Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Five things.

1. I made fresh peach jam and peach Popsicles. The boys road their bikes around the neighborhood and ate Popsicles afterwards. 

(A family photo for the church directory? We are all so happy to have Jared back after he was traveling much of the last two weeks!)

2.  We have a pet toad. The boys named him Mr. Toad after The Wind in the Willows. I started reading it to them this week. I sold them on "there is a toad that drives a car". 

3. I am about 100 pages from finishing reading through the Bible in 6 months!! I think I am going to make it. 

3b. I have accomplish zero projects recently because I'm doing Bible reading in my spare time and reading to the boys. 

4.  My MIL gave me the best quilting book for my birthday. I can't wait to do some projects out of it. They are so neat.

5.  We transplanted our sunflower plants and they are actually still living!! The boys have had so much fun so far watchin them grow. We started them with seeds in a tray on the porch since the squirrels kept eating them. We will have to plant more things next year. It is a great science experiment! 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Cut that Counter off!

I've been wanting to do this since day one. I kept mentioning it to Jared or my Dad, but they are always busy with other projects. 

The boys were at the store with my parents to buy supplies for my sister's baby shower this weekend. I was all alone and cleaning the kitchen and I thought, "I should cut that off right now!"
"But you've never used the saw before. Danger danger!"
"I'm an engineer I can figure this out!"
"Danger danger. You'll probably cut off your arm."
"Oh no, that's true and I haven't showered yet today and I am in clothes for cleaning the house. What would they think of me in the emergency room?"
"What?!? That is the stupidest reason not to cut off the counter."

Don't you talk to yourself? 

It really opens up the space between the washer and dryer and counter. Now people will be able to pass by when someone else is unloading the dryer. It looks way more open in person. 

I had already forgotten how dark those closet doors made the kitchen and all those cabinets. 

Ps. These are taken on a rainy day. So the fireplace room looks super dark. On a sunny day that white paint has brightened up that room so much! 

And can we all agree that those cabinets are simply awful? I had already forgotten how dark they made everything. Even just primed white they are looking so much better! 

I painted the hardware black last week before or houseguest a came. I am loving the black and white contrast. I'm not normally a huge just black and white fan. I love color. But this is good. 

Every little bit makes it a more welcoming space to cook and eat in. :) I can't wait to add some more Windows, knock down some walls, and rearrange everything. But that is still a few years down the road. 

Do you use power tools? 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The best days

(The only picture I have from the last week - I took it during lunch break today to prove to Jared that we actually did go to the beach...which really doesn't prove we went to the beach - this could be any parking lot)

The best days rarely end up on film (or in pictures). Maybe that is why wedding photography is so sought after and expensive. The ordinary moments are when I remember to take pictures of my boys. The special moment evade capture.  They are almost to special to interrupt. 

For example:
• Last week my brother drove 16 hours to visit for 4 days. - I didn't get a picture with him any of the times he played with my boys or visited. Martin was just in awe of him and followed him around. 

• Last week I held my new niece for the second time and all six cousins were together for the first time. - I didn't get a picture. Really? 

• Last week my sister, who lives five hours away, was in town and visited several times with her son. - I didn't get a picture with her or of her or of her artwork on my sidewalk. We had the best visit as I worked in my kitchen and she chilled at my kitchen table. We used to have rooms right next door to each other and I miss moments like these. 

• This weekend our best friends from Mississippi drove all the way up to visit us. We miss our dear friends that we spent so much time with before they left. It was so good to be in close company again. - I did not take any pictures. 

• Today we went to the beach with sweet friends who introduced us to fishing and crabbing and wading in the bay, nature walks and bird watching, and sand sculptures on the beach.  - I didn't take a single picture!

It feels invasive almost to pull out my camera and take pictures in some of the best moments. Sometimes the best moments are those that you are entirely lost in the moment. Ones that are too precious and too wonderful to capture on camera. 

I am so grateful for all the moments this last week. It has been a special time. I have been loved and felt so loved. And all I can leave you with is a worn out baby picture. 


