refinishing without sanding

A few months ago, I saw someone refinish furniture without sanding on Pinterest.  They used this:

I thought it was worth a try cuz I hate sanding.  Especially when it's something with a lot of curves or bumps.  Like this changing table I was given by a generous person who just had a baby.    

It started out plenty cute, but I wanted some color.  I really like to color all over things...especially white things. 

I got the Cover Stain at Lowe's for $8.  Totally worth it.  All I did was wipe it down with a little vinegar solution and went at it with the cover stain.  It still took a long time to prime, but not as long as sanding would have taken and definitely not as hard or messy.  Just time consuming.  I only used maybe 1/8 of the can (smaller can), so I can still use it for other projects that might come up.

As I learned the hard way, don't get it on your clothes cuz it's like some kind of super glue once it gets in the fibers.  And don't plan on keeping the brush.  I got a mid-grade brush and I don't see how I would have been able to salvage it with how glue-ee this stuff was.

Steve and I spray painted the changing table aqua--took 2 cans.  Who knew you could actually get cute colors in a spray paint...but I only found it at Home Depot.

I'm pretty happy with it and pretty happy to have it.  I didn't have a changing table when Lily was a baby and I always thought it would have been convenient.  I'm especially grateful for it now because sitting Indian-style on the floor to change diapers isn't going to be an option for a while.

Almost makes me want to "refinish" something else right now.  Almost.

Thank you, Sue & congrats!


happy easter!

Good Friday was really good to Lily.  It's always a big day when you get to wear pajamas to school.  And she got a cupcake for some kid's birthday.  And she got to dye an Easter egg at school.  And she got to make bunny ears and get her face painted.  Life is good when you're six.

Here's a few from our Saturday night and a teeny glimpse of Sunday dinner.

Let me point out that Steve made Easter dinner for us.  All of it.  From the roast to the rolls.  I got to take a nap.  Meals are always better when you don't have to make them.  Especially on Sundays.  He impresses me.  It seems like he always has some culinary masterpiece up his sleeve.  (I know it's weird, but the first time he made S.O.S for me, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  It was a "low budget wonder.")  

I told him he's in charge of all holiday dinners from now on.  And they all must include those rolls.  (I think if I could only eat those rolls, hot with butter and peach jam for the rest of my life, I would be happy as a clam.) 

The Easter Bunny was a little more practical with Lily's Easter basket this year.  She got a book.  Which was brilliant on E.B.'s part because it actually held her attention longer than a stuffed animal would.  (We have past years' Easter stuffed things coming out of our ears.)  If you're all Diary of  Wimpy Kid-ded out, try the Dork Diaries.  Lily loves 'em.

Hope your Easter was a good one and that you got a nap, too.


back again...again

HELLO!? Hello?...hello...hello...hello.

It's been a while.  Eight months.  Long enough to lose the interest of anyone who used to come visit.

I've assembled a few pictures, not even a fraction really, of the last few months.  There's really no rhyme or reason.  And some of them don't have anything to do with anything...

...Like the very first picture of Steve's fashion choice one Sunday.  He gets cold feet.  Even in summer.  But it wasn't summer.  Still, he wears wool socks year round.  They make me feel claustrophobic.  And you can't see, but he's wearing a long sleeve shirt.  He looked goooood!  Feel free to avert your eyes from the glare. 

In this first montage, we have Lily's birthday.  Lily being happy at the "beach."  Lily being grouchy in the morning.  It usually takes her an hour to become Lily.  Then there's my hunky hunky man.  My delicate sister showing me...something.

That bottom middle one is my dad--the senior citizen--who, while atop the 5 foot tall tire, bragged that he would out live the rest of us.  I believe he's getting a little cocky in his old age.  He's probably right though.  And I hope he does.  I refuse to give his eulogy.  In case anyone was wondering.

And there's another sister on the bottom right.  Sometimes I'm startled when I look at her cuz she looks a LOT like me...only taller and more blonde.  She looks happy here, doesn't she?  It was a good day, after all.  We had a family get together at my favorite park in Sandy.  We ate a lot.  And if you know anything about my family, you know that if we can eat a lot, we are happy.   

This was Lily for crazy hair day at school back in the Fall.  It had kind of a mo-hawk/mullet vibe.  She wore it proudly.

Then she wanted her hair chopped off.  So off it went.  Girl hair is much easier to do when it's long, btw.  

