Friday, May 31, 2013

High Five for Friday

Hello everyone, I'm linking up with High Five for Friday with my favorites from this week.

1. I can get overwhelming when trying to clean and organize something. I'm thankful the guest room is always a clean place to retreat to.

2. I made pork chops for the FIRST TIME EVER! They were delicious, even my husband loved them. Click here for the recipe.
3. Sometimes I like photos that are blurry and out of focus. This is Ellie's "why did you stop scratching my ears to take this picture" face.

4. My best friend is getting married in a week! I love helping with the wedding prep. Bubbles!

5. The sunlight pouring in these windows every morning is one of my favorite parts of the day.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

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Just Put a Hole in the Wall Already

One of my goals for the long weekend was to get some frames on the wall. I tossed around the idea of measuring tape, painters tape, toothpaste and many other crazy ideas that are supposed to "help" you hang up a picture frame. Finally, on Monday evening with nothing hung up, I grabbed a hammer and a nail and hung up two frames. There was no measuring, tracing the frame shape on a piece of paper or any other method involved. I'm very thankful my hubby did not freak out when he saw what I was up to but approved with a shoulder shrug and a "looks good" comment.

The thing is even if I measured a million times I would still be second guessing the placement. Plus, nobody is going to be walking around my house saying things like "your picture frame is a half an inch of center." There are already plenty of holes in the walls from the people who lived here before so if I did mess up on a grand scale my mistakes would blend right in. (Which eased the blow of straight up hamming nails into my walls a little bit.) It is better to experiment with this kind of stuff now, before we paint. That way we can switch it up when we finally get some fresh paint on the walls.

It's situations like this where the phrase "done is better than perfect" comes to mind. I did not put any of our own photos or art in them yet. The gold frame is from Goodwill, I want to paint and and switch up the art although I will probably hang on to the art for a "someday baby girl room" if someday God blesses us with a baby girl. The second frame is from Target (on clearance!) and no, those are not our smooching faces but I will replace the stock photo soon. Hanging the frames up was the goal, not necessarily getting our pictures on the wall. Just keeping it real :)

How do you hang up photos? Are you meticulous and measure everything? Or do you just pick up an hammer and swing like I did?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

My Memorial Day weekend was filled with kittens, flowers, strawberry pie, birthdays, new restaurants, and a great time with family and friends.

 My mother-in-love is an amazing gardener.

The neighbors new kitten. She is full of energy!

Have a great Memorial Day!

Friday, May 24, 2013


Today I found myself with a few extra hours. I wrote a "to-do" list and got started. Then I found myself getting distracted by the most random stuff.

While putting the laundry away I noticed that a sweater had a snag. Off I went to find a small crochet hook to pull the snag through the sweater to fix it. In my bag of crafting paraphernalia I found a knitting project I started in college (five years ago) so I decided to knit a row.

Totally random, I know. After completing my row (and being proud that I still remembered how to knit) I went back to my search for a small crochet hook. But first, I found a crochet project I started last year. Now, I needed to see if I remembered how to crochet, so I crocheted a row.

I did it! Now with these small accomplishments I have successfully distracted myself from putting away the laundry. At this point my cat started to eat the yarn so I cleaned everything up, found my small crochet hook (finally) fixed my sweater and finished putting the laundry away.

Are you getting distracted by anything funny? Have any old unfinished projects hanging around? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hanging Backwards Update

The other day I turned my closet upside down and tried on almost every piece of clothing I owned. You might remember this post where I hung all of my clothes hangers backwards in order to see what I was wearing. While that method was very helpful a few things (my shape) changed and my clothes were not fitting as well as they used to.

I was getting frustrated with not having anything to wear so I went through all of my clothes in order to see my wardrobe better. I'm also trying to simplify everything so I figured I might as well start here. One of my new years goals is to have a closet of only clothes I love by the end of 2013. Anything that was still on a backwards hanger because I didn't like the item anymore got immediately put in the donate pile. Then I tried on everything else to see if it fit, cut & color were flattering and to decide if I love it.

