Almost Millionaires?

Well, I’ve been MIA…again. I have been a productive little girl, but not productive on the blog. Several have asked me what’s going on with our garage addition, and so I thought I’d share some quick photos of the progress. If you are one that wants to see nice, exciting, pretty, pinterest-worthy blog posts, this isn’t the post for you! But if you are curious about home remodel/diy, then this may be interesting to you. 🙂

Last I checked in, we had a garage, but not much else was done. Progress is slow. Inside, Nathan & my dad have been working on this:

boring electrical

Did you fall asleep? I know, boring. It’s been a lot of work, but they’ve been running additional electrical to the garage, something called a “sub panel”, and that’s where I dozed off.  Important, I know, but not the fun stuff.

Also, Nathan has been working on updating some of our existing home so that we can have the gutter company come and put up gutter on the new garage and backside of the existing home. He took down all the soffit, installed lighting, electrical outlets, and ran sound from our inside sound system to the exterior.  Once we have a patio we’ll be able to enjoy music out there (or a St. Louis Cardinals game, for me). 🙂 Again, this wasn’t exciting work, but I am the first to admit that it looks a little better and the additional lighting will be nice.

back of house

I think this photo gives you a good idea of where the lighting is. If you look up under the soffit (under the overhang) you can see some recessed lighting. The only lighting that was out there originally was the little light off the patio doors. Now we have several lights, so all sides of the patio will be lit. He put these on some sort of dimmer switch so we don’t have to have them at full strength if we wanted low lighting. They are also LED, so they use very little electricity.

The speakers are not anything fancy or super expensive.  And I’m sure the sound won’t blow your mind, but it will be nice to have a little outside entertainment.  Here’s another view, from the side.

speakerssound

It looks like we belong on the Beverly Hillbillies.  It’s rough out there.  I’m tiring of my “lakefront property”. And muddy house. This is the view from our dining room.

mudfront property

But someday it will be worth it, when we can go out and enjoy our patio and have a driveway so we can park in the garage.  The contractor is supposed to come back soon and finish grading and pour concrete.  {hurry, hurry, concrete team!  I’m ready for you!  I’ll bake you cookies!!}

The most “fun” part for me as of late was seeing the garage doors go up:

garage doors finished

Since our old garage was two doors, we decided to just start fresh and go with three new doors.  I could have gone wild with garage door styles and picked out some custom made, crazy-fancy doors, but the budget sure wouldn’t allow that! These are quality, but reasonable priced garage doors.  We spent a little extra to get metal backed doors (vs vinyl) and higher R-Value insulation.  I think the window grid goes nicely with our home and the hardware is a fun touch, for me. We went ahead and had them installed, because what a the contractor charged to install them was so reasonable, it just didn’t justify our time in installing ourselves.

We are hoping to add more lighting to the garage soon, when the budget allows.  We had the contractor install a few recessed lights (centered over each door, as the arrow indicates):

garage door with light

But we are also planning on adding some sort of wall sconce in-between every garage door opening, to add more light and character.  I threw some circles in-between each garage door, just to get an idea what it would look like.  I don’t know what to do down on the left end, as I’m afraid a fourth one may look cramped down there.  Thoughts?

garage with possible lighting

I guess it does not matter too much, as right now we fit in really well with the Clampetts.  Does that make us almost millionaires?

Beverly-Hillbillies

Honeymoon Granola Recipe

Nathan and I were married in the hot-hot-hot-hot-hot-hot month of July. We chose the Outer Banks of North Carolina for our honeymoon, partially because it looked like a sweet, quaint, romantic destination, but also because I was a bridesmaid in a wedding two weeks after my own wedding in North Carolina (and she flew to Missouri 2 weeks before her own wedding to be in my wedding!  What a friend!).

We stayed in the quaint town of Beaufort, NC and then traveled up the coast along the outerbanks. It was an absolutly wonderful vacation and a magical, peaceful time (when I happened to be really tan…I got my first-ever major sunburn on this trip…but that’s another story).

honeymoon
We were younger.

Much Younger.

Three kids, jobs, homes, life, will age a person.

