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Tuesday, January 31

HOMEMADE COUGH SYRUP

Ever since I got back from Austin, my sinuses have been awful. Then recently, I came down with a cough as well. Lying down made it significantly worse and the nights became unbearable due to the lack of sleep.  

Last night, while researching online, I came across this homemade cough remedy.  When I first glanced at the ingredients, I was very skeptical about how effective it'd really be. Plus, the mix did not seem appetizing at all.  But what medicine is, right?

Since I already had all the ingredients at home, and I was desperate for some relief, I decided to give it a try.  


Guess what? It wasn't bad at all! It was very soothing and immediately relieved the itchiness in my throat. It also tasted a lot better than over-the-counter cough syrups. I took 2 teaspoons of it right before bed and actually slept through the night.  


I altered the recipe a little to make it thicker so that the mixture would coat my throat. Here's my version if you'd like to give it a try too:

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 T honey

* This will not cure your cough, but it will help soothe and temporary relieve your cough attacks.

Let me know if this works for you! :)

Monday, January 30

DIY LINEN WREATH

Before I get to how I made this wreath, here's the back-story...


When we first moved into our house, the previous owners had left behind three pairs of khaki linen curtains in the family room. Although we didn't end up using them, they were still in great condition and I decided to challenge myself and see how many projects I could get out of it. So far, I've used it to make a few items:


My husband's old batty Office Depot chair use to look similar to the one below on the left.   Here's the "after" on the right.  Definitely not the fanciest makeover... but it was the first time I've ever reupholstered anything.  






Here were some simple curtains that I made for our laundry room:


Then a few months ago, I found another great use for those linen curtains when I came across all the adorable fall burlap wreaths that were popping up on Pinterest. I liked this one in particular by Jones Design Company:





Which is how I ended up making this:



Materials:

Styrofoam wreath
scissors
linen fabric
elastic
straight pins
hot glue gun & glue sticks
ribbon

Directions:

I started out by cutting a strip of fabric to wrap up my wreath.  



Next, I cut 2 more strips of fabric about 10 inches wide and folded them in half with the inside facing out.  I used straight pins to keep my fabric in place, sewed straight down with a half inch seam and then flipped the fabrics right side out to hide the seam.       


I tied one end of a long stick (chopsticks, pencil, wooden dowel, etc.) with the elastic strip.  I carefully slid the stick through the fabric and pulled it out on the other end and tied the elastic together. (Depending on how large and how ruffled you want your wreath to look will determine where you tie your elastic together.  The shorter you tie it, the smaller and more scrunched up the fabric will be to create more ruffles.)  I repeated the same steps with the other strip of fabric.  

*For my particular project, I made one strip larger and the other slightly smaller.


Finally,  hot glue your two "ruffled" strips on to the wreath, starting with the outer layer first.  




I hung it by tying it at the top with a ribbon of my choice! :)

Sunday, January 29

LIVING IN OUR HUMAN SPIRIT

1 Cor. 6:17 He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.
John 14:20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
Phil. 1:19 For I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

I really enjoyed this week that the most crucial part of our being is our human spirit; created by God to contact Him and receive Him. As the Spirit, He entered into us when we first believed into Him and regenerated our deadened spirit (due to the fall). This regenerating Spirit remained in our regenerated spirit and is now one spirit with us.  

It is not enough to just know that we've been forgiven and saved from eternal perdition or to be holy, victorious and overcome sin. God's goal is that we experience full salvation by allowing Christ as the life-giving Spirit to fill us and spread into our entire being (especially in our soul - our mind, emotion, and will) so that God would be expressed through us in our everyday decisions and actions.  

Everything that God is, is in this all-inclusive Spirit (which is why Philippians speaks of the bountiful supply of the Spirit). May we be ones who live in our spirit and pay attention to our spirit where the Lord dwells.

* * * * * * * *

I'd also like to send a huge thanks to Kate @ Centsationalgirl.com for featuring my IKEA hack in her Best of the Blogosphere series today! It was such an honor to be picked amongst such talented bloggers!



I will be back tomorrow with another fun DIY!  :)  

Saturday, January 28

THE LOVE OF GOD


Here's a sweet song that E and I have been enjoying tonight:

Once I thought the love of God was just for you and me.
Once I thought we were the only ones.
Now I know God's love can find all those from sea to sea;
And when it finds them, they become His sons.
God's love is warmer than the warmest sunshine,
Softer than a sigh.
God's love is deeper than the deepest ocean,
Wider than the sky.
God's love is brighter than the brightest star
That shines every night above;
And there is nothing in this world
That can ever change His love.

