George's Nursery + Spray Painted Jenny Lind Crib

I'm such a wanna be in the decorating department. And I've particularly struggled with my nurseries. Having three babies in a few short years combined with our not finding out their gender before birth......let's just say, a lot has happened in this room over the past 4.5 years. Boy, girl, boy, my sewing and crafty stages. Y'all, this room has been crazy town!

So, for George (now 15 months old), I wanted to get it together, a sweet and soothing space, not perfect but something I could be content with. I basically just painted the crib, rearranged some artwork, and removed over half the stuff in this room - the curtains and several pieces of the furniture.

quilt made by my cousin

This is the second time I've painted this crib. The first time (a couple years ago) I failed to do the prep work by sanding it. Typical. I also failed to buy enough spray paint not just one, two, three, or four times. Five times I went back to Home Depot. FIVE TIMES. Can anyone say live and learn?! My husband was dying laughing at me that day.

This go round I bought five cans, all that was on the shelf at Hobby Lobby. Color is Catalina Mist. Stephen sanded off the previous avocado green color and he lovingly did this project for me. He knows I hate DIY and that I probably would have ended up in a bad mood by the end. This ain't our first rodeo.

With artwork, I came full circle and I hung these Walter Anderson prints above the crib. My mom bought these back in 2008 when I first found out I was pregnant with my oldest child. 

By the closet I hung this pair of water colors by my oldest. 

What inspired me most in this "makeover" was a conversation I had with a decorator friend at a dinner party. She said she did not dress or decorate using a lot of patterns because the busy-ness of patterns made her feel stressed.

I, on the other hand, love patterns and lots of color, but this room had an overload. Pinpointing that all the stuff (loud curtains, extra furniture) in the room made me feel stressed, enabled me to see that I just needed to take everything out and start over. Now it is a clean, white room with pops of color, my favorite look! And what I've been going for all along.


Don't Make Me Count to Three

I had really hit a low point in the parenting department. And I was um.... ahem....raising my voice a lot, trying to get my children to behave.

Needing some encouragement, I ordered this short little book (Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman). I just finished it, and I have found it to be just the pep talk I needed. The advice is biblical and practical.

Two things stood out to me and have really helped me over the past couple weeks.

One, is that discipline is not about just controlling their behavior, but motivating them to obedience from the heart, out of love for others and respect for authority. We have to teach them to do this! But how? The author shares several scriptures, examples, and scenarios of how to discipline. What to do in different situations.

Two, not only are we to point out what our children do wrong, we must teach the the right way to do things. She even goes so far as to suggest reenacting what the child should have done in a situation. I have tried this with my kids over the past few weeks, and I'm amazed at how well we have taken to this. My kids seem almost relieved when they are taught that a polite and kind word go farther than rudely yanking a toy out of the other one's hand.

We (I) still have so much to learn (many many miles to go before I sleep), but I found so much wisdom in this book and I highly recommend it!


Easier and More Efficient Meal Planning, Snack Planning, and Grocery List Making

One issue I have when planning out my weekly menus and making a grocery list is all the time and effort it takes rounding up my recipes from various sources. They are all over the place! -  Pinterest, cook books, and the internet. It's driving me crazy and it has to stop.

Soooo, I'm attempting to put my recipes and meal ideas in one place, on good old fashion 3X5 index cards. I hope this will help me create a nice, tidy collection of recipes I cook regularly and rotate. When I sit down to menu plan, I can just reference these cards without getting on the computer and flipping through books, or worse, just winging it.

On one card I made a list of easy, mostly nutritious, minimal-prep-required snacks. I can take this card along with me to the grocery store and instantly be inspired. So often, I'm standing in the store thinking we need snacks!, but for lack of planning don't know what to buy. This way I can also take advantage of sales. Look at the card, see what's on sale, and there's my decision. End of story.

bananas, not bannas. Now I have to re-write this whole card.

I don't mind shopping and I don't mind cooking. It's thinking I have such a hard time with. Thinking what to eat, what to buy. If I could just grab 5 recipe cards and jot down the needed ingredients, I  think I'd be a happier person.

Another realization I've had recently is if I make a good plan, staying in budget takes care of itself.

Like so many other areas of taking care of the house, I'm learning to make food planning easier and more efficient without losing quality.

What are your go-to snacks?


March Goals

Read the book of Isaiah

Write one page in prayer journal each day

Read at least one book to Stephen and Laurie each day

Memorize one proverb

Pure Barre 3X week

Blog 2 X week

Make and order one photo book (hope to do this on spring break)

At the beginning of the year I wrote down some goals. Each month I'm breaking them down in to realistic steps.

February was short and intense, but I had great success with my goals! One way I stayed focused was I wrote my goals down most everyday, just a short abbreviated list. I picked this tip up from blogger, Kat Lee who writes at Inspired to Action. This practice keeps my goals in the front of my mind daily.

I was so relieved to get to the end of last month that it has taken me awhile to get focused for March. But there it is, March goals. Better late than never.

One goal that has continued to be a challenge is reading to my kids everyday.  How hard can that be?! Well, very. The logistics of situating the other two kids while I read to one or picking out a book that two of them agree on can be so chaotic that sometimes it's not worth pushing the issue. Reading is supposed to be fun! So I have narrowed my reading goals down from 3 X day, to 2 X day, to 1 X day. One book to Stephen and one book to Laurie, together or separately. This is simpler, more realistic, and does not overwhelm me. And the beauty of down sizing this goal is often we end up reading more that one book!

By being consistent, I'm hoping that organically more reading will creep into our day.

