Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Have I told you lately that I love you?

See that stud muffin? Yeah, that's my wonderful husband. He deserves extra brownie points for dealing with my latest episode at the Naval Hospital. 

Warning- this post includes vomit...just so you know

I was a little nervous because give-or-take two weeks ago, I made my final appointment to have an IUD inserted.  Sorry if that's a TMI moment for some of you but that's why I was there.  No wee lil' Erskines for us anytime soon.

Well he drove me there and waited until the procedure was done.  Everything was going well and I got through the procedure like a champ until I started walking.  That's when shittake mushrooms hit the fan. 

You know that feeling you get before you throw up?  That bitter, acidic taste in your throat?  Yup, that happened for a very brief moment.  Of course I'm thinking, "Oh sh*t, this is not happening."  Mind you, the procedure has been done for at least five minutes and I'm already dressed.  So I'm sitting in a chair, sipping on some water by myself in the room trying to calm down the dizziness.  The last time I had a feeling similar to this was after I donated blood and then passed out in an elevator.  I knew it was important to sit.  I texted Ryan saying that I was feeling a little faint so that he understood why it was taking me so long.  He tried to text me back but it was past the point of no return.  I was long past mind over matter, my body was winning this one.  I got up, feeling calm and collected and knowing that I could lean on Ryan if absolutely necessary.  I got about 10 steps out of the waiting room and a dizzy spell hit me like a hurricane.  I had to sit down in the hallway. Yup, right on the hospital wing floor.

Now my charming and loveable husband is cracking jokes, asking me how I feel (as I'm sitting on the tile floor) and trying to take my mind off the situation.  But my body is taking over and I can only focus on the fact that I can't see clearly and I'm trying to figure out if I'll be able to walk.  Screw it, I need a wheelchair and to lie down.  My husband gets some of the staff to help me out and I'm wheeled to a room to rest and sip on water.  I'm lying there in a dizzy spell from hell and of course the cramping from getting an IUD isn't helping the situation.  Ryan continues with jokes to try and get me to laugh but I just can't.  Looking at his face made it worse (I was feeling that awful) and so I rolled over onto my back.  It's not getting better and Ryan keeps trying to get me to drink water.  That's when it hits me...the taste in the back of my throat.  I croak out to Ryan that I'm going to hurl. He's looking for anything in the room and I hear him bolt out of the room frantically asking the staff to get me something.  Then it happened.  Yup, I got sick.  But I can tell you it was like BAM, automatically felt better.  Even the cramping didn't seem so bad after that.  So I'm not sure what that was all about but I definitely made the day a little more interesting and perhaps a little more disgusting for the Naval Hospital staff.

Post-hospital, Ryan took great care of me the rest of the day.  He even made a super yummy dinner.  I was so appreciative of having him to take care of me.  He even cracked more jokes throughout the day and yes, I laughed ;)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Care packages from a 7-month deployment

My husband went on his second, seven-month deployment last year and came back right after I graduated from the University of Wisconsin.

Deployments suck. They suck for the military service members, when they're stuck in the desert and they especially suck for those back home.  Ryan and I spent 2-3 months of our first year of marriage physically together and that was tough.  So to make up for lost time, I did what I do best...craft.
Our USPS is kind enough to provide free boxes and shipping supplies to send care packages and I stocked up on so many boxes.  The postal office on our campus soon became familiar with who I was and you could often see me carrying a box to class and walking to the post office once classes were done.  I learned how to pack a mean care package and by mean, I'm referring to extra-packed with love and entertainment.

Some things I would recommend to make your job on the homefront easier would be to invest on the things you're going to need.  I stocked up on goodies from Amazon and with a student prime account, shipping was free.  I got everything from hand/feet/body warmers to baby wipes because the guys rarely got to shower.  If there was a sale on socks at Target or Walmart or even Walgreens (that was surprising), I bought in bulk.  I also invested in a Cricut, which creates diecuts out of scrapbook paper.  As much as I love my Cricut, I would have rather invested in a Silhouette America because those things are awesome! Nevertheless, I used that Cricut religiously and also had two stacks of 50+ scrapbook papers for my decorating enjoyment.  If Walgreens or Shutterfly is having a deal on 4x6 prints, use those and save those pictures for care packages later on.  I also started taking more selfies (oh hail Myspace) because my husby always wanted pictures of me.  Anything for husby ;)

My very first care package and first time using the Cricut.

A movie-themed care package as part of his birthday surprises. There was a DVD, which I got from Target for $5, movie-theater style candy and a copy of, "The Hunger Games." I received a phone call from him later on making sure that I had the rest of the trilogy for him to read ;)

Ryan loves to read so this care package was dedicated solely to books. In the basement of our university bookstore were thousands of books available for half off their cover price. 

