Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Resentment, Bills, and an Attitude of Gratitude - DIY

Matt and I bought this tiny house knowing that we didn't want to live in it for very long.
Sound silly?
That's a whole 'nuther blog post.
Anywho, that mentality has kept us living like renters.
Now, we are trying to sell and we haven't had a single person take a gander in 6 months.
What has developed is resentment.
I don't like that at all.
This past weekend we came to the conclusion that we need to stop living like we are
going to move soon.
I know that may sound backwards when we are trying to sell our house but here's the reasoning.
We work hard for this house.
We work hard to maintain it.
But we just sort of keep up with the daily messes.
The walls are in need of painting.
The siding needs power washing.
The trim on the doors need replacing.
You get the idea.
We need to put love back into our home.
Basically, while we are waiting for our something better to come along,
we should love where we are right now.
Attitude of Gratitude.
So, we are in the beginning stages of making a list of all the big and small things
that we need or want to tackle around the house.
All those things we never dove into as homeowners because we wanted to keep this place
"move in ready".

I've mentioned many many times before that we have a very small house.
It is 1080 square ft.
No basement.
No garage.
We've chosen function over style many many times for convenience sake and our style
has gone to the dogs because of it.
But we are going to work to change that.
I'm going to start to post some of the progress.
We hope that this will pull us out of this resentment rut we are in.

First up...
A tiny bedroom project.
Years ago we found this awesome calendar that had a huge envelope for each month to hold the bills.
 Matt and I are both "out of sight, out of mind" people so the bills need to be readily available for
us to view every day.
This is our system.
Just hanging there right in the middle of the old #2 pencil colored walls of our bedroom.
 We knew the system worked for us, we just needed to change it up a bit.
(For those of you who are wondering, I write down what needs to be paid on what day along with the amount. Matt is the bill payer. When he pays the bills, he puts a check mark. I track the account and I put the second check mark down when the bill comes out of the account.)
 Look how far it stood off the wall!
12 months worth of bills.
 Enter Target.
Total score.
 Plus a frame I already had around the house.
 And voila!
Same system, different style.
The monthly calender is just paper printed off the Internet and placed in the frame.
I put the glass of the frame behind the paper so I can still write down all that needs to be paid and when
and we can still check items off.
And there are pockets for 2 months. Current month and the next.
After those months are over with, the bills get filed away.
And look! We no longer have an enormous accordion sticking out of our wall!

And the cherry on top?
I popped on over to the Etsy shop of my favorite Organizing Guru, Jen.
I purchased a blank monthly calendar that I can use over and over each month.
Just print out and fill in.
(The calendar that you see in the frame right now is not from Jen. It's just something I found online to fill in for the picture. I will be getting mine from Jen soon and I'm so psyched!)

Frame: Free. Had it around the house.
2 Pocket Organizer from Target: $14. (A splurge but it was too perfect to pass up.)
Printable Monthly Calendar: $3.

For a total of $17, I was able to ensure that we keep with the same bill paying system that always worked
for us but just make it look a little better.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The I-Don't-Care-If-It-Gets-Dirty Apron - A Giveaway!!

I have a small collection of aprons.
Love them.
But my problem is this:
I don't want to actually wear my aprons because I don't want to get them dirty.
But still.
I wanted to make myself a "get dirty but don't really care" apron.
I found a great tutorial online to make a bandana apron!
Here are the supplies you'll need:
1) Bandana
2) Wide ribbon (heavy weight)
3) Heat and Bond strips
4) Iron
 First, cut a strip of Heat and Bond to the length of your bandana.
Then take one side of the casing off and put the side without the casing on your bandana.
Iron the Heat and Bond strip against the side with the paper casing.
 Then cut your ribbon the length you'll need to tie around your waist and into a bow
(or, in my case, a knot).
Take the other side of the casing off your Heat and Bond strip and place ribbon on the strip.
Flip the whole thing over so that you aren't ironing directly on your ribbon.
Iron your bandana with the ribbon on the other side to fuse the bandana to the ribbon.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
(Sorry about the photo quality.)
I loved the apron so much I made two!
One for me (the black one)

Isn't the yellow so sunny and cheery?!

Here's how you can win this super simple and sunny apron:
1) "Follow" my blog.
2) Leave a comment on this post. What will you be doing this Memorial Day Weekend?

