Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pool Process - A mountain is created

They started the stonework on the pool last week. I asked for a dry stack of the stones for the spa and this is how it started. There is no exterior grout shown, hence, "dry stack." I had no idea how labor intensive it took. An entire day's worth of work is shown in the picture.

Add in another day and the spa looks almost complete.

The third day created the final look of our spa.

I was a little shocked when I saw the cascades because that was exactly what I didn't want. I wanted a large flat boulder that laid across the top, creating a small waterfall onto the bench that sat below the spa.

Our pool builder was so gracious and wonderful. I didn't make a big deal about and was wondering if I could live with it, but he said I shouldn't have to. All I needed was to find a picture of what I wanted and he would recreate that look for me in my pool. I did my massive hour long search and did find a picture of what I envisioned the spill to look like, BUT I decided to keep the cascades instead. Looking at the whole picture, I thought it was a safer choice for my kids. The boulder I wanted would extend beyond the spa and knowing my kids, they would stand on the seating below and knock their heads on it. Also, it mirrors the slide steps on the other side of the pool so I am keeping it as is and am happy about it. I guess this is just a happy mistake.

Here is a picture of the opposite side of the pool. The boulders connect the spa to the slide.

Our coping around the pool.

Here is the start of the massive grotto slide. Day 1 was only the start. You couldn't even tell in the beginning what it would be.

Day 2 was all about foundation. Cinder blocks were used as a foundation to hold up the large boulders.

Day 3 was finishing all the stone work. They covered all the cinder blocks and finished the stairs.

The stairs are just what I ordered. My 1 year old can climb those steps. I must say that while I was at the top, it was a bit scary. I was nearly 6 feet high.

Over all pictures of the stone process.

Here's our mountain. It is crazy.

The tile company did not have the tile we selected so we have to wait on that. The company says 3-4 weeks, but the pool builder is trying to expedite the shipment and get it in 3 days. Until then, this is our pool. It is without tiles, but it has come miles. I cannot believe this was created in only 25 days! The process is occurring in record time as far as I am concerned.

3 weeks to go and I couldn't be happier.

Try Wink and Get Your First Photostrip Free

Wink is a new service from Shutterfly that lets you create printed photostrips using your pictures from Shutterfly, Facebook, Flickr or your iPhone. Photostrips are printed on high quality photo paper and delivered anywhere in the world in a custom mailer.

What’s a photostrip? It’s a 2x6 print like the kind you get from an old school photo booth, but with Wink you use your own pictures. Photostrips cost just $2.50 each, including tax and shipping.

Try Wink by visiting wink.shutterfly.com. Your first photostrip is free. I can't wait to make one of my kids.

Free Arby's Roast Beef Sandwich

Arby's is offering a free roast beef sandwich with a soft drink purchase. Click here to print coupon. The coupon expires April 10th.

Monday, March 29, 2010

50 FREE prints at CVS

Click here to get 50 FREE prints when you sign up for a new account at CVS! Offer ends March 31st!

Free Photobook from Picaboo

Click here to get a free 8.5x11 Hardcover Photo Book (up to $39.99 value) with 20 pages fro Picaboo using the code AFFLGB if you are a brand new customer. You will pay $8.99 shipping.

There are three cover styles to choose from: Large Classic, Classic Leather, and Classic Custom. This offer expires on March 31, 2010.

If you don't want to make a PHOTO book, think about making an ABC book for a birthday gift!

thanks DFW Mommy!

Free Milk at Whataburger Tomorrow

Whataburger is giving free milk with a purchase of one or more cookies tomorrow and Wednesday.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Free Sample of Burt's Bees Natural Toothpaste

It's time for another freebie. I just got my free sample of Burt's Bees Toothpaste in the mail. To get your free sample, go here. Allow 8 weeks for delivery. Here is what I got.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Disney On Ice

We took the kids to Disney On Ice last night since they all loved it so much last year. Getting my boys to sit still is a difficult thing to do, but last year, their eyes were glued to the center ice watching their favorite characters skate around. This year was no exception. A is older and he definitely enjoyed the show. He was such in aw. I spent most of the night watching my kids watch the show, rather than watch the show itself.
This year, we opted for closer seats, but to get those seats, we needed to go on a school night. The weather was horrible. It poured just as we got there and was still pouring when it was over. However, it was worth it. She show was even better than it was last year, incorporating even the latest characters such as the Princess and the Frog characters. How do they skate around with those masks on? Toy Story 3 is coming out and my kids have been anxiously awaiting for it this summer. They were so excited to see their characters twirl in the air.
When we got home, all the kids crashed. That alone, made the show worth it. Can't wait for next years show.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Plumbing and Pool Equipment

