Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kitchen Update

Last week I shared our progress on the living room and today its time to share our {work in progress} kitchen...

I'm here to say it is possible to get the kitchen you love on a budget.  Our kitchen is still not complete, its a work in progress- but it has come a really long way (check out the before and afters at the bottom of the post).  We have made updates throughout the last several years and each one brings us closer to our goal.  

We painted everything (cabinets, walls, trim), replaced the flooring, replaced the hardware, replaced some lighting, and recently replaced our appliances. 

Overall I think the paint made the biggest difference and the tile floor is one of my favorite things we've done so far.  We painted these cabinets 4 years ago and they are still holding up really well.  If you are on the fence - go for it.  I love our white cabinets.

We still have the old countertop (don't worry though we actually have a new one waiting to be installed...can't wait!).  But its crazy how updating the paint and a few other things makes the countertops not seem as bad.  So it is possible to enjoy your kitchen with just a few easy and inexpensive upgrades.

This may be one of my favorite little spots in our house.

Don't look too closely at the door, it is on our replace list.  It has seen better days for sure.

Recently we were able to upgrade all of our appliances.  And, we were able to do so rather inexpensively.  You can probably tell that they are not all the same brand - something that I could care less about but maybe for others is a must.  Our stove came by a friend who was upgrading to gas and the fridge and dishwasher were outdated floor models.  If you are looking to upgrade but want to save some cash - try the floor model approach...we saved tons.  We still need to adjust everything in its place (see stove below) but we are waiting on installing the countertops...which is waiting for the sink that is backordered.  We will get there eventually.

Look at how far this little kitchen has come....

This little kitchen gets a ton of use from monday night meals with our community group to college ministry cookouts.  It has served us so well and its amazing how many people you can actually get in here and feed at one time.
Hope this helps some of you have hope in your little kitchens.  A little time and some work pays off.  Next on the list - replace countertops and sink!  We are pumped.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Living Room Update

This blog is in real need of me updating the permanent pages - like the  home tour, projects, etc.  Its so neglected.  So to help get this blog up to date with all things home I decided to do a quick room by room post update that will allow me to finally begin working on that.  Today I'm starting with the first room in our home, the living room.  Its probably been shown the most here more recently but now its officially up to date in my brain and helps me move on to other posts - so here goes round one of home spaces - the living room.

This space is probably one of my favorites in our house.  Its cozy & quaint, lived in & simple and full of old & new - just how I like it.  

So in the last several years since living here we haven't done a lot of "work" necessarily in this room - its been more about adding the decor we like.  The first big project we did in this room was to paint all the trim white and the entire room a new fresh neutral.  I still love it.  We also changed out the ceiling fan not too long ago which really helped to update to space as well.

Some things I have never really posted about on the blog was adding the wall shelving (ikea), finally finding neutral patterned curtains I love (they were a Tuesday Morning find), switching out the tv stand (also ikea) and finding the most perfect sofa for this space.  The sofa we chose was the karlstad corner sofa from ikea.  I can't say enough about how much we love it (or maybe how much we love ikea).  Its super comfy and really durable - which is great when you have small kids living on it and big kids visiting often.  You can choose any arrangement you want to work for your space so its really versatile.  Its one of our favorite things we have purchased for our home.

I can't stop picking up cute pillows for our sofa...its probably getting a little out of hand.  The striped silhouette wall art is a little project I did way back and still one of my faves.  I evan have a little post for the monogram wall art on the shelf.  The lamp is from Target and the little cabinet is an antique piece I've had forever.

This navy chair is another addition we have had for about a year, a little target find.  Recently I posted about making the framed instagram collage, a really easy and fun project.  And also, Silas' own personal project - the "I love dinosaurs" chalkboard sign.  I'm still working on adding more to the walls in here - there seems to be a lot of blank spaces.  For some reason hanging things on the wall is the most difficult thing for me to do in a space.  We've been here four years now and just this year I hung something up on the wall - I know, settle down.

Oh, and the flooring - original hardwood floors we found under the carpet...such a great score.

This little space has come a long way since moving in!  I love to see the changes.  I definitely have a few more things on my to do list for this space but its one of the most finished rooms we probably have.   The room gets used a ton, by us, family, students, community groups and more and we love having a comfy place to share with others.  

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

One Item, Many Ways : Striped Top

I've been noticing lately in blog land how other people are currently transitioning their closets for fall, umm- we will be lucky in NC if that happens by the end of September.  We usually get to experience a lovely fall here but not until around October and I am looking forward to all of those fall things.  Cooler temps, fall colors, boots, scarves, pumpkins...I love it all.  But, its still hot and I'm still trying to squeeze lots of options out of my simplified closet as the warmer weather continues to endure.  So, here is another little rendition of using one item multiple ways... today I have a simple black and white striped top from the J Crew outlet.