When in Beaufort (5 days, I think) we stayed at the Pecan Tree Inn.  As a bed and breakfast, they offered breakfast fare every morning. But unlike many B&Bs, it didn’t serve a fancy-clog-your-arteries-leave-you-stuffed sort of breakfast. Every morning we were able to come down to breakfast, at our own appointed time, sit at our own table in the warm July sun, and have a light and simple breakfast.

pecan tree inn

This was perfect for us. We settled into a routine of yogurt, fresh fruit, and this delightful granola that they made at the inn. We loved it so much we asked the innkeepers for the recipe. For years we’ve been using it as our go-to granola recipe. When a friend asked for it the other day, I thought I should just post it here.  We’ve modified it over the years, so it’s not really their recipe anymore, but it always brings back memories of a sweet, simple time in our relationship.  *swoon*

sarahandtheboysblog honeymoon granola

The most beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can totally modify for your dietary needs.  No wheat?  No big deal–just switch ingredients and keep the amounts the same.


 

Honeymoon Granola

by Sarah and the Boys Blog

Mix together dry team:

:: 4 cups Rolled oats

:: 1/2 cup wheat germ

:: 1/2 rolled wheat flakes

:: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans, etc)

:: 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

:: 1/8 cup sesame seeds

:: generous pinch of salt

:: (optional) 1/2 cup flaked coconut, preferable unsweetened if you are thinking healthy

Set aside.  In a separate bowl, mix together wet team:

:: 1/3 cup healthy oil (canola, etc)

:: 3 tablespoons of water

:: 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup (or brown sugar works, too)

:: 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix dry team and wet team until coated.  Pour into large sheet pan {are these called jelly roll pans?} lined with parchment and bake at 325, stirring frequently (about every 10 minutes) until lightly brown.

Add your choice of dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, raisins, dates, etc).

You don’t have to use parchment, but I don’t care to clean pans, so this cuts down cleaning time.

We, of course double this recipe, and most of the time our almost-ten-year-old makes this (how did we go from our honeymoon to a ten-year old kid???).

It keeps well, but because it has nuts, it won’t keep forever.

Like I said, you can keep these measurements and just use whatever you have on hand.  Right now I’m out of wheat flakes so I just used extra rolled oats.  Sometimes I use cereal mixes (bob’s red mill) in place of wheat germ.

And now I give you exhibit A, my son’s lunch today (plain yogurt, topped with granola and frozen blueberries):

granola 1
Eat and enjoy friends!

XOSJ

PS if you are gluten-free, would you make some suggestions of things you would add instead of wheat flakes and wheat germ?  I would think some sort of ground brown rice and flaxmeal?   🙂

 

Piece of Cake Whole Wheat Pancakes

Generally during the week I encourage healthy breakfast eating.  We eat a lot of eggs, and a lot of smoothies.  We limit the cereal, because the boys stay full for all of 10 minutes before they ask for breakfast again.

Once I quit teaching my Saturday Jazzercise class and moved to an all-weekday teaching schedule, I started making the boys pancakes every Saturday.  They love this tradition.  This morning, when I was whipping together a batch, I thought I should share my tried-and-true recipe with you.

Piece of Cake Whole Wheat Pancake // sarahandtheboysblog

I still want to give them a delectable, yummy, pancake, but of course, try to sneak some wheat flour into the recipe.  You could increase or decrease the wheat flour, but you may need more liquid if you increase the wheat flour.  Also, be really careful to not over-stir your batter; lumpy is good.

Piece of Cake Whole Wheat Pancake Recipe // sarahandtheboysblog

I almost always just make sour milk (as opposed to buttermilk) pancakes.  They always turn out just fine this way, though if you have buttermilk on hand, it’s definitely the tastier option!

