Thursday, April 10, 2014

Birthday Week

Every year, birthday week is a whirlwind.  And this year did not disappoint.

Early on April 1st, Tyson woke up sick and struggling to breathe.  After trying all the usual remedies for those scary croup-like symptoms and not having much success over the course of about 3 hours, I took him to the ER around 7 a.m. that morning, where he got a breathing treatment.  He seemed to be doing better after that and they released him to go home. Then just a few hours later, he was right back to struggling to breathe again. I called our pediatrician’s office and the nurse told us to go back to the ER. While there, he tested positive for flu B, got two more breathing treatments, a dose of a steroid, and a prescription for Tami-flu. And that was the start of birthday week!




Later that afternoon, Tim played an April Fool’s joke on the kids and told them Mimi and Pop Pop (their grandparents from Florida) were here to surprise them for birthday week.  But when the kids excitedly ran to the door, there was no Mimi and Pop Pop. And then Tim said, “April Fool’s!!” (yes, it was a teensy bit mean) Disappointed and slightly mad, the kids went back to their video games. Then, ‘out of the blue’, the doorbell rang and when the kids went to see who it was, there were Mimi and Pop Pop standing on the other side of the door! Best April Fool’s Ever!!  So. Much. Fun.



The next day was Peyton’s 6th birthday. 



We had the cottage room reveal that morning. It was a total hit!




And then we spent some time at the American Girl doll store, getting Peyton’s doll’s hair done.




By that afternoon, I was feeling pretty awful and laid down for a two hour nap.  Thankfully, Mimi was there to decorate Peyton’s cake with her. Peyton had the best time and was so proud of herself when it was done.  It turned out amazing, didn’t it?!





By the next day, Hudson was feeling pretty awful too.



Thankfully, by Tyson’s (8th) birthday, his Tami-flu had kicked in, so he was feeling a good bit better.

He wanted a camo party with an army man cookie cake. 



Originally, the plan was to go to Chuck E. Cheese , but we decided we better not go infect all of the kids there with our flu/virus/bugs.




This year, Tyson wanted a bike with gears, so that’s what he got.



Hudson was disappointed that both Tyson and Peyton got to celebrate their birthdays with Mimi and Pop Pop and he did not.  So, the next day, we celebrated Hudson.  I was all caked out by then, so I just picked up a little store bought cake and put a Monster Truck smashing a car on top. He was slightly upset that his cake was small, but we really talked it up and convinced him that he had an awesome cake. Crisis averted.



The rest of the week, the kids and I just continued to fight the crud. We had times when we felt okay and times when we felt pretty bad. I hated that Mimi and Pop Pop were here the one week that we were all so sick.  But, on the other hand, I was so thankful they were here to help.  I’m not sure how we would have survived without them.




Yesterday, I was convinced that we were finally getting over all our sickness, but then today, Hudson’s fever spiked up to 103 and Peyton started running a fever too, so I was feeling really worn out and discouraged.  I wrote a little blog post over here about how the Lord encouraged me this morning.

Also, earlier this week, I did a home tour here at A Woman’s Haven Blog. Check it out.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Rose Cottage

We have a small room in our basement, right at the bottom of the stairs, that I’ve never blogged about.  When we moved in, this little room had all wood paneling with no windows. Dark and dreary.

It looked like this.




As soon as I could, I painted that little room white.  Then we used it as a homeschool room for a while, but we pretty quickly realized that it was much more convenient and enjoyable for us to do homeschooling upstairs in the kitchen where there are windows with sunshine streaming through. So then the little room turned into a toy room. This worked out somewhat okay for us, but all the favorite toys still usually ended up upstairs or somewhere else. And then the little room wasn’t getting used very much.

So a few weeks ago, I had a genius idea to turn the little room into a cottage for Peyton and her baby dolls. I think I was going through creativity withdrawals from not having any house projects going on for a while. Plus, Peyton’s birthday was fast approaching and I thought it would be the perfect birthday present for a six year old girl who loves playing with her babies and having tea parties. 

Once I got Tim on board with the plan (it took a little bit of convincing), we told Peyton about our idea just to make sure she would be excited about it, which she was.  I also wanted her to be part of the decorating process because I knew she would really enjoy picking things out and doing little projects with me.  She decided to name her cottage “Rose Cottage”. 

Although Peyton has done a lot of the shopping with me, Tim and I have kept the door to the room closed and kept the kids out while we’ve worked to transform the room into her cottage.  So seeing everything put together and the room decorated like a cottage will still be a fun surprise for her on her birthday.  Plus, there are a few little things that we’ve gotten that she doesn’t know about.

Much of what is in here are things that we already had on hand, but we also shopped at Ikea, thrift stores, the Habitat ReStore, and on Craigslist.  I wanted it to be Shabby Chic and Tim wanted it to be not expensive.

So, Welcome to Peyton’s Rose Cottage…

First up, her kitchen and coffee bar.

She already had the pink kitchen set, but one of the doors had broken off, so we hung a piece of fabric (a kitchen towel from Ikea) there to give it a cottage/shabby chic vibe.



The curtains are also kitchen towels from Ikea that Peyton helped me sew. 



The coffee bar cabinet was a cabinet that was leftover from our kitchen renovation when we ordered the wrong size.  Tim put feet on the bottom and a “countertop” on top.  All the dishes were either thrifted or from Ikea.



The baby doll bedroom



The hanging light is from Goodwill (previous picture). Peyton helped me make the burlap pendant.  I found the shutters at the Habitat Restore and painted them. The fur rug is from Ikea.  And the bassinet is from Craigslist.




This crib bed spring was from the Habitat Restore. 



