November 29, 2012

Why Photos Make Me Feel Productive

Do you ever have one of those weeks that you feel you've accomplished nothing?  This morning I said to my mom, "I feel like I've lost a week."  It slipped in, became smothered with sick children and unexpected non-events and is over before I could catch my breath from last weekend.  
Sound familiar? 

I take a lot of photos, mostly of my loved ones, but also of the everyday stuff.  At first I felt silly taking a photo of my shoes, my oven, a candle.  Then I began to realize that even those photos remind me of the stuff this life is made of; and on weeks like this one where I feel buried in the mundane and feeling the least bit productive, they are a reminder that even the slow days are filled with gifts, too precious to forget.
These are a few from the week:

I get to drive across this lake at least twice when I leave my house.  It always stirs a sense of wonder in me.  Even in the midst of running to basketball 4 times a week, chatty children in the car, and the jingle of Christmas tunes, it still takes my breath away and reminds me of the Creator's gentle brush strokes on the canvas of nature.

After a year of no sewing, I pulled out my machine and completed a fun banner for the youth party.  I made these little votive holders out of mason jars and left over fabric scraps.  Just a few minutes of time, but something fun for the tables down at the barn.  Ahh, productiveness, there you are!

Dog hair drives me more batty than nails on a chalkboard.  About twice a year, Rocko loses his dignity and I shave him.  He follows me around for a few days as if I'll give him his coat back.   It's a real bonding time for us.  Good thing he's still cute when he's bald. ;)

 This has been a year of focusing on my husband.  We've always had a great marriage but this year I've fallen more in love with him than ever before.  I've watched him stand strong in his faith when I faltered.  He worked his hands to the bone (literally) creating a special home for our family.  He has always treated me like a queen, but this year I think I appreciated it more.

I've tried to be more intentional about capturing my children doing what they love.  These are the moments I want to remember forever.  My sweet girl often puts her bunny in her jacket and comes to the door for a visit.  One day my door will stand empty, so I want to appreciate the here and now.
 My little guy still loves to dress up in an array of costumes.  This, too, will pass sooner than I am ready.  I don't think I'll ever get tired of meeting up with a ninja on the way to the back porch.

In the midst of the mundane; the crazy week that seemed to leave you in its dust; the endless hours of moving from one fire to another, I encourage you to grab your camera or phone or whatever you can grab and capture the moment.  You will realize, as I have, that life is not slipping by.   It is being well lived.  I just need a little help realizing that sometimes.

November 26, 2012


 Can you believe this display of food?  We gathered with my husband's extended family on Thanksgiving.  There were 30 of us and we had a blast.  My favorite part of the evening is gathering around in a large group while the men tell stories and we all laugh until it hurts.

All of the cousins are fairly close in age, so it made for a fun evening for the kids, too.

We hosted Thanksgiving for my side of the family on Friday because my mom has been under the weather.  We wanted her to save her energy for eatin'!

My husband smoked the turkey on the grill this year.  I can usually skip the meat and just enjoy the sides, but this time I went back for seconds on the bird.  Way to go, Honey!

I love to try new recipes, but this year, I stuck with the traditional: apple and pumpkin pies.

 My brother and sister-in-law haven't been here in almost a year, so it was nice of them to come for a few days.  After dinner, we enjoyed a relaxing evening by the fire pit as we allowed the turkey coma to settle in.

Later in the evening, I couldn't find the guys.  They were all gathered in our bedroom catching up on football scores.  Silly boys, we'll share the family room!

On Saturday morning my dad came over for some target practice.  I'm so proud of him for taking up a new hobby.  Way to embrace life, Dad!
 We all gave it a try.  I'm staring 40 in the face, so I better start embracing new hobbies too!

 I hope your time of gathering was filled with love and laughter.

November 21, 2012

November Tidings

 It's hard to believe that fall is quietly slipping out like a tender leaf in a cascade of water.
The Christmas season is whispering my name, but I'm holding onto November for a few more days.

We have savored autumn, enjoying the everyday moments as if they are little nuggets of gold to be treasured.

The game of UNO has reappeared like a long lost friend.  I find the kids sneaking in a game between lunch and afternoon studies.  I love the laughter it brings to this house we're making into a home.  

 My children often surprise me with their interests.  My sweet boy, who is ALL boy, asked me to teach him to sew this week.  An hour later, I walked in on this:
He was passing the lesson on to his oldest sister.  Be still my heart.

I've found a favorite fall/winter scent.  I was skeptical, so I bought a tiny one as a trial.  Yesterday, I went back for a large one and walked out with several for gifts.  Walmart, you surprised me!

Little touches of fall fill our home from top to bottom.

We've had the joy of sharing our home with so many friends, old and new, this fall.
 May your home be filled with love and fall delights today.

November 13, 2012

Making the Beautiful Out of the Imperfect

 I yearn for the beautiful, but life is messy.  Do you avoid blog reading because it makes you feel less-than-perfect?  I do sometimes.  It's no secret that I'm a Pinterest fan, but I can allow the tendrils of feeling overwhelmed and insufficient slip in as I scroll through the pages.

Today I want to encourage you.
The only perfection we should be striving for is Jesus. If we seek perfection in anything else, especially ourselves, we will be left as tattered flags on a battleground.
Beauty, not perfection, is an attainable goal.
I don't have it all together.
I hide in the pantry and eat chocolate.
My closet looks like a bomb detonated.
I would rather read a book than teach Algebra, and sometimes I do.

What if I looked beyond the messiness of me and saw the beauty in my days?
Attitude is transforming.
As I was loading the picture above, I had to giggle.  My fall gourd vignette topped off with a hair band on the white pumpkin.
Life being lived is so much better than still-life.

