OUR FAMILY VACATION

Two weeks ago we set out on a 25 1/2 hour road trip to Orlando, Florida, where my parents have a timeshare.  So we left a Thursday night at 6:00 and rolled into Orlando Friday night at 8:30.  The drive actually wasn’t all that bad, the kids were AMAZING, it was just the staying awake part that was the toughest:)

The kids were so excited to get in the pool!

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and turned into little fish!

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It was such a fun age to take them.  They loved swimming with Grandma Sue…

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But the hot tub was still their favorite!

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Silly kids:)

We were so happy to be able to miss what we thought would be the last snow storm of the season, and sit beach side instead..

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If we would have known what last night had in store for us, we would’ve stayed down there!

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The water was freezing and it was only about 70 this day, needless to say it was just us and one other couple from Wisconsin daring to go anywhere near the water that day.

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I’m pretty in love with this little family of mine:)

And since we didn’t have a baby yet, we decided this was the year to do Disney!

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As Ryan likes to say, we weren’t the only ones there:)

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But it was still pretty magical regardless.

Especially the princesses.

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This girl was in.her.glory.

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She got to meet Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle as well.  Prince Tate was a little less than impressed:)

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We were able to ride almost everything we wanted to, but after 11 hours at the park and only spending $14.75 the whole time there, we were ready to call it a day.

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We took a little detour on the way home and hit up North Carolina, where Ryans Sister and brother-in-law moved to last year.  It was so great to let the kids play with their cousins.  We seriously didn’t see them the whole time we were there!  And we were blessed with a great visit as well!

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It was a great trip!  And now back to reality.  And a lot of snow.  Just a reminder that Whimsy is coming in one week from today, April 24th and 26th from 9-3.  We’d love to see you there!  And are saying a prayer that the snow is gone for good by then!

KNOCK OFF ANTHROPOLOGIE PILLOWS

I was perusing Pinterest the other day looking for some inspiration and came across these little cuties….

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The only problem is that these little puppies will run you $148. I’m assuming that’s for both for, but the website is quite unclear on that.  Thankfully it does include the feather insert, but still…it’s ridiculous.

So, I thought I’d try to recreate my own pillow like this.  I pinned it originally for a Whimsy Green idea, but loved it so much I may just have to keep one for myself:)   Speaking of Whimsy, we are open next Thursday and Saturday, April 24th and 26th!

 Okay, onto the task.  I started by finding a similar font.  I wanted something very basic, just like these pillows.  I ended up using Helvetica in size 900.

Of course my printer doesn’t print this big, so I had to print what I could and then fold and cut on a new piece of paper to make it fit.  It’s not too tough, I think you’ll figure it out.  I ended up with two patterns that looked like this…

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I then traced them with a pencil, on of course, my favorite drop cloth material.

I loved the look of the neutral (huge surprise I know) and wanted to try to get the different shade without switching the fabric, so I decided to try to bleach the drop cloth.

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I put it in an old ice cream pail of full strength bleach and let it sit for about an hour.  I was so pleased with the results.  It was the perfect shade, and it also frayed from being in there.  I had to rinse out the bleach for quite some time and then laid them outside to dry.  After ironing they were ready to go.

You can tell the color difference between the original drop cloth and the bleached ones here.

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Since I’m selling these for Whimsy I decided to do my own creation to help keep the cost down.  I bought some rectangular pillow inserts and decided to put the x and o together so people didn’t need to buy two pillows.  I used black thread to sew the x and o onto the drop cloth and came up with this…

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I love how the edges frayed just right…

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and the detail of black stitching.

Yep, I’m gonna have to keep one for myself:)

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I made a few of those blue striped pillows for whimsy as well.

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They would look really cute on a master bed.  But the lighting was the best here:)

I made some with feather inserts, and some with regular filling to keep them less expensive.  I got both type of my inserts from IKEA.  It’s the cheapest/best quality ones I can find.

So go make yourselves a pillow!  Or better yet, come to Whimsy and buy one:)

Happy Crafting!

OH HOW I’VE WAITED…..

When we found out at 26 weeks that Jules was deemed “incompatible with life” all I could think of was how I wish this “trial” in our life would pass.  Meaning just that.  That I wouldn’t have to carry this child any longer that I knew I couldn’t keep.  That God would take her right then and there.  That I could push it all behind me and start over.

Raw but true.

Little did I know the blessing the Lord would give us.  And the funny thing is this, while others said that they would never have been able to do it, I was so grateful God CHOSE us to do it.  Not right away at first, but it came.  It came after we chose to give thanks to God for this precious life.  It came when we saw the body of Christ be Jesus to us.  It came when we felt Jesus in a way we’ve never felt before, as indescribable peace, and it came when God said, “I got you, I’m not leaving you.”

And we were blessed.

Blessed with a girl we couldn’t keep.  Blessed with a treasure more precious than jewels.  Blessed with an experience richer than anything this world can offer.

After Jules left us though, although we were all the richer for having her/knowing her/holding her, we were still left with a hole in our hearts.  A yearn for a precious baby.  That bundle that sleeps on your chest for as long as they will let you put them there.  The yearn for little footsteps again and babbling talk and giggles.  A yearn for another baby.  A yearn we thought the Lord would grant us easily because of what we had gone through.  But one that ended up coming in patience.

And testing.

Testing when we lost another baby to a miscarriage 8 months after Jules was born.  Testing when we had months with no results, when normally it was so easy for us.  And questions.  Maybe the Lord wants us to be done?  We need to be happy and content with the two precious kiddos we have.  And we are so happy with them.  Trust me when I say I don’t write this post to get pity, because I have encountered so many want to be mommas out there that are dealing with infertility and years upon years of trying.  And for this my heart aches.  But the reason I write this is because our timing, our ideas, our happily ever after does not depend on how many kids the Lord chooses to give us.  It doesn’t depend on how easy our lives are.  It doesn’t depend on the things we acquire or the accomplishments we achieve.  Although so often that’s how we gauge it.  Our happiness and content rests in the fact that Jesus is our Lord.  That He loves us through all the difficulties.  That everyday He desires to pursue us and show us His peace and love that He wants to offer so freely if we let Him.  And that this world is not our home….it is our waiting place until we can enter into His presence.

Trust me when I say this is a lesson that I am learning a little bit more of everyday.  That it is hard to see past the facade of this world, the media, the materialism, the judgement and the list goes on.  It is hard to keep our eyes focused on the one true thing that matters.  But that is our call.  And I have learned that when that is what we do, when we keep our eyes focused, the blessings come.  They came through a little girl that we got to love on for 38 days, and they came through this sweet little peanut…

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Whom we got the pleasure of seeing a week ago.  A little sweet pea that appears to be healthy!

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and that waved to us with OPEN hands, which was a huge blessing to see.

We told our family right away so that we could have extra prayers for peace for this babe.  Our minds can become our enemy if we let them wander, but God was so gracious to give us peace and enjoy every moment so far:)

Remember this picture…

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The one I had to totally crop because we wanted to get the green light that everything looked good on the ultrasound before we publicly shared…

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and can now show off the baby belly I love!

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We are 21 weeks today, and oh so excited to welcome a sweet little bundle into the world around August 21st!  Ryan has never wanted to find out the sex of any of our babes.  He would say we compromised and found out with all three:)  Good guy too.  So this little peanut will be a surprise.  And I must say I’m quite excited for it!

I so wanted to share this fun news with you all because you have been such a huge support through our lives, and many of you who we have never even met have said prayers for our family.  We are so humbled and we love you:)

19 weeks and counting….

 

MY BABY TURNED 6!!

It seems like just yesterday I was all  big and round and excited to welcome my baby into the world….

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and pretty soon this little cutie came into our lives and rocked our worlds!

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can you even take it???

I can’t.

And then he stole my heart with his smile…

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and fuzzy hair, and long toes..and, well…quite honestly, everything!

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Do they get much cuter?!?

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I just love him. This little boy seriously has my heart…and this past weekend we celebrated his 6th birthday!!!! How is that possible?!?

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When I tell you he’s a charmer, I mean it.  He tells me all the time that I’m beautiful, what a good cooker I am, and how much he loves me.  Oh, and he’s the best snuggler in the world.  I think he’s learned well from his daddy:) Whose a great role model:)

Tate requested a fishing party…for the third year in a row. So we had to get a bit creative.

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This was in place of his cake.

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and we had fun with the appetizers…

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We did a taco bar for the guests…

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Which was so easy.  The younger kids got the tacos in a bag while the adults made taco salads.

and of course we had to have ourselves some blue punch..

