Busy, busy, busy

By Stephanie
   When ever I hear someone say, “I am so busy,” not always, but occasionally I would like to punch them. Sorry, I realize this is super Un-Christlike.  I have repented.   I don’t even have time to post my week.  Just know it is CRAZY busy.  I have no idea when I am going to get groceries and we have been out of bread and milk for two days. 
   Avery had more chemo last night.  She had lost 4 lbs in a week, (wish that were me.  But if it means stop eating and drinking, I don’t have the will power for that!)  And got an NG tube.  And threw up.  It’s been awesome.  But there are things to look forward to.  We have been invited to  Gala….this Saturday.  I am panicking just a bit.  Okay, a lot.  No time to shop either.  Or make a dress.  It will all work out….somehow.   


A Little Sparkle

By Stephanie

  When Amy was here we went to a store and I found the most amazing necklace.  It’s sparkly.  Super sparkly.  And it had iridescent colors of blues to browns.  As I was deciding whether to purchase the necklace, I asked Amy why I like shiny things so much.  She said because I have more of Hallie in me than I like to admit.  True.  And just trying taking Hallie to the jewelry section of any store.  You will never get out! 

  So I had to have a place to display my new find.  I whipped out the can of green spray paint, the knobs from the last jewelry holder (it wasn’t big enough).  And Voila! 

I realized I need more earrings!!  And that great new necklace is the one on the right.  Isn’t it fantastic?? 




Black Tie Dress Ideas

Chris is on the Make-A-Wish board here.  We are super excited to help facilitate wishes for other families.  But there are some pretty formal events.  I was getting ideas for dresses that are age appropriate while not looking matronly.  What do you think??

Black Tie Dress Ideas

Elie saab


Dolce Gabbana lace dress

Sophie theallet

Elie Saab evening dress

Elie Saab evening dress

Paule Ka evening dress

3 1 Phillip Lim peplum dress
$1,040 - farfetch.com

Rebecca taylor

Bridal gown
$895 - suzannah.com

Patrizia Pepe lace dress
$680 - psyche.co.uk

Eliza J maxi dress
$260 - houseoffraser.co.uk

Eliza J maxi dress
$260 - houseoffraser.co.uk

Red dress
$165 - q-pid.co.uk


Homemade Chalk Paint

By Stephanie

   So I have been so intrigued by chalk paint (NOT to be confused with chalk board paint) ever since I saw it on Miss Mustard Seed.  She also uses milk paint.  Amy (my sister) has used milk paint with great success.  I have a LOT of furniture painting projects and after the armoire, I was not looking forward to them.  I thought maybe if I had some chalk paint it would be easier.  With milk and chalk paint you are suppose to be able to paint on practically any surface without sanding or prepping.  That sounded awesome!  But there are some down sides to chalk paint.  First there is only one company that makes it.  Annie Sloan's is the manufacture.  Then they have people who sell it.  In Nevada that would be NO ONE!  So availability in my area…not so good.  Second, it has limited color selections.  If you look online some of the stockists have experimented with mixing colors.  So you can get more variety.  But not all can do that.  You can mix them yourself, but for the price, if you screw up, you are going to be very sorry.  And that last bit, the price, it kind of took my breath away.  About $40 for a quart.  Now understand, that chalk paint is suppose to go a long way.  With that can you can paint a LOT of furniture.  But you also have to seal it with a wax.  Again, Miss Mustard Seed's blog offered some options.  The one that I could buy without shipping was Briwax.


It was sold at my local TrueValue.  It was pricey.  About $20, but again it goes a LONG way.  I haven’t tried the other waxes she mentions and I used a rag.  Maybe if I paint some more, I will try buying the super expensive brush….or not.  But since I live where it is hot, I left the wax in the garage.  It was nice and soft.  You can put the can with the lid on in a sink of warm water if you live where it is colder (and yes, I am so sorry you live where it is colder, poor thing). 

Back to chalk paint…..

