play kitchen makeover

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30 August 2017

some might call it a makeunder (that missed spot in the middle bottom shelf - I see you) and I wouldn't blame them a bit.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I stupidly decided I had to give the kids' play kitchen a face lift. Call it nesting or call it crazy but I read a few tutorials and went to work. It was simple but took a lot of time and rather than give you a step-by-step (better blogs! better tutorials!) I'll tell you what I was glad I'd done and what I'd wish I'd done differently.

Let's start at the very beginning with supplies:

grey chalk paint + brush (I'm not sure how important it is to have a dedicated chalk paint brush though - I've used the cheap chip brushes they've worked fine too)
sander (not necessary but SO NICE TO HAVE)
matte clear gloss
gold spray paint (I tried two different colors/brands and this was so much better)
thick wrapping paper of choice
foam board

Maybe the most tedious and time consuming but most important step was taking all of the plastic hardware off because 23947289347289734 screws but it's a necessary evil. Also - I read how helpful it was to put the parts in bags and label them which I would've never ever though to do and would've thought I would "just remember" what goes where but no - never would I ever have remembered.

don't skip it. Don't forget the plastic sheets covering the microwave and oven doors - they probably need a good cleaning anyway (ours did).

I couldn't get the knobs off so I just taped them off while I was painting and then taped off the kitchen (after I made certain it was REALLY dry) while spray painting the actual knobs ... like so.

It worked fine and I was able to sand out that big drip of paint and touch it up with the grey chalk paint.

I went with chalk paint because we had some on hand and it goes go on VERY nicely/evenly and I wasn't looking to put 3-4 coats of paint on a tiny structure with a zillion hard to reach crevices. I experimented with painting the back of the kitchen without sanding beforehand and it went on fine but after sanding the fridge door and noticing how much smoother the pain looked I decided to just sand the entire front of the kitchen.

This is turning into a step-by-step. Sorry.

I did two coats of paint on the kitchen and sanded any rough spots in between (if the paint went on thick where I'd let an eager helper be a little too helpful). Originally I wasn't going to paint the inside but then I just --- did. It looks better and only took like 89 extra hours. The plastic kitchen parts needed two separate coats of spray paint and I decided to just go ahead and spray the few play bowls we have from Ikea with gold spray paint as well.

Originally I wanted to draw some sort of faux tiles on a foam board "back splash" with a gold sharpie but then remembered I had one last sheet of this wrapping paper and figured wrapping some foam board would be a heck of a lot easier than trying to draw perfect "tiles". It worked and Simon helped me use a staple gun to affix the totally practical backsplash onto the back of the kitchen.

I'm shocked it's still intact and untouched because the kitchen takes a beating daily by our resident two-year-old.

If I were to do it again I think I would probably just go with regular high gloss paint that I've used to paint the majority of our dressers. I think it would look better and the paint job would last longer. I would also go with a slightly lighter color of grey but - who cares.

I might also paint one of the sides with chalkboard paint for fun and I guess I can still do that but the painting ship motivation has kind of sailed ever since Abe arrived - riddle me that.

I know some people have put contact paper on to look like marble or granite counters (and it looks amazing!) and to be honest - I have the contact paper but I decided to quit while I was ahead and call it good - maybe I'll tackle that during a potential play kitchen remodel in like 10-20 years.

I made a mental list of things not to forget and now I'm forgetting them so if you have any questions - let me know! I'm glad I did it because the kids thought it was fun to help, they claimed to like the outcome, and it was a good distraction that got me through a few audio books during those last weeks of Abe baking.

I'm not crafty or particularly handy with a paint brush and if I can do it - anyone can, promise! 

dog days

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25 August 2017

1. I keep thinking I'll get my act together and carve out daily blogging time like I used to but it's as if the kids and the laundry and the messy, messy house don't make blogging a priority like I do. WEIRD. We'll find a groove - soon. I refuse to drift off into blogging neverland despite social media swallowing blogs whole left and right.

gearing up for lots of Butterball jokes circa Thanksgiving.