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It’s a 2 liter of lemonade, a 2 liter of 7up, and a pitcher of blue kool-aid.

We had Tate’s catch hanging on the fireplace…

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He says, “Mom…they’re just paper!”

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But he loved them:)

And I labored over drawing fish on the chalkboard wall:)  I forgot to take the pic so all I have is this pic of Ry and I showing some of it:)

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I guess I did okay because Tate knew each one before I wrote what they were.  Score:)

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Tate was so happy to have all his friends celebrate with him…

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and of course the presents were fun too!

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If you have a fisherman in your family, seriously, this is the game to get.  Tate has spent a couple hours breaking it in;)

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Thanks Ericksons for the sweet gift!

So with that, I have to come to terms that I have no toddlers running around in the house anymore.  I have a little boy that is turning into a little gentleman.  And although I couldn’t be prouder of the young boy he’s turning into, I can’t help but think, “Where did the time go??”

Happy Birthday Buggy!

We love you!!

FIRST YEAR OF HOMESCHOOLING UPDATE

Well, we are nearing the end of our first year of homeschooling in the next few months and I realized I have never let you all know how it has been going for us.  Quite honestly it has been a bit of a transition, having a little boy in Kindergarten and a girl in Preschool.  Although I have been told by many other home school moms to ease into Kindergarten, there still is a lot riding on my shoulders.  Quite honestly if you look at the public schools, the kids come out of Kindergarten with a lot of them reading long picture books or short chapter books.  This seems to have changed so much since I was in Kindergarten.  I remember learning all of my letters in Kindergarten and getting the basics to reading.  Although I think it’s amazing that some kids are taking off with reading, I get nervous that not all kids are ready for it.  Such as my little Tater Bug.  I tried starting last year with Preschool teaching him his letters and sounds and I felt like I was banging my head on a wall.  I could go over and over them and he JUST.WASN’T.READY.  And I recognized that being a teacher.  So we stopped, and at the beginning of this year, in Kindergarten, we started with letters.

I must say that all kids are different, because Kynlee on the other hand has been learning hand in hand with Tate and it clicked.  And shes 15 months younger.  So quite honestly, I push Tate a little bit harder, but Kynlee is doing a  lot of Kindergarten as well.  So here’s how we started Kindergarten.

1.)  With huge hopes and unrealistic expectations and 5 different books on teaching kids to read:)

2.)  Then I started over and went to the basics.  If I could recommend 2 great teaching tools I would tell you a good set of flashcards and a white board.  We used Hooked on Phonics flashcards that came with the Pre-K pack.

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It’s available on walmart.com for under $20 and it also came with a great DVD that had the alphabet song that really helped my kiddos learn the sounds of the letters, as well as upper and lower case.  Quite honestly though, that’s all we used from this pack.  We used the flashcards every day, introducing 1-2 new letters a week.  Some letters the kids new better than others and we could get through 4 letters some weeks, but with the flashcards we would play games, having to match the upper, lower, and letter sound for each letter.  Once we got those down we just drilled the letters and sounds day after day until they mastered them.  This took us about the first 3 months of school.  While we were doing this we were also working on our math and counting as well.

After the kids knew all of their letters and sounds, everything else was so much easier.  I must say, since teaching I knew what I liked and didn’t like.  I realized that a lot of the Kindergarten curriculum sets had way too much fluff for me.  Although I love all of the games and coloring and activities, I felt like my kiddos got that throughout the day anyway.  I didn’t want to spend another 4 hours a day coloring pages that and making activities that chances were we were going to do one way or another throughout the day.  So I went on blogs and saw what people like and didn’t like, and bought way too many things books on teaching your kids to read, but ironically, we ended up using them all.  So this is what we use on a daily basis.

We started with this Scholastic workbook I found as a deal on Groupon.  I bought the Pre-K and K books, and found the Pre-K came in handy for working on our Alphabet handwriting…

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It is also available on Amazon for $12.25.  Like I said, this is a good book for handwriting practice and maybe some busy work.  It worked well for us but wasn’t my favorite.

I saw this book on a lot of peoples blogs, and many moms said this is how they taught their kids to read….

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This again can be found on Amazon for around $12, a steal in my opinion.  I bought this thinking I would start the year with it, but after looking through it I realized it would be a lot more successful if my kids knew their letters and sounds first.  Also, this book is a whole theory in and of itself.  It beneficial to read the first 5 or 6 parent pages to understand how you are teaching your kids.  What I do love about this book though is they tell you exactly what to say and how the kids should respond.  Each lesson takes about 10-15 minutes, and I love the one on one time I get with my kids.  When I first picked up this book, I thought there is no way my kids will be reading those 10 line stories by the time we get to day 50.  But you know what?? They are reading it!  When I started this book, I stopped doing other phonics work or online reading programs, because like I said, this book is a whole theory in and off itself and I didn’t want to confuse the kids.  I also didn’t do the handwriting they suggest at the end of every lesson, I did my own handwriting.  And my kids at this point knew how to write most of their letters anyway.  After about 20 lessons in, I started incorporating a few other books because I felt like my kids understood the concept behind this book well enough to not get confused.  One of my other favorites that works well with this book is Explode the Code.

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These books are available for under $9 on Amazon.  I love these books because they work on phonics and handwriting all at the same time.  I also love them because for the most part the kids can do them on their own.  So usually while one is doing their 3-4 pages in this book, I’m doing the reading lesson with the other.

The last books that the kids are loving are the classic BOB Books.

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and quite honestly, these are just confidence boosters and good practice reading books.  They love the fact that they can read a whole book by themselves and are so proud.  We just purchased the second set of BOB Books from Amazon and am excited to work through all 4 sets.  I usually send the kids off to read 1 or 2 of these books through twice to themselves and then they come read them to me.  I’m all about creating half independence and half one on one time.

The last thing we do is an online program called Reading Eggs.

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You have to subscribe and I believe it was about $60 for the year for both of the kids.  It’s great re-enforcement and the kids love it.  At first I had to help them quite a bit, but now they can mostly do it by themselves.  Each lesson takes about 15 minutes.

When I started homeschooling, I thought I could never teach my kids to read.  I was quite overwhelmed.  I can’t tell you how rewarding it has been seeing them take off and knowing you did it.  Best.feeling.ever.  Not to say it all came easy. There were many days that I got frustrated, yelled, had to ask forgiveness.  I realized I am much harder on my own kids than I was on 26 4th graders.  1.) Because I know my own kids abilities much better, and 2.)  Because I have much higher expectations.  Some days are tough, but we push through.  And we are loving every minute of it.  I love that we can ease into our day, that we can work around schooling if we need, and if we need a day off, we can take a day off.  I love that I know my kids better than anyone else and know when to push them and when to back off.  And I love that I get to spend all day with them.  I truly do.  So if you are questioning about starting homeschooling, feel free to email me or take encouragement from this post.

OILS FOR EAR ACHES

I don’t know about you, but in our house we’ve had quite a few nights where the kiddos are up or complain of their ears hurting.  I have taken them in quite often when they were little and done the 10 days of antibiotics, and quite honestly, I hate doing 10 days of anything.  And I hate that their ears got no relief at the moment.

Now that the kids are a bit older, the ear aches don’t come as often, but just 2 weeks ago Tate was in tears because of his ears hurting so bad.  And a few weeks before that Kynlee was up at night complaining of pain in her ear.  I was actually a tiche excited to try out my oils on the ear and see how they work, although I do not like to see my kids in pain…just to clarify:):)

There are a few different “concoctions” you can use for ear aches, but the one I used was Lavender oil and Purification oil.

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I like this one because both of these oils come in the start up kit that I talked about in this post.  So, if you buy in as a distributor and pick the premium starter kit, you’ll have both oils.  Plus, the whole start up kit is about the price of an office call.  Just saying:)

So, what I did for Tate that night was I rubbed some lavender on the outside of the ear as well as rubbed it on the inside.  You never want to put oil in the ear canal, just rub it inside.  I then did the same thing with the Purification.  With the leftover I had in my hand I rubbed behind the ear and down his neck.  I’ve also read that you can soak a small piece of cotton in the oil and place it in the ear and rub the leftovers behind and in front of the ear.

After rubbing the oils on, and what seems to bring Tate the most immediate relief, is I run a rag under hot water and put it on his ear.  Seriously the other night he was crying laying on the couch, I put the oils on and he ended up falling asleep with the hot rag on his ear.  I was expecting to be up all night with him but he ended up sleeping through the night and hasn’t complained of any pain since.  I did the same concoction on Kynlee a few weeks before that with the same results.  The kids haven’t been on antibiotics for ear aches in years, and we haven’t had a ruptured ear drum yet….knock on wood:)

One more side note for the purification oil, we’ve actually used this oil on our Golden Retriever, Neeko.  She’s been known to get ear infections and the poor girls ears bug her pretty bad.  We just dip a cotton swap into the oil and rub it in her ear.  It’s really seemed to help, and that’s another great thing about oils, most all of them can be used on animals.  You’ll just want to research a bit before using because I know some can’t be used on cats and so on.

