Morning Fires

Since we’re smack dab in the middle of spring break, (ok, it’s almost over, but anyhow…), I seem to be applying the spring cleaning philosophy with me wherever I go.  “Use it or get rid of it!”  When I had to move our outdoor fireplace to make way for our new planter boxes, I realized we hadn’t really used it in a while.  I always think I will remember when it’s cold, but after dinner on a chilly evening I don’t ever feel like going outside!  Then it occurred to me.  Whenever we camp, my favorite are not the evening campfires, though those are special, too.  I LOVE morning campfires!  A new day.  A fresh start.  Brisk morning air.  The world is quiet.  A cup of coffee… yes, morning campfires rock.

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At first they were content reading and enjoying the fire and each other’s company.  It was quite sweet!  It didn’t take long before someone asked for the obvious; morning s’mores.  What the heck; it is spring break!

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We’ve since had a couple morning fires, and I think it might be a great new morning devotion spot!  Hooray for re-discovering old treasures!

They’re Back… and a BIG Surprise!

First things first… my babies are home!  SAFE and SOUND!  Oh, what a precious feeling… words don’t do it justice!

Now, do you want to see what they came home to?  Just a warning now:  lots of pictures to come, and lots of color!

For weeks before Allison left for Thailand, visions of re-doing an under-utilized room for her flooded my head.  I had lots of ideas, and lots of questions.  It sounded like a fun idea, but as the time got closer I felt it would be too overwhelming.  The day they left, I spoke with a friend who gave me the encouragement I needed to go for it.  Not only that, but it was a room without a closet and the day they left Malachi asked me to go to Ikea — seriously!  Where else would I possibly find a decent priced closet?  Ok, it was settled.  I would totally remodel a room in 2 weeks and surprise Daniel and Allison upon their return!

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My sweet friend was here many days (and nights) helping out… (and playing ping pong while the kids watched a movie, but that’s another story!)  I’m so grateful for her!

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I was also blessed by these two cuties who spent a morning with me.  Amazingly talented!

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Even once the triangles were mostly finished, and all the walls went from brown to gray, there was much work to be done… furniture placement, building the closet, building the bed, hanging the curtains, arranging the bookshelves, buying/ re-purposing accessories…  Yet, it was such a blessing to be so busy.  It really helped give me a peace while they were gone.  And, I slept hard at night when I wasn’t dreaming of painting triangles.

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I bought the world clock at Ikea for my little world traveller, and painted the “Go into all the world” on the wall.  Allison has also been typing letters to her friends on the typewriter, so I thought her room would be the perfect new home for it!

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In this corner… the old butterfly chair was a Goodwill find from way before I was married.  I spray painted the base green, and painted the fruits of the spirit on with blue.  I also had the old wooden wall hook from my mom, and painted each of the knobs a different color of one of the triangles on the wall.  The light is from Urban Outfitters, and the curtains were just $6 for the pair at Ikea in the as-is section.  Score!

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The bed… I LOVE the bed!  I ordered it from the Novogratz collection at Walmart.   The pillow shams, mattress, and “I love you” pillow are also from Walmart.  The green sheet is from Ikea, and the pom-pom comforter from Urban Outfitters.

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The couch is a pull-out sofa and I was originally thinking of getting rid of it.  I am so glad it stayed, though… it gives the room a fun, dorm-style feel and is a great home to more colorful pillows.

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I painted a simple chalkboard circle on the closet, andI think it adds a lot.

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We could hardly wait for the reveal.  It was as fun as we imagined!  Both Daniel and Allison were shocked and love it!  Allison has been asleep in that cozy bed since 6pm.  I am surprised she lasted that long.. that is 8am Thailand time!  Can’t wait to give her another hug in the morning.

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Once the surprise was over, Malachi took Papa to his room for a little football!

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Finally, we headed downstairs to be rewarded with some fun souvenirs  We love our Karen purses, Allison!  And, the fun necklaces!  Malachi thinks his train puzzle is pretty awesome, too.

