Monday, January 31, 2011

Living Room Charm

Charming.  Nice.  Lovely.  Pleasant.  Delightful.  Inviting.  To delight with beauty.  Do you know who has the most charming living room?  Shopgirl in You've Got Mail.  The feel of her apartment makes me smile.  This is Living Room week and I want mine to say Charming.  That means time to show a little extra love to the room where we kick of our shoes to relax.  Here is a little preview of some changes I made to my living room.  It was time to freshen up around here.  My glittery ice skate mantle got traded in for Robin's Egg Blue and White.
I know you are impressed at the pretty white flowers I grew and potted over the weekend.

Tommorow I'll show you how I took out and rearranged what I did not love in this space.  I will tell you my living room is making me all kinds of happy!  It is more simple and every single thing in the space makes me smile.  For today, if you want to get a jump start, put everything away in your living room and give it a quick dust, windex and vacuum.  Make a mental note as you work on the feel of your room.  You don't have to go spend one dime to change the feel.  Just look around and think about what words come to mind to describe your space.

Friday, January 28, 2011

On a Mission

I've been taking a good, long, hard look at how I've been decorating.  Last year I figured out that I love a Cottage feel.  I took a Style Quiz on Sproost and it told me Nantucket was my style.  And last year it was the style I was in love with.  But this is a new year now isn't it?!  The thing my house is missing is the florals, plaids and huge checks on fabrics that make me all kinds of happy.
When yard sale season gears up those big, ugly cheap lamps for sale aren't going to know what hit them when I sweep up and buy them for next to nothing.  Take a look at that picture.  The big lamps make a world of difference.  They are like buffet lamps on steroids and I need some.
I'm ripping off this last idea.  A table in front of a window with a lamp, frames and just a general feel of loveliness.

This is the kind of Friday dreams are made of.  My windows are open.  My washing machine is running.  The bathrooms are getting cleaned.  Pledge and Windex will fill the air.  The music is cranked up loud.  Things will be thrown away today.  We are having a Spring Yard Sale and the proceeds are going to lighter, brighter fabrics.

(all the lovely photos were taken from  hop over today to get some style inspiration)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Martha Stewart

I love me some Martha Stewart.  She has a fresh, clean, uncomplicated style.  This picture makes me think Martha.  As I'm cleaning and decluttering this is the look I am going for.  Sunny.  Simple.  Clean.  Bright.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Inspiration Bedroom

This week as you breeze through your Master Bedroom be thinking about how you want the room to feel.  Your little sanctuary in the world.  A well made bed is a beautiful starting point.  Click here to see how white paint tranformed my traditional bedroom into Shabby Chic room last year. 

Words like serene, peaceful and romantic describe the feel I want for my room.  Wedgewood Gray is our wall color.  It reads like the most perfect blue I've ever seen.  Black furniture and white furniture look equally beautiful against its backdrop.
Today I have some surface decluttering to do.  Yesterday I got sidetracked doing laundry.  The thing I like in the next picture is the lighting.  Good lamps will create a world of change in your home.  Think Good Will and flea markets when you need new lamps.  Don't go pay $100.  You can do much better than that.  Think $10 and under.  The Wal-Marts sell a can of white spray paint for  $ .97.  Or you can go high dollar and go to Home Depot and get Rustoleum Heirloom White (I recommend) for right under $4.00.
The white and sunshing pouring into this room are perfect.  It is so warm and inviting.  The perfect place to spend time reading or napping with a soft blanket.

Take away the clutter visible to the eye in your bedroom.

Feather dust it all.


Light a candle.

Look around.  My school of thought is when you see something you don't love take it out.  Personally I'd rather see a blank space so I can be thinking about what I'd really love in that space.

Get a box or trash bag started in your garage marked GIVE AWAY or YARD SALE.

As you breeze through your home the next couple of weeks, when you see something you are done with in your home, get it out.

What words do YOU want to describe your bedroom?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bed & Breakfast Get Away Take II

Do you remember last year when we did a Bed and Breakfast get away in our own homes?  Click here to see what we did.

Before I give details, let me just say that I promise if you'll come on board with me and do this you will be so blessed.

This is the best thing I did for my home last year.  Really and truly it was therapeutic and such a treat.  So here is the deal.  We're doing it again this year.  Starting TODAY.  First let me give you an overview of what I am talking about.  This is the time of year where we are in the middle of winter.  Spring is 50+ days away and the walls can start to feel like they are closing in.  This is the perfect time of year while we are held indoors to love our homes and get them ready.