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Let me know if you have any tried and true oil concoctions for ear aches/infections!  We love testimonials:):)

GETTING ANTSY–LAUNDRY ROOM MAKEOVER

This week, I about had it with the cold, but I’m sure that’s no new news for anyone.  But….it made me antsy to do a project.  I tried to get the hubs on board to no avail.  He told me the man cave is next, to which I simply replied, but that can’t happen til the weather warms up, let tackle something inside!:)

Nope.  Didn’t budge.

So, I pulled out the air nailer, compressor and hose and decided to work on a project by myself.

Ryan had to go into work yesterday for a few hours and on his way home he called and asked what we were doing.  I told him I was working on a project, to which he responded, okay.  Ha! He doesn’t even ask what I’m doing anymore.  He’s trained well:)  Anyway, we don’t have a  laundry room in our house, we have a “laundry closet.”

When we first moved in the laundry was located in the downstairs bathroom.  I knew that would never work, since I don’t have a great track record of keeping a laundry room clean, so we moved it upstairs into our room.  There really weren’t many options, so we made it work.  At the time it was a priority in the fact that I was sick of trying to find places to do our laundry during the remodel.  But that was about it.  It was about getting it in and functional. But not pretty.

Ry built me a stand for the washer and dryer so it would raise the height without the hefty price tags of the manufactured ones.  He made it out of plywood and 2×4′s we had laying around.  He always said we could “make it pretty” later, but 2 1/2 years later and it sat the.exact.same.way.  SURPRISE!

Until I got my hands on it:)

Here’s what my beautiful, organized, meticulous laundry closet looked like before…..(errr….)

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Yep, that’s about right.

So here’s a close up of the stand..

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Super functional, thanks honey for making it so I don’t have to bend over as far.  As for the puuurrrty factor? Well…we can do better:)

I had some pieces of tongue and groove beadboard in the shed that I had never used.  They were about 6 inches wide and had a tongue and groove edge, which allowed them to be SUPER easy to work with!  I just cut them to size and started gluing and nailing them on…

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Then I added the left over 1/4 MDF I had from the board and batten project, and a corner piece I had from the yet to be revealed bathroom project, and waa-lah!

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and it was SO MUCH FUN!  I realized that I love being a carpenter and “beautifying things”  I just don’t like the material set up and tear down part:)

Lastly I added some quarter round on the bottom to clean it up..

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Better.

small laundry room

So step one is down, making the stand puurrtty.

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and step 1 was free!! Yay:)

I wish the rest of the steps would be.

Before..

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after…

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Yeah, she’s got a ways to go, but here’s some of the inspiration pics I pinned for the rest..

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since there are hoses and plumbing on the side of my washer and dryer, I’m thinking the curtains might be nice to hide that.  I also want to do a butcher block counter on top as well.

I love that I have a little bit of natural light in my laundry closet due to an awkward low window that was on that wall.  It helps with light.  I also have a fluorescent light in there now, but I’m thinking something like this would be cute hanging from the ceiling..

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It’s on a wire, so I can hook it, which would work well with our slanted ceilings…

And, it’s from IKEA for only $14.99.  Steal!

And for those of you who are concerned, don’t worry, I wouldn’t paint it.  I actually love the green color…and I can handle it in a closet;)

I also loved this pin….

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If it weren’t such an awkward space to get to, I’d consider subway tiling the whole back and do the dark gray grout. I love it.  But, I don’t  think that’s going to happen.  I do love the neutral colors with the pops of fun in the accessories.  Since we have slanted ceilings though, the shelves could be a bit hard.

And my last inspiration pin….

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I’m loving the hanging rod, which I think would fit our space well.  With the slant and all.  I also love the white with wood and naturals.  Surprise!

So, the next steps?

1.) Figure out wall color/treatment

2.)  Get a counter top and make curtains

3.) Get light

4.)  Hang a rod

and

5.)  Organize, organize, organize

Who is this girl?!?

Ry thinks this project is a complete waste of money, but I told him that it makes a heart happen to open a space and see it organized and put together.  Even if it’s in a closet.  Can I get an amen?? :)

And….I’m hoping to do this project on a tight budget, for reasons afore mentioned ^^^^Ryan;)  Love you babe!

OH THE CONTROVERSY….

Okay, I’m going to be honest with you.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the controversy of oils.  I feel a much bigger responsibility to inform myself and you on the oils now that I am referring people to them and I am just so overwhelmed.  I by no means want to steer you in a wrong direction, hurt your health, or push something on you.  Please know that.  I just seriously loved the oils and how they have worked for my family.  I love that I have barely had to give my children Tylenol in the last year or take them in for ear aches.  I love that we have completely eliminated cough syrup and long nights of pain and coughing.

But I AM NOT a certified aromatherapist.  I have not took courses.  I only know from experience.

Lately this article was presented to me, and to be honest I was so over all the controversy that I didn’t read it right away.  When I finally took the time to read it, it was actually quite interesting..

I must say that I HAVE NEVER felt the least bit sick after ingesting oils in water.  But…I don’t know the chemistry behind the oils and if the potency over time would have an effect?  I really, really, just want you to know that I am not trained, I am just an oil user who loves the results.

Please do your own research if you are skeptical or have concerns.

And that’s all I’m going to say about the controversy.  I have started with Young Living because of some awesome people that I respect that graciously introduced me to them.  I love the results.  I have invested in quite a bit already and have not ever felt uncomfortable with the quality, company, or results.

Please feel free to find a company that fits you!  If you like Young Living and want to know how to get started, you can read more here.

To end on a good note, I’m going to tell you my favorite oil that I have used so far, and it’s actually the first oil that I’ve had to buy again because

1.) we use it quite often, and

2.) The results are so good for me I loan it out to others to try when they have sick kiddos.

and the oil is….

rc-essential-oil

Here’s a little more information as to what’s in R.C. and how it’s used….

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This oil has had us completely throw out all of our cough syrups for the kids.  You know that annoying dry cough the kids can get where they cough all night long…or where they cough so hard it sounds like they’ll throw up??  Or when their chest is so tight it seems hard for them to breath? Yeah..this is the oil for that.  Seriously, if I put this on my kids when they have a cough before bed, they will sleep through the night until morning before I have to reapply.  Just last week Tate was coughing so hard I thought for sure he would throw up, and of course he was still sleeping somehow through it.  But I wasn’t .  Every time I heard a cough I held my breath hoping he didn’t throw up.  Until finally I got my lazy peach out of bed and rubbed oils on him.  With R.C. I don’t dilute it (usually just because it’s in the middle of the night and I”m lazy) and it’s never burned or irritated my kids skin.  Some people say though that no matter what oil it is you should dilute with kids, your desecration.  Anyway, I put a drop on each foot, and then rub a drop on their chest and a drop on their spine.  I’ve noticed a big difference when I’ve used it on the chest AND spine, it seems to work a lot faster.  That night Tate coughed one more time about 2 minutes after I put the oils on and then I didn’t hear him the rest of the night.  True story.  And we’ve had that happen the exact same way at least a dozen times.

Ryan is even a believer.  He took Tate up to the cabin when he had a cough and I forgot to pack R.C. for him.  He called when he got to the cabin and asked if I had packed the oils, hoping I had.  Unfortunately I forgot, so he went out and got cough syrup.  He came home and said, “That cough syrup didn’t do a thing for him.  Next time pack the oils:)”

And he’s a skeptic.  We love this oil.  Unfortunately it doesn’t come in the start up pack, but if you are a distributor or know someone who sells and can get it at wholesale, it’s only $21.00.  Our bottle lasted us a year before we replaced it and we loaned it out quite a bit.  This one I would definitely say is worth the investment.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me, you can find my information under the contact me tab at the top of the page.

I’m going to get back to blogging on DIY and house projects next week, with an occasional testimony of oils in there.   If you are over the oils blogs….don’t worry, they’ll be at a minimum:)

MY OIL JOURNEY, AND ONE OF MY FAVORITES

I told you earlier that our family has started our journey with Young Living oils over a year ago, and since then I had gone through my initial frustrations and challenges of learning something new.  My lack of knowledge scared me on how to use the oils so they ended up sitting in a drawer for over 6 months without being used.  Since then I have started incorporating 1 new oil at a time and working it into our life and it has been A LOT LESS INTIMIDATING!

