Inspire. Lately.

What’s inspiring me lately? Well let me show you…

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1. I love this wood burned art.  I’ve seen this quote before and every time I read it, it inspires me. Timmy and I decided this year would be our summer of yes. Saying yes to things more often and taking advantage of opportunities.  When we are invited out to things, just say yes!  Source: here

2. First off, i hope to one day have an outdoor dinner party that looks like this. But in the meantime I want to spend time outdoors, with friends and enjoy life. Source: here

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 3. I just plain love this watercolor. I’ve been keeping any eye out for some art pieces for our home. I really want to get a couple of great pieces that I know we will have in our house for a long time. Source: here

4. What a great idea to display pictures.  I love the idea of displaying old photos of our parents and grandparents around our house. This would be such a great way to do this. Source: here

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4. Ain’t that the truth.  That’s something that this year is teaching me. Be my own best friend. I’ve mentioned before the transition we’ve had of getting used to Timmy’s new crazy work schedule and I’ve had to learn to spend some time with myself, and truthfully I’m ok with that.  I don’t mind evenings sitting out on the couch and watch stupid TV or Saturdays running around town. Just last week I ended up going to the movies by myself and it’s actually quite enjoyable. It’s not that weird! Source: here

5. This just a really cool entry way. We don’t have a great spot in house for something like this but maybe something like this for the bedroom would be cool. Source: here

{DIY} Crochet Floor Pouf

Knitting and crocheting are usually winter activities for me, but after the weather turned warm I was still in the mood for some yarn crafts. I’ve always wanted to get a floor pouf/pillow for our living room and thought I would try to make my own!

I used the pattern from here, but slightly altered it.  I’ve never put together my own crochet pattern, so I’ll do my best to describe what changes I made. 

Supplies:

  • Size 13 (9mm) crochet hook
  • 9 skeins of super bulky yarn – I used 8 skeins of white and 1 grey of Red Heart’s Grande Yarn.
  • 5 bags of shredded foam
  • Fabric for insert in a coordinating color
  • Needle & thread

I followed the pattern to row 9 and then stopped increasing and did 14 rows then began to decrease. Once I got to a few rows into decreasing I stopped and made my insert out of muslin fabric. You can really use anything that you have that matches in color to your yarn, since you can slightly see the fabric you want to be sure to use a similar color. Cut two circles the circumference of your pouf and then measure the height of it and cut a rectangle piece and sew the side together to create a cylinder and then sew one circle around.  Take the second circle and sew about 3/4th of the way around leave room to stuff it.

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Insert your muslin pouch into the pouf and begin filling with stuffing or foam. I bought shredded foam from Jo-Ann Fabrics, I ended up using 5 bags.  It will make  HUGE mess, just an FYI 🙂

After you have all your stuffing in, sew up the opening in the muslin,  it will be bulky so I hand sewed it closed, don’t worry about it being super neat since it will be inside the pouf but make sure its fairly tight so you don’t lose your stuffing over time.

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Finally, continue crocheting around to close up the circle. Once I to the end and couldn’t decrease any more, I still had a bit of a wide hole in the center, I did 2 rows of single crochet stitches so that there was just a small hole in the center, weave in your ends and you’re done ! All you have to do now is put your feet up and relax!

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Also, if you have a cat they will love this pouf. This is where Denison spends most of his evenings. 

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Life Lately // 05.13.15

How is it May already? Weren’t we just celebrating Christmas and wishing away the cold and snow? Now we are in 70+ degree days and enjoying the sunshine and the great outdoors! I’ve always loved fall, but I think my new favorite is late spring/early summer. When its that perfect weather for short sleeves and no jacket until the evenings, sandals with jeans and getting your skin turning a little pink after sitting outside for a bit. ah… love it!

This past weekend I went up to Michigan for a quick weekend to hang out with the family.  I flew into Indianapolis (where Kate lives) and drove up to Michigan with her and her family to my parents house.   It was a wonderful, crazy busy, fun filled weekend!  I really do have the best family.  Unfortunately Mandy was out of town herself, so I didn’t get to hang out with her….But she was enjoying a weekend in Florida with her sisters!

