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Our DIY Farmhouse Table

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Before moving from Tennessee to Florida last year (a whole year since we closed on May 4th…so hard to believe!), we sold our dining room set. It had seen 17 years of use and 3 moves but was still in pretty good shape. It was large and heavy, and we decided to sell it rather than carting it across the country and taking up moving truck space. Plus, I wanted something that could more easily seat 10 or more people. That table is now continuing its purpose with a young family whose third child would have been born sometime last year.

When we arrived in Florida, I began a hunt for a large table. I looked at stores first and decided those tables were way out of our price range. Then I searched Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, and such and decided I didn’t want to pay those crazy prices either for something used when I was sure I could make something for far less money.

I started with a plan for a farmhouse table designed to seat 10 to 12 people which was provided in a blog at Home Talk (Click here). I made alterations to the length of the table top and to the base. I also did not use exterior supplies as our table was to be used inside in our dining room. As I finished this table going on a year ago, I will try (to the best of my memory) to provide detailed instructions because the link for the original DIY blogger’s detailed instructions no longer works. Please read through all instructions first. I will be happy to answer any questions.


Materials Needed:

16 – 2x4x10
4 – 4x6x12
wood glue
Kreg pocket hole jig
2½″ pocket hole screws
2½” wood screws
countersink drill bit
wood stain
polyurethane


For the Table Top:

First, I changed the length of the table. I used their cut list, but I changed the length of the table to more comfortably and easily accommodate 12 people. (See strike throughs in my cut list for changes.) If my measurements seem odd, it is because I determined to make the table as long as possible for the space available. I had purchased 10 foot 2×4’s, and they happened to be 120 5/8 long, so that became the length of my table. The pieces below are cut three inches shorter than their full length to allow for the trim pieces that wrap around the table.


Table Top Cut List:

5 – 2×4 @ 105 1/2″ 117 5/8″ each
4 – 2×6 @ 105 1/2″ 117 5/8″ each

First make your cuts. Lay the 9 pieces of the table top next to each other to ensure you have them all the same length. If you have access to a planer, it will make the table assemble more easily and make sanding easier. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about planers before finishing this project! Before assembling the table top, you will want to use a Kreg pocket hole jig to make predrilled holes. You will want to make pocket holes about every 12 inches or so along the sides of the boards in order to screw them into each other. You will also want pocket holes on the ends of the boards and sides of the outside boards to screw the trim on (see picture below).

To begin assembling the table top, you need a very large flat surface. (I used my garage floor, which I discovered is not at all flat, and I blame any imperfections in our table on that!) You will alternate the five 2×4’s with the four, long 2×6’s. Start on one side, and glue the first two boards together using clamps if you have them to ensure they stay properly lined up. Then screw in the pocket hole screws. Complete for all table top boards.


Table top supports cut list:

3 – 2×4 @ 39 ½″ each with each end cut at 45° angle on 2″ side
6 – 2×4 @ 39 ½″ each with each end cut at 45° angle on 4″ side
Once all boards are screwed together, screw (countersink) in the three bottom supports (39.5″ 2×4 pieces) using wood glue and 2½ wood screws. Place one in the middle of the table top and the other two about 16″ from the ends.  

In the picture below to the left, you will see additional pieces of wood screwed into the sides of these supports. We did this to make the assembly with the legs a little easier and more secure. They are the same length as the supports, but the angles are cut on the 4″ side of the board. The legs fit into the slots created, making screwing them in easier and so much safer!


Table top trim cuts:

2 – 2×4 @ 108 1/2 120 5/8″
2 – 2×4 @ 43 3/16″ each

These four pieces of wood will be screwed around the top to trim out the table. Using a miter saw, cut 45 degree angles on each end. Be careful to check and recheck against the top of your table to ensure they fit together nicely before making final cuts! Use wood glue and pocket screws to attach the trim pieces. We found them to still be a little wobbly, so we also countersunk some wood screws into the outside of the trim to attach it more tightly. We later filled the holes with wood filler and sanded.


For the table base:

I also altered the base to include 3 legs (one near each end and one in the middle) as opposed to two legs near the ends with supports between. (See strike throughs in my cut list for changes.)