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There you have it!  I was able to have a long cuddle and talk with Allison before she drifted off into dream land.  When did my little girl grow-up?  I’m looking forward to lots more talks and cuddles and pictures and videos tomorrow.  What a blessing to have my family back home!  Hope you enjoyed the room tour… I think I am as exhausted as the travelers.  🙂

Chalkboard Wall

I have an old notebook that’s been around for years.  When I feel I have important projects or ideas, I usually jot them down in there first.  In fact, it still contains several homeschool ideas and goals from before Allison started Kindergarten!  Anyway, each summer I fill it with summer goals, and usually half of them are items I didn’t cross off from the previous summer.  Such was the case with my scripture wall.  Such was also the case with my chalkboard wall, though if I had really painted it 2 summers ago as I had planned, it would have been black and white stripes.  It has since evolved into a chalkboard wall, and I am finally finished!

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My little man was all about helping me remove the magnet strips, playing with my tape, and using my roller as a weapon.

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Nervously, I let them each have a few turns at rolling the first coat.  Thankfully, that was all it took and then they were content to let me finish.  (Side note:  It really is ridiculous that I didn’t get this project done sooner.  I had everything on hand, including not one, but 2 quarts of chalkboard paint!)

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Once all the coats were dry, I let the paint sit for about 3 days, and then I “seasoned” the chalkboard by rubbing chalk all over it.  Apparently, that is what you’re suppose to do?!?!?

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Once I told the kids it was “ready,” there was no stopping them.  They had a lot of fun breaking it in.

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For a final touch, I took an old metal tray I wasn’t using and glued 6 magnets onto it.  It now serves as our chalk holder.

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I was telling my family, this has been in my head for so long now that I almost can’t picture it any other way — even though we just did it!  I am so excited to have a full chalkboard in my kitchen — woohoo!

Summer Project List

My summer project list is usually written in March.  By then, I am already itching to get started.  Technically, it is a spring/ summer list, but I just keep it simple by calling it a summer list.  That way, when I cross things off before school ends I feel like I’m ahead of the game!  (Don’t I wish that were the case!)  Anyway, I do have two projects crossed-off: one simple project, and one bigger project.  The simple project: hang our swim sign.  The kids and Daniel surprised me with this when i returned home from my trip up north.  I LOVE IT!

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The second (bigger) project was finishing our garden beds.  This morning my hubby was out before breakfast finishing up smoothing the gravel.  I took a bad picture, but here is the happy result:  (Notice the cute boy who still plays for hours in his sand box with his trucks daily!)

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Two projects down… many more to go!

DIG! (Day in the Garden)

The forecast said 90% chance of rain, yet we woke-up to blue skies without a single cloud.  Hmmm… Dare we?  We dared.  We dared to race against time to see if we couldn’t plant a garden before the storm rolled in.

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We had to make a few trips to Lowes for both soil, veggies, and flowers.

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We have been (attempting to) compost for the last two years, and finally used our compost to fill the bottom of each of the garden beds.  I was shocked to see how much we had accumulated!  (I must have filled at least 15 buckets).  We know so little about gardening, but are having fun learning and trying.  I am sure I will some day look back on this post and laugh at our lack of knowledge and experience.  But, with what little research and knowledge we have, we mixed our compost with some peat moss, cow manure, and planting soil.  We also crushed several of our chicken’s egg shells as fine as we could, and poured them into our holes before planting the tomatoes for some extra calcium.

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Our peaches are getting ripe!  Woohoo!

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This boy worked so hard.  When he wasn’t helping garden, he was working with his construction trucks in his sand box.

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The baby chicks, (now in their ugly, awkward stage), had a blast tromping through the boxes after we added the compost, but before we added the soil.  I’m pretty sure they added some fertilizer of their own!

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Oh, how I hope we have boysenberries this year!

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I asked the girls to design markers, thinking they would label all our veggies.  Instead, I have markers which name each of our marigolds.  Too precious!  Next we have to finish setting up the drip system, buy gravel for around the garden beds, then begin work on our patio table and benches.  Hooray for spring break, backyard projects, and a beautiful day outside!  FYI, the storm did come and the sprinkles began just as we headed inside to shower.

