BEFORE & AFTER…THE MASTER BEDROOM

Alright, I gave you a sneak peek earlier but I have given our bedroom a face lift and haven’t shown it in awhile.  I also haven’t done it as a complete before and after to show you how far it has really come.

I have fallen into the navy craze along with a lot of the blog world, and thought the bedroom would be a great place to pull it in.  It’s brought a little bit more of a masculine feel to our room which does the hubby a “little” more justice:)  He has to put up with a lot after all;)

So, here’s a before picture of our bedroom…

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and after….

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We had added the row of closets on the right and took out the master closet they had on the other side of the room.  The little window you see on the before is now between our clothes closet and the laundry closet.  It’s in an awkward spot but is nice to have some natural light in the closets!  We also raised the ceilings an additional 3 feet to bring some height to the room, especially since it was just wasted attic space above.

Before…

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after…

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We also moved the mini door over after we added the closests and made it a full size door so we didn’t have to duck every time we went in:)  You can see above the right corner is a big box that used to be their master closet, now it’s our baby corner!!

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We also opened up a dormer that was that just for aesthetic purposes.  We put in a new window and it brought in so much more light to the room since there were only two small windows in the room to start with.

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I created a canopy by taking a hoop ring for embroidery and sewing on two curtain panels from Ikea.  I actually cut one panel in half since I didn’t need it quite so thick, and mostly because I only had one and I didn’t want to buy another set:)

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I also got this super cute butterfly mobile from my sister.  She made it for Whimsy and praise the Lord it didn’t sell cause I didn’t realize how perfect it would be in this space!

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Yeah, you heard me..she made it ya’ll!

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She used old book pages, antiqued them, and hung them from a thin wire to a hoop.

And when I told her I think I needed to buy it…she said it was her gift to peanut:):)

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This corner is still going to get a mini dresser or something for storage and a bit of decor on the walls, but for now I’m ready for baby:)

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And heres a long shot of the rocker.

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with my stump table that cost me $16 because of the legs I bought at Ikea.

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and if I didn’t love the antlers enough I decided to showcase them a bit more:)

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Now it’s a work of art….good job babe!

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View from the bathroom.

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I’ll keep you posted on any new baby updates!  Here’s the latest instagram I posted at 34 weeks preggers.

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I can’t believe we are only 5 weeks out now…and if peanut is anything like Tate or Kynlee hopefully he/she comes a week or two early!:)

My cravings lately are for ice water!!  WITH……essential oils Citrus fresh

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Seriously, for a girl that doesn’t usually like water I just can’t get enough.  I put 2 drops in my cup and I love love love it.  I crave it even more than cherry coke, which for those of you who know me know that’s a big deal:)  And it’s supposed to cleanse you and give you clarity of thought…not sure if the clarity of thought is working with preggo brain, but nonetheless, I love it:)

A ROCKER FOR BABY

My sister-in-law had an old upholstered rocker that she was getting rid of and asked if I would be interested.  At first glance the rocker seemed like she needed lots of love, the pattern was out of date and the the fabric was starting to rip.  But, with a  little love I knew that the shape was great, the structure was solid, and it was very comfy.  Plus, it was on rockers which would be perfect for a babe, and the real selling point?? It was free!  And after looking into upholstered rockers like these…

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that retail from $750-$1300, free was good.

So here she is before her makeover….

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The shape is great!

And here’s a sneak peek of her now in our bedroom…

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Okay, that’s your teaser:)

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Doesn’t look too much different from the $1000 one does it??  I slipped her in white twill, and m little secret is that I love using IKEA white curtains for the fabric.  It seems to lay nicer than duck cloth you can buy at Jo-anns, and it ends up being just as cheap, if not cheaper.  I buy the grommet drapes.  I added a little flirty skirt as well since our room is feeling a little masculine these days:)  I did the ottoman awhile back but she fits well with the rocker.

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I’ve got a bunch more pics to show you of our somewhat “remodeled” bedroom….which now includes a crib! Yay!! and if you didn’t notice the newest stump addition to the family, I’ll give you one more look.  She’s my favorite yet:)

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JUST AS YOU ARE….

Whimsy came and went this last week.  Our second sale of the year.  And although I love creating and painting and diy-ing, something about this sale just seemed like too much.  Maybe because my 7 1/2 month belly kept getting in the way, maybe because I just wanted to nest and work on my house before August, maybe because I knew most of the money I would make would already be spent on the man cave my hubby is working on.  Or maybe because I had been feeling a little defeated in my faith these days.  Either way, I just wanted it to be done.

I’ve felt like that quite a bit lately.  Like I am just going through the motions of a day.  Like everyday I am just keeping my head above water, cleaning, cooking, mowing, washing, repeat repeat repeat.  And the mundane starts to take over.  You see, when we were going through the whole Jules ordeal, our life served such purpose.  Although I never would have chosen to endure that journey, I grew so close to Jesus through the process.

Matthew 11:28-30 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Because I NEEDED Him.

