Wednesday, October 23, 2013

She's Crafty: Outdoor Chair Revival!

A couple of months ago I was realizing that our outdoor plastic chairs were looking pretty bad.  No matter the amount of cleaning, they were just worse for the wear.  I searched around for some solutions and found a few other cheap inventive people out there who had spray painted their furniture with pretty amazing results.  So I decided to try spray painting ours to give them a few more summers of use before we actually needed new ones.

I read some reviews of different brands and types of paint and decided to try the Krylon Fusion brand because it had the best reviews for this type of plastic painting.  As a bonus, this paint requires no prep work like sanding or priming, just a clean dry chair is all you need.  I went with "Watermelon" for our shabby-looking plastic Adorndack-type chair and "Patriotic Blue" for our regular chairs that started out white dirty-grayish-white.  Here are what the chairs looked like before and after:

Overall I am really happy with the results!  What do you think?  

Although I linked you to Amazon to show you the colors, I got my paint at Wal-Mart for about $4 a can. Each chair took about 2 cans so total was $8 per chair.  Not a huge bargain but saved us a few bucks and now we have brightly colored seating.  

PS.  Still have no idea why the pics are blurry and/or have to be super-small in order to not be blurry. I have not changed how I upload them or add them to the blog.  I have searched on the help boards but can't seem to find an answer....anyone else with a blog that can help?  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Legally Wed!

Although Noell and I held a wedding ceremony last year, we technically were not "married" in any legal way.  We knew what the climate was for gay marriage and we felt strongly that the current fight going on would end in our least eventually.  We decided to skip the whole Domestic Partnership thing and hold out for the real deal.  We wanted the for-sure, can-leave-money-to-my-wife-without-unfair-taxes, visit-each-other-in-the-hospital, can-file-for-taxes-jointly, SS-benefit-receiving, forever-legally-binding type of marriage.

And we got it!

In June, 2013, (a little over a year after our original ceremony) the Supreme Court made two historic rulings regarding same-sex marriage.  One was the denial to hear the case of the upholding of Prop 8 in CA.  The other was the striking down of DOMA. If you are not familiar with these rulings, feel free to Google any of them or check out this article.

We quickly decided that we needed to act sooner rather than later. Several of our friends were married 5 years ago when it was legal in CA but some had missed the window of legality back then, and they regretted it.  We didn't want to take any chances in case this was not a "forever" decision in the state of CA.  Luckily for us, this time it seems to be sticking and there is little serious talk of overturning anything in CA at present.

We wanted a small, simple ceremony since both of us considered our wedding a year ago to be the "real" wedding.  We asked our friend Thyme to marry us as she is licensed to do so in CA.  We invited just a handful of people out to Sunset Cliffs and had a quicky wedding.  Followed by pizza and beer. 'Cause that's how we roll.

The ceremony.


The wedding group.

Not the official kiss.

The cutest baby, Noa. (Thyme and Adria's daughter)

A lot of love on that cliff. 

Pizza and beer.

Thyme signing the official paperwork.

Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated with us.  Special thank you to Thyme for being our officiant and writing meaningful and personal vows for us.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tile revival

Our bathroom tile was looking very dingy.  I would scrub it with tile cleaner, bleach, soft scrub, etc.  You name it....I tried it.  Despite all this our bathroom tile looked like this:

Yuck #1

Yuck #2

Then last week as I was reading one of the blogs in my regular rotation, The Frugal Girl, I saw she tried and reviewed this product called Polyblend Grout Renew.  I had never heard of this type of grout product before.  It worked for her and was inexpensive (I believe it was about $10) so I decided to give it a try and....


So white!

So bright!

It's like we have a new shower.

So if you have tile grout that you clean and clean and it still looks dirty, try this stuff, it's awesome!

PS.  I have no idea why the pictures are a little blurry in this post....I can't figure out why.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

In which one niece loves me and one niece doesn't

 About 2 months ago I was finishing up my clinical hours for my nurse practitioner program and I had to take a practice test for my comprehensive exam to graduate from school.  I studied and felt ready and so I took the test....I barely passed.  It was by such a slim percent that I passed that it scared the crap out of me to think about the real comprehensive exam and my board certification test.

I panicked and decided RIGHT THEN that I needed to take a review course for my boards.  I figured it would help on both exams.  The comps exam is supposed to test my knowledge of all (3 years) of my masters education and my masters education is what is supposedly preparing my to be a NP.  So, it made sense, taking a review course was just the ticket.

So I searched and searched and there were no review courses in San Diego for the next 6 months or so.  I contemplated heading over to Phoenix for a course, which would have added the cost of driving, hotel rental, and food, but it seemed like a good option considering that it was the closest review to SD.   Then, I had a brilliant idea...maybe there is a review course in St. Louis sometime soon?  Yep, turns out it was timed perfectly for my studying and test schedule and also was a course that a fellow classmate had recommended. Perfect! I signed up for the course and booked a flight.  Of course with some extra time to hang with the family.

