Country Living...Island Dreaming

September 30, 2013

Furniture Painting Advice Needed!

Calling all furniture painting experts!
Yes, you know who you are...
the ones who manage to transform a piece of furniture
 practically instantaneously all while making it look easy - and even pleasurable.

Well, let me start out by saying
that I am not that person.
The thoughts of repainting furniture
terrifies me.

Sure, I have done it once or twice
but a third time?
Can I really do it?

Let me explain my dilemma...

Lets' just say a "certain person" decided to buy a bookcase unit for her office.  She scoured the internet for the best price and then one day while visiting a friend, she discovered that friend had the exact same bookcase the "certain person" was looking at online...and had purchased it at a local furniture store for a better price.  Well, the "certain person" was thrilled to be able to see the unit in person before ordering it.  Her friend did point out that the bookcases were not pure white but the "certain person" could barely tell and knew that these shelves would be perfect for her office.  So days later, the bookcases were on order and the office plan was falling into place.

Then the other day, the bookcases arrived.  The center shelves were so huge that the delivery guys needed to remove the bathroom door across the hall AND the pantry doors diagonal to that, just so they could maneuver the unit into the office.  After some struggles, an almost knocked out hall light and some attempts by a golden retriever to be the center of attention, the bookshelves were now standing in the office!

they were definitely more cream than white and looked horrible against the bone white walls!  What a nightmare!  I, (yes, "surprise!" I am that "certain person") wasn't about to have those guys take them back after the fiasco of wedging those things into my house, plus I didn't want to have to pay a restocking fee for returning the ridiculous things AND I wasn't even sure if I hated them or if I was having a major attack of buyers remorse/panic!  I do love the size and they seem to be pretty good quality so my next idea is to paint them the exact color that I want...which is white...just plain bright white to match the trim in my room.

So here is where you come in... you painting experts out there!

Can I paint new off white wood furniture without having to sand it first?  Because let me tell you, these things are not moving out to the garage to be painted.  In fact, these things aren't moving anywhere.  If we ever sell this house, they are staying with it.  And since my office was just recently painted and had fresh, new hardwood floors installed, I am NOT blanketing the room with sanding dust!

I have done a little research and apparently there are some ways to approach this.  

My question to you is:

Can I make this turn out professional looking...
without sanding,
just using a water based primer (I can't deal with oil)
and just painting with
latex paint (preferably no VOC)?

I should also mention that these shelves are slightly distressed, as you might have noticed in the picture (if that helps any)...but I don't know if I want a real distressed look in the end.  

Please tell me it is not impossible because my heart would just be broken if I wrecked these new shelves!

Thanks for the advice!


September 27, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Another week comes to an end.

And this week, the letter for my GMO-free A to Z journey 

is "P"...

"P" for Pacific Foods.

Pacific makes a whole variety of
soups, broths, sauces, non-dairy drinks and various packaged meals.

I tried their almond "milk".

Every now and then I like to think that I can become a vegan so for a couple of days I stay completely away from animal products.  This week I attempted this new vegan lifestyle again by swapping the milk in my oatmeal to an almond beverage.  It was a surprisingly easy switch and I liked the vanilla flavoring in this one.  I don't know how long I will stay on this vegan kick but it always makes me feel healthier - even if I only stick with it for a short time.  It's nice to know there are GMO free options out there when I get in this mood.

Once again, I am not being compensated in any way to feature these products.  I am just trying to highlight brands I have tried so you can all be aware of the healthier choices out there!

If you would like to check out previous posts
in my GMO-free A to Z journey,
click on each letter below.


What do you put in your cereal/oatmeal?

September 26, 2013

Rosie and Nemo

I am wrapping up my crazy week of school event planning.

But I am not the only one who is busy around here...

Apparently Nemo has been found!

I think someone around here is looking for my attention!
C'mon, chase me Mom!

I guess finding a lost fish can be an exhausting job!
Ahhh the life of a spoiled golden retriever!

Have a great day everyone 
and I hope you find everything you are looking for!

I will be back tomorrow with the Friday Food Focus.

September 20, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Whew, what a week!  
As I mentioned before, I am working on a school event
that has taken most of my time.
The project is going well but I end up neglecting other things.

Like my kids.

Well, not really but this morning I felt like a neglectful mother.

