Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I want this book... for free!

So this is a super quick post to 
tell you about a little ebook I just came across,
and I happen to want it.
And it happens to be FREE today only,
if I merely blog about it.

and I'm not very good at it.
Hopefully, this book will help
and my house will be sparkling clean and beautiful
in just 31 days :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spray paint + Entryway + Easter

Hello friends!

Do you remember when I showed you 
our drab entryway?
Well it looking a little something like this:


Well, I'm glad to say our entryway looks a LITTLE
bit better now than it did back then.

But first, I have to show you a treasure that
I found at a local antique mall.
I forgot to take a true "before" shot,
so you will see it mid-transformation.
Check this out:

Do you think this is as great as I do?
Well just wait... it's about to get much better!

Wah-lah! Our not perfect, but much better than before entryway!
I still need to find some branches or something of some kind
for the tall red vase under the mirror,
but I would LOVE to eventually do a board and batten
treatment to the wall in this area.
But, for now, this will have to do!
I added a basket under the bench, handy for storing Claire's shoes.
I added a framed photo under the hook thingy (forget what those are called),
and I put a bonsai plant, or whatever that is, next to the bench.
I got the plant from my parents' house a long time ago.
The pillow has our last initial on it made from buttons hot-glued onto it.
Here's a closer look:

And, one more look at my fun new mirror!

What are some fun thrifty things you have found lately?

I thought I'd end this post with a few shots from 
Easter Sunday.
This year, the true meaning behind Easter seemed especially
significant to me.
As a new parent, I've found myself wrestling lately
with the idea of death- thinking about what would happen if I or Wes 
were to die and what that would mean for Claire.
Morbid, I know.
But, death is part of life and something we all have to deal
with at some time or another.
Wes, as a nurse, is faced with death regularly and so
hearing stories from him also reminds me of how
fragile our life on earth truly is.
Anyway, all this is to say that this Easter,
it really hit home to me knowing that I can rest
assured that Jesus conquered the grave, and death is not the end,
but really only the beginning for those who are in Christ!
And for those of us left behind when a loved one dies,
we have the great Comforter here who knows our pain
and can offer us peace that passes understanding.
This is truly something to celebrate, and to live our lives for!

Check out this song by Matt Maher...
I hope the lyrics touch your spirit as they have mine.

Here are some pics of our Easter Sunday!

{I think this one is my fav!}

Have a great week, and happy nesting!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Guest Bloggin' It

Hey lovelies!
Hop on over to Living in Yellow today
where you will find none other than myself
as a guest blogger!
Erin, the author of Living in Yellow,
happens to be my little sister.
So, while she may have felt obligated to afford me this opportunity,
I am honored nonetheless :).

{Erin and I}

While you are over at Living in Yellow,
be sure to look around.
You will crack up, guaranteed.
If I were you, I'd click on the Best of LIY tab
where you can go through her archive of
"Awkward and Awesome Thursday" posts.
My sister is great at pointing out the awkward in life,
but also the awesome!
She is also one of the most positive,
fun-spirited person, sweet people you will ever meet.
So what are you waiting for?
Head on over to LIY!

Happy nesting ya'll!
(I'm headed to Nashville in a few weeks... I have to practice the lingo!)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I have a craft room!

Well folks, it's time.
It's time to show you a little sumthin sumthin 
I've been cooking up
here at the homefront.

There is still some tweaking that needs to happen for sure,
but I am happy with the progress that 
has occurred in creating this new...
craft/office space!

But first, let's back up a few months and see what I was working with...


And this.
I know it's dark, but that's probably for the best.

Basically, this space was an unorganized disaster that 
practically gives me an anxiety attack just looking at it.
Oh, and it had the most putrid rug I've ever seen accessorizing it.
Although, why not use a putrid rug in an unorganized disaster like this?
I mean, how was I expected to CREATE in a place
like this???

BUT, change has come, and I'm pretty happy with it.
Behold, the new craft space:

The cubed shelving unit is from IKEA... it's the same one shown above
in the before shots.
However, now it has baskets, file boxes, and magazine boxes
filling {most of} its spaces, and it makes me smile.

