Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach

Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach
How I'd spend every day if I weren't redecorating, cooking, sewing and blogging!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Blessed Christmas Tradition

Every family that celebrates Christmas has special Christmas traditions.  I wish I could remember when my favorite family tradition began.  This tradition didn’t start with the family I formed with SuperDave when we got married – it started with my parents and my siblings.

On Christmas Eve when I was a child, we sat beside (or on) my Dad as he read from the Bible.  When I read these words, I always hear them in my Dad’s voice.

Luke 2 (KJV)

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And only then, after we put Jesus first, did we receive our gifts from our parents and each other.
When I grew up and left home, we continued this tradition with our family, with my husband reading the Christmas story to our children. But the tradition still continues with my parents, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The children sitting on the floor and in Dad’s lap change through the years, and the numbers keep growing.  It’s usually not Christmas Eve these days, it’s whenever our family can get the greatest number of people in one place, this year it was a Saturday afternoon.  And it looks something like this.

In the days before photography was digital and inexpensive, my mom didn’t take a lot of photos, so I’m pretty sure there are not photos of us as children listening to my Dad read from the Bible at Christmas.  But the picture is there, in my mind, in my heart, because I don’t remember ever having Christmas without this tradition.
And now we have photos through the years, of our children, and our children’s children, sitting on and near my Dad while we listen to the words from Luke, “and it came to pass…..”  And I realize that I have already received the only gift I wanted, one more year with my Dad reading the Christmas story to our family.
I guess it isn’t any wonder that even Linus can bring a tear to my eye at Christmas.

 Christmas Blessings,


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fall Storms

I think summer is finally leaving north Texas to make room for some cooler weather.  After a long hot summer that ran right through most of October, we are seeing rain, gray skies and cooler temperatures.  

Of course, last night we had a tornado warning, so that’s more like spring than fall, but it happens here in tornado alley.

Tornado warnings go a little different in our house these days than they did 30+ years ago.  With all the modern technology available to us to track the storms we don't get excited unless there is a visual confirmation of a tornado on the ground or we hear a loud roar.

As a child I grew up running for cover every time there was a thunderstorm.  My parents were inside a building that was destroyed by a tornado two years before I was born.  They huddled together as the tornado tore through their small town destroying homes and businesses and taking lives.  Fortunately, they were mostly unharmed, but my mother had what I would politely describe as a “healthy respect” for severe weather that was passed along to me.  However, those years of sleeping in clothes with my shoes beside the bed expecting the worst developed in me as an outright fear of storms.  

As a young adult I couldn’t sleep if there was a storm, now it goes like this at our house.

10:36 p.m. I fall asleep knowing there is a risk of severe weather and possible tornadoes before the 6 a.m. alarm.

3:50 a.m. Weather alert goes off on phone

SuperDave: “What is it?”

Wiping sleep from my eyes I try to focus on the tiny blindingly bright screen.

Me: “It’s a tornado warning.”

SuperDave: “The sirens aren’t going off.”

Me: “It’s not quite here yet, they will.”

SuperDave: “Turn on the TV.”

I drag myself upright and we watch as they report the circulation is SW of us. 

That means trouble. 

Then the sirens go. 

I’m still in bed.  

I get up for the bathroom, my husband is dressed wearing shoes.

Me: “You got dressed?”

SuperDave: “If a tornado is coming I want my clothes on.” 

He locks the cats in the laundry room.

I get a robe and walk back to the TV in the bedroom.
They say the circulation is directly SW of us, it’s headed straight for us.
I put my shoes, my phone, a glass of water (I was thirsty) and my purse in our 'hidey hole' aka IRNWLL (inside room, no windows, lowest level).  Normally, I put my camera in there, but today I just don’t believe it and anyway, my phone has a camera if the worst happens and I need to document damage.

My husband is in the backyard looking at the sky.
I’m watching the TV.

4:35 a.m. The area of circulation passes, the warning is cancelled for us and we go back to bed and quickly fall asleep listening to the sound of the rain.

Yes, I react a little differently these days to bad weather.
5:58 a.m. Alarm #1 goes off, SuperDave gets up for work.

