Village Cape Cod |Village Cape Cod
Village Cape Cod

Learning Tower by Little Partners Redo

Coen constantly wants to be at the kitchen counter with the family, but the downfall is that he keeps falling of the tall stool. His highchair isn’t quite tall enough to have him sit in and see over the counter, so we had to come up with an idea on what we could safely do.

I looked all over Pinterest and almost decided to build a solution, however, I have recently failed at a few of my building jobs. Plus, I knew it would take forever for me to complete.

Follow Niki Adams’s board Learning Tower on Pinterest.

A few years ago, my sister-in-law bought a Learning Tower for her little one and loved it. I didn’t think I could commit to the $200 price tag, so I went to Craigslist to do my shopping. Lucky for me there were three for sale, so I was able to get one for $80!

Of course with every used thing, it has its wear and tear. I didn’t mind at all, since I like making things my own anyway. Plus, I just discovered chalk paint and this gave me another excuse to use it. (Looky here to see a pic of the chalk paint I prefer:

learning tower before

I enjoyed doing this project with Maren. I have to give her credit. She actually painted the majority. We even let Coen help out a little.

Learning Tower Help Paint

Now that its all done, Coen can finally be at the counter with the others.

Learning Tower Finished

I think Coen is most excited about the fact that the dog can no longer get his waffles.
Learning Tower No Waffles

Want your own Learning Tower, but your area’s Craigslist doesn’t have one for sale? Here is an affiliate link from Amazon for the Learning Tower by Little Partners. Click on the image and it will take you to Amazon.

New Mulch


I know I am getting older when getting mulch excites me! Our poor beds needed it though. We didn’t do it last year, so it was running majorly thin. As always we went with the dark black. I feel like it makes the green pop.


Did I mention, I love having this SUV? It was hard for me to give up my car, but this SUV comes in handy.


It was about to rain (which it never did) and it started to get pretty chilly out, so this was the fastest we’ve ever laid mulch! We had to bring the crew in. Alexa was at a friends house, so she lucked out at not doing the manual labor part.


Now what to do with these huge pots? I am trying to decide if I want to keep them in front of the house or move them around back. I can’t put it next to the front door since it would block my mailbox. Any ideas???


Maker Faire of Kansas City 2015

My girls received their acceptance letter into the Maker Faire of Kansas City event in June and we are so excited for the opportunity. They came up with a product called “Wearing Wishes.” They are creating wish bracelets and donating half of their profit to Lee Anne Britain Infant Development Center.


{I will post their designs as they come!}

Have you heard of Maker Faire yet? If not, you are missing out. It is a place for people to show off their amazing work. Check out their site here:



I came across a cute app that I wish I had when my oldest was small. Its one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments when I found it. Its basically a really simple to use app called LittleHoot that captures quotes from those funny, kids say the darndest things moments. You know the ones worthy of knowing forever. Using this app, you can quickly record it.

Happy National Siblings Day


Even though the older ones tend to fight and they are all off doing their own thing these days… these siblings sure do love each other! I can only wish they grow to be best of friends when they are older and that they always take care of each other.

Facebook Mom Swap ‘n Shop

Two major things were happening at our little home. My town decided to do a fabric pickup free of charge on every trash day, which is super awesome. All I have to do is set out all of our clothes on our porch marked “PV Donation” and it gets picked up, hassle free and at no cost to us. The second thing happening is that I am in a major clean out the basement frenzy… sorta. It is moving slowly, but at least its happening. I have a zillion bags of clothes for all three kids that I am now sorting through and getting rid of. To try and maintain some sort of order, I separate them into 3 areas:

  • Donate
  • This is for all the items that either have stains, holes or are just worn down and not worthy of resale. This goes out on the front porch on trash day.

  • Ebay
  • I found that the best items for Ebay are my more expensive items. Like my Matilda Jane dresses or expensive shoes that my daughter decided to never wear that we regretfully bought. (Only click on Matilda Jane link if you are ready to spend your entire paycheck. These clothes are ridiculously over the top cute!)

