Friday, November 29, 2013

Insta-Friday {October}

October in Nebraska was amazing! I've never seen such a vivid fall!

As is evidenced by my frequent posts on Instagram and Facebook with yet another picture of something red or yellow or orange. Come on, though, those are some good pictures up there, aren't they?!

We took lots of walks, enjoyed a particularly crisp day at the apple orchard/pumpkin patch, and had so much fun playing in the leaves.

We spent time at the lake and the park and at our house. I discovered that a peppermint latte from Scooter's is absolutely delicious (as is my sleeve from Caribou-thanks Lisa!). We did leaf rubbings and tree art for school and started a new Mommy/Daddy-Son outing tradition. Every other Sunday morning, usually before breakfast, I get to take one boy out for a treat. In October it was donuts, but I'm exploring other options. They boys are so much fun one-on-one, and it's really good to spend a few minutes really getting to know them each! Daddy takes another boy the next week. Love it!

In October I celebrated another birthday, had a date with my favorite man, and tried to capture happy-life moments with our boys. Jonathan discovered that coloring is fun and will spend an hour listening to Bible stories on CD while coloring at his desk. Then he recreates the stories with Legos-like the Egyptian chariot drawn by four horses. Jared is a tease and loves to entertain his brothers. He also likes to hang out on his brother's bed with a good picture book. Josiah is always game for whatever his brothers suggest. That's not always a good thing. He has discovered walking backwards and can say the. cutest. prayers!

October was a super-busy month on Sabbaths. We were on the road by 7 AM, traveling between an hour and a half to almost three hours away to worship in small churches in mid-Nebraska. We were warmly welcomed and treated as special guests in each one. We've met a lot of new friends and gotten back in touch with many of Gary's high school friends. We are excited to have been able to share our mission to the Celtic Peoples of the British Isles with these church members. In October, we reached 5% of our budget!

So there you have it! October in a nutshell!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Be Nice

I try not to wax too philosophically here. Eloquence is not my forte.

But this quote keeps coming up. I saw it on Pinterest, I saw (and shared it) on Facebook. My husband even came home telling me a story based on this thought. It rings so true.

It rings true right now as we head into the holiday season. We see things on blogs and Pinterest and Facebook and in magazines and commercials and ads, even in our friend's homes, that seem bigger than they are. Something that makes us think they have it all together, they have the perfect holiday decor/meal/family/home/relationship/whatever.

Guess what? They don't!

This isn't an encouragement to look for the dirty little secret your friend/aunt/neighbor is hiding. It's about extending yourself the same pleasantries and compliments you give to your hostess. Cutting yourself the same slack you give your bff.

It's not about tooting your own horn either. Chances are, you're doing a great job. Your house looks great, your kids are happy, you cooked an amazing meal. And if you didn't have time, if you didn't get a chance, if you're fighting with your kids to get them to wear that color-coordinated family outfit, if you were grouchy at your husband because he went and sat down while you're still stressing about last-minute details, it's ok!

No, it's not good, nor fun, nor how you want to spend a holiday, but it's life. It's real. We've all been there. It will get better, this too shall pass, chances are you won't remember the stress next year when you reflect on Thanksgiving 2013.

I'm just pretty sure you'll enjoy this holiday season a lot more if you're nice to yourself. Compliment yourself. Say something nice about you in the mirror when you prepare to meet your guests. Do something nice for you during a day off. Step back and enjoy your kids in the middle of the chaos.

Be  nice. It's hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time. 

Don't be that someone!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Insta-Friday! {September}

September was a good month. We were no longer in transition (again) and we were adjusting well to our new home, city, jobs, and life in general. This was the first year we officially started school! We're pretty organic around here. That means whatever I want it to. :) Meaning some days we have school, some days we don't. We learn about stuff that interests the boys and that has a place in our daily lives. We create, we make messes, we have fun. Jonathan is somewhere around Kindergarten and 1st grade; Jared is learning his name and numbers and letter sounds; Josiah is along for the ride!

September had some days that were still summer while others reminded us that winter was coming! We enjoyed outings to the park, walks in our neighborhood, the last of our neighbor's generous garden goodies, and playing in the rain.

Did I mention playing in the rain? The second time was after a torrential downpour. It was quite warm so the boys! Some puddles they found were so deep the water gushed in over the tops of their boots. I just smiled and took pictures and knew I was raking in the mommy-of-the-year points on that one! On another rainy day we escaped to McDonald's to use the play place and get ice cream, and the bottom pictures show an outing to Starbucks with a treat card from Grandma Joycie.