This little side table was one that we already had, but Tim cut a section out to make it kid size.  And then I painted it with chalk paint and distressed it.  We already owned the little rocking chair.



Next up, the dining room…

We used the same Pottery Barn Kids table we’ve had for years.  Peyton asked me to paint it white (because she’s my girl and we all know by now how much I like white) and I switched out the wooden knobs to glass knobs. I also re-painted the chairs that we already had.  I used Annie Sloan chalk paint for both the chairs and the table.



The chandelier is from Goodwill.  It was brassy gold.  Pink spray paint does wonders.



More Ikea finds. 



I sewed two Ikea kitchen towels together to make the table runner.



And lastly, here’s a few room shots.  One from each side.




Major props go to Tim for helping me make my vision turn into a reality for our little girl.  He spent hours cutting boards, hanging the lights from the ceiling, and screwing windows and shutters and curtains and bed springs and shelves into the wall. 

Peyton’s birthday is in just a few days and I can’t wait to show her her Rose Cottage. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

February Favorites

I like taking pictures. And I take a lot with my iphone because much of the time, I actually like those better than the pictures my Nikon takes.  Whether it’s the way my iphone interprets the lighting, the different angles I can get, or just the way it composes the picture, many times, there are pictures I can get with my iphone that I just can’t get with my camera. Maybe I just understand how to use my iphone better than the Nikon. I don’t know, but my iphone is usually my go to camera for our everyday life.  Plus I always have it with me, so it’s convenient. So I thought I’d post my favorite iphone pictures that I’ve taken this month.

Peyton is in a new, fun stage of wearing frilly skirts, cardigans, and cowboy boots.  I love, love her style.


Frilly skirt, cowboy boots, and a baseball glove = awesome.



One of my new favorites of H-man.  This was on his 4th birthday.



Again, with the frilly skirt. She’s practicing her twirling.  I hope she never stops dancing.



My Valentine Tulips from Tim. I like pretty things.



My two favorite puppies laying in the sunshine.



My new turquoise kitchenaid. Love. Like I said, I like pretty things. So if I’m gonna buy something for my house, especially if it will sit out, I will pick the pretty one.



Yummy treats.



A morning spent painting.




New paints. Fun colors.




Reading practice.

IMG_4256 2


Little helping hands.  I don’t let them help as often as I probably should, but I am trying to do better about that. It’s worth the extra mess and time that it takes to let them help.



For just a little bit each afternoon, I plop down in my swinging chair with my coffee and take a break while the kids have their “rest time”.  And for that little bit of time, the house is all quiet and peaceful and I just soak it up.


“ those loved by God the Father, called and kept safe by Jesus Christ. Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!” (Jude 1 msg)

Happy Friday!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Coffee Break

When we lived in Alabama, our home was on the outskirts of town. Target and Starbucks were 20 minutes away. Our church was about 25 minutes away and most of the friends that we met there lived another 15-20 minutes on the other side of our church.  At that time, I had babies and toddlers, so we were still planning our days around feedings and naptimes.  And since it was about a 45 minute drive to see friends, it took major planning. As a result, it didn’t happen often and we just did not have much of a social life.  I felt like we lived in Timbuktu. And I rarely felt comfortable inviting people over because I knew it was such a far drive for them.  Our house was inconvenient and isolated.

We learned a lot from that experience though.  When we were house hunting for this house, finding a house in a central location was a top priority for us.  I asked key questions, like “Where’s the nearest Target?” and  “How far away is Starbucks?”   This time, I wanted to be smack dab in the middle of community, life, shopping, and friends.  I wanted our house to be a house that was convenient for people to stop by and visit. I wanted to be able to host friends and church small groups in our home.

And that was part of the vision behind creating the coffee bar.  I envisioned friends stopping by and catching up over a cup of coffee.  I envisioned groups of women meeting here, toddlers running around, muffins on the table, and of course, lots of coffee.  I envisioned inviting couple friends over for dinner.  Then after the dinner plates were cleared and the kids ran off to play, the adults would linger around the table talking and drinking coffee (or tea or hot chocolate). 


I bought extra coffee cups for these very reasons.



We hosted our first Mommy group this morning.  We call it “Coffee Break”. Because coffee is obviously a passion of mine and doesn’t every mom need a coffee break at some point in their day?!  I know I do!

It’s tough being a mom to toddlers and babies.  I remember. The days can feel long. It can be lonely at times.  Sometimes you just need an opportunity to get out of the house and meet with other moms. My hope is that this weekly group will be a time for moms to come, take a little break from their week, connect with each other, build new friendships, and just be encouraged in this journey of motherhood and life.

I spent the entire day before cleaning and prepping.  Rearranging little things. 



I want our house to be warm and inviting. Comfortable.  A home where the peace and presence of Christ is felt.




My hand mixer broke last week when I was making these Peppermint Patties for Tim on Valentine’s Day.  A few days later, I was walking through Target and saw that their KitchenAid mixers were on sale and I decided to upgrade.  I love.



I made muffins, chocolate chip banana bread, and even biscotti for my Coffee Break group.  I am not a baker by any means.  But this thing made it so simple.  I just dumped in the ingredients and it did all the work!





Several years ago, a good friend shared this chocolate chip banana recipe with me.  It’s now one of my kids’ favorites.  When I buy bananas, Tyson will tell the other two not to eat them so I will be forced to make them this banana bread. It’s yummy.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe

Pre-heat oven to 350

1/4 c vegetable oil

1 1/2 c flour

1 c sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs lightly beaten

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1 c chocolate chips

Whisk flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix in oil, bananas, and eggs. Stir in chocolate chips. 

Pour into greased pan.

Bake 70-80 minutes

Cool loaf in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool completely