miscellaneous

What Spring brought.

While it is still Spring (technically), I thought I’d post some pictures of our flowers. I am so thankful for a God who blesses us with diversity in nature.

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Ranunculus. My nemesis in botany. I love the flowers, but I kill them. Over, and over.

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Beautiful, fragrant lilacs. Purple ones…

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White ones.

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Seeds started in eggshells. My sis gets the credit for this.

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We have a beautiful old dogwood tree in our yard.

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Peony.

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House finch nest in our potted fern. I love hearing them sing every day.

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String-of-pearls succulent.

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Another succulent. This one is from IKEA.

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My favorite succulent.

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Enjoying our porch.

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Begonia. My first year trying these, and I love them!

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And one of my favorite hostas : June. I have so many different kinds. Hostas are my favorite plant. I don’t like most of the flowers, so I keep those trimmed off. The foliage is just so calm and serene.

I hope to do a post on our vegetable garden this week. Today I had plans to finish weeding, but the rain last night made it too muddy. I was thankful for the extra time I had to finally write a blog post. Though, if I had my way I’d spend every waking minute outside.

A Unicorn & Princess Party

A while ago our sweet L. had a birthday. We let her lead in planning a birthday party. Her first choice was to have a unicorn party with 10-11 girls as guests. We had a hard time finding lots of unicorn things within budget, so we made it a unicorn and princess party. Because unicorns and princesses belong together, right? For the guests we gave her a limit of 5 and had her make the decision of whom to include. It is fun watching a little girlie work. I designed the invitations, with her approval of course.

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L. was super excited to use my shiny gold pen to write the names on the invitations. After sealing the envelopes with a princess sticker, we sent them out to each princess.

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For place settings, L. chose rainbow/pink/purple colors. We picked up cheap wands and party favors at walmart. Each girl got to go home with some goodies. I actually can’t remember what was in each bag. L. also made place cards to put on each plate. She chose the seating arrangement. She knew exactly where she wanted everyone to sit.

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This cake didn’t take very long to make. And I’m glad I didn’t fuss too much because I think only one piece was eaten.

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Our one lonely bit of unicorn decor – thanks to my sis-in-law for texting me when she saw it at our local antique mall.

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These little things were golden. The girls went crazy over them. Marshmallows dipped in white chocolate and topped with sprinkles. The plain white marshmallows with rainbow sprinkles were a hit!

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We didn’t serve only sugar, although there certainly was lots of it consumed. L. chose macaroni and cheese, broccoli, and applesauce as her menu. Plus all the sugary goodness. 🙂

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The girls were asked to come dressed in princess attire. Excitement ran high that morning. All these pretty princesses with big huge grins and adorable outfits. For activities, we had tables set up for play dough and large coloring pages. The girls played and played. The noise level went up considerably after the sugar kicked in. It was fun to watch them interact and make new friends. I have so many cute pictures of these twirling princesses, but chose not to share them. Some day, these girls will be grown and may not want a blog filled with pictures from when they were little. 🙂 So just imagine lots of energy in pretty purple and pink twirling around.

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Birthday girl was a little shy when it was time to open presents. I suggested that each girl could help her open the gift they were giving her. This seemed to work very well and made everyone happy. There were some tired princesses that afternoon.

If you’re wondering if you can find energy to have a birthday party, I encourage you to include your children in the planning stages. This seemed to take a lot of stress away from me. I can be so indecisive and stew over the smallest decisions. L. had opinions on everything if I just took the time to ask and listen to her. Some things were hard to let go and let her choose. I knew she would probably pick something that wouldn’t be my first choice. Dear J. helped me see the character and confidence we could build in her by letting her make decisions for herself. Obviously we had boundaries and a budget for things, lest you think we let our children do anything they please. L.’s most common argument when asking for something in a store is, “But Mom, it’s not too expensive.” 🙂

Have a good week, friends!

Enduring a Long Winter.

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Lots of people don’t like Winter. A few (like me) love it. I have no animals to feed or tend to. Well, that’s not true. I have a cat. She greets me every morning by scratching on the window or hanging on the screen door. Yep, that screen is ripped. It’s okay, the screen can be replaced. Once it’s warm, I’ll train that cat. I digress.

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My way of enduring is by loving Winter. It helps to play in the snow, or shovel the snow until your shoulders ache. The way I see it, at least snow makes the world sparkle. If it’s going to be cold and frozen, snow will only make it better.

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Sometimes when the children are sick, or it’s just too cold to play outside it’s easy to get cabin fever. Plants help keep this mama sane. Oh, I’ve killed my fair share of indoor plants. I do not even claim to have a green thumb. But even if every plant dies, you can bet I’ll try again next year.