Piece of Cake Whole Wheat Pancake // sarahandtheboysblog

Piece of Cake Whole Wheat Pancake // sarahandtheboysblog

I typically have just one pancake, plain or with a little bit of peanut butter.  The boys eat a triple batch.  I’m not kidding.  To keep the sugar intake down, we use unsweetened applesauce on top instead of honey or syrup.  But Grant said I needed to take a photo of one with butter melting on top, so I obliged.

piece of cake pancake re 1
One batch equals about 8 servings (smaller than shown in photo) with approximately:
*122 calories
*5g total fat (1g sat. fat)
*3g protein
*1g fiber

Let me know if you try this. Enjoy!
XOSJ

How We Went From Scrap Wood to Family Farm Table

This, my friends is what inspired Nathan to make my long-drempt-of farm table.

scrap

Now if you saw this pile of lumber, would you think you could make this?

farm table LR view

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have the ability or confidence to work that sort of magic.  But Nathan is one talented guy, and he was able to turn this old wood into a beautiful piece for us to love for years to come. The wood was part of an old machine shed/barn that was knocked down to make way for growing retail development not too far from our home.  Nathan went by one Saturday afternoon and helped himself to some of the scraps of wood that were salvageable.  Two days later it was all burned.  So sad. 😦 The wood was very rough, uneven, different thicknesses, etc.  The first part to his puzzle was making sense of the wood and fitting the pieces together.  This probably took him a solid day, just to make it look like it was meant to be together.

progress

Once he had the boards in an order that he thought work work, the table top began to take shape.

progress 1.5

As I already mentioned, the wood was very cupped, uneven, warped.  That’s what comes with the territory of old wood.  The beauty and character of reclaimed wood also comes with challenges.

progress2

We don’t have a lot of photos of the entire process…this was pre-blog.  He shaved a lot of boards with a wood planer, but tried to leave the top untouched, and do all of his thickness adjusting on the bottom side, which would not be visible. And for those that have asked, his pieces are held together with biscuit joints and wood glue.

progress 3

A lot of farmhouse tables have four legs, but we designed this table to maximize flexibility in seating arrangements.  Having the support in the middle, instead of at the four corners, helps this table seat a lot of people.

progress 4
Now if you look closely you can see the boards are still pretty rough at this point.  He spent probably a day total sanding this piece, using a belt sander (thanks, brother!) and a hand-held palm sander.  He was careful to sand it so that it was not too bumpy, but not to the point where all the rough-sawn cuts were sanded away. Once he got to the place where it was sanded to his liking, we took it inside.

before staining
Please excuse the poor photo quality.  But you get the drift.  This was the table pre-finished.  We let it sit inside for a good, long time.  Perhaps six months like this?  We moved it inside to let the wood acclimate before our final sanding and finish.  I LOVED it unfinished.  Very reminiscent of a table you would see at Restoration Hardware.  But we had to keep it covered with a piece of clear plastic from the fabric store to protect it from stains.  Classy.

At this point, we had researched several options for finish:

*Polyurethane: we decided against this type of treatment because we didn’t want the “plastic” look that comes with polyurethane. Poly sits on top of your wood, so it leaves more of a coating. We have three boys, and this table gets hard use. Poly would have been durable, but also has the potential to get scratched up. When it does, the only way to fix the scratches would be to strip and re-coat the entire table. Plus, I didn’t think a plastic-feeling coating went with the same vibe as a farm table.

*Wax: many will simply put furniture wax on a piece like this, and you can preserve the light finish like this table has. I would have loved that option if this table was for show, or for a dining room that is not used often, or for a home with no kiddos. Since this table is used DAILY, we needed something that would be able to handle the wear and tear, that would not need maintenance.

*Oils: hemp oil or other oils could have been a more natural option as well, but, again, I didn’t think the oil finish could stand up to my kids!

*Unfinished: this is an option, but you need to be okay with the table soaking in every water mark, spill of wine, crayons, etc. I wouldn’t have been able to handle that!

*Waterlox: we decided to go with Waterlox because it is a durable finish that could make this table able to withstand the abuse that we were going to give it. The great thing about Waterlox is that it is like a poly and an oil in one.  It soaks into the wood, so that if you ever have a scratch, etc., you can lightly sand that area and touch up the scratches, but it has the durability of a poly. Perfect for us! Also, because it soaks into the wood, it looks more natural than a poly that sits on top of the wood.  Many folks use Waterlox for their butcher block counters, even in kitchens, around their sink (check out Miss Mustard Seed’s counters here or Holly Mathis Butcher Block Counter’s here).

