Wednesday, August 13, 2014

homemade organization projects

My husband deserves a shout out! He has made me a bunch of homemade projects to help organize our home that I would have spent lots of money on in the stores. I love them so much I wanted to share!

Here's the first one. I got directions for how to make this online - it's a DIY Pottery Barn mail organizer. As you can see, I've filled it up nicely. Mail often ends up on the table or somewhere to make a mess... now at least it is a mess in the wall. I love it!



The next one is our shoe organizer. I was looking at our square space just inside the front door. I noticed our shoes never made it to the organizer in the closer. Instead of making another effort to put them in the closet, Erik and I thought a homemade shoe organizer would be nice. Erik based this off one he saw on google images, I think, and used some legs off a sewing machine table we were not going to use. That provided the four main framing pieces. I love the look and yes, this one we are actually using! It looks cool and helps keep the entryway more picked up.




Here's the lastest... just finished last night. I requested one, but Erik found a place for and made two! I would totally buy these if I saw them at Target. The idea came to fill Mason jars with B's art supplies... then they were sitting on the counter by the toaster oven... then the shelf idea came... and look what Erik came up with. I absolutely love them! They are on parallel walls in the hallway and kitchen, so they look splendid. Closeups of the Mason jars would show sidewalk chalk, crayons, markers, sharpies, etc.



Thanks to my honey for making these! They are proving useful and they look fantastic!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

summer pics of the boys

It's that time again! Dump the pics on my phone onto my "scrapbook" of a blog. Most pics below are Jase, but B is at the beginning and ending. They are at such a fun stage right now individually and together! 

The easiest way to get the raisins out of \cereal... dump, find, and eat!

At the park. Love! 

J has been rolling like crazy and even army crawling/scooting this past month. He rolls and rolls and rolls until he gets stuck, tired, or picked up off the ground.

Ahhhh... love. :-)

Great grandma Carol (just turned 90) and Jase (six months)

boy in blue

They were not in the same crib when I put them down for a nap separately., but this is how they ended up! (cribs are right next to each other)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

the boys in action (photo overload!)

 So I haven't yet given in to getting a "smart phone." As a result, my phone doesn't have as much memory and the photos can be fuzzy... so here are some quick snaps of the boys in action taken on my phone! Great place to "dump" them and make room for more! :-)

helping make cupcakes for Grandpa's birthday 


rainy day fun

more rainy day fun

love!


Lots of people ask how I get work done with the kiddos... here's a glimpse of one of the ways! Kids on the lap, computer nearby!

Here's what happens during a grocery story trip when you give your toddler a piece of chocolate to amuse him (this is at the end of the trip!)
zonked out


Jase is super smiley at 4 months! And chubby. Love the chub.

I love this... B loves holding things wherever he goes, even when he can't fit them in his lap! Here's his latest picks for going on a walk. He occasionally throws the basketball and wants me to pick it up and "hide" it in the back of the stroller. Super funny.

The boys (and my feet) just hanging out... not sure what B is thinking....

Sidewalk chalk in action! (mostly pictures of cars!)

This will hopefully have many pictures to follow of the boys in action wearing their matching superhero pajamas! This is them hugging!



That's all for now!


Friday, May 23, 2014

life is beautiful

If I'm honest, life is pretty "go-go-go" right now... so I was pretty excited that tonight, according to my plan, the boys would be tired enough to go to bed by 7 p.m. I'd have a whole night to myself (Erik is visiting his parents). Did you catch that? A whole night to myself!

But then, I'm not sure what happened or why, but Jase would not go to sleep, no matter what I tried... and I did try! He was mostly sleeping at least three times within an hour, but then I'd lay him down and he'd cry or he'd move and cry and wake again. At that point, I was worn out and a bit bummed that my time with sleeping children was slowly disappearing. 

Instead of moping, I followed this picture I had in my head (which I attribute to the Holy Spirit's prompting) and moved my favorite glider from Brayden's room (who was thankfully sleeping) and placed it smack dab in the middle of our upstairs. I brought my computer, water bottle, cell phone, and baby boppy pillow to the floor surrounding the chair. Then I went and got Jase, settled him down for the long haul in my arms, and put my computer on my knees so I could get some work done. I put piano music on in the background, and just held him until he was clearly sleeping and wouldn't wake up. 