Spring Fever

Is it the time change?  The warmer weather?  The new chicks?  I have spring fever soooo bad.  I don’t even want to take a spring break for fear we may not open another book until next fall…

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Spring evenings after supper are the best.  Kids head right outside and I get to clean the kitchen before they go to bed, leaving me  peace once they do go to bed.  Aaaahhh…

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We finally got a start on the yard in front of the chicken yard.  We killed off the grass this fall, and have now got the sprinklers ready and drawn out where we will put our 3 planter boxes; one for growing veggies, one for growing flowers, and one for our little man to have a “construction site” play zone; at least for now!

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My project list is growing, and my motivation to finish the school year strong is waning.  But, we will.  Spring, you are glorious!


Back to crafting…

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back to taking care of animals…

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back to making dinners…

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 back to… blogging!

It’s always a bit difficult to get started again after taking a blog break. Mostly, once I get behind it’s hard to figure out where to start, again. In the case of this past week, where we were on the most amazing vacation of my life, it is especially difficult to know where to begin; so many emotions, so many pictures to sort through, and so much that happened!

Tonight I had a choice: finish the laundry, which is getting quite desperate, or get back to blogging. (Anybody want to come over and help me fold?)

It’s probably going to come together in little posts here and there. If I try to do one big “This was our trip!” post, it would be too overwhelming. Oh, but I can’t wait to share… so much to share!!!

Pictured above:  (top)   Sierra has been begging to do school and crafts since we got back.  Today we did corn syrup paints; always easy, and so beautiful!

(middle)  The cat looked so much bigger when we got home!  He is still the cutest ever.

(bottom)  For Valentine’s Day, my parents gave Daniel a Weber grilling book.  He didn’t waist any time spoiling us with this amazing flank steak recipe!

Can’t wait to share about our trip; be patient with me!  🙂

A Short Story

Once upon a time I lived by myself in a most adorable little 850 sq. foot house.  I knew nothing about painting, building Ikea furniture, or decorating, but I soon learned and I sure had fun trying.  Somehow I will have to dig up some old pictures of Daisy Court for you.

Today I am happily married to the most handy of men.  I no longer try… anything.  (Ok, so I still paint my walls when I get a whim, but that’s about it.)  I am embarrassed to admit I even put hanging pictures on my honey-do lists.

All that to say, for Christmas Santa gave me a fun wooden sign.  (The kids noticed Santa used the same wrapping paper as Uncle Nate, but whatever…)  It has been sitting in my office the last couple weeks just waiting to be hung.  Then it occurred to me.  I could put a bracket on the back and hang it all by myself.  And I did!  I didn’t measure or use a level, but you can’t tell.  My type A husband has now joked that he will have to start hiding his tools, but I am feeling super empowered — all from one little picture hanging!

Oh, yeah… here is the sign above our bathroom door.  Thank you, Santa… I know you’re reading this!


The State of our House

I know… I know… I know it will all get put together.  I know the mess is temporary as we change seasons.  I know we are blessed with much. But, I just had to document this:

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Boxes everywhere.  Ornaments everywhere.  Don’t even let me get started on how many books are spread across the floors!  But, I smile… scenes like this:

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Sisters reading Christmas books together…

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My oldest taking a break from her doll’s Christmas scarf french knitting to read a Christmas devotion…

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And, breakfast using our Christmas dishes that will be used from now until Christmas.  These scenes are so worth the chaos.  Every year I tell myself I will quietly get the boxes down myself and go through them in an orderly fashion, but what fun is that?  The boxes will get put away… soon… and the Christmas decor will be displayed, and the kids will have their memory of “helping” me decorate once again!

Grandma’s Here!

My mom coming to visit is always fun for all of us… but this time around it is not only fun but helpful for me.  While the kids play games…

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And have tea parties…

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I will be conquering this mess:

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I am actually very excited to be doing some cleaning/ organizing/ re-arranging of our school items and getting ready for school.  Of course, there will be some fun, as well.  Daniel and I have a fun date planned, as well as a family trip to the circus.  (Grandma will be going to her first circus ever — can you believe it?)  I am so thankful for my mom!