Also, a little public service announcement. Turn off your running water when you go outside to look at sunsets. 
As I was washing dishes, I noticed the clouds outside were a brilliant pink and rushed out to my front lawn to get a better look. I left the water running to fill up a pot because I didn't think I would be gone that long... When I returned inside the sink was one inch away from overflowing. It had filled the pot and the whole sink that the pot was in. *shakes head* Don't be like me. Be mesmerized by sunsets; don't flood your kitchen.  





Monday, June 19, 2017

ESL update

God is so much bigger than we can ever comprehend. He is doing big things in our ESL ministry. How do 27 people from 10 churches even want to attend training to help at an ESL program that isn't even held at their church?!?! I am so humbled by the love these other people have for reaching the nations with the gospel. 

It has been such a blessing to work with people across denominations to brainstorm ways to broaden and deepen our impact in the international community. 

Will you pray with us that God will open wide doors for the advancement of His gospel. Pray that schools will be receptive to passing out literature and that we will be able to meet with the right people. Pray for us as we organize our newly trained staff and merge them with older staff. Pray that we seek His glory above our own and that we will truly love the people He brings to us and seek to build relationships with them that lead to sharing the gospel. 

I can't wait to see what the fall (and beyond) holds. Praise Jesus for His amazing provision. He has led us all the way and continues to do so and it is a funny, crazy, sometimes scary ride! I am so thankful for His grace every day. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Should be cleaning...

But my workspace was dark over the counter and I decided to fix it. 

This makes me so happy! 

Also, I painted the cabinet hardware black and put it back on while our company is here even thought we haven't put the finish coat of paint on them. Handles make them so much easier to open! 

Oh, and I'm working on decorations for my sister's baby shower because who wants to clean?!? They are hiding there in the fireplace room. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Boys' Bathroom Sconces

A month or two ago I tried out Mason jars as sconces. 

Here is my latest prototype. I should be cleaning for company or painting something... But I made these instead. 

I guess I did paint something yesterday...
But nothing that needs to be accomplished. 

Today is the day I get serious with cleaning. :) 


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

5 Things

1. We have house guests staying with us this weekend and I've done a few things like paint the kitchen cupboard hardware and reinstall them and put all the light switch covers back on, but then I find myself making globe string lights and painting the lamppost outside. I think I'm trying to avoid cleaning the house. 

2. My sister AND my brother are visiting this week. That will also add to my lack of productivity. Jared is traveling two nights this week and ESL training is this weekend... It is going to be a long, quick week. 

3. I tried to take pictures of them all in the bathroom mirror. The middle child ran away, the baby stopped looking, and Martin made weird faces. Boys. 

4. We took the boys to the beach on Saturday because the next two weeks are going to be CRAZY and we wanted to have some intentional family time. We never go to the beach. Jared and I don't like the beach, but the boys do. So we went. It wasn't too bad. 

5. It is train week. :) 

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Blueberries and Bugs (Luna Moth)

It's that time of year!! 

This is the second trip to pick blueberries already! It is shaping to be a much better blueberry than strawberry season. Hooray! 

Yesterday, we caught this guy crossing the road in front of our house. It was identified as a Luna Moth caterpillar, which eats 2-3 leaves a day.  I thought it would be so much fun more the boys to watch. I stuck him in a jar and told the boys how we would build a habitat for him the next day. 

However, the caterpillar had other plans. Around 8pm last night he started spinning his cacoon in his temporary jar home. I jumped up and ran over to my parents for a branch from the host tree (did you know each butterfly and moth has host trees? They will only lay eggs, egg, and build a cacoon on those trees.). 

I stayed up way too late watching the caterpillar pull leaves around himself. I finally went to bed at midnight. I missed the big show where he spins the actual cocoon. Oh well. 

Here is what I found 6 hours later. And in 21 days we should have our own Luna Moth. I'm thinking of mounting it in the schoolroom. I was going to let it go, but then I read that they only live for a week (they don't have a moth or digestive system - so crazy). I can't decide. 