I don't have a picture of the plumbing because they dug the trenches, laid the pipes and covered the trenches so it looks basically the same as it did before the plumbing was done. However, this is what my backyard looked like on Sunday. The weather here is so unpredictable. Friday temperatures were a nice 72 degrees. I was wearing a nice summer dress with no sweater. Sunday morning, E comes downstairs to tell me that we have snow. It must have been 6-8 inches on my lawn furniture. I ran out and took one picture and ran back inside. I am ready for the spring. Snow snow go away! Which it did later that afternoon.

Monday morning, no snow was left and so the pool builder was out and about with the next step in our pool project, digging trenches for the plumbing. All the equipment was delivered to be installed on Tuesday so things are definitely moving a long.

Last night, I made my tile and stone choices. Here is what I selected. I hope it ends up looking like what I envision.

For my spa, I chose the stone to be dry stacked. I don't like seeing grout so this is perfect. I like how it looks very natural.

We originally like the irregular stacked stone shown below, but we see that all the time and so we wanted something a little different.
Our waterline tile will be these little tiles. It matches our kitchen completely, tying our indoors with our outdoors. Once again, I liked the natural stone look. It will also tie into the tiles on the slide.

Our slide will be tiled like this one. However, we had to choose a different tile for the slide. I liked the way this one looks, but with little kids, we wanted a slick and smooth tile that had rounded edges. So this is what we went with.
Surprise surprise, it is stone colored as well. The grotto will look like the picture above where there is a ledge in the middle with rocks gradually coming down. However, the entire structure will be more massive like this one.

We did not want our kids to have to climb a ladder to get to the top of the slide like most slides require. We paid the additional stone costs to have small gradual steps to the top like this picture. Of course that takes up more pool and deck space, but we feel it will be worth it. We have a play set that requires our kids to climb up to the slide and I cringe every time I see my 1 year old try to be like his big brothers climbing up the ladder.

For our pool finish, we selected this exposed aggregate color. We haven't seen it yet which makes me nervous. We are supposed to tour some pools in the coming weeks to make sure this is indeed the color we want.

We wanted a dark blue greyish color. We did not want the teal green color that white plaster projects. Hopefully, this color will give us the lagoonish feel we are trying to get. I like the pool on the right, but not the one on the left. I suppose the color changes depending upon the sun.

I also like this aggregate color, black onyx, but I wonder if it is going to be too hot in the summer. The really dark color will raise the temperature waters.

They are going to try to tile and rock the pool this week. It is supposed to rain today and tomorrow so I don't know how much can actually get done. However, Friday should be a great weather day so if they are able to start and finish this week, we will be ahead of schedule. All that will be left is decking and spraying the pool finish.

Projected completion date is still by April 16th which is close to four weeks away. That is crazy to me because I predicted at the start of this process, it would definitely be in May. Hopefully, I didn't jinx myself by saying that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Free Pastry at Starbucks Today!

Print this coupon or show it on your mobile device at participating Starbucks store today between opening and 10:30 a.m. to receive one free pastry with the purchase of any handcrafted, brewed or iced beverage. Scroll down this blog to read about another free offer from Ben & Jerry's today.

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Today!

TODAY is Ben & Jerry's Free cone day. Between 12 - 8 PM today you will get a free cone. To find a location near you, click here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Building a bed - Part 2

I woke up early this weekend to work on my bed. It's coming a long quite nicely. I did have some setbacks when I decided to change my design for the third time. I wanted the side boards to match the foot board, but that required me to widen the legs of my head board and foot board. It was a little difficult to take a part the head board and foot board, especially when I designed it not to be taken apart. It took a while, but I did it. It was crushing to see it dismantled, but worth it. That is why there is one board on the head board that is unstained. I stained the head board BEFORE deciding to change the bed. It won't look this way when I stain those boards to match.

I am nearly done. The only thing that remains for me to finish building is the trundle. I ran out of wood again. It's just missing the supports and the bottom board to hold up the mattress. I am so sore from working on the bed this weekend. I spent hours squatting to sand and drill, working out my hips, calves and definitely my arms and shoulders. Who needs to go to the gym when all they need to do is build a bed to get a workout? It's day two and I am still sore as ever. However, it was totally worth it.

