Monday, January 30, 2012

♪♫ Music Monday ♪♫ - God's Been Good

This song has been on my mind since yesterday as I listened to many, many heavy and heartbreaking prayer requests in our Sunday School class. Many are facing and have faced heavier burdens than I, but I know that God is the one who plans our life and the trials and blessings He sends our way. Ultimately, we all have it better than we deserve - God is good!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cleaning on a Budget ♥ Part One

I, like most people I'm sure, have a Love/Hate relationship with cleaning.  I LOVE a clean, sparkly house, but do NOT necessarily love cleaning! And contrary to popular belief, the fact that I'm at home all day with my kiddos does not mean my house is always spotless! Because, "what else do I have to do besides clean all day?" lol... I've quit trying to make those who "think I've got the easy life" understand what a day in the life of a SAHM (with 3 kids 3 and under, I might add!) involves.  But let me just say, YES, I clean ALL DAY!! Because we are here ALL DAY!! And my kids make a mess ALL DAY!! And honestly, it can get overwhelming, so hence my "cleaning budget" - and you probably thought I was going to tell you how I save money?? I do have a few of my favorite tips I'll share, but mostly I'm going to share my "Time Budget" cleaning schedule.

So, a little BACKGROUND -I'm a recovering clean/neat freak with OCD...meaning, yeah, not so much anymore! Twins and a toddler will do that to ya! But I still feel my stress levels rise when my house starts getting out of order - I've tried to be laid back, I really have! These days, though, I try not to hold myself to as high a standard as it was getting pretty overwhelming and not even really possible.

My PHILOSOPHY or manner of thinking is this: I do stay home so that I can be the best wife and mother possible for my children.  I believe it's my purpose in life and why God created me. And I'm wired in such a way that working outside the home and being a happy wife and mother do not go together. So, while a clean house is part of it, I really don't want to spend my days CLEANING!!  I want to teach and train and play with my little ones while they are here at home with me - the SPOTLESS house can wait until they are in school.

This post was really INSPIRED by a conversation with a new SAHM.  She has two young children and due to various life circumstances, she no longer works in her career but rather stays home with her youngest who is not quite school age.  She expressed to me during a play date one afternoon that her house is messier, she has less time to cook, and feels tired more often now that she stays home...WHAT??  She didn't understand how that could be so when she is home all day. I reminded her that being home all day means LIVING in your house all day.

I've tried SO MANY cleaning schedules and ideas and followed so many cleaning and organizing blogs, but finally had to sit down and think about what works for me and my family. I had to put myself on a cleaning budget -  a cleaning TIME budget that is...   I'll share my thoughts on that in Part TWO. I'm a little long-winded...sorry!! Are you still reading?? lol  If so, think about some tips you can share either here or in my next post - I'd love to hear from you and learn some new ideas!

For now I'll close with this - my favorite discovery!!!
The Libman Freedom Mop- it has saved me a TON of money vs. my Swiffer.  And I actually clean with it more because I don't have to worry about running out of refills or batteries.  I got mine at good ol' Walmart!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm So Spoiled! ♥

So, not a long post today, but I have to confess how spoiled I feel every time I use my Keurig milk frother!!  My dad and mom got this for us for Christmas and I've used it every day since - sometimes more than once!! This has been a wonderful addition to our Keurig brewer. Couple those with Starbucks K-cups (Pike Place is my FAV!) and... Woolah - PERFECTION!! I now prefer making my own caramel macchiatos at home rather than going to Starbucks. :)

...and don't be jealous of my new Starbucks Grande mug!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nightstand Play Kitchen Makeover ♥

I had so much fun with this project!! I worked on it with a friend (she made one for her daughter as well) in the few weeks before Christmas and it actually went pretty fast! Our husbands helped as well with installation of some of the features.  My girlies LOVE it and their big brother, Titus (3 years), plays with it just as much as they do! He loves to cook in the oven! :)

This is how is looked when I got it - this is the actual Craigslist picture!! I paid $25 for it which was a little more than I had originally planned, but decided the Thomasville brand and solid wood construction were worth it.  Plus, I kinda waited til the last minute to find one! I especially liked that the top was a little larger since my girlies would be sharing it. 

The finished product!! We added a backsplash and painted it PINK!

Top view - I used vinyl circles for the stove and dresser knobs for the stove knobs.  I'm planning to add washers so they will turn.  

The sink is a square cake pan I got at the Dollar Store!

I splurged a little and got a "for real" faucet - it was $25 at Lowe's.  Again, had I planned a little more ahead, I may have been able to find one on clearance.

