Friday, July 25, 2014

Cabinet Transformation Progress Update

If you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen progress pictures of our kitchen cabinet update. 
This is one pic I didn't share--- one side of my galley kitchen with no doors or drawer faces. 

People keep asking me: How do you like it? Is it hard work? Would you recommend it? 

We left for vacation at the half-finished point, but so far, I am very happy with the result. I hope to find some nice stainless hardware to add a modern touch. I think that will be the icing on the cake!

Yes, it is a lot of work! The most difficult step in my opinion is the "deglossing," (which is the first step of the process after you remove all hardware, doors and faces and clean them thoroughly). The deglossing takes the place of the stripping and/or sanding that you would do in a traditional cabinet refinishing. The deglossing solution is included in the kit (2 bottles in the 150 sq ft kit) along with several scrubby sponge things which you use to apply the deglosser. Just like sanding, you must degloss every area of every door, drawer face (front and back), and cabinet unit thoroughly. The most frustrating thing about this step is not knowing if the stuff is doing what it's supposed to. The directions state several times how critical the deglossing process is because the bond coat (step 2) will not adhere without proper deglossing. So I scrubbed and scrubbed! My wrists and arms and fingers were very sore after the first night (I am doing most of the work after the kids are in bed). It took four sessions of deglossing to finish all of my doors and drawer faces. The only difference I could see after applying (scrubbing the heck out of them!) the deglosser, rinsing well with a wet rag, then drying was a slightly dull appearance to my cabinets. This may be due to the nature of my cabinets: they are light in color and not high sheen or "glossy". Maybe if your cabinets are darker or more glossy you will be able to see the deglosser working better than I could. 

The work got easier physically from this point, but was still tedious. The bond coat applies simarly to any water based paint. Two coats are required on both the fronts and backs of each door and drawer face and cabinet unit. {Side note: The insides of the cabinets do not need to be done, and Rustoleum does not guarantee that there is enough product to do the insides.} The hardest part for me during this step was preventing running of the paint onto the backside of whichever side I was working on. The directions recommend elevating each door and drawer face with drywall screws in a 2x4, which was a strange idea in my opinion, so I didn't bother with elevating. Maybe it would have helped with the "running"... maybe not. Two coats looked great on my cabinets. Some reviews that I read said that two coats were not enough, but those were cases in which the cabinets were going from dark to light colors. 

The great part about step 3, the decorative glaze, is that you don't need to put it on the door backs or drawer face backs. I did one small drawer face back first, just for practice, then proceeded with the application process of brushing it on, then wiping with the provided gauze cloths. It was actually kind of fun! I was glad that I used the glaze after seeing it dry. It definitely allowed the wood grain to show through more. 

The top coat (step 4) was a little harder to figure out than the bond coat or decorative glaze. Thankfully, I did the backs first, so any major mistakes were learned from and will be hidden most of the time. I quickly realized that using too much top coat would cause little air bubbles. So I started using less and spreading it quickly, but firmly for a better result. My only goof-up with the top coat was that I forgot that you cannot brush back over it when tacky like you can with paint. I saw an imperfection on a door that I had finished about 30 minutes before; I took my brush and started swiping over the "imperfect" area, and ended up wiping of the top coat all together in that spot. I had to wait 24 hours, then totally re-do the top coat on that one. 

I am still only about half finished. I have to do the decorative glaze and top coat on all the wall units, and I still have to do steps 1-4 on all doors and drawers for the sink side. 

This is what my kitchen looks like right now:

I am SO ready to be finished, and it can't wait to share before and after pictures. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Last Week's (QUICK) Meals

I tried two new recipes last week, and they were both successes. I hope you get a chance to try them out. All of these meals were quick too!

This was AMAZING! And it was easy too. I grilled some garlic marinated chicken to go along with it; my sister made a salad, and we had hot bread with balsamic dipping oil. Sooo good! (So good that I forgot to take a picture.)  ;) Recipe here. Tip: to make this even faster, crisp and crumble the bacon beforehand.

Grilled salmon and veggies with leftover artichoke-dill-kalamata whole wheat pasta salad. 

Frozen bean burgers from Earthfare with Alexia sweet potato fries. 

Buffalo chicken lettuce (chard) wraps with homemade blue cheese dressing and celery & carrot sticks. 

Have you tried any new quick recipes lately?
Have you followed me on Pinterest yet? You can find most of my meal plan meals there.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Current Kiddie Eats at 4 1/2 and 2 {Munchkin Meals Link-up}

I have been terrible about taking pictures of my kids' meals this summer! It's probably due to the fact that we seem to always be in a hurry! After breakfast it's time to get dressed, brush teeth, make beds, and go to swim team or the gym, a play date, or the grocery store. After whichever morning activity we do that day, it's time to rush home for lunch or eat whatever I packed in lunch boxes (or occasionally get take-out). By the time dinnertime rolls around, I just totally forget to take pictures of the kids' plates!  I promise I've been feeding them, though! Check out Brittany's blog for some great ideas for feeding your kids. Thanks for hosting, Brittany!
munchkin meals

Since my kids are 4 1/2 (oh my gosh!) and 2, their foods do not change much from month to month like they did from 9 months to 2 years old, so many of these meals may be repeats. 