I SOUGHT Him.

I TRUSTED Him.

And you know what?  He was so beyond faithful.  In our darkest of hours are the times I felt closest to Him.

This last year life has been going pretty good for the Lundeens.  No major incidences, a baby is on the way, the job is steady, Whimsy continues to grow, we are all healthy and although we miss Jules, each day seems to get a bit easier.  I started thinking that I put in my hardship for this life and now I just have smooth sailing the rest of the way out.  But do you know what that brought me?? That “smooth sailing” of saying to God, I did my good deed for you, I trusted you through the hardest/darkest days of my life??

A stagnant relationship.

You see, God does not just call us to be His children in the hard times.  God calls us to be His children ALL the time.  God doesn’t just want us to lean on Him when times are tough, God wants us to enjoy Him EVERY DAY!  That is what a relationship is after all.  And if we choose to start letting that relationship go because, “we got this” the intimacy suffers.

This last year I have noticed my intimacy with Jesus suffer.  I was talking to Him a little less throughout the day, letting my Bible collect dust, and choosing to do what I wanted to do rather than invest time in the one person that matters the most.

So, back to Whimsy.  Whimsy week had finally come and I found myself saying, ” I just can’t wait for it to be over.”  And that’s when Jesus, through a written word, drew me back to Him.  And quite honestly blew me away.  Blew me away that He cares enough ABOUT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US that He will take the time to get our attention.  You see, a girl had messaged me the night before Whimsy with a word the Lord had given her about Whimsy.  Yes, you heard me…about Whimsy…an occasional sale where we sell furniture and household things.  WORLDLY things.  A girl that I had only had the pleasure of having a couple of conversations with, a person that I would call an acquaintance.  That’s how you know it’s Jesus, when He speaks through very unsuspecting people.  And this is the message I got..

The reason I’m writing is in hopes that you are encouraged by the way the Spirit led me to pray for your upcoming Whimsy sale. Seemingly out of nowhere today he burdened me to pray and I want to share some of it with you. Because I want you to know that I believe that God is and will be doing life-changing things through the ministry you and your family have. I believe that every piece sold will be more about changing hearts than changing décor. I believe that when people buy your art and place it in their homes, people will come to know Jesus through it. I believe that God has greatly gifted each of you and ALL our gifts are meant to bring glory to Himself. I believe that Whimsy is Kingdom work. I believe that the Spirit will be so present at your farm tomorrow that hearts will be changed just by stepping foot on your property and in that building. I believe that hard hearts will soften and broken hearts will be healed through Whimsy. I believe that your mom, your sisters, husbands and your children will offer hope to some that desperately need it. I believe you are doing more than making homes beautiful. I believe you are not just accessories homes but you are accessorizing hearts with the truth of Jesus Christ. I believe that through Whimsy people will adore Jesus as they adorn their homes. I believe that as Gideon was called “mighty warrior” you and your family are warriors fighting for the name of Jesus with the gifts you’ve been given. I pray that you never think of your gifts and Whimsy as anything less than a ministry built by and held up by Jesus. It’s so sweet to witness you guys stewarding what God has given you.

And Allie cried.

I cried because I had gotten it all wrong.  I cried because I get so caught up in the daily living that I miss what God is desiring and how He is working in each of us.  And I cried because I was SO GRATEFUL God got my attention.  You see, in EVERY AREA of our life it is a ministry.  Every single thing we do is a testimony to Jesus.  If we CHOOSE it to be.  When we clean clothes, we can praise Jesus, when we wait in the check out line we are being a witness to others.  How we react to situations and bad drivers and slow drive thru lines are all a part of our witness.  Because God can take the mundane and turn it into the eternal.  He can use a smile or small gesture and give it real value.  He can use it to change someones heart or their life.  And more importantly He can use it to change ours, and keep our eyes on the real goal…our relationship with Him.

Psalms 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever

So this past weekend was amazing.  Yes, we had an amazing sale with amazing women that showed up and never cease to amaze us by driving from all parts of the state.  Yes, we sold so much inventory and moved a lot of furniture and were blessed.  But I think ALL of us were more excited to try to be a little bit of Jesus to people as they walked into the shop.  To have our goal not be in dollar signs but in conversations and smiles and heart issues.  To ALLOW God to use us, right.where.we.are.at.  Period.

So I encourage you today to not be discouraged:)  In fact, I challenge you, along with me.  I am going to take the month of July and try to do one act of kindness for Jesus every day.  To step out of “My world” and reach someone else with a little extra Jesus love and maybe just maybe transform a soul.  Or, more importantly, change mine.  So if you like me on Facebook I’ll be posting every day what my Jesus moment was for the day, more because I need the accountability and hopefully encourage you do the same!  Just think the impact we can have!!

