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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hometalk and Backpack Storage Ideas

This week I've teamed up with Hometalk to bring you a bunch of great storage ideas for kids and their gear. I have four kiddos and I love them to pieces..........their stuff, not so much! So, I'm always on the lookout for great storage solutions that will work for our little cottage of a house.

This is what I came up with for our house some time ago:

In order to improve upon what I already had I went to Hometalk to scour their abundant resources. {Hometalk is like Pinterest but just for homes and projects}

With these ideas in hand I'm hoping to create something out in my garage on the landing by the door. It will have to combine options to store backpacks, boots and all that snow gear! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you will check out my board. Leave me any ideas you've had that maybe I've missed!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A New Puppy and Storage Solutions

We got a new puppy about a week and a half ago. She is the cutest thing ever! 

See, what did I tell you! Her name is Daisy Mae, and she's a yellow lab.

We are smitten! Yes, puppies are work. {Kind of like have a toddler all over again, but one that also gets up in the night}. But SO worth it!

In light of the new addition I needed to do some research to find some great solutions to store this babies things. Here are some cool ideas that inspire!

This is a cute idea for dog treat storage. I didn't have a jar like this but I used a mason jar. {Right now her treats are really little}.

This has to be the cutest dog crate ever!

Now this I love! It looks so cozy and inviting!

Bee Interiors

This is a great recycle of an old TV, and I love the color!

Ok, I would love to have stairs that I could use space under! And I may just have to copy that sign!

Now this would be my dream! What an awesome way to bathe your pet {or your son!} ;)
Pretty Fluffy {this site looks like it has a lot of great ideas for pets}

This looks like a great project, and its for a Daisy too!

Home Frosting


So now its time to get in gear and decide what WE are going to do to corral all of her clutter. Its amazing how one little puppy can accumulate to many things! ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Prepping? A Balanced Approach

     You can't go very far on Pinterest these days, or around the web for that matter without seeing loads on "prepping". It seems people "prep" for different reasons, from fearing a polar shift, or expecting some sort of appocolypse, down to a big snow storm or hurricane. Prepping is all about being prepared from some sort of disaster. And I'm finding that its as personal as your tastes in food are. My plan may not be the "recommended" one but it is a plan that we feel is wise and balanced.

As a girl who always likes to be prepared for anything it is easy to get sucked into  the fear of others and concern for my family and want to pack out the basement with all sorts of food and supplies. Also as a believer in Jesus Christ I never want my security to come from my stock pile. My security should be in Him. So how does one balance this? I take great encouragement from the Proverbs 31 woman who "provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls" and "when it snows she has not fear for her household for all of them are clothed in scarlet". The passage further talks about all the work she does for her family to prepare for their needs. To this planner girl this is gold!

So what does "prepping" look like at our house?

Well, my goal is to have 3-6 months of food stocked up. I do this, sticking within my weekly budget, by buying extras of whatever is on sale and that I have coupons for. This is easier said than done but is made a lot more achievable by following a local deal site. I use Stocking this much food helps to prepare for any food shortages, price increases or disasters but also for more personal disasters like a job loss or major financial crisis. If a washer needs repair and we don't have the cash on hand, going without buying food for a week or two won't hurt and will meet our need. Another benefit to doing this is saving money! If you only buy what it on sale {and everything goes on sale at least once every 3-6 months} you are saving a great deal in the long run. Make sure to buy things you will actually use and rotate your supply so that you use things before they expire.

Stored in one location are all of our flashlights {including a wind up one}, radio, extra batteries, candles and plenty of matches. Because we have a well, in a power outage this wouldn't work, so we have dozens of gallons of water stashed. {These have to be refilled every 6-12 months unless a few drops of bleach are added}. This is easy to do if you haven't started this yet. Every time you use up a gallon of milk, wash the jug out well and fill with water. Be sure to write a date on the cap of when it was filled and update this when you refill them.

On top of these basic supplies we have a large first aid kit, duct tape {whose benefits are many in a crisis from making rope to creating splints for injuries and repairing a broken window or tent}, tarps, a large tent, and outdoor cooking capabilities. We have a small garden that has produced some veggies for us but is an area that we hope to grow in. {no pun intended! ;)}

These preparations are basic but are far more than most families. I know that I have been promised that, "my God shall supply all my needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:19, and this is where my true stock pile lies!

Please don't get so focused on stockpiling for your physical needs that you neglect the emotional and spiritual ones. Stockpiling for your spirit and emotions means cultivating your relationships, building your marriage, and growing your faith. Being prepared in these ways will  help to safeguard you from divorce, loneliness, worry, fear, and  will help to create strong bonds with family, friends & God. 

