Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Matchy Matchy

My boys. 
I love being their mom. 
I love having boys. 

I can't believe they are old enough to wear these. My sister gave them to me a year ago (before James was even born) and they looked huge at the time. 

We've been changing out clothing sizes today. Martin is actual a big help. And I rearranged and vacuumed behind all the furniture in their room. 

I also finished 2 prototype curtains for  their room and hung them up. They seem to work really well. So I'll make 2 more panels and then take pictures. They are made from some dark blue flannel sheets and block the light amazingly! It will be handy to have them next summer!

The rest of today is going to be spent in the yard because it is finally fall and gorgeous outside!!!!  

Friday, October 13, 2017


Years ago, I started a quilt and I made a huge mistake.  I knew the points of all the triangles would be cut off when I sewed it together.  So, for FIVE YEARS it sat in a basket of unfinished projects in my sewing room.  It moved across town to our new house in that basket. 

And then I needed a quick baby quilt a few weeks ago. So, I finished this quilt. 
I was missing one of the blocks and I didn't like the way another looked. 

They wanted to pose by it like they made it. 
Also, sometime Martin smiles like that for pictures and it reminds me of kid pictures of me. That is weird. 

(Here is a photo I found on facebook of the blocks that I made in 2012). 
I didn't actually sew them into blocks until 2015. 

Another project finished out of the to-do basket. :) 

I just finished a quilt jointly with my mother-in-law. I will post pictures of that next.  And I am almost finished another one (that is turning out to be one of my favorite quilts ever! I can't wait to post pictures). 

P.S. The title is sort of a joke.  I told Jared that if I were to sell this as a pattern, I would call it "Pointless" because all the points get cut off.  ha ha ha. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

One of our favorite Toddler/Baby Books (and two more).

Red Truck is maybe the single most read book in the house especially when my kids are ages 1-2. It definitely makes the top ten. 

I discovered there were two more in the series (not quite as good, but still cute) and we bought them for the boys when James was born. But Red Truck remains the favorite. 

Today has been super grey and rainy. Normally those are my favorite types of days, but they seem longer and harder when kids are sick. I had broken up several fights and decided it was time to read books together. That usually calms everyone down. We pulled these favorites off the shelf and read them to the baby and everyone was much happier.  And mom rejoiced greatly!!! It is amazing the power of books. 

So, splishity splashity wet hooray, our hero for a rainy day is ... Red Truck!! (And yellow copter and blue boat!)

I hope you all are doing some reading on this rainy day! 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Well, we finished Psalm 91 (finally) in the morning on the chalkboard wall. 

Next up:
They are starting to preach from Phillipians at church. Usually they only cover 2-3 verses each week. So, I figured I could keep up with that and it will hold me accountable (maybe) or at least sort of on target. I am going to see if the boys can repeat after me. 

It is a little less daunting because I used to have chapter one and part of two memorized. But in a different translation, so this ESV is throwing me off. Oh well. I was talking to a friend of mine about memorization and different translations. And she said she finally gave up on being word perfect in a certain translation and just enjoyed learning the meaning of the text. As long as she was close enough she was happy. So, that is what I am going for. And if I lapse into KJV or NIV, oh well. 

(It is hard to write neatly and fast - I opt for fast). 

We caught another cold. Today marks three whole weeks of being ill. It is supposed to be 86°F today. Ugh. I don't like it that hot when I am well, it is even worse when I am sick. 

But look at this sky!!
Then sings my soul, my savior God to thee. 
How great thou art! 
How great thou art!

P. S. I have three quilts scheduled to post the next couple Fridays! And I'm almost finished another one. 

Reading: Exalting Jesus is Matthew by David Platt
Three chapters in and it is excellent! If you want a solid Bible exposition, this one is great. 

Monday, October 09, 2017

Living room color

As promised, before and afters. 
Love that floor!
Love those shelves in the schoolroom!

Isn't the color so much more calming?
It is Cosmic Rays by Olympic. 
The light blue in the hallway is Magical. And boy are they both magical. They have brightened up (and calmed at the same time) the whole downstairs. 

