August 31, 2009


I have a surfer girl in my family, a surfer dudette that dreams of Hawaii. After living in a baby pink room for 9 years, she decided she would like to have a big-girl room. It sounded like a gnarly-cool idea until she said she wanted orange walls. Rather than shouting a big fat NO, we headed to the paint store.
Oh the possibilities! Her first choice ~I kid you not~ was construction zone cone orange.
Uh. Big fat NO.
So we found a good compromise: Desert Sunset (Olympic) with hot pink accents.
You know I'm all about CHEAP, so here is the breakdown:
Reversible hot pink/orange bed matelasse' and 2 shams: $29.99 Ross
Surfer Girl picture: $24.99 HomeGoods
Beach mat (rug): $1.99 Old Time Pottery
Big flower throw pillows: Issac Mizrahi Target napkins on clearance $.98 each
Bed roll pillow: Target clearance $11.98
Headboard: mine as a child ~ free
I found the desk at a thrift store a couple of years ago. We added the chunky Pier1 Kids knobs (clearance, of course). She talked her daddy into the hot pink desk chair while mommy was in Germany (so worth it!) Daddy also purchased the big flower for her birthday. It's 3-D made out of heavy duty tissue paper and wire. Good job, honey!

The curtains tie the colors all together. Hot pink and orange flip flops! It is actually a Sunbrella (indoor/outdoor) fabric. It was very easy to sew because it is so sturdy. The wooden surfboard was a Christmas gift from us: hubby cut it out and I attached the "wally" flip flops. Speaking of walls, I am IN LOVE with vinyl wall clings (see the hibiscus in the corner).
We also added the vinyl surfboard to the wall. Her name is above it in big chunky white letters.
All of the vinyl came from Uppercase Living.

Now for the el-cheapo art project that I promised. Lucky for you it's a 2-for-1 deal today:
The memo board is the freebie, since it is part of the grouping. I simply took an old memo board (formerly baby blue gingham) and recovered it with some leftover curtain fabric. I didn't have enough of the dot ribbon, so I found some striped. Which worked to my advantage because it tied these in:
About a year ago I was staying at a friend's (very nice) beach house. Above the bed hung some original art: painted flip flops in a shadow box. The more I admired them, the more I became convinced that I could do the same thing without the "ar-teest" price. So I purchased some plain hot pink flip flops in the dollar section, gave them a little artsy-fartsy flair with acrylic paint, and added a bow. Using my coupon, I purchased 2 raw-wood shadow boxes, spray painted them orange and added a little flower power. I hot-glued the flip flops to white heavy-duty paper and viola!
I did spray the entire thing with high gloss clear spray paint to give it a finished look.
Just to be real: the original beach-house artwork was behind glass. I had intended to do that, but I shattered the glass on one of the frames before I even painted it. So now it is true 3-D art.

That's it! All that is left to say is:

For more DYI ideas, check out the party at Kimba's

August 30, 2009

Sunday Rest

Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your heart be troubled
and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

August 27, 2009

Sorrow and Faith

Please keep this family in your prayers. Their journey of faith is amazing.

August 26, 2009

Study Hall

As I perused the latest edition of the PB Teen catalog, I was drawn to the locker series. So many colors ... so different from the boring beige/dirty grey lockers of my high school days. However, the price tag made me pass right by and finish my perusing. $329 for one upright locker. Seriously?!

And then one day, the ugly grey/beige locker from my high school memories showed up in my driveway. Three of them, to be exact.
They were on their way to the dump, when my hubby rescued them. Because he knows me and loves me, he hosed them down and anti-bacterialized them. He knew I wouldn't be able to get past the whole germ thing.

I have trained him well, for he knows my secret weapon:
Oh yeah! You know where this is headed............

Moss green for little man's room

He decorated the inside by himself. Not bad for a 5 year old!

Nutmeg brown for my horse lovin' gal.

She has big plans for the inside of this one...

Soft pink for my surfer dudette.

Each of my children now have their own locker (how cool is that for homeschoolers?!) for storage. The price of spray paint and a little elbow grease sure is better than $987!

~Next time I'll show you some pictures of the Hawaiian inspired room and an el-cheapo art idea.

August 23, 2009

Sunday Rest

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified;
do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will
be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

August 21, 2009

Variety Bread

~~I'm joining Jen today for her Tasty Tuesday with this recipe. Come on over and see some delicious recipes!

I thought I'd share my favorite bread recipe today. You know I love versatility, and this one does not disappoint! It freezes beautifully, too!

