Hi, I'm Dawn Klinge, welcome!  I write here because doing so helps me to take notice of the sweet things in life.

 

        

  

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Monday
Aug262013

we went camping

  

 Last week we tried something new.  We went camping.  I was nervous.  I like being comfortable and I like sleeping in my own bed.  But my nine year old son really wanted to try camping, so we decided to give it another try.  Derek and I camped once, when Grace was a baby, and we didn't like it at all...cold and mosquitoes were the theme of that trip.  Then, when we got home from that trip, all of our brand new camping gear was stolen.  So that was the end of that.  A few years later, we were given a tent, and we used it once, to sleep in the backyard.  Then it sat in storage for a long time, until I read about a homeless camp in our city and decided to give it to someone who would actually use it.  I figured that we just weren't camping people.  But our boy can be quite persuasive, so we decided to borrow a tent and give it one more try.  I'm so glad we did, because this time, we had a lot of fun 

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 We went to a KOA campground near a town called Concrete, at the foot of the North Cascades, which was actually very beautiful- in spite of it's unfortunate name.   Neither Derek nor I had ever been here, so we didn't really know what to expect.  But the website said that there were hot showers, electricity and water at the campsites, and wifi at the clubhouse, so it sounded good to me.

  

 We cooked our food on a campfire, slept in a tent, and we got to enjoy being in the woods, near a creek- so I think it was just the right amount of rustic. 

 

 I was a little surprised and disappointed at how close the campsites were to each other.  There was zero privacy.  Fortunately, we had some great neighbors, and we actually spent most of the evening sitting around their campfire, talking and having a great time.  The kids made friends quickly too, which made it easy for us to relax, since they were busy and having fun.  

 

 

 On our way home, we decided to check out the town of Concrete. WA.  It was quite charming. 

 

  So camping was a success, and we have our son to thank- because we wouldn't have gone if he wouldn't have pushed us out of our comfort zone and persuaded us to try something new.  Although I wouldn't mind being a little more comfortable while camping....an R.V. would be nice.  Next year, we'll invest in some gear and go more often.  I love that we can bring our dog with us too.

 

Monday
Aug192013

rest

 

My daughter has finished her summer course for ballet.  She has this week at home, next week she's at camp, and then she begins with school and ballet, a daily 6am-8pm schedule away from home.  It's all becoming very real, the big changes that are coming.  She'll be super busy, and time with her right now is precious.  It will be different this year, just teaching my son at home.  I had one year with just teaching my daughter at home, two years ago, and I appreciated that time.  This year, I'll have some special time with my son.  These changes are bittersweet, for sure.  My husband is taking this week off from work, and we're spending our days together as a family.  So I'm stepping away from the computer for a few days so that I can focus on them.  There are plans for camping, hanging out at the beach, a train ride, and just relaxing.  I'll tell you all about it when I get back. : )  Until then, have a great week!

 

Thursday
Aug152013

Dining Room Improvements

  

 My dining room has been getting a mini make-over this month.  I think it looks much better...fresh and more in line with my personal style. The two projects that made the biggest difference in this room were the large chalkboard/wreath picture and the re-covered chairs.  Both were easy and mostly used materials that I already had. 

Below, you see my dining room before....

 I thought that there were too many competing colors for the look I desired and I wanted to simplify things.  I liked both of the pictures that were hanging on the walls, but I didn't like them together.  I really did not want a tablecloth on the table, but it was a necessity because the surface had water rings and other damage to the wood.

After....

 

 The fabric on the chairs was an easy change.  I love the graphic print that I found at Ikea, for only $8.50 a yard.  All I had to do was take out the screws that held the seats onto the chairs, rip off the old fabric, staple the new fabric on (like wrapping a present), and put it all back together.  I made runners for both the sideboard and the dining table with the same fabric.  All that required was the ability to sew a straight stitch, to hem the edges, probably the easiest sewing project possible.

I decided to tackle the damaged wood on the table with some sandpaper.  When I was finished, I rubbed coconut oil into the wood.  The water stains were gone and I could get rid of the tablecloth.  To prevent any more damage, we'll just use placemats when we eat...so much easier to keep clean.

 

Above, you see the first chair, which is what the fabric looked like before.  What you can't really see is how dirty it was.  I'm so happy to have that gone.  The next chair is what it looked like after.  The third chair was an experiment.  I have wanted to paint the entire dining set white for a long time.  The dining set belonged to my husband's grandparents, and he was hesitant to let me paint it.  I finally convinced him to let me try with one chair.  I like the way the white chair looks best, but my husband still likes the look of the wood.  I'm not going to push it anymore, since it really was a lot of work to sand and paint that one chair, and just the thought of doing the entire dining set makes my back hurt.  So now we have one odd chair that doesn't match the rest.  It's okay.  It was an extra one that we weren't using.  I use it with my desk now, in a different room.

Below, is my chalkboard/wreath project, inspired by Miss Mustard Seed.  I had the frame already, and I made it into a chalkboard by applying chalkboard Contact paper to the back board.  I used washi tape around the edges, both to add a little detail, and to hide the edges where the paper did not quite cover to the edge of the board.  If you are interested in trying this project yourself, this next part is important.  The chalkboard paper was not sticky enough.  You might be able to see it in the pictures, because they were taken before I fixed the problem, but the paper bubbled up in places where it didn't stick to the board well, and the washi tape wasn't all that sticky either.  I fixed the problem by taking the whole thing apart and applying modge podge to the back board and around the edges of the washi tape.  You can learn from my mistake and do that part in the first place, saving yourself some time.

