DIY · Family · Renovation

DIY…….Baby steps

I’m not gonna lie, I love a good crafty project.  I love making gifts and Christmas decor, crocheting, and making jams and jellies, but messing with wood is on a whole other level for me.  I think I feel as if I’m gonna mess the wood up and then there’s no going back.  Sooooo, I took on a kitchen project and decided to get back to working on it this past week.

About a year ago we got a new kitchen table(new to us) that came with a bench. The way our kitchen is,  the kitchen table sits up against a big window. So my reasoning is the bench will go better up near the window than some chairs, plus I can fit 3 kids on a bench instead of 2. Anyways, the table and bench are both light oak with antique white legs. The chairs I had just bought were a dark walnut with antique white back and legs.  My project is to stain the table top and top of bench to the dark color matching the chairs.   In my head it was super simple, sand the finish off, wipe on some stain (maybe 2 coats), then paint on a layer of poly-urethane. Easy peasy!  Well…….things aren’t always as easy as they seem.

First things first, I started with the bench. It’s smaller and if I mess it up I figured it wouldn’t be as noticeable as our actual table.  I got out my little hand held sander and sanded the finish off in just about 30 minutes or so.  I thought to myself, “yep I got this….just like I planned”.  Well, 3 months later the sanded, unfinished bench is still in my kitchen.  So I’ve spent the summer with 3 different colored woods in my dining set.  Oh well, life is busy and sometimes you just gotta know?  Ok, back to it though. This past week I got it out to the garage and started the staining process.  I cleaned it off really well and started wiping the stain on with an old soft rag we had. I used MinWax Wiping Stain, basically because it looked like the simplest route.  I wiped the whole bench top down moving in the direction of the wood grain. I let it sit for 3 minutes, then I wiped off the excess in the same direction as the wood grain as well.  After wiping off there a few spots that had a much lighter stain so after 4 hours of drying I reapplied the stain to the areas I wanted it to be darker.  So far, so good.

All was looking good and going to plan.  The next step was to add a coat or two of poly-urethane to help protect the wood and keep it’s finish.  I used the MinWax fast drying clear poly-urethane.  I used a soft brush to apply the varnish. All seemed well at first, until the next day after allowing for 12 hours dry time. I ran my hand along the bench to see if it was dry, and it was. However, there was these spikey pit things all over it.  At first I just looked at it and considered just letting it go, mainly because I wasn’t sure why it was like that, but after much examination I realized that the grass, dirt and dog hair that gets blown around in our garage, had in fact landed on the poly-urethane while it was drying.  Not what I was in the mood for at all.

So after sulking for two days, I sanded down the pitty areas (which didn’t take as much stain off as I had thought it would).  The bench was smooth again and I applied a little more stain to those areas that needed it.  This time I cleaned up and swept up the garage and made sure no one would be pulling the lawnmower or any vehicles in and out of the garage for at least a day while this sucker was drying. The next day I had myself a beautiful bench that matches my chairs!! Woo-hoo!! Now I just gotta get myself moving on the table….that’s  why I called it baby

Courage · encouragement · Family · inspiration · Patriotism · Summer · travel

Facing the Storm 

While in conversation this week with my husband, just catching up from all the “stuff” going on, I noticed there’s so many life changing and significant things happening in our country right now. The obvious ones are the hurricanes (Harvey & Irma), but there’s also massive wildfires in several states, a huge earthquake in Mexico, I could keep going but you guys get the picture. We’ve got political junk going on, news media lying left and right, confused people causing and participating in riots….just lots of madness seems to be everywhere. There just seems to be this heavy fog or burden weighing us all down and that in itself can be exhausting.
However, the reaction of many great Americans last week in Texas was phenomenal, absolutely restored my faith in the people of this amazing country. People from all over the country sacrificing their time, money, resources and safety to rescue complete strangers is what makes me proud to be an American. After watching all these people pulling boat after boat to go save some people they don’t even know, I was ready to go borrow a boat and go down there myself!! All of it is so inspiring.

Just yesterday my husband was telling me about this neat meme he saw. F.E.A.R.- Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise……….did you goose bumps like I did? Now, don’t get me wrong there’s a time and a place for both of those. Most people should be forgetting everything and running from these hurricanes, but without those who rise and face it, so many more people, families and animals wouldn’t be alive today. With all the junk going on like I mentioned above, to still know there are good, noble, brave people out there makes me feel like it’s not as bad as it seems. We all have some good in us and it’s times like these that it shows.

This F.E.A.R acronym can apply to so many different situations and to all people. It could be a serious illness that you’re facing, or a failing marriage, maybe it’s severe depression, or just the stress of life. We all have to decide whether to forget and run or face it and rise. I hope I can always face it and rise when it’s necessary. Well, except for those times when we do need to run, like these hurricanes for instance.

