Amazon Prime Day = Buyer Beware

I normally wouldn’t write a post like this, but I’m annoyed. I’m sick and tired of so-called “sales” that dupe people into buying stuff, especially stuff they normally wouldn’t buy except that they think it’s such a great deal because it’s 50% off and the sale is One-day ONLY! Case in point: today’s Amazon Prime Sale with deals that are supposedly better than Black Friday.  And you can only access those sales if you’re an Amazon Prime member which costs something like $99/year.  So let’s look at an example of one of these supposed “great” deals:

   

When I was scrolling through the “Prime-Day Only” deals, I saw the handheld vacuum that I bought two years ago on Amazon, advertised today as being 49% off. What a deal, right? It was supposedly $69.99 originally:

So this struck me as odd, bc there was no way that I paid $70 for a handheld vacuum when I bought it two years ago. That just seems like way too much money for something as basic as a little vacuum. So I went back through my Amazon orders, and sure enough, there it was: 

 

I was right–I bought the exact same vacuum for the full price of $39.99!!!  And I know that this isn’t a huge revelation to most of you and it wasn’t a huge revelation to me, but it just makes me mad.  How is it okay to falsely inflate your prices and then promote a monster sale? A quick Google search shows that you can buy the same vacuum today at Target for only $37!

   
Alright, I’m going to step off my soap box now. I’m sure most of you don’t care about stuff like this, and I usually wouldn’t waste this much energy on it, but to be honest I was actually looking forward to Prime Day and hoping that I could maybe get a good deal on a new sports watch or maybe a Fitbit, but then I actually saw what was on sale and it was all “womp-womp.”  Kinda like choosing curtain #1 when everyone in the audience had been telling you to go with #2 . . . 

  
Oh well. At least I’ve got these two to brighten my day :)

  

Baby Bunches: Three Months

Even though I know the calendar says that Baby B is only three months old, my back and arms say he is closer to nine months. This kid is BIG. Total contrast to his big sis who was still a peanut at three months. 

  
He definitely is in the midst of a growth spurt and he’s working his way through clothes like it’s his job. 

He loves to chat away, especially when talking to the “other” Baby B in his play mirror. 

  
And he’s making a valiant effort at rolling over–he can get onto his side and he’s somehow able to spin around in circles.  Which is pretty much more than I think I could do right now from laying flat on my back. 

  

   
 
  
He is still super smiley and really chill. Just goes with the flow most days, which fits our family great at the moment since we never know which way we’ll be flowing on any given day. 

   
   
And his biggest fan is still his big sis (we have to constantly remind her to be gentle and not squeeze too tightly; plus, she is itching to carry him by herself. Oy!)

   

 

  

Mini Bunches Turns Three

Everyone told me it would go fast–friends, family, even strangers. When they saw my pregnant belly, they offered their unsolicited two cents: enjoy her as much as you can because before you know it she’ll be grown. And of course I nodded and smiled, but like with much of the advice I received, I took it with a grain of salt and a new parent’s cluelessness that it would be different for me. And it was–in the beginning. The first two weeks of her life were the slowest two weeks of mine–I thought they were never going to end. Maybe because I was awake for most of them? Who knows. But they ended. And the next three years were gone in a blink. Everyone was right–kids grow so fast.

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We celebrated her birthday with friends and family this weekend. She loves hosting parties and never wants them to end–having people at her house is pure heaven to her. But people over AND cake? It doesn’t get any better than that.

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Mr. Bunches and I marveled at how much our little baby has changed–no longer dependent on us, but increasingly self-sufficient. She was in her glory when she saw that she could reach all of the chips, popcorn, and pretzels herself. She made sure to fill up not just one Solo cup but three with her usually-forbidden treats–if they were there, she was going to make the most of it.

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She eagerly helped set-up the party and waited by the front window for her first friend to arrive–running outside with squeals of joy.

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We set up an art party–when you fail to make any plans until a week before the event, you go with what’s easy.  So we created a huge canvas on our back fence and let the kids (and some adults) go wild.

