Coat Closet Transformation

 The entry way of our home has a coat closet that is directly across from my office/schoolroom.  Since the office is quite small, I turned the coat closet into a schoolroom extention/storage space.
I removed the bar for hanging coats and added two more shelves...
 I put scrapbook paper in my plastic storage drawers a while ago.  I love it because it hides all of the stuff inside and it's easy to change the look.  Got the idea from Pinterest, duh!
two added shelves
Finished product!!!

We are getting so excited to start our homeschooling adventure.  Our official start date is September 10th!  As always, I'll keep you posted!

It's Been a While

It's been a while since I've posted because I've been busy getting my school room ready (for my pre-school job) and writing lesson plans.  It's been SO weird being back in the work place even if it's only two days a week.  I love it!  The girls will go to pre-School with me two days a week and they are excited to meet their teachers on Tuesday.  I am excited for them to be in a classroom setting and getting used to it before we start homeschooling in two weeks.  I am planning on homeschooling on MWF  so we will be free to go to pre-School on T/TH.  busy.busy.busy.

Edy got a trim the other day.  It's starting to look more and more like a little bob.

AG got a much needed trim.  She made me promise that I wouldn't let the hair stylist cut off much.  After her trim, she asked to have her hair straighten--her favorite.  I swear, whenever we straighten that hair, AG turns into her alter ego slash Prissy Prissterson!  

Sunday night is FAMILY NIGHT...

the girls are mastering UNO
UNO--complete with fairy wings

We're weird and we know it!
Summer is slowly winding down.  *sniff, sniff*  This may be our last trip to the splash pad for a while.


Embrace Timeline!

Lots of my facebook friends have moaned and groaned about the new (is it really that new?) timeline.  I, for one, love it.  I think it's efficient--I like efficient.

I've used Picasa to make my own timeline cover photo a few times and it's fun and simple.  If you decide to make one, be sure to set your  collage size to 851 X 315 and don't resize your photo once you export it to your photo album or it will be distorted.

Also, The Cutest Blog on the Block has some adorable premade timeline templates.  Just choose one you like, save it  as a photo, and upload it to your favorite photo editing program and make a collage.  That simple.  

my timeline cover

my desktop background


Our Story

I've debated (over the past 18 months) on whether or not to write this post.  I've started it several times, but stopped for fear of judgment, criticism, people feeling "sorry for me", etc.  Other ideas that have run through my head: it's the Internet, it's too personal, why bother.

Trust me, there are many other reasons why I have battled over telling this particular story, but today (actually over the course of several weeks), I just decided to write it...document it...get it out.  I've never been one to be shy about sharing my feelings,  but I'm also cautious about how I should word certain things.  I won't be telling every detail--I'll just give an overview.  Hopefully, there will be some who will understand and pray for us.  There may even be some who can relate.

Here goes *deep breath*:

Some of my readers may remember that in April of 2011, we suffered a miscarriage.  We were sad, but we got through it.  God gave me the joy that only He can give.  I was unhappy, but my joy was abundant.  Does that make sense?  "The joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10--this was very true for me.

Here's a little piece of info that is totally relevant to our story, but may seem like TMI: We were blessed to conceive very quickly with our two daughters and the baby we miscarried.  After the miscarriage, we were ready to try again.  We got the 'okay' from the doctor and that is just the beginning of our story.  Here we are, 18 months later.

So....18 months.  That's not that long.  I am well aware that there are countless people that have had to go through this for much, much longer.  I know that it must be even more devastating for those that don't even have children yet.  I get it.

18 months--it's not that long unless you are the one getting the 'negative' answer each and every month:
negative. negative .negative. negative. negative .negative. negative. negative. negative. negative. negative. negative. negative. negative. negative. negative. negative. negative.
That's eighteen for those of you counting.

And I'm sure that there are some who will wonder things like this:  You already have two children, can't you just be happy with that?  Trust me, I thank the Lord for those two little girls every single day (not an exaggeration). They are such an apparent blessing in our lives.  We adore them with all of our hearts.  If we only have those two little girls, we will praise Him.

We would love another child or more children.  We desire more children.  We long for more kids.  How great are children!  They are such a blessing and we love teaching them about our Lord and Savior.  We love sharing our lives with them.

I'm told I'm not an anomaly.  Apparently, it's not uncommon to suffer infertility after having children or even conceiving so quickly. For the past few months, we have been seeing a reproductive endocrinologist.   Every single, solitary test I've undergone has had a positive result.  I'm taking a common fertility drug right now, but we are unsure of what we will do next.  We are prayfully considering our options.

God has a plan for us.  It may involve more children.  It may not.  We are seeking his wisdom in our decision making and praying that He would give us another child.  We are surrendered to His will for our family.  God is growing me closer and closer to Him.  It's wonderful and I still have that joy I talked about earlier.  I'm so thankful that I have Him!  In the future, I hope to share some of the things He has taught me. For now, this is about all I have the strength to write.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice."  Philippians 4:4
(commentary for Philippians 4:4 verse)

**update: Shortly after publishing this post, we found out the wonderful news that we were expecting.  We had some hiccups in the beginning of our pregnancy that landed us back in the doctor's office with the "threatened miscarriage" diagnosis.  On May 6, 2013 our Joy Tatum was born--happy and healthy!  Our Joy...His Glory!