We decided not to stain our piece before we sealed it.  If we would have had less rough-cut marks, I probably would have stained it first.  But I did several test pieces, and decided that if I stained it, some parts of the table would get too dark.  If you ever use Waterlox or poly, make sure you test it out first and decide if you need to stain it.

We applied the Waterlox in a well-ventilated area.  Did you catch that?  Well-ventilated is important.  This stuff is stinky.  If you want something that is low-VOC, this is not it.  Restoration Hardware sells many of their tables raw (yes, you pay $3000 for a table, and then you get to finish it!!!), and they have a low-VOC sealer they recommend, but it was pretty expensive and I wasn’t sure of how durable it would be.  So, we went with the uber-stinky Waterlox.

during staining process
We applied the finish with a cheap, 4″ chip brush.  Between each coat it went inside some plastic bags, in our freezer outside.  I wouldn’t do this forever, but we worked this product back-to-back days.  We waited the recommended time between coats, and make sure the space was well-ventilated.  From my research, the curing process happens from ventilation.  Even if the temperature is colder than ideal, the ventilation is the key.

waterlox
See how the can is smashed?  This is on purpose–Waterlox will last forever, but you need to keep the air out of it.  So Nathan used a clamp (see photos above this one) to smash the can as we used the product, keeping the can “full”.  Make sense?

profile of table in progress sarahandtheboysblog
We applied 3 full coats to all sides of this piece and 5 on the top.  Everything.  Folks that use Waterlox for their kitchen counters seem to do 4-5 coats or more.  If you don’t want the shiny look that comes along with additional coats, you can finish your last coat with Waterlox’s flat finish (we used the original for all coats).  I didn’t want to spring for an extra can, but it’s not a bad idea if you want your finish to be matte.

We LOVED working with the Waterlox.  It is so much easier than applying a polyurethane.  Our favorite thing about this product was the ease of application.  Waterlox is easy to apply, you didn’t have to worry about over-working it, this had no sags, no runs, didn’t bubble, this was so.much.easier.

This sat outside in our garage for a few weeks de-stinkifying.  We brought inside, and I have the super-sniffer 3000 nose, so it still smelled for about 3 months, in my opinion.  Not strong, but when I got up close, I could smell it.  We were gentle with it at first, not really using it much for at least a month.  It is holding up beautifully.

long shot resized sarahandtheboysblog

farm table 2 sarahandtheboysblog

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to ask and the smart one (Nathan) will answer!

(to see more photos of the final photos, check out this post)

XOSJ

How We Went From Scrap Wood To Family Farm Table first appeared on Sarah and the Boys Blog.  For more posts like this, sign up for emails or follow on Facebook or Instagram!

From Abandoned Wood to Family Farm Table

For years and years, I have been eying dining tables, dreaming of my someday farm table.  Of course, we all see the beautiful tables at Restoration Hardware, Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn, West, Elm, etc. and we drool.  And then we get smacked in the face when we look at the price tag.  I felt like my “dream” farm table was out of reach, just because what I wanted (reclaimed wood, rough-sawn, practical design that would fit a lot of people) would take me years be able to afford.  And even then, braces, soccer and food for 3 boys would always outweigh my desire for a new table.

We had a table that worked perfectly fine, but it had some problems for our growing family.  It was a hand-me-down from my parents, when they upgraded to a larger table for their home.  The main issue with the table was that due to the way the legs were placed, it was difficult for us to seat many folks around it.  We have a lot of guests and large family gatherings, so it’s frustrating when a table takes up a bunch of room but can only seat 4 comfortably (6 was possibly as well, but not as comfortable).

The other thing that wasn’t working for us is that it had a “skirt” around the bottom of the tabletop.  This wasn’t an ugly feature by any means, but it made it near impossible to cross your legs under the table, fit a booster seat under the table, or if you were taller, fit comfortably under the table.

Did our old table look fine?  Yes, it wasn’t bad at all from a design standpoint, just functionality in our space wasn’t working.