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/c/53#ixzz1koCfTJnT

Hope you're all having a great weekend! :)

Thursday, January 26

DIY CHERRY BLOSSOM CANVASES

Even though it's only been two years, the wall above the couches in our family room has already undergone a few changes.  Like our formal dining room wall, it's a rather large space and I had been trying to find a budget friendly way to fill it. Random pieces of art just didn't feel right and didn't have much meaning, so I decided to create my own canvases.  With two blank canvases, some acrylic paint, and painters tape, my first attempt looked like this:


They didn't quite come out like I wanted to, but they hung on that wall for a few months.  Then one night as I was browsing online, I found this:


I really liked the idea and decided to make the pair myself. Here's how mine turned out:


(A few months later, I found an Ethan Allen ottoman on Craigslist for $25 and reupholstered it myself with a fabric that would compliment the canvases.)




Here's how you can make the canvases too! :)


Materials:  

2 -  20" x 20" blank canvas
ConTact paper (self-adhesive vinyl; cheapest found at Walmart with the shelf liners)
folk art acrylic paint in lemon custard
folk art acrylic paint in metallic rose
apple barrel acrylic paint in burnt umber
apple barrel acrylic paint in pewter grey 
americana acrylic paint in snow (titanium) white
small paint brush
sponge roller
exacto blade or craft knife

Directions:

Using the sponge roller, evenly apply 2-3 layers of the lemon custard on the canvases.

While the canvases dry, sketch a picture of the cherry blossoms on the back of the ConTact paper. Cut out the sketch with an exacto blade or craft knife. What is left of the ConTact paper (not the cut-out) will serve as your stencil.  


Next, peel off the backing of your stencil and carefully place the sticky side onto the dry canvas. Make sure you smooth out all the edges that will be met by paint before painting. This will help prevent paint seeping into unwanted areas and produce a clean finish. When you are ready, paint in all the empty areas with the desired colors. When you are done, carefully pull off the ConTact "stencil."


Wipe off any extra paint and reapply your stencil to the second canvas and repeat.  


*You can frame the canvas or paint in your own like I  *did by mixing the pewter grey with the snow (titanium) white for a metallic finish.  

  
* * * * * * *

Also, yesterday DIYShowOff featured a makeover I did last week!  Click on the button below to take a peek.  Thanks so much for the feature, Roeshel!


The DIY Show Off

Tuesday, January 24

WORLD MARKET FINDS

E & I set off this morning to use our free 5 lb. document shredding coupon at Office Depot.  Unfortunately, I got the stores mixed up and ended up at Office Max instead.  I was not terribly disappointed though... for you see, next door was the wonderful World Market :D.  With E strapped on in my Ergo, we took a quick stroll around the store.  

Upon entering, we got to sample some peppermint hot chocolate tea.  I was hesitant to try it at first, but it turned out to be ok.  E LOVED it... yes, I let my one year old drink tea. sometimes. herbal tea.  sometimes...  o.O  


We found some interesting items... bacon syrup (seems like something chef Michael Symon would like)
                    

unfortunately, not big enough for me... ;)


 I'd love to have a stash of these Nutella Minis in my bag :D...



 I'd love to try...


A friend of ours picked these up in Germany for us... nice to know we can find them here too :)

We actually made it out of the store without purchasing a single thing! My wallet was very happy  :D  And yes, we did eventually make our way to Office Depot.  Here's the printable coupon, in case, anyone needs to do some shredding.  It expires on the 28th.  

Back tomorrow with another fun little DIY! :)

DIY PAINT STICKS SIGN

So funny story, this project was not my original intention when I first started. I had initially gathered all my supplies to create this sunburst mirror that I had been eyeing for a while on Pinterest.  The huge wall in our formal dining room had been empty for more than a year and needed something to fill it.  This DIY seemed pretty cool and would be large enough to fill that space.


Unfortunately, after many hours of painting and gluing the pieces together, when I finally completed it, I was not at all happy with the way it looked.  I felt like I was in an Aztec temple... o.O Perhaps it was the paint color or the type of sticks I had... Whatever it was, it just wasn't working for me.    


Sad that I had put so much time and effort into it, I decided to break the whole thing down and use the sticks to make something else. Here's what I ended up with:




For some reason, the green appears neon in the picture, but it really looks a lot better in person.  (I need to work on my photography skills o.O)  Right now, it is happily sitting on our mantle in our family room.  P.S. I love this song by Howard Higashi!