This was supposed to be his homecoming care package but of course, Semper Gumpy (aka remain flexible) because instead of coming home early, they ended up staying a full seven months. Worst news ever!  He loves Marilyn Monroe and Katy Perry so the walls of the box were lined with pictures of both of those ladies.  One of my favorite things was the banner I made using my Cricut.  It was super easy using a circle tool and ribbon.

My "Damn You AutoCorrect" Care Package.

Easter- underneath the grass were some essentials he needed. Instead of packing my own eggs, I bought some from the Easter aisles that already had pre-packaged candy.

The second care package I made and it's based off of Beyonce's song, "Countdown."

Another one of Ryan's birthday care packages. I made him a "birthday meal" with tortillas, minute rice, beans, etc. and there was enough to share with his friends.

Winter-themed care package that says, "no amount of time with you will be enough, but we'll start with forever." Yeah, it's a Twilight quote. Don't hate, there's a reason why those books do so well with young women ;)

Christmas care package that has a helluva lot of socks.

"I am miss yo . J st to let yo  know." haha get it?

Song lyrics, just a basic care package with lots of lovin'
St. Patrick's Day Care Package (Ryan and I both have Irish families). It says, "Here's to: A long life and a merry one, a quick death and an easy one, a pretty girl and an honest one, a cold beer and another one!"

Valentine's Day! There's a little pocket with "10 Things I Love About You"


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Downy Touch of Comfort- Quilts for Kids

While growing up, my grandmother had so many talents and I always felt that she could do anything when it came to crafting.  Before she passed on, she made her grandchildren quilts that we had all picked out.  I treasure that quilt because it was made with love and is a tangible memory of my grandmother's skills and legacy as passing on crafting through future generations.  I have always valued crafting and the talent of quilting.  I've received quilts from friends and family and each one is unique and well loved.  The time, talent and love that is put into making a quilt is just a package of reasons on why I love the mission of Quilts for Kids.
 Transforming discontinued, unwanted and other fabrics into patchwork quilts that comfort children with life-threatening illnesses and children of abuse. 

Over 20,000 quilts have been made and donated!

Awesome little documentary on a group of quilters and what their donation journey

Hospital stays can be stressful and lonely.  I can't imagine how difficult that can be on a young child and these quilts become their "blankies" from home and just give them some sense of comfort during their stay.

You can request a Quilt Kit and they'll send one within two weeks.  There is no charge for shipping and handling and you receive fabric for the top, the backing, the pattern and the QFK label.  You will need to provide the batting (low-loft 1/8” – 1/4” poly or cotton).  Quilts done within 4-6 weeks are sent directly to children in need.

Part of your donation includes providing the batting as well as shipping the quilt to their headquarters. 

While Ryan was deployed, I went into crafting overload.  I learned how to crochet, knit and quilt.  I can't think of a better way to share some of those talents with some wonderful kids.  I'm really looking forward to being a part of this wonderful opportunity and I hope some of my crafting compadres will do the same!

Yes! That's Dr. Bailey from "Grey's Anatomy"! Chandra Wilson is their spokesperson :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

And on the 5th day, God made the squeaky basketball

Friday- 8 pm

My parents have invited a stranger into our home, a large, furry stranger.  They call him, Max.  Initially, I thought it was a casual visit.  Their human companions came over with this so-called Max, everything seemed normal, until the humans left and Max stayed.  He is colossal and during his last visit, I was very young and his head had this large, cone-like device attached to it.  It was terrifying.

I am glad he has camped out in the kitchen because I cannot possibly see how he could fit on the bed upstairs with me. I mean there's barely room for me, mom and dad at 6 in the morning.  However the invader brings gifts.  At first I thought I should mock him, Ha, you peasant. You bring me gifts! But, his gifts emit the most glorious notes and sounds that I have ever heard.  Mother says that these are Max's toys but I know better.  It has become my mission to make these musical devices mine by the end of his visit.

10 pm

Mother has taken away my gifts.  She says that I must share- ha, she must be joking.  For one, I am a glorious German Shepherd and two, I am a girl dog.  Boom. Roasted.  Anyways, she has taken them from me.  First it was the chicken of rubber clad in a purple bikini, quickly followed by the blue bone of glory.  I was fine until she took away Max's favorite toy, the basketball.  Its small, spherical shape is the finest toy that I have ever bitten down on- comparable to that of my pheasant friend that accompanies me at bedtime. 

11 pm

She is keeping them hostage.  She says to father, "it sounds like a dying chipmunk, I can't really handle that this late at night."  I will rescue them.