  • Facebook Mom S&S Group
  • If you haven’t joined a local Facebook Mom Swap ‘n Shop, I would recommend it. I have had an amazing turnout for my items. I started last week and I’ve been able to get rid of 2 full boxes of clothing! Warning: There are a lot of rules to follow, but as long as you fully read and understand them it will be worth your time. My sister-in-law introduced me to them and I am excited to finally purge all my items. I simply take pictures with my iPhone, use PicCollage to put several pictures together and post to the group with the size and price. The moms comment on the items they want to purchase and I private message them with the total price and pickup location. I’ve been asked how it goes overall with the other moms and coordinating it all. I set pickup for Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 – 6:30 only in a parking lot near my home. All the moms have been overly nice and have followed through with picking up the items so far.

    bazingaOld Navypink Naartjie Pants

    How I post on FB Mom S&S

    How do you get rid of all your unwanted house items that are to good to throw away? Do you sell, donate, drop off at a local charity???

    I’m back… at least for now.

    Yep, it’s been a long time. Why? Not really sure, really. Just felt like a break was needed. The projects kept happening and I still thrift shopped, but I felt like a break was needed. I wonder if all bloggers / writers do this? I know about the time I started to drift off with my own blog, 2 of my favorite blogs decided to put a stop on it as well! and Not sure if that triggered my absence or not…

    Good news though. I am back and I have a ton to share! I may fall off again, but for now I am eager to get started!

    Did I mentioned soooooooooooo many things have happened since I last posted. Coen turned 1, Alexa had her first Volleyball Game and Maren is still my awesome assistant on projects!

    Thrift Store Side Table

    Table New and Old

    During a lunch run at work, I stopped at the thrift store (leaving work to eat lunch is a very rare moment for me!) I always run to the back of the thrifts stores to where all of the big furniture lives hoping to find my next project. That’s where I ran across this beauty.

    Thrift Store Table

    Sure it had some dings and scratches, but overall I liked how simple it was. For an added bonus, it was solid wood. With solid wood, you can always sand it down and reinvent it.
    Thrift Store Table Closup

    Looking at it in the store, I still had no idea where I was going to put it. At first I walked away, but quickly came back and grabbed it. I figured for 5 bucks, I couldn’t go wrong. Even if it ended up in my garage sale pile.

    I had it in our mudroom until I finally had a moment to start in on the project. This project only took up a Saturday afternoon and it was one of the cheapest projects since I owned all the things I needed to turn it into to something new.

    Step 1 :: Varnish Removal

    I used to make the mistake of sanding and sanding and sanding, but then I discovered varnish striper. It takes all the time out of sanding by stripping off all the old stuff in a matter of minutes. You just poor the remover onto the spots you want it removed from, wait a minute or two and use a putty knife to scrape it all off.

    Varnish stripper

    Within 20 minutes of starting this part, this is what I was left with.
    Varnish stripper Final

    Step 2 :: Sanding

    Once the stripping is done, I let it dry a bit. Then I get out my little ole sander and get to work smoothing out all of the wood on the table.
    Sander Table

    Step 3 :: Staining

    Next step is to wipe down the table with a moist paper towel or two to get all of the dust off. Then we get to see this table come to life. It is time to stain. I always use ebony on most my projects. It’s the color of our floors, so I figured the table would look great in the same stain.

    Doesn’t this table look better already?
    Stain Table

    Step 4 :: Dipping the Legs

    I really wanted my table to stand out and since I stained it the same color of my floor, I thought it would be nice to have white legs. I noticed a ton of pics on Pinterest that had dipped legs on chairs, tables and whatever else fit into a paint can. I know that it would go horribly wrong if I tried to dip them, so I went the easy route and taped off the legs at 5″ and spray painted the portion that wasn’t taped. Tip: Make sure the stain has dried or the paint will bead up.

    Taped Legs

    Table Leg Paint

    Step 5 :: Lacquer

    This is another step that you have to have patience for. You have to wait until your stain and paint has dried prior to spraying your table with lacquer. I tend to rush things, so I find the waiting period very challenging. Yes, I was the kid in back of the car asking “Are we there yet?”


    No worries, I didn’t spray the lacquer on in the mudroom like this picture looks. It grew to dark too work outside (plus the bugs would start sticking to everything), so I moved it into my garage for the final steps. My husband just loves when I fill the house up with fumes from my projects!