I couldn't find a simple boxwood wreath, so I made that too.  I just wrapped a long swag of artificial boxwood around a large wood embroidery hoop.  I then took some thin green thread and wrapped it again, to reinforce the shape I wanted and pull the boxwood tight around the hoop.  The verse, from Psalm 61:2, When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I, is an exact copy of the one that I saw in the inspiration picture, but I loved it so much that I used it.  I'll probably switch it out with different verses every once in awhile.

So yes, obviously, now it is time to have a dinner party!

Wednesday
Aug142013

Burlap Welcome Wreath

I won't admit this often, but sometimes, the less money I have available to spend on decorating, the happier I am with the results.  I need that push, of necessity, to help me be creative.  That would be the case with these latest little projects that I''ve been doing around my home.  This has been an expensive summer, and decorating is not in the budget.  Of course, none of these projects are really a necessity, but making things pretty does make me feel good.  You too? 

The burlap wreath was made entirely with items I found around the house.  I simply wrapped long burlap strips around a foam wreath, pinning it down with floral pins.  I then cut out some black squares with card stock and used a white Sharpie paint pen to write the letters that would spell, "welcome friends."  I stuck white straight pins through the squares to pin them on the wreath where I wanted and added a few fabric flowers, also with straight pins.  I took the fabric flowers from a necklace that I made awhile ago, but never wore.  And that's all there is to it.  I now have this wreath hanging by my front door, and it was just what was needed!

The votive candle holders below aren't even really a "project".  All I did was wrap some washi tape around the base.  It's the little things that make a difference. And this little thing took these votives from boring to cute.

 

And here's the final project that I'll share with you today.  This one made me so happy!  This coffee table had been bothering me for a long while.  I bought it at the Goodwill years ago.  Other than the holes in the top, everything else about the table was exactly what I wanted.  So I planned on replacing the top.  But that didn't happen.  The holes in the top of the coffee table tormented me with their ugliness.   Until finally, I found a solution, and it was even easier than replacing the top.  First, I filled in the holes on the top of the table with some modeling wax, then, I covered it all with Contact Paper.  I love the graphic black and white print, and I like the way it looks in my living room.  I've had it like this for several weeks now, and it's holding up just fine.

 

The ultimate plan around the house this summer was to bring in lots of white and eliminate as many of the competing colors as I could.  Not all of the that time that I spend on Pinterest is a complete waste of time.  I've learned that I love mostly white interiors.  I've been spray painting everything with white! We still need to paint the walls, and that will make a huge difference, but we probably won't get to that for awhile yet.  The weather is simply too gorgeous here in the Seattle area right now to be inside painting. 

 click on image for Best Projects Link Party

 

Monday
Aug122013

5 Lunch Plans: good, healthy, easy

 Lunch menus can get kind of boring around here at times.  I don't even want to tell you how many times I've had mac n' cheese or PB&J for lunch in the past few months.  It's not that I don't like those foods, I do, but they're not exactly the healthiest lunch options.  I can do better.

I've also been thinking about my daughter going to high school in a few weeks, and of how much I'm going to miss her.  She will go from school to ballet, gone from 6:30am-8pm, every day.  She's going to need to eat healthy to keep up with her demanding schedule.  And I'm trying to think of ways that I can stay connected to her- sending her off with a good lunch each day is part of my plan. 

I challenged myself to take a week and come up with five new (healthy) menu plans for lunches, and this is what I came up with....

 Day 1Caprese Pasta Salad, celery sticks w/ peanut butter, and grapes

Caprese Pasta Salad

makes 4-5 servings, prep time 20-30 minutes

Needed:

8 oz. pasta

4 large ripe tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup chopped basil

1 clove garlic, minced

4 oz. mozzarella cheese, diced

1/4/ cup olives

3 TBS olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1.  Cook the pasta according to directions

2.  Combine all ingredients except pasta

3.  Drain the pasta and add to tomoto mixture, toss gently

 

 Day 2 (make on the weekend, or the night before) Mini Whole Wheat Pizzas, apple slices

Mini Whole Wheat Pizzas

Prep time, 25 minutes, cook time 25 minutes, preheat oven to 475F, 5 servings

Needed:

Dough

1 cup lukewarm water

1 package dry yeast

1 tsp. salt

2 TBS olive oil

3-5 cups whole wheat flour

Toppings:

oilive oil

minced garlic

pizza sauce or fresh tomatoes

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

8-16 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated

fresh vegetables:  I used zucchini

fresh herbs:  I used oregano, parsley, and basil

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine water and yeast and stir well to dissolve

2.  Let yeast mixture stand for 5 minutes

3.  Add salt and olive oil, beat well

4.  Add 1 1/4 cups whole wheat four and beat untl smooth

5.  Add 1/1/2 cups more flour and stir as much as possible

6.  Turn onto floured board and knead dough until smooth

7.  Divide dough into 5 equal balls

8.  With a rolling pin, roll to flatten, using additional flour to prevent sticking

9.  Place on cookie sheet and let rise for 20 minutes

10.  Brush lightly with olive oil, spoon sauce onto surface of dough, and add toppings

11.  Bake at 475F for 20 minutes or until crust is firm and golden.

 Day 3:  Bagel Sandwich w/ roast beef and cream cheese, cherry tomotoes, trail mix(almonds, Craisins, and choc. chips)

 Day 4:  Ham and Cream Cheese Tortilla Wraps w/ tomatoes, spinach, and cucumbers, trail mix, dill pickles

Day 5Veggie Fried Rice, greek yogurt w/jam, avocado slices, and an apple

Veggie Fried Rice:

Prep time, 20 minutes...use leftover rice and whatever veggies you have on hand (I used zucchini and tomotoes)

Add a small amount of olive oil to a large frying pan and scramble an egg, add the veggies and saute until soft, add rice, season w/ soy sauce