"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

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Coffee Bar And Other Stories

You know, I always tend to think that I have nothing to blog about since I'm so preoccupied living life... And the ideas I do have wouldn't be good enough since I'm never accomplishing Pinterest-worthy things... But then I remember that this is a blog about real home-living! And when I take the time to ponder that, then the blog ideas just start flowing.....


We're never doing fancy or impressive things... Just enjoying our home and family; Reading books, sipping coffee, watching birds, playing the piano, cooking meals, doing school lessons, admiring early morning sunlight...


And I realize... THIS is why I blog...



To help teach the younger mama's that they don't need to leave their homes for a career to achieve happiness.  (Titus 2:4-5)  There is much freedom and joy in home living! 

~ Just stay home and love your family! ~

*******

You'll see that we lost our beautiful snow. Old Man Winter is settling down. He is never in a hurry, though. It is still too early for blooms on our trees...

(Look at that bright sky...)


But I am loving the longer, sunnier days!

"A society grows great when men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." 
~ Greek Proverb ~

This is what our favorite tree looks like right now, but every summer she fills in and droops down, almost touching the ground... Giving us the most wonderful shady get-away!



*********

Did you know that it was my wedding anniversary the other day? 

Micah and I have been married for TEN years!


Aren't ya proud of us, friends?!
(*wink)

We leave next week for our Costa Rica trip, so I want you to know that I'll be taking a bit of a blogging break until we get back. If we're friends on Facebook you'll probably see a few photos come through your feed. I want to try to post a little on there, but other than that I plan to unplug and savor every moment!!!

Because of our upcoming trip, we decided that we wouldn't exchange gifts this year. 

I had a different idea, instead.

Hoping to avoid too much boring detail, I will just quickly give you the brief backstory...

We've had a Keurig coffee maker for years but it has lived in storage because I prefer a brewing pot. We sometimes pull it out at Christmas or other times when we're expecting a large amount of company, and a custom-made cup of coffee or hot chocolate is a nice treat for guests. But Micah has always said how he wished we kept it out all the time. 

I decided to surprise him for our anniversary, and set up his very own coffee bar!

Just a heads up, I do realize that there are photos of beautiful and stylish home coffee bars all over the internet. You've probably seen them. Mine is neither. (*eye roll...)
This is a real-life blog!!! 

I thought about what he uses when he fixes up a cup of coffee for himself, and assembled everything together in one spot.

I didn't buy anything new for this. I used items we already had. I pulled out his favorite mugs, his favorite sugar spoons, and put it all together...


If you're curious, this is what the buffet has always looked like before:


I think it looked much better this way, but the truth is it was useless. If there's a need in the family or a way I can make our home a more enjoyable place to be, than I'd rather give a pretty spot a more meaningful purpose!

My thinking was, We live here! Might as well make it comfortable!

Roman always likes to get involved in whatever projects I'm working on. He asked if he could make a sign for the coffee bar.


I thought it was a good idea, so I let him create it.

I think he did a great job!


Micah was very excited about his coffee bar and I've noticed he's used it everyday since I put it together!


And even though we said, "No gifts," he did come home the night of our anniversary with this beautiful bouquet for me!


Yes, I am lucky! Lucky! We all are, aren't we, girlfriends? 

Husbands, children, homes... 

There's nothing better in this world!

~ "Count your blessings name them one by one..." ~

I decided the dining room table would be a good home for my new bouquet...


I've been enjoying them over the last few days, as well as enjoying candles, coffee, books, music, and all the other wonderful things we get to do in our homes when the weather's still chilly.

But one of my most favorite home activities I enjoy is creating posts for this blog! Because it makes me feel like I'm visiting with sweet friends! You all ARE my friends, you know that, right?! Even if we've never met!

A funny side note, I received a Private message from a gal who's been following my blog. She asked if I'd be willing to meet her for coffee and a chat. She said, "I know we've never met, but I feel like you're my friend!"

Oh, what that meant to me!!! That did my heart a lot of good!

I loved meeting her and visiting with her! And now we are real life friends!

So! Friends... It is late...


And we need our beauty sleep!

