The Fogue Abode: 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What To Do When the 3 Day Potty Training Guide Doesn't Work

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Ever once and a while, I like to talk a little about parenting.  Especially the things I've stubbornly learned along the way.  It is, after all, my greatest DIY project to date.  I figured this conversation could either provide some insight to fellow moms coming along after me or a good laugh for those who've already paved the way.  If you follow along on Instagram, you noticed we tried our hand at potty training recently.  So here I am, ready to regale my tail of teaching a tiny human to urinate in a large white porcelain fixture.

The 3 Day Potty Training Guide by Lora Jenson became my instant go-to for potty training tips.  I read the guide and agreed with the process on most parts.  What boggled my mind was the fact that the child would be potty trained in 3 days. Three whole days!  I could do that, right?

There we were with a child who checked off Lora's only requirement to start potty training, not peeing during the night, and my last 3 day weekend before baby brother arrives.  I was bound and determined to get her potty trained and out of diapers in those 3 days and back to daycare come Tuesday morning in big girl panties.  The reality about children, however, is that they are not going to do anything you plan for them to do.

I purchased our supplies and we holed up in our bedrooms for those 3 days, the rooms without carpeting or rugs and closest to the bathroom.  I offered juice at every turn and reminded her to tell me when she needed to go potty with every breathe.  The guide ensures you that somewhere between day 2 and day 3 it will "just click." 

Well, the end of day 3 arrived and Aspen had just peed all over the floor for what seemed like the millionth time.  Mopping up the mess, I was at my wit's end.  Why did my child not get the concept?  She knew how to answer my questions but would not act on those answers.  I sat down in our living room with tears filling my eyes feeling defeated.  All of those old feelings rushed back from our other obstacles and failures.  I didn't know how to process this all or what to do next.  I became a ball of anxiety, an old friend I wasn't happy to see.  The guide said nothing about what to do when mom has to return to work.  Do I just let her pee all over the place? Go back to the forbidden pull ups? 

I turned to Google, searching "3-day potty training failures," "what to do past 3 days of potty training" and "how to potty train a toddler in daycare" for answers.  Not much popped up.  Just mom's relaying similar stories, being scrutinized by others it seemed.  So I did the only thing I knew to do, kept her in panties and continued to remind her.  I made sure our sitter was on board to continue the training.

Again, I really loved the aspect of the training guide.  That eventually the reminding them and the wetting themselves will click.  The timeline on the other hand, just wasn't what my strong willed child wanted to do.  For us and for many others, that "click" doesn't happen on the magical day 3 but more like day 4, 5, 6 or even later.  But it did eventually happen.  Just like magic on day 5, she stopped peeing on herself and started telling us when she wanted to go potty. 

So I am here to say that we survived this thing called potty training.  And I wanted to share that if you've decided to try this potty training route, don't give up or get discouraged when your kid doesn't pick it up so quick.  Remember that eventually, they will get it, but that eventually is in the hands of your toddler. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

It Is Well With My Soul - How To Create Hymn Art

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"The struggle is real." 

This sums up my life lately.  I've been a slacker in so many ways and it's time I picked my growing belly up off the floor and participate in this creative life again.  I kept waiting for my creative inspiration to hit and it just hasn't.  This is a funk I also fell into during my last pregnancy.  I get little burst of it here and there, much like a miss-firing lawn mower that loudly revs up and then fizzles out.  That has been the jest my life!

Then a few weeks ago, my mom hands me a blank canvas and an old hymnal and said "have at it."  That's what really jump started my engine again.  She loves classic hymns and wanted something lovely for her bathroom she is updating.  I love hand lettering you guys.  As much as I've talked about it, I figure you are all aware of that by now, so I had the idea to cover the canvas in hymns and letter one of my favorite lyrics on top of it.

What you need:
- Canvas
- Mod Podge
- Gesso
- Paint brush
- Old hymnal - found at a local yard sale
- Paint Pen

I started with a blank canvas and tore pages from the antique hymnal, careful with their worn and yellowed pages.  Reading through each of the songs brought back so many memories of my childhood.  It also made me sad for generations to come who will not appreciate these old pages.  Don't get me wrong, I love our modern worship but there's always something about a Baptist Hymnal that speaks to my soul.  We picked out a few of our favorite hymns like The Old Rugged Cross, I Surrender All, and There Is Power In The Blood to be the main pages and then made a lay of the land.  I first started with a base of torn and cut pieces of hymn.  I used the Mod Podge to glue them securely to the canvas, making sure to overlap the canvas to wrap around the edges.