In this one we have Halloween, Christmas, Lily's first dance recital, a cozy winter evening snuggled on the couch and Valentine's Day.  (If you look closely at the lower right pic, you can see a fading shiner on Lily's head.  Her head had a party with the wall.  Now we have a golf size hole left to remember that day.  It isn't the first time.  It won't be the last.  I don't plan on patching the wall up.  It would just look worse.  Next time, I'll have to write the date on it.)

Then, of course, there is this kid.  See her?  We're expecting her arrival in June.  The later, the better.  I'm sure this is bias--or maybe not--but I think she's cute.  I'm assuming she'll come out looking more like Lily and a little less...khaki.  Definitely has Lily's wonderful, big head already.
 "I'm not kidding, that boy's head is like Sputnik; spherical but quite pointy at parts! Now that was offside, wasn't it? He'll be crying himself to sleep tonight, on his huge pillow." 
We don't know her name yet.  This time is harder picking some we like.  I definitely like the more old-fashion sounding names as opposed to modern.  For the most part, I think they sound more feminine...which is my preference.  It's also more difficult picking names cuz Lily thinks she gets a say.  She's had a couple meltdowns because we dared to suggest names she didn't like.  Maybe I'll just tell her that babies come out with name tags and we aren't allowed to change it.

Whatever her name ends up being, I know she'll look good in blue. 

Lily started piano a few months ago.  She's doing great.  I don't remember having any concept of quarter notes when I was six, so she's already got one up on me.  I do remember feeling tortured when my mom would give me lessons though.  My lessons always seemed to end the same way family home evenings did...with someone giving a guilt trip and someone in tears (sometimes that person was the same person).  Which is why my magical sis-in-law is teaching her.  

Bringing you way up to date:  we had a good conference weekend.  Elder Holland's talks are usually my favorite.  He never disappoints.  Even if you didn't go into conference with any specific question or lesson you wanted to learn, he makes you realize that what he's talking about is exactly what you needed and wanted to hear.  I really liked all the things he said about envy and pickle juice.  Read it if you missed it.  You won't be sorry.

We made cinnamon rolls for the occasion.  I don't know why we made cinnamon rolls.  Everyone else makes them for conference weekend.  Why does everyone else make them?  Wouldn't cereal be easier?  Whatever the reason, we make them too.  It's pretty much the only time of year we home-make them.

You know what looks a lot like cinnamon?  Cumin.  You know what tastes a lot different than cinnamon?  Cumin.  I sprinkled about 1/3 of my rolled out dough before realizing that I wasn't smelling cinnamon.  But I did smell chili.  Luckily, my family is small and I salvaged enough to serve us two times over.  And they were good...except for the one I ate that had a little cumin essence still on it.  Not so good.  I always use a recipe I got from Lizzy Writes.  I gave Lily the tainted dough and it kept her busy for at least an hour.  (I gotta remember that.)

There's eight months crammed into a few pictures and paragraphs.  There's more.  Some happy.  Some not happy.  But I'm started to to feel the afternoon kick in and I think a nap is at the door.

I will say that sometimes, life really makes you earn it.  It can be rough!  I've learned that if nothing else is cutting it, there's prayer.  And if every blessing you need is being given to you, there's prayer.  If it's going good.  If it's going bad.  Either way, you have reason to pray.  (Sorry for the rhyme.)

"...surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it."  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland



 Today is Friday.  Lily has been in school for 7 days now.  That first day was brutal.  It was exactly as horrible and depressing as I thought it would be.  Since then, there are a few things I've learned.

One, I have serious separation anxiety.  Lily.  Doesn't. 

Two, in just 5 short days, it's possible for a non-morning person to become a morning person.  Now, I'm not talking about waking up & hugging rainbows or shooting sunshine out of my ears.  I'm just saying that now it only takes me a minimal amount of self-pep-talks to get out of bed & get moving.  (The rule remains...I still don't want to talk to you before 9:30 a.m.)

Three, Routine isn't has bad as I thought it would be.  I had visions of repression.  I fought it taking hold.  But there it is.  And it's necessary.  It feels good to have to do certain things a certain way at certain time on certain days.  It's soothing.  It feels like...

Four, some people think that if you don't have a kid at home, you have nothing to do.  You're couch potato-ing it, eating proverbial bon-bons.  Funny, right?

Five, I have a very high tolerance for dust.  Really.  I don't care if it's there for months.  Last Friday, I cleaned the bathrooms to avoid dusting.  And it worked.  The dust is still there.

