"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge it's rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4

Monday, January 30, 2017

Enjoying Winter

Oh, friends!

I can't believe I've been away this long! It has been too long!!!

Don't think I haven't thought about all of you! I always miss you when I take my little blogging breaks!

:)

I'll be honest... I fell into a bit of a funk.

I became ill a couple of weeks ago and it was difficult to just keep up with laundry and school lessons. I gave up on everything else until I started to feel better.

You all have been so kind to me throughout my blogging journey, that I know you understand.

:)

One day recently I was out and about and needed something to lift my spirits. Being sick was getting me down in the dumps.

(That is so unlike me! I usually enjoy winter!)

I found this beautiful houseplant while out shopping with the kids, and decided to bring it home...


It sits atop my built-in china cabinet:


It really helped!


~ "Every change of scene becomes a delight." ~

Do you decorate with live plants and flowers?

I would highly recommend it! It is SO uplifting during the dark winter months!

Here are some of my other live houseplants...



White orchids are one of my favorites!!! 

This little plant was purchased on Black Friday for my holiday decorating, and it's still alive and well! Can you believe it?! Haha... Aren't you proud of me, girlfriends?!


I also picked up this adorable little kitchen towel:

(Another live plant can be spotted here, too.)


It aided in lifting my spirit, as well!

(I found it at Walmart for $1.88)


~ "It's the little things in life." ~

When I finally began to feel better, I decided to host a brunch for the ladies in my Sunday School.

Preparing for something like a brunch is a great way to pass the time in winter and boost your mood!

Recently I heard someone say, "I hate this weather! I can't wait for spring!"

No, No, No, friends!

Let's not have that attitude!

As the beautiful author Fiona Ferris writes, "We are going to get winter every year whether we like it or not- it's at least a quarter of our life. And that's a good thing! I always think it's better to see another winter than not, don't you? Please do not wish away the cold season, because that means you are wishing your life away. Why not enjoy yourself instead?"

Well, I want to enjoy myself! So, I sent out invitations... Planned a lovely menu... Set my dining room table... And purchased fresh flowers...


The ladies I sit with in class every Sunday are such lovely people, I wanted to treat them to a special morning, and get to know them better.


I really enjoyed visiting and laughing with them at my table.


The last time I blogged about an event I hosted, a reader commented that I didn't show any of the food! Haha... Whoops! Well, I remembered this time to snap a few pictures of the spread right before we dug in:


I set everything out on my kitchen island:


If winter has you feeling a bit flat, you could light a pretty candle, wear bright, uplifting colors, or do what I did and put something fun on your calendar to look forward to!

Now that my brunch is over, I have something new to look forward to next. It is on my schedule for the not-so-distant future, and I'm super excited! But talking about that will have to wait until next time... So, check back with me soon!

Love to you all...

xo,

~ Courtney ~





















Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Getting Ready For Wednesday Nights

I have sneaked away with my computer to jot down some notes on getting ready to leave the house with kids...

Every Wednesday night we attend church for classes and choir practice. It is non-negotiable in our schedule. Every week we're there. Over the years I have learned some things on how to get over to church smoothly and on time after a full day of homeschool and housework.

Other aspects of our Wednesday routine that are just as important include how to arrive looking somewhat tidy and put-together. (Emphasis on the somewhat! Haha...)

So, I thought I'd do a post about it.

This is a photo of myself with my daughters a few Wednesday night's ago right before we headed out:


Some obstacles to Wednesday night's that can make it tricky for us include:

- We live 30 minutes away.

- Micah almost always has to meet us there because of his work schedule, so I don't have help getting the kids ready and loaded up.

- We shoot to leave at 5:45, so dinner can be problematic.

etc...

I really, really hate it when I get into the car to go to church and I feel stressed and rushed. I've noticed that when that happens, it's because I have failed to plan and prepare properly. So, this post will be about some of my thoughts on what can be done on Wednesday's to make it run as smoothly as possible.


1. I do not plan out-of-the house activities on Wednesday's. 

Sometimes I like to get into town early to run an errand or something first, and I'll time it out so that when the errand is complete, we can head straight over to church. That always seems like such a good idea in theory, but I almost always end up getting to church feeling frazzled. (Four little kids in tow on an errand has the potential to break down even the veteran mama's.) So, I know not to schedule play-dates or activities on Wednesday's because of this.

(Wednesday night's should be revered and respected as almost as important as a Sunday morning. Not quite, I understand, but we're still entering into the house of the Lord. We're still fellowshipping with God's people, and we're still opening His word for study and refreshment. This is not the time to be dressed like, or have the attitude like we're just taking the kids over to a park or to Walmart. Our standards should be a touch higher than that.)