Then, I took our 8 favorite hymns and layered them on top.  Again, I would brush on the Mod Podge to the back of the sheet and layered it onto the canvas.  Making sure to get them as smooth as possible.  Once the pages were all on the canvas and dry, I brushed a layer of Gesso on top.  This is a finishing sealant that many Bible journalist use.  I figured if it works well on the delicate pages of a bible, it should keep these old and brittle hymns safe.

Once that was all dry, I just had to figure out my wording and design.  I draw a lot of my hand lettering inspiration off of Instagram.  You can find a ton of feeds that are dedicated to hand lettering by searching with hash tags like #handlettering.   

This has got to be one of my all time favorite lyrics, it is well with my soul.  And what a great reminder that no matter the ups and downs in life, God's got this.  I hope that if you are dealing with the creative funk, that you can find some inspiration to bust out of it soon as well.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

When the Unexpected Happens

It's been a hot minute since my last post, and for that I am sorry!  I wanted to take the moment to explain my unexpected absence during a year I though I was finally getting the hang of this all.

You read that right!  We are expecting our little 2.0 to arrive in October and while we are all grinning as big as Aspen, it has really left mom feeling deflated.  Since this is my side gig that I tend to cram all my projects in during weeekends, it became the first thing to get the ax when I needed to rest.  So for that, I'm sorry I left you all hanging.

This year isn't quite what we planned it to look like, but I guess that's why one should never plan.  I can't wait to share this journey with you guys even more and we have a big guest bedroom/nursery project to attack.  But, just forgive me for the sporadic posts that will come through out the year.  I'm really hoping when I get the 2nd trimester energy back that I can tackle some more off my ol' to-do list.  Until then, we are all resting and loving on our only child for the next 6 months.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Painting Tips, Tricks & Lessons Learned

This post contains affiliated links.

It's been quiet and relaxing around the Abode the past couple of weekends.  I have this bad habit of burning myself out from doing too much.  Hence the lack of post lately.  It really is a nasty habit that I need to learn to control better.  My excitement just over energizes me and I'm totally a "need it now" type person. 

While I'm over here trying to find my inner zin, I figured I would grace you with my 5 painting tips I've learned along the way as well as a couple of my go to paint products that will totally change the way you paint. 

1. There's power in the angle!

My go to paint brush has always been the Purdy 2" Angle XL brush.  It's a quality brush that makes cutting in like slicing butter.  Thanks to this little wonder brush, I never use painters tape.

2. Put those plastic bags to use

I like to use plastic bags to cover my paint tray for a quick and easy clean up.  The bags help to remove the excess paint when loading your brush.  Then, once the project is done, roll it up and toss it in the trash.

3. Nail polish remover isn't just for your fingers

Because we don't have carpet, I hardly ever unroll the plastic tarps(unless I'm protecting some furniture.)  I'm usually pretty neat when painting, I'll use a trash bag to put the tray and paint can on, but other than that, I leave it bare floor.  If I ever do have an accident, I've found that simple fingernail polish remover easily removes the paint dribbles.  If they dry, you can usually just chip it away.

4. Always mix your paint by hand

I learned this lesson the hard way during my latest paint project.  I came straight home from the paint store and applied the first coat.  I did a quick stir between fill ups. When I started applying my second coat, I was in shock to see my walls were all different shades.  This caused me to painfully apply a 3rd and then a 4th coat of paint.  So, learn from my mistake, stir stir stir.

5. Samples are your friend

I don't mind spending $5 for a sample quart of paint for each of my room colors.  These are great if you ever have to make a quick touch up and they are small enough that I can store in a cabinet.  It's also an easy way for me to keep track with my paint colors as I'll note on the lid where each one is used. 

I hope these few tips help you out along your painting journeys.  Lastly, here are the only 4 items you will ever need to complete a successful paint job!  Trust me. 

No go forth, paint and be colorful my friend!