Here's how you can create this yourself:

Materials:  
valspar 12 oz. brown velvet satin premium spray paint
30 wooden paint stir sticks (you can get these for free if you ask around some paint stores)
4 craft mirrors
1 decocolor acrylic paint marker in light green
hot glue gun + sticks
newspapers

Directions:
First, lay two paint sticks side by side (forming a horizontal line).  Glue 21 sticks across the top (lying vertically) with the glue gun.  Trim off any excess wood with scissors.  Gently flip the whole thing over and glue two more sticks across the bottom over the 21 sticks.  For extra reinforcement, you may glue on additional sticks to the back. 

Next, glue on the craft mirrors at each corner.  Once the whole piece has dried, place it over some newspapers.  Spray paint the entire piece in brown velvet.  Let it dry for half an hour.  Lastly, pick the quote of your choice and write it on with the acrylic marker.  

Monday, January 23

EGG DROP SOUP WITH CORN

I tend to get discouraged from cooking when too much is involved.... too much time, too many ingredients, too many pots and pans that I'll have to wash afterwards, and too much money. Before E was born, I had a lot more time and motivation to whip up fancy meals.  However, these days, quick, easy, and healthy are the only things on my mind.  Here's a yummy soup that I make often for those nights when I just need a break! By using cream style corn, I was able to get the gooey effect without having to add the cornstarch mixture at the end.  

*I made this last night and served it with some fried rice (I'll post my recipe for that at a later date).


Ingredients: 
1 14 3/4 oz. can of Sweet Corn Cream Style (I used Del Monte's)
2 C of chicken broth
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
Salt & White pepper
Scallions (sliced thin)

Directions:  
Combine chicken broth and corn in a small pot over medium high.  Once they come to a rolling boil, remove from heat and drizzle the eggs into the pot by pouring it slowly through the tines of a fork about 5 inches above the pot.  Gently stir the soup in one direction.  The eggs should appear like silky threads in the soup.  Season with salt and white pepper for desired taste.  Garnish with scallions and enjoy!  

*yes, I know that my picture is missing some scallions... 

Saturday, January 21

THE LEADING OF THE SPIRIT

"The leading of the Spirit does not derive from nor depend upon outward things.  The leading of the Spirit is an issue of the inner life.  I would say that it comes from the sense of life, from the consciousness of the divine life within us...There is an inward sense which comes from setting the mind upon the spirit.  If our mind is set upon our spirit, we are immediately strengthened and satisfied inwardly.  We also are watered and refreshed.  By that sense and consciousness we can know the life within us, and by this sense of life we can know that we are walking rightly.  If other words, we know that we are under the leading of the Spirit."  

(LS of Romans, Msg 18, p. 220)

Friday, January 20

IKEA LATT MAKEOVER

A few months ago, I was searching for a small table set for E to use.  I was weighing my options of either buying a complete set or buying the pieces separately.  I didn't mind having to paint the items myself if it meant the pieces would be cheaper.  IKEA has always been my go-to place for modern yet affordable items.  Here were the cheapest options:


The LATT set was the winner.  (Did I mention that the table top was completely wipeable too?  Love that.)  So later that week, I headed over to IKEA and made my usual stop at the clearance section first...and what did I see??!  Yep, that same set for just $15!  Since it was originally used as the floor display, it wasn't in the best condition.  The wood was chipped in many areas and the table top had a few scratches.  However, it was still sturdy and had no major defects.  I was an extremely happy mommy pushing it to the checkout lane :D.  Here's what it looked like when I brought it home:


Sadly, it took me a whole month before I finally got to working on it.  Finding time to work on projects is super hard when you have a very needy toddler o.O  After a month of looking at it in its horrible state I was determined to start; I took the opportunity during one of his naps!  Here's how it went...

For my project, the materials I used were (most were found at Lowe's):
  • 3M sanding sponge (medium)
  • Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer/sealer (I used this because I already had it, however, next time I would choose regular primer paint instead of spray paint to avoid the splotches.)
  • Olympic 8 oz. sample interior ultra white
  • Miniwax 64444 semi gloss polycrylic protective finishes, 1/2 pint  
  • 2 paintbrushes + 2 plastic trays
  • drop cloth
  • dust protection mask
  • about a yard of fabric (preferably outdoor fabric for easy cleaning)
  • 10 round craft mirrors (can be found at Michaels or Hobby Lobby)
  • Elmer's spray adhesive
  • small flat blade 
  • painter's tape
  • 2-3 sheets of newspaper
First, I started out by sanding down the table and chairs over the drop cloth.  (Make sure you wear a protection mask unless you want to be breathing in all that dust!)  This will ensure that your paint goes on smoothly when applied.  I used a piece of dry cloth to thoroughly remove any leftover sand dust. 