This is what I ended up with.
The far left is casual clothes I would wear in public, which is sweatshirts and track jackets. Next is winter things, cardigan sweaters and long sleeve button-ups. After that is things that fit me right now (note, it is the smallest section.) Last, is when I get skinny again clothes. I know that many people say that you should only have clothes that fit you right now in your closet, but these are pieces I really love so I want to hold onto them for a little bit longer (with hopes that I will drop a few pounds and be able to fit back into them.) I will note that the winter and casual sections of my closet do indeed fit me right now as well, but considering it's been in the eighties the past few days they are not clothes I want to be wearing.

The clothes-hanging-on-a-backwards-hanger method can be great, but my closet needed a more drastic change.

Have you ever tried the backwards hanger method? How did it work of you? Anyone else doing a big clothing purge?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Five Ways to Simplify Life in Five Minutes or Less

 As I am working on turning our house into our home I have been keeping simplicity a priority. Today I'm sharing a few quick ways to make life simpler, even if it's just for the moment.

1. Unsubscribe from all those emails you get for every sale under the sun. Many of the email lists I was on were for companies I've only made a purchase from once. If and when I want to buy something from them again in the future, it's not hard to search for coupon codes. Plus, this helps curb the temptation to buy things just because they are "on sale." Because chances are they will be on sale again.

2. Go throw something away. It's trash so just pitch it. (Or recycle it if that's a better option.)

3. Clear off your kitchen counter or table (or both) if you need it. It usually takes less time then you think to clean up the clutter and put things away where they actually belong.

4. Fluff the sofa cushions and straighten the pillows in which ever room your family watches TV. If there are blankets out put those away while you're at it. A tidy family room always makes me happy.

5. Sort through your mail. Divide papers into keep, toss and shred. Toss the junk mail right away but if you don't have enough time to shred or file the rest, simply put them next to the filing cabinet or next to the shredder. It's not perfect but you're one step closer then you were before.

Now go! Even doing just one small thing will help make life feel simpler.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Today I am thankful for sunrises

and sunsets

In all our busy rushing it's important to stop and appreciate the beautiful world around us. Even if it just a quick glance out the window.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Does 'Home' Mean?

I shared my house with you on Monday and I'm planning / brainstorming / scheming about what I want to do to make our house our home. I started thinking about what 'home' in the past has been for me. Two apartments, two houses (this is the third house I've lived in) and one dorm room (for an extremely brief time.)

One of those houses is what I call the-house-I-grew-up-in. I lived there for thirteen years and I don't remember much of the apartment we lived in before that, and I only lived with my parents for two years after we moved. (Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of it on this computer to share with you.)

When I think of home, I think of people first. My husband, and then my parents and sisters. But besides people, what about the physical house / apartment / condo makes it feel like home.

The house I grew up in was on the smaller side for the amount of people (+ one large dog) we had living in it. I had my own room (most of the time) and my sisters shared. I loved my room. It was my place were I could hide away. I always wanted to put an armchair in there but there was not enough space so when I was thirteen I set up a collapsible camping chair in corner by the window where I would read Harry Potter. This was home.

When I was in love with a new song I would play it on full blast and dance around the kitchen with my little sister. This was home.

At Christmas time, my mom put Christmas lights everywhere, on top of kitchen cabinets, on the piano, over the window frame. I'd sit in the living room and listen to Christmas music with only the glow of these lights. This was home.

The main living space was always filled with sunlight from a big glass door and lots of windows. I loved how bright and cheerful it always was This was home.

All of these memories are elements of home that I can bring into my new house. A nook to read, good speakers to play music and dance, lots of holiday decorating and soaking in the sunlight.

I am very blessed to have such a great place to call home growing up. I love my current house, I want to turn it into an equally great place to call home now.

Monday, May 13, 2013

House Tour!

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of the house! These photos are from when we were cleaning pre-move in (so please ignore the cleaning clutter and lack of furniture.)

 Family Room
 Dining Room
 Half Bath (and me!)
 Living Room
 Living Room (again)
 Bedroom #1
 Hall Bath
 Master Bath
 Master Bedroom
Bedroom #2

We haven't done anything to our house yet, except set down our furniture and continue living life. I can't believe we have been here for nine months already. I've been working on a plan and I'll be sharing that within the next few weeks, along with thoughts about "home" and what it means to me.

