Friday Faves

Friday, March 27, 2015

Morning, y'all, and happy Friday!  I'm just popping in to share a few things that have captured my eye this month, and with Easter being just around the corner, I thought it only fitting to begin with Lawn Fawn's Eggstra Special Easter stamp set.  Isn't that little munched-on bunny the cutest?
I adore the elegance of this detailed Fading Floral Stencil from Prima.  I've actually got a number of their stencils on my wish list, but this one is simply a must-have!
From stuffed animals and toys to towels and pillows, The Land of Nod's Fade Up Rattan Floor Basket would add such gorgeous texture and color to any room design.  That pink basket has my bathroom's number written all over it.
Pottery Barn always has the cutest bunny d├ęcor every spring, and this year's Watercolor Bunny Pillow doesn't disappoint.
I don't know what it is about linens, but I've always loved to mix and match them and pile on the layers when it comes to furniture and beds.  Now, my family doesn't always leave everything where I put it.  Sometimes blankets and pillows get turned into forts or landing pads or whatnot, but there's still nothing more welcoming or comforting than a clean, cozy throw or pretty, textural Crochet Trimmed Standard Sham from Pottery Barn.  Doesn't that pile just make you want to snuggle in with a good book?
And finally, if you've been following me for awhile now, you know I can't resist a great bag.  Marbled's Black and White Stripe Tote Bag is exactly what I've been looking for, and I just love its ample, pleated design.  Yum!
I'll be back tomorrow with this month's For the Love of Books pick.  Then, I've finally got a page to share come Sunday to start the week out right.  Thanks so much for peeking in!  Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Spring Break Pics

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

We're off to drop Ezekiel off at band practice in just a bit.  It's almost 30 minutes from home, so the littles and I always do our grocery shopping until he's done.  But I wanted to quick share just a few pics from our Spring Break week, before we're out the door.  Our local meteorologists forecasted rain for most of the week, and they just so happened to have gotten it right this go around; so, with sunshine and temperatures in the 70's on Monday, we decided it was the perfect day to hit the KC Zoo.
Unfortunately, so did everyone else.  We've never been to the zoo when it's been that busy.  It was crazy!  Matter of fact, it was difficult to even get in to a number of the exhibits to see the animals.  We did say hello to a few of our feathered friends.  Kaden was in awe of the penguins swimming under the water, and my big kiddos always love the lorikeets...
but after the Wings of Wonder show, we hit the road.  It was already well into the afternoon, and the zoo was just getting busier.  We had already eaten our picnic lunch.  So, we stopped for Shamrock Shakes on the way home.  Adina changed her mind last minute and wanted a cone instead, but the boys scarfed theirs down.
Ezekiel still had his regularly scheduled activities of the week, including band and baseball practice; but other than that, we spent most of the week just enjoying our time off and trying to catch up on a few things.  I also wrapped up our last nine week's grades and got them off in the mail, and Kaden practiced his walking skills.  He's getting good, y'all!
Then, on Friday, we made a little trip over to Marble Moon Company in Bonner Springs.  It was super busy there, too.  Usually, there's a few weeks span over when everyone in our area gets their Spring Break, but I think everyone must've had the exact same week this year.  We still really enjoyed watching a marble being made...
and came home with a few of our own, which kept the big kids busy all weekend long.
Speaking of the weekend, my hubby used such to finish up a second planter for my vegetable garden.
We have plans for four total, but with the slope of our yard, it took a few more boards than he had anticipated.  We've got almost enough lumber leftover for a third, so we'll probably hold off on the fourth until a little later, especially because we've still got to fill those babies with dirt.  Even just these two will give us a great start, though.  So excited!
It was a super relaxing break and just what I needed to give my immune system a reboot.  We weren't quite ready to get back to work and school; but summer break is just around the corner, and we've got lots of learning to get done before then.  So, we're back to the grindstone.  Thanks for checking in on us!  Have a terrific Tuesday, sweet friends!

February Recognition

Monday, March 23, 2015

Afternoon, friends!  It's such a beautiful day in our neck of the woods, so we had to take a walk after lunch and spend some time at the park, especially because it looks like rain is back in the forecast for much of the rest of the week.  We need it, so I'm not complaining in the least, just explaining why we had to take advantage of the sunshine today.