Next, I taped down newspapers over the table top and seat tops with painter's tape since I wasn't going to be painting on them.  


After the pieces were ready to go, I carefully primed each piece and let it dry for an hour.  Ok to be honest, I was a little impatient and waited only half an hour.  The pieces were already dried! Really! ;) 

I then started applying the "ultra" white paint. I painted 3 coats for the desired look and then waited an hour for it to dry.  Professionals probably would've waited half an hour to an hour between each coat, but I did not have that luxury.  I had a napping baby who could wake up at any minute!  So, please forgive me as I'm sure you all have much more experience in painting then I do!  

Finally, I applied 2 coats of the polycrylic to seal and protect the paint.  I finished this part just in time before E woke up.  Thank goodness!  

Later that night, after E went to sleep, I picked up from where I left off.  I brought in the pieces and took apart the chairs with the screwdriver provided by IKEA.  It probably was better if I had painted the parts separately, because the paint started tearing a little as I pulled apart the parts.  But oh well... this was the best I could do with the time I had.  

So I slid off the seat cover and sprayed it with the spray adhesive.  I then laid it facing down on the fabric I had picked for the seat tops and cut around it.  I found this cute fabric at Joann's awhile back when I was trying to make shoes for E.  I loved it so much, but wasn't able to find any other uses for it later on since it was kind of "kiddie-ish." 

 
Unfortunately, this last part of sliding the fabric covered seat back on was the most frustrating part of the whole process.  It took a lot of huffing and puffing and the help of my small blade for it to finally slide through the little slits o.O.  Here was the result:


Then I remembered I had some left over craft mirrors from a previous project and decided to use it for a little extra character :)


What do y'all think?? I personally love it :D It's one of my favorite DIY results yet!  The whole process took me about a total of 6 looOonng hours, but when E woke up the next morning and saw it, his "WooOoaahh" made it all worth it :) 

Wednesday, January 18

TERVIS CLEAR MUGS


This is currently my absolute favorite cup to use now.  I recently came across these while I was searching for Bodum's glass bistro double-wall insulated mugs for my tea lattes.  It turned out that the place I was looking at no longer sold the Bodum ones at the store...only online.  Too many customers were breaking them then returning them, so they now only carried these Tervis mugs.  

It turned out that not only did these Tervis mugs look just like Bodum's, they're virtually unbreakable, kept my drinks cool or hot for a long time, AND did not leave a ring on my table (love that!). They're kind of on the pricey side, but I think they're well worth it.  Here are some reasons why:

Tervis vs. Bodum's
made in the USA   vs.   made in China
high quality polycarbonate   vs.   borosilicate glass
lifetime guarantee (for replacements)   vs.   no warranty on glass



*I am in no way affiliated with the company and was not paid to post this. I just really really adore these mugs! :)

Tuesday, January 17

DIY STENCILED CANVAS ART

Late last year, while I was doing some cleaning around the house, I came across this air freshener that was almost used up.  I was about to toss the whole thing, but then decided to keep the lid because it had a really unique pattern.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it but kept it just in case.  


Then a few months later, while I was trying to paint over two used canvases that I no longer liked, a great idea popped up in my mind!  For the longest time, our guest bathroom wall (above the toilet) was pretty bare.  I tried hanging a framed drawing that a friend had given to me, but the black and white colors didn't seem to complement the space very well.  I decided to make some canvas art to hopefully liven up that space.  I grabbed some acrylic paints and my air freshener lid and came up with this:




What do y'all think?? :) I personally loved it a lot better. (Sorry I don't have a before picture to show you!)  It's not perfectly painted and still had a few rough edges, but I was pretty satisfied with the way they came out.  

Thinking about trying this out for yourself? Here's what you'll need:

MATERIALS:
  • blank canvas
  • sponge roller
  • paint brushes
  • painter's tape
  • apple barrel's acrylic paint in burnt umber
  • folk art's acrylic paint in metallic inca gold
  • folk art's acrylic paint in metallic ice blue
  • folk art's acrylic paint in metallic peridot
  • plastic lid of a renuzit's air freshener (the pattern will serve as your stencil)

DIRECTIONS:
Using a sponge roller, coat both canvases with burnt umber.  Repeat 2 to 3 layers depending on desired look.  Let the paint dry for 30 min.