I saw online some recipes for homemade chalk paint.  After reading several blogs, I came up with this “Recipe”


Calcium Carbonate powder was the key.  It is a powder, and pretty cheap.  I think I paid like $8.00 for a bottle.  I couldn’t find it locally, so I bought it on the internet with free shipping of course.   Now each of the blogs differed in the amount of calcium carbonate.  Some said 1/4 up to 1/3.  You take the powder put it in a plastic sealable container (about quart size) and add in 1/4 to 1/3 of the powder (not of the bottle of the total you want to have at the end).  Add in water.  Just enough to make it wet and stir like crazy until there are no lumps.  You might need to add in more water.  But just add a bit at a time.  Then when you have it smooth, add in the flat paint.  Any brand, any color.  And believe me, it goes a long way.  I bought one of the tester paints at Home Depot and added it in for the girls dresser drawers.  I made enough paint to paint almost all of the wood furniture in the house!  SO NOT KIDDING!  So remember, unless you plan of painting most of your furniture with this, a little goes a long way.  And it dries out fast!  SO make sure the minute you are done put plastic wrap over the top and then a good lid.  It will keep for weeks (it might keep longer, but I only tested four weeks).  And it dries super fast.  I did two coats of paint.  You can do more or less depending on the look you want.  And make sure you do the wax in a well ventilated area.  You can get high off those fumes!  It does take 24 hours for the wax to set and then you go back with a rag and buff it.  So far so good.   It was a LOT easier and faster then having to sand and prep.  I am hooked.  I don’t know how it compares to the real stuff since I haven’t ever used it.  But I have a few (dozen) projects that I am ready to tackle now. 





I did also use it on the desk in Nathan's Room.  See here..






Feeling a little WICKED

By Stephanie

   My sister, Amy came down last Wednesday so we could take our girls to “Wicked”. 


Avery had her new chemo Wed. afternoon and her CBC (blood counts). I wouldn’t commit to taking her until the doctor gave the thumbs up (Nathan who was upset I didn’t get him a ticket in the first place, was praying she wouldn’t be able to go.  Thus he could have the ticket).  But at 3:00pm she got the green light from her doc.  So we raced home after her chemo, changed and ate in the car while my sister drove us to the Smith Center.

We loved every minute of it.  Even though I didn’t realize Avery has never seen “The Wizard of Oz” and had to explain some things to her. 

We got home pretty late, so I let Avery sleep in the next day.  But she at least went to school every day last week, even if it was only for the afternoon.  And she is eating, not as much as I would like, but she is eating.

I took this 10 minutes ago.  She was suppose to be laying down……and yes, she still needs a hair cut.  Maybe this week we can get to that.  While she still has hair.


While my sister was here we had a BLAST.  She is an interior designer so we went one morning to the World Market Center.  Holy cow.  Everything you never knew you wanted for your home. 

So now back to reality.  Clean the house, laundry (the never ending chore), and some projects.  Amy had some great ideas for my room, the little girls room and even Avery’s room.  Lots to do.  Lots to keep me busy!!

Hope you all have a fabulous week!  I get to end my with Time Out For Women in Las Vegas.  I got to go to the one in Seattle a few years ago.  It was AMAZING.  I am sure this one will be too.   


Bald is Beautiful

By Stephanie

 Avery has been loosing hair….lot of hair.  Yep, she probably will be bald before long.So my darling friend Kathy from Counting to Ten called me this morning. 

LOOK WHAT THEY HAVE!!!!  (This is from Mattel’s facebook page)

bald barbie

bald barbie princess

Hooray! Thanks to the efforts of a social media campaign  Mattel Inc. will introduce a bald Barbie next year! The friend of Barbie will have a bald head and come with accessories such as wigs, and head coverings.  Why the need for a bald Barbie?  To help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania {Beautiful & Bald Barbie}.

Mattel Inc. released this statement on their Facebook page:

Play is vital for children, especially during difficult times. We are pleased to share with our community that next year we will be producing a fashion doll, that will be a friend of Barbie, which will include wigs, hats, scarves and other fashion accessories to provide girls with a traditional fashion play experience. For those girls who choose, the wigs and head coverings can be interchanged or completely removed. We will work with our longstanding partner, the Children’s Hospital Association, to donate and distribute the dolls exclusively to children’s hospitals directly reaching girls who are most affected by hair loss. A limited number of dolls and monetary donations will also be made to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer and the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

We are happy that Mattel listened  and will create a doll that represents many children. We are also excited about the new True Hope dolls Bratz that will be released this June! We think many children will take comfort in these dolls, and we are glad that toy manufacturers are thinking of their biggest clients– children.  We cannot forget the work behind the group Beautiful and Bald Barbie, if the women behind this group did not start a campaign  we may have never seen these dolls– thank you.

true hope avery

(True Hope Avery Doll). 