Can you go grab your calender?  Search for a date mid-to late February where the calender is empty right now.  When you find your weekend write Bed and Breakfast Getaway on the Friday/Saturday/Sunday.  Our getaway is February 17, 18, 19 and 20th. 

Now that this weekend is reserved for you and your family let me explain what the next few weeks will entail.

A little elbow grease and dreaming.  We are going to take the next few weeks and whip our homes back into shape.  Your whipping into shape may look different than mine and that is OK.  On my blog I'll be sharing what I'm doing and hopefully that will get the wheels turning on what you can do to bless your house.

Today we are going to start in our Master Bedroom.  Spend your extra time and attention this week in the Master Bedroom.  Declutter the surfaces first.  After everything is in order on the surface you can think about tackling drawers/under the bed/deep cleaning.  But don't stress, today put everything away that is on the surface (top of dressers, floors, night stands, bookshelves) in its place.  If it does not have a place find one.  If you don't love it enough to find a place (this is a good thing) get it out of your house.

Here is how our journey is going to take a different turn this year.  See this lovely picture below?  My man and I stayed here in October.  A real, live bed and breakfast and our windows opened to the sound of waves.  I have the inside scoop on creating a pampered haven, right at home.  This is my inspiration.  Getting my home to a place of feeling serene and allowing me to feel pampered.  Guess what the good news is?  I created this exact feeling in my home last February and it did not even involve a plane ticket.  I am so excited to love on my house a little and get rid of some things so it can breathe easier. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Garden Tomato and Basil Lays

It is the strangest thing when you buy something like a bag of Garden Tomato and Basil flavored chips and you crack into them and they taste like...Garden Tomato and Basil. 

Let's talk about first things first.  I grocery shopped hungry.  Sue me it happens.  Don't think I didn't get in the bus and crack into these chips.  I was by myself and it was like a mini-vacation right here in my dream hometown.  One bite after another I kept wandering if I liked them or not? 

I wandered about it all the way home.  Mr. Sunshine let me in and I was empty handed except for my trusty sidekick bag of chips.  This has never happend (me leaving the groceries in the car).  I was in a chip induced scientific study and was in need of Dr. Pepper to complete the experiment.  After a big glass of Dr. Pepper I still wasn't sure.  Day two of having these in my possession sealed the deal.  Yes.  I liked them.  Let me warn you though of the bag misrepresentation you may or may not be aware of.  The bag claims serving size 11.  I claim serving size 2.


(p.s. no groceries were harmed in this experiment)

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Tonight as I sit here, the kids are in bed.  The hum of the washer and dryer fills the air and the dishwasher is in full swing.  The house is semi picked up.  I am exhausted from a long day of Bible study,running errands and being a Mom.  As I entered my office school work is left half hazardly on the desk and the baby has poured Crayons all over my desk.  Green Crayon is the color he chose to decorate the top of my laptop tonight. 

My oldest son took his sheets off his bed for me to wash them.  I wrestled with getting them put back on his top bunk in a fit of frustration.  Getting the boys ready for bed is equally frustrating.  The closet is in disarray. There are as many clothes tucked in the back corner on the floor as there are on the hangers.  The drawers are in disarray.  Nothing is easily found.

As my oldest son finished his school work tonight the younger boys and I attempted to play Checkers.  No one knows the rules.  The baby just crams them into the Checker, what do you call it, slot machine thing.  Can't we play one game of Checkers the right way.  Why does everything have to feel so hard?  My mind tells me to find the silver lining in the cloud because one day I'm going to miss this.  The reality is tonight I am spent.  Physically and emotionally spent.  Raising three boys is hard work.

I don't want to let you go because doing so will mean I have to walk by the sticky bathroom where bits of toilet paper have mysteriously appeared all over the floor.  It will mean crunching over the cracker crumbs on the floor I was too tired to sweep up after dinner.  It will mean walking through the sea of pillows on the living room floor because the boys like to toss them all on the floor and play.

The to do list never ends.  The cleaning list never ends.  The days are an endless cycle of putting out fires.  Teaching.  Training.  Discipling.  Snuggles.  Cooking.  Cleaning.  Washing.  I am thankful that at some point tonight my head will hit the pillow and rest will come easily.