Six, my house makes lots of weird noises when I'm alone.  Sometimes, it's creepy.  Sometimes, I have to look behind the shower curtains to make sure no one is there.  Because, if I were a boogie man, that's exactly where I'd hide.

Seven, I've realized how much I find baking to be a calming activity.  That stinks.  By the time Lily graduates, I'm going to be seven thousand pounds.  Seven thousand.  And then I'm going to have to bake even more because I'll be so depressed when she leaves me to go to college.  It'll be bad.  I see Richard Simmons--and a crane--in my future.  OR, I can just go with her to college.  She will love it.

Speaking of the sugary-hi-carb devil....

I saw this idea on some website.  I think it was HowDoesShe, which is also where I got the first day of school sign.  Some girl's mom baked a big cookie for her kids on their first day of first grade.  I say, a kid should have a big cookie on the first day of every grade. 

I made the mistake of writing with gel on a hot cookie.  Didn't matter.  Still tasted good.  It's called an oatmeal chipper cookie.  Made in a skillet, in the oven.  I don't remember where I got the recipe...or what a chipper is.  But it's one of my favorites.  Thick and soft.  Cut like a pizza. 

Lily loved it.  

So.  There you have it.  I survived the first week of school.  Please...hold the applause.    



summer countdown: bugs, dress-up, & jaxx the ripper

It's the beginning of the end.

Two and a half months left until my life as I know it is over.

Lily starts kindergarten.  I start a routine.

That stinks.

I don't like the thought of either.

I don't like routines.  I don't like having to do something cuz some one or some thing is making me.  I like going where I want to go when I want to go.  (Definitely a perk of having one kid.  Much easier travel.)

It's not like I've been traveling the country...seeing far away lands...meeting anyone particularly interesting.  But it has been nice getting "out" when I get the itch.  My mom calls it Go-itis.  Maybe your mom calls it that too.  It means, I want to go somewhere...ANYwhere...but I want to go NOW!  (Medically speaking, it translates to inflammation of the Go.  I'm not sure where my Go is...but it often feels plenty inflamed.)

It's been worse since moving to a small town...far from a big variety of stuff to do.  

But I've always been this way.  I blame my entire life up until moving here almost FIVE years ago.

When I was a kid, we moved around plenty.  When I went to college(s), it was even worse.  I averaged a move once every 6 months.  First two years of marriage were the same.  It wasn't till moving here when I finally quit moving.  But that urge to get-outta-here still lingers!  

And so, with school nearing closer and closer, so goes my freedom.

Not to mention my baby.  (Yeah, that is sad.  You should definitely remember to feel sorry for me come August.)

These last few months are my Green Mile.  (Too dramatic?)

The goal is to get out as much as I can, while I can.

Our tour begins here.  

With little girls and rolly-polly bugs.  

So happy.

So carefree.

Never before have sugar & spice ever had so much fun hunting and playing with bugs.


...This guy showed up.  And it was then, all innocence was lost! 

Dun, dun, DUUUUUN!! 

"Awwww...look at the bug.  That's a gross bug."

Look to the left.  Look to the right.  "Anyone looking?..."

"La, la, la, la..."

"I'm not killing anything.  You don't see me.  I'm just going to keep quietly destroying whatever is under my shoe."

"Heh heh heh heh."

"My work here is done.  Time for play."

To know him, is to love him.

And there you have it.

Next time, we'll explore a rest stop and the shores of the Green River.



It's going to take about a hundred years to catch up from the last few months.  So it'll come in little snip-its here and there.

Right now, these photos of my sis and sis-in-law (the Mels) are bringing me the greatest of giggles.  Maybe it's a you-had-to-be-there deal...but I was there.  And believe me.  It was funny.

First, you have to know that my little sister, Melani, is gorgeous.  But she has mastered the art of looking really ugly when the occasion calls for it.

Second, my sis-in-law, Melissa, is the ultimate poser.  And for that, I am grateful when I pull out the camera.  She can vogue with the best of them.

I gave Melani the assignment of looking as absolutely hideous and she could.  Melissa was told to embody supermodel.

Melani wasn't giving me enough grotesque.  I told her, "You must COMMIT to the ugly!"

And she did.

It turned into, "Pretend you're going to eat Melissa and Melissa, you look really scared!"

I love Melissa's woman-in-distress.

Next, we have what I can only attribute to being completely slap happy.  This is what happens when you just let the fun fly.