Basic Bread Recipe

4 ½ cups very warm water

1 1/3 cups white sugar

1/3 cup yeast

1 ¼ cup vegetable oil

2 Tbs. salt

12 cups white flour (or wheat, or a mixture of white/wheat)

In large mixing bowl blend first five ingredients. Add flour slowly. Continue to knead (in mixer) in flour until dough becomes no longer sticky. (Although, you don’t want it too dense)

Cover counter and hands with flour. Form breads as desired. (The fun part)

Let rise in a very warm place, until tripled in size. Gently place in 350 oven for 15-30 minutes (depending on size of loaf). Tap on top of bread. If it sounds hollow, it is done. It should be golden brown in color.

This will create 5-6 nice size loaves.

Gourmet Bread Varieties:

Sweet Cinnamon Swirl

Flatten an 8th of the dough into a ½ inch thick rectangle. Sprinkle ¼ cup cinnamon and ¼ cup sugar over the dough, one inch from edges. Roll up starting from the long end. Pinch together and tuck ends under. Let rise until tripled in size. Butter top, add cinnamon/sugar. Bake for 20 min. @ 350 and enjoy.

Cinnamon Rolls: Make as directed above, slicing log into rolls before allowing to rise. Place in a round cake pan and bake for 15 min.

Pesto Swirl

Follow directions for cinnamon swirl above, substituting your favorite pesto. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of the bread pan before allowing it to rise. Brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Herb Loaf

Add favorite herbs, such as rosemary, basil, oregano to an 8th of the dough. Shape into a loaf. Let rise until tripled in size. Drizzle with ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil. Bake @ 350 for 20 min.

Gourmet Bread Additives:

~Diced apples


~Calzone: pizza sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni roll

This is a great recipe for the kids to get involved in. Since it makes so much dough, they can each make their own loaf and there is still plenty for mom to be creative with!

Kitchen Makeover

When we built our house seven and a half years ago, we did it on a very tight budget.  One way we were able to build our dream house was to not do all of the aesthetic, big ticket extras right then.  Namely, the kitchen.  I did get the cabinets that I really wanted, knowing they would be a good foundation.

We started off with white textured laminate countertops, as a temporary, affordable fix.  A couple of years ago, we added unhoned granite countertops.  Unhoned simply means that they are not shiny.  We chose this style because black shiny granite tends to show every fingerprint.  I've been very please with our choice.
Our final step was to add the tile backsplash. After pouring over many idea magazines, I knew that I wanted subway tile, in a brick pattern.
I also liked the look of wide grout.  I didn't want the tiles to look like they were attached or stacked on top of each other.  Our friend Joe did an amazing job.  I had no idea how much of a giant puzzle tilework is!
After I took the picture above, I decided that the red tray needed a little something...
yeah, that's better!

This is my desk area.  Otherwise known as the dumping ground.  I've tried to control the clutter with the basket (a yard sale find!)

I know it's blurry, but it is the only digital photo I could find of our original kitchen:
I know!!! WHAT were we thinking with that blue???

August 19, 2009

Join Me

Pull up a chair, grab a cup of joe and join me. I'm having an iced mocha with real whipped cream and an extra drizzle of chocolate. It's only 1000+ calories, but hey, it's cyber world. Calories don't count.

I thought we'd have a little girl-chat this morning. I wish you were here in your fuzzy pj's curled up on the couch. I've got some questions for you today. You may choose to answer them through the comment button; or you might just want to ponder them in your heart.

1. How are you doing? Really doing? Maybe you are facing a new chapter in your life. A child flying from the nest, moving on to college or maybe spreading her wings in kindergarten. Is a career change, relocation, or health battle on the horizon? Possibly you are just worn down. It has been a little too much of the same ol' same ol' for too long.
Sometimes we just live life, go through the motions, without taking the time to step back and examine the heart.

2. Are you content? Contentment is one of those things that can come and go as quickly as a summer storm. I can feel perfectly content until something beautiful floats into my line of vision. Suddenly I'm not so satisfied with what I have. It's hard to walk away, but it is a choice. Do I live for the "what ifs" or do I thank God for the bounty of blessings that surround me each day?

3. Are you enjoying life? There is a difference between being content and actually enjoying the gift of today. Sometimes this is verrrry hard to do. Are you choosing to find the joy? Look for it. Some days I have to look harder than others. It may be too painful to look at your whole day. Search for little moments that evoke pure joy. When was the last time you listened to the sound of a twittering bird sing her lungs out?

4. What can you polish that has become a little dull? Maybe it is your marriage; your mommy-words; your exercise program; your walk with the Lord. Take some time today and reflect on what needs a little work.

Ladies, don't let your marriage slip. Keep the fires burning. Select one thing that will show your hubby an extra measure of love. You know, better than anyone else in the world, what would make him shine. Just do it. It will be worth it.

