Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Days {Insta-Friday}

Dude. Where did this week go? We've been super busy, but I'm not sure what we got accomplished! Ever have weeks like that? I do know I eliminated the final stack of boxes from our move! I'm super excited about that. Now I just need to have a yard sale and get all the extra junk out of the basement. Ah....

Sidetracked! This is supposed to be about what made it to Instagram this week. Let me tell you, when life is normal, Instagram is forgotten around here. I guess that's a good thing, right?

These roses were so vivid and smelled so delicious!

Yeah, X 3 around here! It's a good thing too, because in the last two weeks there have been two "learning opportunities" for our older two. It takes patience and creativity and discipline to be a parent, lemme tell ya. In addition to that, we decided to switch the boys' living quarters around, so this chalkboard is now in Jonathan's room. I'll take pictures and post about it next week.

This was part of Jonathan's learning opportunity. We were including him in our landscaping efforts because, well, that's how we roll as a family and because he had UNdone some landscaping elsewhere. Now I think he appreciates more how hard people work to make their yards look nice.

This was another part of the learning experience. Apologizing. In person. And a peace offering. No cookies could be eaten by little boys before they made the cookies, delivered them and apologized. Sweet littles won't be undoing anymore landscaping efforts.

This guy. He's growing up too fast! Mimics his big brothers in everything and is absolutely out-of-control cute!!! I love being his mommy!

Jared spends an hour of quiet time on my bed because he doesn't have to sleep and Josiah does and that just doesn't add up in a shared bedroom. I let the older boys play quietly. This magnetic set is one of Jared's favorite quiet time toys.

We've spent a lot of time at the pool this week. How is it that a 45-minute class can take up the whole day? Jared is intimidated by the amount of people and the newness of the experience, so he has yet to willingly get in the pool. There are 3-4 lifeguards to 8 or so kids and they're really good about making sure he's included yet not forced to do things. I don't let him sit with me but I don't make him participate either. Every day he makes a little progress. I remember being stubborn and upset at things like that. I hated getting my picture taken because, well, because I hated it. I just did. I got over it, and I think Jared will be in the pool with the kids and lifeguards by the end of class next week.

Funny kid--he loves free time after the lesson! The lifeguards and kids are spread out and he's in shallower water and he's having so much fun!

Jonathan is doing a great job learning how to swim! I'm so glad we've been able to do this this year. It's the first time it's all worked out, what with Josiah and moving and all. He loves it!!!

Uh-oh, how'd he get in there?! Josiah wants to take lessons so badly! He sits by Jared on the edge and kicks and splashes. They let him play around in the pool during free time.

 These little guys... This play equipment has one of those buckets that fills up with water and dumps it out every minute or two. They yell and scream ... and go back for more. Love them!

Well, my goal for tomorrow is to get out my camera and take pictures of all the stuff I got done this week. Two more areas of my house exhibit my OCD, while my bedroom is empty of all packing boxes! I switched one boy into a different room, which led to art being hung in different places and while the drill was out, I finally got my collage wall up in the stairwell. Oh, and I organized the upstairs half-bath! Aaaand, I made a permanent place for my sewing machine and supplies as this house isn't big enough for Grandma's sewing table to be set up properly.

100 bonus points if you're still reading! Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Beachy Blue Living Room {Moodboard}

I first posted this beachy blue living room mood board last October. Since summer is officially here and we're all thinking beaches and swimming and cool, clean living spaces, I thought I'd re-post it for you to enjoy today. What a great place to kick back after a long day, or escape the heat with an icy drink and your favorite magazine!

Start with hardwood floors, add board and batten to the walls and paint the top part gray-blue. Add breezy white curtains, a white sectional, blue print slipper chairs and a few side tables. Add a careful selection of beach finds and you have a beautiful yet cozy place to enjoy when you can't be at the beach! 

Hope your first official week of summer is off to a great start! I'm taking my boys to swim lessons this week. They're so excited!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Family Update

I'm working on some room updates, we spent a few hours today landscaping, and I have several decorating projects up my sleeves, but I need to spend another post updating my friends and family on some recent travel and personal events. I'm learning just what a poor communicator I am! Ouch.

Last weekend found us in Michigan, camping near Lake Michigan. Warren Dunes, to be exact. We got in late on Friday night and the campground was crowded, but we decided to just go for it. We set up our giant tent by our car's headlights, but the weather was perfect and we're so glad we stayed!

On Saturday we spent some time on the beach. The sand was warm though the lake was cold--and I have  pictures on my real camera, but I'm saving those for another post. That evening back at camp we had hot dogs and s'mores. What else? The boys had so much fun and officially love camping.

On Sunday we drove to Berrien Springs, MI, to get settled into a condo where we lived all week. The purpose of the trip was to attend Orientation for Adventist Frontier Missions (AFM).