I'll be back in a couple of weeks with traveling tales to share...

Until then,

xo,

~ Courtney ~








Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Pillow Story And Thrift Store Finds

When I'm not homeschooling my children, or working on housework, I'm decorating my home!

It's one of my most favorite things to do!

I always feel like it's time well-spent!

No one can bring beauty into a home the way a woman can, and I'm the only woman in my home... So, I feel it's up to me!

I wasn't happy with the new pillows I recently purchased for my front living room. I shared the photos with you in my "Spring Decorating" post. 

I've since purchased new ones that I like much better!

They're blue ticking throw pillows...


Here's the story...

Last spring I wanted to find throw pillows that would lighten up this space for spring and summer. My first attempt was these buttercup yellow pillows...


I thought I would like the yellow against my navy blue curtains. But it never set well with me and I ended up returning them.

I learned a lesson through the yellow pillow attempt, and that was that a solid doesn't look the best against another solid. The plain white couch needed pattern.

So, this spring I went out again, this time in search of a summer-y patterned throw pillow.

I was thrilled to find these...


But even though the pillows themselves were very beautiful, I still didn't think it looked right.

I kept the tags on them and pondered it for about a week. 

I picked my mom's brain about it when she came to visit. She helped me confirm what the problem was. The pattern on the pillows was competing with the pattern on the curtains!

See what I mean?...


So the conclusion finally was drawn...

I needed a pillow with a pattern, but one that would still allow my beautiful curtains to be the star of the show!

As they say, the third time's the charm!

I ordered these from Etsy, and they're perfect...




I visited a friend last week, (who happens to have a gorgeous, magazine-worthy home) and she said something that struck me. In regards to making decorating decisions she said, "The key is to REPEAT!"

That very much comforted me because I realized the reason these pillows feel right 
in my front room is largely due to it being a repeat pattern in the room. You see, I've had blue ticking on this side chair all along...


So, it causes the throw pillows to look as if they belong here.

Why didn't I realize it sooner?

Here's how the chair relates to the couch and new pillows...


If you're a really observant person, you'll notice I have a different plant on the coffee table. My poor little Oxalis that I had in this spot was getting beaten down by the direct sunlight that comes streaming through this window. I had to move it to a dimmer location. It actually traded places with this tropical plant that has been longing for a warm, sunny spot!

So, here's what my front room looks like today...


To the left of my couch is an end table with this vignette...


When I'm out junking I almost always buy a book or two. 

My most recent trip resulted in the finding of this adorable Peter Pan book...


Isn't it perfect here?...


Do you enjoy sifting through thrift store junk in the hopes of finding a treasure?

After coming across Peter Pan and tucking him under my arm to shop some more, I stumbled upon this find...

Eight tiny, little hand-painted plates!


I felt very lucky to find these!

I've never seen plates so tiny before!


Maybe it's hard to tell from the photos just how tiny... To give you an idea, look at this snack I prepared for my kids soon after I brought them home...

The plain, white plates are teacup saucers!!!


I had no idea what these tiny plates were for, so I used them in random, creative ways for the first few days that I had them...


(I recently began drawing red hearts on our napkins to tell the kids that dinner was "Made with love.")


But then my Grandma informed me that their original use, years ago, was to provide butter for each place setting!

I thought that was such a brilliant idea!

Everyone getting their own little butter plate?... Of course! Why aren't we doing this anymore?

Well, I saw to it that we all had our own butter on these plates at our very next family dinner!

:) :) :)



What do you think? Do you have any other clever ideas for how I can use my tiny plates?

Please leave a comment!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you friends, for stopping by my blog today!

It means so much to me that you take the time to read what I write!

Until next time...

xo,

~ Courtney ~














Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Mother's Prayer

I always wanted to be a mother.

I had plenty of opportunity for training in my childhood, too!

It started with dolls...


Then that morphed into wanting to hold baby cousins, or babies of my mom's friends...


All of that was training for when my baby brother was born...


I loved holding and helping with him!


And then I had a baby of my own!

(This is a four-generation photo. Me with my grandmother, mother, and firstborn, Roman.)