Having trouble taming the tone of your voice? Listen to yourself speak to your children and then ask yourself, "would I speak to anyone else this way?"

How is your walk with the Lord? He has so much to give to you today, but you have to look in His word to find it. Seek that treasure... it is there for you!

Oh, I have MUCH to work on! I'm so glad that we've had this little chat. It has made me realize some things that I've just allowed to slip for a while. Time to sharpen up and live life to the fullest!
Have a day full of blessings!

August 17, 2009

Ahh, August

Typically, August is just about my least favorite month of the year. It's hot, sticky, humid, sultry, well you get the idea. So far, August has been pleasant. Yes, it is still very hot, sticky and humid, but we've filled our days with lots of fun things. Like ............ S'MORES!

By the way, we've completed 3 weeks of home schooling and we are still lovin' it! A big thanks to all of our well-wishers. Your prayers have been felt! Personally, I think this is the best decision we have ever made (aside from switching to Mac, but that's a whole different ballgame).
To get away from the heat, we made a trip to Asheville, NC. If you have never been, put it on your 'to-do' list. It is a beautiful area in the NC mountains, with lots to do. (The picture from yesterday's post was taken near there). Anyways, my hubby is helping with a new neighborhood/community that is just getting started. The entrance is pictured above. So we sacrificed and went with him to check on things. It was the first time we were able to experience the flexibility of home schooling. We took school with us! Ca-ching!
{Knock, knock! Anyone home?}

Cooling off in a mountain stream ... my favorite way to spend the day.

Check out the view from this porch:
This is where we "sacrificed" and did school. Ahh, August, you're not so bad when viewed from here!

~Later this week I will be sharing some great decorating ideas from inside this mountain home!

August 16, 2009

Sunday Rest

When you pass through the waters
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire
you will not be burned;
For I am the Lord, your God
the Holy One of Israel,
your Savior.
Isaiah 43:2-3

August 13, 2009

Cous-cous For You

I've been on a cooking kick (what in the world?!) So I thought I'd share another one of my favorite recipes. This is definitely one of those things that you either love or hate because it is very strong in flavor. I happen to be the only person in my family that likes it.

This recipe comes from The Fresh Market which is a specialty (read: pricey) grocery store in our area.

1/3 cup bulgar
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 medium onion
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 Tbs. fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, chopped

Mix bulgar with hot water, let stand for one hour. Combine lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over bulgar and mix in remaining ingredients. Mix well and chill.
Yes, I know the recipe calls for bulgar, but it takes an hour. I prefer the texture of couscous and it's much faster. So I just follow the directions (microwave) on the back and use it in place of the bulgar/water.

As most of the recipes I love, this one is versatile. I like mine to taste very lemony. If you don't, cut the lemon juice to 1/3 cup. I also like to increase the amount of mint. I didn't want tomato that day, so I substituted a cucumber. I've made it with tomato and cucumber before.
One recommendation: I used a red onion and it was really strong. Next time, I'm using something more gentle like a vadalia.
This recipe makes a nice, summery side dish. Enjoy!

August 12, 2009

Follow Up from Yesterday

I am completely overwhelmed by the graciousness of the comments from my previous post. While I was just having a nice little pity party, it seems that I have touched a nerve. I had no idea that so many other women were dealing with some of the same issues. Bless you for coming forth and sharing your heart. Let us walk away from this post knowing that we are created as individuals with individual talents and that we are VALUABLE to God regardless of our writing ability, cooking moxie or homemaking talents.

I, in no way, meant for this to come across as directed toward any specific person or blog. It was written as culmination of reading multiple 'mega blogs' and me focusing on others rather than just enjoying the ride.

Be blessed and encouraged today!!!

August 11, 2009

Discouraged Blogger

I have officially been a 'blogger' for about 18 months now. Within that time period, I have reconnected with old friends, turned IRL acquaintances into friendships, and forged new friendships across the country with women I've never met face to face. Blogging has been a beautiful outlet for me.

Unfortunately, it can have its downside too. It is hard not to compare my # of comments to the other blogs I read. It is even harder to reign in the feeling of inadequacy when a whole group of women come together because of their writing talent and I'm standing on the sidelines going, 'did I miss something?' That happened this week when in-courage made its debut. My feeling of inadequacy reared its ugly head and rather than being 'in-couraged' I felt discouraged. The comparison game had begun. Again.

Okay, I'm going to be real here, so if you want to walk away now, I understand...