So yes, all we do is play, play in the rain, and go out for treats. Pretty much.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thankful Tree (DIY Art)

Well, maybe it's more like a branch.

Whatever it is, I like it. 

This is not an original idea. We've all seen different versions of thankful trees on blogs or Pinterest. 

For some reason the area behind our house has stacks of branches. On a walk last week I chose a likely victim, not too big, not too branchy. I asked the boys to collect rocks to help the branch stand upright and keep the watering can weighed down.

I had some tags on hand, something I found at Walmart in the office supply section. I jotted down a few things I'm thankful for and hung the tags on the tree.

Jonathan was super excited to add a few of his own tags, so I helped him write "mommy" and "daddy" and "my guardian angel". Love that kid!

There are so many ways you could personalize this idea! You could glam it up by using a beautiful vase and spray-painting your branch a bright color, then hanging tags with glitter or by using small Christmas tree ornaments to add a little bling. Mine is a little natural, a little rustic, a little neutral and, since I had the tags already, completely free! 

This might be a stretch, but I'm totally counting this as art. It's architectural, sculptural and organic. Definitely my idea of art! Not to mention I'm wrapping up this series a good 20 days late, so I'll take what I can get!

Day 28. Boom!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Make Your Own Dry-Erase Board {DIY Art}


You know how when you're singing and there's no time to breathe and you justrunoutofbreath before the line is over?

No? Hmm.

How about when you think that flight of stairs is a piece of cake, you'll just run up it... only by the time you're half way up you're slowing and after a couple more steps you're regretting that piece of cake you ate for lunch.

Or when you jump in with both feet and you're excited and fired up about, say, a blog topic, and you realize that it's a lot to write on the same topic for a month and instead of motivating you to finish up the last spaces in your new home, it overwhelms you to the point that by the end of the month you're hardly blogging at all...


I'm the kind of girl who has a hard time letting go. I want things done the way I want them done, so I stink at delegating. My oldest is getting fairly decent at washing dishes and he likes to do it, yet I usually am the one standing at the sink because they need to be done the right way. Gag. My husband is awesome at cleaning bathrooms but I usually do it because he works outside the home and chores around the home are my half of the bargain. Sigh. 

Anyway, I'm not trying to throw a "Biggest Loser" party, just using a little humor to excuse myself from my October promise of 31 Days of DIY Art. It's mid November. I. Will. Finish. 

Ok, so about the Dry-Erase Boards. I have two because they are that easy. My menu board and my calendar are based on the same idea. They've been around for several years now, finding themselves at home in our kitchen in Iowa, our dining room in Ohio and back in the kitchen in Nebraska.

Here's the basic how-to: Find a large framed picture with glass that you no longer like or never did like in the first place. Or look for a large frame with glass at a thrift store. Take it all apart. Paint the frame the color you wish it to be. Toss the picture, or just add burlap or another fabric of your choice under the glass. For the menu board, I added circles with letter stickers to spell out "MENU" and small tags with letters for the day of the week. In the calendar frame, I included a large white piece of paper so my calendar doodles would show up.

*I've successfully used permanent marker (aka: Sharpie) to write on my boards for years, it's just harder to scrub off. Windex helps. Dry-erase markers are easier to erase, sometimes to a fault.

You could use one of these boards for a Christmas count-down, for a grocery list, or an on-going to-do list. They're super fun and easy to do!

Well, I made it, limping, to Day 27. The race may be over, but I'm still running, baby!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our Kitchen {Tour}

It seems like it wasn't very long ago that I was sharing with you our kitchen in our rental house in Ohio. It was a white kitchen and I added a chalkboard wall and backsplash which made it very photogenic. This kitchen is not. Not white, not photogenic, but it's a functioning kitchen with sufficient storage.

Here she is!

I really like the layout of a U-shaped kitchen. It could be a little wider U, but other than some strategic "dancing" in the morning when both Gary and I are making breakfast, it functions just fine. Let's back up and give you a real tour, starting with the breakfast nook, for lack of a better term.

This space is very narrow, so our table is pushed up against the wall. It works fine, like the kitchen, but I'm constantly wondering how to do it differently.