I will choose one person at random on 6/3/11.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Joplin, MO has been weighing heavy on my
heart and mind this week.
My In-Laws live there and what they've told me over the phone
seems like a movie.
How can that be real?
My Sister-In-Law didn't see it coming.
I don't think many did.
She and her family were in Wal-Mart shopping one minute
and the next minute there was daylight, wind, and rain in her face.
I saw a picture of the Wal-Mart.
The next time I talked to her I told her I loved her.  
 Here in St. Charles we've been having crazy weather as well but no tornado sirens until today.
Mainly just really blustery, warm afternoons.
Like, Piglet blustery.
The kind where you can feel the energy in the air.
 About an hour before a storm the other afternoon, Matt, Griffin, and I went outside.
I layed in the grass for the first time since I was little.
I watched the clouds.
I watched Griffin run and run with the wind in his hair.
Matt spun Griffin in circles.
So grateful for our home and just being together.

It was a special hour.
So free.
So full of laughter.
So full of love.
I think we can have more of those times if we just played more.
Not worry about shooting the wolf closest to the door.
Not solving our and every one else's problems.
Just break out of the daily routine.
For an hour.
And just run and spin.
And watch the clouds.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Words To Live By

If today was awesome...
If today could've been better...

Happy Monday!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day, Placemats, and Time

I had a good Mother's Day.
Matt let me sleep in.
Griffin told me I could sleep in by running into my room first thing, jumping up and down on the bed
next to me and yelling, "Happy Muvuhs Day, Mommy! You close eyes!".
It was a rambunctious but good start to my day.
I wound up sleeping for another 3 hours after that.
 I also had time to make these placemats.
I love them!
I fell in love with this fabric that I got at Patches on Main Street.
I immediately knew I wanted to make placemats with it.
I made a simple 3 layer placemat with two pieces of fabric and a bath towel sandwiched in between.
I just sewed it all together along a binding strip.
I'm not that great with a sewing machine so the seams aren't perfect but it gets the job done.

 He picked "Cat in Hat" as the mat he wanted to use first.

It was a good day.
Nothing special or out of the ordinary.
But so special.
I just wanted some time and I got it.
Time to sleep in.
Time to make the placemats.
Time to do a blog post.
Time to edit pictures.
Just some quiet time.
I think I need more of that.

It makes me a better Mommy.

Happy Monday!

****I am linking up to Life Made Lovely Monday.
I love Heather's blog.
Check it out!****

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day weekend!

A very happy Mother's Day weekend to all you mothers out there!
The first year Matt and I were married, he made a "Step-Mother's Day" card for me.
He read an article about Step-Mothers being the unsung heroes.
He taped it to the card and embellished all around it with hearts and things.
It was so sweet.
This year I told him what I wanted.
We aren't big on getting gifts for each other but
I wanted a Lisa Leonard necklace.
I love Lisa's work.
Love love love.
 And I luuuuuuurve my necklace!
Isn't the packaging great?
So simple.
 There it is.
Perfect. And a pearl.
So simple and beautiful.
I forgot to take a picture of the back.
There's a little heart soldered on the bottom of the pendant with "xo" stamped on it.
That's one happy Mommy.
Not the best picture of me but hey...
I love my necklace.
I love my life with my family more.
I'm one lucky gal.

Happy Saturday!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Comparison, Ramblings, and Swagger

Comparison is the thief of Joy.

I read that awhile ago and boy has it been on my mind.
I love the blogs that I'm dedicated to reading.
I love the women who write them.
Like herher & her.
I read their words and they fill me up. I love that.
I love the things I learn from these blogs.
From new recipes to thoughts on parenting to creative projects to internal challenges.
But I also hate how I compare myself.
My little house.
My lack of tons of children running through the house.
Not being a young mom.
You get the picture.
When it really started to bother me I thought maybe I shouldn't follow so closely.
But really I just want to teach myself NOT to feel this way.
My life as it is right now is nowhere near what I thought it would be.
But who's is?
 Don't get me wrong now.
There is a great and powerful force of joy and love in my life.
I'm grateful for what I DO have.
Every bit of it.
 I am struggling with this blog at times.
I would love for this blog to be a vehicle to give back to people.
Giveaways, Linkys, creative people meeting other creative people.
But here comes the comparison again.
Who wants to read the ramblings of me?
I only have two children.
Only one lives with me.
I lead a very quiet little life.
I work too much.
 Each week - several times a week - we go for a walk with G and pick out rocks.