If you have heard about essential oils, one of the most common ones you have probably heard about was a blend called “Thieves.”

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I was initially drawn to this oils because of the story behind it and how it’s got it’s name.  I’m sure many of you know it but I’ll share it here quick….

Europeans began producing essential oils in the 12th century. During the Plague of the 15th century, certain thieves robbed the dead without becoming infected. Finally, four thieves were captured in Marseilles, France, and charged with robbing the dead and dying victims of the plague.

At the trial, the magistrate offered them leniency if they would reveal how they managed to avoid contracting the dreaded infection, in spite of their close contact with infected corpses. It was disclosed that these thieves were perfumers and spice traders who had rubbed themselves with a concoction of aromatic herbs (cinnamon, clove, and oregano).

The formula for the Young Living Essential Oil blend, Thieves, is derived from the aromatic herbs used by the thieves of 15th century France.

Thieves Oil is a proprietary blend of therapeutic grade, 100% organic, aromatic oils containing Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum verum), Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), Lemon (Citrus limon), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata), and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis CT 1,8 cineol).

Source

I love the history of these oils and how many of them date all the way back to Bible times.  They truly are natural resources God gave us through His creation that we can use to treat our kiddos and ourselves without having to ingest man made drugs that are unnecessary.  This is not to say we don’t take our kids to the Dr. or use medication if necessary, we just try to use them ONLY if they are completely necessary. Plus, who wants to pay a hospital bill if you don’t have to;)

So, our testimony with Thieves.  I have many times started to feel a sore throat coming on with a good cold.  When I start to feel this I would put 3-4 drops of thieves in warm water, gargle it and swallow it, and seriously since I have started using oils, I have not had a sore throat last longer than a day.   I have my kiddos do this also if they are complaining of a sore throat, but I just put 2 drops in a glass of water.  I have found hot water is easiest to consume it in:)  It almost tastes like a hot tea.  I don’t mind it, the kids don’t love it but tolerate it, and Ryan is the biggest baby about it:)  ha!  Just to say though, it’s really not bad.

Also, thieves is my favorite oil to diffuse.  First, I love the smell.  Second, it helps kill airborne germs and seriously does seem to “clean the air.”  My only problem with Thieves is that I’m not always a pro-active person.  While thieves is great for warding off sickness, I tend to not use it TIL we are sick.  My bad.  I need to get better at this:)

I also have read many testimonies of how thieves can combat mold.  You can use it as a cleaner, on toothaches.  There are so many uses for thieves besides just preventative care.  And here’s the most important part I’ve learned about oils.  You really can’t misuse them.  If you have a problem, you can try an oil and the way I was told, if it doesn’t help that problem, it will attack or help what it needs to in your body.  What you do need to know is that there are “hot” oils that might react to your skin.  These oils, usually including cinnamon, should be diluted with v-6 oil that you can buy from Young Living (which I have never done) or just dilute it with vegetable oil or coconut oil.  I rub thieves full strength on my kids feet, but when I put it on Kynlee’s chest, she said it burned and turned red.  I just went and got some lotion and rubbed it over and it cooled it down, or I could have added oil on top of it to help.

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ThievesMoldResearch

Source

Thieves regarding Mold.

The last thing I want to address in this post is the actual company, Young Living.  I know there is a lot of hesitation with this company because it is a MIM (multi-level-marketing company) which throws a lot of people off.  The reason this did not throw me off is because there is no pressure with this company.  I can get the great wholesale price with absolutely no pressure to sell or sign people up, so no pressure on you:)  I only have to spend $50/year which is no problem for me.  The benefits is that there ARE perks if you so choose.  And, even if you don’t sell, you can receive free product if you have larger orders, they throw in some free oils.  I know quite a few people have been burned my MIM’s and I understand.  This part doesn’t bother me since I mainly use it for personal use.  If it bugs you, it may not be the company for you.

The second issue that has been raised is the founder, Gary Young, has not always been viewed in the best light.  I must admit that when I first started using oils I looked through the book and saw oils for Joy, forgiveness, abundance, acceptance, believe, and so on and on.  This didn’t sit well with me, because it claimed these oils could bring these things into your life.  I know that only Jesus can truly bring about forgiveness in our hearts, and well as the others.  I KNOW that.  So for me it wasn’t a struggle.  I just stay away from those oils and look to a savior for those things.  That being said, I do think there are oils that help your mood, just the same way when I smell cookies baking in the oven or a cinnamon candle burning at Christmas, because we do trigger smells with emotions and memories.  You need to use your judgments and convictions in this area.  Although I may not agree 100% with all of their “theories” I know most people probably wouldn’t also agree with the drug industries, yet we still take pharmaceuticals.

Bottom line, I love how the products work for me, I love that they come from God’s creation, on organic land that has never been altered, and I love that they can save me Dr. visits.

Although I said I wasn’t a researcher, I did spend a “chunk” of today looking into a bunch of companies.  I don’t believe that Young Living in “the only” company.  For me, it’s a good match.  I do think you can get oils elsewhere but just be careful where they come from.  Young living sees the process through from Seed to Seal, and you can read more about that here.

P.s., I did find a lady who loves to research and wrote a blog on the difference of all the companies.  I read it all, and after reading it I still felt like Young Living was a great company to go through.  You can find her research here.

If you are interested in signing up and trying out Young Living, you can read my post here about how to get started.

**** Side note, these are my testimonies, they may be different for everyone:)

Also, my most favorite oils yet to come:)

FINALLY….A PROJECT COMPLETE!!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a house project on the blog, and this project has actually been done for awhile now.  But I’m going to let you in on a little secret for all of the people that think my house is spotless all the time.  Boy do I have you fooled.  I haven’t posted this blog for the last month cause that means that I would have to have every room upstairs cleaned AT THE SAME TIME!  No, I do not live in a magazine.  It’s real life people.  Blogs are deceiving in that way:)  Do.not.be.deceived.  I’m just like the rest of you:)  I have had my upstairs cleaned a couple of times when companys come over, but it’s usually always at night, which mean the lighting stinks and I can’t photograph it.  So today my project was not just to blog, but to clean the upstairs SO I COULD BLOG:)  Oh the life of a blogger:)  It’s rough folks.

Ever since I painted my hallways upstairs and the huge stairwell wall, I didn’t like the color.  I thought I should pull in a bit of a more dramatic color since the rest of my house was so light, because I didn’t want to be, dare I say, boring!  So instead of an actual color, cause that’s just radical, I did a dark gray.  The problem was that it had a really strong green hew that I never liked and and made our hallway really dark.  I had planned on changing it for awhile, but like I said, it was our stairwell wall, the really tall wall that I needed to haul the big ladder in for, the one I HAD to inquire the help of the hubby with.  That always holds me back a bit:)  Here’s a picture mid process where you can see the color I had that I didn’t like…

Board and Batten

This is the most accurate picture of hte color, except it was on all the walls.  I was prepping here for the board and batten that I wanted to put up in this hallway.  Note to self, it is MUCH easier to paint BEFORE the boards go up and touch up AFTER.  I’m learning here folks.  The walls sat prepped like this for about two weeks before I actually got around to the boards. Whoops.

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After I painted the white I bought my wall paint and painted the upper.  I chose a Behr color called Gray Mist or something along the lines of that, I’ll have to double check, but I loved the light gray color it was.

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The boards were brought in and getting ready to go…

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I did the height about 2/3 of the way up the wall.  I knew I still wanted to hang pictures so I didn’t want to go too high.

Then I had to call in the help.  All of these angles in the hallway are not 90 degrees.  Allie doesn’t do angles.  I sweet talked the hubby into helping and he was an all star:)

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Hard at work.  Lookin good babe!

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p.s. He also helped with this corner, cause I just couldn’t do it.  I start getting all shakey that high up and go into a cold sweat.  Who knew Ryan could paint?? This could be dangerous:)

Board and batten

I’m not going into the details of the board and batten on this post, since I did that here, but it actually is really easy to do.  We did all of this in one night, probably about 2 hours.  Just putting the boards up that is, I had it all prepped and painted before that:)

I was loving the look, although it did make the hallway seem a bit narrower yet.  We’ve gotten used to it though:)  And it has brightened up this hallway and our whole upstairs A TON!

After it was up I patched the holes, gave it it’s final coat of white paint, and caulked all of the seams until I could caulk no more!

Oh and took a month to clean the upstairs to bring you these pics:)

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So much brighter!

board and batten

** Anyone notice some changes in the bathroom?? More to come on that …..

board and batten

The white also flows so much better into the kids rooms’ now.

