Life Love Larson: January 2013


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Saying Goodbye

We have made the heartbreaking decision to put our beloved Great Dane, Samson, to sleep tomorrow.  His quality of life is deteriorating and we know it is his time to go.  He fought hard to survive 3 months with cancer, and lived a healthy and happy life for 8.5 years before that.  Anyone who has ever owned, lost, or loved a dog knows how hard this is.


I have no words, and too many tears.  Please keep us in your prayers.  I am signing off until next week.  Hopefully then I can pull myself together enough to write a little tribute post about one of the GREATest Danes (and dogs) that ever lived.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Homemade Chai Tea Latte

I love my morning coffee.  Coffee makes me happy to get out of bed in the morning.  I always make it at home with a little hazelnut creamer.  Since I stopped drinking soda, I have been making a cup of hot tea in the afternoon (for a little pick me up).  I love Starbucks as much as the next person, but it is a treat for me.  I think it’s such a rip to spend $5 on a hot drink every day. 

I was at Walmart recently, perusing the tea/coffee aisle, and found a chai tea latte concentrate.  You simply add equal parts chai concentrate and milk, and heat up.  It’s so good!  A nice, hot treat at home!  I decided to use vanilla almond milk to add a little sweetness.


I found that using 3/4 cup of each works perfectly for this size of mug.  Microwave for 2 minutes.

chai 1

If only I could make myself start drinking more water! I’m so bad about that!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DIY Valentine Wreath

I was so happy to finally take down my Christmas/winter wreath.  Something about changing that out makes me feel a little closer to spring (even though I know we have a long way to go)!  I found a heart wreath form in my stash that I had picked up at Goodwill a few years back (1.99 tag still attached).  I was looking around at Hobby Lobby and decided I would wrap the wreath in ruffle trim.  In bright pink.

valentine 4

I underestimated how much trim it would actually take to wrap this thing.  I bought just shy of 6 yards and it wasn’t enough, so I had to improvise. 

valentine 2

I decided to cut small strips and pin them to the back to try to utilize every little piece of trim.  If you try this, just get enough trim to wrap the whole thing!  I was being lazy and didn’t want to go back to the store!

valentine 3

I then wrapped some white satin trim at the top for a little contrast and tied it up with some pink/white striped ribbon I already had on hand.  The trim is 2.49/yard, but I used a 40% off coupon.  This wreath cost be about $10 to make.

valentine 5

I think it looks fun and festive against our painted blue door!  Can you believe it is almost February?!

Linking up with:

Friday, January 25, 2013


Happy Friday, friends!  Steve has been gone all week, so the kids and I are anxiously waiting his arrival.  Of course, I always have to tackle a little project when he is out of town.  This week, I repainted my red dresser.  It’s still red, but I used a latex enamel paint this time around.  The old paint job was looking dull and the top was scuffed.  I will be doing a full post on this, but here is the paint I used.  The color was already mixed and less than $10!


I’m also on the hunt for an indoor tree to put either in the dining room area or the living room.  You all know I love me some plants (indoor and out)!  I must be because my mom always had plants in our house (and still does).  They bring color and life and texture to a room.  They make rooms feel cozy and lived in.  They also purify the air in your home.  Love them. 

My sister found a great one at Lowe’s a few months back, and I can’t seem to find one like it.  Here is one I was considering, but I ended up not getting it.  I might hold out for a fiddle leaf fig or an indoor fruit tree.  It will all depend on how easy they are to grow, so I need to do a little more research.  I welcome any and all recommendations! 


In non-related house stuff, Drew has started basketball and is loving it.  He also learned how to tie his shoes this week!  Oh, and the first meeting for incoming kindergartner’s is in two weeks.  LIFEISFLASHINGBEFOREMYEYES!


We continue on our emotional journey of living with a dog with lymphoma.  Today we start Prednisone.  Time will tell.  We sure do love this guy (and we sure do love wearing pj’s that don’t match)!


A little mother…even while she sleeps.  And doesn’t everyone wear a pink headband to bed? :)IMG_2703

In blog related news, I wanted to extend a huge thank you to three blogs for featuring a project of mine this week.