God bless!! I’m off to bake some cookies for the widow down the road!!

xoxo

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Matthew 25:40

 

 

 

DRINK CRATE AND WHIMSY PROJECTS AND THE BELLY

After making my DIY window boxes, I thought it would be fun to make some wood box/crates for Whimsy.  I’m always looking for an easy centerpiece to sit on my dining room table that I can set on and set off without moving a bunch of stuff and thought this would be the ticket.  A longer box that I could fill with different things seasonally.  But as I started thinking of summer I thought it would be fun to have them also serve a purpose.  Like a fun drink tray.  And how perfect to have it before the 4th of July and all of the entertaining that will take place.  So, I made them a lot like the window boxes, just minus the added trim and brackets:)  I then added rope handles and a little stenciling and made my drink tray..

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they are 2 feet long and about 16″ wide, so they make quite a statement.

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I did leave some trays blank, but in my opinion you don’t just have to use this as a drink tray.  I’d put it on my table with all sorts of stuff in it.

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Although the S. Pelligrino looks quite pretty in it:)

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Add a bucket of ice and some glasses and you’re ready to entertain!

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Oh, and a pretty background…

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A pretty background never hurts!

The next project is going to be a little eye candy.  I have been working with a client/friend on their lake cabin and the finished project is turning out amazing!  I’m hoping to show you a blog on the cabin one day soon, but until then I’ll just show you the shelves I made for above the toilet.

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I used the same brackets as I have on my window boxes and added some stained boards on top.  I love how they look, and they function quite well too!  I also made some with gray brackets and barn board tops for Whimsy.  I think they’d work great in a bathroom, bedroom, office…pretty much anywhere!

The rest of the photos are not staged at all, they are actually the text the sisters and I send back and forth to show each other what we are working on.  But I had to share because there are some really fun new things this time!

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for the horse lover!

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These arrows are to die for, they hang horizontal on the wall.  She made them in wood as well!

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For the gardener.

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and the lake house.

And a little something for everyone!

Come on by and say hi next week, Thursday and Saturday from 9-3.  You can find more information on our facebook page!

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And because my pregnancy is flying by, I thought I’d give you an updated belly shot.

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I just went to the doctor today and heard a healthy heart beat.  I’ve gained 18 pounds so far, craving everything sweet…brownies for breakfast anyone?!? and am suddenly enjoying strong smells such as stain, peppermint, chlorine, and weird things like that!  Don’t worry everyone…I enjoy them but don’t indulge in them;)  Although I do stand in the shower and sniff my new Young Living spearmint lavender shampoo and conditioner.  Seriously, so yummy!!  Just another weird pregnancy side effect.  I haven’t been working out, (I don’t really believe in it:) but living life on the farm, gardening, and getting ready for Whimsy has kept me “somewhat” in shape:):)  I’m still sleeping good, I just have Ry give me a push when I need to get out of bed:) and am enjoying every second of feeling peanut inside me.  Now I just can’t wait to find out what “peanut” is!!!

FRONT PORCH UPDATE

So the other day I was perusing through Menards like I so often do, grabbing my weekly supply of paint, stain, glue, nails, you know…every girls accessories, and I came across a major score!  Now that the outdoor department is open, I just had to see if they had any fun shrubs or trees that needed to be planted in my yard:)  You probably don’t know this but my mom is a major green thumb.  She know just about everything there is to know about gardening, perennials, and shrubbery.  So, a “little” of this hard worn off on me.  I love to play in the dirt and make the outside of my house try to match the time and effort I put into the inside of my house.

So, I was walking in their garden center and found some amazing topiaries.  I have always loved the look of pruned and manicured shrubs, so 2 tiered topiaries were right up my alley.  The problem is, is that they are usually quite spendy.  When I saw that these were only $25 a piece I was quite excited.  1.) I had a rebate for $10, so that made them even cheaper, and 2.) I don’t do annuals or flowers in pots, so I justified this as my “flower” budget:)  So, here was what my front porch looked like before I painted the steps…

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sorry, I could only find a fall shot…

and here’s last summer after the stairs got their makeoever…

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And here is this year….with my two new topiary’s.

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I love the height it gives.  and they fit perfectly alongside the door.  Some people have asked how the stairs have held up threw a brutal Minnesota winter of shoveling and more shoveling and more shoveling and all of the elements.  First, I should have swept them, but I was feeling a bit too lazy.   This belly is starting to get in the way:)  Second, they have faded a bit, but I kind of like the worn in look of them.  I would still definitely recommend it.  I haven’t regretted it yet!

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and there’s our scary guard cat, keeping out he predators:)

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I also am still in love with the little dwarf korean lilac tree to the right of our steps.  I love that it blooms about a week or two after the lilac bushes, so the smell can continue.  And it seriously smells up our whole front entry!

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She not hard on the eyes either:)

and just for fun I thought I’d throw in another shot from our house…because bloggers so often forget to show what the outside looks like:)  And right now in Minnesota it is raining every other day, which is a major bummer for a lot of things, but it does help to keep everything gorgeous and green!

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But it also grows all of the weeds as well.  Speaking of which, I better get on that!

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Whimsy is in a week and a half, next Thursday and Saturday, the 26th and 28th from 9-3. I gotta make this place look pretty before all the ladies show up!

