Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lessons from A to Z ~ Year In Review

Last year was a BIG year for our family! I think its safe to say it was our BIGGEST yet. It was full of BIG THINGS—both wonderful and difficult. And God has stretched our faith, our wallets, and our hearts because of it. Here are some highlights (chronologically):

Big Court Trials - Both in February & June, we were in two of the biggest cases in our small area, involving our boys & 5 other parties. The trials were hard, stressful, and a first for us. But good things came out of it and we have maintained healthy relationships with all sides, even now after our adoption.

Visitations & more visitations - With all this, came lots of visits from biological family. On Skype, in hotels and DSHS rooms –we did it all!

Xavier’s Big Tonsils & Adenoids– The surgery caused Xavi a little anxiety, a lot of relief, & soon after better speech!

Potty training & more potty training - We potty-trained two kids, one successfully, one is still "in transition". Causing much trauma for Chad and I.  Seriously, we are on year two.  We covet your prayers.

 Craig’s Big Surgery - Star’s Dad had a major health scare in June. 2 surgeries, months in the hospital, and months in a wheel chair, he is now recovering. It was amazing to see how much he is loved though, and how much he loves the Lord. We were humbled to be a part of such a powerful thing. God is good!

Baptisms and more Baptisms - over 80 people were baptized last year at our church, including our own Zoe! Praise the Lord, what a wonderful thing!

Big House Issues - Between our rental and our house, a fridge, 2 ovens, a dishwasher, water heater, sewer line & foundation all failed on us since Fall. Ouch.

Abby’s Big Appendix - Just one week before Christmas, Abby went in for an emergency appendectomy. She was such a brave trooper! 

Paperwork & more Paperwork - We navigated through a flurry of adoption forms, interviews & certifications, hoping to squeak in the boys’ adoption before the New Year!

Our BIG Adoption - On December 23rd we drove back to the courthouse and officially adopted our precious sons. What a great ending to a challenging year!
Whew! Like I said, BIG stuff. But over this last year, we have experienced Christ more deeply, risked more for Him, learned more from Him, and clung to Him tighter. We have had seasons that are hard-fought, praying on our knees. And that's OK, God tells us these seasons will come. But He also tells us they will go.  And wonderful seasons of laughter and dancing soon follow.
 “To every thing there is a season, 
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  
…a time to break down, and a time to build up; 
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; 
a time to mourn, and a time to dance…” 
  ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 ~

Valentines Day Tea

A few Saturdays ago we had a Valentines Day Tea and Luncheon for our girls and a few of their friends. 

I mixed and matched different pieces of my china with our red fiesta ware. The table was set with a red plastic table cloth, topped with a white lace table cloth. I found red card stock I already had and used a punch around the edges to create a pretty placemat. I tied everything together with large "confetti" made up of circles and hearts sprinkled around the table.

 I created a chandelier effect with balloons and tissue paper poufs.

I also made this fun (& free!) garland out of old scrapbooking paper, a circle-shaped punch, string and dabs of hot glue. Then I draped it everywhere!

The mantel got it too.  I displayed an antique cream and sugar set my mom gave me here too.

We had a simple, kid-friendly menu - including heart-shaped sandwiches (PB&J, cucumber & cream cheese and egg salad)...
... fruit...

 ...and yummy desserts, including cupcakes and decorate-your-own heart-shaped sugar cookies.

I invited moms to either drop their girls off or stay and have some coffee.

It was fun catching up in the dining room as we listened to our giggling girls in the kitchen.

To greet the guests as they came and left, the front door got a moss wreath, with a red bow and cookie cutter heart - a new combination of old things I had.

It was a fun and very sweet afternoon!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kitchen Sneak Peak - Valentines Shelves

Over the last year we have been updating our kitchen, little by little, and nickle by nickle.  Our goal was to give it a well-designed, casual, classic cottage look for as little money as possible. We found free material, researched low-cost/high-impact updates and did all the work ourselves. Anything that did cost money, Chad and I "gifted" to each other for birthdays and Christmas. ("Merry Christmas honey, here is a new backsplash!") I'll be sharing all about our kitchen over the next week or so.

But today I'm giving you a sneak peak (and a "how to" break down) of our kitchen shelves, all decked out for Valentines Day:

I bought the 2 floating shelves at Walmart last Spring for about $19 each. They came with free subscriptions to Better Homes and Gardens. This was a nice little bonus that I gifted to two friends - which saved me a few bucks in our gift budget. 

They are floating shelves, quite sturdy on their own and can hold 10-15 lbs each. This is great because they also don't really put any weight on the decorative antique (aka fragile) corbels I added under them. They came with a metal bracket, anchors and wall screws.

Once I leveled and anchored the bracket to the wall, making sure I hit a few studs, the shelf slid over the bracket easily like so:

After the shelves were attached securely, I added some antique corbels to give more character and age to otherwise modern-looking shelves. 

I found a set of 6 of these corbels at a local salvage yard last year (they were my birthday present). They came from the exterior of a demo'd house. I got them for a deal because they were dirty, nail ridden, and splintered. But with some TLC, wood filler, and a little dry-brushed white paint, they cleaned up nicely. 

Since they are a little fragile, I pre-drilled small holes where I was nailing and screwing them into place. I also trimmed the corbels to fit the angle between the wall and shelves better.  Once all four corbels were in place, I caulked everything to give it a seamless look.

The polka-dot banner that is strung haphazardly, I made for a Valentines Tea my daughters are having this weekend.  (I'll be sure to share pics of that party soon!)  It will eventually get hung up over the table, but it added some Valentines color to the shelves for now.


I found any red or pink items I could from around the house, added some of our Fiestaware, silver platters and put left-over Valentines into an apothocary jar.

These shelves add so much character where there was none. And they are a great place to add fun seasonal decor into our kitchen. Here's another shot of them for February:

Here's what they looked like in January (pre-corbels):

Stay tuned for more of our Kitchen remodel soon!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Seahawks Girl

Most people who know me well, know that I'm don't follow football closely every season. And I don't often sit through a whole game.  BUT... I grew up in Seattle, sitting with my dad watching the Seahawks' Steve Largent, Jim Zorn and Curt Warner. I have been a Seahawks fan all of my life. And I'm so happy for the recent and amazing success of this team.

So proud to be a 12th man and missing Seattle a little more than usual today.