{Closer image of the IKEA shelf}

Above the shelf I framed some scrapbook paper and called it art.
Cheap, simple, and effective!

On the wall to the left of the shelving, I hung an organizer thingy
and a magazine holder (from IKEA).
This is now where I store Martha Stewart and BHG mags,
along with my "idea file" (where I put magazine clippings
of ideas that I hope to actually do some day).

On the wall to the right of the shelving I hung a few shelves (from IKEA of course!)
I need to somewhat revamp what I have on these shelves
in time (I sort of just threw some random things on there for now),
but I plan to use the shelves for both decorative and functional purposes.

This is a diaper box that I covered in burlap and slapped a flower on.
Right now it has fabric in it, but in time I plan to get a few wire
baskets for two of the squares on my IKEA shelving unit
to hold the fabric so that I can see my selection more easily.

I thought it would be smart to store my spice rack on this shelf.
That way I have to run to the basement every time I cook.
Juuuust kidding :)
Still on the to-do list is to dump these spices
(we got them as a wedding gift, I figure they are probably expired by now),
wash the containers, 
and use them to store small crafty materials like beads and what-have-you.

Now, let's look at the craft space in the context of our basement:

In time, this will also serve as our "office" space
because the room we currently use as an office will 
hopefully be used for our next child.
We don't have a ton of "office" stuff so I don't think this will be a problem.

Eventually I may want to change out the table
for a more functional "work" table.
This table was purchased at a garage sale and we used as our kitchen table
for awhile.
But for now, I can make it work.
Also, I have a fun chalkboard I am in the process of sprucing up a bit
that I plan to hang to the right of the shelves.
{If you're lucky, I'll show it to you.}
Oh, and I would also like to find/make
a fun rug to put down in this space because currently
the carpeting in this area is a bunch of small pieces
fit together that aren't really attached to the floor.

Thanks for checking out my new space!
Be sure to check back later this week for some new adventures
with my friends, the spray paint cans!

Have a blessed week, and happy nesting!

Linking this post to:

A Bowl Full of Lemons
Tatertots and Jello

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Week Without an Alarm Clock: A Tribute to Spring Break

On the last day of school before spring break,
I told some of my students that I planned on
"practicing for summer vacation"
during my spring break.

Well I am happy to report that I did JUST that!
My week at home was filled with most all of my favorites:
Spending quality time with Wes and Claire...

visiting with the grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles...

{Claire with her aunt Erin}

sprucing up our home...

{Spring "Mantel" Redo}

getting daily exercise...
{I didn't take a photo of this... you don't want to see it}

catching up with friends...

{We got to see Viktor and Kristen, and meet their little Emily for the first time!
Kristen and I are good friends from college, and we hadn't seen each other in 
over 2 years!}

and doing a little shopping.

{Claire loving her new glittery pink shoes so much that she had to wear them around the house with her PJs} 

I also got to experience some fun firsts with Claire:
Her first trip to the zoo...

{Petting the bunny...}

{...and apparently not too amused with the rest of the zoo.}

her first carousel ride...
{bad mommy forgot to bring the camera for this excursion... boo!}

and her first visit to the park!

So fun!

All in all, I was able to return to school today
with a full heart,
ready to pour into the kids at school
and finish strong the last 8 weeks.
Summer break... I faintly hear you calling my name.
Don't worry... I'm coming!

What fun springy things are you up to?

Be sure to check back in later this week...
I'll be sharing some more spray paint fun,
along with my new craft space.
I know, I know... the fun never stops here :)

Have a great week, and happy nesting!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring "Mantel" Redo

Welcome to Friday!
Normally, this would be a VERY happy thought for me,
but today, it means that my spring break is almost over. 

Moving on, I'm excited to introduce you
to two of my new best friends:

Meet New Avocado and Churchill Hotel Vanilla.
Both are Valspar spray paints, and they are like MAGIC!
How do I know this, you ask?

Well, you see these dirty old frames?

{They were dirtier than this... this was after a good ol' soap and water treatment}

These frames went from looking like this,
to looking like this:

Yay! I love my new "mantel"!
Ok, it's really just a plain old shelf, but when you have no fireplace,
you have to compromise sometimes.

