Tuesday, April 28, 2015
A word that has meant so very little to me, aside from the occasional story in my head while I sleep. Of course, I also had dreams about marriage and babies and what my life would look like; the usual dreams of a little girl I think.
Adventure too; that's something that is foreign to me. Loosing a feeling of adventure can happen when you marry at 19, give birth at 21, and again twice more by age 25.
Not that I no longer dream of nice things.
And making lunch while holding a newborn while corralling a small circus while managing a home certainly can feel like an adventure...
But dreams, of future and more and possibilities and excitement... I've rarely entertained them because, well, it seems that good and fun and exciting happens to those who either get lucky or take the risk. (Please know that I am not taking my life for granted; having a husband, three children, and many more blessings is good, fun, and exciting... I'm referring to those dreams that are unique to us; desires God places in our individual hearts for a purpose).
Never, and I do mean never, would I have imagined that my husband and I would take such a risk as selling our home and business, him quitting two solid jobs that he had been committed to for years, leaving our entire immediate families and all that is familiar, comfortable, and known.... taking such a risk to pick up and move to a new state, home, community...
Sure, we had talked about "selling everything and moving" plenty of times, but that was mostly in the context of "wouldn't that be fun" and in the chance that either of us would ever be brave enough to leave...
To think that we are now living in a completely different life, so to speak, is still shocking to me sometimes, and yet...it's so so right. Not once since deciding to take this leap of faith, have I ever felt unsettled about our decision. To face a change so great and feel so safe in that, has been such a blessing.
I see now that it's not that we were not dreaming before this, we were just under the impression that our dreams are just too big, unrealistic, or scary.
Living on three acres, enough room for a few pets and a dozen chickens, seeing more creatures from our windows than squirrels and the neighbors cat, gazing across miles of beauty, unblocked by the surrounding dozen houses- simple and boring as it may seem to some, it is "the dream" for us.
It may have seemed unrealistic to us less than a year ago, but after allowing our hearts to speak up, deciding to make it happen despite what people may think, and despite the fact that yes, we probably are a little crazy, we are living a life that we love.
I am so grateful to a God that gives us desires, matches us in our dreams, and blesses us beyond our own imagination.
We truly are so blessed to be where we are, and look forward to what our future holds.
So as perfectly cliche as it is, dreams really can come true, when you are least expecting or even hoping... sometimes when you're barely even dreaming them anymore. Sometimes a little risk and step of faith is all it takes.
Are we foolishly expecting life to be easier now?
Have we "arrived" and are now living the life?
No and no! Life is still life and there are still hungry bellies to feed and hearts to love and laundry and dishes and bills... we still live an average life and perhaps it is even harder now, without the close help and support of family, but we are loving our new normal and the change and risk has been worth following this path we believe God has us on.
//So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you
I am strong when you're weak and I'll carry you
So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand
I'll show you what I can do
When I dream for you
I have a dream for you. -Casting Crowns
What is a dream, big or small, that you have been putting off because it feels risky or maybe unrealistic?//
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
She is finally here and we love her to itty bitty pieces already! Gracyn Jade King, born on March 25 2015 at 2:00 pm, weighed 8lb. 2oz. and was 20 inches long. It was easily my best birthing experience and my first all natural one too. She is just so precious and snuggly and I am enjoying the newborn stage all over again and with more intensity than before :-) After having two already, I am so aware of the speed of time, and I am hoping she will stay newbornish a bit longer than usual.
My mom was here for a week and a half, taking care of Chase and Addisyn while we were at the hospital and taking care of us all when we got home. :-) This is the first time I had someone sleep here after a baby and having her here made a world of difference! I still got up to feed during the night but was able to get a good nights sleep in between feedings and have been recovering so quickly. She also took Chase and Addi home with her for a week so I am able to rest and enjoy Gracyn all by myself :-) .
//Welcome to our family, sweet girlie. We love you to the moon and back, forever and a day!//
Thursday, March 19, 2015
I am not a rule follower when it comes to cooking. This gets me in trouble a lot. I'm sure improvise is a big part of a good cook's kitchen, but too often my compromises end up sabotaging my best intentions, and the end result is less than the recipe promised.
Sometimes, it works out and I end up with a delicious granola that I can-not-stop-eating.
This recipe is adapted from here, and I did follow it to the letter for the first few batches. Ten plus batches later, I think it's safe to write it down and call it a recipe. Following the rules would mean measuring the same amount every time to get the same crunch every time, and while I did measure carefully for this post, I usually eye it up and when I am done mixing, adjust ingredients according to texture before baking.
I also make a similar version for the kiddos, leaving out the nuts since they prefer it without and it cuts the cost a bit. The last batch I made for them, I added applesauce to replace some of the peanut butter and honey, also making it a little chewier which they enjoyed.
Preheat oven to 325*.
Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a medium saucepan, then add 1/3 cup raw honey, and 1/3 cup natural peanut butter. (Costco has the best natural peanut butter in my opinion!)
|Add a half cup each of raw almonds and unsalted peanuts. (I prefer more almonds and less peanuts, but again trying to cut down the cost.)|
|I like to put these directly in the hot peanut butter mixture before adding oats, to give them a kind of candy coating texture.|
|Just heat until combined and melty; I don't like to heat the raw honey too much, which would take away from some of the "raw-ness". Turn off heat.|
|Stir in a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.|
|Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I adore this little shot glass measuring cup I recently bought. It measures up to three tablespoons of liquid and is so handy opposed to a regular measuring spoon.(Read : I don't spill as much using this)|
|Add one cup of quick oats and two cups of rolled oats. I prefer rolled oats in general, but the quick oats help with the crunchy texture I like about this granola.|
|Stir until combined.|
|Spread on parchment or a handy baking mat like this(totally worth the investment!).|
Bake at 325* for 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let it sit in the oven for as long as you like; I try to have it in there at least a half hour to get the crunch I like.
Put it in a pretty glass jar on the counter and make sure you have enough ingredients on hand to make it again in a few days!
Peanut Butter Honey Granola
2 T. Coconut Oil
1/3 C. Peanut Butter
1/3 C. Raw Honey
1/2 C. Raw Almonds
1/2 C. Unsalted Peanuts
1 t. Cinnamon
1 t. Vanilla Extract
1 C. Quick Oats
2 C. Rolled Oats
Granola aside, I know I said I would try to have a post on our new bedroom this week. Well... I don't know what I had envisioned our bedroom would be looking like by now but it is sorely lacking in the eye candy department. I need to hang a few things, declutter a few things, and buy closet doors so the hanging clothes are not the focal point of the room. Our room is TINY, so I am not sure how I will pull off a cozy, inviting bedroom, but try I will.
//Do you have a granola recipe you love? I am open to trying new recipes, despite how much I already enjoy this one!//
Friday, March 13, 2015
This tiny room was not a bedroom when we moved in; we added a wall/door and it will now double as guest room/ baby room when the time comes for her to have her own space. For now I am enjoying the empty, clean feeling. When it is time to put a crib/ baby accessories in here I'm afraid it will feel cluttered, but we will make it work and are grateful for this extra space.
Here is a glimpse of the sad, dark space just a few short(long) weeks ago.
I didn't buy anything specific for this room, except a pendant light which is not hung yet; I would like to buy a neutral lamp for the bedside and maybe add a few things as I find them to make this space feel more personal. But like I said, it is small and the simplicity is so inviting to me.
The day bed was given to us by my aunt when she no longer had a need for it; it was Addisyn's bed until we decided to switch things around and put in her room a double bed and dresser passed down from Brian's dad. The antique washstand in this room is a matching piece for the set in Addi's room. The white quilt is a special piece made by Brian's grandmother for him. I love this especially, because even though it is pure white, it is actually a picture of a buck and doe which is just perfect for him. Bonus for me that it is beautiful and can be used to set the tone in this room. The rocker is a piece I got from an online yard sale sight. It's a little pink for my liking and I hope to get it reupholstered someday but for now I think it fits nicely in this room. The faux sheepskin rug is a $13(?) buy from Ikea. I am debating buying another because until this week I had it beside my bed and loved the soft landing when I roll out of bed in the morning. "Roll" in literal terms as its nearly impossible to coax my round, achy body to sit up in the morning. The pillows are place mats I bought at Home Goods, ripped a small opening in a corner seam, stuffed with stuffing and hand stitched back up. They are not the coziest place mats, if there is such a thing, but they add the cozy look this bed deserves. I'd like to also find a textured blanket to throw on the end of the bed and maybe a few more pillows. Lastly, the chalkboard is a piece I redid years ago and made its rounds in our first house. It now acts as a cover for the breaker box.
And lest you think we only hope to have single guests sleep here, we also have a queen sized air bed that will squeeze in here for the guests who actually want a full sized bed to sleep in. When we were discussing how to put this room together last weekend, Brian thought it such a good idea to have the daybed in here for the times that I sleep in the baby's room, so I don't have to sleep on the floor. I don't remember a whole lot of sleeping in the baby's room with our first two babies, so I don't know if he was trying to tell me something or just sell his vision, but either way, it looks a whole lot better than an air mattress. Who knows, with an actual bed in here maybe I WILL steal a few nights of sleep to myself :-)
We are planning on switching our bedroom to the basement this weekend, and unless baby makes her arrival in the next few days, I will try to have an update on our room next week. I now have just a week and a few days until my due date, so every day holds exciting possibility, but the goal of having the basement done before she comes is balancing it enough that I am not going crazy with anticipation/misery :-)
//What would you add to this space to make it more inviting for our guests? Does it need more to look at on the walls, or maybe some pillow mints? :-) //
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Am I the only one who uses a little more shampoo than necessary when the bottle is almost empty and I am giddy over trying my new/different shampoo? I am like that with anything new, really, and my impatience gets the better of me often. The new shampoo loses its charm a few washes in anyway, and I end up wasting the last few squirts in my old bottle. It does not contribute to my efforts of living simply, but the appeal is always there.
