Announcing...An Artist in the Hoooouuuuse.

Saturday night was the "Meet & Greet Holiday Open House" at Street Scene. As I mentioned last week, this adorable little shop here in Lexington started carrying some of my crafty creations and even gave me my own little display area.

So Saturday came and I was excited, yet nervous about the open house. Mike and I were going to go around 6pm with our 15 year old niece and our boys. Around 3pm Canaan threw up (yucko), twice, which left Mike to stay at home with the boys and my niece and I heading to the open house alone.

The "Meet and Greet" was from 6-9pm. My niece and I showed up on time (its a thing with me...) and grabbed a cup of tea at the coffee house next door. Nervously I mozied on over to the shop where they had put out big trays of food and bottles of wine. It was so festive in there and I felt incredibly proud to have a part in such a creative and unique place.

(Our dear friends Jason and Kris' daugher Jordana, lending her support. Thanks Jordana!)

(Some of our college small group (and friends of course) lending their support. Thanks guys!)

It ended up being a great night. By 7:30 the place was absolutely packed. I had some good friends come out and show their support which was incredibly meaningful to me (thanks to you all!).

(My niece, Ragan, and I. Because of the crazyiness of the afternoon I didn't have time to do my hair...hence the hat.)

(There's my stuff. On that rack up there. See it? :)

Now that I have that behind me I am starting to get a bit frantic about the amount of holiday gifts that must get done in a month. It doesn't help that we will be in Florida for 2 weeks of that time so I am REALLY having to kick it into high gear. In fact, I think the sewing machine will be coming to the hotel with us if I ever hope to get it all done in time. Maybe I'll have to look for an outlet for the sewing machine pool side? Maybe a slinky little bikini, stiletto heels, big diva sunglasses, and my sewing machine...oh yeah baby!

Happy Birthday Mike!

Top Ten Reasons I Love Him So....

10. He can walk into any room and light it up. He has an infectious smile and has the ability to make people feel welcomed and important.

9. Its not easy to find a man that can re-wire a house and move plumbing AND love to shop at the mall for hours.

8. He wants the absolute best for our family and strives each day to make sure of it.

7. He believes in my dreams and helps me acheive them.

6. He has dreams of his own and loves to dream big. He thinks big and thinks towards the future. Thats gives us such hope and purpose as a family.

5. We have fun in any circumstance. He has been the only person in life that can always make me laugh...even after 10 years of marriage!

4. He's doesn't take himself too seriously. He will dance and sing around the house and make up rap songs about things we see as we drive in the car.

3. He will willingly and without complaining go in the middle of the night and pick up random pieces of furniture off the side of the road that I want to refinish.

2. He loves God deeply and has a passion for seeing others have a true and deep relationship with God as well. He has convictions that he believes in and stands up for. Whether it is in society or in the church, he stands for what is right.

1. He will always be the person I want to have my morning coffee with and the glass of wine at night with. I thank God every day that I found this amazing guy when I was 20 years old so I could spend atleast 80 years with him here on earth. We have a lot of living left to do together...oh how I love him so!

Happy Birthday!

Sydney's Pillow

Sydney, the daughter of my great friend Kristie, had a birthday last weekend. I wanted to make her something special and after seeing a wonderful pillow online with a castle theme, I decided to make Sydney her own castle pillow. It started out basic and then continued to develop and develop and then the Lord totally brought that verse to mind "He crowns me with love and compassion" which I thought tied in perfectly and is a great reminder for anyone.

It was so much fun to make and I took time to pray specific prayers for sweet little Sydney as I made it.

Putting Myself Out There

This week I really put myself out there....really. It is the first time I took some of my projects (i.e. aprons, bags, bracelets, etc...) to a shop to see if they liked it well enough to sell.
I have been so nervous about it. I have been thinking of doing it for weeks now and knew the shop I wanted to approach but it was getting the guts to do it. Putting yourself out there creatively is a really scary thing. I feel like I have pretty tough skin but rejection or critiquing is still painful.
Well anyhow, last week I had Mike go scope out the place. He took in a couple of my things with him to get a feel for me from the shop owner if she would like it (I told you I was scared!)