11:05 pm

Alas, she has put them on a higher shelf. I am determined. Must get Max to help.


I hear a knock at the door and am surprised to see Father.  He toys with my emotions everyday.  Coming and going- and so in my excitement, I pee a little.  I cannot help that my small size has limited my bladder capacity.  I know that in time, I will become a glorious German Shepherd and my bladder will no longer be my kryptonite.

"It's time to eat!"- quite possibly the most beautiful phrase my young ears have ever heard.  Max and I were served different cuisine and he is not keen on his.  Whenever Mother turns away, Max and I switch bowls.  Clearly, we are geniuses.

6:10 pm

Curses, mother noticed.

6:11 pm

Max has been fussy with his dinner, so Mother put him in his kennel with his food dish. Nevertheless, I pretend that I'm full and save a little of my food for Max later.  When he is released, we shall feast!

8:00 pm

Father is petting Max. I have mixed feelings about this. I go to Mother, who I know will smother me with attention.  Max follows...damn.

8:02 pm
Determined to show Max that this is my territory, I stand up to him and give him my most aggressive set of barks.  Unfortunately his size and stature give him a louder bark.  I refuse to back down. 

8:06 pm
Trapped in this metal cage they call my kennel- due to my vocal sparring with Max.  Mother said it's quiet hours.  I was clearly victorious in that barking match. 

8:07 pm
I feel like I've been in here for hours.  What if they've forgotten me?  They can't be far.  I hear them downstairs.  I must make my presence known!

8:15 pm
Mother has confused my glorious vocal debut with a request to go potty.  The night air is cool and refreshing.  I have had enough and gracefully jog back to the door, only to be stopped by this mesh force field.  What is this nonsense?  Apparently it is used to keep out bugs but it is also keeping me from my main goal and snuggling with my friend, Giraffe Baby. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kim Does Pinterest: DIY Chalkboard

Have y'all read the Little Baby Garvin blog? Ohmylanta, so adorable!  The author, Jessica, documented her pregnancy by taking photos each month of herself in front of a chalkboard.  You may have seen these photos on Pinterest and I just thought it was the cutest idea ever.  She made her chalkboard, so it inspired me to make a chalkboard for the Erskine household.

My dear friend Ashley and I went thrifting.  I was on a mission to find this "dream" frame to make my chalkboard and so we went into a military/veterans thrift store on Coast Hwy and low and behold here it was:
For $25 I got this already distressed, off white frame.  It was exactly what I was looking for!

My husby kindly took me to Lowe's to get spray primer and chalkboard paint.  Both were a little pricey but you get a lot of chalkboard paint, so if you need to paint an entire wall, you are basically set.

I removed the painting and foam board and used the glass from the frame.  Jessica had a piece of wood fitted for it but I found multiple tutorials that used the glass that came from the frame and I liked this the best.  I made sure my aerosol primer (spray can) was for glass surfaces and took it out to the backyard to paint.  Tip: don't do it in your backyard unless you have a table and newspaper...rookie mistakes.  Little bits of grass and nature were all up in my business.

Follow the instructions on the can and then make sure it dries.  It is so incredibly important to make sure that the paint thoroughly dries, otherwise you'll get air bubbles and this became another reason for me to paint the other side of the glass...rookie mistake #2.

Once appropriately primed, it was time to break out the chalkboard paint.  I used foam brushes but I would recommend buying a small roller brush instead.  This will insure that you get a smooth, even coat.  To make up for my lack of a roller brush, I poured the paint on the glass and then used my brush to even it out.  Important tip, make sure there isn't water on your brush, otherwise you'll get a streaky finish.  

It needs to dry for three days.  I started this project before husby had leave, so it sat for two weeks.  Then I placed it back in the frame.  The frame already had metal tabs to hold the original print, so I used those. I'm sure you could hammer in a few nails into the back of the frame to further secure it (a few tutorials also recommend this). 

Then you need to shade the entire chalkboard surface in chalk.  This gives it a layer of chalk and protects it from leaving marks later on.  I bought a pack of white chalk and then the color variety.  I haven't hung it up yet but I have both mega command hooks as well as a picture hanging kit.  Wish me luck!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Favorites- July 13, 2012

First full week after leave! These are some beauties off of Pinterest that I found and just had to share :)
Favorite Inspirational Message

"Some people look for a beautiful place, others make a place beautiful."
-Hazrat Khan
I love this! I feel like this quote speaks volumes on how I see the world.  Especially with creativity, you see beauty everywhere and even in places that people refuse to look.