20150607_B_Bday_003I loved the end result.

20150607_B_Bday_010Happy Birthday Mini Bunches!  You are an absolute joy every day, and I can’t believe how fast the past three years have gone, but I’m so excited to see what the next years will bring . . .

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Baby Bunches: Two months

Fastest. Two. Months. Ever. 

 
And oh my goodness what a difference a month makes. He is all sorts of smiley and cooing, particularly just in the last couple of weeks. 

  

He loves his big sister–whenever she gets close, he greets her with an ear-to-ear grin, which of course she just adores. The funniest is that she changes her voice, raising it a few octaves, to talk all baby-like to him. Even has her own nicknames for him: cutie-patootie is my favorite. 

I can’t believe how fast it’s all going, and I’m still in the soaking-it-up phase. Lots of snuggles. 

   

  

  

  

 

Love him! Happy mid-June everyone :).  

Project 5: Refinishing Furniture with Minwax Polyshades

When we first moved into our home, the nursery looked like this: Before_House_Shot_0052 We then turned the room into a guest room, by basically adding a bed and some paint.  But let’s be honest–as any of our guests can attest to, the room was never really finished.  Sorry guests! So when we decided to turn this room into the nursery, we started with this:

And while I like the functionality of the built-ins and someday when the kids are older, it will be nice to have the desks and whatnot, I currently can’t stand the way they look.  The woods are all different shades!

And while we’re being honest, it’s not even really all wood. The countertop is actually a laminate, and the rest are all veneers. So, what was I to do? I could rip it out, but then we’d have a flooring issue since these are original to the house and so there are no wood floors underneath. I could paint it all, but that would take forever and remember: I was preggo at the time I tackled this project; I could sand and stain it all to try and match the laminate, but again: preggo and not interested in a ton of work. So what did I decide? To do a sort of mix: paint the shelves and trim, and then use a cheater method to stain the cabinets and drawers to match the countertop.  First up, priming and painting the shelves and trim (I used Kilz latex primer and Sherwin Williams Pro Classic color-matched to Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White).

  

Once the first coat of paint was on, then I caulked around all the edges. Then did the final coat of paint.  The next step was tackling the drawers and doors. I didn’t feel like sanding them down so that I could stain and seal them. Just too much work. So I decided to take yet another page out of the Young House Love handbook and try Minwax Polyshades.  Remember when YHL used this method to do their new kitchen’s lower cabinets?

My goal was to have the cabinets match the color of the laminate top. So I took some pics of the top with my phone and headed off to Lowe’s.

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There, I picked up some steel wool (per the directions on the Minwax can) and a can of Minwax Polyshades in Tudor, Satin finish (the same as YHL since it actually seemed that color would be a close match).   Once home, I then took all the hardware off the cabinets and drawers and used the steel wool all over everything. Then wiped it all down with a damp cloth.  I don’t have any pictures of these steps. Sorry. I then applied my first coat of the Polyshades. I bought a new paintbrush for this since it’s oil-based and I planned to just throw away the brush when I was done.  I found that this stuff goes on extremely sticky and it’s hard to get it to not show brush strokes. Even with a light hand. And even harder to get an even coat.  So be warned–it probably worked so well for YHL because they made their cabinets super dark. I’m not so sure this would look particularly good in a lighter color.  I started by doing the insides of the cabinet doors, just so I could get the hang of it before tackling parts that would actually be showing.  And I did get better at applying it. It took me only about 15 minutes to do the insides of the cabinets and all 12 drawer fronts (to allow for drying, my plan was to tackle the insides of the cabinets first and let those completely dry before moving on to the outside of the cabinets).  This stuff also royally stinks, so make sure you’ve got adequate ventilation.  Well, after one coat (and one day of drying time since dry and wet did look different), I found that the color was all wrong. The laminate top had way more red in it and the Tudor was definitely more of a chocolate brown.  Here’s a shot of one of the inside of the doors after one coat of Tudor:

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And here’s another phone shot of the laminate top (this time it looks totally different than before, right? Dang iPhone):

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See how it’s way more red? So I headed to Home Depot this time, where I discovered that HD carried an entirely different set of colors of Polyshades than Lowe’s. Not sure what that’s all about. But I ended up buying American Chestnut:  

My plan at that point (since I already had one coat done in the Tudor) was to just do my final coat in the American Chestnut. I figured that the blend of the two would be a close-enough match to the laminate top.  Following the instructions, I then rubbed my first coat down with more steel wool, and wiped it all down to remove any dust.  I then proceeded with applying the chestnut. I found the key was to get a decent amount in the brush, and apply it over the whole piece quickly. Then immediately go back and do long brush strokes with the grain from end to end. However, even with my technique perfected, I still found that the Polyshades went on smoother in some places than others. Here’s a pic of two drawers as an example:

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I finished the drawers first since they only had one side. I decided to keep the original hardware since the size was pretty unique and I couldn’t find a replacement I liked. Plus, being the lazy preggo woman that I was, I didn’t feel like going with a different size and then having to patch the old holes and drill new ones. Plus, brass is making a comeback these days, right?

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  From a distance, I think it looks pretty good and is a vast improvement over where it started.

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But close-up, well, let’s just say it’s not the best. It didn’t come out nearly as well as Mini B’s dresser.

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So if you want to use this on an heirloom or quality piece of furniture, then my advice? Don’t. Instead, take the time to actually sand it down and apply stain. Even if it is just veneer.  But, if it’s a piece you don’t really care about, and/or you’re looking for a quick fix, then this is the ticket. Although, while the application of the product goes quickly, with drying time it is still a multi-day affair.

And so this is where the nursery stood when Baby B made his debut:

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Now that he’s been around for two months, it’s probably about time that I get on finishing this room already.  Stay tuned . . .

Artifact Uprising Photo Cards

I am constantly amazed by people’s generosity. Seriously, Mr. Bunches and I are so lucky to have such amazing friends and family–and Baby Bunches has been the benefactor of all that love. Which brings me to the point of this post: my new favorite thank you cards!  

  
Granted, they aren’t technically thank you cards but that’s how I’m using them. Artifact Uprising uses your photos to make beautiful products. These cards are super high quality, printed on thick card stock. 

  
And you can choose ten of your favorite photos (so you don’t have to narrow it down to just one which would have been seriously impossible for me considering what a great job the photographer did). 

  
I can’t believe that I’m almost out of cards (like I said, we are blessed to have such thoughtful people in our lives), but I’m looking forward to ordering more.  And I need to peruse their other products too . . . 

  
Check out http://www.artifactuprising.com. Oh, and if you think this is some sort of sell-out, sponsored post, then um, you would be wrong. I’m just seriously gaga over this stuff. 

Baby Bunches: One Month

As a second child myself, I am determined to make sure that Baby Bunches doesn’t get jipped in the picture department (while my sister has loads of beautiful baby pictures, I think that there are a collective ten shots of my entire childhood, ages birth to 18; and somehow most of those are of my awkward years–or maybe I was just super awkward? Anyways, I digress).  The point is, I want Baby B to have a close-to-equal amount of pictures as Mini Bunches. And part of that includes the monthly photos for the first year. While with Mini B I went pretty simple, meaning no particular theme . . .

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I thought that with Baby B I would get a little more creative. So here goes: Baby B is one month old (and yes, there have been tears shed–how has a month already gone by?!?!)

My goal was to capture a few details about the month along with a pic of Baby B in his monthly onesie (thanks Auntie!). In case anyone is interested, the above pic was taken with an iPhone 6, edited in the VSCO cam app, and the text/graphics were added with the Over app.  And of course there were some shots that weren’t chosen . . .

  

What I think is super funny is that Baby B is sporting the same hairline at one month that Mini B was rocking at two months . . .

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