He came home with a good report. They liked the little creations I had made and said they would carry them in the shop! I promptly gathered my stash of items, ironed them again to make sure they were presentable, made tags for them, and took them to the shop this Monday.

The owners were so super cool and encouraging. They pulled out a display rack from the back and gave me my own little display in the shop. It was pretty fun (and scary) knowing that my things will now be for sale in a retail sort of way.
This weekend the shop has their annual Holiday Open House and a "meet and greet" with the artists (I am one of those now) from 6-9pm. So we'll be there and some of our friends will drop by to lend support and do some holiday shopping in this awesome little store, Street Scene.
And of course, even though I told myself I wouldn't make anything else right now to put in the shop because my holiday gift list of handmade goodies is growing by the day, I didn't listen to myself and have made a few more items for the Open House this weekend. Here's a glimpse...

So that's that. I have officially put myself out there and it paid off. So what are you waiting for? Take a leap with me and reach for something you would like to acheive. I'd love to hear about it and encourage you and pray for you as you go for it! I have so many goals for the next month, year, and beyond. I pray for myself that I will remember my first priority is to God and my family and serving others above any personal goal. I also pray that as I get time to pursue my dreams that I use discernment and wisdom. I praise God for the gift of creativity (we all have it--don't let yourself believe otherwise) and that I have a great husband and family that cheer me on and let me dream big.

Thanksgiving Day Menu

Its All In the Scheduling!

This year I have made no formal Thanksgiving meal plans. Our trip to Florida for Thanksgiving with my parents was postponed till December so I think we'll venture to the mountains to spend the day with Mike's mom.
In leiu of my annual Thanksgiving Day Menu I thought I'd do something a bit different. I stumbled across my "Thanksgiving Day Schedule" for the meal that I had written out last year. I love not only to plan a meal but also be totally on top of things and organized so that on the day I am not stressed out and making everyone around me miserable.

*** It is really fantastic to try and make certain things ahead of time. I made my side dishes and desserts the day before and put them in the fridge. There is absolutely no difference in fact, it tastes better because they have time to grow in intenisty of flavor and depth.

Here was last years menu:

Maple Oat Dinner Rolls
Organic Roast Turkey
Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing
Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
Sauteed Green Beans with Red Peppers
Sweet Potato Casserole

Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Mousse Cake
Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream

I used this schedule last year and the meal went off without a hitch!
At the end I'll put a couple of my thoughts and tips on it all as well.
So here it is: maybe you can find it somewhat useful for your Thanksgiving this year.

Thanksgiving Day Schedule (on the day of the meal)...dinner at 5:30pm

2pm Start Turkey @ 2pm-2:30pm (cooks 2 1/2 to 3 hours)

3pm Make dough for rolls (rise 1 hr 30 minutes)

3:30 Take stuffing & sweet potato casserole out of the fridge and let sit on the counter a bit.

3:30 Wash and cut fresh green beans and red peppers.

Cut potatoes and boil the water. Boil potatoes and put them in a water bath (**see end note)

4:30 Shape dough into rolls and let rise on the pan before putting them in the oven.

5:00 Take turkey out of the oven (**see end note)
Put rolls into the oven with casserole and stuffing.
Start cooking green beans and red peppers.
Make gravy from turkey drippings.

5:30 Time to eat!!!

***Side Notes***

~Check appropriate times for your turkey. For some reason people think that turkeys have to cook all day long. NOT TRUE!! I really like Barefoot Contessa's recipe for Roast Turkey. Its absolute perfection everytime.

~I roast the garlic the day before as well. Check this out to learn how.

~ After your potatoes boil you could either leave them in the water till ready to mash or go ahead and mash them and put them in the oven on low heat. Unless you have 2 ovens though, you won't be able to do the latter.

And So It Continues.....