I'm so sorry that it's been a bit quiet around here.  I'm still getting back in the swing of things from having been terribly sick for quite some time, but I'm also struggling with finding a balance between time here and time doing everything else that needs accomplished.  It feels like I'm always trying to catch up, which is exhausting in and of itself.  I do have a couple of projects in the works and about a million more anxiously waiting to take shape, but I can't share just yet.  So, until I can, I have a couple of pages that were given honors during the month of February, which I haven't yet had the opportunity to share here.  This page was given the Eye Candy title at The Nifty Pixel...
and this one was featured, by Lorraine, for The Scrapbook Expo's Sunday's Inspiration.
Thanks so much for visiting!  We're back to school today, and the rest of the neighborhood heads back tomorrow.  We're so anxious to have our last nine weeks done and over with for the summer but also want to finish strong, so bear with me as I help my kiddos do just that.  Have a wonderful work week, y'all!  Looking forward to getting around to seeing what you all have been up to soon!  XOXO

The Studio Use Your Old Stash Challenge

Monday, March 16, 2015

Welcome to the work week, friends!  It's spring break in our neck of the woods, and my kiddos are chomping at the bit to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather we've been having, especially since I've been keeping them cooped up a bit with not feeling well and all.  I think that I'm going to brave a morning trip to the zoo today, as I was able to get up and around and bathe and start a load of laundry and whatnot yesterday, while my hubby took the big kids to church.  But before that, I wanted to remind you all that a brand spankin' new challenge posted over in The Studio yesterday.

We're asking you to use up your old stash this time, and the Design Team has cooked up some real beauties to share.  So be sure to stop by the challenge link above to check those out.  I had to bow out, due to an illness, this go around.  We will have one more challenge for you all before the month is over.  Then, you'll have until April 12, 2015, to link up your take(s) on any and/or all of our three March challenges over in the right-hand column of The Studio Blog.

I think that about covers things.  I'm off to pack a sack lunch and make sure the tires are aired up on Kaden's stroller.  Feeling tired just thinking about it, but I'm determined to get out of the house today.  I'm sure the fresh air will do us all some good.  Wish us luck!  And have a truly amazing week, y'all!  Hugs!

Stuck?! March 15th Sketch

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Morning, friends!  I know it's been awhile.  I've been seriously under the weather, like running a fever and bedridden since last Tuesday.  I don't remember the last time I felt this ill.  Ugh!  I hate being sick!  So, I thoroughly apologize for my lack of visits on top of things being so quiet around here.  I'm hoping to be back to even a fraction of myself later this week.  Fortunately, I had my take on Stuck?! Sketches' mid-month sketch put together before I was down for the count and am here to share it with you all today.
I started this page by painting Skintone and Ballet Pink, acrylic paints, as well as a mixture of the two, onto the notebook, patterned, paper, base page, in vertical stripes.  I then used a chevron stencil to apply a bit of modeling paste over them in the same vertical motion, before sprinkling my page with a little gold Color Shine and machine stitching a gold-threaded, straight, machine-stitch circle to help frame my photos, which were matted with Whisper White cardstock.  A couple torn strips of patterned paper, as well as a bit of scalloped ribbon and Washi, were tucked under my photos before they were secured in place.  I then topped the design with my "EASTER" title, which was created with foil, chipboard Thickers and overlaid with a hand-cut, from patterned paper, "BLESSED" ticket.
A number of stamped, in Tattered Rose and Pool Party inks, on White cardstock, as well as a few gold-embossed, on vellum, blooms, all of which were hand cut out, were clustered in the top right...
 and bottom left corners over bits of tangled gold thread.
"#FAMILY" and "the best thing that has ever happened to me" die cut phrases, as well as a glittered, "XOXO" banner and stamped, in Jet Black ink, "I adore you" sentiment complete the bottom corner...
and a couple additional hand-cut, from patterned paper, tickets round out the top.
A sprinkling of colorful sequins; trio of hand-cut, from patterned paper, hearts, which I topped with glitter; couple of heart brads; and a "love" flair button complete the look.
 Further inspiration for this page came from Sassy Scrappers' March Mood Board...
and Scrap Our Stash's Challenge #24 (S = stamping, stencil, stitching, sequins; T = thread, torn edges, tickets; E = embossing; N = nine stamped blooms, notebook paper; C = chevrons, circles, Color Shine; I = ink; L = "love" flair button, leaves, Liquitex modeling paste).
And here is your March 15th Sketch, which I rotated 90 degrees to the left, to get you started.
Our sponsors for this sketch, with a $25 credit and some fabulous new goodies, are...
Please be sure to stop by the challenge link above to get all your challenge details, as well as to see how the rest of the team was inspired.  Thanks so much for stopping by!  Be blessed!