    Step 6 :: Final Touches

    I just had to tighten some loose legs and replace a few screws to make this table sturdy. Then I added my felt pads to prevent the floor from scratching when the table is scooched.
    Felt Pads for Table

    Step 6 :: Donzo

    This project is complete and ready for its new home. I chose our front room. With little guy on the loose, I will have to make sure that nothing is breakable or valuable on this table for now.

    Finished Table 1

    Finished Table 2

    Finished Table 3

    Finished Table 4

    Finished Table 5

    Boo Window

    My friend and I were driving back from our girls’ cross country meet and saw a few old windows on the side of the road, so we grabbed one of them. I knew I could get some use out of it.


    At first I was going to clean it up and stick it on my Front Room fireplace, but I realized it wouldn’t fit easily. Then I came up with an idea to paint the window and have it outside. I have yet to decorate for Halloween even though Maren, my middle one, has been begging me. She’s even used all my decorations to decorate her own room.

    This project was absolutely free and it was fast!


  • Window
  • Paint
  • Sander
  • The first step was to wipe down the window to remove all the dirt.

    One all the dirt was removed, I used my sander to get rid of all the yellow spray foam. I also wanted to smooth the paint out a little.

    I then used a dry erase marker to sketch out how I wanted it to look. (You could also print out your letters on paper and trace it onto the window. I did it on the front of the window, because I wanted to paint the backside of the window. I figured this would help with preventing the paint from washing of if it rained.

    Window Marker

    Next step is to flip the window over and fill that sucker in with paint.
    Window Paint

    I loved how simple this project was and the fact that it was free!
    Window finished

    I decided to plop it on my front porch. Eventually I will get my mums and a wreath to finish my porch.
    Window finished 2

    Party Planning

    Coen’s first birthday is coming soon and we have a lot of planning to do! Hopefully I will share as I make progress on my punch list.

    Coen’s 1st Birthday Punch List

  • Cake :: No party is officially a party without cake
  • Decorations :: We need plenty of party decorations and decorations for his birthday photos
  • Smash Cake :: This boy needs a tiny cake to have at his party and at his photography session
  • Quilt :: I am making him a special bday quilt for his birthday. It is made from his fabric from his weekly photo shoot
  • Invitation :: We have to have guests!
  • Photos :: I want to create a book of his weekly and monthly shots
  • Halloween Costumes :: Out of all of this work, I still need a Halloween costume for him! It has to be good since it’s his first
  • I did get one thing done… His bday invitation. I used to get the pictures sized correctly (140 X 145). I then created a new image with a size of 5 X 7 and then added all my resized ones. Once I had everything arranged the way I liked it, I saved it as a “.jpg” and opened it up in to finish the edit. I found this site and fell in love with it!

    BDAY Announement Final

    1 Year Anniversary

    It is our 1 Year Anniversary since we moved into the house. October 1st is when we finally took back possession.

    I remember that our first few nights felt odd, because we still had some house construction going on and we couldn’t move in all of our items. Plus I was over 8 months pregnant and about to pop.

    This year flew by and I am excited to spend many more years here. We still do not regret the rebuild and we absolutely love our new house.

    House 1 year anniversary

    Command Center

    I’ve been wanting to do a command center to put all of our families major dates down. Here is everything that we would like the command center to take control of.

    Command Center Duties

  • Place to put bills
  • Organize Dates / Schedules
  • Chore List
  • Grocery List
  • Coupon Storage
  • Credit & Store Card Holder
  • Weekly Meals
  • Here is the space I am planning on putting the command center. We don’t use this space as much as we anticipated, so hopefully we will get more use out of it when we put in the command center.

    Future Command Center

    I can find a lot of the products at IKEA now that it is open. Any excuse to go back and shop! I’ve been once since it’s opening and I am trying to refrain from going back until it calms down.