I bought new dish soap a few weeks ago, when my bottle of Palmolive still had enough to last a week or two. I should have known that when Amazon says they'll have my dish soap here in two days, they really meant it, and I do not have to buy it as soon as the bottle is getting low. Well this new soap smells so delicious and fresh, and makes the dish washing experience even better.
The first week or two after we moved, the days were blending together and dragging a bit, due to lack of schedule and loss of sleep. The smell of my new soap gave me a lift, but I told myself I may only use it once a day, and still use the old bottle the rest of the 6734 times a day I wash dishes. Ha. I found myself using it every morning, and there went my one exciting wash per day.
I know it sounds silly, and of course it is, but after a week or so of using it, I found myself reaching for the old bottle most of the time, and my heart did a happy dance every time, realizing that I am okay; this is a good day; my head is not in a fog, and I CAN WASH DISHES WITH UNSCENTED PALMOLIVE. Delighting in dish soap really did give my spirit a lift, and realizing that I don't need that lift as much in the last few days is just as sweet.
//What silly little things make your day a little brighter? Anything worse/better than dish soap?//
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Sitting at the dining room table, I can see out four windows and one door. I see an old wooden blue feeder that often entertains a few cardinals; through another window I see a rusty burn barrel and some pine trees; I can see up the hill to the neighboring fields, and to my right I see the neighbors silos through the trees between us. This room is open and bright, and quite often dirty and snow tracked. The majority of the time there are food and/or play-doh crumbs on the floor and table, craft supplies cluttering the little table in the corner, and it is temporarily housing two desks until the basement is ready.
Here's how it looked before...
((These three pictures go from left to right in the room. The far right wall(with no windows) is the wall that we took out))
((The main door and coat closet))
((What used to be a door that led to the laundry. We closed off this door and knocked down the entire wall that you faced when you first walked into the house))
Besides opening up the space a bit, Brian laid new flooring, family helped to paint, and we had the floor insulated. We added a chandelier that I refinished, a few things on the walls, and my favorite bookcase Brian got free from a job when we were engaged.
Here is it now...
((This is where the wall was, blocking the door and window))
((Addi and Chase making a playdoh
Our dining room, like most of yours I imagine, gets a lot of use and abuse. We eat, we talk, we welcome daddy home, we do crafts, we pay bills, we fight, we love. I hope our dinner times together lasts a long, long time.
I love how the room feels now and hope that anyone who walks through the door feels welcome and at home here.
//“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.”
― A.A. Milne//
Sunday, February 8, 2015
I've mentioned a few times that there was a urinal in the bathroom when we bought it. Not only was there a filthy urinal, the bathroom also had no bathtub, only a stall shower, and was set up in a ridiculous way. Someday I will give a tour from the beginning of the house but for now I will tell you this: previously, when you walked into the main door, you immediately were facing a wall, only four feet in front of your nose. You then had to turn left down a tiny hallway, walk through the dark and smelly laundry room, turning right into the kitchen before you finally felt like you were in a house. When you first walked into the laundry room, you also had the choice of turning left into the unsightly bathroom. What a welcome! Yes, this laundry had THREE doors leading to it. Obviously we don't want to be reminded of our dirty clothes so many times in one walk, so we knew something had to change. We decided to knock down the wall between the dysfunctional bathroom and the oddly placed laundry room and join them to make this house work better for us. Today I will show you the changes we made to the now bathroom/laundry combo, which we LOVE and is so perfectly functional for us. Doing laundry has never been so easy to remember!
First, a few before photos to help you appreciate the space we now have. Tiny rooms are so hard to get into a decent picture, so it may be hard to imagine how it was set up. Also, an amateur photographer disclaimer: I didn't notice until I got these new pictures into my computer how grainy they were, and at this point am too lazy to go retake them.
((The view from the living room))
((The view from the laundry room; the stall shower is there on the right))
((See? This bathroom was in need of a LOT of love and clean surfaces))
We had a local contractor demolish the space, and put in the new bathroom, knocking a few walls out, and also adding a few as needed. Brian put in the new flooring, and after a few homey additions from me, we now have a space we love.
((The new view from the living room))
((Ikea spice racks we stained and hung on the wall for pretty organization))
((I also stained the front of the vanity and added knobs from Hobby Lobby))
((The laundry nook, if you couldn't tell)
((Wooden crates we again stained and hung on the wall for easy towel grabbing and something pretty to look at if you're spending time in the bathroom. At this point you may think I am currently obsessed with stain and you would be correct))
((Shower curtain from Target that we had in our bathroom in the old house))
((Laundry shelf pretties. The wooden toolbox, vintage lid, and washboard were all thrifted or found. The shelf and clock are new from Lowes and Weavers, a local store in Lancaster))
((In case you were wondering if we have one of these))
So now you know what our bathroom looks like, and hopefully soon I will have more completed rooms to show you. I was going to make a diy post out of the crates/shelves but they truly are so simple that it would take all of one sentence and two pictures to explain how to do it. If you have any questions, please ask! It was much quicker and simpler than painting, although messier, but I just love the rich dark tones against the light walls.
//Enjoy your Sunday!//