Friday, September 30, 2011

Master bed-roomspiration!

Today Rachel at Just a Touch of Gray is hosting the Master Bedroom edition of Roomspiration! Head on over and check out the amazing ideas! I'm linking up my "Make a room feel brand-new for free!" post. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Musical Mondays (belated): The Light in Me

I'm part of an online Bible study where we're going through the book of 1 John verse by verse. Yesterday and today we have looked at chapter 1 verses 5-7: "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

We have a Facebook group where we talk about the things we're learning in this study, and yesterday a gal posted this song. I've heard it on the radio a lot but have never really stopped to listen to the words.

Watch the video all the way to the end. It's pretty neat.

My life before You
I was a flame burning down
I was burning out

But You knew me better
For You there was never a doubt
God, since You gave me life
Something was different, I knew it the instant
You put the light in me

The spark, the shot to the heart
You are the hope that leads me out of the dark
You let Your love shine down
So that the world could see
You put the light in me

The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me

You are the Maker, you tell the sun when to rise
I'm just a house on a hill
But You make me brighter than all the stars in the sky
Keep me from growing down

Cause in Your perfection, I'm just a reflection
So pull me closer to You
I catch like a fire and I'll hold You higher
Cause You put the light in me

The spark, the shot to the heart
You are the hope that leads me out of the dark
You let Your love shine down
So that the world could see
You put the light in me

The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me
The light, you put the light in me

I'll raise it high, I'll let it show
From the rooftops down to the streets below
In day and night, You will be known
And all will see
You put the light in me


God shines his light on me, so I can walk in the light instead of in the darkness. And his light is IN me, so I can shine it to others. "'Cause in your perfection, I'm just a reflection..." The moon has no light of it's own. It just reflects the light of the sun...

Musical Mondays -- Pick a song, post the song, tell why you love the song!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Abby's bedroom transformation

We put an offer on our house in June 2009. It was a short sale, so there was a lot of waiting for banks involved... On September 9, I found out I was pregnant. On September 29 we closed on the house. On September 30 we saw Abby for the first time:

So that spare room in the new house wasn't going to become an office after all... Then on December 22, we found out she was a girl. And realized we had some work to do in her room:

So our Spring Break 2010 project was the transformation of her room. We based it around the bedding we'd received, appropriately called "Abby's Farm":

Image from Baby Depot

And off we went! I was 34 weeks pregnant. (don't worry, we had the windows open and fans going :)


And what a transformation it was!




We originally hung the "ABBY" letters to spell "BABY" since we didn't tell anyone her name 'till after she was born. ;)

The "Abby's Farm" wall decals were perfect for the "rolling hills" we'd painted!

Please ignore the messy changing table, these pics were taken after she was born...

We even found the perfect fan:

Don't be afraid to go outside of the box and paint non-straight lines! She's still too young to truly appreciate it, but I'm hoping she'll like it eventually. :)

Check out other kid's bedroom ideas at All Things Bright & Beautiful,
and other nursery ideas at a la mode!

Also linking up to:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Saturday 7: September 17-24 (on Sunday. oops.)

So I really did start to write this post yesterday. Then life took over. Oh well. :)
  1. I now have a 16-month old. Crazy. This week I think she said her first non-mama/dada word. It was apple. It sounds a little like papa, or papal, or appa, but it's close enough. :)
  2. We had our first GEMS club meeting this week, and it was awesome!! We had 28 girls there, and I know of at least 5 more who had told me ahead of time that they weren't going to make it to the first one. We got them all registered, played some group games, did a skit, and had some praise & worship time. Should be a great year!
  3. Rocky's JV tennis team is having a winning season! He says they've won more matches this year than the last 3 years combined. ;-) Way to go honey!!
  4. I love fall. I think I said that last week. Oh well. :) I got pumpkins and decorative stuff at a farm stand today (Saturday). I'll be doing a post and showing pictures on my other blog soon...
  5. Abby and I went to our first storytime at the library on Thursday! It was soooo fun! Wednesdays are for 0-17 months, Thursdays are for 18-36 months, and Fridays are for 3-5 years. We were told we could go to the Thursday one even though Abby is just now 16 months. There were about 7 kids there, all around her age, so on the lower end of the age group. The teacher read a bunch of books, did some finger puppet plays, and even brought out one of those little parachutes that you toss balls and stuffed animals around on. Abby was so social and even danced to the music. :)
  6. She's not really interested in many of her toys anymore. She'll still push her car around (or ride it), and look through books and throw balls. But things like her blocks and farm animals and other things don't seem to interest her anymore. Sometimes I'm at a loss with how to play with her. :-/ I can only sing "Head shoulders knees and toes" so many times...
  7. Sweet corn season is just about done. That makes me sad. I've got 1/2 dozen ears in the fridge to use in the next few days, but that's probably the end of it. Mmmm it was good while it lasted... looking forward to next year already! ;-)
The Saturday 7: Post seven things that happened to you this week. Just a quick summary. Things you might not necessarily write a whole blog post about. Idea taken from Sadie's Lovin' Life with Lucy.

