Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What I'm Up to Wednesday

It's time for another room share with you guys!  Our master bedroom is considerably smaller in our new home, so we've had to get creative.  But I love how it has turned out.  The before pics are from the listing, but you'll be able to get the idea of what we had to work with.


You'll see that we put our bed on the full wall instead of the wall with the windows.  It just seemed like a better use of the space.  I initially struggled with the window coverings...if you'll notice the windows are right in the corner.  So, to make the windows look properly spaced, I hung the curtains off center.  This makes the windows look larger than they actually are.

We don't have room for a bookcase, so I decided an upside down shelf above the door would great!  Tony made the shelves and the shelf brackets serve as the bookends.  I love, love, love how it turned out. 

All of the decorative elements are from our other house.  But I painted a lot of them to give them a fresh new look.

This candle holder was spray painted blue....
We found this frame in the attic...I painted it coral and added the vinyl for some sweet & simple art...
My bracelets are hung on a painted mug holder that I got off amazon....
And my earrings are hung on a frame that I hung chicken wire inside....the frame is hung from shower curtain brackets.  The brackets are also holding my necklaces...

I love how our bedroom has turned out.  I catch myself lying in bed and just looking around the room.  It is such a comfy peaceful place!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday

Over the last few weeks, I've read the Divergent series books...Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant.  I have to admit that I devoured these books.  I couldn't put them down...until about the last 100 or so pages of each one.  I found that I was deliberately slowing down because I didn't want them to end.

This series is by far a favorite of mine now.  Better even than Hunger Games or Twilight.  The love triangle in both of those series just wore me out.  Instead of the stuggle with which guy do I love, the struggle was with Tris (the main character) and who she felt that she truly was.

The series is set in a post apocolyptic Chicago.  Humanity has crumbled and in an attempt for peace, the people are separated into five factions based on particular virtues...Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful) and Erudite (the intelligent).  Each faction is needed for the societies success, but by separating them, the hope is that peace will easier obtained.  At the age of 16, each member is given the chance to choose which faction they will join.  Once chosen, they must say goodbye to their family and start the initiation process.  If they don't succeed in initiation or realize they made a wrong choice, they will live out the rest of their lives factionless.

The main character, Beatrice Prior, has grown up in Abnegation, but never felt like she selfless enough to truly belong.  At her chosing ceremony, she choses to be true to herself rather than stay with her family and she becomes Dauntless.  Changing her name to Tris, the initiation for Dauntless is harder than she realized and she fears she will become factionless in the end, as only the top 10% of the initiation class will be welcomed in to Dauntless.

All three books kept me engaged and wanting to know what was going to happen.  I was also thrilled by the movie.  It is true to the book and brought to life what I had imagined in my head as I was reading it.

I highly, highly recommend this series.  I have no doubt I will read it more than once.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Made Me Smile Monday

A few months back, we started receiving college recruiting stuff for Quinn.  A least one piece of mail for him a day.  Most of the time, I just make a pile and he goes through it when he gets a chance. 

As we were going to bed one evening, he came in our room and said, "you guys need to look at this...I don't think it is just a form letter."  The letter was from the National Student Leadership Conference and he was wasn't a form letter.  Quinn was being invited to attend the NSLC this coming summer.  Since it was late, I told him I would look at it the next day and we could talk about it then.

Of course, my curiosity got the better of me and I started reading about it that night.  To be invited to the conference is pretty is either through your academic achievements or a nomination.  We aren't sure how Quinn's invitation came to be, but I knew we couldn't let this opportunity pass him by.  The conference is field specific so in July he will be attending a 10 day program on Engineering...and he gets to do this at UC Berkeley!

The program is NOT cheap (about $5K in total), so we started checking into scholarships and potential fundraising immediately.  The scholarships aren't the best, but every little bit helps.  On Friday, we received notice that he was awarded a $500 scholarship!!  I guess 10% is better than nothing.  We mailed off 73 fundraising letters to friends and family on Friday as well...if you got a letter from us, please know that even the smallest amount of support will helpful. 

I'm extremely nervous about sending Quinn to California without one of us, but I'm excited that he's getting this opportunity.  If you are interested in helping us send Quinn to NSLC, you can donate through his GoFundMe page by clicking the link below.  If you can't help financially, we completely understand and ask that you pray for this trip and his safety while he is gone.

You can also learn more about NSLC by clicking HERE.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Family Frenzy Friday

Can you believe it?  I've actually posted every day this week.  Holy smokes!

The other can you believe it moment, is that my baby boy has turned 16.  Is it really possible that I am the mother to a 16 year old?  I'm in my twenties still....right?

For his birthday, Tony and I surprised him with a '97 Jeep Wrangler for him.  It was a complete surprise and probably the hardest secret I have ever had to keep.  We both almost slipped and told him on several occasions.

The Jeep is a project Jeep (but aren't all Jeeps projects?).  Quinn (and Tony) has already started his list of "wants".  The boy either needs to get a job or start knocking on doors to mow some lawns in our neighborhood.

The party was a lot of fun.  His cake was a driver's license cake and it was crazy how neat it looked.