Today is "picture day" and my 7 year old is dressed in a navy polo shirt.  Just as my husband was rushing him off to the bus stop I said, "Wait! I think he has toothpaste on his shirt!"  I quickly tried to wipe it off and my husband goes, "I'll take care of it",  as he escorted him out the door.  I forgot about it until my husband returned inside.  "You know, I think that was actually paint.", he says in an unconcerned voice.  What?!!  Oh that's just great on picture day!  I can't wait to see this picture!

Anyway, just a little craziness around here!
Let's move on to my GMO free A to Z list!

Today we are focusing on the letter "O"!

"O" for oatmeal...
"O" for organic...

"O" for 
Old Wessex breakfast cereals!

I recently switched to this brand of oatmeal when I started paying more attention to organic foods.  I frequently eat oatmeal for breakfast, especially on these chilly mornings when you almost need something warm in the morning.  I like to mix in organic raisins and cinnamon with a splash of milk.  Great way to start the day!

Once again, I am not being compensated in any way to feature these products.  I am just trying to highlight brands I have tried so you can all be aware of the healthier choices out there!

If you would like to check out previous posts
in my GMO-free A to Z journey,
click on each letter below.


Well, back to my projects!
Have a great weekend everyone!


September 18, 2013

Halloween Costume for Adults

Looking for an adult Halloween costume that isn't too "adult"?  (You know what I mean). Yeah, you've seen some of those inappropriate costumes in the party stores...

How about dressing in an outfit from your favorite decade?

Guess which decade I liked best...

DIY 80's Halloween Costume - Why buy one in a store when it's so much fun to make your own?!!

This awesome look can be achieved easily with a trip to Mandee for the clothes, a dance shop for leg warmers, Five Below for the sunglasses and a stop at Walmart for the cheap jewelry.

Actually, I wore this rad ensemble last year for a school party.  Each year I co-chair an annual event at my kids' school and that year we went with the 80's theme!  I think the adults enjoyed it more than the children but it was really like totally fun for everyone!

(Right now I am a bit delirious planning this year's event or else I don't know if I would ever share such a silly picture with the world!)

In addition to the totally tubular attire, we also made some "centerpieces" for the tables.  We had like totally no budget to buy things so we had to be creative.
DIY Rubik's Cube decorations
A dollar store donated square boxes and we painted them black.  Then we cut out different colored paper squares and glued them to the outside.  Who didn't own a Rubik's Cube in the 80's?  I could never figure out how to solve it though.  I was always fascinated by those geniuses who could twist it around a few times and be done.  I think it was actually some kind of optical allusion or magic trick because I could play with that thing for hours and never get those colors aligned.    I was like so bummed that I couldn't get it!  Just not my thing I guess...

Anyway, our budget did allow for a DJ and he had those kids rocking to some gnarly tunes and even taught them the Electric Slide.  But it was the parents that enjoyed it to the max!

Anyway, I hope I gave you a fun idea for a Halloween costume (or even a party).  You don't want one of those icky store bought costumes anyway.  I mean, really - gag me with a spoon!  Fer sure!

Do you dress up for Halloween?
Could you ever solve the Rubik's Cube?

(To my co-chair who might be reading this...aren't you glad I cut you out of the picture?!  I am sure you would kill me!)

Back to working on this year's party....

Linking to:


September 14, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Each week I like to travel down the alphabet
focusing on GMO-free foods.  
This week I am highlighting the letter "N"...

With the kids back in school,
I have managed to find a few free minutes to enjoy my tea in peace!

I have recently come across Numi Organic Tea
and it has since become a part of my morning routine.
Their teas are organic, Non-GMO and Fair Trade Certified.
Check out their website to read more about this impressive company.

Numi Organic Tea comes in a wide variety of flavors.  So far I have just tried the the black teas mainly since I have to now wake up at the crack of dawn to get these kids on that bus!  I need that jolt of caffeine in the morning to get me going and since I am not a coffee drinker, tea has to work for me!

But wait...
the letter "N" is not finished yet!

Of course I have to keep the kids happy too...
We are huge fans of Nature's Path in this house!
 My kids love their delicious cereals as well as the yummy snack bars.  All their products are USDA Certified Organic and are Non-GMO Project verified!  My kind of company!

The boys love bringing the rice bars to school for snack time and we have tried many of their cereals - for snacks and for breakfast.  Check out their website for all the products they carry.

Once again, I am not being compensated in any way to feature these products.  I am just trying to highlight brands I have tried so you can all be aware of the healthier choices out there!

If you would like to check out previous posts
in my GMO-free A to Z journey,
click on each letter below.


Have a great weekend!
We are finally getting some refreshingly cool weather here.