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My intentions were to put up frames to showcase the kids artwork in this hallway.  And I did it.

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and I realized I just.can’t.do.it.

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Although I truly love their artwork, it’s just too bright for the flow of the house.

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So it might just go back into the portfolios.  I’ve been seeing walls like this lately that I love!

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Although I wouldn’t want all of my frames to match, I love how these go over the door and everything…

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more like this.

But I also love how these seem to effortlessly wrap around the corner.

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and this…

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So, we shall see what comes of it, for now I’m just super excited to have the board and batten done…and to have a clean upstairs;)

 

 

MY LOVE HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH ESSENTIAL OILS

I decided to write this post because of all of the hub bub of essential oils going on lately.  I go on Pinterest and see pins everywhere, I read about them on Facebook and I see controversy over which oils are the best and how to use them.

I have been using essential oils for about a year now.  And I have to admit, I started because some awesomely sweet people offered to come tell/show me about them when I had Jules, hoping to help with her care.  I couldn’t pass up any extra help at that time.  And I began my love/hate relationship at that time.  Please continue to read if you are nervous about my “hate”:).

The reason I was drawn to the oils was because I saw IMMEDIATE RESULTS.  Like 10 minutes after using them people.  My hubby tells me that I would buy ice from an Eskimo because I can’t tell people no, and I completely admit it.  I probably would.  So of course when I wanted to start with oils he thought I was “falling for a scheme” yet again.  Until……..he saw the immediate results.  A sweet sweet girl name Angela came out to share with me about oils when I had Jules.  The first thing I asked her was if there was an oil to help increase milk supply.  She ever so graciously gave me her sample of  Fennel…

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I put it on about 10 minutes before I pumped( I just rubbed 1 drop on each of my breasts), and ry happened to be in the room while I was pumping…and that very first time my milk supply DOUBLED!  Even his mouth dropped.  It was then he told me okay, you can order some:)  I’m not guaranteeing you it will work the same for everyone…I don’t know.  I’m just telling you my story.  And from a girl that has a hard time keeping my milk supply up, it was nothing short of a miracle.  It was now that my love relationship started forming.

My hate relationship started a few months later.  I had ordered only a few oils, but the fact of the matter was I really didn’t know how to use them and I was intimidated by them, so I didn’t use them.  I thought I would use them wrong, I wasn’t sure which one helped what.  It seemed like no matter how many pins I pinned I was just confused.  So my hate wasn’t truly a hate, it was more of a defeated feeling.

I’m sure if I felt this way, there are others out there.  That’s why I’m going to be writing a few blogs/testimonials from my life of how I have found oils to be the most effective and beneficial.   And which ones I use on a regular basis and have found super useful and NON-INTIMIDATING to get you started if you are interested.

I”m sure if you recognize the picture above you know I am using Young Living oils.  That’s what I was introduced to, that’s what worked for me right away, and after hearing about the grade of the oils and the testimonies I stuck with them.

You also need to know that I am not a big researcher.  I love people that are…and I applaud you.  I just don’t have the time.  I like results and things that work.  That’s what speaks to me most.  Young Living did that for me.  I used it.  It delivered.  I was sold.

So, the first thing I did after I bought a few of the oils that I was recommended for Jules, was that I bought in as a distributor.  Some people are thrown off by this because Young Living is a pyramid?/ party company….not even sure what people call it.  I told you I wasn’t much of a researcher….ha.  Either way, you can become a distributor.  You can sell if you WANT TO.  You absolutely positively do not NEED to sell AT ALL.  So why become a distributor?  Cause you get all of the items at wholesale cost!!! Which is about 24% off and adds up in a hurry!  The only thing you need to do to keep your distributor status is spend $50 A YEAR!  Which if you know is only about the cost of one to two oils.  Not hard to do at all.  This means you only have to spend $50 on a start up kit, and if you visit Young Living, click you country, and then scroll down to the bottom you will see member sign-up.  Here you can click and see all of the starter packs available.  The one I bought and I think is the best deal was the Premium Starter Kit.

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It includes Everyday Oils collection (which has 10 oils in it, and these are a lot of them I’ll be telling you about in the future, a home Diffuser which is great to kills germs in the house and make it smell lovely, a welcome to Young Living booklet, Essential Oils at a Glance user’s guide, Distributor Resource Guide, Stress Away 5-ml, AromaGlide Roller Fitment, two Lavender Sample Packets, two Peppermint Sample Packets, two Peace & Calming Sample Packets, two Lemon Sample Packets, two Thieves Sample Packets, Sample Packet Business Cards, two NingXia Red 2-oz. samples, Distributor Agreement, Product Guide and Product Price List.  Basically it includes over $300 worth of product for $150.

If you buy this you are all set to be a distributor, and get all of your product for 24% off and have already spent your $50 for the year so you’re good for the next year.  You don’t have to book one party, you don’t have to try to sell, you don’t even need to order again if you aren’t satisfied.  That’s what I loved, there is no pressure.  Cause I am not a fan of pressure:)  You can choose to sell if you so want and make a business of it, that’s up to you.  Either way Young Living will ask you for your Social Security number (which freaks some people out) but they only use this if you do choose to sell or build up people under you cause you can earn money and then they use it for a W2 at the end of the year.  That’s it, that’s all.

A little side note, when you sign up they will also ask you if you want to enroll in essential rewards.  This is a program that you have to spend $50 a month but then receive 20% back IN FREE PRODUCT.  You do not need to do this and can choose no thanks.  I currently am not enrolled. I may enroll soon since I am using quite a few of the products, but did not start out because I wanted to make sure I’d be able to order enough.

Okay, so enough of the logistics.  I’m going to be 100% up front with you here.  If you are interested you can sign up here and there is a spot to put a sponser ID #.  If you sign up under me I can make a commission off of what you buy.  I have been using Young Living for over a year now and haven’t tried to make this a business.  I TRULY JUST LOVE IT.  But I’m also a stay-at-home mommy blogger that is not against trying to help the hubbs out.  I just don’t want any of you to think I”m trying to take advantage of you:):)  If you want to try it I’d love it if you put 1378617 in that sponser id spot.  If you don’t, I’ll never know and won’t hold it against you:)

I’ll be starting my series this Friday on our families favorite oils that we have tried and true testimonials for.  The fennel one will just have to peek your curiosity for the time being:)

Also, if you have any questions about becoming a distributor, buying in at wholesale, or anything about the oils or company, feel free to email me at alliemay425@gmail.com.  I’d love to help you out:)

 

 

CHALKBOARD CANVAS

The motivation to get stuff done around the house has slowed to a halt.  Not sure if it’s the weather, the weather, or the weather.  I’m pretty sure though that it’s the weather:)  Projects around here require scavenging almost every shed during the process, so getting the motivation to bundle up and head outside for everything I need just seems like too much work.  I have been working on a few projects for our Women’s Retreat coming up at church though and I’d thought I’d show one, cause it’s super fun and super easy.  Win. Win.

I saw this picture on the blog, My Sweet Savannah, and fell in love.  Possibly cause it’s chalkboard:)

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I read her blog on how to make it and found out she used the botanical Ikea print she had bought and never hung up, and painted it with chalk paint.

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That was a problem, cause I didn’t have a botanical print, and I think they were more money than I’d choose to spend.  If I remember correctly I think it was around $30.  Granted you’d get 2 chalkboards out of the deal, it still wasn’t as cost effective as I wanted.  That’s when I found this….

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CHALK CLOTH!!

Amazing.

It’s currently out of stock, surprise!  But it’s on Fabric.com for $8.80 a yard.    I ordered it and it’s a great product.  1.) You don’t have to paint anything (bonus) 2.)  It’s thick.  3.)  You can cut it to whatever size you want.

So, here’s what I came up with..

Chalk Canvas

I made these smaller than the original ones, they are about 16″x24″.  They work great for the signs we needed for the conference, hence the reason this one says “Discussion Session” :)

They are so easy though.  I started by cutting the fabric to size.  Then I went out to the shed and found a piece of old barnwood.  If you don’t have barnwood, you can use a 1×4 pine piece of wood that you cut in half.  I cut these pieces of wood down to 2″ wide and 16″ long.  I then hot glued the fabric on the back first and then stapled it.

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Then I added jute to the top.  I knotted the ends and hot glued and then stapled above the knot so it couldn’t pull off.

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After that you prime the fabric by rubbing chalk all over it and wiping it with a dry cloth.  This gives it the “worn in look” and then you get to decorate!

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I’m excited to use these again and again and just switch out the chalk art.