You can see a sneak peak of the blue in the schoolroom and the blue in the hallway. 

Sigh. So much better.
Reminder, the color was the same as the ceiling. 
Why anyone would paint their entire house (ceiling, trim, and walls) the same tan as their switch plate covers, is beyond me. I am glad the downstairs is almost free of tan!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Books! Books! Books!

Guess where we went today? 

I promised them once they got well we would go to the library and watch construction on Main Street. But guess what, they weren't working on Main Street. We walked one block over and three blocks down and no one was doing anything. So we looked at all the exposed pipes and machines that were there. Not quite as exciting, but still okay. 

But then we found his happening on a side street on the way home.  And the boys made me park the car for 30 minutes to watch them dig and measure a hole. 

Fifth day hair. 
I've finally learned to love my hair. 

And then we got home and the baby had a fever (I am guessing from his shots last week). Poor kid. 

But between new books and the old farm (mine as a child) and digging another hole outside, the boys have been well occupied. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Goodbye tan

Okay, I lied yesterday. I had the urge to paint last night and spent the evening cutting in. Jared painted the trim. And this morning we rolled. 

Goodbye depressing tanish yellow!! 

I didn't even bother to clean up the boys' toys. I just threw them on the tables and couch. You have to take advantage of feelin like painting when it strikes.  :)  More pictures when the paint dries and the room is back in order. 

I have to dig up a picture of the room with carpet. But here is the old floors that we uncovered and refinished. 

I found one! Look how small Warren is. I'll try to take one of the room from this angle once it is put back together so you can see the schoolroom painted too. It is probably too much to ask to have the boys pose for me. Heh. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Double double trouble

Warbs is healthy. 

The other two have double ear infections. But you know, I am very grateful that these are only the second and third ear infections that we have EVER had. Yes, before this I had only had one child ever have an ear infection. So praise God for healthy kids. Praise God that most of the time everyone is healthy.  And thank God for cooler weather!!  

You will find me sitting on the couch, drinking lots of tea, and reading piles of books to my sick children. 

I finished two books and a quilt this week. I need to finish two more quilts in two weeks. So, house projects are on hold due to quilting and sick kids. I'll be back at it soon. :) 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Apple Pie for School

Now three of us are battling this never-ending, slow-moving cold. So we haven't done much this week. But I did plan a few school lessons. This week was themed around this children's book, which I had never read before. It is cute. A girl wants to bake an apple pie, but the market is closed. So she packs her bags and travels the world collecting the ingredients for a pie. There are lots of repeated themes. You can try to spot the ingredients in each picture as she carries them from place to place. There are a lot of birds and cats and dogs in the pictures to count. I like books that provoke discussions. 

I picked this book because we had some apples left over from picking a few weeks ago (and we probably would have gone again this week if they had better varieties to pick from right now - they just had yellow delicious, which I'm not a huge fan of eating or baking). 

And of course I couldn't make the simple recipe in the back of the book. I had to use America's Test Kitchen's versions (I mixed their regular apple pie and Dutch apple pie recipes and cut down the sugar). I might have also made their German Apple Pancake for breakfast and we ate the leftovers for lunch. Apples all the time!  As you can tell we are obsessed with fresh fruit around here and take full advantage of fruit seasons (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and apples!!!!!!). 

We can't wait to cut into the pie once it cools. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Birthday travels

Yesterday he turns one. We didn't have a party, but we were visiting a friend and she had some extra party hats. James and I are both sick (sore throats and fevers). I thought about making a cake for him today, but if his throat feels like mine he doesn't want cake. His brothers probably want cake though...

We travelled to Annapolis this weekend to visit our dear friend Michelle. It was my first time going to the DC area in almost three years!!! I can't believe it has been that long. We didn't do anything "exciting". We visited some fun playgrounds (honestly, the boys are so excited about free play grounds and looking at boats in the Annapolis harbor, they don't need any paid for activities - we thought about going to a fall festival, but it was $12 a person and I wasn't feeling too hot, plus it was HOT outside). 

When the wind blew it wasn't too bad outside. The sky was gorgeous. There was a festival going on downtown and the boys got free fire truck hats and library books (yay!). We had a picnic in the park and went to Trader Joe's for a few months supply of Sesame sticks (I'm addicted). 