And American Girl Dolls couldn’t be left out….

AG cancer doll

And for $44 you can send in your AG doll to have her head replaced with this one.  I’ll be honest, she isn’t the cutest.  But FINALLY.  Kids have cancer and other related illness, I love that they finally have dolls for the kids to play with that look like they do.  So the kids know it’s ok.  They are still beautiful. 


The Winds of Change

By Stephanie

  For those that know me, you know I rearrange the furniture ALOT.  I can’t buy new stuff, so I move around to make it feel different. 

  I had arranged the furniture in our new living room.  I thought it was okay.  Until my two sisters-in-law came over.  It didn’t work.  The chairs under the window were hard to get to and it felt squished. 


I even took out the coffee table…..Nope.  Still didn’t work.  And the rug.  I loved the rug but when I got it next to my blood red couch….it looked green.  This was not working. 


Now with $150 worth of slip covers (Overstocks.com), the coffee table my hubby made in high school, a painting my mom did while she was here (AMAZING, I know) it feels SO much better.  After seeing the pics, I KNOW I need curtains….they are coming.  And other stuff on the white walls.  But it honestly feels so relaxing.  I LOVE it!! (when it’s clean).


Under the coffee table I used boxes (that Avery’s TPN came in) and covered them in a tiny green striped fabric.  (Don’t ask for a tutorial, I honestly just used LOTS of glue from the glue gun).  The girls have LOTS of coloring stuff.  This hides it away!!  And yes, I know you can see the HUGE mess on the bar in the background.  Only one room can be clean at a time!



My mom’s gorgeous painting. 


Speaking of change, we are changing Avery’s chemo protocol.  We are going with a Vincrystine and Carboplatin mix.  This way she can’t throw up the drugs, they all go through her port.  It will mean that we have to be at the doctors about every Wed., but that is ok.  We have been there more than that lately anyway. 


Boys room

by Stephanie

So Avery and I had another few days in the hospital.  She got MORE red blood cells and an MRI.  But she was eating (not a ton, but she was eating).  And her energy levels were pretty good after getting the blood! 

   But I am SUPER happy to be sleeping in my own bed.  And the MRI shows her shunt is doing fine.  Her puking can’t be from that.  Not that I wanted it to be, but it’s frustrating not to have answers.  We are suppose to start chemo tomorrow (actually we were suppose to start Aug 22nd, but have been delayed).  We will see what the doc says.

So when we moved into this house I bribed the youngest two if they shared a room (the HUGE 22X11 foot room) that I would decorate that one first.  Nate was disappointed.  He wanted his room done first.  I did buy him a plat form bed with a queen bed.  And I did find some curtains.  So the first day of school, while I still had my mom to help, we got his room in order. 

   There are still a few things that he wants, but they can wait.  For now it looks pretty cool and he is thrilled his room is done first…ssshhh, don’t tell the girls!

Oh and it only cost me $55.  (not including his bed).  But that is because I had almost everything already. 

I did buy this dresser……at D.I…………..for $8!!  I know…….amazing deal. 

But it was PINK.  Even the drawers had pink paper liners.  Yuck. 


I know another crappy pic…..sorry. 

But I used some modge podge fabric I already had, chalk paint I made my self, wax to seal the paint and LOOK…..


Kind of cool!!  I even debated about changing the hardware, but with the white paint and silver fabric, they looked perfect.  Why spend more money?? 

P8279286-001  P8279289-001

Here is my breakdown: P8279283-001

Bedspread: Already had from my bed, along with the pillow shams I had made.  Curtains $16 from Ross, Dresser $8 from DI, Gallon of flat paint mis-tinted $7 from Home Depot, Calcium Carbonate (to make chalk paint) $4 online, Briwax $20 from Ace Hardware (Miss Mustard Seed has a friend who uses it.  It was local, so I gave it a try).

Not too bad.  And he was/is thrilled.