Watching lately: It may be the nerd in us, but Timmy and I LOVE Marvel and superhero movies and shows.  The new Netflix show Daredevil just started and we are loving it.  Its a bit darker and has a great story line.  Last week end we walked down to our local movie theater to see the new Avengers movie, which was great, one of the best so far! I also have to say I just love our little neighborhood and the fact that we can walk to the movies! {its all very Stars Hallow-esque}

Reading lately: I keep meaning to pick up some good “life” books, something to challenge me or to teach me something new or better my life. But instead I’ve been reading The Maze Runner books. We watched the movie after it came out on DVD and it was a decent movie and both Timmy and I thought the books would probably be good, so I downloaded them. I’m still on the first one but Timmy’s already made it half way through the third!

Drinking lately: I can’t get enough of iced coffee drinks right now.  My current favorite is a simple iced vanilla latte from The Roasterie Cafe. It’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up!

{Life Lately in Photos}

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 {Pictures from my trip to Michigan!}

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Disney World // Fall Break planning

We just let the girls know about our trip to Disney World over fall break this year! We are all SO excited! The first time we visited was 2008 and the girls were only 3, 5 & 6. Their ages for this trip will be 10, 12 & 13 – so BIG difference. We are excited to see how they like it and everything *should* be easier this time around – no stroller, no diapers, hopefully no whining…. we’ll see on that last one.

My husband is a super planner for vacations, so he has been on the ball with making plans for the past several months already. We just couldn’t wait any longer to tell the girls – we think the planning and anticipation will be even better this way.

We are working with a travel agent this time around and so happy she’ll be making the calls first thing in the morning to get our dinner reservations booked for us. 🙂  Another tool we have been utilizing is http://wdwprepschool.com/ – Dave has been listening to a lot of the podcasts and it’s how we found the travel agent we are working with.

We have our resort booked and we’ll be driving down this time instead of flying. I’ll be posting more on how plans are coming along as we get closer!!

Can’t wait!

Here are some photos from our trip in 2008!

disney_2This is one I want to recreate this trip!

disney_1Pretty Princess dresses that their Grandparent’s bought for them. Grace and Kaylee loved Minnie Mouses’ house.

disney_4Not quite sure why Grace is cranky. lol Eva loved seeing Nemo!

disney_3Eva enjoying the Dumbo ride. And waiting in line with Papa for another ride.

disney_5Eva was wiped out after our first day. Dave video taping some fun moments.

{travel} Des Moines Food Guide

I had mentioned in an earlier post  {check it out here} about the restaurants we went to on our trip to Des Moines. So I thought I’d share the places we went for any of you that might be in the Des Moines area or might be traveling there anytime soon.

Des Moines is probably not the first place you think of when it comes to the ultimate dining experience, but they have some great restaurants with some great food.  I of course am so bad at taking pictures when we are out that I didn’t get pictures at every place…

Our first stop was a late night dinner at  Centro – great Italian food. It’s a very nice place, the kind of place that you could get dressed up for a fancy dinner with your spouse but with an relaxed atmosphere that you could roll into in jeans with a group of friends as well {we were the latter as we didn’t get to the restaurant until about 9pm}

The next morning, we grabbed breakfast at Jethro’s BBQ, which you would not think of for a brunch place, but it was a fun bar and grill with some great breakfast foods. Although we didn’t try it this time, Sarah says the waffle fry nachos are great!

For the afternoon, the boys hit up Firetrucker brewery and then  Tacopacalypse for lunch on their own and said both were amazing.  While us girls, after shopping at a just opened home decor store {which we spent a good portion of the morning browsing and trying not to spend too much money} ended up at Jasper’s Winery, where we didn’t have much to eat, but did enjoy some great wine tastings and finally settling on a bottle of their “Edelweiss” wine.  But don’t worry we did end up ordering some cheese and chocolate to go with it!

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That evening for dinner we went to Proof – this was my favorite meal of the weekend.  This place has a great atmosphere, and amazing food. They had a special prix-fixe menu that night, so we ended up all ordering that. Since there were two choices for each course, we order the opposite from each other.  We ordered the bone marrow to start, I was the only one at the table that had not tried it yet and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It really is not as bad it sounds… or looks.

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{The Menu. Bone Marrow.}

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{First Course: Clams and Chorizo. Asparagus Salad.}

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{Second Course: Spring Linguini. Duck Breast.}

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{Third Course: Oatmeal Caramel Cake. Muscato Poached Pear.}

Every thing we had was delicious! Definitely a place to check out!

Lastly, we went to our traditional brunch place The Cafe in Ames, IA.  We go here for Sunday brunch every year we come to Des Moines.  Best brunch you may ever eat.  But you are going to wait for it…. they don’t take reservations so on a busy Sunday you’re going to wait for good 45min – 1 hour. I love their seasonal menu and fresh ingredients.  I don’t think I have ever had the same meal in all the years we’ve been going.