Hopefully, I will have some time this coming weekend to finish up the trundle and I can start staining it. It will still need 2 coats of polyurethane with sanding in between. A must according to my dad for an ultra smooth finish. He's the expert so I will oblige. I am excited! I'll post more pictures when I am completely done!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Toy Story DVD Coupons

Get $5.00 off the Toy Story Blu Ray Combo Pack. Save $10 when you buy both Toy Story 1 and 2. Get coupons here. Movie is scheduled to be released on March 23rd, but print your coupons now before they're gone.
If you already have a copy of Toy Story and you are upgrading, you can get $10 coupons through disney rewards, here. Fry's has the Toys Story 1 and Toy Story 2 Blu-Ray and DVD combo on sale for $19.97 each. If you buy both movies, you can automatically save $10 on top of those coupons. There is also a coupon for a FREE movie ticket to Toy Story 3 for when it comes out in theaters inside the package of each movie.

Here is the deal:

Toy Story 1 $19.97
Toy Story 2 $19.97

automatic $10 off (makes each movie 14.97 each)
use 2 $10.00 coupons (if you are upgrading)
Final Price = $4.97 for each movie + earn 2 FREE tickets for Toy Story 3

That is a final price of $9.94 for 2 DVD’s and 2 movie tickets. Super deal! This deal will start Tuesday, March 23, when the movies are released. If you aren't upgrading, then the final price will be $19.94 using the 2 $5.00 coupons. That makes each DVD $9.97. Not as great of a deal, but still a good price for the blu-ray copy.

Displaying and Storing your Child's Artwork

I have been promising my husband that I would fill and hang the dozen empty frames that have been sitting on the floor in my bedroom for the past couple of months. Last Friday was the first Friday where I didn't have to volunteer so I made myself a long list of to do's and started bright and early in the morning.

I didn't exactly know what I was going to do with all those frames, but I was going to do something or they would be returned. Yet, its so hard for me to return anything that is 75% off. I was cleaning out my son's backpack after he came home from school and discovered a great treasure. I found so much artwork that I absolutely love. I have framed my kids artwork before and now was the time to do it again. Below is my favorite piece E painted. I had to frame it immediately. My snapshot doesn't do his work justice.

It's E's interpretation of his trip to McDonald's. Do you see the golden arches above the red building?

If you are a parent, you are bound to be inundated with piles of artwork which can be a little overwhelming. The refrigerator has only so much space and you can't frame everything. Here is my solution to the stacks of artwork that come home in your child's bag. When my child comes home with something, I place it in this big box where I store all my kids artwork. This box only stores art pieces and nothing more. It is just a temporary storage place and at the end of each month, I pull out all the artwork and sort by child. I then take a picture of everything. I would sort the digital images into folders, by year, by child's name and age. Here is E's newest creation. It is a picture of a fish under water. This picture would be stored under 2010/E/5years.

After each piece has been photographed, I would sort the pieces into two stacks. I would keep the pieces that I love the most. Usually, this consists of just drawings and paintings. I would then throw away (yes, throw away) the rest, usually colored pages, handouts, etc. I have too many kids and too much artwork that I just don't have enough space to keep every single keepsake. I have a picture of everything so I do keep a copy of it, just not the physical artwork itself. The ones that I do keep, but not hang or frame, I file.

The artwork is separated like the pictures, into child's name and age so if I need to ever look up something that E did when he was 3 or I want a copy of A's hand print when he was 6 months, it would take me less than a minute to locate.

So what do you do with the hundreds of pictures you have taken of your child's artwork? What I do is I turn it into a photo book of their artwork. I won't take credit for this idea. I learned it on Oprah. Here is a book I created for E. It consists of all my favorite pieces that he created when he was 3-4. I plan on making one every one or two years for each of my kids.

The cover is also a piece that he painted. Inside the book contains everything that I love. You can also add descriptions of the artwork if you would like. I made this book through shutterfly. They gave me a free photo book once and I have been hooked ever since.

I think that having the great pieces that your child creates all in one single book is better than having stacks and stacks of artwork that may not be as enticing to sift through. Not only is it a keepsake for yourself, your child will absolutely love to look through it as well.

I have also made photo books that describes my child's year. Creations are limitless. You just have to use your imagination. If you don't feel that you have one, just borrow your child's.
I have discovered that the best artwork for my walls, for a book can sometimes be right inside my child's back pack. Take a look and you just might be surprised at what you find.
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