The chair on the left end sticks out into the walkway while the chair on the right is against the window wall. The table can't be pulled out from the wall or there wouldn't be room to walk around the table to get to the back door or the kitchen. The back door also prohibits the table from being in the corner. So against the wall it is!

Just for some perspective, this is how the dining area looks from the living room. Usually with the ruins of Ancient Egypt in the foreground.

On the left is the back door, the one our family uses most. I've created a spot to catch our mail and corral our keys and things by hanging the white organizer on the front of the cabinet.

After I took these pictures, I vowed to find a better place to hang the ever more prolific work of our resident artist. The fridge just looks messy!

You'll recognize several things on my counters if you've been around awhile. The calendar will be elaborated on soon, while I babbled about the silverware storage here. I try to keep up with making granola as it's so simple and good for you and filling, not to mention an easy breakfast to make! We don't eat any cold cereal anymore except for home made granola (which I was able to make gluten free and is sweetened with honey!).

I used some double-sized tape to hang the silver platter on the wall, while the African spoon knife and fork are artifacts from Gary's dad's time there in the 60s.

Does anyone else think it's ironic that I won't keep every-day appliances on the counter, but I make room for things like picture frames or pretty containers of fruit? As much as I love my food processor, it's just not pretty! Nor my blender...

This long angle makes the counter look huge! It's not, but it is nice to have this much counter for, say, making granola!

I've actually been updating my menu board lately! Amazing! I love the texture of the two wooden cutting boards. They're the only ones we have and we use them a lot! I almost got rid of my cake stand but told myself I could find a use for it, so it stayed. The bananas are grateful.

Next to the sink is our probiotic station. And dish soap. I used a shallow white serving platter to define the area and keep the counter clean. We make both milk kefir and water kefir.

On the other side of the sink is a tight little corner which I find great for prepping veggies before I cook them. Despite that large work zone on the left side of the kitchen, I'm usually crammed in the corner with my cutting board and veggies. :)

So that is where the magic happens! I'll share with you some of the ways I've organized this kitchen in another post. I'd also like to share some ideas for what I'd do if the space was ours to renovate. It's not--this is a rental--but our landlord plans to completely re-do the kitchen after our lease and before she signs another one. The irony is not lost on me!

What's in your kitchen?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Insta-Friday! {August}

I love Insta-Friday. I'm not great at linking up to other blogs that participate, and for the last few months I haven't been cataloging my Instagram pictures here, but I've finally had some time to download, sort and collage my snapshots. I want to share them here because it's a great way to summarize ordinary life. I look back and realize how stinking blessed I am, how cute my kids are, how quickly time passes... And how I look like Wonder Woman. Ok, not LOOK look, but seem. Appear. Come-across-as. You know?

Maybe I need to work on the reality perspective a little, but what do I have to complain about, really?

Ok, moving on.

Or back. Waaaaaay back.

To August, as you may have guessed from the title of this post.

In August we moved from Ohio to Nebraska. Long story. We're in Lincoln, to be specific, and are so thankful to be here, even if we didn't see it coming.

We got to Lincoln with no housing lined up, so we camped out at a motel for a few days. There was lots of driving around looking for rentals, eating out, afternoons spent napping and swimming at the motel. Our boys were such troopers!

We signed papers on our rental property, moved out of the motel, and waited for our lease to come through so we could get the keys... because it was the last day our moving truck would keep our stuff! It was down to the minute! Ok, I'm sure they wouldn't have taken it to the dump, but it would have cost us more to have them store it longer. It was also Thursday we wanted to at least have beds and a kitchen by Sabbath.

Did I mention it was a million and six degrees? Ok, so maybe *only* in the high 90s, but that is no weather to move in! And it was just Gary and me. And the boys, of course, but that's not much for heavy lifting. We down-sized a ton in Ohio, but we still have a lot of stuff! A nice neighbor volunteered his help and Gary went to the local college and got a team of undergrads to help too. #sothankful

We were settled enough to relax on Sabbath, first with a bike ride to the local lake, then a nice meal with that neighbor who helped. The pictures of the boys at Sabbath School were from the second Sabbath here.

 By the end of the next week, things were beginning to look like home. We spent quality time at the local laundromat (only once before we bought used machines off of craigslist), found Starbucks at Target just a mile from the house, got to know some nearby parks, found Trader Joe's (where the ABC cookies were found) unpacked books, set up the living room, and Gary made us hammock beds. Whew!

August was a whirlwind month! Thanks so much for enjoying the memories with me!


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