Stay tuned for a few of the fun projects we’ve been crafting for our sale next week!

DIY WINDOW BOXES

For the last 2 years I have wanted to spruce up the outside of the guest house by adding some window boxes.  I initially was waiting for the hubby to offer to make me some…..but that didn’t happen.  Huge surprise.  So since I’ve become a little more comfortable with my air nailer and chop saw, who am I kidding, I”m in love with them, I decided to tackle the project myself.   I realized all it really was was a couple of 1x6s and 1×4′s, which I already had from left over signs and trim in the shed.  I measured my windows and cut the wood the same length as the window.

I’m going to preface this post by saying that I’m not giving you a step by step tutorial.  As always, I got excited about a project and didn’t stop to take photos along the way.  I can tell you though that if you have a little bit of handiness in the power tool area, you will be able to figure it out:)

After I cut my 1″x6″ and 1″x4″ boards, I took out wood glue and my air nailer and first glued and then nailed the boards together.   I laid the 1×6 flat and then butted my 1×4 up next to it.  and nailed it with 2″ nails.  Once I had the box framed up I used some lathe I had in the other shed for decorative trim.  To cut the lath I just used Ryans battery operated skill saw.  That way I could do one piece at a time.  I glued that down and nailed it with 1 1/4″ nails.  I ended up making 3 window boxes in about 2 hours…so when I say it really wasn’t that hard, I truly mean it!  I stained them with Dark Walnut stain, drilled 3 holes in the bottom for drainage and stapled in some plastic to line the wood with so it doesn’t rot.  Then I had found some brackets at Menards that were black that I loved, and thought the contrast on the white guest house would be nice.  What I loved even more were that they were only about $2.50 a piece.  So I ended up making all three window boxes for $15 since I had all the wood.  And here’s the end result..

 

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you can see in the close up that there is no such word as “perfect” in my book:)

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There’s only “good enough” :)  Ry loves that philosophy :)  I know too many perfectionists that worry about doing it just right, when all I really want is the end result.  So I”d rather have something that gave me the look that isn’t perfect, than never do it cause I was afraid I was going to mess it up…if you know what I mean!

And you honestly can’t tell when you look at the boxes that I may have been 1/8″ off here and there, and that there are nail holes that aren’t filled…

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All I see are some pretty cute window boxes that cost me next to nothing and add a ton of character to this little shack:)

Let’s just have a bit of fun and go way back to when the guest house was a garage..

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turned into guest house….

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and now with window boxes…

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don’t mind all the weeds:)

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I ended up finding some succulents at Menards on sale called Hen and Chicks.  They were $2.99/piece.  If you haven’t noticed I am kind of in love with the English garden look of all white and green.  Goes with my monochromatic taste I guess.  So these were perfect.  And since they are a succulent I don’t have to water them much. Bonus!

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I think I may add a little alyssum for a pop of white as well.

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And here’s what you see when you pull up to our house from the back side…

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I kinda love that it’s a little mini me to the big house!

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and I also love that the former owners put up that cute white fence to hide the propane tank.  Genius!

and this is the view from my kitchen window…

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If that helps with the layout!

I took a few more pictures outside and worked on another Whimsy project today that has an outdoor theme that I’ll be blogging about the rest of the week. Sometimes I get so stuck on the inside of the house, I forget how much I love to decorate the outside as well!

 

PLANK WALL REVEAL

I finished the plank wall awhile ago, and if you had been checking on the new before and afters you probably saw it, but if not, I’ll show you some pics.

So here’s a picture of the before…

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during…

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and now after..

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And I know I haven’t shown the back entry too much, mostly because there is still work to do, but this is where most of our toys hide…and our homeschool stuff.  So it’s probably the most unorganized area of the house..

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but I do love how the plank wall helps to tie it in better to the rest of the area…

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and I’m still loving the faux wood door I painted over there and how it pops on the white.

I have a few more plans for the area that I will hopefully show you in a bit!

One more planking project done…we’ll see how many are left in the future:):)

PUPPY LOVE!

There has been a lot of activity around here lately.  Last Thursday Neeko started acting funny and went into labor.  I put on my midwife gloves and helped the girl out and welcomed 6 new pups to our family…..for a little while:)

Neeko was a champ, and the pups came out so tiny!!

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I can’t believe these little guys are created in just 9 weeks.  Pretty amazing.  Awesome God.

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and it’s also amazing how puppy momma instincts kick in just as soon as they are born!

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Proud Momma!

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And we ended up with 3 boys and 3 girls.  I must say, she made labor and nursing look so easy…wish it was like that for us!

The pups have been getting no shortage of love!

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We pretty much don’t even need toys anymore;)

And they are a hoot to watch…

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I love when they snuggle bug all up together:)

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So far we are claiming that little blondie girl on the left…but we have to wait a few weeks to see her personality:)

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They are 8 days old and still haven’t opened their eyes…we are excited for that day!

as for now, they pretty much nurse 20 hours a day and sleep the rest…poor Neeko:)  And they are staying comfy in our office. Ha!  Didn’t think I’d see the day!