Even luckier for me was the fact that my brother and sister-in-law had recently sold their condo and were in the process of looking for a new house so they were staying with mom and dad too.  When I travel to St. Louis I usually get to see my nieces and nephew in little spurts, but this time it was non-stop.  I loved it.  My sister also drove home and spent some time with me which was great.  She used to blog too and I think she should re-up this space and entertain us with her tales of teaching.

To introduce the cast of nieces and nephew.....Benjamin (Ben, Benny, Buddy, Benji, etc.) is 3, and the girls, Elisabeth (Biffy) and Alaythea (Laythie bear), are 18 months old.  Ben and Alaythea were open and excited to have a new person around to play with, read with, and cuddle with.

But that Elisabeth.  She wanted nothing to do with me. At all. For the entire week.  At first my mere presence in the same room with her would cause an outbreak of tears. By the second day, it moved to standing in the same room was ok, as long as I didn't make eye contact.  By day 3-4 a little eye contact was tolerated but careful...not for too long!  Finally by day 5-6, I could make eye contact and even play silly games and make faces across the room.  Even got a few smiles out of her.  I thought I was doing great and I should definitely be able to play next to her or even hold her--NOPE!  She was not having any of that!  It was actually quite comical.  I will admit that on the last day, literally as I was saying goodbye to them, she tolerated me holding her and there was a photo snapped of it for proof.  Here are some pics of these cuties:


Laythie bear bed head

Big brother Ben

The girls in their seats

A small smile from the elusive Biff

Benny helping papa fix the umbrella

Smiley Lathie

Benjamin and I having s'mores by the fire

And I did do some other things while I was in the Lou.  My parents took my sister and I to  a Cardinals game.  It was a good game, and we won!  Great seats too! Thanks Mom and Dad!

Can you see the arch cit into the grass?

See you on the flip side St. Louie.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hump Day Nuggets: a little bit of this, a little bit of that

hump day nuggets: bits of the season in photos and words*

*The hump day nuggets series is the brainchild of Nici Holt Cline who blogs over at dig this chick.  You should check out her blog or her etsy shop, to see the full extent of her talent and creativity.  Thanks Nici!

Let's get the least pleasant out of the way first.  

::Gum graft surgery.  

Apparently even though I am a (fairly) young lady, I have receding gums.  Yes I brush and yes I floss. I even got rid of my fancy, super-awesome-electronic-made-my mouth-feel-so-clean toothbrush considering brushing "too hard" could have been contributing to this receding.  To no avail, I needed gum graft surgery.  Once your gum tissue is gone, it's gone, there is no way to re-generate it.    

So I had this wonderful procedure done yesterday.  They say that some people opt for local anesthetic only (you know just a little numbing medicine injected directly into your hard palate) thank you.  I wanted to remember nothing, so I went for the big guns...conscious sedation.  

Of course my nursey-nurse self, went to the consultation with a laundry list of questions including "what medicine do you use for conscious sedation?" and  "do you have a crash cart here/where is it?"  Man, nurses really do make the worst patients.  

If you don't want to read about a medical procedure (you must be chicken, it's not that bad) skip this next paragraph. 

So the way they do the procedure is that they take a graft from the roof of your mouth and use it to cover the area where the recession is happening.  For me, the recession was on two lower front teeth.  They stitch the graft into place and let the tissue heal and grow into the existing tissue.  For my graft site, they make a flap, take tissue from under the flap and then re attach the stitches there too.  

Hard to really take a photo of this but here you can see the stitches where the graft is in place: 
See those little black stitches? also: ignore the pig-nose-angle of the camera.
After being driven home after the surgery, I slept most of the day and evening.  I slept all last night and most of this morning too!  I am definitely sore, but the recovery is not as bad as I was expecting; at least so far.  I think I can attribute that to the percocet and great nursing care I am receiving form my wife.  

And who can complain when your diet is mainly these foods.  Especially after my typical Paleo diet lately.
Very non-paleo

:: Mother's Day

I hope all of my friend and family who are mom's had a great day on Sunday!  I got to celebrate on Saturday with my aunt Mary who was in CA for business and was able to spend a night in San Diego with us. 

Aunt Mary and me

I received some flowers from my wife animals as well.  Well technically the card stated that the flowers were from the dogs.  The flowers were Stargazer Lilies, which smell amazing but are poisonous to cats.  According to my wife the dogs did that on purpose.  Either way, they are pretty and smell great! 

:: The cutest little cactus.