2. Well, I accidentally requested the audio version of Small Great Things and somehow it's a lot easier for me to read books than listen to them these days so I'm slowly making my way through but so far, so good. Tough to read but relevant right now and really well written. Oh! And apparently it's being made into a movie - how did I miss that?

3. I have to admit that I've gotten super sucked into Bachelor in Paradise (as has Simon! although - he'd never admit it) and I'm a little/a lottle disappointed in Dean. The season is young but I'm very curious to see how it plays out. I was never a fan of Derek or Taylor but somehow still find them adorable together. I still have no idea who is going to be the next Bachelor ... will they go rogue and pick someone formerly uninvolved with the franchise like they did back in the good old days? Time will tell!

4. My kids have heard how cool Alexa is from their classmates and it's 44% off at the moment - wonder if it will still be cool and relevant come Christmas? Group present?

5. I loved (!!) watching Kate's day in the life vlog and now I'm super tempted to attempt to copycat. I can barely manage the occasional IG story but ... stay tuned!

6. Okay, I'm on the prowl for a knockoff version of these (camel brown color) so if you've seen anything similar - let a mother know? thank you! I wore these all spring and summer and it shows but I'd like a sneaker-ish version for the fall and Florida "winter" ... (I did order these but they were too big and I just didn't love them SO back they went!)

7. Alright, it's movie night here at the Patton abode (Star Wars - yay) and I've got a whole lot of laundry to fold too. Happy, happy weekend!

linking up with Kelly!

(wedding) Bells in Buffalo

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24 August 2017

This past weekend Simon, Bosco, Abe, and I had the great pleasure of attending the nuptials of our good friend and Bosco's godmother Caitlin's wedding in Buffalo. My mom and Aunt Heidi were kind and generous enough to fly in and watch the oldest four who have yet to stop talking about what a fun weekend they had sans parentals. I'm not exaggerating when I say I have more photos of Caitlin and Chris's wedding on my phone than I have of my own wedding on my computer. And I have A LOT of wedding photos. It was a tough job but I narrowed them down to a normal number. Normalish number.


Bosco was the ring bearer (no rings involved - for the safety and well being of said rings) and while he is my own flesh and blood I have to admit that I thought he was pretty cute playing his strenuous role ...

A closer look? I thought you'd never ask.

We had to get some snaps of Bosco and Emma in the event that they are required in a wedding slideshow in ~25 years or so ...

This is how Bosco shows affection ...

Emma was a good sport - blue ribbon/gold medal/massive trophy for her patience.

But, back to the couple of the hour/weekend ...

How cool is this? If they don't frame and hang it in their home - I will.

The wedding reception was at a newly remodeled (restored?) insane asylum which was a lot less scary than it sounds - only because we weren't staying on the wing with the barred windows and abandoned cells (you think I'm kidding? would I ever?) ...

My cellular camera would only capture about 20% off the entire complex - it went on and on and ON.

Some interior shots ...

it was light, bright, and a serious IGers dream come true with all the white, white, and white.

Off track again, Patton.

Rewind to the rehearsal dinner where Abe cried almost the entire time (so unlike him! Don't all parents say that when their kids cry excessively or toddlers throw down some super bratty behavior?) ...

Bosco was actually pretty good aside from throwing a huge tantrum over wanting me to pour my gin and tonic into his sippy (I didn't give in - pats on the back please and thank you) and eventually found some kids watching a show on a phone and made himself RIGHT at home.

I was 99.9% sure he wouldn't go down the aisle at all but he surprised me and marched right down during both the rehearsal and actual wedding ...

Yes, he had the help of an iron fist (to his right) to assist him but still ... color me surprised. He's got another wedding on his busy docket in October so lets hope he gives a copy/paste - repeat performance.

(side note - if anyone needs a similar little boys' outfit to the one he wore - I found his here and she shipped it SUPER fast. I'm a paying customer aka #notsponsored - just had to mention and save you minutes of googling if you've got a shorts/suspenders sized hole that needs filling in your life) 

Caitlin had the thoughtful and wonderful foresight to find sitters for the parents with kids in attendance and I have to admit that it was REALLY nice knowing the kids were one floor below asleep and in great hands while we imbibed and requested Despacito mucho time-os.