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Once they start bailing from the pool though, they will get moved outside.  No pooping or peeing on this girls carpet!  :)

Happy Friday!!

OUR LITTLE PEANUT

We went into the dr. last week for another ultrasound.  The first ultrasound all looked well, but little peanut wasn’t’ cooperating and they couldn’t get a good measurement on his/her legs.  At first when I heard this, I was so bummed.  Immediately my mind thought something more was wrong, why would they need another ultrasound?? After being reassured by my doctor and a few other doctor friends, I felt a bit better about it and was actually excited to be able to see our little peanut again.  So we went in last week when I was 27 weeks along and got to see little sweet pea.  I’ll tell you, it was SO HARD to not find out the sex!! If the hubby wasn’t there I think it may just have slipped out.  *wink *wink.

So here’s a sweet little profile shot of babe…

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and a picture of the sweet little foot and arm that all checked out well!

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And we even got a little video of peanut sucking on it’s arm…

As for the rest of the pregnancy, everything has been going great.  I’ve been craving everything sweet…like in a crazy bad way!  haha…poor kid will come out on a sugar high, have gained 16 lbs so far, and have been taking advantage of my sleep knowing it will be short lived soon!  We’ve so been enjoying this beautiful weather and it has helped to get me moving and motivated a bit more.  I have lots of fun projects to show you soon, AND…Ry started the man cave last week.  He’s turning an old grainery into his man haven.  He’s being a good sport and allowing me to insert *a few* suggestions along the way, and I’m hoping to help out in the “masculine decorating” in there as well.  We’ll see how much he trusts me;)  I’ll tell you one thing, I know this place will be practical, and I might only get to add 2 throw pillows;):)  Either way, I’m super excited for him to have his space!

I’VE BEEN FEATURED!! BETTER HOMES & GARDENS KITCHEN AND BATH

If you follow me on instagram @prvbsthirtyonegirl you saw some exciting news the other day.

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And many of you had questions as to if I knew about it, so I thought I’d share the story.

Although I always thought it would be really fun to be in a magazine, I never thought it would happen.  I thought I’d have to pursue it, and really dive 100% into my blog and put in a lot of effort.  You see, in the blogging world you can never do “enough.”  I could blog everyday and keep my readers happy, but blogging takes a lot of time, and quite honestly, for me, the financial benefits aren’t worth it.  I blog because I love to share my stories and DIY adventures and hopefully inspire some of you to pull out a power tool or get to know Jesus better:)  Cause you know they go hand in hand:)  So therefore I blog at my lesiure.  And by doing this I thought I’d maybe have to give up some cool dreams or goals or bucket list items I may have had.  But that’s when God just seems to blow me out of the water.

See, I decided that wasn’t as important as family life and other things that took precedent over finding some sort of “fame” in the blogging world. But Jesus decided to bestow a little gift on my anyway.  This past winter Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen and Bath magazine contacted ME and asked if I would be interested to be in their magazine.  Seriously?!?  At first I thought it was a joke.  The name of the magazine wasn’t even mentioned, they just said it was for a kitchen and bath magazine…and after thinking about it for 2 seconds I said yes!  She said she saw that I had gotten free cabinets, and that their readers would love that and the inexpensive DIY ideas we did to makeover our kitchen on a budget.  I knew the article would run in May, but it wasn’t until about a month ago that I finally figured it out that it was for Better Homes and Gardens special publications….my favorite magazine!

So this week I got this in the mail…

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Of course it came on the day we got like 3 inches of rain and got all wet in the mailbox….but that didn’t deter me too much.  I quickly flipped inside to find the article about our kitchen…

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and was super excited to see it got a whole page!

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and it was so SURREAL to see my picture and name in print in a BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS MAGAZINE!!

God just never ceases to amaze me and the little gifts that He hands out to those that love Him.  Man I love him:)

I was a bit surprised to see the picture they chose, and to see they cropped the stairs out of it. (my favorite part)  They said we didn’t gut the kitchen, when that’s exactly what we did, but I think their goal was to just show their readers how we did inexpensive DIY fixes to make it reasonable for everyone, so I’m okay with that.

So, this issue comes out on the 27th if anyone want’s to snag a copy.  They have some pretty amazing, drool worthy kitchens in there as well, totally worth the $5.99 in my book!

So since then I have updated all of my before and after pages on my blog to have them as up to date as possible when the article runs.  Feel free to check them out and see how many “new” things you spot:)  I’m hoping to add our bedroom, bathroom, and kynlees room to the list before next week!  Let the blogging begin!! :)

 

I’M GONNA BE A GRANDMA!!