Well, there you have it. If you make it up to Des Moines (or live there) these are some great places to check out!  Enjoy!

A little organization.

When we redid our bathroom recently we put in a pedestal sink, which I LOVE but it eliminated any under the sink storage.  We have this big cabinet above the toilet which now has to hold  everything. The  small mirror medicine cabinet only holds the few everyday essentials so I have to store most of our stuff in the cabinet. Over time it has become SO disorganize,  it was time for an major overhaul.  

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I had picked up some bins here and there and just found these cute wood and wire baskets at this home decor store in Des Moines but I still needed some other things to help me get organized. So I searched my house looking for things that weren’t being used that could be repurposed.  I ended up with a ceramic bowl, a box from a candle, and a cigar box (we found a bunch of these in our garage when we bought out house!),  I had a couple white plastic bins that weren’t very cute, so I used some scrap material and a glue gun and re-covered them, a pretty easy and cheap upgrade! 

bathroomcabinet2It’s amazing what a little clean up like this can do for a person. I feel so much better about getting ready in the morning when I can see everything and know where everything is.  I still don’t love the top shelf… I guess there will always be “that stuff” that has no place and not easy to hid… I will be on the look out for some closed bins that can maybe hid that stuff a little better, but for now I am happy!

 

Life Lately // 4.27.2015

Wow, so much going on these days! We came back from our visit with family in Texas recently and then the very next week I headed to Chicago for a tradeshow with co-workers for three days. Both were fun, but I’m happy to be home for a bit now!

We are starting to enjoy some nicer weather and with everything blooming I’m confident we are in the clear for super cold weather and snow. At least until next winter. We love exploring new local areas and finding fun new restaurants when the weather is nice.

The girls have about 6 weeks left in the school year and with that we begin to start planning our very short summer. Our school district is on a balanced calendar, so that means school ends June 4th and starts back up August 4th. Whew. It flies by fast!

Looking forward to Erin visiting over Mother’s Day weekend and heading to Michigan for a weekend with Mom and the rest of the family too!!

Reading Lately: Just starting the book How Remarkable Women Lead at the recommendation of a friend and co-worker. Also starting the same book as Mandy; Scary Close by Donald Miller.

Working on Lately: Menu planning and dinners! After our crazy schedule lately getting dinner on the table has been pretty pathetic. Working on getting menus planned, items purchased and actually getting good healthy dinners on the table.

 Enjoying Lately: Fruit smoothies! I always like the idea of making smoothies – great way to pack in a ton of nutrients in a quick drink. My favorite right now is banana, spinach, yogurt (usually greek), a little milk and orange juice, and then whatever frozen fruit we have on hand – usually a mix of peaches, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Hoping to go berry picking this summer and freeze a bunch. I also toss in a tablespoon or so of hemp and flax seeds.

lately_3_42715Fun finds – Peppy Grill in Indianapolis and I thought this Transformers wall was awesome!

lately_5_42715Texas bound! Grace was a little nervous about the flight, but settled in once we took off. It was hilarious to watch her though. Spent a lot of time in the pool. Dyed eggs on Easter Sunday!

lately_6_42715Selfie by Kaylee. Eva helped marinate salmon for Easter Sunday dinner

lately_7_42715South Padre Island – beautiful day – girls loved finding shells and playing in the waves

lately_2_42715Celebrated Eva’s 10th birthday Dr Who style with a couple of her friends when we got back from Texas. Grace was a HUGE help and decorated the whole house.

lately_1_42715Went to the Children’s Museum on Eva’s birthday and discovered a fun restaurant called Tom + Chee – all grilled cheeses and tomato soup – really good!

lately_4_42715Amazing food and drinks at RM Champagne Salon in Chicago during the HIMSS trade show with co-workers!

lately_8_42715Lovely foggy morning the other day!

Planting Personality//DIY Watercolor Planter

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I’m trying to add more creative touches around the house. I get decision overload and can give up and have nothing as decor if I think too much. Blank space indeed. I want to feel inspired and happy in my home though–so a little effort and NOT overthinking it has to happen.

The downside to DIY is that not everything turns out as planned. These planters for example were going to be gold leafed. This did not happen as I didn’t get the correct adhesive and the leafing didn’t transfer. Boo! But I’m impatient and wanted to play with these now while my kids were painting so I came up with something and ran with it.