I give you...

...The Two-Woman Wave.

Linking up over at:



Happy to report that there are no more sickies here and this wretched month is almost over.

We're back to eating cake and partying like it's 1999.

P.S.  I would be remiss if I did not say that I'm grateful for this last week and how good it has actually been.   Being on one's wish-I-was-dead-bed puts little things --like, being able to lather, rinse, repeat without pain-- into perspective.



useless & urgent

Something about this time of year hates me.

And I hate something about this time of year.  

I've been lying in bed, trying not to die for the past week and a half. 

I decided I was sick enough to rationalize paying the co-pay, so I went to urgent care.  
The nurse, I'm not so sure she believed me.

"It all started with stomach cramps a few weeks ago.  Then the fevers came.  And then my legs and arms fell asleep permanently...and they're also all cramped up.  Now my mouth is so dry I can hardly talk.  Oh, and I have this huge lump on the back of my skull that really hurts...and it seems to be growing.  And this morning I woke up with red splotches that are covering my entire body!!"

"Really!" the nurse said patronizingly--as if I was a child telling her about the great adventure I just had with Huckleberry Finn. 

"Really."  I said defeated, trying to not sound like one of those Pine-sol-feeding mothers.

"Okay.  Let me get the doctor for you."  I swear I heard her roll her eyes.

In came the doctor...and he told me he wasn't a doctor.  A physicians assistant.  Close...enough?  

Ran through my list again.  

He patted me on the head and sent me out the door with on order for blood tests.

Twenty minutes later, I was back in the exam room.  Dr. Close Enough gave me a copy of the blood test as he went down the list.

"See this number?  How it's really elevated?"

"Yeah?"  I said nervously.

"Well, don't worry about that.  That's perfectly fine.  It won't kill you."

"See this other number?  How it's really low?"

"Yes?"  I said, waiting for some big shoe to drop...

"Well, don't worry about that either.  We like it that low.  It'll be fine."

Big pause.

"Now, this number is what we care about it.  And it's high.  And that could be a problem.  And you are sick.  But..."


"It's nothing to worry about.  Get sleep.  Drink lots of water."


"Oh, have you ever had mono?" 


"Okay.  Just checking."



Nother pause.

"Well, give me a call if anything changes."

I left feeling loved and well cared for.  

Here's to hoping I will be more useful and back to good health next week.

And now I'm ending this post abruptly and without an acceptable conclusion...much like the ending of the last book I read.  


catastrophes & milk

There's something I've learned in my many years of baking:   the better the chocolate chip cookie dough tastes, the crappier the cookie it will make.

And today, I made the most delicious cookie dough in all the kingdom.

It's perfect.  It's creamy.  It's chocolatey.  And I refuse to bake the last 1/4 of it that's sitting in my fridge...

...because, they betrayed me and the oven from whence they were baked.

I give you, Exhibit A:

(Let the record show, that I chose the best cookie to photograph.  No, really.  That's the beauty queen of the bunch.)

You know when you look in the oven, expecting to see cookies rising to the heavens, telling you that in just a few minutes, you will have the most delicious warm cookie to eat with a tall glass of ice cold milk? 

I didn't have that moment.

I felt shamed.  They just sat there...baking...bein' all hideous and lookin' all sad.

Then, as I tried to get them off my super-fantastical-magic golden non-stick pans, I felt more shame.

They wouldn't come off.

And then I laughed.  Cuz what else was I supposed to do?

This was not the cookie baking experience I had envisioned for the afternoon.   

(They looked so bad, that when I gave one to Lily, she said with a face, "Ew.  Well.  I think I can make a cookie out of this."  And then proceeded to mold it into what she thought an proper cookie should look like.)

Where did I go wrong?

I know how to make a freakin' cookie!  I know the science behind every ingredient.  Yet, there they lie...looking as though they were baked by 12-year-old Amy who had come back from a world that didn't have Food Network and Alton Brown to teach it about baking cookies the correct way.

And so, I concede.

Such an epic failure.

Cookies 1, Amy 0.

Until we meet again, Cookie Dough.  Until we meet again.

(There is a happy ending to this story.  The cookies taste really good.  I was judging the book by its cover.  And it's a pretty good book.  Even if it is all flat and a little too brown at the edges.   

And ya know, I bet even Martha made a bad batch of cookies once in her life.)


{simple things} sign of wrinkles

Wrinkly little fingers and l-o-v-e.
What could be better than that?