Okay, so I don’t really consider myself to be the biggest dog person in the world.  Hence the reason I don’t instagram or post photos of my dog every day, or barely at all.  But I do think that we have the best dog in the world.  Ryan grew up with golden retrievers his whole life, and so when I married him I knew that someday we would have one too.  And it didn’t take long.  A little while after we were married we got a golden.  And this dog is pretty special to us, because her momma, Remington, was my hubby’s brothers dog.  Eric (Ryans brother) died way too early, but we were able to keep a little bit of him alive through our puppy Neeko.  Unfortunately Eric’s dog (Neeko’s momma) died earlier this year:(  So when we had the chance to breed Neeko, we decided now was the time.  Neeko was getting older and breeding her any later would be too hard on her.  We very much wanted the chance to keep one of Neeko’s pups and keep the line going.

I know breeding dogs is controversial, trust me, I’ve received some hate mail already….but I’d really appreciate only positive comments:)  We aren’t breeding Neeko to get rich, we are breeding her cause we want one of her pups, think it will be a great experience for the kids, and can’t wait to snuggle a batch of puppies!:) :)

Neeko is a purebred, so of course we wanted to find a purebred to mate her with.  We found one a little ways away named Buddy.  I couldn’t believe how much him and Neeko looked alike.

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Neeko is on the right and Buddy is on the left.  Neeko was the runt of her litter and although we were initally drawn to the fluffier lighter pups, her demeanor won us over.  She was a little sweet snuggler from the beginning, and so well behaved.  Buddy, we were told, is also an amazing dog.  He actually protects the chickens they have from the owls that have been getting them.  So sweet.  Neeko has been trained to hunt, so I don’t think she’d be “protecting” any chickens….if you know what I mean:)

She is the sweetest dog in the world though…

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and she’s a bit spoiled.  She comes in at night and usually sleeps in our room on her bed. (Trust me when I say I NEVER thought I’d have a big dog in my house.) But we have trained her that she can’t come on the living room carpet or rug.  She doesn’t go on furniture, she’s only allowed on the stairs and our bedroom.  The stairs are by far her favorite spot.

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Although now that’s she’s getting bigger, she isn’t fitting quite as well:)

She is AMAZING with the kids…

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I’ve never once worried that’s she’d every nip at a kid.  The kids can pretty much do whatever to her and she’ll just lay there. Poor girl:)  But she is territorial, and barks when strangers come, which I’ve learned to appreciate, especially in the country when you can’t always hear people pull up.  I’m sure the UPS man is getting sick of it though:)

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So, we are due to have our little batch of puppies NEXT WEEK!  We are so excited…and a little nervous:)  We are setting up a nice little place for them in our office, for at least the first couple of weeks, and I’m going to be putting my video monitor on Neeko here in the next couple  of days just to make sure I can keep an eye on her in case to goes into labor during the night.  Buddy’s family already wants a puppy, and depending on how many she has, I think there are a few more takers as well.  I’ll let you know if there are any left if anyone is interested:)  And I”ll be sure to post lots of pics of these little cuties!  Pray everything goes well, I’ve watched a bunch of you tube videos:) and talked to my mother-in-law who has watched quite a few batches be born, so I’m hoping that helps!!

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As for me, I’ve just been filling holes on this dreary, thunderstorm-y day!  Hopefully I’ll have a painted reveal to show you soon!

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ANOTHER PLANKING PROJECT & A BELLY SHOT

When Ryan told me that he was going to have to work Mother’s day weekend and wanted to head up to the cabin the weekend after, naturally my mind began to wander as to what project I wanted to tackle.  I love working on projects while he is gone, because he tends to get a little “aggitated” when I’m working on them with him around.  It’s just best if he comes home and sees the finished project if you know what I mean:)  So, this weekend I decided to tackle a project I’ve wanted to finish for a long time…planking behind the settee and in the back nook.  Here’s how the wall looked before….

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and although it was just fine the way it was, I wanted to pull the planking from the fireplace and behind from the kitchen nook into this area as well.  Plus, I had already planked a little wall in the back entry nook and always meant to “finish the job” but sometimes my projects take a little while longer than expected.  Due to Whimsy, a ridiculously cold winter (and spring) and a little bun in the oven, I’m finally getting around to it.  I decided to take it easy on myself and called our local building supply center and ordered 4-4×8 foot sheets of 1/4″ plywood cut into 5″ strips.  Man was that slick!  It ended up costing me about an extra $40 than it would at Home Depot, but 1.)  It’s 7 miles away and not 40, 2.) it was ready an hour after I called, 3.)  The strips were ACTUALLY 5″ from beginning to end, which made the job so so so much easier.  The last time I went to Home Depot they said they wouldn’t cut anything smaller than 12″ strips, so I had them do that and then cut them in half at home.  The problem was, their saw stands on end, and the plywood is so thin, that the accuracy wasn’t very good, which makes it super hard for hanging level planks if you know what I mean.  Ry thought I was throwing away money, but once he saw how nice it worked, and the plywood was actually nicer than the stuff I got at Home Depot, I “think” he was okay with it;)

So, here is the tool list I have for planking walls.

