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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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The Facts of Foster Care – An Infographic by Simmons College

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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Last week, I was on vacation in Washington, D.C. with a friend and her two kids. As we were taking in all the sites, I get an e-mail from co-founder of Transfiguring Adoption, Darren Fink. He was really excited to share some information he received from Simmons College, namely an infographic that has been created to share the realities of the foster care system. As soon as I looked at the information shared on it, I immediately felt the weight of needing to not only share this information (see end of this post), but more importantly doing my part in trying to help reverse these statistics.

While the graphic as a whole offers a broad picture of children in a current and former foster care situation, each section gives light to a specific area of life for them or the home around them. As an educator I look at each section and realize the impact it has on the child as they sit in my classroom. I can’t help but shutter a bit in realizing the many obstacles that must be overcome before a foster child is able to productively learn in the classroom. I am a firm believer in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and much of this information attests to those basic needs like physiology, safety, love/belonging, and esteem not being met. With these needs being unmet, solid learning is going to be really difficult.

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While there appear to be many barriers to educating foster children, it IS NOT impossible. What must happen first, however, is recognition of the reality of the various needs of these children – physically, mentally, emotionally and academically. Over the last few years there has been a push in the education world to differentiate instruction to best meet the needs of each student in the classroom. In order to do this, the teacher must know the background and needs of each individual student. We cannot shy away from the realities of our students’ backgrounds or believe that everything is perfect. These statistics prove otherwise for our students who are in or who have been in foster care.

I am looking forward to digging into this information in the following weeks a bit more and looking at the implications for educators who work with foster children. By being educated about their needs and backgrounds, we are able to best serve them in a way that leads to learning and growth.

What do you think of the facts below? How can educators utilize this information and make a difference?

Demystifying Foster Care, SocialWork@Simmons

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3 Fun Activities to Discover More About Your Foster-Adoptive Family – Chapter 10 – Kids’ Discussion

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If you have been following the discussion on our blog, you know that Harry Potter has come to another quidditch match. This game is against Slytherin so Harry and everyone in his school especially wants to see the Slytherins lose the game. However, it is going to be difficult to win as someone has bewitched a bludger (a magical ball that flies on it’s own and try to knock players off their broomsticks) to attack Harry.

What would you do if a bludger was trying to kill you? Would you keep playing? Would you stop the game?

During a timeout Harry’s team talks about the problem with the bludger. They want Harry to stop the game or ask the referee to take a look at the bad ball. Harry’s whole team believes that the Slytherins put a spell on the ball and everyone wants to protect Harry.

Harry keeps playing. He knows that he’s a great quidditch player. He knows he is talented. He knows that he has what it takes to help his team win.

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When people tell you that you’re talented at something and you know that you’re talented a few things start to happen.

  1. You feel good about yourself.
  2. You know that you’re important.
  3. You’re braver and more courageous because you have confidence.

Hopefully, as you get to know your foster-adoptive family, your parents can tell you what you’re talented at and you can notice the talents of other people in the family.

What Is Your Family Good At?

People inside a family want to help each other succeed. They stick together. No matter if you’re in a foster family, adoptive family or birth family, everyone inside your family is going to be different and not everyone is going to be good at the same things. Let’s play some games and find out a little bit about your family.

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The M&M Activity

For this activity you’ll need a bag of M&M’s.

  • No one is allowed to eat the candy
  • Put a handful of candy in front of each person
  • No one is allowed to eat the candy 🙂
  • Set a timer for two minutes
  • During the two minutes no one can talk to each other BUT everyone can interact with the candy
  • No one is allowed to eat the candy 😀

What happened during the two minutes? Usually, two things happen.

  1. Some people will make pictures or designs or create stories with their M&Ms.
  2. Some people will put the candy in groupings by color or make other groups.

The first type of people in your family are the ones that like to be creative. They might be the ones that are good at art or writing stories. The second type of people are those that might be good at logic. These people in your family might be the people that will enjoy math, science and history.

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Tell Us About Yourself Activity

  • Have a volunteer leave the room or out of earshot for one minute
  • While the volunteer is gone, choose another volunteer
  • Give the 2nd volunteer one minute to stand in the middle of your family and talk about themselves
  • After the minute is up, the first volunteer comes back and talk about themselves for one minute

How did everyone do? If members of your family had trouble talking and filling up the minute, then you know those are the introverts in your family. In other words they are the people that are most energized by being alone or in small groups. These are the family members in OUR house that beg to go home and play the Wii instead of going to the zoo.

On the other hand family members that seemed to like being in front of everyone and talked over their minute are your extroverts. They are more energized when they are out in public or a lot of sensory input. In our house I, Darren, would rather read a book at a busy coffee shop while one of my kiddos would like to read a book in their bedroom.

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Listen to the Story Activity

  • Listen to this story
  • Everyone chooses one of the two options at the end

A humane shelter worker is giving your family a dog. Before they bring the dog to the house though, the worker wants you to know some things about the dog. The dog’s name is Buddy. Buddy is a beagle. He is a very playful puppy. Unfortunately his old owner didn’t like to play with Buddy. In fact the owner would yell at Buddy when he wanted to play until Buddy got so scared that he would accidentally pee on the carpet. The owner would then take all the dog’s food and water away for two whole days. This happened at least one time every week. The owner brought Buddy to the humane shelter because he was a bad dog. The humane shelter worker wants to be sure that your family would play with Buddy and give him plenty of food. Your family agrees to let Buddy come into your home. However, when one of the kids fills Buddy’s bowl with food, Buddy was afraid the child was taking the food away. Buddy got angry and bites the kid’s leg. Unfortunately, a vet and the humane shelter worker both agree that Buddy will always try to bite someone in this situation. The vet tells your family that their is no chance of changing Buddy’s behavior.

What should your family do? Keep Buddy or send him back to the shelter? Why?

People that chose to keep Buddy because of his past will be the members of your family that make decisions by listening to their feelings. These are the members in my family that have dessert without finishing my dinner when I had a hard day at work or school.

Members of your family that chose to get Buddy out of the house more than likely make decisions by looking at the facts. I like to play board games with these family members because they play by the rules. They also come up with a fair way to see who should go first in a game.

What did you find out about your family?

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*The staff of Transfiguring Adoption are not professional counselors. The activities used in this blogged are meant to be fun ways for families to start conversations and should in no way be used for professional therapy.*

Kids’ Discussions:

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04 | Ch. 05 | Ch. 06 | Ch. 07 | Ch. 08 | Ch. 09 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12

Parent Discussions: 

Ch. 01 | Ch. 02 | Ch. 03 | Ch. 04