I went to an small local art fair at a nursery near my house a few weeks ago.  It is the same art fair I have previously participated in by selling my handmade cards.  I went for birthday gifts for friends and family members who have birthdays coming up soon, and succeeded in finding some gifts. BUT! I had to have this tiny crocheted cactus for myself.  I have no idea why, but I fell in love with this little guy.  I brought him home and now he lives on my bathroom shelf where i can stare at him each and every day.   Check him out: 

:: Saving the best for last....I am no longer taking Diflucan! 

 After 4+ years of taking a crazy high dose every day to combat that pesky fungus, my blood work is showing no cryptococcus in my system!  yay!  It is really strange to not have meds to take everyday; I would always take me meds with dinner and it still feels like I am forgetting something around dinnertime each day.  I will be having lab work done on a few weeks to re-check and make sure I continue to be clear of fungus, but for now, I am celebrating.  

What's going on with you?  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter at the Beach

Well, it has been quite a while.....I have lots of blog post ideas but no time to write them!  I have been busy finishing up my master's program at school and I am almost finished with my clinical hours.  Soon I will be taking a couple big tests and looking for a job as an NP!  The end is in sight!

I took the day off on Easter and the wife and I decided to take the doggles to the beach.  It was a beautiful and clear day.  Elka is now 10 months old and she is so smart and sweet.  At one point she got distracted and lost where we were standing (we were watching her and saw she lost us) and we waited to see what she would do.  This little smarty pants went over to where we had set our bag and sat her butt down to keep looking!  So smart!  She kept looking around from that spot and we called her name and she came right over.

Here are the goods:

Nala left: Elka right

Kain front: Elka back

Bear and her frisbee

Close up of the Bean

Kain getting in the water!

Nala swimming, Elka running

Two Germans

Nala Bear
Happy Easter!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Whole 30 challenge

On December 31st, I was browsing around on facebook and noticed that my cousin Sarah, (yes the same cousin from this post!) and my aunt Katy, were talking about their prep for the whole30 challenge. I was intrigued, and asked some questions and was given the shopping list for the challenge.  I thought about it and talked to Noell and we decided to take on the challenge.  We decided to start on Jan 2nd so that we could prepare by shopping and prepping food on the 1st (plus we were on our way out the door to a NYE party and couldn't be bothered with small details like being prepared for this challenge).  

So for those of you who are curious, here's the whole foods for 30 days.  So really what does that mean you ask?  Let me use this picture to describe:

Quite a challenge for most people I would think, especially for me.  I love desserts, cheese, yogurt, bread, and my beloved diet soda.  All would be banished for this month.  I was really unsure of how this would work...

So Jan 1st we cleaned out our cupboards, fridge, and freezer of off-limit items.  We gave some things away, moved off-limit items to our garage freezer and moved allowed items to our regular refrigerator/freezer in the kitchen.  I went to Sprouts and bought a gigantic amount of fruits, veggies, and organic meats.  And we were off, diving into the whole30 challenge!

For me, it went really well.  I didn't really feel too many cravings, nor did I feel hungry throughout the month.  It was hard to give up the diet soda.  Whole30 allows for plain black coffee or tea without sweetener, so I basically substituted tea for soda.  After a couple of weeks people at work began to comment that I looked thinner.  That was nice to hear but I didn't really feel thinner (i.e. my clothes did really fit any differently).  But during the second 2 weeks, I noticed the change myself.  I felt that my clothes were fitting much better and some were becoming too big! 

Luckily for me, I am married to a great cook and she came up with some great meals that didn't feel like "diet" meals.  I took pictures of my dinners each night and posted them on instagram (I'm kainpunk if you want to follow me).  Here are a few of the dinners over the month:

Top row: Greek salad with grilled chicken, no feta, no pita; fried eggs and sausage.
2nd row: Cobb salad and chicken wings with whole30 buffalo sauce; left overs thrown into a bowl (chicken, beef, veggies, spaghetti squash), apple and almond butter; spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and turkey meatballs, salad.
3rd row: Curry soup and salad; tacos with lettuce as shell; artichokes, lettuce wraps, salad.
4th row: Grilled chicken, salad, and artichokes.

Noell made the whole30 mayo from the recipe in the book, and we used that as a base for sauces and dressings as needed.  I also used a lot of olive oil and lemon for dressings to my salads.  

So Jan 31st was the last day of the challenge, In total I lost 8 pounds!  That was surprising to me because it didn't really feel like I had lost that much weight.  I was expecting a few pounds at most.  

Noell has felt AMAZING throughout the month and plans to continue to eat like this indefinitely.  I felt good, but not amazing like she has experienced.  I did get better sleep, on some days I had more energy than average, but not everyday.  

I plan to keep the amount of "whole30 off limit" items to a low minimum but I do not plan to be so strict that I can never have cheese or dessert.  What I really liked about this challenge was that my awareness has increased significantly surrounding what ingredients are in food and therefore I am paying much more attention to what I am putting into my body.  

That's my whole30 story.