At The Crossroads of Cellulite & Childhood Dreams

You know what I don't love? Summer.  With it comes sunburns, excessive sweating, & clothes that expose more cellulite than I want to expose.  I've been on the countdown to Fall since May just pretending I could wish away the sun. This last week of temperatures busting at 100 degrees isn't exactly helping matters.

And happened.

An email about a Sunday School gathering.  With friends.  At a pool.


My initial thought was that this was a great chance to get the little one in a pool - she's been talking about "swimming like Nemo" for weeks, and here was my chance to make all her dreams come true.  But you know what I couldn't avoid?  A bathing suit.  In front of friends and acquaintances.  I'm just saying that's a whole new level of openness I wasn't mentally prepared I took a nap that afternoon & woke up just in time to toss on our suits and head out the door.  Of course, still in denial that the coverup would come off.

Sure I can just toss my kid in with a floaty and she'll stay right next to me as I dangle my feet in the pool right? Or not.

Well here's how this went down.  We walked in. She was beyond excited to get in "the big bathtub" and we could barely get her floaty on before she jumped in.  No fear I tell you.  So I lean over the pool as she starts flipping forward grabbing mouths full of chlorine water (yum right?), and I know I've got to get in to get her started & upright.  So off went the coverup and in I went. 

The minor detail I left out was that there were probably 10 kids in that pool and ZERO adults.  Oh there were plenty around, but I was the only one in the pool.  Granted my daughter was the youngest by far and was clearly not yet in "supervised swim" mode.  Want to know what will send me into a super self-conscious internal meltdown?  Yeah this.   To the point where when getting out of the pool for dinner, I literally stood there for a few minutes deciding the exit that provided the most immediate cellulite covering.  Either set of steps forced me to walk past more people than I would have liked.  

Strangers on a beach is one thing.  Family is another.  This group of ten or so families was a whole other ballgame for me.    

But you know what made it worth it?  The belly-laugh two-year-old giggles as she jumped off the side of the pool into my arms.  How she begged for "more, more" as I pushed her around the pool.  The sweet thank-you's she offered unprompted.  

She just wanted me.  To make memories with me. 

And I just wanted to stress over cellulite. 

I'm so thankful that I was semi-forced into jumping right in, because we had an amazing time despite my body-image issues.  That moment reinforced to me what I don't want to pass on to my sweet girl.  I don't want her to think people are constantly talking about her because she needs to loose a few pounds.  Or that she's not lovable because she's not a certain size.  Or that she shouldn't take part in certain activities because of how she feels about herself in a bathing suit.  

My issues don't have to be hers - and I am choosing not to teach them by example.

The kicker for me in this whole thing was a comment from a fellow mom friend.  I made an off hand comment about not expecting to be the only one in the pool, and she said she wished she was as free as me to just "get in".  I felt like the odd-man out, but maybe I was sparking something in others.  Maybe just in her.  But one thing I know is I want to remember this moment.  Those smiles and splashes covered a lot of self-doubt.....and I don't want to let the cellulite win in those moments.

I choose not to have my little ones childhood memories & dreams be squashed by my own insecurities.  

So put on those bathings suits, shut down those internal voices & make moments with your family.  And if people are talking about you or me then they've got bigger issues to deal with than either of us!

Play Kitchen Remodeling: 101 - IKEA style

When we were brainstorming what the little lady's big Christmas gift would be, I really only had one idea.  A play kitchen.  I remember crying the day my mom said she was giving away our brightly colored Fisher-Price version.  I had to have been 12.  To be sure I wasn't still playing with it, but I have always been a sucker for memories and that kitchen was tied tightly together with so so many adventures with my sisters.  

There was no better gift in my mind for my 18 month old.  It was prime time to add it to our living room to get the max memories possible in the next few years.  