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Oh, and I’m going to have some stocked in Whimsy, so if you’d rather buy one than make one…come on over:)

Happy Crafting!  I’m off this weekend for our conference!! I can’t wait!

AN ESCAPE FROM THE COLD AND A CONFERENCE EVENT

Well, this winter has about done me in.  I thought last winter took the cake, until the negatives came in December this year and are just starting to leave now.  I am a Minnesota girl, and like to think I’m a bit hearty, but even the heartiest are sick of the frigid cold.  I realized it was bad when they said Minneapolis was the coldest large city in the US, beating out, wait for it……. ANCHORAGE, ALASKA!!

Yep.  It was time for some warmer weather.  I’m pretty sure the tourist industry was onto us as well, cause it seemed I got an email every day telling me of great prices to places like Florida and Arizona.  One day, the deal was just too good, the cold was too cold, and somehow I managed to convince the hubby to whisk me away to the palm trees and white sands of Florida!  Now I”m going to tell you upfront that we already have a trip planned for the end of March with the kiddos to Orlando.  So yes, you may say I’m spoiled.  And I am.  But when Ry and I saw the opportunity to get away on a great trip for $1000, we had to take it.  We joke that it’s cheaper than marriage counseling:)

If you follow me on instagram (@prvbsthirtyonegirl) you’ve known of my adventures and seen some of these photos:)

So, to preface this vacation, I found tickets for $179, a rental car for $20/day and a priceline hotel with free breakfast for $100/day.  We loved where we went last year and stayed real close to it in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

I squealed like a little school girl when our tiny economy car ended up being……

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A Mini Cooper!!! I’ve always loved how cute they are and even Ry was pleasantly surprised how much he liked it, especially when it got us 50 mpg!

We stayed 10 minutes from the beach and frequented there every day.

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We love Hollywood beach.  The sand is amazing and the boardwalk is a fun place to walk.  Oh yeah, the aqua water doesn’t hurt either.

And we had to head back down to Key West for a day.  We enjoyed it way too much last year.  We tried to stay there a night, but the cheapest I could find a hotel room for was $350.  We didn’t want to pay more for one night than our tickets cost us.

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So instead we took off at 5 a.m., got to my favorite little bakery/coffee shop by 9:30 with our iced coffee and sandwiches in hand and headed to the beach.

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Smathers beach is gorgeous.  The bent palm trees and white sand are my favorite.

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Although the swimming here isn’t very good.  The sand gets super mucky about 5 feet out.

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We even had a small 3 foot hammerhead shark swim right up by us.  I ran into shore like a little school girl while Ry stayed out there trying to catch it, thinking he was Jeremy Wade of River Monsters.  Crazy guy!

Other than the beach and the pool, we didn’t do too much.  We did find this fun little restaurant called Le Tub that a local told us about.  Supposedly Oprah and Gayle discovered it and named it one of the best burgers in America.

We were told to expect a wait for our food, since the little restaurant (located on the intercoastal waterway) had a one man kitchen.  Since we had no kids, and a good view, that didn’t bother us.  Also, the whole restaurant was built from driftwood and things found on the beaches by the owner, and it took him over 5 years to build.

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When the burgers came out we were amazed.

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That’s 13 oz. of beef!  And yes, Ry finished it no problem.  My dad wouldn’t be too impressed with the paper plates and plastic silverware, but we went with it:)

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awkward burger hold, but the thing was oozing juice that I didn’t quite want to get on my white pants.  I think Oprah and Gayle were onto something, they were pretty amazing.

With that being said, sorry for the long break on my blog.  I was getting rejuvenated, thawed, and freckled:)  And it felt so good.  And a huge thanks to Ry’s family that watched our kiddos for us!  It’s always good to know they are in good hands and not have to worry about them when we are away.

Now that I’m emotionally recharged, I wanted to share an event with you that  will spiritually recharge you.  Our church, Cornerstone, is hosting a women’s conference this coming weekend, February 21st and 22nd, that will guarantee to draw you closer in your relationship to Jesus.  Dee Brestin, the author of the book, Idol Lies will be coming to speak.

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Here’s a short description of the book…

Deep down, every woman longs to feel loved and secure. We may think we look to God for these things, but in reality we often run to food, Facebook, or friendships first.  Worshiping God’s gifts is idolatry.  And idolatry destroys intimacy with God and steals our joy.

In this book, author Dee Brestin brings unfailing principles and vivid testimonies from scripture, her own life, and the lives of women who have tested these truths and are excited tot ell about their transformation.  She also presents an in-depth Bible study and access to downloadable teaching videos and testimonies to guide you, step-by-step, to freedom and a life-changing intimacy with the True Lover of your soul.

I’m a little over half way through this book and have already learned so much.  If you are looking for something to freshen up your walk with Jesus, come and join me and many other women as we enjoy Friday night and Saturday together, growing and learning from Dee and increasing our intimacy with God.

You can find more information here, and also how to buy your ticket.  Tickets are $35 for the weekend which includes lunch on Saturday.  Oh, and I get to decorate for the event, so you can see some “trademark Allie” when you walk through the doors:)

 

 

VALENTINE POUFS AND AN UPDATE

If you live in the midwest, you are in complete sympathy with how long of a winter this has been.  Not because of the length, but because of the cold!  I read that Minneapolis is considered the coldest large city in the country, even beating out Anchorage, Alaska this year.  Yep, that’s not an award I was hoping to win.  So, after taking down my Christmas decor I usually struggle with what to put out.  We can’t really jump from Christmas to Spring, since we have snow for another 3 months, but I don’t have much in between winter decor.  And I’m usually get sick of winter by now too so I don’t want to invest much in the form of items.  I have never decorated for Valentines Day, but this year I thought I’d add just a few touches.  Touches that could get me through February and into March when I can pull out my green spring stuff!  So, I decided to make a few “poufs” for my mantle and thought I’d show you how to make them to.  You need tissue paper, string, and a scissors.  They are cheap folks!

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Cut a square, mine were about 12×12 but you can choose any size, and I used about 10 sheets.

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Next, scallop the edges.

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Then accordion fold it.

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and tie a string in the middle.

Nows the fun part…you get to “pouf” it!

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Fluff them out, but don’t tug too hard or they will rip, like this…

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but that’s okay…i just ripped it off and fluffed around it.

I didn’t actually use the pink, but made three white ones for my mantle.

Valentine Mantle

I didn’t want to completly redo my mantle, so I just made a few minor changes.  I made a be mine pennant out of drop cloth, put up some mercury candle holders and added poufs.

Valentine Mantle

Still “wintery” with a touch of valentine:)

I also goofed around with my chalkboard wall the other day.  I hate loosing all my Christmas lights after Christmas so thought of a way to keep a little twinkle for February.

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I wasn’t sure if I was 100% sold on it…but it took so long to hang that it’s staying now:)

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It makes it a little more romantic :)

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I also got this new eye candy for Christmas from Ry.  He asked my sister Mel to help him buy a couple of presents…and she knew I had been oogling this pretty thing since the day she got it…so she ever so sweetly gave it up and let Ry give it to me!  What a honey:)

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It’s a beast! But I love it!! And I love how it matches my table so well with the weathered wood:)

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A little heart book pennant finishes it off.  It’s not a lot of Valentine, but just a few touches…enough to get me through til spring:)

I also wanted to update you on a couple of things.

1.) My friend translated the postcard of our house that was written in Swedish.  It said…

Litchfield Aug 5 1909

Dear Agnes We took some photos the other day and here you can see how they look. We are feeling fine here in the heat. Most everyone around here has started the harvest, but we have a man here digging in a cistern. Anton shall probably start tomorrow. Augusta

How cool is that??  Thanks so much Lindsey and friend for translating that.  It is a treasure:)

2.)  My friend Molly has a date:)  She’ll probably kill me for writing this, but thank you so much readers for sending us your candidates.  We did get some really great emails and so far one date is in the mix.  I won’t be giving you any play by plays since this isn’t the bachelorette:)  but I did want to say thank you so much for helping a girl out and for all of the prayers.  I truly do have the best blog readers!!!

So, here’s to hoping the weather warms up one of these days:)

xoxo

PLAYING MATCHMAKER

Remember how my word for the year is “Prayer?”  And remember how I said I was praying for one of my girls that I so desperately love and want to see get married??  Well….an opportunity has presented itself.