Here are some more views:

{My sis-in-law Emily made me those fun button candles. Thanks Em!}

{I love love love this little bunny I snagged at Target}

{Frontal view, with an antique tint. I can't help myself with the IPhoto
editing options sometimes}

{In the context of our living room. I have to say that the "mantel"
looks better in real life, but I have no way of proving that to you,
so I guess you'll have to take my word for it!}

Thank you New Avocado and Churchill Hotel Vanilla for enhancing my living room!
I am literally looking around my home for more things I can use you
to spray onto.  I have already sprayed one additional item
with New Avocado, so readers (all 8 of you), stay tuned
later this week for one more fun addition
to our living room/entry area :).

P.S. You may recognize the wreath on the mantel as the wreath
I did have hanging on our front door. There is now a new front door
wreath in town. I'll show him to you later this week as well!

P.P.S.  (Or is it P.S.S.???) I'm thinking more than 8 of you read this blog...
reveal yourself please! I'd love to know who you are!

Linking to:
tatertots and jello

Happy nesting!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Marriage on my mind...

Let me start off this post by saying
this is a message first and foremost to myself.
While I hope someone out there finds encouragement through what I have to say,
I feel that by writing these thoughts on marriage out,
and posting them for anyone to see,
it will help hold me accountable to my own marriage.

First, let me give you some background on my marriage.
Wes and I met in college at Indiana Wesleyan, at the ripe old ages of 19 and 20.
{I was 20, he was 19... I robbed the cradle and married a younger man by 7 months}
Interestingly, we met in anatomy class :).

After dating for a year, we got engaged,
and then we got married a year after that, on Jan. 1st 2005.

I had just graduated from college and was working as a social worker,
and Wes was still working on his nursing degree.

Honestly, the first five years of our marriage
seemed to sail by pretty smoothly.
Everyone says that the first year is so difficult,
and we couldn't figure out what they were talking about.
While we had some really busy seasons in our lives,
between school, work, and church,
we still managed to find time for each other.
Though our differences became pretty apparent to us during these years,
{and believe me, there are lots of differences!}
we had the time and freedom to continue dating one another,
and just to have fun.

Well, fast forward to 2008...
by this time we had moved from our college town
to my hometown.
While this was the move we had wanted to make for quite some time,
it did mean leaving behind some pretty great friends.
This also meant new jobs for both of us,
along with needing to find a new church to get plugged into.
Fortunately, God led us to a wonderful church home
where Wes is now a worship leader.
We also both landed great jobs- Wes as a nurse, me as a school counselor.
But I think this move also meant a shift in our marriage.
It's hard to put my finger on it,
but suddenly we had to adjust to life together in a new environment,
surrounded by lots of new people,
including our families.
This was something we are so grateful for... to have our families so close.
But, at the same time, I believe that it makes it easier for
us me to fall into caring more about what my parents think
then what Wes thinks. 
I know, this is not a good thing. See, told you I was writing this to myself!

Well, fast forward again to 2010.
This is when Claire entered our lives.

One of the BEST things to ever happen to Wes and I, hands down.
But whoa, talk about another major adjustment period in our marriage.
Combine lack of sleep, crazy hormones, 
a new little human that
requires every ounce of your time and energy, 
two full time employees, 
church responsibilities
a house that doesn't clean itself, 
and you end up with
one. deprived. marriage.

I'm happy to say that over the course of this last year,
things have calmed down and Wes and I
have made lots of adjustments in our new roles as wife/husband/parent.
And as I reflect over the last year,
I think God has used the challenges to help seal some lessons into my heart.
I still have lots of growing to do in this area.
{For example, I had to apologize to Wes today for yelling at him pretty disrespectfully last night to get me a towel;
apparently he's used to this because he couldn't even remember what I was talking about.
But I feel a passion developing to work hard
and I sense that God wants to make our marriage
into something great!

