a hinge, and painted. I purchased a peg board and made the cushion. This bench is extremely heavy so mounting it to the wall is not necessary. We love how it came out.
Guess what we’ll be picking this spring/summer? Not our noses!
Four weeks of wonderful garden growth and now our purple potatoes are sprouting, our red onions are growing, green beans, jalapeños, carrots, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash, cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries, pumpkins, watermelons, Meyer lemon tree, sunflowers, sweet pea flowers, and chrysanthemums are all doing great! We are developing a bit of a pest problem and cayenne pepper and cinnamon is not getting rid of the culprit. I think it may be a lizard because all of a sudden there’s I’m seeing quite a few in our yard so I’m going to try a few natural pesticides while designing a cover for our boxes that can be easily accessible for the girls .
After two weeks here is the progress our garden has made:
While getting gardening tips from the gardening guru’s on pinterest, youtube, and our local gardening stores that there are also vegetables that you purchase that can grow back! So of course I had to try this out to see if it in fact worked; we’ll here’s my celery growing simply in a glass of water.
Last year we started a garden with a few carrots, some cilantro, tomatoes, and beans. We also had a Meyer lemon and a grapefruit tree all of which started off doing very well. Life happens; a hospitalization, late work hours, vacation, extracurricular activities, etc. long story short the garden died. As of late my girls have been participating in heavy conversation about the environment, sustainability, where food comes from, and taking care of our country. Light bulb moment, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to have them start and plant their own garden. We discussed this and they told me what kinds fruit, vegetables, and flowers that they wanted to plant. Next I though it would be a good idea to research what kinds of fruit and vegetables yielded quick results: most children can be a little impatient. Here’s what I found out:
Beans don’t like to be planted near: chives, garlic, leeks, onions, peppers, or marigolds
Peas don’t like to be planted near: chives garlic leeks, onions, or peppers
Broccoli & Cauliflower doesn’t like to be planted near peppers, squash, strawberries, or tomatoes
Tomatoes: don’t like to be planted near broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro, or cucumbers
Dill: doesn’t like to be planted near carrots
Sunflowers: need to be planted at least 12 inches away from any other plant
My husband has a thing about his grass, even in the backyard so he urged against an in-ground garden. It didn’t bother me too much because the challenge made me think about ways to keep some of the rabbits and other roaming bugs and animals out of our garden. We still had quite a few pallets left from other projects so I decide to make raised garden beds. I purchased a few 2×16’s and had an associate at Lowe’s cut them into four equal parts (per my husband’s advice). We had wood sheathing left over from our wood wall and the stage so I planned to use that for the sides. As I began to build the box I very quickly realized that the tables were going to be too tall. So I had to have my neighbor cut the other four legs in half again and take 5 inches off of my table. I then set out some acrylic paint and let the girls have at it. The following weekend we purchased our weed material to cover the bottom of our boxes, all natural dirt mixed with organic compost, & our organic seeds: lettuce, cucumbers, cherry and yellow pear tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, beans, sunflowers, sweet pea flowers, & chrysanthemums. The girls filled their boxes, sowed their seeds, and watered their gardens. Aniyah then did a bit of a dough mix and roll so I am anxious to see what may have germinated in her box. But here’s our progress thus far:
How about Dinner & a Craft?
The girls are always asking to do a “project”. Today was no different and honestly I am running short on ideas and supplies, especially those that’ll keep their attention. So I found this super cute idea on Pinterst to to melt beads, well that’s perfect because beads we’ve got a plenty! They got creative and did traffic lights, butterflies, bookmarks, and abstract art for their barrettes. Now about dinner, yes it was divine. Sausage stuffed spaghetti squash. Got that idea from Pinterest as well but of course I had to add the Twin Tested touch to it. I will be posting the recipe with changes this week.
Couples who Craft Together Stay Together!
I’ve been showing my husband pictures of a project and trying to engage him in conversations regarding this ambitious project that I wanted his assistance with for a while, nevertheless the more I talked about it the more it seemed to become less of a reality. So, once we got a confirmed date for the delivery of our new sofa I took the initiative to get a few different types of samples. I excitedly brought them home anxious to get his opinion only to find that his enthusiasium didn’t quite match mines. So the following day I made an executive decision! I returned to Lowe’s determined to get this project started and completed before the end of Thanksgiving break. After about an hour and receving some sympathy from the sales associate I left Lowe’s with 2 plywood sheathing boards cut into 5″ panels, some screws, stain, staining clothes, and gloves. What is the project you ask? An unclaimed wood wall! Yes that’s right unclaimed, we didn’t have the expertise to do a reclaimed wood wall because that would require cutting all the wood we could find into the same width and this was our first rodeo. With supplies at home, I notified my very handy friend and neighbor Devies that we were ready for his tools. When my husband came home I informed him that I had purchased the wood and all of our supplies and Devies had the tools ready for us. The project took us 3 days to complete, it really could’ve taken 2 because we could’ve cut and stained on the same day. Be advised when it comes to the electrical portion have someone who knows what they are doing supervise or handle making the cuts in that area, we had Devies do this. I must say this project turned out awesome. We generally bump heads doing things like this, especially on decor, but this was a great experience for us. He genuinely enjoyed doing this with me and absolutely loves this piece of art in our home now (bragging rights are definitely earned here). And seeing the fruit of our labor at the end was the cherry on top!