1.)  Chop Saw.  Seriously, this thing is my best friend.  If you don’t have this you can use a circular saw as well.

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I was able to put this on our back steps right outside the sitting area so it was so convenient for working.

2.) Air Compressor

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We had a bigger one that we would store in the shed but it was a beast to haul in and out of the house.  When I saw this little guy it was perfect!  I keep him under my stairs and can lift him easily.  I think it was around $80 at Menards (so worth the invesment) and the hubs didn’t seem to mind too much since it was a tool;)  I think it was actually HIS idea!

3.) A Finish Nailer with hose

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This is a pretty nice one, because Ry owned it before I came along:) But I have seen some great package deals you can get the nailer and hose for around $25 at Menards.  It doesn’t need to be anything fancy!

4.)  A Jigsaw

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I forgot to snap a picture of mine, but I found this one online for a mere $14.99!  You use this tool to cut around outlets or anything else that may be permanent in your wall.

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5.  Glue and caulk gun

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I’ve used drywall glue as well, but the liquid nails was only around $3 for a huge tube and worked great.  I used 2 tubes for my project.

6.)  Nails.

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Make sure you get the right nails for your gun.  Since I was only nailing up 1/4′ plywood, I used 3/4″ nails.  I wanted it to go into the drywall and that’s about it.  It really just needs to hold the board on til the glue drys, and then the glue does most of the work.  This way you are also safe from hitting any wires or important things since it won’t go through the drywall.

That’s it!  And your off!

I started my project by edging out the sides first…

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I just ripped down the plywood into 3″ strips to make my edge, and then cornered them nicely.

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This just gives it a nice finished edge. Some people use the corner board over the top after they are done, but I think this looks a little more custom, and it’s cheaper.  Bonus!

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This wall had an angle at the end, so I just took a piece of paper, held it flush to the straight wall on top and folded it on the angle to get my angle.  Then I drew it on my board and cut them all that way on the end.

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These are the areas I was talking about that you may need to pull out your jigsaw.  I should also say, on each board I did about 2 strips of glue back and forth, and then nailed about every 10″ top and bottom.

And at the end of day 1, which took me about 2 hours (not bad but didn’t want to over do it for peanut:) I was done with this wall….

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and here..

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I decided to paint it all at once, so moved everything back in place until I was completely done.

Day 2 went even smoother now that I had my routine down, and I found that I actually love carpentry work!

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I wasn’t too worried about my boards lining up at the end, you won’t really notice in the long run.

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And onto the door wall.

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I edged out my corner the same way as the other side.

I’m loving it already!  I ran out of white wood filler so this is as far as it’s gotten until I get more today, and then the paint will go up and I’ll post before and afters.  The hubs came home and said, wow! Looks nice…I think you should just stain it.  Oh honey, do you know me at all;):)

I’ll keep you in suspense as to if it’ll be wood or white:)

And I really am not one for selfies, but I am one that loves to see baby bumps, so if you follow me on instagram @prvbsthirtyonegirl, you saw this pic I posted a week ago..

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I was 24 weeks here.  I wish I could say I always look that put together (and coordinate with my bedding:) but unfortunately most days I have on sweats and no makeup with a ponytail.  Maybe one day I’ll show you THAT photo…you won’t recognize that girl:)  But…I am so beyond excited that peanut is kicking like crazy letting me know all is well.  And I am so beyond excited that I get to meet him/her, and I’m REALLY! struggling not knowing what it is!! Ahhh!!!! I think I did this backwards:)  We have another ultrasound next week just to make sure everything still looks good and I said to Ry, come on babe, lets just find out.  I seriously miss not bonding with babe like I have with my others.   Hes.not.budging.  In the long run I think it’ll be fun, but for now it’s killing me!!

Hopefully I’ll have some more pics of the cutest little baby ever to show you next week:) Oh, and maybe I’ll finish up these projects one of these days and show you that too!  Here’s to hoping! xoxo

FERTILITY OILS

I’ve been contemplating writing this post for awhile now, but thought I would share my story.  I have told you all how Ryan and I are expecting a sweet little peanut in a few months, and that it took us awhile to get pregnant with this one.  It took all the patience I had to wait 5 months to get pregnant.  I seriously know that sounds pathetic….but if you know our story at all, Ryan and I seem to get pregnant very quickly.  He jokes that he only has to look at me and there’s a bun in the oven:)  With Tate we thought we would just go off of birth control and not try, but not not try….if you know what I mean, and we were pregnant that month. ha! After Tate we decided to not go back on the pill just because we weren’t sure how we really felt about the pill, and were hoping to do natural family planning.  Apparently I stink at that because we got pregnant when Tate was 6 months old…..and I bawled.  Best surprise ever though!!!!  And Kynlee came along:)  At this point I knew my sanity was on the line and knew it would be a little too much emotionally for this momma to get pregnant again right after Kynlee was born, so we went back on the pill.  I know, this is a controversial issue and I’m being super honest about it.  For us, we just did what we felt we could, and I knew my limits and how much I could handle.  I was reassured it was just fine and we stayed on the pill until we were ready to try again.