We have our first big event at the farm this weekend.  Needless to say, we are tying up all the loose ends.  We never accomplish more than when we're about to have company.  Can you relate?  
One of the projects to complete is our well house.  It needed to be painted and my man only has so many hours of daylight left thanks to daylight savings time.  I really wanted to paint it for him, but the constant mind battle of I-should-be-focusing-on-homeschool began.  I decided to start early and get as much done as possible.  As I started on the second side, I looked up and saw this:

My sweet boy brought homeschool to me!  He climbed up on the well house and we worked on his writing assignment as I painted.
Beauty out of the imperfect.

My daughter decided to join us and as she sat down next to the pond to work on grammar, she noticed that we have some new neighbors.

True beauty.

Our neighbor across the pond added a pony to our view, too.

I sometimes fall into the "yes" pit.  I say yes to stuff and then wonder why I feel like my household is out of control.  I realized that I had been saying "yes" to too much tv.  Yesterday I declared that it was a tv free day.  "No tv?!"  At first my kids couldn't understand why I was being so "mean."  I even doubted my reasoning.
However, when I came in from painting the well house, I found my girls playing cards.
On their own.
Without mom's suggestion.
Getting along.
Enjoying each other.
Yes.  Beauty out of the imperfect.

I encourage you to look for the beauty in the messiness of today.
Seek and you will find.  ;)

November 8, 2012

Master Bath Reveal (Sherwin Williams Sea Salt)

 This is my oasis; the place I step away from my role as mother, farm wife, teacher, and counselor.  This is where I unwind, read a book, pray, and relax.

I almost said "no" to a tub.  I am so glad I didn't.  Living on a farm gives me sore muscles and sometimes all my other roles give me a tired brain.  I never used the jets in my last tub, so we chose a soaking tub.  At 69", she's long and narrow.  Hmm... sounds like the body shape I've always wanted. ;)
 I've never had a hand-held sprayer in the tub.  Isn't this little contraption just adorable?  All fancy and farmy rolled up in one!  With "Westminister" and "Victoria+Albert" inscribed on the faucet, I feel a little British too.  ;)

My husband wasn't quite sure about the purpose of a chandelier over the  tub.  I explained that it gave me a little girly space and helped me relax.  He's a sport and went with it.  You know, happy wife = happy life.  He's a firm believer.
 I found the curtain rod on clearance and couldn't resist adding a lil' bit more bling.

To the left of the tub is the shower and my sink.  The opening for the shower is very tall, so we used a regular (extra long) window curtain.  So far, so good!

Our countertops are shiny black granite.  The tile backsplash is glass/marble.  To save $$, we cut 12" tile sheets in half and created a 6" backsplash.

I found these Martha Stewart drawer pulls and knobs on clearance at Home Depot for $1.50 apiece.  Can you believe that??  I love how big and chunky they are.

To the right of the tub is the toilet room and my husband's sink.

We traded the linen closet, on the original house plan, for separate sinks.  We need our own elbow room more than a closet for towels, so I repurposed my mother's china cabinet.  On moving day my husband noticed it in the bathroom and said, "We're keeping our fine china in the bathroom??!"  No, but it is the perfect space for toiletries and sundries.  I still need to get one shelf out of storage and we need to replace the glass in the door, but other than that, I'm thrilled with her new identity.

As with every project around here, we were on a tight budget.  However, it can be an oasis without costing a fortune.
Here are the details:
Paint: Sherwin Williams Sea Salt
Backsplash: Costco (seriously, can you believe it?!)
Mirrors: Home Goods
Chandelier: Ikea
Vanity lights: Home Depot
Curtains: Ikea "Matilda"
Curtain Rod: Bed Bath and Beyond

I'm linking up with 
Elizabeth & Co
Grace at Home
Southern Savvy Style
Common Ground
No Minimalist Here
From My Front Porch to Yours
The Vintage Farmhouse
French Country Cottage
At the Picket Fence

November 7, 2012

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

Ya'll.  These are SO yummy and pretty healthy too.  Thank you, Pinterest, for so many great ideas.

Okay, three ingredients (and not so healthy) if you add the frosting to the top. :)
Just mix a box of vanilla or yellow cake mix and a can of pumpkin.  
No eggs.  No oil.
Bake at 350 for 25 min (reg muffins)
or 13 min for mini muffins.

Yummy little delights

November 6, 2012

Fall Delights

1. My husband brought home these flowers, just because.  I love that man so much!

2. My baby turned 9 this month.  My baby!

 He wanted a "nerf war."  My husband set up the ultimate nerf war in our new backyard.

Favorite action shot:

3. We're still settling in.  I hung this collage in our foyer.

4. We don't celebrate the ghosts and ghouls of Halloween, but we do let our kids dress up.  This year my heart ached a little as the older girls' outfits were a little less elaborate as in years past.  This growing up thing... sigh.
 We ended up with a cowgirl, a knight and a scarecrow.  They still melt my heart.
 Our yearly tradition is to get together with about 5 other families, eat chili and grilled cheese, and then let the kids go twick-or-tweating.  As the kids have gotten older, sometimes they bring friends, so the number of our posse has grown throughout the years.  I'm sure the neighbors quake when they see this crazy crew coming up the driveway. ;)

5.  I don't drink much coffee in the summer, but this is my favorite morning sight in the fall:
 Favorite decaf, favorite mug, favorite creamer!

6. I found a GOOD recipe on Pinterest this week.  I'll share tomorrow!
Happy Election Day!!!