    Command Center Mood Board Numbers

    Mood Board

  • 1 :: IKEA Magazine Rack
  • 2 :: Chalk Board (old picture frame from a Garage Sale)
  • 3 :: Bill / Coupon Basket
  • 4 :: Wall Hook
  • My initial thoughts with the space are in the following two images. I think I will have to go with the first one due to the way the doors open. The garage door would constantly hit the basket, unless I move it to the right of the picture frame. Plus the magazine rack would look better.

    ideas 2


    Here are some of the mood boards that I drew inspiration from.

    Pottery Barn Command Center



    Shim Sham Artwork

    Finished shim DIY

    I can’t ever remember what they are called that Maren and I used for our project. Either way, Maren loved being able to paint them for this project.


  • Shims (or Shams)
  • Picture Frame
  • Hot Glue Gun or Liquid Nails
  • Paint
  • I went to Hobby Lobby and grabbed a bunch of paints that I thought would look good in our bathroom. I cheated by grabbing a couple of pieces of paper from the scrapbook paper isle that I liked. I used that to match colors against.

    Paint Colors

    I setup a paint station for Maren to work on. She would paint on her free time after school during the week, since we weren’t in a hurry to finish this project. She painted as I cut Coen’s quilt blocks (another project I will post later.)


    Paint Shims

    One all the shims were painted, Maren and I used water and ebony stain over the top to add an extra layer of texture to help dull the colors.

    Paint Sticks 2

    Paint Sticks

    Maren ended up falling asleep while we waited for the last coat of paint to dry, so I finished out the project. I had to cut up the shims into different sizes by using a miter box and saw.
    Shim Cutting

    One all the pieces were cut, I arranged all the pieces in the picture frame. Once all the colors looked right and all the pieces were laid down, I used a hot glue gun on the back of the frame to secure the pieces.

    Shim Gluing

    Check out our finished work!
    Finished Shim

    Finished shim 1

    Finished shim 3

    Project Cost

  • Shims :: $3.45
  • Hobby Lobby Frame :: $27.99 – half off coupon = $13.99
  • Paint :: $1.07 each X 6 = $6.42
  • Stain :: already had
  • TOTAL :: $23.86
  • Dieting For the Nook

    Jay came up with idea to stencil the inside of the nook. (He also came up with the idea to put nooks in during our rebuild.) Even though it was his idea, he wasn’t so sure if he would like it. I instantly took advantage of the situation by placing a bet. If I won, I got to stencil the nook. If he won, I had to clean the basement. Either way I ended up having to do some sort of work.

    The bet? Simple, we just had to try the juice diet and the first to give up would lose. Easy enough, right? We lasted a total of 5 days of living off of juice and lettuce. Let me tell you, it was an emotional week. I would have eaten onions if they were put in front of me and anyone that knows me would know that that is beyond desperate.


    Before Nook 2

    Before Nook

    Not exactly beautiful. Even with the girls’ sculptures in them.


    I fell in love with this stencil because it is very similar to my blog background.


    You can find a million blogs that explain how to stencil, but here is a quick explanation of what I did. The first step is to measure the center of the space you are stenciling. Then you line up the center of your stencil to that spot and tape the edges down with painters tape.

    During 2

    Next you want to dab on your paint lightly. The stencil will stick down as you dab and you will work from the center out to the edges. They sell stencil paintbrushes, but I used a $.59 cent foam brush from JoAnn’s.

    During 3

    As I got closer to the edges, I had to chop up my stencil. There were times I just traced the missing part with a pencil and painted it in with a stiff paint brush.

    During 4

    See how it looks like my blog background!


    This nook will do for now, but I am sure I will trade it out for something else by next year.

    After Nook

    After Nook 3

    After Nook 2

    Dining Room :: 2014

    I realized that it’s been awhile since I have shown updates of the house. One room that hasn’t changed much is the Dining Room. The only thing I would like to add is some art on the only bare wall. Besides that, this room is pretty much finished for at least now.

    This room is one of the most lived in rooms. Right now it’s at its finest, but usually it has a splat mat and a highchair and whatever project that Maren, Alexa or I am working on is usually covering all the cabinets. We do get a lot of use from the built in hutch. It is so nice to have that area when (which is rare) we have guests over for dinner.