Each week we raise the level of the lakes and canals at our house with these rocks.
We watch movies, try to get G to eat something other than carbs, do crafts, & bake.
Who wants to read about that?
The blogs that I love to read have houses FULL of children.
I would love that.
 But I'm going to press on.
I used to journal.
I don't anymore.
This has become my journal of sorts.
I've decided to create an album of this blog every year.
Did you know you can do that?
You can.
Go here to find out.
I want a reminder of the little moments.
I know our life won't be like this forever.
And how easily we forget from year to year.
But I want to remember.
And when we finally DO have more kids, I want to laugh at myself.
I want to reread this post and laugh and laugh about how I once wanted to be surrounded by chaos.
 I'm also going to be a bit more open.
Like using names.
Griffin, Matt, Rachael.
There. Names. For those of you who don't know.
We've been working on skipping.
I'm proud of him!
He's got his right side down pat. The left side just sort of shuffles along.
But hey. He's got swagger to cover it.
I also gave him a hair cut.

See? Exciting stuff going on here.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Obligations, Eggs, and Prayer

I apologize for my lack of blogging as of late.
I guess that I can view this busy time as a good thing.
Every single day is so jam packed that something must always be dropped.
It's good to be so busy.
So blessed.
But the things that always wind up getting dropped are the things that really
fill me up.
Like blogging.
And reading my favorite blogs.
And throwing rocks in the lake with G.
And watching movies with Hubs.
Mainly obligations fill my days.

I'm working to change that.
 I hope you all had a good Easter!
Ours was good and bad, as any Holiday is.
The drama, the sweet moments, the appreciation of the day, the frustration, etc.
We dyed Easter Eggs at 9:00pm on Easter Sunday.
I really wanted to dye eggs.
So we made it happen.
 G had fun!
Hubs did not.
G isn't exactly "gentle" with delicate things.

 G has started the "Terrible Twos" a bit late.
He'll be 3 in 3 months.
I understood when G was still learning to string words together why he would be fussy.
He couldn't really communicate his feelings.
But now he knows how to communicate his feelings.
And that's the problem.
He FEELS so much.
Oh the burden of being a little sponge.
The intensity of feeling when you have no concept of time and all you want to do is keep playing
with that toy you found in the store and Mommy says it's time to go.
The intense emotion of
 But with the sour comes the sweet.
This little guy shows such depth of love.
He wrings my neck with "squeezies" and tells me a secret.
"I lob too, Mommy"
The night before Easter
Hubs and I were trying to recount the Resurrection of Christ to G.
We fumbled. It was funny.
Something along the lines of this...
"Jesus was so cool and people just loved to hang out with Him. He wandered the whole world just making people happy! Isn't that so awesome?!
But there were some people that didn't like Jesus so they killed Him.
But it's okay because on Easter Sunday He rose up up up up into the sky!
Like a rocket.
Or Superman.
And now He lives in Heaven!
Isn't that so cool?!"


You would have had a good laugh at us if you were there.
We did.
But really.
How. Cool. Is. That?
How cool is it that despite my "Terrible THIRTY Twos", God still loves me.
I've been a bit of a mess lately but I'm working on it.
I have a personal relationship with Jesus but I don't often pray as much as I should.
I think of God daily and thank Him for the many blessings in my life
 but I really don't PRAY as much as I should.
 I did yesterday.

Yesterday I got the opportunity to 2nd shoot my first wedding.
What a great thing!
Before leaving the house I looked down at what I had.
And what I didn't have.
I prayed.
"God, I am grateful for this. I am so happy. I will do my very best. But I don't have THINGS.
I don't have all that I need. Lenses, camera bodies, cases, flashes, cards, etc. I don't have THOSE things.
I'll do my best with this. I'm giving the rest to you."

I don't often do that.
You know, "leave it at the foot of the cross", as they say.
Others would call it "the Hows".
Because I burden myself with the falsity that I should be able to do it all myself.
And that somehow I'm a failure that I can't.
I'm working on that. 

I read up on one of my favorite blogs today.
They have 5 kidlets, with one just being adopted a month ago.
Just recently they found out they were pregnant.
They will have 6 kidlets under age 7 in their house soon.
I had to mull that one over in my brain for a sec.
Then it kinda hit me.
If she can do it so can I.
She stays at home but has a boat load of kids.
That's like having a boat load of full time jobs.
I have two full time jobs and one kidlet.
I think we can both do it.

I have confidence.

I have faith.

Happy Saturday!