House of Hepworths –  DIY Headband Storage
Lil’ LunaCleaning a Stainless Steel Sink
It’s OverflowingCleaning a Stainless Steel Sink

As always, thank you for stopping by, commenting, posting my projects on your FB page, pinning my projects, referring my blog to your friends, etc.  I certainly don’t do this for money (don’t start a blog if you want to become rich)!  I love having a forum to share life and projects and connect with all of you.  Even though I know more people than just my mom and sister visit the blog now (close to 20,000 page views last month which is a big number for this little blog), I’m always just trying to keep it real.  Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blog world!  Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DIY No-Sew Window Valance (Using Tension Rods)

When I blogged about the DIY Pom Garland, a few of you inquired about my chevron valance.  This is such an easy DIY project if you are looking to bring a little color/pattern to a kitchen window without blocking out the natural light.

valance 1

This is simply a small piece of fabric cut to the width of the window.  You can choose how long or short you want the valance to hang down.  In my case, this is the only window in my kitchen, so it was important to keep it as open as possible. 

Next, you will need to use a no-sew bonding agent and an iron to seal the sides of the valance.

valance 2

For the top and bottom, you will need to keep enough space open to insert a small tension rod.  You will want to create a little rod pocket.


Once everything has been “no-sewed” into place, slide your tension rods on the top and bottom of the valance and insert inside your window frame.  You can purchase cheap tension rods anywhere….Target, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, etc.  You won’t see them, so it doesn’t matter how ugly they are!

valance 1

I purchased one yard of fabric at Hobby Lobby for $5, and I was able to make this valance, a no-sew pillow, and use as a cover for the DIY Headband Storage.  I will probably change the fabric on this valance often simply because it’s cheap and easy to do (and I have unreasonable urges to change things up in my house)!


Linking up with:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lego Storage Wars: The Sort

I was in a mood yesterday, specifically about the Legos taking over Drew’s room.  So, I dumped them all in the middle of his room in a sort of “shock and awe” moment.  I then told him that all Legos would be sorted today and he would be helping me.  Insert a 5-year old jaw drop now. 

We have acquired a lot an insane amount of Legos over the course of 5 years.  If you know us, and you might ever purchase a gift for my child in the future, please take Legos off your list!  NO MORE!  I also dumped all clothes out of his drawers (see the pile in the back corner) in my fit of rage trying to gain some order. 


I get Legos.  I completely get it.  I know Drew has gained invaluable skills from playing with Legos and I am completely happy that he will sit and play with them for hours and rebuild and tear down and rebuild.  I also know he will continue to play with these for years to come so they are the gift that keeps on giving.  I get it and I support it. What I don’t get (or support)is how difficult it is to keep them all in check!!!!! 

We keep all Legos in Drew’s room because he wakes up and plays with them, plays with them at quiet time in the afternoon, and he likes to keep them in “his” space, away from the neutral toy room :).  We are currently thinking of a long term solution for a Lego table and shelves to store some of his creations.  For now, I just want them sorted.  I want every little yellow head and mini sword and little box legs to have a spot to call their own.  I don’t sound angry about this at all, do I??!!


Based on what we currently have, here is the shake down of bins:
1.  Red, yellow, blue pieces
2.  Knights
3.  Gray, black, brown pieces
4.  Wheels, steering wheels, and motorcycles
5.  Star Wars
6.  Miscellaneous heads, bodies, hair, hats
7.  Ninjago Ship
8.  White and green pieces
9.  Ninjago
10. Instruction manuals
11. Miscellaneous pieces:  all leftover pieces that don’t have a specific place
12. Ninjago Vehicle
13. Star Wars Vehicles

It is amazing how consolidated these little guys can become. The red and green bins go in the white IKEA storage bin you see in the top picture.  I would so recommend this if you are in need of something.  The top acts as a play space on which to build.  The clear plastic bins have lids and get stacked in Drew’s closet.

TROFAST frame, white Width: 39 " Depth: 17 3/8 " Height: 21 5/8 " Width: 99 cm Depth: 44 cm Height: 55 cm

TROFAST storage box, green Length: 16 ½ " Width: 11 ¾ " Height: 4 " Length: 42 cm Width: 30 cm Height: 10 cm

Drew was so happy and proud that this got done yesterday.  Hopefully he will be more responsible with keeping them organized since he helped make it happen.  He knows that I will start taking Legos away if he doesn’t!  Stay tuned for future storage in his room.  Hoping to make his small room as functional and age appropriate as possible.