The boys loved crossing bridges and seeing boats. They bring such joy to life - they are excited about the smallest things. It reminds me to be grateful. 

So pretty. 

Hope your weekend was grand. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A little paint goes a long way

See that light. I wish I had a better before picture (story of my life). I wasn't thinking. Also, don't look at the hall yet. It is blue (yay!), but I haven't finished the trim or doors yet (bleh, they are still a life-zapping-drudgery-inducing tan). 

Back to the lights...There are two of them. One in the hallway and on in the main entryway. I kept thinking that they would look better if the fixture was black. 

But first I took them both off and ran them through the dishwasher. Wow! What a difference. There was so much cat hair and grease and dish and gunk stuck to them. 

That inspired me to finally get the black paint out and paint the fixtures. I was using oil based paint and I didn't want to chance getting it on the ceiling. So I left about a half a centimeter (I'm an engineer - we like metric) gap. After the paint dried I took a sharpie and coloring in the gap. You can't even tell. :) And the line between the fixture and the ceiling in nice and crisp and clean. 

It looks so much better in person! That dull brass was so dingy. It is amazing to me how a little paint and cleaning and make something look so much better.  Welcome to 2017 little light. May you shine brightly and may I remember to clean you. 

I'm feeling inspired to tackled the brass chains in our bathrooms... They would look so much better black. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Big truck day

The boy loves a fire truck. 

And tractors 



Saturday we visited a bunch of big trucks and got to climb all over them. 

There was even a coast guard boat!

Monday, September 18, 2017

I built a shelf!

And forgot to take a real before picture of everything randomly and precariously stacked. 
But I did get a good picture of me and the saw. Because that is important. Ha ha. 

It kind of looked like this, but worse. More stacks. 

Worthless giant cupboard. We suspect that this is the base cabinet for a sink, which would explain why there are no shelves. There are so many strange things about this kitchen and house. 

Well, I was tired of things falling over every time I needed something out of the cupboard. The waste of useful space also bugged me. I had mentioned it to my Dad and Jared, but neither of them work in this space EVERY day. 

So, after rearranging everything to get something in the back I started to think about how hard it could actually be to make a shelf. I found a few scrap wood pieces that just needed to be trimmed down to size, set up shop in the garage, measured twice, sawed them down, grabbed a few nails and a hammer, and pounded my frustration away. 

Look at all that space!!!! Such a simple project and it made a huge change. It makes me smile every time I open the door. So so so much better. 

Next to paint the bottom cupboards and change the faces of those fake plastic drawer fronts. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

About to start a new quilt

A small peak into the beginning of a quilt. 
It isn't just cut fabric and start sewing. Rarely do I follow a pattern and if I do follow a pattern I usually make modifications to use the fabric more efficiently. 

Which one?
Which one?
Which one?

The left one is my favorite, but the finished size is too small. I guess I could add thicker boarders. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


We picked apples today. The weather was so crisp and clear. They say they are open for another 8 weeks. So, maybe we will make another trip (it is about 45 minutes away). 

Now to turn all those apples into applesauce, Apple cake, Apple crisp, and all those other yummy Apple foods. :) 

Monday, September 11, 2017


He stands and he is so proud! He yells at us, claps his hands, and laughes when he stands up. It is so fun. 

Jolly James, you make the world a little brighter. I love you. Praying that God will
Continue to use your sweet spirit and joy to glorify the God that made you. 

Saturday, September 09, 2017

May I cut in?

The title comes from my sister. She is the clever, wordy one. I just steal bits of her cleverness. 

Goodbye tan! 
It is amazing how drab and oppressive tan can feel. 

We didn't refinish the stairs. This is the original color of our hardwood. You can see a bit of the refinished wood at very bottom of the picture. The stairs aren't in bad shape. Well, the landing was a favorite bathroom of cats, but the steps are okay. 

We plan to add a door to the left on the landing into our laundry room/mud room (that we hope to build in the garage - which is currently behind that wall). 