Front porch updates

A couple weeks ago I posted about the current state of my entryway. While I haven't done anything inside, yesterday I took the time to spruce things up outside!

I had a gift certificate for $15 to a local farm stand that's known for their pumpkins (in a couple weeks I hope to take Abby there and get some pictures!). I used about half of my certificate on produce:

 (I was sad. I took the last 3 zucchini. I was hoping to make more bread and muffins and fried zucchini this week... oh well!)

And I used half the certificate on pumpkins! Here's the finished project:

(I figure a week or two before Halloween I'll get two more pumpkins to carve and put on the steps. And the pink gladiolas will be gone soon, I just couldn't cut them down quite yet...)

I brought up one of our old folding chairs from the basement (which are currently also our dining table chairs...) and found the perfect sized basket in my basket stash. I'd gotten the flowers for $1 a bunch at the dollar store a few weeks ago. And those cute little pumpkins were 50 cents each at the pumpkin patch!

Wanna know a secret? Those pumpkins aren't sitting flat on the bottom of the basket. You wouldn't be able to see them if they were. I went searching through the garage and found...

A small cardboard box! Perfect! Then I used this same trick under the chair in the bushel basket:

Since it was just a little too deep for my (previously hanging) plant.

I can get a few more weeks out of that thing. I'll never buy that kind of plant again though. It died way too easily throughout the summer. I kept reviving it. For now it'll add a little more orange to the mix.

So there you have it! Hopefully it makes the neighbors smile when they drive by. It makes me smile. :)
I love fall...



Now I have a new crazy idea running through my head... I want to paint my door... hmmm we'll see if that idea flies with the hubby. ;)

Edited to add 10/6:
The plant in the basket finally bit the dust. Or at least it got bad enough that I didn't feel like trying to save it one more time. Then I realized I still had a bunch of beautiful orange marigolds out in the backyard, surrounding the vegetable garden (which is now done for the season). Brilliant! Why didn't I think of this in the first place?!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Go green!

...beans that is.

Although the title could be referring to my alma mater...

Not today. Today it's about beans.

The one vegetable that I've consistently had success with in my garden is green beans. I've ordered "Provider" bush beans from seed companies the last few years, and they sure do well. This year I planted them in stages, doing a few rows one day then another few rows a couple weeks later. Then at the end of July, when I knew my peas were done and my carrots hadn't filled in their space, I planted the rest of my bean seeds -- including those from a 2-year-old packet. They ALL came up! And they ALL got blossoms! Then one day last week I went out to water them and realized they ALL had tons of beans on them already!! My biggest problem with green beans is not harvesting them quickly enough, and letting them get too big and over-ripe. I was NOT going to let that happen this time.

So I took my bowl and my daughter outside and started picking.

Then we came in and I started snipping. I just used my hands (if I'd had a bigger batch I probably would have used a knife), and snipped off the two ends of each bean and then broke the bean into 2-3 pieces. Pretty soon Abby decided she wanted to sit on the couch with me. Then she decided she wanted to "help" me.


I'm glad she likes them. :) Although with only 4 teeth it took her awhile to eat...

Then I prepped the beans for freezing. I "blanched" them -- put in boiling water for 3 minutes, then put them in ice water in the sink for 3 minutes.

This process essentially starts the beans cooking, but then the cold water shocks the enzymes or whatever to stop cooking, so they will stay fresh in the freezer.

And voila! A bag of frozen green beans to cook and eat sometime this winter. I don't have much room in our little freezer above the fridge to do much of any true "freezer cooking", but this is something that will fit! :)

Do you can or freeze things from your summer garden to eat throughout the winter?

and the winner is...

The winner of the Fresh-Brewed Life and coffee cup is...

Jessica said...
I like your new site so I "liked" it's facebook page :)
September 13, 2011 9:32 AM

Monday, September 19, 2011

Easy fix for a rainy-day sweet tooth

It's one of those days.

You know the type. Light rain. A little chilly. Monday.