How’s that for a Monday morning Lego rant?  I know you feel my pain if you have a Lego lover in your house!  Have a great week!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Changing A Home Humidifier Pad

This week, I had an HVAC guy out looking at our heater as part of some warranty work we are having done.  He opened up our home humidifier box (which holds a filter pad) and he discovered it had mold growing on it!  We knew we had humidity control in our house.  This looks like a thermostat and should be located near your furnace.  It has a dial on it so you can determine the amount of humidity you want in your home.  We recently had water droplets on the inside of our windows, so we knew we needed to turn the humidity levels down (not sure if these are found in southern homes or not).

We DID NOT KNOW there was a box located just below the dial that holds a filter pad that needs to be changed at least once a year!  This was the first we had ever heard of this, which is why I am sharing this information.  You must go look and see if you have this in your home and if so, go replace your pad immediately!!

I purchased this one at Home Depot for about $10.  The guy told me I needed a #35 (be sure to look on the side of the model you own so you know what size to get).  Our humidifier is not Honeywell brand, but the sizes must come pretty standard.
These photos were taken in our dark, unfinished basement, so I had to use a flash and they are terrible, but you get the idea.  Here is what the humidity control dial looks like (white box) as well as the box that holds the filter (gray box).
Pull off the front of the gray box and you will see the filter.  Here is a picture of the moldy filter (we have only lived in our house for one year).  The new filter is stark white, so this is pretty gross!
You need to unplug the hose at the top and remove the filter (this will have a black plastic case around it).  Insert the new filter, place back in the box, and insert the hose again.  Ah, maybe we will all breathe a little better now!  While you are at it, you might as well check to see if your air filter needs changed too!
I am so glad I had the HVAC guy out here.  We would have been breathing mold in for months/years to come if I hadn’t learned this information!  This is our 4th home and this information was new to us.  Maybe our other homes didn’t have home humidifiers because we lived in the south, and maybe everyone else knows about this and we are the ignorant ones, but I wanted to pass along this information just in case (especially to all my neighbors who read)! 
Cheers to breathing easy!  I have already made a note in my planner to change this again in October, before we start to run our heat again. 
Curious to know if anyone else was in the dark about this?
Thursday, January 17, 2013

DIY: Easy Headband Storage

Lately, Kate is wearing fewer and fewer bows (much to my dismay), and more and more headbands.  I needed some storage for the growing collection!  There are several tutorials and versions of this on Pinterest, and it really is such an easy project.  Best part…this project cost me $0, because I already had everything on hand!

headband 1

These are the supplies I used: Mod Podge, fabric, empty oatmeal container, hot glue, and spray paint (for the lid).  Start off my wiping out the inside of the oatmeal container and ripping off the label.


I used a piece of left over chevron fabric from my stash that was the perfect size (although the pattern is turned on its side).  You just want enough fabric to cover the cylinder with a little extra on each side to glue on the inside of the container.


I used the Mod Podge as a glue.  Put a thin layer on the container and smooth down the fabric until it starts to adhere.  Work in small sections to make sure you fabric is even on both sides.

When you get to the end, tuck the extra fabric under and hot glue (sort of like wrapping a gift).


Once the base is done, you will want to hot glue the extra fabric to the top and bottom of the container. 


This is what it looks like once the fabric is adhered to the container. 


Now, you will want to take your Mod Podge and apply a thin layer over the fabric.  This sets it and gives it a hard coating.  Don’t worry, it will dry clear.


Let this sit overnight and it will be ready for use in the morning!  You could also use the inside of the container for storage. 


I decided to go ahead and spray paint the lid of the oatmeal container too.