2. I plan outfits and lay things out early in the day.

Like I mentioned above, planning ahead is essential. I pick out what we'll all be wearing and set it out in our rooms in a way that will make getting ready easy:


Except for the 2-year old, I can send everyone upstairs with the instructions to get dressed for church and I don't have to worry about someone coming down in something inappropriate.


I do this early in the day!


3. In the winter, I also lay out coats and hats.

Anything that can be done ahead of time, I try to do!


We all need our bibles for our classes so it's nice when I remember to set those out as well:


I don't always remember to do this, and there have been plenty of times when we arrive at church and someone's missing their bible. But to make things run as smoothly as possible, this is hugely helpful.

(You'll notice in these pictures that I like to "assign" a chair to each kid's belongings.)

Even I have a chair for my coat, scarf, mittens and pre-packed bag. Basically, I do what I can to avoid any last minute scrambles. 

Everything's ready to go:



4. I do not cook on Wednesday's.

I have two reasons for this. First, there really isn't time. We're getting ready to leave during my usual dinner prep time, and are leaving during dinner time. But most importantly, I don't cook on Wednesday's because cooking smells adhere themselves to clothing and hair, and would make us stinky for our classes. 

For these two reasons, I feed us quick, simple, non-smelly suppers like peanut butter sandwiches, instant oatmeal, or hot dogs:



I feed my children before I send them off to get dressed because of the commonly known law of parenting that goes like this: If you dress your children to go somewhere and then feed them a meal... they will spill said meal all over their clean clothing. (*eye roll)

The last thing I want to mention is that I've learned the trick of counting backwards. What I mean is, I think about what time we have to be somewhere, then calculate what time we have to be ready to go, then determine if the children need to be fed first and how much time I'll need for that, and on and on... I keep counting backwards in my head until I settle on the time in which I need to begin the whole process.

How I decide the order in which to do things depends on each tasks ability to hold their value. Which is why I ask myself, "Can this be done ahead of time?" The tasks that do not deteriorate get done first. (Like packing bags and setting out clothes.) The tasks that do deteriorate get done as close to the end as possible. (Like eating, and styling my and my daughter's hair.)

The final hour before we leave is commonly referred to in our house as "hurricane hour". Anyone who has ever been responsible for getting multiple children dressed and out the door for something, knows exactly what I mean! This is the time where all things come to head. (I've been known to ignore phone calls and fly around the house barking orders like a lunatic during "hurricane hour".) This is the time where if a disaster has been brewing, it'll finally all explode. OR, if I've done well with my prep work, things will come together. 

And that's what I want! That's why I do this!

You may be thinking, "She really needs to calm down!" (I know this because I hear it from Micah.) However to that I say, "Yes, But! I'm almost never late to anything! And I have all my kids with me!"

Well friends, I have no idea if these thoughts will help any of you. I enjoy learning how other mama's "do life", so I figured a post like this couldn't hurt.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Feel free to drop by comments and say, "Hi".

I love hearing from you!

Until next time,

xo,

~ Courtney ~







Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Girls' Bedroom

Hello friends!

It's been a really long time since I've done a room makeover post!

It's time for me to take you into the room that my daughters share.

I've been wanting to show you their bedroom for months, and I'm finally now getting around to it!

Come on in...


This is what this room has looked like for a while now, but as many of you know, we bought this house as a fixer-upper, and have renovated many of its rooms over the years.



When we moved in, (in the summer of 2009) the room looked like this: 


Almost every room in our farmhouse had wallpaper and a ceiling fan.


Sometime around 2010, we got to work in here:


We painted the walls "Cool Sky" (a very pale grayish-blue) and installed a chandelier:


Being married to a handy-man has been such an amazing blessing!

We've hired out very few projects over the years!


Our first intention with this room was to have it be our bedroom. 

I decorated it with whites, blues, and cherry reds, in sort-of a farmhouse feel. And we enjoyed it as our "Master Bedroom" for several years.


But when our second daughter was an infant, we decided to give the girls' this room to share.

So, about two years ago, we moved them in here and converted it to a sweet, little girls' room.

This may not be what everybody likes, but to me it's adorable!


In my childhood bedroom, my bed was in front of the window. I can remember really enjoying that, and watching out my window from my warm bed as I drifted off to sleep.