The Dark Act!
The FDA has approved the sale of genetically modified salmon – the first GMO animal to be marketed for human consumption!
Earlier this week, the federal Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of genetically modified salmon – the first GMO animal the U.S. government has ever allowed on the market.
If they Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act makes it through Congress, we will have NO WAY of knowing if salmon, or any other foods, are genetically modified.
Big Food’s allies are trying to sneak their anti-labeling agenda to the big end-of-year spending bill
Go to EWG.com to take action and tell your members of Congress to oppose the DARK Act and stand up for mandatory GMO labeling today!
If Congress tacks the DARK Act onto the end-of-year spending bill, we’ll all be in the dark about GMOs in grocery stores.
Imagine walking through the grocery store and having no way of telling which apples or potatoes have been genetically modified…
After weeks of summer recess, members of Congress officially return to Washington today – meaning it’s time to get back to work.
Big Food’s bill to block GMO labeling – the Deny Americans the Right to Know or DARK Act – passed the House of Representatives in July, and now labeling opponents will be fighting tooth and nail to get it through the Senate as soon as possible.
Despite the fact that nine of every 10 Americans favor of GMO labeling, Big Food’s bill, which would wipe out our right to know what’s in our food, made it through the House. If we’re not careful, the Senate could be next.
If nine of every 10 Americans support mandatory GMO labeling, how did the anti-labeling bill/ the Right to Know – or DARK – Act manage to pass the House of Representatives?
Two words: Big Food.
Biotechnology companies and members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association – including such trusted brands as Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and General Mills – have already spent more than $100 million in efforts to defeat GMO labeling.
If the DARK Act passes the Senate, that could be our new reality. The bill – which passed the House of Representatives in July – aims to keep American consumers in the dark about what’s in our food and how it’s produced. It even allows foods with GMO ingredients to be labeled “natural”!
Here’s the thing: the House passed HR 1599 – the bill that would destroy GMO labeling – in July, and it could be hitting the Senate floor any day now.
Lifestyle Changes: I’ve talked a lot about my weight loss and my strive to eat cleaner; adapting a healthier lifestyle for my family. When you hear the word lifestyle change it sounds like a lot of work but taking the little steps are exactly where you need to get you started to get you in the right direction. And pace yourself, everything does not have to change all at once. When I was no longer able to breastfeed our twins and they were done with formula, they’ve had nothing but organic milk (I even took gallons of milk to school for their consumption), again small steps to stick to routine and avoid the hormones. So here are some things I avoid giving to my family:
- Caramel Coloring– has been linked to cancer causing carcinogens but the FDA still approves for it to be added to our everyday foods such as dark colored sodas, yep that’s right your go-to Coca Cola or Pepsi! But get this every time you pop open a jar of gravy or sit your family down for a pancake breakfast– you could be exposing them to carcinogens because it’s in your syrup and gravy too! Alternative: Drink clear sodas or my favorite Cascade Organic Sparkling Water (it does not have aspartame or sugars added), make your gravy from scratch, and buy pure maple syrup.
- BPA-(Bisphenol A) can have effects on the brain and behavior as well as the prostate gland of fetuses. BPA has also been linked to fertility issues. This chemical is found in baby bottles, disposable water bottles, lining of canned foods, and the lining of organic canned foods so while you think you’re making a better choice for your family by getting rid of pesticides you are still giving them another chemical. Alternative: look for cans that are clearly marked BPA free, invest in a water filter or purifier, buy fresh, look for boxed alternatives for canned beans and tomatoes, and buy frozen.
- Pink Slime-Remember a few years ago there was a big “stink” about the quality of ground beef? “Pink Slime” is its’ nick name, Ammonia is the chemical term. The FDA approved the filler in order to stretch resources. I had the experience with my mom cleaning the bathroom with ammonia when we were little and had to sleep in the car because the fumes were so strong that we couldn’t breathe. Imagine, what harm it can do to your digestive system over time. Alternative: buy organic grass fed beef, inquire at your local fast food restaurants what their burger meat is comprised of, or eliminate beef from your diet.
- F & V Consumption- Fruit & Veggie Consumption, to buy or not to buy Organic? That is the Question! Not everything has to be organic to be healthy for consumption but below are the dirty dozen and clean 15 that you may want to always keep in mind when marketing (courtesy of http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/index.php)
- We all know about hiding vegetables in meals even the kids have caught on. Alternative: incorporate F & V willingly: try dried fruit such as strawberries, cranberries, and blueberries. Try banana and plantain chips or veggie chips for texture instead of potato chips. Try grinding up freeze dried strawberries and adding it to milk for natural strawberry milk.