He took his driving test on Monday and passed it with a 94!  So disappointed that he didn't ace it ;-). 

It's been easier than I thought it would be to let him leave and go somewhere without us.  Ashton is chomping at the bits every evening and begging him to take her somewhere.  Now she can bug him instead me...hehehe.  This is the start of all of the grown-up things that will take place in Quinn's life for the next several years.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What I'm Thinking Thursday

Most of you know that I've started working a part time job.  I explained it a little on fb, but thought I'd go into more detail here.

After we settled in to our new home and started trying to balance our budget, I quickly realized that we were still coming in short each month.  We weren't going to be able to live on Tony's fire station money alone.  Tony and I had multiple discussions and he kept insisting that I shouldn't go back to work.  But being a SAHM for two teenagers left me feeling like I wasn't pulling my own weight.  It doesn't take long to clean a 1200 sq ft house and when the kids were in school, I felt like I was being a sloth.  I tried not to run around town too much...after all, that takes money.  So that would've been a bit counter productive.

After about the third pay period, where I was having to pull money from savings, I took it God (yes, I should have taken it to God sooner).  I prayed hard for a solid day.  Tony and I talked a lot the next day and I told him I wanted to try to find a low stress 8-12 or 9-1 job.  But I seriously didn't think something like that existed.  My only experience with part time jobs was in retail...and I certainly didn't want to go back to retail.

Later that evening, after more prayers and discussions with Tony, I decided to start putting out "feelers".  I sent a text to my friend, Jeana, and said "Hey, I think I need a part time job.  Will you let me know if you hear of anything?"  She immediately texted back and said she actually had a position coming open in her department and it should be posted soon.

At this time, Jeana had no idea about my prayer focus.  She didn't know how heavily it was weighing on my heart to go back to work and I didn't want to pressure her.  I didn't want the potential of guilt on her if I ended up not getting the job.  The next day, the job was posted and I immediately applied to it.  I was interviewed the next week by four different people and offered the job the same day as the interviews.  Later the next week, I let Jeana in on my praying and my 100% certainty that it was God that lead me to text her that evening.  My prayer was answered in the most clear way I've ever had a prayer answered.

I LOVE this job.  This is my third week.  I work 9-1 Monday through Friday.  I'm still able to see the kids off to school and be there when they get home. I'm not exhausted at the end of the day and when I leave work my day is over.  No more logging in during the evening.  No more text message or instant message conversations when I'm home with my family.  This really and truly is an answered prayer.  Our God is good!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What I'm Up to Wednesday

It's time for me to share our new house with you guys.  There are still a few remaining projects, but overall we are completely moved in!  I love our little house and am beyond thankful for it.  Aside from the 50% cut in our house payment, the smaller house brings us together more frequently than the larger house did. 

For the reveal, I'm going to share a room each week and why not start with one of my favorites...the laundry room.  Yep!  I just said the laundry room.  I've always wanted a decorated laundry room.  We walk through it multiple times a day so why not make it fun and inviting.

Here is what it looked like before....

Pretty boring, huh?  And it was seriously lacking in storage space.
(***I need to throw in a quick disclaimer...anywhere I say "we", I really mean Tony.  I may have had most of the ideas, but he was the muscle behind each one.***)
The first thing we did was rip out the shelf and put in a cabinet.  The cabinet was in my craft room at the old house.  It was originally part of my grandparents china hutch too.  So this cabinet has been re-purposed on several occasions.  We added a bar for hanging clothes and additional shelving on either side of the cabinet as well.

The metal canisters were my great grandmother's and they are great for holding our dryer sheets and laundry pods. 
Behind the laundry room door was an empty nook.  There were no shelves or anything.  Just an empty cut out space.  So, Tony re-purposed the wood from the livingroom wall hanging that I had made for the old house.  He painted it and gave us more storage shelves.
I love the yellow and grey and am so glad I spent the time to decorate this room.  I actually enjoy doing laundry a little bit more now.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday

I've read a lot books since I last did a book review.  But I won't bombard you guys with a review of each one.  That would just be too overwhelming for us all.

Yesterday, I finished listening to The House Girl by Tara Conklin.  I loved it.  It's the story of Josephine Bell...a young house girl on the Bell Plantation in the late 1840's and early 1850's.  But the story also follows Lina Sparrow, a young lawyer in present time.  Lina's law firm takes on a class action reparations case for descendants of slavery victims.  During Lina's research in an attempt to find a plaintiff for the case, she uncovers the story of Josephine and the potential descendant to use as the plaintiff.

The story switches between present day and antebellum Virginia.  I thought the story was beautifully written, but wish there would have been a little more character development.  I do recommend this book and give it 3 1/2 stars.


Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class-action suit seeking reparations for the descendants of American slaves. Josephine is a seventeen-year-old house slave who tends to the mistress of a Virginia tobacco farm—an aspiring artist named Lu Anne Bell. Alternating between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, The House Girl is a searing tale of art, history, love, and secrets that intertwines the stories of two remarkable women.
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I am married to my best friend and am the mom of two wonderful kids. I have had my ups and downs in regards to health, happiness and weight loss. This blog will tell you about all of those ups and downs and my opinion on the randomness that we call life.


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