*This post has been in the 'draft mode' for over a month and I have neglected to post it.  I still use this detergent and love it.  It's tried and true.

There are TONS and TONS and TONS of detergent recipes floating around Pinterest and I'm sure they are great.  I have a friend in Arkansas who made me the following recipe a few years ago and I loved it then and still love it now.  I'm sharing it--mainly because I want to have a record of it for the future.

This recipe is GREAT for people with sensitive skin.  Uhh...that would be me and pretty much my whole family.

  • 6 cups water
  • 1/3 bar Fels Naptha Laundry Bar Soap, grated (I used a cheese grater.  Walmart now carries this soap on the 'laundry detergent aisle'.)
  • 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 
  • 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 2 gallon bucket
  • 2-one gallon containers (milk jug, liquid laundry soap container, juice container, etc.)

  1. Mix grated soap in a large saucepan or pot with 6 cups of hot water and heat on the stove over LOW heat until dissolved. Don't get it too hot because it won't mix well later.  Do not allow to boil.  
  2. Stir in the Super Washing Soda and Borax.  Stir until the mixture thickens and remove from heat.  
  3. Pour  4 cups of hot water into the bucket.  
  4. Pour in soap mixture and stir
  5. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir
  6. Pour into containers
*shake detergent before using 
*mixture will be a little bit lumpy and look kind of like egg whites
*spot treat clothing before washing
*use 1/2 cup per load

What I'm Reading

Not a Fan:  Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus by Kyle Idleman

*update of previous book:  I've read a few books on prayer, but A Praying Life:  Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul E. Miller is the best book on prayer that I've ever read.  I highly recommend it.  


Cultivating the Canvas

A few weeks ago, I bought a blank canvas at Hobby Lobby and painted it (click HERE to see the painted canvas before the make-over). Thanks for the encouragement, Nester!  I hung it beside my piano, but it just seemed to be lacking something.  I stewed over it for a few weeks and finally came up with a solution.

Here's what I did:
  • bought a ton of scrapbook paper in patterns/styles that I like or things that represent my interest.  i.e. sheet music, mod patterns, typography, natural elements, Christmas sheet music, colors that go well together
  • made a template of a flower petal and cut out a bazillion of them
  • cut out two circles
  • laid the petals around the circles until I liked the pattern
  • Mod Podged (is that a word?) them to the canvas
  • Presto Change-o!


Spray-painted faucet???

It's true...I spray-painted my chrome faucet to coordinate with my new door handles and (spray-painted) knobs .  My thought behind it was this:  a new faucet could cost over 100 bucks and a can of  oil-rubbed bronze spray paint is around 8 bucks.  So...if it last me six months, a year, whatever, I'm pleased.  

I didn't even take the faucet off the sink.
By the way, I sprayed a layer of clear coat on the finished product.
I did this about two weeks ago and so far no chips.
Nice change.

*Update:  it's been over a year since I made this change.  There are a few chips because we use this faucet a lot throughout the day.  For the most part, it still looks great and I'm happy I made the change.


AG's birthday

On AG's actual bday, the girls woke us up bright and early for more birthday fun.  We still had a few gifts from us and the grandparents to open.  
I love all of these shots of AG opening her gift from us, but Edy is cracking me up.  Look at her--her expressions make me smile.

 AG got a beautiful ring from us.  She loves it.

From the grandparents and great-grandparents:  new backpack and lunchbox, dance clothes/bag, money, Chuck E. Cheese gift card.

*Yes, I'm homeschooling, but two days a week I am going to be teaching pre-school and because AG is a very young five year old, she and Edy will be going with me.
*AG is starting ballet/jazz this fall.  
*She also got some money to help pay for her soccer fees. (Yep, she wants to play again this year!)
Birthday girl! 
Headed to La Fonda del Sol (best breakfast in town) for  birthday breakfast as a family

One birthday gift was season passes to The Discovery Science Place in Tyler.  This is awesome because the passes get us in to a ton of museums around the country.  For a fun birthday celebration, we went as a family to the science center.

Then, we headed to Chuck E. Cheese... 

I think AG had an awesome 5th birthday.  Don't you?

Check out this video of my girls dancing with Chuck E.  It's pretty cute.


Happy Birthday, AG!

I can't believe my first born is FIVE!  I thank our Heavenly Father every day for the gift of Ava Grace. She has brought so much joy to Graham and me.  


AG's Big Birthday!

In celebration of AG's 5th birthday, we had a "water party" AKA a "redneck pool party"  Regardless of what we call it, it was a hit.  The kids had fun, the adults had fun, and AG had the time of her life, so I'm one happy momma!

Our house has an awesome backyard and a great deck and patio that is wonderful for entertaining.  We love it.  We have hopes to screen in our covered deck and create an "outdoor room".  I look forward to that.
 water balloons are always a hit
 Our "redneck slip-n-slide" was incredible.  Graham and I tested it out before the party.

Not gonna lie, I teared up while we sang "Happy Birthday" to my sweet girl.  Where has the time gone?

KK gave AG an awesome gift:  She took old make-up containers, filled them with nail polish, let them dry, and Voila!  Play Make-up.  It is a hit with the girls.

 This is what the kiddie pool looked like by the end of the night!

We had a wonderful time celebrating FIVE years with Ava Grace!  I'm looking forward to our little family celebration tomorrow!