I ran into a fellow Collower ... the lovely Pam. And naturally we had to take 56 photos. Here's one ...

Simon and Grace had the horrific and stupid foresight to book their return flight for 6am the following morning. We ALMOST didn't make it and I've never wanted to beg an Uber driver to speed it UP on the drive to the airport more than at 5:15 in the am on Sunday. Spoiler: we did make it. As did our bags and I believe that we've used up our one and only lifetime miracle because we cut it reallyclose.

Not that I've ever been to a wedding where the couple doesn't seem unbelievably happy and well suited for each other but it was so apparent how complementary Chris and Caitlin are. Their family and friends gave wonderful toasts that gave great insight into their relationship and Chris will be happy to know that he's got the Camp's coveted seal of approval as I always knew Caitlin would marry someone very special and she did!

I wish we could go back and do it all over again - not because traveling with two kids felt like a glorified honeymoon compared to flying with the whole crew ...

... but because it was so much fun and both families did such a phenomenal job of hosting the rehearsal dinner and reception and we felt so lucky to be in attendance.

practicing his fake smile on the way to Buffalo ...

... luckily I don't think he pulled that one out for the professional photos but I guess time will tell.

Anyway - Bosco's rates are great if anyone is in need of a bearer of rings that may or may not make it down the aisle. 1-800-bad-joke - give us a call.

My mom did a great job of keeping us abreast of the goings on back at the Camp ...

the kids taking their golf lessons VERY seriously.

And they even braved taking everyone to the beach ...

... the girls in matching suits and ALL. Bravo!

Congratulations to Caitlin and Chris!! Come visit! We'll only make you babysit for a few fun-filled hours ;)

weekend's end

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13 August 2017

1. IG repeat offender - I'm the worst, per usual. But, I wanted it to live on in blog infamy. Simple gal with simple needs, always.

2. Alright, I was a total slacker on the reading front this week BUT this book just came off the hold list and I'm excited to dive in - and I also put some of your recommendations from last week on my hold list so - thank you!

3. Did you see that season 2 of The Crown is coming out soon(ish)? Good, me too. On an unrelated note - Simon and I watched Manchester By The Sea last night -- so good but so, so sad.

4. I don't like beer but do enjoy beer pong (although it's been a year or nine since I've played) so this is something I could get behind (minus the inevitable and horrific hangover ...)

5. I keep reading/seeing that mules are the shoe of the season and I do love a good clog which is a close cousin of the mule. Anyway, behold!! Perfection? Methinks so.

6. Needless to say I wasn't in love with Monday night's finale but Rachel seems super happy and hopefully they live happily ever after. I found myself nodding in agreement (as official + amateur Bachelor Nation expert) with a lot of what was said on the Almost Famous podcast. If Peter's not the bachelor I'm very curious to see who they'll choose ...

7. And on the sale front ...

I have and love these heels and just saw that they are 50% off. Fiesta, fiesta.
+ flash sale! 35% off everything and 40% off clearance with code: BIGFAN (this shirt is so cute with great reviews)
+ 20% off dresses ... yee haw.
+ 40 OR 50% off everything at one of my favorites.

Have a great remaining few hours of your Sunday and/or happy Monday morning :)

reunion rundown

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10 August 2017

I think I've been blogging about our family reunion ever since I started blogging and this isn't the year to kill a tradition and so -- here we ARE.

Reunion time!!

GG and all her great grands.

The kids were so so so SO excited about going that they had their bags packed (the girls even had their flight outfits laid out many days in advance) for days beforehand and multiple drafts of cards for, "GG" (Great Grandma) were drawn before they settled on the one to actually bring. Abe and his perfectionism -- he comes by it honestly.

Our trip was a lot shorter than other years but we packed a lot in and had the exhausted kids to prove it the day after we got home (Julia slept in until 11 -- sorcery? perhaps).

on the flight home. before we landed and went to get the car to find it had a flat tire. at 11pm. Fun for all - and for all a fun night.