Warren was very disappointed that the caterpillar was gone. It was the first thing he asked about when he woke up this morning. Here's to many more "pets". I'm thinking of calling this one Luni (loony). 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Art, Music, Nature, and Language study

We are prototyping some school things this summer. 
Bible
Our verse is up there on the wall. I'm kind of using fighter verses. 

Art study 
This is our art study. This week is sunflowers. I'm leaving a piece up for a week. As we look at each art piece we will talk about it and describe what we see and try to copy it with different type of mediums (I'm thinking of letting Martin try some acrylic paints this week and maybe a torn paper collage). 

Later this week we will be planting sunflower seeds and watching them grow. I have some books about how seeds germinate. We tried planting them in the yard earlier this spring and the squirrels are them. So, this time we will house them on the porch and transplant them. Should be fun. Martin is always begging to water plants. This will give him his own plants to care for. 

Martin flipped through the Van Gogh book and requested a boat picture next week. Any ideas for expanding that topic? 

Music study
This is the first stages of music study. A music teacher at church wrote down  some classical pieces that the boys might appreciate. We are going to start listening to music as we play sometimes. 

Nature study 
We started a notebook a few weeks ago and try to write down at least one thing we see outside each day. 

Language study 
I am thinking of starting A Spanish word each day with my kids... Any ideas for a curriculum that is young kid friendly? 

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Bookshelves in schoolroom

After 
(I'm hoping to get below the chair rail painted blue soon - I've finished the chair rail and the top). 

I just finished sorting my schoolbooks (an we aren't even doing real school yet - where did all these come from?!?):
Math
Science (so many science books)
English 
Geography
Bible
History
Art (okay, I have one art book)

Before (cats, cats, etc.)

Cat carpet
Cat screen door between this room and kitchen
Cat scratched doorframe

The floors in this room were pretty rough. But Jared sanded them an extra pass and went super slow. He managed to get up almost all the cat stains. My dad replaced the baseboard moulding in this room (a favorite toilet of the cats) and the smell is completely gone. 

(Before and after of the floors) 
You can see the shelves pulled up in the schoolroom. We were trying to get all the cat urine from below the shelves too (another favorite toilet area). There was carpet under there which we tore up. That helped a lot. We also sealed under the shelves. 

My sister's father-in-law is a master carpenter. He was over at the house helping my dad with a few things and he offered to fix the shelves. We had hoped to make them look more like built-ins in the future. 

We are so grateful that he was willing to jump in and spend two days making them look better than we could have ever made them look. They are incredible and one of my favorites parts of the house. 

In-process
This is from the day that we moved in. 
Aren't they amazing?!? 

This is a mash-up of the shelves - before and after a few months ago. The walls weren't painted yet. Since then, the older fiction has been moved to the shelves in the fireplace room. These selves are now all children's books and school books. 

More pictures when I get the walls painted. :) 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5 Things

1. Hey hey, floors! You make me happy. It is wonderful when a project turns out as good as you had hoped. 

Oh, and hello pile of boxes that I'm planning on making into things for the boys. So far there are two mailboxes, a house, and a trash truck. 

2. Granddad came over last week and helped the boys install moulding in the last two rooms. Thanks so much! Now I can start unpacking the sewing room and finish the guest room. I am thankful the boys get to spend so much time with my Dad and learn things from him. It is fun to watch them "work". 

Jared hung up most of the pictures this weekend. Yay, for more boxes out of my schoolroom. 

3. Last week at ESL a storm started when we did. It was gorgeous and impressive and reminder of how awesome (and terrifying) God is. 

4. I haven't taken any pictures this week or cooked impressive meals or sewed anything. But I am reading a book and catching up on Bible reading. I'm still trying to finish the whole Bible in 6 months (which means I have 30 days), but I've fallen woefully behind with the move and being sick (I've been sleeping in instead of getting up early before the boys). However, after over a month of coughing fits, I think a nurse friend has figured out my problem and I've slept through the night three nights this week and have gotten up early every day this week. πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌ Loving my quiet time and tea in the morning. 

5. Looking at school curriculum is OVERWHELMING!! More on that another time. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

1916 Table Refinish

I have other before and after pictures. But when you flip the leaves over and compare the old finish next to the new finish... Wow! 