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: Ever After (Wplus9); "I adore you" (Jen Hadfield) Paper: Whisper White (SU!); White (Wplus9); hearts & notebook (Simple Stories); dotted (Jen Hadfield); vellum (Paper Studio) Ink: Pool Party (SU!); Tattered Rose & Jet Black (Ranger); Jet Black (StazOn); watermark (VersaMark) Other: gold thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives); sequins, flair button, Washi, & "the best thing that has ever happened to me" & "#FAMILY" phrase die cuts (MME); tickets, brads, & hearts (Simple Stories); modeling paste (Liquitex); chevron stencil (Jenni Bowlin); foil chipboard Thickers (American Crafts); scalloped ribbon (May Arts); Dazzling Diamonds (SU!); gold embossing powder (Ranger); "XOXO" glitter banner & gold Color Shine (Heidi Swapp); Ballet Pink & Skintone acrylic paint (FolkArt)

Home Sweet Home

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I have a little something different today.  Matter of fact, it'll be a bit quiet design-wise this week.  I've been trying to catch up on a few things and dealing with some health issues, but I will have a page or two to start next week off right.  So, I came across the below devotional, on pages 149-150 of 101 Devotions for Homeschool Moms by Jackie Wellwood, last week and couldn't believe how closely it resembled our own predicament that I just had to share.  So, if you'll humor me to do so, I'll do just that and reflect on it after.
Until recently I had only homeschooled in houses that were small and crowded.  Try as I would to utilize the space well, it just never worked very efficiently.  Many of us are one-income families who are challenged to find suitable housing for a family at home all day conducting school.  At times the walls crowd us in as we try to use our homes in ways for which they were not designed.
Have you ever wondered what a home would look like that was designed for homeschooling?  Laundry room, bathroom, and kitchen located conveniently near the separate room for homeschooling.  One central location where all books and materials would fit would certainly be a blessing.  This is not the model home that most of us live in.  Usually we have books and supplies in various rooms, and cooking and laundry may take place far enough from where the children are working that we find ourselves doing a lot of walking.
We looked at larger homes in our suburban location and came away disappointed.  The ones we could barely afford needed work that would take precious time away from our family.  After considering our alternatives, we decided to be content with the small home we were in and remodel the kitchen to make it more functional.  I remember feeling a little discouraged because I had already rearranged and redesigned the living space a few times.  I did not know how I would find a place for our seventh child once she moved into the crib.  It was tight.
Through an act of the Lord, we were blessed with the opportunity to move to a ten-acre farm before we began our kitchen project.  While I love our farmhouse and the outbuildings and would not trade this lifestyle for suburban living, I have had my eyes opened.  There is a lot more to clean in this bigger house.  Repairs and updates are needed even in our well-maintained home built in 1907.  With greater treasure comes greater responsibility.  I am glad for the time I lived in small houses.  It enabled me to focus on God's work first - homeschooling our children.
Are you happy in your home?  Thank God for it.
When we were planning a move to South Dakota during the fall of 2013 and looking at houses up north, I allowed myself to dream of what exactly the ideal home, for our unique, homeschool family, would look like.  We even found one in our searches that would've been perfect.  Aside from being in a small town just down the road from a horse farm, our boys would've had their own floor, while Adina and my hubby and I would've had ours.  There was another level for living and eating and a fourth that had a second bathroom and laundry room, as well as a large, living space that would've been ideal for setting up our homeschool headquarters.  It felt like the Lord was aligning all the stars, and we were just along for the ride, until He wasn't.

Months later, we found ourselves resigned to staying in Kansas City, and while we were unsure now of what that would look like, we felt like a move to something more suited to our growing family was still in order.  We never imagined that our house simply wouldn't sell.  My hubby says that we never really gave it a chance picking the wrong realtor in the first place.  So, we ended that relationship; and through the welcome advice and wisdom of a family friend, moved over to for sale by owner.

We had more showings in the first week doing it on our own than we did in nearly five months under a realtor, but during this time, we also continued to look for a new home in our area and came up empty-handed.  Everything needed more work than our pocketbooks, schedules, or talents could afford.  Staying put became a welcome reality, and while our space was cramped and crowded, we had already made it ours.