Typical breakfasts: 
Greek vanilla yogurt with coconut chia granola
Oat Revolution instant strawberry oatmeal
Mini cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter and bananas
Waffles (homemade or frozen multigrain) topped with vanilla Greek yogurt and fruit

Typical lunches:
Skippy natural peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread with carrots and hummus
"Turkey rolls" rolled up deli meat with cheese stick and Pirates Booty cheesey puffs, plus berries
Pulled roasted chicken and hummus on whole wheat wrap with pretzel or pita crisps
Black bean, spinach, and cheddar quesadillas on whole wheat tortillas

Typical dinners:

Stuffed shells

Grilled salmon and veggies with artichoke-kalamata-dill pasta
(This was actually my plate.)

BBQ chicken and sweet potatoes with green veggies

So that's really about it for my munchkins! I am blessed that overall they are good eaters. They do both have some quirky things that they refuse, for example, my son will not eat sweet potatoes in any form, and my daughter will not eat corn in any way!

I hope you all have a happy holiday weekend!

Do your kids have any foods that they absolutely refuse that you think they ought to like?
Have you "liked" Fruitful Family on Facebook?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Meal Plan Monday (6/30)

I know I don't always include recipes or links to the recipes, but you can find most all of my meal plan meals on my Pinterest boards. Just click the Pinterest botton on the side bar of my home page. If you are reading from a mobile device, click "view web version" to see the side bar.

White Chicken Chili

adapted from Betty Crocker

White Chicken Chili

1 quart organic low-sodium chicken broth
1 can butter beans
1 can great northern beans
1 can white shoepeg corn
1 lb. cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 small white onion finely chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dries oregano
1/4 tsp hot sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lime juice

For stovetop:
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large pot and cook the onions and garlic until soft.
Put remaining ingredients except chicken into the pot.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Stir in chicken.
Serve with shredded cheese, corn chips, fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes, etc.!

For slow-cooker:
Put all ingredients into the slow-cooker, and cook for desired amount of time.

Basic Quiche Recipe

8 eggs
1- 1 1/2 cups milk
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped*
2 cups shredded mozzarella*
Salt and pepper

Make the two crusts and press them into two pie plates. 

Whisk the eggs and milk with salt and pepper. 

Stir in the spinach. Pour egg-spinach mixture into the pie plates. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes. Let the top get nice and golden-brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting. 

*You can really do any cheese/veggie combo that appeals to your family. My favorite is blanched broccoli, sundried tomatoes, and 1 Tbsp of pesto.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Friday Favorites

Hey y'all! I have not done a Friday favorites post in a while. I thought I would catch you up on what's been going on lately. 

Last Friday, Ben took me out for our anniversary to a really nice local restaurant called Foothills Milling Company, then we went to the drive-in for a double feature. We saw How to Train Your Dragon II and The Fault in Our Stars. I do not know how we stayed awake, but somehow we managed to. I have not stayed up that late in years… It was nearly 3 AM by the time we got home and got to bed! It was definitely one of my most favorite dates ever! We tried to take a picture in the back of our minivan while we were watching the movie, but it was just too dark. But we did get some pictures of our awesome food! We shared the fried green tomatoes appetizer, and for entrĂ©es I had a smoked trout stuffed ravioli which was actually an appetizer, and Ben had the pulled pork and grits, which was a version of shrimp and grits served over polenta. For dessert, we had the buttermilk pie, and oh my goodness, it was so so good!

Our small group Bible study on Sunday mornings has been going really well. Ben has been teaching about the fruit that we produce in our lives when we are living in daily repentance. There is only one more week left of this particular study, and then we are going to move onto a marriage enrichment study. I am really looking forward to that!

Ben shared his testimony with the college students on Thursday night. He did such a great job telling about how God called him to salvation at college night at our church 12 years ago. Then he shared about how God has been working in his life more recently, teaching him about daily relying on Christ to shape and grow his heart and faith. He shared two passages: Psalm 139 which says "search my heart oh God…"; and in Matthew 22:37 Jesus says that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Ben's main point was that being saved is not the end of loving Jesus. We are incapable of loving the Lord with all our heart with all our soul and with all our strength all the time. We are supposed to ask God to reveal to us when we are not obeying that great command. But we have to ask Him often to reveal it. When we are just going through the motions of Christianity, e.g., going to church "most of the time," randomly reading the Bible and praying, without doing it out of a true and pure heart for spiritual growth, God knows. By His grace, he convicts us, but it is up to confess and repent (Psalm 139); then He will lead us in the way everlasting. 

It's Vacation Bible School week at our church. I've been on the worship team and have been teaching music to the Pre-K class. It has been a blast! We are having our celebration on Sunday afternoon when the kids will get to sing for the parents/families. We've had about 500 kids in attendance!

We don't have any firm plans for the weekend other than church activities on Sunday, and I'm glad. I am looking forward to resting up when the kids will let me. ;) That is, after my 10-mile run on Saturday morning.

Do you have VBS at your church? Do you volunteer for anything?

What are your plans for July 4th???