You know what? That hour of frustration that almost brought me to tears turned into a beautiful new hour of admiring Jase, soaking in mommy/son time, and getting my computer work done that I had initially planned to do after the boys were sleeping. 

And in that moment, I knew, life is beautiful. It has ups; it has downs. It has rain; it has sun. It has thunderstorms and it has beach days. It is a beautiful "circle of life" (pardon the Disney reference!).

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. 

This is obviously beautiful: 


In a completely different way, this is just as beautiful:


I don't always love what life brings my way, but I do love the beauty I find in life.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

happy mom's day

I'm vividly reminded today that I am mom to three healthy boys. It's hard to believe that could be possible, but it is true, and an amazing fact. I think about Brody a lot today and wonder what exactly he looks like, what age he is in heaven, if he's growing in heaven or just automatically became a young man... I'm so excited to meet him again in heaven. It propels me forward to think about that day.

These past few years have changed my perspective of Mother's Day. I've watched my mom and experienced myself the heartache of loss moms go through around the world and it provides a whole new appreciation for motherhood and the ladies who haven't yet experienced it but would love to and those who are remembering their angel babies or children who have passed away. May God's strength and peace rest on each of you today.

I also am reminded of the beautiful legacy of mothers I am surrounded by. I am literally surrounded by beautiful moms from both Erik's side and my side of the family. I couldn't ask for better moms, grandmas, or great-grandmas.

So today, I am celebrating my boys...




...and I'm celebrating my mom, who is beautiful, loves God, loves her family, and loves people in a way I can only hope to imitate....


...and I'm celebrating my mother-in-law, who is one of the sweetest ladies I know...




...and I'm celebrating the beautiful grandmas in my life who teach me about love and commitment and living life every day....






Here's to each of you... thank you for making me who I am and teaching me by example and by word how to be a better person who loves the Lord and family above all else. Happy Mother's Day!


Monday, April 14, 2014

dinner idea: brats and kraut

I grew up hating sauerkraut, but my brother loved it. And we both loved brats so our grandpa would go to great lengths to ensure we had grilled brats - and sauerkraut for Brian - whenever we came over. I still picture him with a winter coat out slaving over the grill just because he loved us that much and wanted us to eat that for dinner.

Fast forward twenty years... my husband introduced me to a recipe that makes me like it! Crazy! :-) You put a can of sauerkraut in the crock pot with a bunch of bratwurst, cook them for dinner, and eat them over mashed potatoes!

Tonight, that was the plan. I realized halfway through the crockpot's cooking time that we didn't have 'tatoes. What I did instead was based on a recipe from Karen Hurd's Bean Queen cookbook. I sauteed onion and garlic because every good recipe should start with sauteed onion and garlic (in butter). I added baby bella mushrooms; I thought they would add a nice earthiness. After that had cooked a while, I added two cans of great northern beans. I let them cook a while, and then mushed them up with a potato masher and added pepper and salt.

Overall, not too shabby of a potato replacement! The strong flavors of the sauerkraut and then brats dominated the dish, so it might need some tweaking if it stood on its own as a side dish, but if you are avoiding potatoes and want a potato-like dish, you may want to try it! :-)


just another day in the life...

So it's a little too chilly to go outside. That means it's time to put on the thinker cap and figure out how to keep Brayden entertained at home. :-)

As some of you have seen on FB, here are some recent ways we've done so....


taking family selfies... (or just "self" selfies if you're Brayden)


playing with cornstarch, water, and food coloring


playing in the sink


Today, I decided it would be a grand idea to make cookies with him. We could bake a batch and then freeze the rest of the cookie dough in premade balls. That went pretty good, although he was very anxious to pour in the oatmeal, which wasn't called for until the end. By the time I had gotten to pouring in the oatmeal, he was much too preoccupied with the raisins and dried cherries I was adding in and wanting to pour those in... and of course, eat them! 

So after we poured the raisins and oatmeal in, we were ready to put the dough on the cookie sheets, but Brayden's plan was different than mine. After he put up a fit when I put the raisins away, I decided I didn't want to fight that battle and I wanted to continue enjoying making the cookies... so he sat there eating raisins while I loaded up the cookie sheets. Then, out of the blue, he decided to try a cookie dough ball... then I had to explain to him one cookie dough ball was enough.... 

Well, the cookies are in the oven now and Brayden is eating a half a PB&J sandwich before the cookies are done. 

I do love living with a two-year-old. They always keep you on your toes! Such an adventure! :-)