The condo was so nice! Our unit had a full kitchen and open living area, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The units are quite new and very well done. Clean, well-maintained, simple. We felt very much at home and look forward to staying there for the three-month training session next summer.

Then, from 8-5:30, Monday-Friday, Gary and I were in training here at AFM's Headquarters. We learned about AFM's history, mission and method, got to know the staff and a couple other missionaries.

On Wednesday, we were officially offered a position with AFM as missionaries in training to the Celtic Peoples of the British Isles. Vague, perhaps, but exciting too. More about that in a future post too.

To celebrate, we took the boys out for pizza and ice cream!

Except if you're my brother, then the story is that we took them out to celebrate your birthday.

The boys had a fun week with their babysitter. They waded in the river, rode bikes, walked to the park, played in the sand, etc, etc. They would wait for Mrs. C. to drive up in the morning and RUN out the door to her, even our youngest. We felt great knowing they were having fun and in good hands too.

Berrien Springs is also home to Andrew's University where Gary went to school. This sculpture wasn't there when he attended, but it's pretty cool anyway.

Gary majored in Aviation and Flight Maintenance, so we drove by the airport for old time's sake--and to see if any planes were landing. They weren't, but it was still fun.

Saturday found us driving a couple hours north to Great Lakes Adventist Academy for the 11 o'clock Sabbath church service. It was well attended! I thought it was fun to go to a camp meeting that my mom and aunt and uncles used to go to when they were little!

 We were there to meet with a missionary family currently on furlough from Ireland. We had a great time getting to know them and are looking forward to possibly working with them in Ireland in the next couple of years. (Because of how AFM works, it'll be at least 15 months before we leave the states.)
We drove back to Berrien that evening where we spent one more night before packing up and heading home to Ohio on Sunday. Since it was Father's Day, we had brunch out.

Jared takes breakfast seriously. ;)

Josiah, pay no attention to the backside photo-bombing your pretty baby blues!

So there's our week in a nutshell. I know many details are still missing, but at least now you know where we were and what we were doing.

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hannah's Nursery

This little beauty is Hannah, my husband's cousin's baby. Gary's first cousin once removed. My mother-in-law's grand-niece. My sons' second cousin. She lives in Washington with her Mommy and Daddy, otherwise known as Kristen and Andy. I've never gotten to hold baby Hannah or even meet Kristen and Andy, but Kristen and I are Facebook friends and follow each other on Pinterest. 

I knew from following Kristen on Pinterest that baby Hannah's nursery would be a special place. Kristen loves shabby chic, frills, lace and pink. I think if I had a girl, her nursery would look a lot like this one! Kristen and Andy spent a lot of time making this room perfect while they waited for Hannah. Isn't it just delicious?

After deciding on the perfect shade of pink for the nursery, Kristen's aunt helped her pick out crib bedding and the glider. They purchased extra fabric to make the curtains. A friend made the tissue paper pom-poms for Kristen's baby shower.

Hannah's name hangs over her crib. Andy found them at Joann's and painted them white, then he and Kristen hung them with ribbon from the wall.

Isn't this just the sweetest picture? Sigh...

The pink-and-white pin-striped crib bedding is from The glider is also pink-and-white pin-striped. Behind Kristen you can barely see a sweater and booties made by a family friend. They hang on cloud-shaped hooks that Kristen bought from an Etsy store called "Littles".

Not pictured is an attached bathroom with the changing table. Isn't that a perfect place for it?

Kristen enjoys rocking Hannah in the glider and says the room is very peaceful. They look forward to using the room more once Hannah starts sleeping in her crib. 

Thank you, Kristen, for sharing Hannah's nursery with us! You and Andy did a great job--with the pretty nursery and the beautiful baby girl!

*All photos in this post were taken by Shelley Mitz. You can visit her at*

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Who loves Pinterest? I do! I do!

I wanted to try something, kindof a for-the-record type post about pins I've actually tried. Some I love and continue to use, others fuel the creative fires, and still others are ... not what I was looking for. Or I failed at the execution of the directions. Whatever.

I did this artsy craft right after Josiah was born. I used shades of blue scrapbook paper and it's been on display ever since. Love it!

I got out all the supplies to do this name craft with my boys. Then I started taping. You know how hard it is to spell JONATHAN with tape? yeah, I quit and just let them paint!

I don't have different quiet time bins, but I've started giving my two older boys a certain toy for their rest time. Lately Jared has been happy playing with a bag of marbles while Jonathan is learning to follow the instruction booklet with his Legos. It keeps them happy and quiet which makes Mommy happy too!

This is Miss Mustard Seed's kitchen with a chalkboard wall. Did it. Love it. Recommend it.