So my dream husband found some abandoned lumber and built a table.

scrap

Cost: less than $150 (mostly for wood glue, a few clamps, and the Waterlox that we chose to finish the table with).  My husband is a pretty talented guy, so he whipped this baby up in his spare time, all the design coming out of that smart brain of his.  We looked at a lot of tables, mostly on Restoration Hardware, for inspiration.

My requirements were:

  • The legs and support had to be set in the middle, so we could squash as many people around it as we wanted, without being inhibited by the table legs.
  • The top needed to be high enough to comfortably sit under, and no table skirt.

Now I feel like I have built you up for a big exciting reveal.  It’s not that exciting, it’s only a table.  But it’s our table and it’s perfect for our family!

full shot with light
farm table 2 sarahandtheboysblog

These are vintage Ethan-Allen chairs that I picked up second-hand. I adore anything close to the Windsor-style, and these are a variation of that style (from what I can tell, they are maple, Ethan-Allen by Baumritter Heirloom Nutmeg. Good news is that they are plentiful on ebay, so I’m on the lookout for more locally to add to my set).

close up farm table resized sarahandtheboys

Close up of it’s distressed goodness.

long shot resized sarahandtheboysblog

Those horizontal lines are the original rough-sawn cuts. They add so much character. When Nathan made the table, he took a lot of care to level it out, without completely removing the cuts.

farm table LR view

This table is SOLID oak. The table separates from the bottom, so we carried it into the house in two pieces. I’m telling you, it’s one of the heaviest things I have ever carried. Old wood is so amazing.

another view resized

nail close up sarahandtheboysblog

One of my favorite details are the antique nails. Technically the table is held together by other more substantial pieces of hardware.  These nails are just for decoration, but add so much character and old-world feel.

profile view table sarahandtheboys

A fancy blogger would have staged her kitchen for these photos. I was just lucky to get a shot of the table when it wasn’t covered in food, schoolwork, or art projects. Judge my kitchen if you want, or just feel comforted that my house is a mess just like yours.

underneath farm table sarahandthe boys

I’m hoping that sometime this year our cheap (and very beat up) flooring will be replaced (going to start getting bids for that tomorrow. I’m telling you, it never ends around here).

fruit closeup resized sarahandtheboysblog

This is sort of a backwards reveal. I’m starting with the pretty pictures and over the next post I’ll show you how we went from abandoned-about-to-be-burned wood to this beauty. I’ll share more on the finish we chose (and why) and some things we learned along the way.

***edit*** To see how Nathan made this table, check out this post!

{PS How do you follow this blog? From Facebook? I love Facebook “likes”, but Facebook is sort of testy and only shares posts with you when it’s in the mood. Sign up for emails–top right side of screen I think–if you want to sure you will be able to read each post!}

6 Months Of Blogging

I’m over the hump of the 6-month point of blogging.  Professional blogger, I am not.  Consistent blogger, I am not.  BUT, I do like blogging and my hope for 2015 is to write more often.  I have a lot of newer readers, so I thought I would be fun to take a little walk down memory lane of my most popular posts of my first 6 months.  Keep in mind–“popular” may not be huge by normal bloggers–but for this small little blog, this is what has been most read.

July

It’s About To Get Real

IMG_20140318_190859

I officially threw my hat in the blogging ring, committing to write more posts.  When I wrote that, I had no idea how difficult it would be to consistently post, or how much time one stinkin’ post would take.  But I found quickly that I enjoy sharing my thoughts on the web.

August

Better Than Panera Greek Salad was the first recipe I ever posted to the blog.  yum.

greek salad5 sarahandtheboysblogUpdate: I’m ready for summer, the pool, and these foods in my garden again!

In Stamps, Bones And Art I shared an interesting way to use a collection as decoration.

stamp art 1 sarahandtheboysblog.comUpdate: This sparked creativity in readers and several shared the collection-inspired art that they made!

How To Get The Stank Out Of Workout Gear stuck a cord with folks.  I was relieved to know I’m not the only one that is annoyed by the funk in workout clothing!

post workoutUpdate: my workout clothes (and stinky wash cloths) still get this treatment, but it seems less frequent in the winter.