I love my own little loft space to spread out and get creative.  I love our walls filled with family portraits and mementos.  I love our large, wooded backyard with all its shade and peace and quiet right in the midst of the city.  I love the scraggly, apple tree we planted in the front yard years ago.  I love hearing the pitter-patter of little, bare feet scrambling across our squeaky, hardwood floors.  I love our built-in bookcases oozing with adventure and knowledge.  Matter of fact, I think Anna Quindlen put it best when she said, "I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."  I WILL find a way to tie that quote into a page design one day ;).  I love my gardens and screened in porch and stone patio and truly am happy in my home sweet home.

A simple life in the fear of God is better than a rich life with a ton of headaches.  Proverbs 15:16

Weekend Snapshots

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Welcome to the work week, friends!  I trust you all had a wonderful weekend.  Ours was filled with lots of activity, but we also found some time to catch up on a few things and just relax.  My big kiddos had their Awana Games competition, against various other local Awana Clubs, at Kansas City Kansas Community College, on Saturday.  We spent the bulk of the day there cheering their teams to third and fourth place finishes respectively.  Ezekiel's an old pro at Awana Games.  He's been competing since he was in kindergarten and has always enjoyed every minute of it.
My hubby helped coach Adina's team, which was extra special for her because, on a weekly basis, he usually helps with Ezekiel's Awana activities.  It was so fun to watch how animated she was with the whole thing.  I didn't enjoy these kinds of things much when I was growing up.  I hated to let people down, and it seemed that, when it really mattered, I was always doing such.  I'm sure there were some childhood irrationalities powering such thinking, but I never saw it as a team thing.  If my team lost, it was somehow my fault.  Why did I put so much pressure on myself?  I'm so grateful that my kiddos don't see it that way in the least and just live in the moment.
Kaden missed most of his napping time during all the activity, but we kept him happy with snacks and tossing his ball around, and he did get a quick nap in the car over lunch and fell asleep in my arms during the last hour of the Games.
I also wanted to share just a few pics of Ezekiel and Adina's last moments with their basketball teams.  I had to mention, too, that Ezekiel had such a good week last week.  What a blessing to us all!  Love to see those glimpses of the sweet, loving, thoughtful, studious young man that I know has been in there all along.
Adina got her first basket of the season to start her final game.  Woohoo!  She was so excited and bummed that, now that she was finally getting the hang of things, the season was over; but my hubby was exhausted, and while he enjoyed coaching and the kids loved him to bits, an ending to the season was a welcome relief.
Between the teams, formed from all those participating in grades kindergarten to 2nd grade, there were only three girls, all kindergartners, and it was so fun to watch them grow and learn the game.
It seems only fair with all the pics of Ezekiel and Adina above to share a few of our littlest.  Kaden is now thirteen-months-old.  I don't think I shared many of his milestones here at one-year-old, but not much has changed over the last month other than a couple new teeth to now make a total of six.  He still nurses four times a day at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and just before bed and eats anything and everything we give him from fruits and veggies to meats and grains.  He's not picky in the least.  I can't even think of anything that he doesn't like, but he really enjoys mini M&M's :).
He still takes two approximately hour-and-a-half to two-hour naps a day, one in the morning and a second in the afternoon, and sleeps twelve hours a night from 7:30 pm to 7:30 am.  His favorite activity is playing ball, but he also spends a lot of time with his books and in our play kitchen and loves to splash in the water and go for walks.  He's not walking himself yet.  He doesn't seem interested; although, he loves to try when encouraged.  We're not in any hurry for him to do so, though.  He keeps us on our toes enough just with crawling to get himself around, and he's such a tiny, little thing that it's really no trouble to tote him around, which he still prefers to his stroller.  Oh!  And he's uber good at repeating words.  So, I guess we'd better be careful what we say.  Huh ;)?  He doesn't string them together cohesively and uses them super randomly (I guess just when he's feeling it.  Like yesterday, when my phone rang, as soon as I picked it up and before I could say a thing, he said, "hi."), but he can talk and is getting super good at signing (and, unfortunately, whining) to communicate his needs.
They keep me busy, friends; and I, without a doubt, need more breaks/naps than I'll ever get, but I cannot imagine life without them and thank the Lord for every day He's gifted me as their mother.  Thanks so much for checking in on us!  Have a wonderful week!