I kept the top drawer "as is" so the girls could use it for storage. It works perfectly for all their utensils and hot pads!  The divided wooden tray was part of the Apple Pie Set from Melissa and Doug.

The second drawer became the oven. We used the drawer front only and attached it with hinges.  The guys had to cut a wooden piece to fit the bottom of the drawer space as it was open when we removed the drawer. I do have a picture, but it is on my friend's camera...

I used a cookie cooling rack I had on hand for the oven rack.  I want to eventually get one that sits up higher, but am waiting to find a good deal on them!! And I will be adding a dome "push light" to add to the "realness" factor. :)

The oven also doubles as storage for all their baking sets!! :) They are all wooden Melissa and Doug sets - I got several of them 50% off at A.C. Moore - highly recommend!!! Apple Pie set is from HomeGoods and the Pizza Party set is from Grandma! ♥

I removed the bottom drawer completely and the space is used as a "pantry" for all their play food.  The wooden crate came with the Melissa and Doug fridge food set.  I made a cute little curtain and hung it on a tension rod inside the drawer opening.  Originally we tried to hang a thin curtain rod on the outside, but ended up breaking off 2 screws and 2 nails INSIDE the wood - talk about some serious HARDWOOD!!! 

In order to use the tension rod, we had to cut it down. To do this, my husband took the two pieces of the rod apart, cut the coil on the inside down to size and trimmed the outside rods to fit.  I should also mention we did this part on CHRISTMAS EVE night!! Not such a good idea to wait until the last minute - fortunately, I had a tension rod on hand!

 I just covered a plastic to-go cup with scrapbook paper for them to use as a utensil holder.

The towel bar on the side is actually a HEAVY DUTY cabinet pull.  My friend's husband used to work as a cabinet maker, so she had lots of these on hand in many styles.  I also have plans to make some matching towels for them...too many ideas and not enough time!! Maybe for their birthday in May???

 And one last look at the "finished for now" project!! The drawer pulls are also some my friend had on hand - love the touch they add!

I'm linking up to Wednesday Wowzers @Oopsey Daisy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sometimes He Calms the Storm

Playing this song this morning! Love the truth in the words!

UPDATE: Sorry, the user deleted his account, but I am going to leave this post in hopes it will be reactivated at some point.  There are other versions of this song on YouTube...just not my favorite renditions... :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bow Tie Baby Shower

This past fall (yeah, I know I'm a little late with this post!), the ladies of our Sunday School class and I hosted a baby shower for one of the ladies in our class.  We decided on a "Sip and See" style shower so that everyone could meet the baby and went with a bow tie theme for the cute baby boy.  This was a perfect opportunity to do a "Sip and See" after the baby was born as the mommy had already had a few showers beforehand with family and friends.

Church baby showers can be a little hard to plan as you never really know how many guests to expect.  At our church, though, we generally have anywhere from 50-75 people attend.  Our showers are open to all ladies of the church and are usually a "floating" style shower where guests can come and go as they please within a 1-2 hour time period.

I realize the party style these days is what I would consider "over the top", and while I L♥VE party planning as much as anyone, it really is not practical for church baby showers of this size. But I really do still like to make each shower unique and special and not just use a package of standard baby shower decorations purchased at the local party center.
I especially like the color scheme - it was perfect for a fall, baby boy shower. :)

Bow Tie Napkins

We just served basic veggies, cheese and crackers, chips and dip, and a cookie platter and then refilled as needed.  But there are lots of cute themed food ideas you could use for a smaller gathering of guests - bow tie pasta, custom bow tie cookies, tuxedo bow tie chocolate dipped strawberries, etc...

The shower time was perfect for an afternoon "tea", so we served Spiced Tea (I get asked for this recipe ALL the time, so I'll be posting it soon!), a variety of individual tea bags, and coffee with biscotti and flavored creamers.

The bow tie banner turned out adorable!   The letters were cut out on a Cricut machine and the bow ties are made from fabric.  I didn't even finish the raw edges!  We pulled this shower off with about 2 hours of prep time.! :)

For more ideas on doing a Bow Tie themed shower, you can check out the following links:

Emmy's Events: The Little Gentleman Baby Shower
A Darling Day: Bow Tie Baby Shower

Thursday, January 5, 2012

♥ There Are No Words...

...really, to describe how much I love and adore my awesome little family!!  Sooo, here are a few pictures that say it all. ♥♥

My favorite picture of them to date!! ♥♥♥



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