In a few minutes I will head to wash my face and crawl into my pj's.  On the way I will peep in on my boys, resting so sweetly in their beds.  My heart will be filled with love for them and for these times in our life.  I will go to bed and talk with the Lord until I fall asleep and it will be a sweet end to a long day.  In the morning I will wake up refreshed and ready to do it all over again.

Life is hard.

Life is good.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Good Old Fashioned De-Clutterin'

Because a picture is worth a thousand words there are several in this post.  Around this time each year it hits me like a ton of bricks.  It is like the veil is lifted from my eyes and they really see the little odds and ends that have become a part of my decorating repertoire.  You can see a few odds and ends of clutter on the counters.  Nothing too major, cell phone chargers, cereal from breakfast, bananas that we forgot to eat again, some sippy cups and a telephone.
And here you can see the root of all evil.  The refrigerator magnet.  I really want to be able to enjoy artwork and pictures on my fridge.  The reality is when I look at it all I see is clutter and it drains me.  My cookbooks were also not bringing me joy to look at.  It was looking cluttered to me.  Don't even get me started about the top of the fridge.  Bags of marshmallows should never find there home on top of the fridge.  Shame on me.
You know the drill.  Set your timer for 10 minutes and work around the counters, clearing one at a time, going as fast as you can go.  Get the stuff put away.
This is a happy fridge.  Putting the Leap Frog alphabet singing letter thingamajigs in a freezer bag for a Spring yard sale was a very gratifying feeling.  My extra cookboooks found a new home.
Can I get an amen?  This one area alone made a world of difference in the feel of my kitchen.

If you've haven't heard of Mrs. Meyers trust me.  Go to the Wal-Marts and check out Lemon Verbena.  It is the most fresh and clean smell and it makes your kitchen sparkle.

If you look at it and don't feel love towards it toss it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Management Review

He was accused of wasting his possessions.

What is this I hear about you?

Give an account of your management.

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.
These are the questions that have been on my mind the last week.  Did you know those questions were taken from Luke 16?

I have taken some time to pause and review the kind of job I've been doing managing my resources.

It is interesting when you are not accountable to someone for the day to day activity that occurs.  It leaves a lot of things to chance.  For me, a lot of room to make excuses for why I do what I do.  Or, why I don't do what I don't do.

The fruit of your choices is always telling.  Do you see good fruit, bad fruit or a mixture of both?

I saw a mixture of both when I looked around. 

Bad Fruit.  That was the hard one to see.

I did not like thinking about that part because it indicated some flaws on my end.

Planning.  The word my preacher used on Sunday to describe someone who manages her time well.

You are either born a natural planner or you are not.  I was not born to be a natural planner.  I was born to throw dinner parties.  And yet, God is still calling me to discipline myself to learn this thing called planning.

When you are planning there are a couple of important things to remember. 
  • The first question to ask is not, "What do I want to do today?"  The first questions is, "What do YOU want me to do today."  God has a purpose and plan for your time today.
  • The next thing that is very important is not to compare yourself and your day to others God's plan for your day is not like any other womans.  It is yours alone.
You know that the enemy wants you to feel condemned on anything you are involved in.  If he can get your eyes focused on someone else in your life then he knows he's gotcha.  Let feelings of inadequacy and discontentment be your red flags that your eyes are on worldly things and not the LORD.

This has been on the forefront of my mind since my last post.  I'll share some practical ways it has played out.  Last week a friend called and she was redecorating her bathroom.  After we talked colors and fabrics and got off the phone, I thought, We oughta just load up the bus and go with her.  And that is exactly what we did.  Spur of the moment we went to Chick-fil-A, Pier One, Kohl's, Starbucks and  Targe'.  My boys skipped naps and my Mama tank got filled to the brim.  It was glorious!

Last night I had the chance to go to a dear friends house with a couple other dear friends and talk about homeschooling.  I wanted to go so bad because it was going to be thought provoking and a chance to hang out with 3 ladies I love to pieces.  I asked my husband what he thought about me going.  He pointed out that we only have two nights at home this week.

As hard as it was I honored his suggestion and stayed home.  We had the most restful night.  I was able to run to the store.  We rented a free Redbox.  Our entire family cuddled up under blankets by the fire to watch our movie.  We had a simple dinner and all went to bed early.

Today I feel rested.