    Dining Room

    Dining Room 3

    Dining Room 4

    Dining Room 5

    Dining Room 2

    Busy Bee

    It seems like I have been playing catch-up on several small projects, but I have nothing to blog about! Needless to say, this is one of my week’s at Whiteman AFB for my Air Force Reserve’s. In other words, this is the week where I miss my family and work 2 jobs. As much as I wish that I could just stop my civilian job, I still have responsibilities.

    So bare with me as I wrap up some tiny projects and start in on some of my larger ones! You know I will share as soon as I’ve made progress.


    A Backup of My Backup of My Backup

    Does anyone else majorly fear of losing their family pictures? I know it is one of the things I worry about all the time. Below are some of my tips of how I organize and protect my digital pictures. It helps me sleep better at night when all my images are organized.

  • I have a mirrored backup. I have my images on two different external hard drives. Those puppies are known for dying all the time. So much so that I have both my external hard drives plugged in when I download my images off of my memory cards. An alternative would be to back-up to the cloud. I just prefer external drives over the cloud. Plus external drives are becoming cheaper by the day.
  • Organize by Year, Month, then by Day with Event. I have my images well organized so I can easily find them as long as my memory can recall the timeframe the image took place. If you look at my hard drive, I have a folder for each year (Ex. 2014), then you can drill down to see each month in the year (EX: March), then by Day with the event that took place (Ex: 10.25.2013 – Coens Birth.) It’s gives me a little peace of mind knowing that they are all organized.
  • Village Cape Cod house pics live somewhere else. My kiddos come first, so I try not to combine the two. I don’t worry about preserving my house pictures as much, which helps free up space on my hard drive. I figure that I can always come to the blog to grab the picture.
  • Family Blog. I keep a personal blog about the kids. Once a year I export it to a hardbound book by using I plan to give each of the children a book for each year at their high school graduation of all our family memories. Plus it gives our photos a purpose. We take so many images that aren’t picture frame worthy, but we love the memories behind them.
  • Organize when you move your photos off your memory card. I try to plan ahead prior to a big event where I will be taking a ton of photos, but there are times when I let all five of my memory cards load up. That’s when I get in a hurry and just dump all my images onto my hard drive without organizing. This causes a huge headache and more work later on.
  • Devote time. As I see my camera’s memory cards fill up, I try to devote a late night at moving them off. I only delete them off of my memory card if both of my external hard drives have a copy of the image.
  • What tips do you have for all your precious family memories? Does anyone else out there fear losing their memories? I don’t know how many horror stories I have heard of people losing their images. It happened to me one time and I vowed it would be the last!

    Coen’s Footstool

    Another ottoman??? We are just ottoman happy over here, however, this isn’t technically an ottoman. It’s a footstool. I picked it up for $4.99 when my littles and I were thrifting one day. I thought it would be fun to redo in a bright color for Coen’s room. Plus it will help him climb up into his chair for the time being.

    Village Cape Cod After Foot Stool

    As with any project, I had to figure out what needed to be done with our thrift store find. Initially, I thought about repainting the legs to a darker color or even a bright orange. But my mind was changed once Maren and I started in on our project. I grew to love the tarnished gold color it had.

    Original Foot Stool

    Foot Stool Material

    We removed the legs and let them soak in a mixture of hot water and murphy’s oil soap as we recovered the ottoman. When we covered the ottoman (we had the fabric from one of Coen’s photo-shoots, but we originally found it at Jo-ann’s Fabric), Maren insisted on working the staple gun. I figured that I would let her and after a while she got the hand of it and the staples became straighter.

    Maren Unscrewing Feet

    After our fabric was on, we went to give our ottoman legs a good scrubbing before we put them back on.

    Soaking Foot Stool Feet

    Foot Stool Final

    Foot Stool Final 3

    Foot Stool Final 2

    Our little project took us no time at all and fit in perfectly to Coen’s room.
    Coen and his Stool

    DIY World Map

    I’ve been seeing all these awesome World Map paintings everywhere, so I decided to attempt to do one myself. It’s very tedious, but it was well worth it.

    VCC World Map Final Shots


    World Map Materials>

    Step 1: Print Map

    There is a great website that lets you pick the number of 8X11 pages. I picked the world map with 4 pages. Here is the website:

    You will want to print two (2) copies. You will trace over one and then cut the other printed copy.