September

Now, far and away, this has been the most read, most shared, most commented on post that I’ve written.  Generally has been received positively.  I held my breath when posting The Day I Told My Kids No More TV because I didn’t want to add to the “mommy wars”.

no more tv headerUpdate: We still watch very limited TV at home.  Sometimes on Saturday we’ll watch it for 1/2 hour or so.  We are halfway through winter and we are plugging along!  Still don’t regret this decision.  My kids are so much better for it, and they never ask to watch television anymore.  They are always super excited when I offer, though 🙂

Another popular September post was when I played a Debbie Downer and warned everyone about the Pumpkin Spice Latte in Smashing Pumpkins: The Sad Truth Of the Pumpkin Spice Latte

sad truthUpdate: I still don’t like the taste of a pumpkin spice latte.

October

I, again, played Debbie Downer with my post The Death Of Denim and The Danger Of Leggings.  And I thought of it every stinkin’ time I chose leggings over jeans this winter.

legging header 2Update: I still like leggings.

November & December were pretty quiet for me.  I should have been posting lots of beautiful Christmas photos, but instead the boys and I plugged away at school hard core.  So at the end of December, I resolved to do more writing in 2015.

January

My most popular post to date in January was last week when I shared about all the changes going on at our home, with Ch Ch Change…. 

hunter boots sarahandtheboysblog.comUpdate: This major project is just beginning so I am sure you’ll see lots more on our home remodeling adventures in the future!

Thanks to all of you for reading!  It’s been a fun ride for me.  Coming up soon on the blog (shameless teaser/plug):

*Free Farm Table

*Knox’s Birth Story

*Garage Door Decisions

*Chalky giveaway

*Much Much More!

Much Love,

XOSJ

Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana {anytime} Smoothie

I started writing this recipe down with the name, “Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana Breakfast smoothie”, but quickly scratched that name.  Why?  Because this is an anytime smoothie.  Breakfast-Brunch-Lunch-Lupper-Supper Smoothie does not have the same ring to it, so we are naming this simple smoothie recipe (an old faithful) the “anytime” smoothie recipe.

On Friday at Jazzercise, I told my class that I often had this for breakfast, or that people could make this for dessert.  I saw people making strange faces as I tried to explain the recipe amidst an abdominal workout, and quickly realized that they couldn’t remember details of a recipe, while doing crunches.  So I promised to get it on the blog for my Jazzer-pals, so they could partake in this fantastic meal.

Seriously, friends, I eat this for breakfast quite often.  It’s super-filling, I get many servings of fruits and veggies, calcium, fiber, protein, etc…..and I can eat it on the go!  I’m not going to win any originality points for this recipe, as I’m not the first to share this idea on the interwebs, but here’s my version of a healthy breakfast smoothie.

The one caveat is that you drink your meal.  If you mentally need to “chew” something to feel like you’ve eaten and chewing carrots just isn’t going to cut it, I would recommend you drink half of this and a piece of whole wheat toast or something.  Occasionally, I’ll add an egg to the side of this meal (NOT IN THE SMOOTHIE), and seriously, I’m satisfied for a long while.

I have had a few tell me that they don’t like the flavor of banana in their smoothie.  Two thoughts:

1) Make sure your bananas are very ripe.

2) If that’s still not gonna cut it, just do other fruit!  This summer smoothie I posted last year seriously tastes like decadent sherbert.

Get ready for some super technical recipe skilz:

CPBB Smoothie Sarahandtehboysblog

To your blender add:

:: 1 cup of milk (1% around here, but you could use any milk product of your choice, almond, coconut, rice, etc)

:: 1 large handful (about 1 cup) of fresh spinach

:: 1.5 very ripe, frozen, medium bananas (or 1 large), sliced

:: Handful of frozen strawberries (about 1/2 cup?)

:: 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter (or any nut butter of your choice)

:: 2-3 teaspoons of cocoa or carob powder

:: Optional: chia seeds or flax seeds

strawberry smoothie sarahandtheboysblog

Blend.  Drink.  Be Satisfied.

XOSJ