The little one goes down for her nap. You do a little housework. Then the sweet tooth hits.

You look through your recipe box. Brownies? Nope. No-bake cookies? A little closer. Then you find it. The infamous peanut butter chewies recipe. Perfect!!!

I originally got this recipe from my mom, who actually got it from one of my brother's homeschool books (he was homeschooled 2nd-8th grades), in a section about following directions. And you only need 4 ingredients!

Peanut Butter Chewies

1 cup white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
5 cups corn flakes cereal

Combine sugar and syrup in saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and cereal. Spread in buttered 9x13 pan. Allow to cool, cut into squares.

That's it!! Although I often don't follow that last step... Just scoop some out with a spoon while it's still warm... Yum.

Hey, it's got peanut butter. And cereal. Those are kinda healthy, right? ;-)

Fresh-Brewed giveaway ends today!

Don't forget, the book I reviewed last week -- plus an awesome coffee cup! -- are up for a giveaway which ends tonight at 11:59 pm EST!!! Visit this post to leave a comment for your entry!

Musical Mondays: Forty Hour Week

Another Monday morning...

Millions of Americans off to work again...

Thank you!

There are people in this country who work hard every day.
Not for fame or fortune do they strive.
But the fruits of their labor are worth more than their pay.
And it's time a few of them were recognized.

Hello Detroit auto workers, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.
Hello Pittsburgh steel mill workers, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.

This is for the one who swings the hammer, driving home the nail.
Or the one behind the counter, ringing up the sale.
Or the one who fights the fires, the one who brings the mail.
For everyone who works behind the scenes.

You can see them every morning in the factories and the fields.
In the city streets and the quiet country towns.
Working together like spokes inside a wheel.
They keep this country turning around.

Hello Kansas wheat field farmer, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.
Hello West Virginia coal miner, let me thank you for your time.
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line.

This one is for the one who drives the big rig, up and down the road.
Or the one out in the warehouse, bringing in the load.
Or the waitress, the mechanic, the policeman on patrol.
For everyone who works behind the scenes.
With a spirit you can't replace with no machine.

Hello America - let me thank you for your time!

Musical Mondays -- Pick a song, post the song, tell why you love the song!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Saturday 7: September 10-17

  1. It's been a rough week for Abby. Almost every night this week she's woken up crying at some point in the early morning hours. And not just a whimpering cry, it's been a full-blown shrieking cry like she's really scared or in pain or something. I'd give it a few minutes then go in to get her, and she'd always be still laying down or sitting up, but never standing waiting for me... The only way I could get her to calm down would be to hold her tight and rock her. She'd usually relax and go right back to sleep. But last night was really rough. Rocky and I alternated for an hour going in and calming her down. We tried to let her cry it out too (it worked well when she was young), but she'd just work herself up even more. We're not sure what's going on. :(
  2. Maybe it's her teeth? She finally popped out her 5th tooth at the beginning of the week, her other bottom right incisor.
  3. On a happier note, I'm loving her "baby babble"! She still doesn't say many words, but she's just recently started chattering in that cute, incomprehensible language that you can tell SHE knows exactly what she's saying!
  4. It's been a really busy week. Rocky had one tennis match, I had my last GEMS workshop, and we had 2 nights of meetings at church. I have this feeling of relief that the worst is over for this fall, but we'll see...
  5. We finally got our babysitting/daycare figured out for the 2 days a week that I work. We will consistently have the same person to watch Abby on Wednesdays and another person on Fridays. It's such a load off my mind!
  6. Wiffleball is fun. We played with some friends last night. It's a great sport because people who are actually good at baseball/softball can screw up, and people who aren't very good at baseball/softball can get some good hits. :)
  7. I love fall. 'Nuff said.
  8. GO GREEN!!!
(ok I know that was 8 things, but I have to show my support for my alma mater. :)

The Saturday 7: Post seven things that happened to you this week. Just a quick summary. Things you might not necessarily write a whole blog post about. Idea taken from Sadie's Lovin' Life with Lucy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

i love fall

So today's Roomspiration link-up is bathrooms. Yeah, I'm not doing that one. We still have the cheap shower curtain we frantically bought the day we moved in, since our previous house had a glass door and no need for a shower curtain... It's that bad boring.

BUT look what came in the mail yesterday!!

Oh, be still my beating heart!!


I love the rich colors, the crispness in the air, the cozy sweatshirts and flannels, the football games, the fresh apple cider, ALL OF IT!!!