I hope you have been encouraged to be prepared in many ways, for whatever life throws at you!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Styling

It's been a while, I know. What that means is that you're in for it today!
Rather than do a lot of little posts I'm just going to jam pack this one. You'll get your money's worth today! ;)

What I love most about Summer {besides the kids playing outside} is that the pace slows down, I work one less day per week, the kids activities wane, the windows are open, the backyard fire pit gets a lot of action, and I have a little more time to do some fun projects!

First up is this ugly tray I found on clearance at Big Lots. Ugly because I'm not a coffee drinker and ugly because of the fakeness of the fake distressed look it was attempting. Of course an overhaul was in order.

I had been wanted a smaller tray for my small coffee table to contain the remotes and the size was perfect. I found these plastic place mats at Meijer and trimmed it down with scissors to fit the bottom, added some spray paint to the whole thing and it was done!

Here's another new addition. My "T". I found it on clearance at Hobby Lobby {always check their clearance isle!} This little guy helps to balance the wall out and adds a bit more of the galvanized steel look that I love.

Moving right along, I wanted to change up things in the kitchen. My bread box has been in this location for I am sure at least 10 years. The kitchen has changed around it, but it remains! 
When I saw this darling shelf that a coworkers husband makes I knew it was perfect for this spot!

{here's the sad bread box}

Now the new little shelf.

Isn't it cute?

That chalkboard was a little mirror that I sprayed with chalkboard paint, and searched for the design on the pinterest. The peonies came from my sweet neighbor.

Can you see the new home for the breadbox?

I love that little lettuce plate {a Goodwill find} and that driftwood piece is plentiful along Lake Michigan.

Its funny how making a small change can freshen up the whole room. Try it! You might not have a cute little shelf but change out one thing in your room; maybe a new throw pillow, painting a picture frame you already own in a bright color or just rearranging a room. Anything that helps you enjoy your space more is important. We all want a space that we look forward to coming home to and sometimes the little things can make the biggest difference!

My next little project is this cork board, another Goodwill find. I think its going to be navy blue and go in my son's room.

And last but not least is this little banner made from pages from an old Readers Digest Condensed Book.

Because its not a working fireplace I backed with with some chevron contact paper. 

Hopefully I will be popping in and out this summer! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Israel: Trip of a Lifetime

Last fall my husband was approached by someone asking if we would be interested in joining a group from a local christian high school traveling to Israel and, yes! I remember him calling me as I was leaving the kids dentist having yet another front tooth rebuilt after being broken off {3 times so far with 2 different kids!~apparently together my husband and I don't genetically make strong teeth!} He asked if I was sitting down. I was. But I recall thinking that I can't really handle more bad news. 
When he told me about this idea it didn't register, I was waiting for the punch line, the bad news. It never came! :)

What followed was several months of  planning, {we do have 4 kids we left behind}, packing, working out {its a hiking trip}, and getting a passport. I had never been outside of the USA before {unless you count Canada, but living in Michigan you are bound to go through Canada a few times in your life}. So this was the hugest deal ever!

We are so grateful for the chance to visit these countries! 
This trip was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity! As a believer in Jesus Christ, this trip added dimension to my faith which is a gift you can't put a price on!

We went with a group from a local Christian High School that also included a few others from around the U.S. that wanted to come. The trip was led by the Bible teacher from the high school and a Jordanian and Israeli guide. At each site we heard about the cultural and historical background by the guide then the Bible teacher talked about the Biblical significance.

I anticipated that this trip would have a big spiritual impact on me, and it did. What I didn't expect is where that impact would come from. I thought that the places that are of most biblical significance would have the most spiritual impact, but that wasn't the case. In fact the opposite was true. Let me explain this. At the sites where Christ was born and at the place of his death, homage has been paid to these sites in the building of large churches gilded in every way possible. The aura is far from the humble beginning and ending that Christ had.

I was struck anew by the life of the Israelites. Those poor souls! I totally get them now! After climbing my first mountain in the dessert and sucking the life out of my camelback, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I would have probably been the chief complainer on their exodus. God was so gracious to them {and me}! That region is so dry and rocky. You can't look up when you walk or you will fall. The ground is so uneven and full of rocks! After eating my same granola bars day after day for only 12 days I wondered what it would be like to eat Manna for years as the Israelites did. Yikes. Yep, chief complainer, right here!