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Orchids are my nemesis. I try every winter. So far it’s Orchids 3 :: Carrie 0. This year may be different.

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Baby tears are an easy indoor plant. I bought one plant last Sprint for L.’s fairy garden. Last fall I divided it into three or four plants. I kept one for myself and gave the rest away.  I plan on using this in our fairy garden this year.

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Ferns from my mama. She has a green thumb and graciously shares her plants with me.

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This geranium has been blooming since last Spring. I found it at a local green house and loved the color.

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I know I probably should have let it go dormant in the basement, but it has been such a joy to look at. I plan to take cuttings off soon and root them in water.

If you can’t enjoy the pure white snow and cold, try some green. It also helps to plan a garden. This is my best defense against cabin fever. This year, L. is planning her own garden. So far, she has picked zinnias, broccoli and rainbow carrots. Last night we decided to add some sweet peas to the mix.

Spring is coming soon!

White Kitchen Cupboards.

When we moved to our new (old) house last winter, we spent a week painting walls and changing a few minor things. We wanted to paint the kitchen cupboards white, but ran out of time. In my mind I thought that maybe I could just be okay with the cupboards until we remodel the kitchen someday. Well, the day before Christmas I told J. that I have this strong urge to paint the island but not necessarily the cupboards. We laughed a little bit, but didn’t do anything about it. Friday after Christmas, J. sent me a text saying that he would love to paint the cupboards white. I was so excited and at the same time questioned our sanity. J. bought paint on his way home from work and we started painting that day. How’s that for spontaneous?

A few disclaimers: this post will be full of pictures, the pictures were taken during the process so you will see messy (not staged and perfect) pictures. We do live here. 🙂  Also, the house looked beautiful before we painted anything. I just prefer white and bright natural light.

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This was our first day in this house. It was a Sunday, so we brought supper over and spent time planning.

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This was right before we took the cupboard doors off to start prepping for painting.

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We set up a painting station in the basement for the doors and drawers. We sanded and wiped everything down with a de-glosser to ensure that the paint stays on.

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Then we painted.

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Even little hands painted. The imperfections just add character.

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Did I mention anything about painting? Oh, yeah we painted. We burned some midnight oil, and then some.

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Once everything was done drying, J. spent the better part of a day putting slides on three drawers. Ah, the joys of diy. He did an amazing job. It is wonderful to not have to balance drawers on my knees when putting away silverware. 🙂

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These are from this week. I have begun to adjust to the beautiful bright white cupboards in our kitchen. We love the difference it makes in our kitchen. It’s brighter and it makes us happy. Eventually we hope to completely change to kitchen. We’re still dreaming and planning and saving money. Our goal is to have a functional kitchen that stays true to the style of this old house.

 

 

Inspiration

 

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Sometimes you just need a little inspiration, something new or old. I found this darling metal canister set (at least that’s what I think it is) at our local antique mall. It’s almost embarrassing how often I visit that store.

 

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I saw this one day and fell in love with it. As usual, I left it there to think about it for a few days. I just couldn’t seem to forget about it. So here it is, a perfect home for our tea and hot cocoa.

 

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I love it so. The aqua is the perfect shade, and the copper so shiny.

 

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This was part of my Christmas gift from my parents. It couldn’t be more perfect. The best part, they gave my sister Mary a matching one. Now we will be recipe box twins.

These old metal beauties inspired us to paint our kitchen cupboards. You heard right. Apparently it doesn’t take much to motivate me. (ha.) We were very spontaneous the day we painted. Or should I say day and night? It’s still a little foggy. 🙂 More on that later.

Gingerbread House Cookies

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My sister Mary had the brilliant idea of making gingerbread house cookies instead of real gingerbread houses. On Christmas, the children were happy to decorate these cookies. The cookie is made of gingerbread (I am not sure what recipe she used). She drew a house template and cut them out before baking them. The icing is just regular buttercream.

 

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She put the candy into cupcake liners to keep chaos at a minimum.

 

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Each child had 8 different toppings, a bag with frosting, and a gingerbread house cookie.

 

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Then the fun began. Surprisingly, it was a calm project. They were focused on piping frosting and eating candy. It also helped that they each had their own supplies.

 

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This was L.’s finished product. Look at that pile of frosting!

The cookies fit perfectly into a quart sized Ziploc bag. We let L. eat what she could the morning after Christmas (after a nutritious breakfast). The rest was fed to the cat. She seemed to enjoy it.