I was 25, and finally a mother!

I was happy!


But it came with a burden...

A thought I had never had before in my life.

I began to wonder, "What if he doesn't grow up to love the Lord? What if he takes a godless path."

This thought began to really worry me.

So, when Roman was a baby I began to pray a very specific prayer.

It was this...

"Lord, please give Roman a tender heart towards you. Please give him a heart that wants to obey your Word. A heart that wants to love you and serve you all the days of his life. And please don't give me any children that won't eventually grow to love you, desire your ways, and seek your will."

I was very serious about this prayer and would pray it regularly.

I would specifically ask the the Lord not to give me children that would remain wayward or godless for life. 

While Roman was a baby and I was praying this prayer, I became pregnant.

I continued on with this daily prayer for Roman's heart and for the hearts of my future babies.

About two months into my pregnancy, I lost the baby.

Of course I was sad, and grieved the loss, but God reminded me of my prayer.

To this day I wonder if that's why the baby was taken into Heaven early.

I'll never know this side of Heaven, but look forward to meeting him or her when I get there someday!

Just recently I shared this story with my children.

(These are all of my babies today...)


I told my children that God listens to our prayers... that He wants their hearts and has a plan for each of their lives...

I told them that I expect that they will trust in Jesus as their personal Lord and savior... remain on the right and narrow path... and that they will spend their lives loving and seeking the Lord and His ways...

I told them about their heritage... About how they came from a long line of people who have loved the Lord, on both my side of the family, as well as their dad's.

I wanted to instill in them a sense of legacy.

So, I told them that their Great-Grandparents served the Lord until it was time to pass the baton to Gran and Papa, and Grandma and Grandpa. Then they passed the baton to dad and me... and someday it will be passed on to them to continue to "Run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith." Hebrews 12:1-2

For now, I will cling to my instructions which are to "Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:5

But I hope that one day I'll be able to rejoice and say that "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in truth." 3 John 1:4



Mama's, there is nothing more important you can do with your life than to train up the next generation of warriors for the Lord. 

Our world desperately needs it!

I want to be a mama who's doing that!

Don't you?

We can do it, girlfriends!

"Let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

What are YOU praying over your children?

xo,

~ Courtney ~














Sunday, March 5, 2017

Spring Decorating

It is still very much Winter here...


It'll be Winter for a while yet, but I couldn't help feeling inspired to bring a little touch of spring into the house.

My living room has looked like this all Fall and Winter...


I really enjoy the hide, fur, pine, and roses in the cold weather months... but by March I feel as though it's a bit too heavy. 

I decided to pack it all away for now, and do something lighter and more colorful for the Spring and Summer seasons.

This is what I came up with...


This certainly feels more like Spring, don't you think?

I am glad I decided to use whites and neutrals for my larger pieces. This way I can change out a look very easily and inexpensively! 

I purchased this adorable Oxalis to freshen this room up, but the car ride home traumatized the poor thing! See how the little white flowers wilted?



My friend (who knows a lot about plants) told me Oxalis like being in the sun. So, I've been following sunbeams around the house with it in an effort to perk it back up!

I hope it works!


I also packed away all my little faux red roses that I love so much...


I pull these out a Christmastime, and have a hard time letting them go when Spring arrives. I just really like the way the red looks in my front room...


But Spring calls for a lighter look. So, my hutch and mantle now look like this...




One of the best ways to decorate for Spring is to use fresh, real plants and flowers! This little white primrose was $1.99 at my local nursery.

I think it's perfect!

Here's another new, live plant in my front room..


When they're on sale, I like to buy orchids for my mantle...


But once they are done, I have to come up with something else to fill this spot.

Right now I have a mix of faux and real with this arrangement in a white pitcher...


One tip that I can give you for putting together faux arrangements that don't look tacky is this: Mix in some real elements along with the fake. In this arrangement, the pine and turkey feathers are real, and everything else is artificial. 

Other than some grocery store tulips in the kitchen,


this is as far as I've gotten with my Spring decorating. 


How has YOUR Spring decorating been coming along?

xo,

~ Courtney ~