This is our new old school table (and Lego table and puzzle table and keep stuff away from the baby table). 

This table was given to my father's next door neighbor as a wedding present in 1916. Her name was Althaea. She was born in 1901. 

It has been in his garage for many years now. He offered it to us when we moved and I love reusing old stuff and making it lovely again. There is something special about an 100 year old table.  Plus, it is solid wood! 

I spent about three weeks sanding the table. Or maybe I should say that I took a three week break between sanding sessions. 

(Hello, built in bookshelves!) 
After about 30 minutes of sanding, on Saturday night, it was finished. Jared sealed the top for me. The left leaf is the only one not stained in this picture.  Then  7 coats of poly and two coats of paint on the bottom. 

(Sealed and not sealed wood) 

We thought about painting it a different color than the kitchen table, but we had more of this paint. So blue it was. 

I'm in love with the top. It is even prettier in person and it matches the floors. :) There are several gashes and dents that didn't come out when it was sanded, but it gives the table more character. 

The boys were quick to test it out with some Legos, puzzles, flash cards, and school work. 

It is perfect for the space. I love it when you envision something and it turned out like you had hoped! We will use it for many many projects and for lots of schoolwork. It will probably be featured a lot the background of pictures in the future. 

Cost
•Table - free!
•Sandpaper - leftover from floor refinishing, free!
•Sealer (Bona, Amber) - leftover, free!
•Poly (Bona Mega) - leftover, free! 
•Paint - found in garage from former owner, added in some of my own acrylic paints, free! 

Time
Sanding - 3 hours
Poly, finish - 30ish minutes spread out over two days
Paint - two 30 minute coats

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Doll and Dress

(Side note: Those wood floors!! Love love love - also, wood floors in a sewing room are the best! It is so much easier to sweep up threads.)

I have been wanting to make this dress and doll for a while. It suddenly dawned on me that I have a niece and I could make her them. Plus, she is about to be a big sister and I thought she might like her own "baby". 

This is a fabric that I have been hoarding for a while. I love it. It is one of my favorites. 

The dress is lined. I adore it. And it makes me want to make labels for gthfaith. That would be so cute on clothes and stuff animals. I've thought about it for years, but never actually done it. 

This is the first attempt at her eyes. I didn't like them. Also, I could never get the nose right. So, she remained noseless. 

The flower is attached by a snap. I made a hat that snaps and plan to make several other things as accessories for her in the future. 

Here are the eyes I settled on. Still not perfect. But I wanted to give her to my niece before her new baby brother or sister comes. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dear Red, it was always going to be you.

Back when I first saw this room, I told Jared, I want to paint the walls white, take the doors off the bookshelves, and paint the back of them red for a pop of color. But then I thought maybe I should opening myself to new possibilities and try some other colors (I love some reds and blues). 

However, when I found a sample of red in the garage Saturday it was all over. 

Hello, red!! I don't know where you came from and why you were in a box in my garage, but you were perfect! 8 oz of paint is just enough to cover the back of the shelves. 

More pictures once I unpack some more boxes, fill the shelves, and hang artwork. 

Happy rainy Monday! 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Yellow or Red

Okay... Should I leave the bookshelves yellow or paint them red? Maybe I'll photoshop red in and see if I like it. 

Also, those white walls are so amazing! I love them. The trim isn't finished, but the walls are!!!! 

Book Map

This will show up again sometime in the future after it fills up more. Today we started something I've wanted to do for a while. We are marking where each book we read takes place by placing a little circle with a picture from the story colored on it. 

These are just today's books with the two chapter books we've read this year. Hopefully, each day we will add a few more.   

I'm already aware that we need to find some books that take place in Asia, Africa, and South America. Most books take place in America or Europe. So, if you have any suggestions let me know! 

Also, I have a separate sheet of paper above the map for books that don't specify a town, but could be anywhere (i.e. mike mulligan) and books that are purely imanginary (aka Dr. Suess).

 
This is going to be fun. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

ESL update

SAMs club to buy ESL party food. We almost made it through the store without fighting in this cart. 

People sometimes ask if they are twins... 