1. Purdy 2" Angle XL brush
2. Standard Nap Roller
3. Handy Paint Tray
4. Handy Paint Pail

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A House of Prayer

Yay!  March is here!  I'm possibly way to excited to be entering into the spring months.  Winter is my least favorite season.  So when I see the first signs of spring, I may uncontrollably do a happy dance. 

Speaking of March, my 2nd installment of Happy Email's went out this morning.  Have you subscribed to get my monthly newsletter?  If not, hit that Sign Me Up, Buttercup! button that pops up or send me an email.  I would love love love to include you in our Happy Emails.

Now that I've gotten a bit of house keeping out of the way, I wanted to share with you an experience I had this weekend.  Don't worry, it's totally home related.

Saturday, I was able to participate in a Prayer Mosaic that we held at my home church.  It was a beautiful morning of gathering with women and spending some time in the quiet solitude of prayer.  If you are a mom of a toddler, you know how difficult a quiet moment is.  So I was very thankful to be able to participate and spend some uninterrupted time with God.

One of the prayer stations, or my favorite station, dealt with our homes.  There was a blue print of a house drawn out on the floor (much like the one below) and we were able to walk through the home and pray over each specific room.

This is a great activity to carry over into our actual homes.  If you have a chance this week, take 5 minutes or so and walk through your house, praying over your entire home.  Here are just a few thoughts I had in each room.

  • Living Room - Family Unity, Teaching, Sabbath/Rest,  
  • Kitchen - Service, Nurturing my Family, Food/Things God Provides
  • Dining Room - Guests that grace our Home, Providing/Hosting
  • Office - Running of our Home, Finances
  • Bedroom - Relationships, Rest
  • Closet - Hidden Sins, Daily Quiet Time
I hope this exercise in prayer fills you with peace and reflectivity much like it left me.  I pray that God blesses you this week. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How I DIY with a Toddler

I often get asked the question, how do I get so many projects done with a toddler around?  This is a great question, and it's one I've not fully mastered.  Since Tuesday's post was all about Miss Aspen, let's just keep rolling and discuss how I DIY with a toddler.

Saturdays are my work days.  It's the one day a week I set aside to work on projects.  Being a working mom, it's often difficult to squeeze these Saturday tasks in.  Especially on the days where I just want to crash.  But here are just a few ways I am able to squeeze in some work time with a toddler around. 

Start with a Plan

The only way I can zip through my Saturday project is with a well thought out and organized plan.  I know exactly what I'm going to do, I know the supplies I will need and I know the plan of action.  Gathering all my supplies in my work place helps keep me in mommy's zone and out of Aspen's zone.  This usually prevents the "hold you" and "I wants" long enough for me to work.  I also attribute my successful DIY time to having a chill baby.  Aspen is great about playing or sitting and watching/talking to me. 

Centralize your Location

If I have a smaller project that is mobile, I usually barricade myself in our laundry room while Aspen plays in the family room, just like I did this past weekend while working on the time out chair.  This is the ideal spot as I can keep an eye on her while she plays.

Get them Involved

But sometimes, I have a more permanent fixture that requires attention, like when I white washed the fireplace.  I couldn't just scoot it over to my central work zone, and it was impossible to barricade off.  So I got Aspen involved.  She helped me take pictures while I worked.  I set up my camera and gave her the remote.  Aspen love's pushing buttons so it was a fun job for her.

Use those nap times as DIY time

Every afternoon after lunch, Aspen goes down for a nap.  If I can avoid getting all cuddled up with her, I can usually slip off for some DIY time alone.  This is ideal if I have a quick (and quiet) project.  Or if I'm working out in the garage on something larger.  I can just turn on our monitor and keep an eye on here while working.

Take advantage of a weekend with Grandma

And then, for those big, messy and time consuming projects like the weekend when I painted the master bedroom, I planned that around a weekend that Aspen spent at her grandparents. 

The key to successful DIYing with your tot, is all about planning.  And when our Saturday projects are done, we usually celebrate with a big ol' cup of ice cream. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

DIY Time Out Chair

It was just last month that we were celebrating Aspen's second birthday.  How can it be that we are already waist deep in the terrible two stage?

If you are a parent, you know how demanding this stage can be on a parent's patience.  I try very hard not to beg God for more patience in fear that this stage could get even worse.  But I do sit at night wondering what the best approach is to take with our unruly toddler.