Friday, May 10, 2013

In Honor of Mother's Day

I would like to say 'thank you' to my mom.

Thank you for choosing coloring with me over dishes in the sink.

Thank you for letting me plant sunflowers and marigolds.

Thank you for tucking me in and saying prayers with me every night (thanks to dad too on this one.)

Thank you for being so kind to all my friends in and for always having a seat for them at the dinner table.

Thank for staying up until four am helping me finish my government project senior year.

Thank for understanding when I wanted to move home for college.

Thank you for making Christmas such a special holiday for us.

Thank for answering all my questions, even if they're silly. (Like phone calls about questionable ground beef and other impossible things to answer over the phone.)

Thank you for hang-out days :)

Thank for loving my husband like he is your own son.

But most of all, thank you for being you. I'm so thankful God matched you and me to be mother and daughter.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

An Idea Person

Lately, I have been listening to the Simple Mom Podcasts and one called From a Land Down Under  Tsh was speaking with Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. He said something that really stuck with me. "I just love coming up with ideas. If I could get paid just to come up with ideas, I'd be a millionaire."

My first thought was 'oh me too!" and I realized that is what it means to "be an idea person" and in fact I am an idea person. I literally have so many ideas I don't know what to do with them. After hearing these words of wisdom, my husband and I had a good conversation about how sometimes I get frustrated that I don't follow through with my ideas. When my interest in an idea slows, I get bored and jump to the next one.

This made me think of a past post from Haley at The Tiny Twig. When she finished her eBook The No Brainer Blog, she posted about how it was a challenge for her to finish the project when it started losing momentum. I am totally the same way, the finishing part of a project is definitely the hardest part for me.

This realization that I'm an idea person made me see that I'm not a lazy or a failure because I haven't finished all these ideas/projects (which is how I sometimes feel). I simply have more ideas than I can possibly pursue. What I need is an idea filter. Not all of my ideas are not good so I don't need to waste my time working on the not-so-great ones. Filtering out the bad ideas would leave more time for actually completing the very best ones. The husband suggested I write out a mega list of ideas so I can work on the best ones and cross them off as I go. He is brilliant. I love him. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

What Are You Passionate About?

What are you passionate about?

For some people this question is easy to answer. They are passionate about things like soccer, cooking, playing a musical instrument, or teaching. For others, this question is hard. Really really hard.

I am the second of these too.

I’m not looking for a big career change or life planning or anything like that. I just simply want to try and figure out what I’m truly passionate about. So, when the time comes to make a big decision I could reflect on this information and use it as guidance (along with lots of prayer) to make the best decision possible.

When I sat down and thought critically about this here is what I first came up with.
Playing the piano

Well that’s all well and good but it doesn’t really give me perspective on which direction I want my life to take. So I did a little research, I found some articles that tell you to “follow your dreams” and “reach for the stars” but I found little information that actually helped you figure out what you’re lifelong dreams and stars actually are. I found a few questions to ask yourself that were helpful and I came up with a few of my own. Here are my favorites.

1. Describe your perfect day.

2. Time flies by without you realizing it when you are doing _____? (fill in the blank)

3. Where do your daydreams take you?

4. If you received an extra $100 what would you spend it on?

5. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Now, you can take these questions an answer them with a sarcasm (that has a little truth in it) and find out a few things about yourself. Here are my smart aleck answers:

1. Describe your perfect day. Sleeping in, wearing pajamas all day while watching HGTV and wasting too much time on Pinterest. (note: I do not have HGTV anymore but when I did, I loved it.)

2. Time flies by without you realizing it when you are doing _____? Sleeping or watching a movie.

3. Where do your day dreams take you? A tropical vacation.

4. If you received an extra $100 what would you spend it on? That kitten I saw at the pet store last week

5. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Go skydiving!

The truth is, when I sleep or only watch TV all day, I hate it. I feel like it such a waste of my time and it isn’t fulfilling at all. These answers make me feel like I am a lazy person, but if I answer them again and actually think about the questions I learn a few things about myself

1. Describe your perfect day. Waking up early, spending quality time with my husband, then doing something creative. A craft, writing, rearranging a room or grabbing my camera and heading outside for some photography.