Here's a little breakdown:

1. Paired with a Bright Maxi - I love this coral color and this skirt is probably the most comfortable one I own, it was one of those great thrift store finds.  Stripes go great with bright colors and combining it with accessories of the same color family help to bring it all together.

2. Pattern Mixing - This is something that I have not always been comfortable with and honestly I'm really not sure if I am yet.  Working with more neutral shades is any easy way to try it out if it seems scary to you.  Black stripes and black in the shorts - it works.  

3.  Paired with Basics:  I really like adding denim to an outfit, what does that say about me?  I'm from the south, can't help it.  It's just one of those classic things that never seems to get old. This outfit is just simple basic pieces  - favorite pair of black pants, simple top, denim and a fun necklace.  Adding a bold statement necklace really helps to elevate things when working with basics.

4.  Paired with Neutrals - I added denim again, its a thing.  This is about the simplest of summer outfit forms --top + shorts + sandals.  When you add the denim button down its helps keep it all from being too boring - plus if you go somewhere that's freezing inside you are prepared (bonus).  Gladiator sandals are pretty great for adding interest to your outfits as well instead of the normal flip flops I usually go for.  Sometimes just little changes make a big difference.

So whether you are stuck in the hot holding pattern of summer or transitioning into cooler temps its always great to try and use the items in your closet in different ways.  It helps to utilize what you already own, it helps to keep your closets simpler and lets you just have fun and be creative with what you have.

Pick one item out this week and see how many ways you can wear it!

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pleated poppy

Monday, August 17, 2015

Goodbye Summer

August is always the strangest time of year for us.  Its a transition.  Summer is leaving and all the newness of the upcoming year is quickly approaching.  So we feel almost caught in between of wanting to hold onto all of the awesome things we experienced together and through God over the past several months and also eagerly anticipating what God has in store for us.  Its not any less full, or crazy...our whole year must be planned this month, all the loose ends tied, things are being prepped and readied and Silas is starting his last year of preschool.  So we are still in full force with anticipation in our hearts.  

This summer has been cool.  We saw students come from death to life.  Students make radical decisions of faith.  Real change take place- and it was the best.  Silas grew, both taller and smarter.  He knows more dinosaur facts than I ever will and got to spend meaningfully time with his grandparents, us and our church.  He has recently decided that his favorite bible story is David and Goliath and its pretty great to hear him talk about it.  And we are praising God for every moment.

Its really crazy to sit back and reflect on everything that took place in just a few short months.  Its like we go into hyper-speed.  Our last big week of the summer we spent in the Dominican Republic serving with Score International.  There were so many great moments I can't even begin to describe but I do know that God was working and we did life together.  My heart filled with so much joy watching our students just love unconditionally and share Christ without fear.  There is really nothing better for a youth worker than that.  That week, I know, will forever be treasured in all of our hearts.

After a big, full summer like this I like to take time to really think about what God has been teaching me through it all.  I think I'm learning to rest in God - and not a physical rest but a spiritual rest.  With so much happening all at once and knowing how much lies ahead it can be overwhelming - at least for me.  But resting in the Lord alleviates all anxiety.  Remembering what he has done in the past and knowing He will provide in the future really changes your perspective on life. I have to continue to remember that He will equip me for every work..I just need to follow in obedience.  I'm walking out of this summer feeling rested and ready for the next thing, which is odd for me.  Usually I feel tired and overwhelmed.  

 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. Hewbrews 4:9-11

God's word is always providing.  Those verses come just before one of my favorite in all scripture (Hebrews 4:12) and its interesting that I have not really seemed to focus on them until now.  But I do know that God desires true rest for us - a confident peace from the striving of life.  It comes to us through Jesus, the perfecter of our faith and through His word which is alive and active.  Whatever lies ahead, God will equip us and each moment is already ordained.  So I can rest as I press on because I know the author and He has shown his love to me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Easy Dollar Store Craft (Rhino Bookends)

Are you guys hot enough?  Wow, the heat here has been insane.  This is probably one of our fullest weeks of the year and this heat is adding a great twist.  We are currently in the middle of vba week (it's like a mini camp for teenagers at our church).  Justin and I and some great leaders create all of the content for the week so its a lot of planning and preparing.  It's one of our fullest and favorite weeks we get to spend with our students and its been awesome so far.  The summer is like this crazy ride that happens in a flash so we are holding on tight and following God through it- we still have summer camp and mission trips to experience and we can't wait.  So with all of that going on, I've got to keep it simple.  So today I'm sharing a simple and easy craft that anyone can do.

A little while back I found these rhino bookends at the dollar store.  They were so cute and I knew I could update them to something I really loved.  The dollar store can be unpredictable sometimes.  They have things, then they don't, then they have them again.  So you never know what you will find.  I love to look at the little shelf where they little figurines - that is where these little guys were found.  