I want to be faithful in these things that are so very valuable to me.

What are your goals these days? Are you succeeding?


Lazy Day Food

Last night before bed I knew we had to take the day off. We have been going going going, and the  thought of making anyone find their shoes made me twitch a little.

At 10 am I found myself still in pajamas and making this omelet type thing.

I started with a little diced onion, sautéed it in a pan with a some olive oil and butter. Then I added a handful of cut up spinach and quartered grape tomatoes (red and yellow). Last, I poured in two beaten eggs, salted it, put the lid on, and ta da! An egg-omelet-frittata type meal was born.

I crumbled some goat cheese on the top. Amazing!

Also, our lazy day included hot chocolate and my specialty - a peanut butter and honey sandwich. And maybe we did or did not drive though Starbucks to get some chocolate croissants late afternoon.

It's cold and rainy here so we have relied heavily on homemade play dough and Mr. Rodgers for our entertainment.

For dinner, chili.


These knives are my new favorite. Ours were in need of replacing and we did not want to spend much on new ones. So far, I'm thrilled with them.


Distressed Jeans + Mommy Fashion Blog Recommendation

I bought distressed jeans today. What? I know. I don't know what came over me! I'm never on time with a trend, and because I'm taking part in this one I'm sure it will flop. If that's the case, we'll blame my sister because she was with me and gave me her seal of approval.

This is all my attempt to put together a cute, casual spring wardrobe. I'm a big believer in having a few great pieces and outfits that you wear till the cows come home. This look, distressed denim and over sized shirts/sweaters, is gonna be big player for me this year. It's practical, a little edgy, and definitely a step up from yoga pants.

 Here I'm sporting the sloppy tuck.

 You know, I took these pics from the most flattering angle I could get.

Also, I have to share this incredible mommy fashion blog with you. It would be a crime if I didn't. Ain't No Mom Jeans. Love it. LOVE it. I can't stop reading. I so wish I had had this blog while I was going through pregnancy #1,#2, and #3. Seriously, it's a wealth of information. Just check out that list of topics in the side bar. Finally, someone has all the mommy fashion answers!

Two of my favorite posts...


Grocery Shopping Week Four

$500 Grocery Budget
Grocery Shopping Week One
Grocery Shopping Week Two 
Grocery Shopping Week Three

Hello all!

I wrapped up my grocery shopping for the month of February and I'm thrilled to say I kept my $500 budget. Whoop whoop.

With one week to go in February, I had a remaining balance of $234.72. Truly, it was so liberating to have paced myself and to have that much surplus left at the end of the month. In the previous weeks, my goal was to spend only $100 per week until week 4. To help myself stick to this, I only took that amount with me in the store.

This practice allowed me to be conservative at the beginning of the month and gave me the ability to splurge in the end. We even went out to dinner once, Chipotle for the adults and Five Guys for kids! And on my last Costco trip, I indulged my love for organic milk, lots of fresh produce, and several convenience items since Stephen was going out of town for the weekend and I wanted easy things to feed the kids. Honestly, I did not have a meal plan for the last week. I just had a bunch of food in the house and knew I had plenty to come up with a meal.

Here's how my last round of spending went.

Chipotle 21.84

Five Guys 9.32

Publix - milk run 4.09

Costco - cherry tomatoes 6.49
              asparagus 3.99
              bananas 1.39
              lettuce 4.49
              strawberries 4.49
              bread 3.39
              hamburger buns 1.99
              cheerios 7.49
              contact solution 18.99
              balsamic vinegar 10.99
              rotissarie chicken 4.99
              frozen pre-made hamburger (beef) 18.59
              bag of frozen salmon 34.89
              honey 8.79
              eggs 2.99
              applesauce 9.99
              box of 3 frozen pizzas 9.99
              3 gallons organic milk 23.78
              total + tax  = 194.48

Total spent the last week in February $229.73     

Total spent for the month $495.01

I attribute my grocery budgeting success to....

1. Public accountability, this blog. Thanks, friends. It made me take my goal seriously.

2. Having some spending money for myself. In addition to having a strict grocery budget, we practiced a strict cash envelope system for multiple categories of spending this month. One category was blow money. I had $40 and my husband had $40. I spent at least half of mine on coffee and chocolate croissants from Starbucks - which are to die for by the way.

Having this spending money helped us (me) not feel deprived, making it much easier to have self control and not overspend in other areas. I was not tempted to dip into my grocery cash.

3. Pacing our spending, only $100 each week until the last week. I already discussed it above, but I emphasize it again because it was such a key to my success. Not pacing myself has majorly been my downfall in the past. I tend to spend the majority of my money on the front end because I'm feeling "rich." Then I don't have enough left to stretch the grocery cash till the end of the month. Because I have "failed," I have a throw my hands up in the air and forget it mentality. Why try when I've already blown it?!

Better to be conservative in the beginning and splurge later if there is enough.

4. Being flexible. Overall, we are not picky eaters. We eat leftovers happily and don't mind repeating meals.

5. Not getting desperate. I stayed one step ahead of the game, always whipping up a little food here and a little food there. I tried to anticipate our needs before I had 3 hungry, whiny kid at my ankles.

The reason I set about this whole challenge is because I had become so nonchalant in my grocery spending. I was going over budget every month. I was wasting food. I was burned out! Writing this blog series made staying in budget a fun challenge and helped me re-learn ways to save money have self control. 

I will definitely be putting into practice the things I learned this month in the future. Thanks for coming along beside me!

Questions and advice welcomed.
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