This weekend was yet another that encompassed the kitchen remodel. This weekend we finally put in hardwood!!! Woo hoo!!! I think this means the end is near. I absolutely cannot believe how much we bit off on this project. Removing 2 walls, re-plumbing and re-wiring the washer and dryer to the back of the house, re-finishing the cabinets, tearing out 60 years of old floors to put in hardwood, tile back splash, etc...

I guess when this is done we can know that every other project we tackle in the house won't be nearly as time consuming or hard.
Installing the hardwood was a new thing for both of us. The hardest part was the work Mike had to do to get to the sub floor just to install the hardwood. Lots of backbreaking work for him :(
We stayed up late into the night Saturday night installing the hardwood which had to be pounded in (my job) and nailed in (Mike's job) piece by piece. It was 95% done...and then we ran out of wood. Crap! So tonight we hope to finish. They still need painted and sealed someday.

Yesterday we took a day of rest and went to Ikea in Cincinnati. We spent the day there eating lunch, shopping for kitchen lighting (which we got on clearance, woo hoo!), and letting the kids play.
A new week begins. Mike's birthday is next Monday so I will be thinking of some special things to do for him throughout this week.

A Week in Review

This week has been computer-less (kind of a nice thing at times :). We are back online and it has been a whirlwind of a week. Here's a recap:


Canaan and I went on a morning date to our favorite little bakery in town called "Le Matin". Totally French and amazingly good. Canaan really wanted a mini chocolate cake for his "breakfast" and we brought back Ezra and Daddy some yummy croissants.

After that we headed to Lowes to get some paint for the kitchen and ended up finding a $275 vanity for the bathroom (a bathroom re-do is in order someday in the future) for $25! I love a good deal...

Speaking of a good deal. After a couple month delay I made it back to my favorite auction house for a Sunday afternoon auction.

I love, love, love going to auctions! This week I won a dresser ($10), 2 upholstered chairs ($10 for both) and a wingback chair and lamp ($5). I'll paint the dresser and sell it. I'll sell the chairs and the lamp as well. Our house has become somewhat of a revolving furniture store of sorts!

The week:
My beloved yellow tree is loosing its leaves. So, so sad. The boys had fun playing with their cousin and making a leaf pool by putting the leaves into our empty hole in the ground where the koi pond used to be (we need to fill that in next spring.) They would run and jump into their leaf pool with such excitement!

The kitchen remodel continues. Mike has been working so hard doing little thing (and big things) to get the job done. I had found a really cool door that used to be in a nunnery that I wanted as our back door.

It was too big so Mike had to cut it down to size. So for one cold 30 degree night, we had just the storm door up and a quilt.
There is HOPE that we are going to install the hardwood this weekend. Woo hoo!!!!

So that about wraps it up. Lots of life stuff in there as well. Great times in discipleship with our college students, time as a family, church stuff, a trip to Florida coming up soon and planning some fun things with friends for the holidays....we love it all!

Computer problems...again....

I am writing this from my office computer at the church. Our home computer is once again acting naughty so its been shipped out for work. Soooo...I will be absent from blogging for a couple of days :(
I have so much to share about in regards to friends, family, crafting, and life! It will have to wait.
See you soon.

enRICHing my life

Two of my favorite catalogs came in the mail yesterday;Garnet Hill and Anthropologie. I love to sit down with them, not for the purpose of shopping, but rather gathering ideas. I usually have a piece of paper nearby and sketch out inspired ideas for future projects. Nothing I make or do is 100% original....really what is?

Anyhow, as I was doing that yesterday I had this profound thought--well at least to me it was profound. "Being poor has enRiched my life".

Ok, at this point in life we are not poor. By American standards we are in the middle tax bracket but in the world's economy we are RICH (and in God's economy, but that's a whole other blog post).

When Mike and I first got married we were training to be full time missionaries. After our year long training, we went into full time ministry and lived on donations from churches, family and friends. It was a really hard few years. We didn't have a chance to properly raise our support so it was looooowwwww. Really low. In fact, the year Canaan was born we made a little under $12,000.