This is when the true journey started.  We miscarried at Christmas when Kynlee was 3, and seriously got pregnant before I even got my period again.  I didn’t realize you were super fertile after a miscarriage.  Now I know:)  This is when we got pregnant with Jules.  So we were blessed with an amazing baby, just a baby that we wouldn’t get to keep, so the journey continued.  When we miscarried for the second time, and then had a hard time getting pregnant after, we were confused.  We have always gotten pregnant within a month of two of trying….or not trying…if you know what I mean:)  I was contemplating going into the doctor to see if I could get anything to help aid in the process, but just didn’t have a peace about it.  That’s when I decided to look into oils that could possibly help.  I have had such a great experience with essential oils, that I thought why not give it a try.  It was seriously the first month I started to use the oil combination that I got pregnant with sweet peanut:)

Now I was hesitant to write this post because I don’t want to give false hope to people, yet I do want to bring some hope.  Throughout this journey I have encountered so many women who have dealt/are dealing with infertility.  And my heart breaks.  I don’t understand it.  I know Jesus’ heart breaks with them as well.  Some things in this world are just so unfair.  Ryan and I obviously haven’t dealt with infertility, it was just taking us awhile to get pregnant this last time.  I guess I just thought anything was worth a try, especially something all natural.  And since I have had such amazing results with the oils before this, and then got pregnant the first month using them, I couldn’t not share.  So here’s what I did to help aid in getting pregnant.

I found a “recipe” for fertility for Gary D. Young, the founder of Young Living Essential oils.  It was a custom blend of Clary Sage, Fennel, Geranium, and Cypress.

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My thought behind this was:

1.)  I have had amazing results with essential oils and was curious to try it.

2.)  I already had fennel, and I knew clary sage was a great oil for period cramps so it would be a great one to have on hand anyway.

3.)  It was a small investment to give us hope:)  It cost about $120 at wholesale cost for all 4 essential oils.

I did an equal mixture of all four oils.  I had small bottles I bought for samples, and glass droppers to get the oils into the bottle.  I didn’t add a carrier oil, I used it straight up.  I then applied a drop to the inside of my wrists, the inside and outside of my ankle as well as the Achilles tendon (These are supposedly the reproductive vita-flex points I learned:) And also on the lower back and lower abdomen across your hips.  Trust me when I say you will smell very “earthy” for a week.  I told Ry to get used to the smell.  And he should actually appreciate it…if you know what I mean.  You are supposed to start using the oils on the last day of your period, morning and night for a week.  We were pregnant that month.  Just saying.

If you are interested about essential oils and want to become a distributor so you are able to buy at wholesale costs, you can check out my blog I wrote about that here.  Or feel free to contact me if you want to learn more:)  I seriously pray for all of those mommas trying to get pregnant.  I’m not guaranteeing this will work for you, I just couldn’t help but share our story:)

 

 

 

A BATHROOM UPDATE

Well, I teased you about it some time ago, so I’ll finally show you what I’ve SLOWLY been working on in our upstairs bath.  I love wall treatments, and would love to snap my fingers and have them magically appear, but unfortunately that costs lost of money:)  So, to the saw I go.  I bought I think about 4 or 5 sheets of 1/4″ plywood to do this project, and at about $12 a sheet that comes to about $60 worth of wood, plus a gallon of paint.  A little makeover under $100 is always fun!

So here’s how the bathroom looked before….

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and what the bathroom looks like now….

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Okay, so you can’t see the planking the best here, but you can also see I did a mini makeover to the vanity.  Although I liked the elegant look of the painted one, it seemed a little too formal for the rest of the house, so I added some label pulls and stripped the door fronts.  I initially planned on whitewashing them, which I did..

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I sanded them down and made a mixture of half water/half white paint, painted it on and wiped it off like a stain.  I kept them like this for about a week but the orange tone that was popping through was just buggin.

I wanted the color to be more like this…

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It’s  a little darker and a little cooler.  More like driftwood.  So I grabbed my can of antique glaze and painted it on…

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and it toned them down to this…

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There you can see the planking better as well.  I’m loving how it looks, a little less formal.  I wanted the darker and lighter spots on the drawer fronts to look more like natural wood, so after I stained the whole front, I took my brush and did random brush stroked here and there and let them sit for a few minutes.  Then when I wiped them off they stayed a little darker.

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I like the imperfections.

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So there she is for now.  I’ve got a few other changes coming too, but you’ll have to wait just a bit more!

I am thinking a fun rug to bring a pop of pattern would be fun as well…something like this..

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or this..

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I love the bath rug in there but it blends into the floor, gets dirty extremely easy, and isn’t wide enough to stand on from the vanity and getting out of the tub.  Oh the problems:)

So that will have to tide you over til after the weekend.  Whimsy is going on Thursday and Saturday of THIS WEEK! from 9-3. We’d love to see you!  You can find more information here.

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:):)