The following are a few lessons that I've been learning lately:

Lesson No. 1
Marriage takes WORK.
Marital love will not magically remain if no one is
putting effort into keeping it going.
Yesterday I read a really good article by Dr. James Dobson
from Focus on the Family
{I love this ministry!}
In it he states that the natural progression of marriage is to become
more distant rather than more intimate.
This is true of basically all of creation... our bodies are slowly aging and dying,
a new car begins deteriorating the day you purchase it, even the sun and stars
are slowly burning themselves out.
"The only way to postpone or temporarily combat this law of 
disintegration is to invest creative energy and intelligent design
into that which is to be preserved."
In other words, the natural tendency is for husbands and wives
to drift away from one another.
Thus, we MUST make time for fun or romantic activities to draw
us back to one another.

Lesson No. 2
I need to love my husband DESPITE what he does.
Let me explain. 
Wes is a wonderful man, and I don't want to make anyone think that he isn't,
but, like me, he's human.
What I do mean is, my will to love him does not need to change
even if he comes home from work in a bad mood,
or even if he forgets to do the dishes,
or even if he thinks he's funny and I don't agree.
The natural tendency (at least for me)
is to retaliate- either by pointing out his mistake,
or not talking.
Neither of these are very effective or helpful in building a marriage.
Instead, I can choose to overlook it (because is it really THAT big of deal?),
or I can communicate in a respectful way what I wish would have been different,
depending on the situation.
Sometimes, what Wes needs is for me to love him in the midst
of his weaker moments- not add to his frustration.

Lesson No. 3
The #1 gift we can give our kids,
is a loving marriage.
Our kids' identities are going to be SO
heavily influenced by the security we provide to them
through a loving marriage.
Additionally, our marriage is going to serve as a model to them
on how to love and submit
(not only to others, but to God).
{Submission- whoa, that's a whole different post}
So, to put it plainly,
one of the BEST ways to love our kids,
is to love our husbands.

I think I have sufficiently spilled my guts to the general public
for one day.
Before you go thinking I'm smart or something,
you need to know that
most of  everything I have learned I have gleaned from somewhere else.
I HIGHLY recommend tuning into
Wes and I also receive this magazine every month,
also a publication of Focus on the Family.

{thanks to Wes's parents for getting us the subscription!}

Lately, I've even listened to some sermons on marriage
that I have found online
(check out the 4Keeps series).
Lastly, Proverbs is a great resource for transforming your thinking
and gaining wisdom. 
I would definitely recommend reading it. Often. 

Whether I know you or not, I hope for the best for you and your marriage!
Everyday as a school counselor I see the effects of broken families,
and I see how Satan uses them for his gain.
I also know that no marriage is easy, and some are even harder than others.
I hope this post has blessed you or challenged you in some way,
and I'd love to hear from you if you can relate to anything I've said!

Happy nesting!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Damask Wreath {Quick Master Bedroom Update}

Happy April everyone!
Aaah... how nice it is to say that.
Spring break is here, and that means we are on the home stretch
of finishing another school year!
It also means I have a whole week to try and knock
some projects off of my to-do list!

Last night my lovely sister-in-law Emily
came over for some craft time.
We each made a wreath.
Emily will actually be selling her handmade wreaths 
and necklaces at the fabulous 
miss chic boutique this summer!
As for me... I'll just be displaying what I make in my own home :).

When we first purchased our home,
I bought a Waverly damask bedspread for our master bedroom.
Originally the walls were painted red and tan,
but last summer I painted them a tiffany blue color.
However, the bedroom still has some work to be done
as far as accessorizing goes. 
Currently there is somewhat of a hodge podge going on,
and I am definitely NOT loving it.

But, I am pretty excited about this little addition,
which I made last night:

I'm not really providing a tutorial,
partly because it's pretty self-explanatory 
(wrap a wreath form in strips of fabric, decorate w/ fabric rosettes),
but also partly because I forgot to take pictures as I was making it.

Here is what it looks like in the context of the whole bedroom:

I added lace bows on the IKEA lamps on each side of the bed.
LOVE these lamps...
they have dimmers so you can have as little or as much light
as you want form them.
But- they didn't tie in with the feel of the room all that well.
I think the lace bows help with that.
Fortunately for me, husband is not against having
a lace bow on his lamp either :)
What a man!
Emily gave me a great idea for some additional wall art to add to this room...
if/when I get around to making it, I'll be sure to show you!

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday,
and that you have an awesome week this week!

Happy nesting!