And there folks, was the problem.  We don't have a separate play space, so the main living area holds all our big toys.  And there was no way I was going to be even halfway satisfied to have a crazily colored plastic monstrosity become the focal point in the room.  I just couldn't do it.  I ADORE the Pottery Barn play kitchens, but HELLO - I do not have hundreds of spare dollars lying around for a TOY.  Lord have mercy, I'd need a benefactor to get one of those for her (insert reminder that expensive toys don't equal more love).  I considered building one, but I knew the time I would have leading up to Christmas for that would be way too limited.  

And then it hit me.  IKEA.  So thanks to family friends who passed one on their way to town for Thanksgiving I became the owner of the IKEA DUKTIG play set.  

I actually like the simplicity of it out of the box - but my eyes were focused in on how I could DIY it into a one of a kind masterpiece.  A present for her, a present for me - what more could we want?  

There are other updates I wanted to do, but ran out of time for - but just like any home remodel, I'll keep adjusting as I go and as she grows into it!  

I'd suggest coming up with a general idea for the color scheme and design style you want before you begin any assembly.  I had thought about trying to make it match match our current kitchen, but it's pretty neutral.  And it it was neutral out of the box, so I decided to be bold and make changes I would never have the guts to do in a real kitchen.

I wanted to "install" a back splash so my first step was to decide on something eye-catching.  I hunted for a cute vintage wallpaper scrap to no avail, but ending up finding a cute pattern in a roll of removable wallpaper at Michael's (with a 50% off coupon of course), and that became the central theme of our second kitchen.

Without further ado, here's my supply list & some do's & don'ts I learned along the way.

  • Thin MDF (approximately 26.7 inches x 13 inches)
  • Wallpaper (the peel & stick kind is perfect for this project)
  • Paint (I used half of a pint of Indoor Satin HGTVHome paint from Lowe's)
  • Knobs of choice 
  • "Marble" contact paper
  • Painters tape
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint stir stick

I started by painting my cabinets navy to coordinate with the wallpaper.  WARNING: You may need two coats.  Sigh.  This was the longest part with many pieces needing both sides to be painted with multiple coats.  If I had done this during the summer the process probably would have gone faster due to a shorter dry time.


I decided to keep the back wall of the bottom cabinets, inside shelves, and the microwave area the original colors as packaged from IKEA.  Be sure to clearly tape off what you want kept in the original color.  I may have a navy-ish drip spot in the middle of the bottom of the microwave much to my chagrin.  Lesson learned.  

Next up was to cover the counter top with with marble contact paper.  There are tons of options for countertops - above is a quick peek at what I could find at my Lowe's. (PS they had the best selection locally of contact paper, but Amazon is another great resource).  I wanted the marble and headed to Amazon (I've included a link above for your convince).  I thought it was the most "high-end" looking of them all, and doesn't every child deserve a top of the line kitchen?

A few helpful hints:

* Make sure the contact paper goes on smoothly without bubbles as you roll it onto the countertop.  It's so much easier to fix it as you put it on rather than to try to rub them out afterwards.  

* Don't leave lots of excess paper around the edges - or if you do, be sure all the holes are exposed!  You can punch through the overlapping contact paper on the back where all the holes are then, or trim back the paper.  Don't do what I did and spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME trying to find them days later when I tried to assemble the whole kitchen.  Talk about a nightmare.

* When you go to wrap the corners, cut a slit from the edge of the paper towards the wood edge in at least two places.  This lets you pull up the contact paper in small chunks to wrap it smoothly around the corner.

I had considered covering the stove & microwave cabinet with a stainless contact paper. I bought it and everything.  But as I got ready to start assembling, it was painfully clear that it would be a nightmare to do, and do well.  I wanted the inside of the cabinets to look nice too, and I just couldn't figure out how to do it neatly.  Free yourself from the pressure too if it's too much!  I'm glad I left those areas white after all - it really helps lighten up the whole thing with the dark cabinets.

And then it's enlist your other half and assemble it per the instructions from IKEA.  Once it's done, use small finish nails to attach the MDF covered with wallpaper to the back of the unit and voila!  A finished product.  I bought knobs to drill in to serve as oven dials, but Santa completely forgot to do that part until he realized on Christmas morning.  The kitchen was immediately occupied by all kinds of pots, food, spoons, and even TsumTsums, I haven't had the heart to take it outside to drill holes just yet.  But one day I will.  And I've got high aspirations of grabbing a touch light from the dollar store to put underneath the microwave.  I know - big spender. 