These guys received several coats of high gloss craft paint on top in a minty green color and a little olivish/tanish color on bottom.  I have know idea what to call that color so that's the best description I can figure- but I like it.  So yeah, that was pretty much the extent of my crafting.  But sometimes a little paint makes you feel accomplished.

I didn't realize my love for this color until snapping this picture - it seems to be invading my house.  But I'm loving the summery vibe these colors are bringing inside.  It all works with the diy silhouette I did a while back.

Hope you stay cool this week, keep it simple and enjoy the ride of summer!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

14 Years

Fourteen years ago today we said I do.  Looking back at my extremely young self I don't think I had any idea what God had in store for us back then.  The blessings we have been able to be a part of, the struggles we have walked through together and the joy found in every situation is something I always cherish in my heart.  I have a partner in life who loves Jesus with all of his heart and leads us through each step and that is something I do not take for granted or ever will.

We took the step towards full time ministry 12 years ago full of excitement and no fear.  We have served together every moment of the way and have found when our marriage is strong, our ministry is strong.  We have seen so much of this amazing world together and have been able to serve side by side...while teaching a village about God's love, providing clean water to those who are thirsty, held the hands of children with no parents, rejoiced over the one who was found, joyfully looked on as our students overcame fears and boldly followed God's lead, clung tight as we have been unsure of the next move and shared contentment when knowing we were right in the middle of where God wanted us to be.  We have laughed a lot with an amazing group of students and leaders, watched many students grow into wonderful leaders themselves, cried many tears of sadness of loss and tragedy alongside them.  I can't believe what God has done these last 14 years and I am so humbled to be able to be standing next to you and sharing those moments together.

Our life has now been invaded (for the better) by the most precious and loving 4 year old boy who loves and enjoys life more than any person we have ever met.  We look at him all of the time and can't believe God has given us this task of raising this awesome little boy into a man.  God has given us another ministry partner, someone who is ready for the adventure and I am so thankful he has a father to watch who fears and follows the Lord.  We may have thought 14 years ago we would have lots of little ones running around our home, but now we have seen that God has a different plan for our lives.  We have a son full of so much life and love and hundreds of other students who are running around our home.  What a blessing we didn't even know we would have when we said I do.

When I look back at all that God has done in 14 years it strengthens my faith and gives me the perseverance I need to keep running the race to which we have been given.  Some days we doubt God's call in our life, feel inadequate or ill-equipped.  But, God always gives us the encouragement we need through each other.  One of us is always there to pick the other up.  God is always providing.  I can't wait to see what happens the next 14 years.

I love you seems too simple of a statement sometimes but -I do.  Love comes from Jesus and He has poured it out for us to share with others.  There really is nothing greater than that Love.  We have a sure and solid foundation and together we get to cherish that every day.  God, bless our love.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Graduation Party Ideas

It is that time of year for Graduation parties!  Recently we held our annual grad party for our group of seniors in our youth group.  Its such a sweet and sentimental time.  We have shared the last 7 years with these students and have had the opportunity to laugh, cry and watch them grow and mature into young men and women of Jesus.  Its pretty cool.  So I thought I would share some of the details of the set-up for any future party ideas.

Since we do this on a pretty large scale I try hard to do things as inexpensively as I can.  Throughout the year I am always on the look-out for things on clearance that would work for us.  I also utilize the dollar store and the Target dollar section as much as possible.  I love little details at parties.  I know its not everyone's thing but for a celebration like this I love recognizing the Seniors in little special ways.  We set up their table special for them with little fun treats like these.  All of the little 2015 stickers I found in the Target dollar spot and the glasses are from the dollar store.

Flower arranging can sometimes be intimidating for people.  To make these bigger arrangements I chose hydrangea - they are the most simple way of adding fullness to your arrangements without really doing much.  I also literally just used a grocery store bouquet of flowers and added a few hydrangea to them - the key is to trim down your flowers to the correct height.  Don't be afraid to cut down your stems!  

The rest of the tables were really simple.   Either a centerpiece of balloons or a simple pail with one hydrangea.  I would say using balloons is an inexpensive way to decorate- but not if you are using helium! Filling a ton of balloons adds up.  I have been going to more ceiling decorations like lanterns and poofs because of the helium cost.  I constantly search the Target clearance section for lanterns because they are often there and marked way down.  

This year we went with cake and cupcakes for the seniors.  I love this little table.

For a little added bonus, here is a little bit of last years graduation party....

I try to change it up a bit every year with colors and the little details.  These little star balloons are from Oriental Trading company and the turquoise mason jars are from Target.

Decorating is one of my favorite things, its almost therapeutic for me and its all in the little details that make it special.  Hope you all have a great week!

PS - If you are looking for more decorating ideas here is another graduation party we did a few years back!