I wanted to recreate that for my daughters, so each of their beds are positioned in front of the rooms' windows:




Being from the city, I would watch the cars slowly pass on the street beneath my window, or maybe the neighbors turning their lamp lights off as the night grew later...

But now being out in the country, I suppose my children will watch the deer scamper across the fields, and the pink sunsets instead.


Their bedroom has a mix of old and new...


Handmade and store-bought...



And items from my childhood bedroom...



Some of my favorite elements in this room are the dollhouse that my grandpa built for me, and the branch with paper birds that hangs in the corner:


This was a project Micah and I worked on when Nola was a baby for her old room. I loved it so much that I had it moved and re-hung. 

It is a dead branch from our yard. The birds are made from card stock and antique sheet music that I hand-cut, then hung from the branch using white thread.  (I used a hole-punch to make their eyes.)


Here are a few other details of the room...




When my grandmother found out that we were naming our first daughter "Nola", she said, "I think there's a piano song titled 'Nola'!" She found the sheet music on eBay for us, and I framed it:


It hangs next to Nola's bed:


Of course there is so much more I could talk about when it comes to this room, but I don't want to bore you! Please know you can leave any questions you might have in the comments and I will respond!

This was such a fun room for me to decorate because where else in my home can I decorate like this?! Having girls is so much fun! But also because it reminds me of my childhood bedroom. My room had pale pink carpet and bright white walls; an antique wrought iron bed and a beautiful floral bedspread. Even into my teen years when all my friends were hanging posters up on their walls, my walls had framed, antique pictures. I guess I've just always loved living in beautiful rooms! I hope my children feel the same way!



Thanks for letting me show you around!

I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Until next time...

xo,

~Courtney~


















Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A New Year And A Wonderful Winter

Here we are in a New Year!

Isn't it wonderful, friends?!


The Christmas clutter has been cleared from my home, and things are looking back to normal.


Are you ready to put 2016 in the past and embrace the future? 

The bible talks about this in Philippians 3:13-14, "... Forgetting what lies behind, I press forward to the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus."

Girlfriends, we have a high calling! 

We are wives and mothers!

"By loving the family God has given you, you are making an impact not only on this generation but also on the one after and the one after that. As a homemaker, your work has eternal consequences."
-Lynn Bowen Walker

So, this winter I plan to do what I do every winter...

Enjoy my home and family!

We will read from my collection of beautiful, antique books...



(I thought it'd be a fun change to have the pictures in this post be from some of my favorite, old books!)


We will play in the snow...



We will sprinkle seeds and berries in the backyard for our birds...


(I feel so sorry for them in the winter. But at least they have each other!) 

This is a group of female finches out my kitchen window. It appears as though they have left the men at home and are out for a girls' lunch...


We will bake...


And drink hot things...


Aren't these pictures so adorable?!

I'm telling ya! You should pick up an antique book the next time you're out junking with a girlfriend!

Their bright, colorful pages are so uplifting during bleak winter days.

I plan to take my daughter to ballet class...


Set beautiful tables for cozy dinners...



And snuggle the baby by the fire...


Yes, I'm looking forward to a wonderful winter!

"Be interested and interesting. Focus on living a rich, stimulating life, and enjoy your life with your children." - Sue Patterson

Of course we can't talk about beginning a New Year and settling into winter without talking about resolutions!

Do you have any?

We heard a great message about New Year's resolutions this past Sunday at church.

One statement that stood out to me was this:

(I'm paraphrasing here, I don't have the exact quote...)

"You may already have good habits, and be doing the things you wish to carry into the New Year. If that's so, then your resolution could simply be to strengthen them."

I feel like I can relate to that!

For example, I get up and have my quiet time in scripture with coffee each morning. But over the past few months I've noticed that I've been going to bed late, and waking up late, so my quiet time is rushed.

I wish to change that!

Instead of going to bed at 11:30 and getting up at 7:00 or sometimes even 7:30, I'd like to start going to bed at 10:00 or 10:30, and set my alarm for 6:00 or 6:30.

So, my New Year's resolution is to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier...



When I was a kid I would hear adults complain about winter weather and I would think, "Maybe they don't know that there are books and hot chocolate." Haha...



Now that I'm an adult, I still can't understand what is so depressing about winter!

God has given us all seasons to enjoy!

Every day of the year is a gift!

"The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."
- William Morris 


(And I would of course add to that, knowing you are in God's will for your life!)

If you are a wife and mother and are home, pouring your time and talents into your family... You are in God's will for your life!

What a beautiful place to be!


Let's take joy in these small, happy moments... and let's have a wonderful winter!!!

xo,

~ Courtney ~