The blogging world is a lot like life. There are groups of women that are joined together because of a common interest. I have come across a few groups of die-hard crafters, quilters, antiquers, cooks, collectors, and even complainers. Blog-world is a smorgasbord of possibilities. I happen to enjoy decorating, so that tends to be the type of blogs that I am drawn to. However, even well meaning women can do what we do best in life: surround ourselves with like-minded women and become oblivious to others outside of our group, or dare I say ... clique.

So in my world of feeling sorry for myself for being left out of some bloggy get togethers, I came to a realization. Why do I read blogs? Why do I write my blog? I have to make a choice to only allow blogs to encourage me. If I am feeling jealous, then I need to reexamine my motives for visiting them. If I am feeling inadequate, I need to remember that it is more important to be ME than to try to write like someone else. After all, that is what draws me to this dear friend. Her beautiful uniqueness. If I am feeling pressure, I need to remind myself that I am New Every Morning for only a short time of the week. The rest of the time I am a wife, mommy, teacher, daughter, sister, friend.

If you are new to blogging (or an old-timer that just needs a reminder) I encourage you to not get caught up in the comparison game. Be yourself. Love what you write. Oh yeah, and leave an encouraging comment =)

August 9, 2009

Sunday Rest

The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

August 6, 2009

Grand Granola::

{I'm linking to Jen's Tasty Tuesday...
check out her fun idea for a coffee bar!}

The beauty of this recipe is how easy and versatile (read: forgiving) it is
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds, walnuts, macadamias or pecans
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbs brown sugar
6 Tbs maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tbs vanilla

Like I said, it is very forgiving. I used generic 'light' pancake syrup because that's what I had. I used vegetable oil instead of canola oil... because that's what I had. I've followed this recipe to the tee and it tastes just as good with the cheap stuff.
Don't like nuts? Leave them out.
Don't like coconut (Leslie), leave it out.
Prefer to make it extra healthy?
Add flax seed, millet, dried fruit, whatever floats your boat.
Well, maybe not spinach.

One batch will make this much: (a cookie sheet)
Sometimes I double it. Not today, I was scraping the bottom of the rolled oats barrel, literally.

Bake at 250 for 1 hour.
Stir and bake for 15 more minutes
I'm telling you, it is so easy. AND I usually have the ingredients in my pantry

My favorite way to indulge:
Activia vanilla yogurt, fresh berries and granola.

Just look at those golden flakes

August 4, 2009

Deep Thoughts::Fun Times

I am still deep in thought over the events of the weekend. I sat with 11,000 of my closest friends to hear the best of the best Christian women speakers/authors.
This event was not for the faint of heart. Or the unpadded rear-end. Ten hours of gettin' the Word is ... is... well I've sat here for a solid 3 minutes trying to think of words to describe it and I can't. Amazing, humbling, fulfilling: none of these words even begins to describe the way my heart was touched. It will take a week for me to even process it all.

God doesn't just speak through one person, one sermon, one song. For me, the moment my stubborn heart let go was during the worship time. Music has always been an important part of my relationship with God. This weekend was no different. During a particular song, I allowed the chains of self-pity, frustration, and anxiety fall away. It was a moment that I went from dry, to overflowing.

My husband read this quote from Charles Stanley in our family devotion tonight:
There's nothing you can do to get Him to love you
and there's nothing you can do to make Him stop.

Even during those times we feel so far from God, He is right there, ready to reveal Himself. And reveal He did!

Thanks to my dear mom, who whisked me away for a night.
It was quite apparent that every other female staying at our hotel was there for the conference. There's just something about the way southern girls get all dolled up for a good meeting! Is it that way in other parts of the country? I mean, there were enough monogrammed bags and strappy sandals to fill a mall! Twice.

When we got to our room, which had been reserved for a few months under the "non smoking" request, we were just about knocked over with the wall of smoke that hit us the moment we opened our door. I guess the non smoking request meant that we requested no one smoke in our room while we were there. Hunh? If you are going to offer non smoking rooms, I highly recommend removing the obvious: ash trays.
Anyway, what started as nuisance, turned out to be a fun blessing. The girls across the hall (whom we had never met)had the same problem with their room. Within 5 minutes we had the doors and windows open trying to get a cross ventilation. It was like being in college again. All the girls out in the hallway giggling and laughing. One gal asked me if we would like to light a match. She then handed me a book of matches with her wedding date on it:
April 19, 1973
I was holding the holy grail of matchbooks!

Not only did we get 'fed' from the Word, but we also had so much fun feeding our cravings for some fresh mexican food:
Hello. My name is dork with a capital D. That's my cute momma, Cornball. But you can call her Corny for short.
This is what we were so happy about:
Can I get an AMEN?! My mouth is watering just looking at that guac.