Yesterday I hunkered down in the school room and got us organized and back on track from the Christmas break.  It was painfully hard.  Today we are caught up and back on track.

Being a good manager is not always a bed of roses.  Do the hard work.  Do the fun work.  Enjoy the end result.
after i wrote this, look what was in my inbox in an email...
He said, 'Do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.'"

He went on to say, "There are 999 other success principles that I have found in my reading and experience, but without self-discipline, none of them work."

Self-discipline is the key to personal greatness. It is the magic quality that opens all doors for you, and makes everything else possible. With self-discipline, the average person can rise as far and as fast as his talents and intelligence can take him. But without self-discipline, a person with every blessing of background, education and opportunity will seldom rise above mediocrity.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

There are no short-cuts

A lesson I was reminded of during Bible study yesterday.  Today I woke up looking for my, "That was EASY button."  Couldn't find it.  The only thing I found was an exhortation in God's word that a wise woman builds her house and with her own hands a foolish one tears it down.  I've also been feeling either condemnation or conviction and I'm having a hard time discerning between which one it is.  Condemnation on the kind of mom I am, the kind of wife I am, the kind of house I'm keeping and the kind of influence I am or am not having over these boys we've been entrusted with.  Or is it conviction from God to be a hard worker and manage my time well?
Emptiness was consuming me this morning.  So was insecurity on the kind of job I'm doing day to day around here.  I sat in this chair and tried to allow God to fill my thoughts and heart.  He showed me sweet things.  There are things I have to do to be productive.  Sitting here first thing is the most important thing I do all day.
Then I have to get dressed, put my shoes on and make my bed. 
Then I have to face the giants.  Do you want to know what I felt when I opened this door?  ANGER.  Yep.  I was just irked to the nines that this was what was in my future for today.  Stinky, dirty clothes.  Again.  I opened the washer to get things started and it was full of washed clothes.  I opened the dryer and it was full of dry clothes sitting there getting wrinkled.

Then I rounded the corner and there was popcorn on the floor.  The floor that I swept and gave a quick wet mop right before bed last night.
I had to step outside for a minute into the frozen air.  I was looking for a sparrow believe it or not.  There were none that my eyes could see but I could hear them singing.
There are no short-cuts.  10 years ago Shane and I sat at a Family Life Marriage Conference newly married.  A woman got up and shared her story about her days as a stay at home mom.  Her husband asked her what she did all day long.  The next day her husband came home and terror gripped him.  WHAT has happened?  The faucets are all running.  The toilets are not flushed.  Peanut butter, jelly and chips are all over the kitchen.  TV's are on.  Clothes are covering the floor.  It is mass chaos.  He walked out onto the back porch and there was his wife, laying on a lounge chair, sipping a fruity drink.  HONEY, is everything OK?  Yes she replied, today I did not do anything.  This is what life looks like when I take the day off.

As I was sweeping up popcorn at 9:30am this morning because the kids already needed a snack because they were hungry even though we had just finished breakfast I was reminded of that story.  I was reminded that there are no short-cuts.  As much as we'd like a short-cuts life required hard work.  There is a time to work hard and there is a time to rest and enjoy the fruit of your labor.  For raising my boys to Love the Lord and walk in his ways the fruit of my labor won't be seen for many years maybe.  In the meantime I'm going to do my best to make use of training them every day.  Being watchful and mindful to carefully discipline them.  To speak truth into their lives on a daily basis even when my mind tells me they are too young to get it.  They get more than I realize.  Being intentional to pray truth over their lives.

Influence, just like salt shaken out, is hard to see, but its flavor is hard to miss.  Pam Farrel

One thing I have discovered is that when I keep doing the next right thing I get to enjoy the fruit of my labor.
I don't know what you've got on your plate today but I wanted to tell you that if you are feeling the struggle of finding the joy in today I hope you are encouraged that God is not far away.  You will reap what you sow so be a hard worker today.  Allow God to put in and take out whatever he wishes.  Look at your babies in the eyes today and listen to them tell you about Spiderman again.  Embrace the monotony and find the joy in it.
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.  2 Corinthians 4:7

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tater Tot Frenzy

I guess I should begin by saying that this year I am having more fun which leads me to last night.  I was at the Wal-Marts and ran across the Tator Tots.  They are capitalized because for far too long they have not been shown the proper respect they deserve.  They are a perfectly acceptable accompaniment to many, many a meal.  Even breakfast, a hashbrown of sorts if you will.  Well, on the way home from the Wal-Marts I passed a house that was decked out in blue Christmas lights.  You can imagine how beautiful they looked in the snow.  I walk in, grab up the boys and put them in the bus to go see.  This is part of the fun, spontaneous me this year.  No matter that the baby is screaming because the child freaks out if he has no shoes on when we're in the car.  I asked Mr. Sunshine is he'd go ahead and throw some Tator Tots into the oven and we'd be right back.