I know this is a overly simplistic view, but it really struck a chord with me and I hope it does with you too. Be careful out there folks!

encouragement · Family · friendship · From the Editors · Night shift

The Night Shift Family – Let’s Talk About That

So, I know this is sort of a different subject to focus on but, nonetheless, it’s something I feel the need to share about, to help others better understand the lives of a night shift family. I’m going to attempt to compare below the “normal” day-to-day happenings for day shifters and then night shifters in a sort of timeline fashion. Granted, there are always things that pop up and our schedules always get changed, but from my own life, and those of friends and family, this is a generic idea of what each shift would generally encounter through out a normal day.

Timeline for typical day shifters:

  • 6:30ish– get up and get ready for work and school
  • 7ish-breakfast and off to work
  • 8ish– kids on the bus or take to school
  • 8:30ish to 12ish-errands, grocery, play time, crafts or creative time, play dates, library, maybe the zoo (which includes picnic), really whatever needs to be done, probably coffee time, dr.appts., or maybe homeschool time if that applies.
  • 12ish-lunch
  • 1-2ish rest and/or nap time. Which is also rest time or catch-up time for mom
  • 3ish-getting kids from school
  • 4ish-getting homework going and getting things together for dinner
  • 5-6ish– spouse home from work, dinner time and cleanup
  • 7ish-family time or outside time, maybe a sports practice or household duty like cutting the grass, maybe an ice cream trip
  • 8ish-winding down for the night and getting baths
  • 9ish-bedtime for kiddos
  • 9:30ish to 11:30ish-hubby and wife time (insert your own details here) lol
  • 11:30ish and later-sleeping (hopefully)

 This is how a typical day runs for us:

  • 7ish-getting up and ready for school and the day (all while being quiet as a mouse, dad is sleeping)
  • 7:30ish-breakfast (again no dinging spoons on bowls or slamming cabinets-have to be quiet)
  • 8ish-getting all the kiddos to school (unless some are too little)
  • 9ish-quiet time, coloring, a cartoon or very quiet play and also getting small ones dressed for the day, oh and don’t forget coffee time! Or maybe homeschool time if that applies
  • 10-11ish– real quick errands or a fast grocery trip, also could be homeschool time
  • 12ish– lunch and wake spouse up
  • 1ish-household stuff like cutting grass, garden, laundry and loud cleaning like vacuuming and dishes, things that are too loud in the mornings.
  • 2ish-try to spend some family time, try to catch-up on schedule details and family plans since we haven’t got to speak to each other since the day before around this same time. (usually nap time for smallest)
  • 3ish-start dinner and get kids from school at 3:30
  • 4ish-sit down for dinner and start cleanup; spouse starts packing lunch for work and getting ready (sometimes there is sports practice and I eat later and hubby leaves before I get back)
  • 5ish-spouse leaves for work; me and kids start homework
  • 6ish-sports practice and/or game, finish homework
  • 7ish– outside time, play time and snacks
  • 8ish-start baths and house cleanup
  • 9ish– getting everyone in bed. Takes 30-40 minutes for just one person, some nights longer.
  • 9:45-11:30– quiet time for me..usually paying bills, maybe a Netflix show or finishing tasks around the house
  • 11:30ish and later-hopefully sleeping

I know the schedules may not seem much different from one another, but this is really a day in the life of a night shift family, with each parent working separately on different ends of the clock. All the while, I juggle kids, dinner, messes, homework, sports, baths, bedtime, etc.  My poor husband is sleeping or working while all this hustle and bustle is going on, and he knows he’s missing out on some great stuff…but he does it for our family. I know some who would say, “Why go to such lengths of being quiet?” or, “Why cater to when he’s getting up?” My answer is, would you want your spouse only getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep a day? Which leads to awful health issues later like high blood pressure, diabetes, and eventually heart disease…and don’t forget…feeling like crud as well.  My job is to ensure the health and safety of my whole family and that includes my husband too.

I said all that to say, we night shifters want “play” time or “talk” time too, or would like to socialize with friends, but when we’re able to do that most of our friends are at home with their spouses having dinner and having family time of their own. If I called to talk at 7 or 8 on any given night you probably wouldn’t answer because you’re spending precious time with your family, just like I’m doing for a precious hour or so earlier during the day. And let’s not forget my school aged children only see their daddy for about an hour when they get home from school, and that time includes sitting down for dinner and my husband getting ready for work. The weekends are absolutely sacred to us.  We have just a couple days with a few hours to focus on our family and try to makeup for almost zero (whole) family time we get during the week. By God’s grace, and by keeping our family centered in Christ, we have been able to handle this way of life for 16 years now.

I’m not saying us night shifters have it harder really, but there is some extra responsibility that falls on us and that’s ok, that’s how families work…we work together. I can only imagine how a single parent feels and the lengths they go to, to try and cover the roles of both parents. So, if you’re a day shifter have a little grace for those who have to do life a little differently. Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine how it would be. Don’t assume they’re too busy for you or have new friends…just realize they’re doing life the best they can.