Favorite Holiday Pins

I'm a big fan of diorama type decorations and capturing little scenes.  I thought both of these were absolutely darling and something that I definitely want to do to decorate our home.  I hope my Space & Missiles roomie, Brittany, is ready for this ;)

Favorite Newlywed Home Decor
Timeline of Your Love
My Pinnin', Tumblin', & Facebookin' friend, Kelsi Johnson re-pinned this and as soon as I saw it, I knew that I wanted to recreate this look.  I'm mad obsessed with this idea and I think it's absolutely beautiful.  I love looking at family photos at all of my friends' homes and this is just a lovely way to recapture that same idea.

Favorite Sassy Tattoo
"Curiosity often leads to trouble"
 Oh lordy, sassy quote and awesome placement of a tattoo!  I really like where this is placed, so much that I'm thinkin' it should be the spot for my next tattoo. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kim Does Pinterest: Scrabble Letter Tiles

 I found this idea on Pinterest and loved it! A really simple DIY project that is great wall decor.

6 pieces of square plywood-$3.29 at Michael's
6 small squares of wood (these will be your spacers)
Hot glue or e6000 glue (aka something that will get them to stay together)
Black acrylic paint
Bristle brushes
Command Strips to hang them up

Step 1. PAINT! Paint each tile with one letter from the word "FAMILY." I had my laptop open at the same time and checked out the correct number of points for each letter.  I'm a perfectionist, I can't help it.  Having different brushes out will also help you transition from making a thicker font to having the accuracy to paint those itty bitty numbers.  Then let each of those tiles dry.  I did this at night while my husby was playing Battlefield, so I did step 2 in the morning.

Step 2.  SPACE & GLUE- first space out your letters and adjust them so they're a little off kilter.   Glue on the small squares onto the front surfaces of three of your letters.  These will act as your spacers and gives 'em dimension (it seriously looks better).  Place more glue on top of the spacers and then lay the remaining tiles on top.  Let them dry.  I would say let this stay for a couple of hours before hanging up.  I could give you a better time frame but I did this project before my husband had leave and so they were "drying" for two weeks before they were hung up.

Step 3.  COMMAND STRIP TIME!  Place command strips accordingly to the three tiles that will be closest to the wall.  Place where ever you so please and voila, new wall decor :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Holly & the Sprinkler

While visiting Wisconsin, Holly was introduced to the sweltering hot weather and the beautiful relief of a lawn sprinkler. This and the kiddie pool in the back would entertain her for hours :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Home Decor: Mod Podge Letters

Tralala tralala, I have a new home aka a DIYers dream come true!  A really simple home decoration to make, which is also perfect for any type of shelving unit, are these decorative letters.  I chose "Erskine" because that's our family name, however you could mix it up and do a cute, "Live Laugh Love" or "#winning," really whatever you'd like.  These would also look cute hanging on a wall with the magic of Command Strips.

Three dimensional, cardboard letters $2.99-$3.99 (Hobby Lobby)
Exacto-knife/box cutter
Scrapbook paper  (I chose the large squares of paper not the 8x11)
Mod Podge $7.99
Bristle brush
Cutting board (I just used the one from my kitchen, we conveniently have two)
Paper towels

The most expensive aspects of the project will be purchasing the Mod Podge and the letters themselves.  The good thing is that Mod Podge will last you for so many DIY projects and the letters are your actual home decor, so it's worth it.  When selecting paper, I love neutral colors/earthy tones.  I chose scrapbook papers that looked distressed or were more like photographs to give them that extra dimension.  Examples included distressed wood, burlap, dirt, hay, etc.

1. Organize your letters and scrapbook papers so that they coordinate and then lay them out.
2. Lay out paper towels to serve as your drying space.
3. Take your first letter and coordinating scrapbook paper and make sure the paper's surface that you want is actually facing away from you and on the cutting board.
4. Take your brush and paint Mod Podge onto the letter (make sure you're placing the glue on the side you actually want to place the paper on and only that side).
5. Glue the letter down onto the paper and press firmly.  I placed my letters close to edges to save time in cutting paper and to save paper.
6. Take your box cutter and while the letter is on the cutting board, cut along the edge of the letter.  You should now have the front surface completely covered on your letter.
7. I roughly measured, "guesstimating" with strips of the scrapbook paper, and applied glue to the other surfaces of the letter and covered those with paper.  The only surface I didn't cover was the back and personally, I think it helps give additional dimension to the letter.
8. Take your brush and the Mod Podge and paint over the entirety of the letter.  I have the "gloss" Mod Podge, so it gave my letters a nice finish.
9. Set them aside to dry.
10. Place them where ever you please :)