Through a series of events that I completely think is a “God thing” a matchmaking opportunity came along.   So my friend contacted me one day about an opportunity she saw online of a blog that allows singles to “link up” and share information that has led to 9 marriages in the course of three years.  I got SO GIDDY!! cause I immediately thought, “Molls, let me write a blog for you!”  Which came the response. “NO.”  I felt so strongly about this opportunity for her that I couldn’t let the thought die.  After serious prayer on both ends, and a lot little convincing….she thought why not, lets give it a try.  So this is definitely a first for me (and her actually) and hopefully a last….at playing my hand at being a matchmaker.

Let me introduce you to my friend….Molly.

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 Molly and I go way back to college days, where we attended Northwestern University, St. Paul.  After being friends and getting to live together for a few years, we’ve created a lifelong friendship and have a lot of stories, laughs, and respect for each other.  Molly has been there for me through thick and thin and has been a prayer warrior for me through the “Jules” ordeal and sent sweet notes with encouraging words that helped get me through.

So here’s some background on Molly….

1.)  She GORGEOUS! (she wasn’t going to let me write that one)

2.)  She just turned 30.

3.)  She loves Jesus.  Seriously, they have a relationship people.

4.)  She’s funny, loves to laugh, and always up for an adventure.

5.)  She has worked in marketing since college, and has had great experiences and always a good story.

6.)  She loves to travel and  to stay active, do yoga, and work out, counterbalanced with a love of Chipotle and frozen yogurt. (No wonder she’s my friend!:)

7.)  She’s also a girl, so of course she loves to shop, but she doesn’t mind watching sports, especially live.

8.)  She’s got an amazing family…you’d hit the jackpot with this one!

9.) Oh, and she’s the sweetest thing…seriously…did I mention that?!? (I’m getting a glare now:)

So….

With that being said…I wanna find this girl a guy.

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I think a good guy for Molly would be…

1.) Someone whose got some height to him:)  She’s 5’10″ without heels so we need at least a 6 footer;)

2.)  Let’s keep the age between the late 20′s to late 30′s.

3.)  Someone who loves Jesus, like has a relationship ladies…not just says he loves Him.

4.)  Fun personality who would laugh with her.

5.)  Someone whose not afraid of adventure and having fun.

6.)  Above all, husband quality.

I’m passionate about this because Ryan and I got introduced through a third party, who I barely even knew.  But she had an “inkling,”  And that “inkling” ended up being a God thing.  So I’m just asking my readers (whom I love and respect) to help a girl out.  And if you read this post and someone “popped” into your mind, even if you think it’s crazy, why not just give them a shout out.  Even if you aren’t from the area.  We’re up for an adventure:) That’s right…I’m including myself in this one:)

Email proverbs31girlmatchmaker@gmail.com if you think you have a candidate for my sweet Molly.  We’d love a picture and a little background information, and of course we’d love it if he was on board with the idea too:) She really is the sweetest girl ever you guys….I wouldn’t be writing this post if she wasn’t:)

Love you Molls!!

P.s.  If you can’t think of anyone..you can join me and throw up a sweet prayer for this girl too.  Cause pretty sure that’s the ticket.  It’s all in God’s hands now:)

 

 

 

 

OUR FARMHOUSE–105 YEARS AGO

A couple of months ago I got an email from the sweet lady who owned this house before us.  In it she sent a picture of a postcard she had that had a picture of our house on it from…wait for it…the year 1909.  A whopping 105 years ago.  It was amazing to see that our house has been a home for people for so long, and fun to think about the changes this house has seen.  It’s actually quite amazing how similiar the house still looked.

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Addy told me that this is how the house looked when they moved in (minus the long grass..which I’m kinda in love with!)…and in 1965 they added on the East addition…our master bedroom and office, and in 1970 they took off that darling front porch and added the west side, our current living room.  Although I love that porch, I’m grateful for the extra room:)  All the windows stayed in the same spot, and the barn is in the same location as well.  I braved the -30 degree weather here in MN to grab a picture from the same angle so you can see…

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It seemed so much more romantic 105 years ago.  *sigh*

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and here’s a picture straight on.  The new door needs some painting and 2 Christmas trees need to get pulled to the burn pile:)

The other side of the postcard was written in Swedish by the owners….I know there are some Swedish speaking people in the area and I think it’d be fun if anyone could translate!  It’s got me a tiche curious to know what it says!

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I have stared at this picture for quite some time, just imagining what life was like for the people standing on the front porch.  I can only imagine how much harder they had to work than we do now, at keeping a warm home, cooking and cleaning.  The clothes are fascinating to me and I can’t believe that they have a photograph from 105 years ago.  I so wish I could ask them a few questions:)

Thank you Addy for this treasure.  It gives me a whole new appreciation for this home and makes me proud to know that we gave it some love so that hopefully someone else can look back on my pictures and think…..wow…that’s what 100 years ago looks like.

A NEW KITCHEN FAUCET

A few weeks ago, before Christmas actually…which tells you how behind I am on my blog, I was grabbing a few things from the kitchen before heading out to a Christmas dinner.  Right before I was getting ready to leave I hear a sound no one wants to hear.  The sounds of gushing water.  You can only imagine me freaking out trying to figure out where it was coming from…since most of our pipes are in the ceiling, I was frantically looking up waiting for a big water spot to emerge, while screaming for Ryan (who was out in the shed) and screaming at the kids, “get your dad!”  As the water started pouring out from under the sink I finally figured out a pipe had broke from the sink.  I’m a smart one I am.  And you would think with all of my DIY skills I would have known that there is a little shut off valve on both the hot and cold water pipes under the sink.  But nope.  Didn’t know that one.  Ryan finally came inside to show me that just about the time I realized I could grab the broken hose and squirt the water that was pouring out into the sink.

After all of the craziness settled down, Ryan and I counted our blessings.  We were both on the way out of the house and we don’t want to even think of the mess that we would have come home to had we left 5 minutes earlier.  Thank you Jesus.  With that being said, Ryan diagnosed the problem and found out a part had broken off of our faucet which popped the pipe loose.  He didn’t think at the time that it was fixable, so until I ordered a new faucet, I would only have cold water to use.

I’ve had worse problems, like doing my dishes in the sink, so I wasn’t freaking out too much.  Actually not too much at all since I didn’t even order a new faucet til 2 weeks later.  A faucet is one of those kinda big deals in our house .  One of those things that a.) I can’t fix and b.) therefore I cannot change without telling the hubby:)

I’m gonna show you our old faucet that sadly was put to rest…

bridge faucet

It’s the best picture I could find.  Needless to say I loved it.  I loved that it looked like a bridge faucet with only using 1 hole, cause that’s all the IKEA sink comes with.  Pre-drilled at least.  I loved that it was a $750 faucet that I got for $75 thanks to a smoking deal from my sister.  But there were a few drawbacks.  I hated that I didn’t have a sprayer, especially with this big sink.  The sink never got cleaned out well or if it did it was a pain in the but.  And I didn’t like that IT BROKE! ha:)

So I was on the hunt.  I was still so drawn to faucets like this…

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and there are holes drill mostly through the sink that I think we could have added additional holes.  But after researching it a bit more, I just didn’t want to take the risk of popping those holes out.

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another similar one.

I thought I could play it safe and keep it almost the same..

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but what fun is that?? Allie keep something the same??  Crazy idea.

So lately I had been noticing a little bit more of an industrial look that I kind of liked.  Like a little mini restaurant sink right in your own home!:)  Faucets like this…

pull down faucets

source

So I started looking, and found this cutie on Overstock

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I loved that it has a great spray and the reviews were actually quite good on it.  It was $149 on the site, but after a 10% off and some club O rewards I had I got it for $125.  For a faucet that is quite inexpensive.  Here’s how she looks all at home now…..

Industrial faucet

I like it much better without the bottom plate on it..

farmhouse sink

and she’s really quite big!  It took some getting used too.  The sprayer works amazing though.  The pressure is ridiculous.

farmhouse sink

I love it.  Even Ryan cleans the sink out now.  Every time:)

Farmhouse Kitchen

Oh, and it’s good to have the hot water back:)

PRAYER

Well, I’m a few days late, like always, but I thought I’d finally getting around to sharing my new years resolution.  In the past these have been strictly surface resolutions and purely for myself.  I want to eat better, exercise more, give up soda, etc. etc.  This year though I have wanted my resolution to be a spiritual one.  One that not only betters me, but betters my whole family, community, friendship circle.  I’ve been seeing everyone pick a “word for the year” and I thought I’d join in.

I originally decided my resolution was going to be to stop judging other and just show love.  Cause you see I struggle with that sometimes.  I struggle when people say one thing but then act another way.  I find myself so quick to judge their heart, and quite honestly, it’s.not.my.place.  If I could just love and show actions that match my words, I would be a far better witness, friend, wife, mother, etc etc.  Well, that’s a great resolution but I decided that’s a life lesson I’m going to try to strive for always, and fail at miserably, but still try:)

I really wanted my resolution to be a powerful word, and after reading a couple chapters in my Bible study book I came up with it.