Ok, ok.  I may be exaggerating just a bit on the unruly part.  She is great, and so much fun.  She is full of adventure.  I believe it is her sense of adventure that leads her to test my limits.  Wanting to know just how far she can push her parents.  Some evenings it is too much.  So, we sat down to devise a way to teach her right from wrong, a subject so many parents struggle with and each their own solution.

For our family, we decided to start with a time out.  When I came across this old worn out and paint splattered ladder-back chair in an old basement, I had not a clue how it would serve our family.  I brought it home anyways.  This weekend it hit me that we needed a spot to put our little timeoutee.  I gathered up my supplies and went to work on Aspen's time out chair.

After giving the chair a really good scrubbing, I grabbed a test can of Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black , flipped the chair over and began to paint just the legs on the underside. 

It's always wise, when painting a chair, to start with the underneath by flipping the chair over.  It becomes a hassle to get all the angles when it's right side up.

I chose to keep the seat the original color to give this chair a cute farmhouse look.  But I wanted to add in a little somethin-somethin for our time out chair.

I decided to give the ladder back's a spray with Rust-oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint.  Then, I took a chalkpaint pen and hand lettered "Aspen's Time Out ___ Mintues" on the back.  I wanted to help give Aspen a sense of time with her time out punishment, this way as she grows older we can up the amount of time.

As for right now, Aspen loves to draw on it with her chalk.  We shall see how the time out portion holds up. 

Do you have a sort of time out spot in your home?  I would love to hear feedback on how your children handle it. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

We Gave Our House A Bath - Spring Maintenance Tips Part 1

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February is always the month we set aside to tackle our outside maintenance projects.  We love to find a beautiful Saturday and here in the south, you're bound and determined to have at least one great weekend.  That day just happened to fall on Saturday, so we dropped everything to head outside and get to work cleaning up our house and lawn.
To be honest, the yearly house maintenance Saturday(s) isn't one of my favorites.  It's pretty grueling work, but totally worth it in the end to shake off those proverbial winter blues.  As a home owner, it's also a pretty vital chore to keep everything working and in good condition.

Here is a round up of what we tackled Saturday along with a printable check list to help you get your outside projects organized and checked off.  Unfortunately you get all the after shots, I'm gonna blame this one on my sweet ol' hubby for deleting the before/during pictures.

Power washed the siding
Our house is a magnet for algae/moss/mildew build up.  Especially around the bushes and hedges.  The first item we needed to check off on our spring cleaning list was to give our whole house a good scrubbing.  Or as I explained it to our handy helper Aspen, we gave the house a bath.

The best way to clean the green is to grab a scrub brush (one that you can hook a water hose to like this one) and a box of OxiClean.  The OxiClean is the key to making this chore basically effortless.  It also helps give life back to the color on our vinyl siding.  We also attacked the grungy looking doors and windows, making sure to remove the screening to give it all a good deep clean.

Once we gave the house a bath, we made sure to remove all the leaves from the eaves on our roof and the gutters and drainage system.  You missed a great shot of Chris braving the ladder, maybe that is why he dirty deleted...

Pruned bushes, hedges and trees
While Chris was bathing the house, I was busy giving it a hair cut.  Another February must for any home owner is to get those hedges, trees and bushes trimmed back.  This not only gives your landscaping a good clean/shaping, it also helps everything to grow and thrive during the  year.  My go too tools for our hedges are this trimmer and hedge shears

That checks off just a few big ticket items on our Spring Maintenance Checklist, check back next week as we finish off the remainder of the items.  Mainly the overgrowth of leaves we managed to ignore up until this point.

And if you are needing a checklist of your own, make sure to download this handy dandy printable I made for you guys.

{Download Spring Maintenance Checklist Here}

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2017 Design Trends

This post may contains sponsored information, meaning I received a small commission or free product.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Hey guys and gals.  Happy Valentine's Day!!

I hope you are getting ready for an evening with your special someone?  Or, maybe it's a romantic night home?  Whatever it is, I hope each and every one of you have a grand time.