Fast forward to today and Mike has a nice job with a relatively nice salary. I am able to stay at home with the boys and we live moderately.
As I thought about it, spending years with low money flow has really enriched my life in so many ways. I started realizing all of the ways that we are better because of it.
For one--my creative mind and abilities have gone to new levels! If I had had money readily available to go buy Canaan and Ezra a birthday cake, I never would have learned to bake well or decorate cakes. If I had money go buy nice gifts for family and friends at Christmas, I never would have taught myself to sew, embroider, knit, quilt, build, or design.

If money was readily available to us I would have purchased alot more pre-made foods at the grocery store or we would have eaten out much more. But instead I have developed a love of making food and learning the art of cooking. I enjoy canning, freezing, make-ahead meals, and creating my own recipes because I had to use the ingredients at hand.

If money was readily available to us I would not have developed a passion and excitement for business and generating an income. I started my little Ebay business almost 8 years ago and I still make a profit from it each month. I have my Peddlers Mall booth which I opened last month and sold $270 in items (not bad in this economy!)

I love the resource fullness that I have developed over these past 10 years and the optimism and hope I have for the future.
Don't get me wrong...our financial situation still causes us to stress at times and its not fun to have a beans and rice diet at certain points, but through it all we know without a shadow of a doubt that God is good and we are completely blessed and RICH in life.

I guess I write this not only as a reminder to myself but to anyone else out there struggling to make ends meet. Take the obstacles and frustrations of your financial situation and use it to better yourself and learn as much as you can from and in the midst of it. Its amazing how resilient we are!
Didn't know one could learn so much from getting the catalogs in the mail, did you?

Well my blog has been lacking recently. Not a whole lot of content these days. I have an excuse! Look at this picture. Would you leave a spot like this to sit indoors and blog? I think not! Laying on a hammock under my beloved yellow tree, listening to the birds chirp and the boys fight over toys....heaven on Earth. So when the weather turns rainy again later this week I will be back indoors writing. But for now, I will soak in as much fall weather as I can get. Wanna join me?


Today is the big day! With strep throat and headache I will go to the polls. Canaan can't wait to go and watch us vote...very exciting times!
Yes, strep throat. Yuck. Of course on our most gorgeous fall week of the year (beautiful color outside and mid 70's) all I want to do is sleep and sew quietly during my awake time.

I took a picture of Ezra as we left for church Sunday. He was adamant about bringing his skateboard (which is missing 2 wheels) to church. I love his style. He likes to wear Canaan's clothes most of the time, actually. Ezra has much more of a laid back style where as Canaan likes to look a bit more sleek. He loves to wear polos or button down shirts and pop the collar (I SWEAR we never showed him this or put it up for him!!!) Anyhow, he has more of a funky GQ thing going.

As for my style this fall, its all about the leg warmers. I have 2 pairs now and just love, love, love them. I don't even think it is an appropriate "style" this season but I love them all the same. I haven't picked up an issue of Cosmo in a long time so I really have no current fashion sense.
So I vote----leg warmers. Are you ready for change? Leg warmers are the answer...
Have a great day!

Seeing Yellow...

This is the first fall in our home. It is so exciting to see what fall colors emerge in our yard. Finally the big shade tree in our backyard has shown its fall colors...yellow!
Last Friday I sat out by the fire pit and our big old tree was still green. But over the weekend the color came. Now it is a wonderfully vibrant yellow. The leaves reach high above the house so the color even casts a yellow hue in the windows of the house. Its amazing.
I have loved our tree throughout these seasons. The shade it provides us in the summer makes it so comfortable in the heat. The dead sticks that fall from it now give us great fire starting power in our fire ring and in the fireplace inside. Now it is giving us a beautiful gift of fall color to enjoy. And soon it will give us the gift of excersize by having to rake up all of its fallen leaves.
The weather is unseasonably warm (mid 70's). I swept and cleaned our screen draped porch today in anticipation of a week of dinners out under the chandelier and watching the yellow sun go down and illuminate our yellow tree in the sunset...

Cowboys and Dinosaurs...oh my!