Table Base Cut List:

8 12 – 2×4 @ 17″ each, with each end cut at 45 degree angle
4 6 – 2×4 @ 24″ each
4 6 – 2×4 @ 6″ each
2 4 – 2×4 @ 30 5/16″ each, with each end cut at a 45 degree angle
2 4 – 2×4 @ 33 7/16″ each, with each end cut at a 45 degree angle
2 4 2×4 @ 35 11/16″ each, with each end cut at a 45 degree angle
1 – 2×3 @ 68 1/2″, (cut 2×4 to 68 1/2″, and then rip board down to 3″ wide on table saw)

The easiest way to begin assembling the base legs is to start by predrilling holes in the 30 5/16″ about 3/4 from the end of the angles. Then screw wood screws partway in as shown left

Stand two of the 24″ boards on the floor and place a 30 5/16″ board on top to form an upside down “U.” The longer part of the board should be facing up, and the 24″ boards will be screwed in just next to the angles. Once this is complete, screw the 33 7/16 piece into the 30 5/16 piece making sure to line up the angles on both ends. If they don’t create a smooth surface, you will fix it in the sanding process. 


Next, screw two 6″ boards on the ends of the 33 7/16″ boards so that they are flush.  Finally, you will want to create the diamond supports in each base leg. It’s helpful to have two people to first line up the two bottom pieces and have one person hold them in place while the other screws them in using wood screws and countersinking them. Then simply line up the top pieces and screw them in. Repeat this process for each of the table three legs.


Finishing Touches:

Sanding and finishing this beast was a long process that we probably skimped on too much in an effort to just get a table made our family could eat at in our new home. I wish I had sanded the wood a bit prior to assembly, which would have helped a bit as well. And a planer would have been a fantastic tool to have!! I also now wish I would have put some clear caulk between the table top boards. I tried to fill the gaps between boards with the polyurethane, but it didn’t quite do the job, so food gets in there.

Fill in any screw holes with wood filler, and then sand the top and base pieces. Stain to your desired color. Then finish with polyurethane following the directions on the can.


Assembling the Finished Product:

It took our entire family (all 6 of us) working together to assemble this table. The top alone was crazy heavy, and it would not have fit well through doors fully assembled, so we brought the legs in separately from the top and assembled it in place in the dining room. I predrilled holes in the four parts of each leg that would attach to the supports. They were predilled at an angle on the straight parts of the legs, and I predrilled straight down in the diagonal parts of the legs. Basically, it took Darren and all four kids holding the table top while I got underneath to line up the legs. Then we all held it steady while Darren screwed it all in.

 


See my next blog on building the chairs to see the fully finished product!


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3 Types of Media Every Foster and Adoptive Home Must Have

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We are increasingly surrounded by all types of media in our world. Finding media that is beneficial (or simply not harmful) can be challenging. Our major goal is to make locating media that can help your family connect, grow, and bond without causing harmful side effects. There are three types of media resources that we have learned every foster and adoptive home must have.


1. For the Parents

Extra responsibility accompanies the titles of foster or adoptive parents. A willingness to learn and adjust to meet a child’s needs is vital to parenting a foster or an adopted child. It is essential that parents be ever finding resources that help them understand their child and meet the child’s needs. We have several searchable lists for parents where they can find media about all topics related to parenting: Books by Adoptees, Books for Adults (everything from attachment to school success to specific disabilities and more!), Memoirs, Fiction, Movies for Grown Ups, Songs, Blogs Lists.

2. About Foster Care, Adoption, or Other Related Topics with Children as the Target Audience

Foster children and adopted children often do not experience books or movies to which they can truly relate. They often feel abnormal and alone. Media with themes of foster care or adoption can help normalize the experiences of foster and adopted children, give them characters to relate, start healthy conversations, and help them not to feel alone. Not all media with foster care or adoption themes is beneficial. Some can be triggering, and some can be harmful if an adult is not on duty to help a child process or understand the media. Our 10 Questions for Discovering Media Triggers Which Harm Foster and Adoptive Kids may be helpful in considering which media you need to skip as a family. Check out these lists of media for your kids: General Kids’ Books, Foster Care Children’s Books, Foster Care Adoption Children’s Books, Domestic Adoption Children’s Books, Transracial and International Adoption Children’s Books. NOTE: We have not had a chance to review all the media on these lists, and it is important that you evaluate if a piece of media could be detrimental to your child’s specific situation.