{This is a view of the Red Sea, looking from Jordan across to Israel}

There is something so funny to me about a camel. I can't even explain it, but I totally got the giggles as we rode! Something about being on the other side of the world riding a lumpy camel just put me over the edge! :)
I suppose I should also admit that the other time I got the giggles was when crossing from Jordan into Israel. We were standing in line and one of the high school kids was getting the third degree about what he was writing in his journal {we think they thought he was casing out the joint!} Let me tell you that if you laugh, you may or may not get interrogated by 3 guards for a period of time. Just sayin!
{Let me interject that for a country hated by most of the world you have to take your security seriously. Its just that the edginess of the situation sometimes does me in! :) }

See, aren't they cute in a goofy sort of way?

I must admit that I was totally unprepared for the physical aspect of this trip. {If you are considering a trip of your own just know that there are plenty of total bus trips. This was not one of them!} We hiked 6 mountains, and I'm sure I discovered several more muscle groups I didn't know I had. Hiking really helps you to understand the land and the life in Bible times, as well as your threshold for perspiration! ;)

This is one of my favorite pictures. This is of Mt. Arbel where Christ spent time teaching his disciples. Its is along the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

What is so striking to me about the Sea of Galilee is that this is their only fresh water source besides the Jordan River. Water is scarce here! Living in Michigan I so take water for granted being surrounded by it, but in the middle east it is a precious resource. This is a great visual example of Jesus being the living water, and as Christians what we need to be to the world around us.
The Sea of Galilee is also known as the abyss. People in Biblical times were afraid to go out across the sea. In order to do their fishing they would stay close to shore as much as possible. 

One of the things I love about the Israeli people is their sense of community, then and now. In ancient times when you got married you built onto your parents house so that the communities were made up of these ever expanding homes and everyone lived and worked together. Now many people live in a Kubbutz. This is like a commune where they have their own farmland, animals, professional services and more to meet the needs of the people living there. All the money is pooled together and shared with those based on need. You can even apply to join a Kubbutz. You can live there free of charge  in exchange for working for a period of time to see if its where you want to live. I love that! This has challenged me to better understand the need for community and to make sure I'm doing my part in the communities I'm involved in {ie. neighborhood, church group, extended family, work, etc.}

We spent several days in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is an amazing, sad, but glorious example of the clash of religions, the depth of history {the U.S. feels so young to me now}, and the richness of a culture. It is the place that the three main world religions claim as one of their holy places. {Judaism, Islam & Christianity}. That fact alone is astounding to me!
It is also home to the most tense place in all of the world; the temple mount, where the Dome of the Rock sits. Beneath this mount is Mt. Moriah where Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac. {Abraham is the father of Judaism, his son Ishmael the father of Islam, and forefather to Jesus Christ}. It is controlled by the Jews but the Islamic temple sits at the top, hence the tension.

This place is also a testament to the amount of power and influence of Herod {along with several other palaces. Seriously, how many palaces does one king need?} If you need more proof, here are a few of the places he built:

1. A multi-level palace on Masada
2. Ok, not a palace but cool anyways. These are the aquaducts just north of Cesarea
3. His port city of Cesarea {probably my favorite stop}
4. In Cesarea where the chariots would race
5. The Herodium. A whole mountain he built with a palace on top. {Don't ever tell a narcissist they can't do something, they will have to prove it!}
6. A fresh water pool he had that juts out into the salty Mediterranean Sea
7. The temple mount. He had this built on top of Mt. Moriah
8. The palace on top of the Herodium

There is so much more I could share, but I want to leave some things for you to see when you go yourself. 

If you decide you want to go to Israel here are a few tips:

  • Go with a tour group! Israel is a country with a lot of rules {what you can wear at each place for example} and it is so much easier to have someone do all the work of planning so you can just follow along and enjoy the sights. Plus there's a major advantage to having someone explain things as you go.
  • Know your itinerary, so that if and when you get detained at customs or border crossings you don't look like an idiot. {This may or may not be personal experience} Oh, you may want a plan for if you get the giggles in the wrong places, like a prepared sobering thought. 
  • Whether you are hiking or not, wear good shoes! The ground is really uneven every wear you go and having some hiking boots or sturdy shoes will save the day!
  • Bring snacks! Food is expensive there. To buy an ice cream bar or a coke at various places was between $3-$5.00, and you do a lot of walking! Granola bars, nuts and dried fruit are all good options.
  • Take notes along the way. I thought I would have time to really digest the information and we saw so much it just wasn't possible. Having notes really helps you to process at trip like this and remember even small details {like all the speed bumps in Jordan!}
  • Its hot. Wear breathable materials and bring layers. Its cool in the morning but gets hot as the day progresses.

Thanks for allowing this digression from my more regular type of posts! I hope you enjoyed the overview, and if you ever get such an offer to go, do it! Israel is a beautiful country, filled with beautiful people!

Thanks for stopping by!

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