Anyhow, my husband speaks my love language (I don't really believe in those...).  I have mentioned several times recently that I am itching to paint something. So he went out and bought me SIX gallons to work with! I plan to do a lot of painting when I come home from ESL on Thursday nights. I am usually wide awake and can't sleep. 

Speaking of ESL, I finished the last thing on my list yesterday - and updated database. Postcards are in the mail, flyers have been handed out, registration night is planned and forms are printed. We have people from six churches helping this year. It is going to be fun (and stretching for all of us, but God always provides). 

Reading: A Loving Life by Paul Miller
Thoughts so far: So many good themes. What true biblical love is and the role of lamenting in our lives (and others and the church)... Only about a third in, but I recommend it already! 

Are you working on any projects this weekend? Have any book recommendations? I'm thinking of reading Til We Have Faces again. I know, a fictional book!?! I've been reading a lot of heavy stuff recently and I think my brain needs a break. 

Friday, September 08, 2017

It had been too long...

Time for a project!! 
See the paint peeling? This white part of the stairs has always looked weird to me. So I decided before the baby ate some paint, I would scrape it all off and try refinishing this little area. 

Ha ha. We will see what happens. Jared thinks I should just paint it white. But I want to give the natural wood a chance to breath. 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Strength in Weakness

The world is full of inspirational sayings, like this fake Lewis quote that floats around. 

Most of them talk about being true to yourself and believing in yourself. You are awesome and you can do anything! Instagram is full of them. And while those all sound good, I have to tell you all that there is great strength in weakness. There is amazing comfort in finding out that you can't control any situation and only the Holy Spirit can work in and through people.

Tonight is our first ESL meeting of the Fall (just a practice night), but I have to talk in front of people and explain stuff. I don't like talking in front of people that much.  So as I was walking around my house today I was talking to myself, "You've got this." "You can do it." "You will be great!" "Trust in yourself." "You can handle anything." 

Then I realized that what I was saying was completely worthless!  In a worldly sense those would all be helpful. But when the Bible tells us to preach to ourselves, it doesn't mean to encourage ourselves with how great WE are. No, it is the complete opposite.  It is remembering the promises of God and what HE has done for us.  It is remembering that we need to find strength in HIM alone and not ourselves. We can't add anything to what He has already done.  And I am so grateful for that. 

Embrace your weakness, friends! Run to the cross. He is enough for all our problems and meetings and mothering and marriage and everything that comes at us in this life and the next. He is everything. Do what you can. Work hard. But trust Him to complete your works. Glory in Him. 

You can't handle this life alone. No amount of self-encouragement will change that. Give up and turn to the one that holds the stars in place. I can't even keep my kids in their beds for quiet time. Here they come. :) 

Psalm 42
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
And why are you in turmoil with in me? 
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, 
My salvation and my God!
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember YOU!

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Another year

It's that time of year again. While everyone else in my house took a two hour quiet/nap time I dug into a new ESL book and started some lesson plans for this fall. Can you believe that it is already September?!? I'm teaching the first four weeks of the semester. I'm trying to get a head start on these lesson plans before life happens. 

I'd like to have time to plan some schoolwork for the boys too instead of just making it up off the top of my was each day. In case you didn't notice, I'm a planner. Ha ha  we've been doing lots of puzzles, games, reading, and flash cards when they ask, but it feels disjointed.  I'd like a little more structure two or three days a week. Nothing big. Maybe an hour or two of planned activities that sort of relate... 

We'll see how that goes... I'll blog about it if it goes well or if it completely fails.  But for now, ESL. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Beach bag tip

For those of you that don't enjoy the beach (raises hand), but have kids that do. And you dislike all the work it takes to get to the beach and clean up from the beach afterwards. I have a small tip that has kept me sane this summer before and after beach trips. 

1. Wash everything right away. 
2. Pack it all (suits, towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, water shoes - everything!) back in the same bag. Stick in closet and forget about it until the next trip to beach or pool. 

Done! Your towels and swim suits are all ready for the next trip. You just pull them out and put them on the kids and off you go to the beach. Okay, you have to pack a few more things like food, but it makes it so much easier. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017