6:10 a.m. My alarm goes off, I hit the snooze.

It's going to be a long day.

Happy Fall Y'all,


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chalk Paint and Gel Stain - Updating Kitchen Cabinets

I've been working hard this summer and have spent almost no time on my blog.  A couple months ago, I walked into my kitchen and the cabinets on one side looked like this....

And the other side looked like this
 (apologies for the picture quality, the sun was shining in the window)

The post from earlier this year when we started this project is posted here.

But back to July.  I had gotten a snazzy manicure with a July 4th theme and it looked like this

A few weeks later my kitchen looked like this

And my nails looked like this

Yes, I was a little rougher on my fingernails during July than in a normal month.

We started the kitchen cabinet project a few  several months ago starting with the upper cabinet on one side that only had two doors.  

I figured depending on how it went we could stop with glass only in those two doors and paint the others leaving the solid panel.  But the first two turned out so well we were determined to convert the six doors on the other side to glass also.  The glass I chose is called Everglades and it is beautiful!

I would love to tell you how to cut the center panels out but I did not get involved in that process.  I will tell you that it took me a few years to get SuperDave on board with this project because he was hesitant to start sawing off pieces of our kitchen cabinets.  But after watching some online videos and doing some research he decided to go for it and this project turned out great!

Here's the bar area, it was the biggest flat area so I thought it would be easy since it had no doors.  Not necessarily.  The big opened spaces had to be worked quickly so it all flowed together, it took me quite a while.

We replaced the small quarter-round trim at the floor with the same wider trim we used on the island when I painted it black.  You can see that project here.

First step for the upper cabinets was removing the doors....

and numbering them so we could put them back in the same spot.  This just makes life easier.  I cleaned the cabinets and doors with a deglosser to be sure the paint would adhere well.  We also sanded them lightly just to knock off the shine.

Then I spent a very hot Sunday afternoon and evening in the garage painting doors and chilling in the pool between coats of paint.  We usually don't do projects in the summer months!

The products I used were from Lowe's, and a local shop that sells Maison Blanche products.  There was also a pile of old socks from SuperDave's sock drawer.

We brought the doors inside for a day before waxing them with clear and dark waxes.  Then I dropped them off at a glass shop and got to work on the base cabinets.  It took 3 or 4 coats of paint plus the waxes.  It's not hard work, but it takes some time. (tip: wipe that dark wax off immediately!)

I used General Finishes Gel Stain in Java on the lower cabinets.  I have gotten my method tweaked a little and this side turned out even better than the other side. They look a little different, but I notice it the most.

In an effort to be speedy I left dishes in the cabinet.  This was not a problem on the top with the white paint, but getting little spots of splattered stain off glass proved to be very difficult and I would not do this again! I could have easily covered everything with old towels and still left the stuff in the cabinets.

Live and learn.....

The upper cabinet boxes got the same cleaning, paint and wax treatment as the doors so when when the glass was installed SuperDave put them back on for me. We're a good team!  The change is drastic, but honestly I've pictured them like this in my mind for years, so it doesn't even surprise me when I walk into the kitchen. 

I think the glass doors dramatically improve and update the kitchen. The only major cost was the glass, we paid about $50 per door to buy the glass and have it installed.  I probably spent $150 or so on all the other materials.

I'm loving this warm rich brown instead of the golden oak that had discolored with age.

The outside looked so pretty that I had to line the shelves and back of the cabinets with a decorative paper to make them look pretty too.  It not only looks amazing but it's easy to clean!

My dishes are mostly white with a bit of color here and there.

And my nails looked fine after another trip to the salon, it was overdue anyway.

Now all I have left to refinish in the kitchen/breakfast area is a built in china cabinet. It's pretty big and I haven't decided which color I want to paint it, but I'm leaning toward painting it black.  Overall the black paint was the easiest to apply.  I felt like painting all the cabinets black would have made the room too dark since the granite counters are black plus I love natural wood grain, so that's why I went with the white/stained combo.

I also have the laundry room cabinets to refinish, but I don't even want to think about doing that this year!

Much love and laughter,


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