Have you tried any organic/GMO free foods lately?

September 12, 2013

Oh Seaside...

I am so sad watching the news unfold
as our Seaside Boardwalk
takes another hit.

First Hurricane Sandy destroyed most of the boardwalk
but most of it was rebuilt over this past year.

Now this section of the boardwalk is on fire.

Please pray for the safety of everyone involved!

Are you seeing this on the news where you live?


Cleaning to Stay Focused

The kids are back to school
and I am in full swing planning and orchestrating
an event that I co-chair at school each year.

I have been going non-stop and everything has been running along smoothly.  But after pulling all the supplies out of my basement for the event and filling the dining room with all the paraphernalia, I started to feel overwhelmed.  I think having the clutter around had started to drive me insane.  But really there is nothing I can do about it until the event is all over.

So what makes me feel better when I have all this clutter around?

Cleaning anything.

So while I was in the middle of sorting the supplies, I snagged my nail and used that as an excuse to break away from the disheveled dining room to search for a nail file.  Suddenly, I noticed my glass hurricanes in my master bathroom looked a little dingy.

The next thing I knew,
I had poured out the shells and candles and started scrubbing away.
I would have shown you a real "before" picture instead of just a "during" but I was in a polishing frenzy and wasn't thinking about a photo op at the time!  (The one on the left was already done by this point.)

As the glass started to shine, I started to feel like I accomplished something.

And when I put them back, I felt a little more relaxed.

Except when I decided
that maybe I need to rearrange some accessories
for more of a focal point in there...ugh...

Maybe I will get to that another day...

At least cleaning somehow helped me focus again...
And enabled me to feel refreshed 
and able to tackle my projects.

Plus the little diversion allowed me
to escape the chaotic mess in the dining room
for a little while too!

Do you clean to stay focused?

Linking to:

September 9, 2013


Today (finally) was the first day of school for my kids!

Can you believe how late they went back this year?
It's usually the day or two after Labor Day but not this year...

That extra week was wonderful in so many ways, and torture in so many other ways.  You moms all know what I mean!  We have been going non-stop for so long.  I felt like I couldn't sit still right up until the minute my boys climbed those stairs onto the bus.

But now...


I can hear every bird, every car that drives by.  My windows are all open and I can even here the breeze blowing through the trees every now and then.  It's so strange to have this stillness.  Sure, I ran around doing my usual morning cleaning, laundry, etc as soon as the kids left.  But now, it is just SO quiet!

Even Rosie has taken this time to relax....
I found her dozing in the front of the house.
I am not thrilled that she is laying in the mulch but oh well.  

She does look happy doesn't she?

I can't decide if I am happy or sad.  I kind of miss all the craziness.  Well, maybe not too much.  I sure am enjoying this peaceful few minutes of drinking my tea and sitting on the computer in silence!  I do have to leave in a few minutes to meet with some people regarding the annual school event I co-chair each year.  Let the craziness begin again!

At least I am enjoying these few minutes of quiet time....

How is your Monday going so far?


September 7, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Where did this week go?

Did I miss Friday?...oops!

For my quest to go GMO free from A to Z,
this week we are focusing on the letter "M"!

In my travels up and down the organic aisles,
I have recently come across Muir Glen.

Muir Glen makes tomato sauces and other tomato products.  
So far I have tried their tomato paste.  

Not only is the tomato paste organic and GMO free but
Muir Glen does not use BPA liners in their cans!
Do you know how hard it is to find tomato products that don't use BPA?
This makes me happy!

Anyway, I tried the tomato paste when we made sloppy joes the other night and it had a great tomato taste.  I'll use this brand from now on for tomato paste and plan to try some of their other tomato products too.

Once again - I am not being compensated in any way to mention this product.  I am just trying to promote the Non-GMO foods that I have tried.

If you would like to check out previous posts
in my GMO-free A to Z journey,
click on each letter below.


Have you tried any new GMO free foods lately?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


September 4, 2013

Four Mantels for Fall

With the calendar flipped over to September,
I suddenly feel the urge to update my mantel for fall!

Although I have no idea
what I am doing with my mantel this year,
I thought I would recap some fall mantels from previous years...

Fall Mantel Ideas

2012 Design
2011 Design #1
(There were three attempts that year)
2011 Design #2
Fall Mantel Decor

2011 Design #3
(This one was the winner for 2011)
Orange end Black Fall Mantel
(full post on last 2 here)

Now I just need to come up with something for this year...

Have you started your fall decorating yet?

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