2. Time flies by without you realizing it when you are doing­­­_____? Crunching numbers about something exciting. One time I spent two hours figuring out how much we would pay in rent over 5 years versus how much equity we’d have in a house after 5 years. I was factoring in interest rates and everything. To me it felt like only 30 minutes went by. Sometimes just planning in general makes time fly, I love lists (although sometimes I don't follow my lists.)

3. Where do your day dreams take you? Day dreaming usually leads me to thinking about different ways to decorate rooms in my house, throwing a great party for friends and family, coming up with different ways to save money or mentally planning for a tropical vacation (hey what can I say, vacation is in my daydreams either way.)

4. If you received an extra $100 what would you spend it on? Something decorative for my house, DIY project materials, going thrifting for some cool new finds or just save it.

5. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Be bold. Decorate my house with color and pattern without worrying about resale (cause who knows when I'm going to sell it.) Or open a small business, even if it's just a coffee shop or a housewares store.

After thinking the answers to this question over I discovered patterns and realized how the all intertwined.  Clearly I like decorating and being creative. But how does crunching numbers and budgeting fit into that. Throwing a party? Where does that fit in? And then it hit me, what I’m most passionate about is making life beautiful on a budget.

What I mean by this is so many people believe they can’t do something because they don’t have enough money. We can’t throw a nice party because we can’t afford it. We can’t have our house nicely decorated because that would take a lot of money we don’t have. We can’t afford a vacation. I want to come up with ways to live life to the fullest while living within my means.

I also realized how I was already living this out in my life. But, narrowing them down and wrapping them up in the phrase "I'm passionate about making life beautiful on a budget."  Really helps me focus and make better decisions. Now, it's your turn.

What are you passionate about?

Note: This post was originally published on an old blog of mine, but I thought it was good information so I did some edits and republished it here.

Friday, May 3, 2013

High Five for Friday!

I'm linking up with Lauren Elizabeth with my five favorites from this week.

1. The morning sun streaming through the window even if the blinds are closed.

2. Springtime color!

3. Fresh lunches.

4. Having my husband home again.

5. This little fur ball turned two! Funny story, my hubby is usually the one who feeds her, well he was out of town for a few weeks and I was worried I would forget to feed her. I told myself just to make it a habit of filling her bowl up full everyday, that way if I forgot one day she would still have plenty of food. Now, hubby comes back in town and within a couple of hours of being home he comments on how Ellie looks bigger. The next day while holding her he says she feels heavier. I hadn't noticed because I've been around her everyday, but I MADE THE CAT FAT. Now I have to buy her the weight control cat food. Happy Birthday Ellie, I hope you enjoy those few extra pounds which to celebrate with.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What Is Growing In My Garden?

We are celebrating our first spring in this house, which brings a whole new season in our garden. With the help of my mother-in-love, I've figured out what many of the plants at my house are (and some are obvious, like tulips.) But spring has sprung with lots of flowing trees and bushes, so I used the opportunity to bust out my camera and play photographer.

 Tulips! I didn't plant these last fall so the must have been from the year before. I love the colors in these ones.
 Mystery Plant #1 I love these little pink flowers with the red leaves.
 Mystery Plant #2 I love these little white flowers. The bush was completely green when we moved in, so these beautiful flowers were a nice surprise.
The lilac is ready to burst. This bush is very overgrown so it will be getting a much needed haircut after it's finished blossoming.
 The pear tree! It actually produces pears in the summer. Wish I liked pears...
Mystery Plant #3. These weird blossoms are all over this tree. It is such a beautiful color right now. I am very thankful that this view is out my window.

Pre-homeownership, I always wanted to have a lilac and a magnolia in my yard. The lilac part came true, but it looks like I'm going to have to find a spot to plant an magnolia. I'd also like to have some room for some hydrangea and possibly peonies so I can have some fresh cut flowers around the house FOR FREE. (Free is my favorite number)

What do you have growing in your garden? Any mystery plants?