(Yes, I know some of you will just tell me it means winter is almost here. Let me bask in the beauty of fall for a few weeks, ok? :)

Here in Michigan the high temps have been in the 50s and 60s the last few days. I'm lovin' it. I made chili in the crockpot for dinner and homemade bread yesterday. I picked the last of my garden's decent-looking sunflowers.

Do you have any fall-type plans for this weekend? Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The multi-purpose-work-in-progress living room

I'm absolutely loving the Roomspiration link party, and it's only the second day!! Today's feature is living rooms, hosted by Kelly at View Along the Way. (although I'm kinda sad 'cause a lot of the living rooms I'm seeing have a fireplace. and are bigger than mine. sigh. maybe someday...)

Yes that's a kitty sleeping on the loveseat. I didn't dare move her for the photo shoot. :) We have an open floor plan in our house, so the kitchen, dining area, and living room are all one big room. And you can see from these pictures that our living room also serves as a playroom and a music room... Someday we'll finish the basement and be able to move Abby's toys down there. But in the meantime, the living room is where we spend ALL of our time!

I love rich colors. FALL colors. I made the window valance when we were still in our other house, and they fit and matched perfectly here too! The green recliner was in our previous house when we arrived, and our landlords said we could take it with us when we moved. Score! A coworker of mine was moving out of his apartment about the time we moved into this house, and was selling his green couch and loveseat. For $50. For both. Score! (the couch is currently downstairs, covered in a blanket to protect it from drywall dust...)

Eventually the infamous "pink chair" will either retire or move downstairs as well. For now it provides an extra seat in the room...

Our family loves to play games, and so the one bookshelf we have upstairs is chock-full of board games and card games (although I did cram them together to make space on the bottom two shelves for some of Abby's toys...). We really don't have much wall space, by the time one "wall" of the room is the ledge by the stairs, and another is taken up by the window...

Eventually (there's that word again...) we'd love to decorate this room with more music-related items. Like these big metal music notes? Or something like this?

(that b&w picture of us was one of our engagement pictures, and we used the matte as our guestbook at the wedding! hopefully soon it'll be moved to the master bedroom -- more on that another day)

I went to Shipshewana with some friends this summer,  and we stopped in a little shop full of paintings created by local Amish artists. I fell in love with this painting/mixed media item:

It's made from an actual piece of music, and the colors are PERFECT for this room! Plus the artist was the one running the store that day, so she gave me a 10% discount. ;) Score!

We really don't have the funds to do much any decorating, so all of these ideas rattling in my head will have to wait...  or get put on my Christmas list...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Talk Tuesday: Fresh-Brewed Life {and a giveaway! *closed*}

*The giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated!*

I was first drawn to Nicole Johnson's Fresh-Brewed Life simply because I love coffee. :) The subtitle states "a stirring invitation to wake up your soul." Over the summer I've felt pretty dry in my faith, just going through the motions and not taking time to dig deep into my relationship with Christ. I used this book as a morning devotional, getting up before my daughter and enjoying it with a cup of coffee.

Probably my favorite aspect of the book is the practical advice the author gives. I'm one who likes "do this" type of encouragement, and Nicole gives it! Each chapter is about different parts of a woman's life (longings, beauty, anger, sexuality, friendships, etc.) and each features a call-out box of "fresh brewed adventures" of practical things you can do to enhance those areas of your life. She is also very big on journaling (the entire second chapter is dedicated to it!), and every chapter also features directed journaling questions to help you think about and record your thoughts on those topics.

And I love coffee. Some of the descriptions about grinding the beans and the aroma of a coffee shop wake up my senses before I've even finished brewing my own cup!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for practical advice on how to "wake up to a richer, fuller, more flavorful life." And to anyone who loves coffee. :)

*I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.*

Because I received this book for free, I'm going to give it away to one of you! My very first giveaway! One lucky reader will receive this book, Fresh-Brewed Life, AND a lovely coffee cup! (or a hot cocoa cup, or a tea cup, or whatever you'd like to use it for ;-)

"Wake up, enliven your heart in the quiet of God's Spirit"

Here's how to enter: (please leave separate comments for each!)
  1. Follow this blog with Google Friend Connect ( <----- over in the sidebar) , then leave a comment on this post about why you'd like this book. 
  2. Follow my new blog, and leave a comment here telling me you did!
  3. Like the Facebook page for my new blog OR follow it on Twitter, and leave a comment here telling me you did!
So you could potentially have 3 entries!

This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm EST Monday 9-19. I'll "draw" a winner from all the comments below, and post the winner on Tuesday the 20th! Good luck! :)

I review for BookSneeze®
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