One of these days I will get around to embellishing the plain headbands, but for now, she can wear these and a winter hat, so it works for me!  I love the extra pattern and color it will add to her bedroom too!

headband 3

Linking up with:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Homemade Peanut Butter & Honey Dog Treats

As I have mentioned a few times, our Great Dane, Samson, is having some medical issues.  We are doing our very best to spoil him rotten.  He has been losing weight over the course of several weeks, so we have been trying to mix in healthy fats in his diet (puppy food is good for this too as it contains additional fat).  I have had this dog treat recipe sitting in a drawer and finally gave it a try.  Samson has been happily enjoying these for several days now!

dog treats

You can quickly make these with a few ingredients you have on hand.  Store them in a paper bag and they will last several days!

Peanut Butter & Honey Drops (for dogs)
3/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 T. honey
1 t. peanut butter
1/4 cup shortening
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 t. vanilla

Melt honey and peanut butter in microwave until runny.  Mix in remaining ingredients and drop on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. * I use a melon baller to get the drops the same size.  I also have a large dog with a large mouth.  For smaller dogs, simply roll into tiny drops and lessen the cooking time so they don’t burn.  The pictures below show two batches. 

Treat your furry friend!  They will thank you!



I made homemade 2-ingredient dog treats this summer.  Dog people love their dogs, which I love.  This was a very popular post this summer!  You can find that post here

Linking up with:

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Ears are Pierced!

A hunt for new basketball shoes for Drew brought the four of us to the mall on Saturday.  We struck out on shoes (is everyone in KC a kid’s size 12.5?), but we didn’t walk away from the mall empty handed.  Little Miss Kate took the plunge and got her ears pierced!IMG_2542We had previously talked about getting them done around her 4th birthday, but she was never really serious about it.  We were passing by Claire’s and I mentioned to Kate that she should get her ears pierced while we were there.  Without hesitation she said she wanted to do it.  The girl at the ear piercing station showed her the earrings and that was it, she was sold! 

Figuring we should just go with the moment, she sat up in the chair, I filled out the paperwork, and we picked out a pair of earrings (3 mm CZ studs).  Here she is pre-earrings with “Claire Bear”.IMG_2535The whole time I am filling everything out, I am certain she is going to back out at the last second.  Although, she was confident and smiling and ready and never waivered.  Between how fast decisions were being made and it being a spontaneous gesture, I was more nervous than she was!  Actually, Drew was the most nervous.  He told Steve he couldn’t stand to watch because he didn’t want to see Kate get hurt (awwww!).

A few things to note….I made the Claire’s employee redo the dots (twice) because I was so worried about them being uneven (this is permanent and I was being “that mom”).  I also had another guy working come over and look at the dots and he fixed them again.  Ha!  This sounds dramatic, right?  Several people had told me to have the ears pierced at the same time.  I requested this and they had no problem doing it…the only way to go in my opinion! She let out an “ouch”, but no tears.  We were so proud of her.  Here is the after shot…IMG_2537I big moment for a little girl.  A confidence boost.  She won’t stop showing off her ears.  She also got a haircut this morning, so she now sports an adorable little bob.  Say goodbye to tangles and fighting over hair in the morning!  IMG_2579

Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Recent Happenings

It’s Friday and it’s supposed to be in the mid 60’s in KC-woo hoo!  I thought it was a good day to give you a peek at what we have been up to (since I missed 10 on 10 yesterday).

******I’ve had a few people ask recently about how to receive email notifications when a new post goes up.  If you wish to recieve these, the easiest way is to enter your email address on right hand side under “follow by email” and hit “submit”.*******

Also, a huge thank you to House of Hepworths for featuring my DIY Pom Garland! 

We have been working on math and channeling our inner Taylor Swift!IMG_1909IMG_2397

We enjoyed another snowfall…shoveling and building a miniature snowman…IMG_2414IMG_2391

We went skating with friends…Drew is not a fan and Kate is roller girl!

Kate got a princess vanity for Christmas along with some cheap (real) makeup.  Drew is her main client…IMG_2408

My very own mini blogger…taking pictures with her “iphone” of everything she thought was cute while shopping at the West Bottoms!IMG_2432

A sweet sleepover…and she loves to wear Drew’s old sports jerseys to bed :)IMG_2447

Preschool and basketball and gymnastics and dance in full force again…let the taxi driving continue!IMG_2477

Hope your weekend is fantastic!  Steve and I are sneaking out for a little date tonight and hoping to make it a productive weekend!  Cheers!