You can imagine my surprise when I walked in and saw the ginormous amount of Tot Action that had entered my oven.  Honey, have you invited people we don't know about?  Naw, you just said put the Tots into the oven.  Wow.  He was right.  I had indeed said that.
When life hands you absurd amounts of Tator Tots you should load them up the next day and have a Twice Baked Tator Tot Explosion complete with chili, cheese, relish, mustard and onions and no I am not pregnant but thank you so kindly for thinking it.
Tasty if I do say so myself.  And since no Tator Tot post is complete without a photo of a well-dressed chair I leave you with this...Mr. Sunshine did this while I was away at Bible Study this morning.  Look at the quad-fecta of pillows he arranged on our chair.  Pretty huh?  Blue/Green/Brown/Stripe/Floral/ZigZag. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

We throw a mean snow day

Throwing a mean snow day is my spiritual gifting.  We even have super cool friends who will drive on the snowy roads to come hang out.

This picture makes me happy.  Footprints of friends coming over for fun and fellowship.
We even splurged and ordered the good pizza.
Happy little frozen feet coming in to warm up.
Lots of cheese dip, chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate.
Watching a little Toy Story and enjoying Pillow Pets.
Super hero costumes
Yes, we love a good snow day.
Making Honey Oatmeal bread is a snow day tradition in our family.  When the boys come in from playing in the snow they eat Honey Oatmeal bread and drink Hot Chocolate.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Full Moon

Welcome to a new segment on my blog called Life With Boys.  This segment will have to do with all things related to bodily parts, smells, sounds, Sports, Crazy Antics and all things non-girly.

Aaaaand we're potty training.  What can I say, kid will set the house alarm off to step out back to drain the ol' snake.  Please do pardon me, but if I am being quite honest this is a term that make us laugh uproariously around here.
You can imagine my shock and chagrin when we took a family shopping trip to the Wal-Marts last weekend to peruse the 75% Christmas sales.  It is no surprise that when I am in a retail environment I enter a Retail Therapy Induced Trance.  That is code for my eyes are diverted from my children periodically.  I take my eyes off Little Bit for 2 seconds so I can read a label and try to decipher if buying 7 small living Christmas trees to plant in my back yard which will grow up to 15 feet tall each is the right course of action for my $28 plus tax.

I look up and I'll be darned if I'm not looking at him standing similar to the picture below, only a full moon because he's got on a shorter shirt.  He has stepped forward to open the sliding doors in the Lawn & Garden dept.  Apparently he felt this was 'outside enough' to drop his drawers and drain the ol' snake.

My Superhero husband swept him up and took him to Men's to finish business in a more high class manner.  Can you get kicked out of the Wal-Marts if you pee out in Lawn & Garden?  Well, don't ask me,  we didn't exactly follow through.
(p.s. in case you are wandering, no, i did not buy an insane amount of garganchoo trees just because they were a steal...even I have limits)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Yesterday I spent some time reflecting on my vision for this year.  The first Monday of the year is a day where I dream about where I want to go over the next 365 days.  Here is what I came up with.  This year I am going to step out in faith and explore new areas where I may be used to serve God and bring Glory to His Name.  The top areas up for consideration are singing, writing and public speaking.

In my marriage my vision is to be intentional and purposeful.  To create deeper unity in our marriage, and for Shane to be my number one priority.  My hope is also to take two trips, just the two of us this year.  Proverbs says that wisdom and knowledge are costly and marriage is something worth investing in.

In my parenting I want to be aware and sensitive.  The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.  Pr 20:5

In my relationships I want to be observant of those around me.

In my relationship with the Lord I want to believe Him and trust Him.  Being mindful of lies and falsehoods I've been claiming as truth and turning away from wrong thinking to depend on God.

Life is more simple than we make it out to be.  It gets cluttered up and then it gets confusing.  This is where I've decided I want to go this year and I'm going to do my best to keep a smile on my face and walk this way.