Tape off the middle sections using painter's tape to achieve the ribbon look.  Paint in between the tape with metallic inca gold.  Let the paint dry for 10-15 min.

Place the flat side of the air freshener lid in the middle of the "ribbon."  Using a thin paint brush, fill in the empty spaces of your "stencil" with the remaining paints.  One will be in metallic peridot and the other will be in metallic ice blue.

Let the paint dry for another 10 min. before hanging the canvases up.

PURSUE GROWTH IN LIFE


                                {photo credit}

In my reading of 1 Thessalonians today, I really enjoyed that Christ in resurrection, is the breath, the pneuma, the Spirit.  When we first received Him, He entered into us as this holy pneuma and is now living inside of us. To be in Christ is to be in this resurrection life.  Instead of pursuing knowledge and self-improvement, we should be focusing on this life within us and the growth of this resurrection life.  As we grow, this life will transform, blossom and mature within us!

- LS of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, p. 78  

MICROWAVED CHINESE STEAMED FISH

Here's a super quick and easy way to cook fresh steamed fish!

                                   {photo credit}

Ingredients:
1 basa or flounder filet
3 T sake or rice wine
ginger (I sliced 10-15 thin slices into thinner strips)
2 stalks of scallion (sliced into thin strips)
3 T grapeseed oil + 1 tsp of sesame oil
2 T soy sauce
2 T Viet Huoung fish sauce
4 T hot water

Directions:
Rinse filet and place it in a shallow heatproof plate.  Scatter the ginger slices on top of the filet and then drizzle the wine evenly.  Cover tightly with saran wrap and microwave for 5-6 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan over high heat until it starts to smoke. (Add the sesame oil to the pan right before pouring) Mix together the soy sauce, fish sauce, and hot water in a separate bowl and set aside.  

Once fish is ready, add scallion and drizzle the the soy sauce mixture over the fish.  Pour the heated oil slowly all over the fish. You should hear it sizzle!

Enjoy! :)

Monday, January 16

THE NEED FOR DELIVERANCE

This past Lord's day, we had a wonderful time of fellowship with the saints in Round Rock.  We went over the matter of tithing.  A lot of times, we give because there's a need... for example, the saints need a new meeting hall, the saints in a particular area are suffering from the aftermaths of a natural disaster, etc.  We give, because we feel like we owe the Lord or that He needs our help in these practical matters.  Or sometimes, we feel that it is ok to not give because our budget is too tight and we feel that others who are more blessed can make up for our lack.  

Yesterday, through the sharing of many saints, my eyes were opened once again to see the real reason we give.  The God of the universe does not need our few dollars and cents.  The reason we give is so that we can be delivered from mammon, one of the greatest idols.  In Paul's writing to the Thessalonians, he mentioned their need to turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thess. 1:9).  

The enemy uses society to delude us about money.  We live in a system that equates money with happiness.  More money = more happiness = more stability = more comfort.  However, how often do we see that the more money one has, the more he/she is enslaved to it.  Yes, we need money to live and to take care of our daily living.  However, when the need to make and acquire money gains the first place in our heart, then mammon has become an idol to us for we "cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt. 6:24)

"Lord, may You continue to open our eyes and deliver us from mammon.  We want You to have the preeminence in our being in all the matters of our daily living."

PEEK INTO OUR WEEKEND

Our weekends always seem to be of two extremes... either really slow or crazy busy.  This weekend was crazy busy.  We celebrated our 5th year anniversary and then took a road trip down to Austin to meet up with some friends. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to snap too many pictures, but here are a few for your viewing pleasure :)







 As we were about to leave Austin, we picked up some bubble tea for the road :)  Here's my rose green tea with mint. 


During our drive back, the sky looked like it was sprinkled with pepper.  



For dinner, we stopped in Harry Hines at a place recommended by a close friend of mine.  The sign was very deceiving, because it was actually a Korean restaurant... o.O



but the food was YUM. Here's my noodle soup with mixed seafood:


Fried chicken with garlic sauce. Usually the sauce is poured directly over the chicken... below was per my husband's request.

I'd like to leave you with these last two pictures, because this cute little thing...


caused me misery all weekend O.O





As fun as this weekend was, we sure are glad to be home again! :D