There are so many easy & affordable ways to put your stamp on IKEA's play kitchen.  If you decide to take on a version of your own, let me see your finished projects.....we can be play kitchen soul sisters!

Disney Princess Bead Necklace Tutorial

There haven't been nearly enough crafty posts for my taste around here lately.  Today I thought I'd share the necklaces I made this summer for our Alaska cruise to give to the girls in our Fish Extender group.  (Side note: We were part of a Fish Extender group on our Disney cruise - where folks sign up ahead of time and bring little gifts for others in the group and drop them off throughout the cruise - it's like Christmas Disney style.)


First off, I'm not a painter.  And this is pretty much all free-hand, but please don't let that scare you away!  This is an easy afternoon project that you can adapt to your little one's favorite princesses - or maybe even take a superhero theme & create your own designs like I did for Snow White, Anna, & Elsa.

My inspiration was via Pinterest from Crafting in the Rain - you can find that post here.   I took out Tiana (sorry, just not my favorite movie), and added Anna, Elsa, & Snow White.


Small paint brushes - various sizes

Paper plates

Acrylic Paint - I used stock I had on hand (colors depend on the beads you choose)

Kabob sticks


Wood Beads - any size you prefer

Fray Check


Painters Tape


Line the center with painters tape & paint with navy.  Once that dries, paint the other half yellow.  After the second color is dry, paint a red band around the center, right above where the blue & yellow meet.


Paint each bead completely white.  You may need two coats depending on your paint.  Use a small paint brush to free-hand the scalloped edge towards the middle (imagining the bottom of her dress).


Paint each bead purple.  Use the thinnest of paint brushes to draw two lines off-center around the circumference of the bead.  Then paint in the X shapes to symbolize the ribbons on the top of her dress.


Easiest of them all!  Paint your bead light blue.  Once that layer is completely dry, paint over the whole bead with glitter acrylic paint (looks murky white when you paint it on, but dries clear). If that doesn't say Frozen, I don't know what does!


This one has been hard for people to guess, but it's probably my favorite because I love the "Norwegian-ness" of the flowers & stitching on her dresss.  Start by painting the bead black.  Again, you may need two coats.  Then use the back end of the paint brush to place dots equal distance apart around the center of the beads.  Then using a fine tipped brush, paint a swirl between each dot.  


Paint the bead completely white (potentially 2 coats).  Using yellow paint, start painting a scallop pattern at the middle of the bead.  Then repeat this pattern once above and below the center line (total of 3 pattern lines).  The end result should somewhat mimic the scallop from the Cinderella bead.


Line the center of the bead with paper tape & paint the dark brown half first.  Once dry, move the tape to the painted side & paint the other side with light brown.  Lastly, use the back of the brush to place teal dots along the center line.

Helpful hints:

  • If you are making multiple sets of beads, do all of each kind at once.  I put all of the beads for each princess on different kabob sticks to keep me organized & help with efficiency.
  • Tear very small pieces of painters tape to wrap around those beads where you need a straight edge.  (I recommend painting the darkest color first to help minimize issues with the colors bleeding).
  • I used the same pieces of tape over and over again - no need to waste!
  • Balance the sticks on the edges of the paper plate - it serves as a paint tray & drying rack!
  • Once the beads are done, string them on your favorite ribbon.  I dab FrayCheck on the ends to keep them from unraveling.  I tied mine with a simple bow, but you could get as fancy as you like!

I made 12 necklaces in just a few hours - not bad for an original one-of-a-kind gift! I had all of the supplies for this already except for the beads & a 50% off coupon at the craft store made this a super cheap project.

princess beads

I would love to see your versions if you try this out - these are perfect for all ages & would make a great stocking stuffer!  You'll see me & baby girl rocking ours at Disney World later this year!