    Step 2 :: Tape Down Paper

    Position the map onto your board to where you like it.

    Step 2 Tape Down Paper

    Step 3 :: Trace Over the Paper

    I used a seam ripper to trace over the map. The reason I do this is to make the positioning of the map on the board easier once you cut them out. This kept me from having to be careful on the positioning or lining everything up correctly.

    Step 3 Trace Over Paper

    Step 4 :: Stain Your Board

    I stained my board in an ebony stain. You could also leave it with the light color if you want, but I wanted that rich color.

    Step 4 Stain Your Board

    Step 4 Stain All

    Step 5 :: Cut Out & Glue Down the Pictures

    This is the hard step. It takes a while and I couldn’t convince any of the kids to help me out! I was really hoping to have some teamwork on this part. I never realized how many islands there are.

    Step 5 Cut and Glue Shapes

    Step 5 Cut and Glue Shapes 2 Close-upjpg

    Step 5 Cut and Glue Shapes 3 All

    Step 6 :: Spray Paint Board

    You can spray the board once the map is cutout and pasted down. I did three layers to finally get the stain covered up.

    Step 6 Spray Paint Board

    Step 7 :: Peel Off Paper

    You think this would be a simple task, but the glue has to be cleaned off as well. Make sure you do this or you sandpaper will get all gooey.

    Step 7 Peel Off Board

    Step 8 :: Sand Picture

    Now that your world is popping out, start sanding. Keep the sander in different spots for a while to get that worn, used look.

    Step 8 Sand Paper

    Step 9 :: Mount Brackets and Hang

    I bought these at Lowe’s in the nail aisle. I placed them 3 inches in on both sides and used picture hanging wire to hang it.

    Step 9 Mount Picture

    Final Shots

    Here are the final shots. Still not loving my dark entry table, but the white helps to balance out all the darkness and brightens up that spot a little.

    World Map Final Shots 4

    World Map Final Shots 2

    World Map Final Shots 3


    I thought about adding a key or something else in the US to symbolize home and give a 3D feeling. Not 100% sure yet, but it’s never too late.


    Key 2

    Which angle do you like? Should I not add it or should I?


    Who doesn’t, right? You never know what you can find and Friday proved that statement to be very true.

    Earlier this summer I broke my camera lens on vacation. I had to do a quick study on camera lens and I attempted to have it shipped to my hotel room via two day shipping. Check out my post here:

    I ended up choosing my original lens which was a 18 – 55mm. However, I really wanted the 70mm – 300mm. I just didn’t want to spend the money.

    Amazingly enough, I was driving into work and saw a garage sale sign. I decided to stop in quickly even though I really didn’t have enough time. Luckily for me I did because I found my camera lens for only $50 bucks! How lucky was that? I had to fight a guy who had just called his friend to come and take a look at it, but it was first come first served in my book. He should have snatched it up while he had the chance.

    Now look at the fun pics I can take on the sidelines.

    Maren Soccer 2

    Maren Soccer 1

    Maren Soccer

    These are pictures of Bob’s first game with her new soccer team. There is another little girl with her name on that was already on the team, so the coach asked her what she would like to be called instead and she chose “Bob.” Not sure what I am going to do with that girl! She LOVED that the coaches, teammates and sideline parents were all calling her by her new name.

    Getting Through All the Blue Tape

    All this blue tape around the house can only mean one thing… more repairs. ALL newly remodeled houses go through this in the first year, where the house needs some love after it settles a little and we are not excluded in this. We gradually built a list that had a few minor items that needed attention. It will be nice when it is all finalized.

    Most of them that we tagged with the blue tape is actually just paint or wall touch-ups. Only a few areas go into the extreme area of needing new sheetrock.
    Dining Room Tag

    Master Bathroom Tag 2

    Master Bathroom Tag

    Or some are more severe where the floor guys had to come and shave down where it dipped a little. We also had a little bubbling under the oven.

    Kitchen Floor Redo

    This bring me back to the old days of when we first moved in and right after I had Coen. Fresh paint smell is the best.


    Unfortunately, I am on military leave all next week so the patches are going to be throughout our house for a while.