Before the fun festivities, I wanted to talk about design trends I'm seeing for 2017.  This past weekend, I was able to attend our local Home Show and there was a lot going on!  Did you see us poking around on Instagram?  Just check out the Tub on Wheels...who doesn't need one of those!  #2017TrendAlert...I'm just kidding, but it did look like a fun time. 

Back to the subject at hand, here are five design trends I noticed while browsing through the Home Show.

Unique Lighting

Lighting is my jam and this year they didn't disappoint.  The lighting selections continue to be very industrialized as we have seen in years past.  But I noticed a variation in the metals being used.  Sconces seemed to be all the rage (loving!)  I think a few of these would make great bedside lamps.

Fun Sinks

There were a ton of fun and unique sinks at this year show.  I loved all the color and shape and materials.  I noticed several stone sinks which I thought were different.  See the two on the bottom of the first picture, how cool would those look in a bathroom?  And all the yummy copper below that!


Mosaic Tile

Last year I noticed the immergence of mosaic tiles.  These are certainly a trend that's here to stay for 2017.  Several of the flooring vendors had samples.  They make such a fun piece for smaller rooms like a powder room or laundry. 


Herringbone seemed to be the popular pattern for 2017.  It's not new to the scene, but it's one that will remain classic.  I feel in love with this cabinet.  I really wanted to sneak it in my purse, not that it would be obvious.

Hammered Copper

I noticed so much hammered copper at this years show, mainly in the form of sinks.  I'm loving this for a farmhouse look.  They even had a razorback sink for this Arkansas fan.  Man Cave project? 

One last little nugget, I also seemed to have been drawn to the cabinet selection stands.  I spent hours testing out the different cabinet options, like how to hide your knives and spoons bins.  Pure brilliance!

Which trend are you planning or wishing to use this year?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Fishing You A Happy Valentine's Day DIY for Kids

One of the joys of having children is taking opportunities to have fun and be creative with them.  My little one is enjoying her time in a local daycare these days.  That means mom gets to be crafty for her Valentine's Day Party at school.

I wanted to do something this year with Goldfish Crackers, since they are Aspen's favorite.  Most of the time when I'm figuring out small gifts for kids, I always refer back to Aspen's favorite items.  After that, it's just coming up with a fun card to accompany said product.   The real trick to this year's valentine is keeping the "fishies" away from your tot until party day. 

Here is a fun and easy tutorial on creating your very own Fishy Valentine.

To create this look:
  • purchase individual Goldfish Crackers 
  • print out free printables 
  • cut out each card
  • attach to Goldfish package
 ....the end....

Happy Valentine's Day Aboders!

Download Free Printable Here

Monday, February 6, 2017

Master Not-So-Much-Of-A Disaster

This post contains sponsored information, meaning I received a small commission or free product.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Prioritizing home renovation projects, no mater how big or little, can be a daunting task.  Especially when your budget doesn't match your Pinterest boards. 

So is the case of our master bedroom.  Last year, I shared with you the current state of our master when we revealed it during our home tour.  This past weekend, I completed phase one of our master upgrade.

It really is amazing what a coat of paint and some new bedding will do to a room.  While I'm still waiting to get the details (and funds) of this room exactly how I envision a master retreat should look, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to try out some style trends that I'm currently loving.

As much as I've talked about it lately, no one should be surprised that I chose a greige for the wall color.  I fell in love with SW's color of the year Poised Taupe, but felt it would be too dark for our room which had a limited natural light source.  I ended up going with a lighter shade of greige with Valspar's Packed Sand.  It really pops against the white trim, curtains and bedding, yet gives it a light and airy feel. 

Speaking of trim and curtains.  There's another inexpensive idea to updating a room's look.  We traded in the maroon curtains for this classic white.  I also got to go all granny chic with this cottage inspired floral bedding. 

We did a little adjusting to the layout of the room shifting the bed slightly to the left to accompany for a small sitting area.  I left the walls bare to give this new arrangement a good test try.

What do you think of these minor improvements to our master retreat? 

If you have layout or design issues of your own and will be in the Little Rock area this weekend, February 11-12, make sure to stop by the Little Rock Home Show going on at Verizon Arena.  I'll be there as well to take advantage of the Ask the Designer Booth sponsored by my favorite local magazine At Home.  There you will be able to get free advice on just about any design dilemma, paint selection and even furniture placement.  Plus a whole arena full of other home related booths.