PRAYER.

Simple right??

Well for me it’s tough.

Tough to find the time in the day to do it.

Tough to not fall into routine prayers.

Tough to not fall asleep while praying.

And that’s just honesty.

The book our Bible Study is reading through is called “The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears.”  

The Circle Maker

And I’m not going to lie, I struggled with this book at first.  The whole idea around it is about praying bold prayers.  This quote actually comes from the book…

“Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.

The reason I had such a hard time with it was because I have prayed bold prayers before.  Prayers that my baby girl would get healed.  That I could keep her.  That she would miraculously not have a genetic disorder once she was born.  And you know what?  That prayer wasn’t answered.   I wasn’t mad at God for it, I just assumed that was not His will.  So then I thought why would I pray for what I want?  The Lord knows the desires of my heart, He knows what I want.  Instead I’ll just pray,

“Your will be done Lord.”

“You know what’s best Lord.”

“Your ways are perfect Lord.”

And all of those are true.  But, what I found is that my prayer life was getting very shallow.  I had lost some of the passion in my prayers cause I thought that no matter what I prayed it would end up the way the Lord wanted it too.  I didn’t want to offend God.  I didn’t want to be bold.  I didn’t want to get hurt.  I wanted to play it safe.

And in playing it safe, I started to distance myself from God.

I made the relationship more 1 way and not 2 ways.

I started to feel alone.

So my new years resolution is to pray bold prayers.  Not prayers like, Lord I desire to win the lottery, or even bless us with  money, or I want to drive a brand new Honda mini van with built in vacuum cleaner cause that is a…mazing! (just saying)

But prayers that matter.  Prayers for family. and friends. and change.  

Prayers that men rise up and be leaders, prayers that husbands are found for my dear sweet friends who want to be wife’s, prayers for my kids that their hearts seek God, long into their adult years.  Prayers that my heart shows love, real love.

Real prayers.  Prayers that change people.  Prayers that change me. Prayers that matter. 

And you know what?  I’m excited to be passionate about praying again.  I’m excited to see what God will do with me and my bold prayers.  I’m excited to know that even if I don’t see an answer now, or tomorrow, or in a year…that my God hears, and He is faithful, and that He will follow through one way or another.  And that’s what I loved in the last chapter I read of this book.  The chapter that addressed the “long and boring prayers.”  The ones that we usually give up on cause we don’t see results.

Most of us don’t get what we want because we quit praying. We give up too easily. We give up too soon. We quit praying right before the miracle happens.

And the thing that I am most excited for…is to see my relationship with Jesus change.  Because I know that the more I talk to Him, the more I get to know Him, and the more I get to know Him, the more my heart changes, and the more my heart changes, the better my family/friends/ministry will be.   So if you are like me and are late on your resolutions for the year, I can’t think of a much better one than prayer.  Join with me and give it a try:)  Or go pick up the book and decide for yourself how you want to pray…I’m guessing it will rock your world…just a little:)

 

OFFICE MAKEOVER

Well I promised you after the new year that I would show you my latest makeover at the farmhouse.  And this room has always been my nemesis.  It is the room that seems to always “collect” all the junk and leftovers that I can’t find a spot for.  During whimsy months it becomes an overflow of Whimsy and also holds all of my crafting messiness that needs a spot somewhere and inevitablly ends up there.  When we renovated we decided to do an arch with an open entry to the office.  Looking back I sure wish I would have put a door on it just so I could have the option to close it off to the world when it’s in it’s unsightly state, but that’s not an option.  So, instead I needed some major organization and remodel to make it function in the way we wanted it to.

Our office has been through a lot of changes, like I said.  It started out when we first bought it, as a den…..

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We never changed any of the windows in this process, so you can always go off of them.  We did make this room quite a bit smaller to make room for a formal dining room on the other side…

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Then we unloaded everything in here and we had a big ole mess…..which I can’t seem to find the picture for at them moment…

We finally turned an old farmhouse table into a desk and made it “look” functional for a bit…

 Farmhouse Desk

Until the space just wasn’t working for us anymore.  I then swapped out desks for something with more storage to hide clutter….added a dresser and some fun and here’s what I came up with…

craft room/office

I painted the wall color a really pale blue.  I actually just picked it up from Walmart one night because I was desperate for change.  It is a Better Homes and Gardens color called Airy Blue.

homeschool room

After I painted the blue I used an overhead machine to cast up an outline of the world on the walls.  The bugger is that I couldn’t move the overhead far enough away to get it as big as I wanted, so I had to free hand a lot of it. With that being said I’m sure A LOT of my proportions are off.  Geography was never my thing.  But I”m okay with that.  I wanted it to be pale in the background so I painted it in my trim color, decorator white.

book shelf

I got this old plate rack from a lady and after seeing Ann Voskamps home school room where she had low bookshelves for her kids, I decided to add a piece of wood to the front so it would hold the books in place and hang it low enough for the kids to see it at eye level.  I love the pops of color it brings into the room and also how easily accessible it is for the kids to use.

kids bookshelf

feather tree

I found this cute feather tree at a garage sale last year for $4, and was super excited all summer to pull it out at Christmas time. It fits the playful feel of the office perfectly.

bright pennant

I love pennants hanging from the ceiling as well.  It makes the room seem more fun.  So I took scraps from all of my christmas pillows and cut them into triangles, hot glued them onto bakers twine, and hung them up using 3M command strips.  A free little bit of fun:)

pin board

I used my burlap tac board for our Christmas cards this year, and also used a basket to keep all of my wrapping paper together.  It looked a bit cuter before Christmas when all of my fun paper was still in there.  Slim pickings these days;)

And although I would have loved to see Ry’s beast of a gun safe go….it didn’t.  At least not until he finishes off his man cave.  So for now I just decorated around it.

world globe

I had seen these fun world globes on Land of Nod and thought they were so fun…

looseleaf-pendant-shade-world

and at $29 they really weren’t that bad.  But, I remembered I had some light kits I had picked up from IKEA  awhile back, and so I thought I’d try to make something similar.  I bought 2 sizes of white paper globes off of amazon for I think around $3 and $6.  Then I used a large circle paper punch and punched out as many holes as I could from a large map I had.  I ended up only having enough holes to do one globe for now, but I hot glued them on, put the light kit in, and ended up with my own globe lantern.  Now to just buy an atlas to finish off my other one..

globe lantern

They look pretty fun lit up at night.  I also got that awesome wood star from a sweet friend.  They got the lathe out of an old barn and I love how it has some old paint still left on it.

craft room

My mother-in-law had found this dresser for $3 at a garage sale.  I was getting ready to fix it up for Whimsy when I realized ti would be a perfect fit in this little cove in the office.  I added new hardware and some numbers and filled it up with all of my crafting stuff.  A great fix to remove the clutter!

craft room

I still want to add chalkboard plaques under the larger drawers to say whats in there.  I got the satin nickel pulls off of eBay for $2 a piece.

Glass canisters

I got these jars from Walmart for $5 a piece and I just chalked the front of it to make them personalized.

I’m still working on this wall.  I’m not quite happy with it yet.  I’m thinking it may get a chalk treatment, or different storage on the shelves.  Either way it’s just not quite right yet.

kraft paper

I do love this area though.  I bought a big roll of brown building paper from Menards.  I like it better than kraft paper because it’s not quite as thick.  I then bought matching curtain rods from Walmart as well for around $10/piece, and hung the paper and ribbon on them.  It worked great this Christmas to have this as a wrapping station.  I’m thinking the kraft paper will work well for notes/homeschool/wrapping/lists/ and all of the above:)

She’s come a long way, and got a lot more practical in the last month.  With a few more tweaks I’m hoping this room is as functional as I’d hoped it would be when we remodeled it!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE LUNDEENS!

Well, another year has gone by and I did not get Christmas cards out:(  Fail.  And I so love getting all of the holiday cheer in the mail and am SO BLESSED by each card we have received this year, so thank you to all of you faithful Christmas card senders!!!  I (most likely) promise, next year we will have a card in the mail:)  This year though a blog will have to do.  So from our family to yours, we wish you a a very Merry Christmas!!!!

Merry Christmas

And a few outtakes…

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We are so blessed this year, and our prayer is that we can continue to praise Jesus, bless others, and love like Christ does.  Because that’s what matters most.  Sharing the love of Jesus with others and praising God for the gift of salvation through a special baby that we celebrate on Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!!

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15