If you read Friday's Instagram post, you saw that I made shorts for my boys using this technique. They hadn't outgrown the jeans but they all had holes in the knees. It worked great! I also used the same technique to shorten a pair of jeans for myself. I think I like it--at least the jeans are wearable, but I've had some issues with fraying and with the hem folding up. Hopefully a good wash or two will fix that.

This one. Oh dear. Not sure if it was me or if this is the worst idea in the history of ever. I kinda ruined my muffin tin! I mean, I soaked it for a couple days, scrubbing one little hole at a time... Baked egg is like concrete. Use lots of oil spray and don't overcook your eggs! Unless you're cooking for a crowd, just fry the eggs in a skillet. You can fit like 3 at a time! These eggs cook for 20 minutes, then you have to scrub the tin for three days. How does that save you time?

I love this soup! I've made it at least six times and each time it's perfection! You have to use the mindset that coconut oil (from the milk) is good for you and only eat this sometimes, but MAN is it good! I've tried both green and red curry paste and both are amazing. Try it!

Ok, so this girl is totally a hottie and is posed all fancy-pants, but she gives a clear reason why not to use shampoo and what to do instead. Broken down, examples, variations, etc. Well done. I'm on day 4, determined to see it through at least two weeks. The jury is still out on whether "no-poo" is right for me. Have you tried it?

Speaking of natural remedies, Wellness Mama is the motherload of DIY, natural, homemade everything. I tried her oil cleansing and while my skin was nice, my hair got oil in it. Now I use a mix of baking soda and coconut oil with a drop of peppermint essential oil to scrub my face. I love it!!! It's the perfect consistency and my face is so happy! I add a tiny dab more coconut oil to my face after my shower, especially around my eyes. It takes some getting used to adding oil to your face, but my face is clearer and than it's been in a long time. Coconut oil is also great for removing make-up.

And now to leave you in the gutter... I mean, toilet... I tried cleaning toilets this way. It helps. A lot. I still had to scrub, but some of that might have been residual from before we lived here. #shudder 

What have you learned from Pinterest? Any awesome ideas? Any funny failure stories?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

For the Record

Well folks, it's here again.
The day I just dump cell pictures and give you snippets of moments I thought were important at the time.

Not to be confused with Insta-Friday. No, these are pictures I didn't upload to Instagram first, although some might have gotten posted on Facebook. 

Random, I tell you, but precious and important and real, because it's our family and it's our life and it's awesome to be us right now!

This was a sweet day--Jonathan's birthday, in fact--so we tried to enjoy it, tried to be more present. I can't believe how fast my babies are growing up! 

Speaking of growing up, we got them all measured on our giant ruler! I love that thing. Not only does it look cool, we didn't have to leave all the growth marks at our old house! They're super easy to make too. 

Anyway, Jonathan has grown like a weed, Jared hardly lets Jonathan keep ahead, and Josiah is almost as big as Jonathan when he turned 3. Yes, that's my 2-year-old. No wonder why I've had to start putting 3T on him!

I think this was Gary's last official mid-week day off before the end of the school year. He now has more relaxed hours and only a handful of kids in the dorm and he doesn't work weekends. On this day we took a scenic drive to a part of the state known for its Amish population. Of course there were Amish delicacies, antiques and produce to enjoy!

These are some of the things we see every day on our walk. After breakfast every day, we go up to the track where I walk a mile and they either bike it, ride in the stroller, or play in the ball fields. It's pretty and peaceful up there, and it helps us get our exercise.

 Also on the agenda--bike rides! So far I haven't taken the boys without Gary, but mostly because it's so much easier to have him load/unload the bikes in and out of the car! Jonathan and Jared have their own bikes while Josiah rides in a seat on the back of my bike. This week I was trying (and trying and trying...) to get a picture of him as we rode along. You can see how unsuccessful I was. The river shot was just random, but the rest were legitimate attempts. Did you note that I finally got him (bottom right)? And it's dark. Sigh.

Well, hope you enjoyed some snapshots of our daily lives! Has your cell phone replaced your fancy camera?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Pretty Place

I like Ohio. It's fun living here. I'm not sure I'd want to be a permanent resident of the state, but it has been good to us and we're looking forward to our year here. 
One thing Ohio has to offer is plenty of trails where there used to be railroads. This series of pictures was taken (by cell phone) in Howard on a small section of the Kokosing Gap Trail. 

The main road runs right over the trail on this pretty bridge, but on the road you'd never know it!

I love the age of the blocks, the coloring the years have given it.

I haven't done any research if this section of former track would be old enough, but can you just imagine riding the huge steam train through Ohio, back when it was the west? 

Confession: This second batch of pictures was taken (also by cell phone) just a couple weeks after the first batch. Ohio really greened up! I didn't really need to take more pictures but I couldn't help myself. Now I need to go back with a real camera.... and a picnic lunch!

I must have a thing for picnic tables. Care to join me?


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