ESL dinner.  Not really good for you food. But so good.  

We had to move our picnic inside this year, but it was still fun. Thanks to my wonderful staff that turns on a dime and is so flexible when at 3pm and pouring outside and we decide to move the location inside. 

More of my ESL staff is moving away this year and it hurts. In my limited mind I fight against being annoyed at God's plan for ESL. Why do good teachers keep moving away and won't be able to teach again next year? I like the security of knowing that teachers are connecting well with students and teaching well thought out lessons and will be coming back next year. That is easy. It makes sense. I can do that. 

I fight for contentment with constantly having to recruit and train new staff. It is exhausting. But it is right where I need to be. I need to be resting in God's strength and not my own to organize ESL. 

And guess what? He does things beyond my wildest imagination. Next year we have six different churches attending training? And in the fall most of those churches will be helping with ESL. That is so amazing. It is not anything that I could have done. 

Plus, how do I even get a person to agree to come out 24 different nights during the year and plan lesson for a bunch of people from other countries that they don't even know?!? That is crazy. The fact that anyone signs up to help out is crazy. It is totally God working. I can't do that. 

I just keep doing the next thing. God is providing and keeping the ministry staffed. It is neat to watch how He does it.  

Oh, at the meal there were about 80 people. It was fun to visit with our students and their families outside of class. I am looking forward to year three!! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

This is the only picture I have taken the last three days. 

Monday was a normal catch up on groceries and cleaning day. 

Yesterday we went hiking with granddad, went strawberry picking, and then to visit GC. Jared was traveling for work (but now he is home!!!). We try to stay really busy while he is away so we don't lose our minds. 

Today is more catching up, but mostly relaxing from all the busyness. We've already done a lot of Legos, read some books, made granola and bread, and cleaned. 

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Firsts and painting update (I added more pictures)

Two things happened for the first time in our new house. 

1. We baked a yeast bread (I know, how have I gone three months without baking bread!?!). Because it was so good, we made another two loaves the next day. :) Another batch might be in works right now. We love homemade bread. 

2. I sewed something!!!!! 
(I was running late for the shower and quickly snapped this picture - the baby is a boy, but I don't like to make covers too boyish or girlish because then they can't be reused for other babies. I tried to match the color scheme of the registry items. The handles and light blue are leftover from Michelle's quilt.)

I had not realized how much I missed sewing until I unpacked my machine and started. Hello, old friend!! Hello, fabric scissors! Hello, cutting board. *happy sigh*

The sewing room is still a disaster because I'm keeping all my fabric, patterns, and thread in boxes into I get the baseboard moulding installed. Maybe next week... It took a while to find everything, but once I was started it felt so good to be back to sewing. I even pulled out two patterns to start today. 

My mom took care of the older boys for a few hours so I could finish some baby shower gifts. 

This is the inside of the car seat cover. It is a fabric I bought for Martin when I was pregnant with him. I loved it so much and made a few things out of it (bibs and curtains for his room) and saved the rest for something neat...but now he is too old for it. Better to use it then just let it sit around gathering dust (I realized when we moved that I have way too much fabric and just need to use it up and stop hoarding it). It seemed like such a great fabric to be interesting to a baby.

 I used my snap tool for the handles. :) Yay, snap tool!! 

And matching bibs and a burp cloth.

Update on painting the fireplace room
I finished cutting in three times. I did two cutting in while Jared watched a movie that I wasn't interested in. I just have to roll the top coat, maybe twice. The paneling is showing through, more then I thought, as the paint dries. 

And I had some leftover primer and painted the laundry room doors ... And the bathroom door... And the counter edge...and a couple cupboard doors (as a prototype). 😬 Hope Jared doesn't mind. I got a little carried away painting things last night... 
White>>wood paneling 
Keeping it real with all the junk on the counters. :) The paint brightens the kitchen so much!! See where I started painting the cabinets? Yay. 

A little before. 
Notice I painted that nasty counter edge where the trim had fallen off and it was brown in some spots (and on the other side, which you can't see, some of the trim was still on, it was so patchy. I hit it with white paint and made it all uniform.