I was nervous about flying with everyone as we no longer fit in two neat rows of three and knew someone (child or adult - Simon took one for the team) would have to sit separately and didn't know how that would go but it was fine and the kids were shockingly content with the 8 trillion snacks I packed and the laminated safety brochures in the seat pockets in front of them.

The captain invited the kids up to the cockpit where Simon repeatedly said, "please don't touch ANYTHING, kids" while the captain simultaneously said, "fly us anywhere you'd like!"

I was the most worried about Bosco since 2 year olds are such wildcards and panicked momentarily when I realized I had packed exactly zero toys/distractions for him but he was thrilled to have his blankie out of his crib and happy to pound the snacks and spill the ones he didn't eat.

it wouldn't be a trip to the Quad Cities without a Whitey's run. I got him a scoop in a cup but it wasn't lost on him that EVERYONE else had cones. So, I gave him mine. Best/worst mom - depending on how you spin it.

We stayed in a hotel where they had a room with bunkbeds along with a pull-out couch and another bed which worked out perfectly and the front desk only called up once to ask if everything was okay because, "we've been getting a lot of calls from your room ... "

the calling culprits with their bubblegum cones x 4

Abe was thrilled to meet lots of aunts and uncles and Nana and GG and great aunts and second cousins galore.

super thrilled.

Cousin Sydney brought the kids the sweetest and most thoughtful gifts (and a gorgeous rosary for me!) from Mexico where she's been doing mission work ...

The first thing Julia did when we got home was hang her pig purse right above her bed - close to her head.

We got to check out GG's soon-to-be new digs which was bittersweet because we have so many wonderful memories at her condo but know she'll have a lot of fun with all her new friends at her new place.

Theo was REALLY wanting to board the van headed for a group trip to Target.

And finally! As promised - a report back on the K'tan. I was a fan! A big fan. And more importantly - so was Abe. I'll be curious to see how he likes it once he gets a little older but it was so great for being truly hands-free through security and boarding etc. Did I pack the manual to reference the first five times I put it on? Yes - but I'm a slow learner ...

... and an expert selfie snapper. No eyes + one eye at your service.

We got home and the kids started school almost immediately so look for a post all about THAT coming at you in a flash. Only the sexiest of subject matters around here.

Happy Thursday.


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04 August 2017

excuses, excuses.


I hate to drop off the face of the blog when my posting is already spotty at best but a dead laptop (RIP forever), week long stomach bug from purgatory (you like that play on words?), and um the usual back-to-school prep along with an upcoming trip to pack for and you've got a recipe for Excuse Cake. Extra frosting in Graceland.

But I'm back. For today anyway.

First and last time I'll ever say this but it's warranted this one time: MOM GOALS.

The very last thing I need is a baby wrap/carrier but a flash sale + the glowing reviews and several upcoming flights convinced me that this was a good purchase. I shall report back - fear not.

I'm just about finished with The Sunshine Sisters and eh - not my favorite. If you've read anything awesome lately - I'd love to hear about it!

On the Bachelorette front - Dean filled in for Ben on the Almost Famous podcast this week and it was a good one, I thought. I'm curious how they are going to handle the finale with three men still standing. I can't watch the finale on Monday night so I think I'll just turn off my phone and tape blinders to my temples until the kids go to bed on Tuesday night - a foolproof plan, surely!

Alright I have to admit that even though I said that I prefer Fabletics leggings (and I still do) to the almighty Lululemons (I've tried two different styles and I find that they pill and lose their shape much easier than Fabletics but maybe it's just me) I got a pair of these shorts for my birthday last week and they definitely win in the not-too-short/not-too-long/don't-ride-up/perfect-in-crazy-heat departments. I've been all but living in them. I get the hype. I guess.

Some people might be counting the days until the sale ENDS so they don't have to hear about it anymore - I'm still debating sizing up in a pair of my favorite denim to get me through the postpartum period of fun but I'm not sure how practical jeans are in Florida at the moment. Decisions decisions. I've had these open on Simon's notdead computer for several days so maybe those are a smarter purchase.

Alright, I'm not going to tell you how many days this took to type and post because I'd have my blogging license revoked forever.

Have a happy weekend!!



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