3. For Fun and Connection

Reading, listening to music, and watching movies with family provides shared experiences with which to bond and connect. Media provides a great starting point for healthy conversations. And quite honestly, as foster and adoptive families we are often dealing with “tough stuff” in our daily lives, and we all need to decompress and just chill out. Sometimes we need to just have a side-by-side shared experience without having to think or communicate.


Now It’s Your Turn:

  1. What impact has media had on your foster or adoptive family?
  2. Is there any media that you would absolutely recommend?
  3. Is there any media which you have found harmful that you would absolutely discourage against?

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Autism on the Seas: Vacationing with a Family Member with Special Needs

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It was our first family vacation as foster parents…our first vacation as parents at all for that matter! We arrived at our destination after about a six hour drive, the vacation hadn’t even really started yet, and already we were feeling pretty devastated. We were convulsing with the stress of the drive with our van full of little people. We had used all the strategies our parents had used and that we had heard other parents use for taking trips with kids. Why didn’t it work?! The vacation did not get any better. We had some fun times, but they were overwhelmingly overshadowed by challenging behaviors, drama, and stress. We felt doomed that we would never be able to take another vacation again!

We frequently hear from parents who have given up on dreams of family vacations due to their children’s special needs. Over the years we learned how to parent our children differently, and part of this was learning to vacation differently. We have become very passionate about helping others learn from our past mistakes and also about connecting caregivers to resources to help them bond, connect, and make memories with children in their care.


Autism On The Seas

One such resource we recently learned of is provided by an organization called Autism on the Seas. Autism on the Seas develops cruise and resort vacation services to accommodate adults and families living with children with special needs, including, but not limited to, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and all Cognitive, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Their services include:

Staff Assisted Cruises and Resort Stays

The AotS Staff cruises with you to provide and coordinate all of the Activities, Respite and Services described below.
– Each cruise is staffed with a minimum ratio of 1 AotS Staff Member for every 3 Guest with Special Needs.
– Each Staff Member is Fully Insured.
– Full Background Checks are conducted (criminal and sex offender) for each Staff Member.
– Each Staff Member holds a degree, or is working towards a degree, in majors of child development, special education, sociology, psychology, social work, behavior therapy, etc.
– Each Staff Member has experience in caring for children and/or adults with developmental disabilities.

Cruise Assistance Package

This package is for Cruises without [AotS] Staff, where you choose your own departure port, itinerary, cruise line & dates. No extra charges from the Cruise Line Prices. Available on Royal Caribbean, Disney, Carnival, NCL, Princess and Celebrity.

AotS website explains so many services beyond these. Staff provide several strategies and resources prior to travel in order to prepare those traveling with them (which can include extended family and friends). These strategies include communication with the cruise Group Leader for the cruise, increased understanding of the elements of a cruise in relation to the family’s unique challenges, modeling, simulation, progressive exposure, desensitization and coping techniques, social stories, countdown calendars, PECS, assistance in maintaining therapy plans (ABA, Behavioral, etc.), and more. Families can tour cruise ships for free to become acclimated, alleviate some fears, learn more about AotS, and so on. The AotS website includes testimonials and information about private message boards and Facebook groups with previous clients. There are also financial assistance programs and fundraising information on the site.


Excited To See A Program Like This

Transfiguring Adoption has often discussed providing services like this for foster and adoptive families in the future, and we were so excited to see a program like this exists for families with special needs. Visit www.AutismontheSeas.com for pricing, availability and additional information or call 800-516-5247.


GET $25 ONBOARD CREDIT:

Use Discount Code: ND-219

Autism on the Seas will make a donation on your behalf to Transfiguring Adoption
(Applies to New Guests of AotS only)

[Learn More]


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