For the swan: I had never watercolor painted on a painted surface before so I wasn’t sure it would turn out but it did. The trick was to make sure the watercolor wasn’t too wet. I drew a design in pencil then outlined in Sharpie. Then went at it with the watercolor. A good thing I found while using the watercolor on the painted surface is that if you change your mind quickly, a bit of water and a paper towel will wipe off the color and you can start again. Very nice when there is room for mistakes. The sleepy face was easy as well. It was drawn as pencil and then painted with a fine brush with a bit of acrylic paint.  The pot was painted with a flat acrylic paint and left to dry before starting on the fun details.

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I also played around with some dark teal and gold paint for a planter to go in my Master Bath.

IMG_1298It looks rather messy I guess but when looking at it NOT through a macro lens, it looks nice.

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IMG_1301And my cat that won’t leave me alone while I try to take photos.  He was literally knocking me over while taking photos.  Pets!

 

Friends for the Journey

This weekend was our 7th annual Easter weekend trip with our best friends, Travis and Sarah. {ok so this weekend wasn’t actually Easter, but we couldn’t make it up there this Easter so we had to postpone a couple of weeks}

Our weekend was filled with laughter, wine, terrible movies, and more food than 4 people should eat. We love trying new restaurants, they always have new places for us to try, so we spend most of the time eating! We discovered this year that we have yet to repeat a restaurant in all the years we’ve been going up there. {more to come on that in a later post!}

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{Sarah and I at Jasper’s Winery}

This weekend really got me thinking on life and how far we have come in both Timmy and I’s relationship as well as our relationship with Travis and Sarah.  The boys had figured out that this year marked 10 years since Timmy and Travis  first met, which soon followed with me meeting Timmy and then just a year or so later Travis met Sarah and then it was the 4 of us.  Travis and Sarah moved to Des Moines after they got married but it didn’t stop us from getting together both here in Kansas City and making a trip to Des Moines at least annually. They were the ones that encouraged us along in our finances, paying off debt, getting on a budget and are always our go to for advice before making large purchases. I don’t think we could have done it or stuck with it without their help.

We are now both ready to start families. They have had some set backs and are now starting down the adoption road and we couldn’t be more excited for them. We just can’t wait for a little baby to become theirs.  It’s so wonderful to have people in our lives that are going through the same things.  We have been trying to get pregnant for a while and it is so nice to talk it through with someone that has been going through it was well. They understand the frustrations and the disappointments. We can be real with each other. We are on this journey together and whatever the reasons are that life does not turn out the way we had planned or hoped, we have each other to lean on.

This couple is so special to us, they have amazing hearts and are such giving people. They challenge us and encourage us to be better people.  I’m amazed at the work they do within their church and the time they give to helping others. It’s amazing what life is like when y ou have friends for the journey. 

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Life Lately// 04.20.2015

 

Spring is in full swing!  The past few weeks have flown by but we’ve been enjoying the outdoors plenty.  Soccer is about to start for the kids which is exciting.  My husband is coaching and it will be the first time the kids are really involved in a team sport like this.  We are all excited.  However, we may end up living at the soccer fields.  The practice/game schedule means we’ll be giving up swimming for the time being but I think it will be worth it.  This weekend was great!  My husband was out of town so the kids and I were left to our own.  We spent most of the time outdoors, with friends, and doing yard work that I usually leave until Memorial weekend.  It felt great to get a little sunshine and beautify the front of our house.

Busy doesn’t feel like it quite describes things around here.  There is no shortage of things we are doing but I’m trying my darndest to make sure we have down time and time for just talking.  It is amazing the thoughts that come out of my kids when we have time to just talk.  The quiet conversations on the floor in the hallway or kitchen because a snuggle was required STAT are what make being a mom so fulfilling.  I love the closeness with a little one and their questions/thoughts on life.

Reading lately:  Scary Close by Donald Miller  (will be doing a review soon since all of us girls are reading it.

Watching lately:  The latest season of Wilfred on Netflix and some of the HBO shows that are back: Game of Thrones, Veep, Silicon Valley, and Louie.  (This latest season of Louie is different than usual but good)

Loving lately:  Trying new classes at the gym with friends and keeping up with yoga, floral shoes ( I have my eye on a pair of heels), the new Rifle Paper Co Notebook Set,  going makeup free more often, evening walks with the family.

 

 

Life lately in photos.

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My mom & I, Izzie wanted a photo with a rose, yoga class with my SIL, Oldest daughter looking old and stylish in her scarf from Aunt Erin, coffee and books outside with Daddy, Festifools Art Parade in Ann Arbor, MI. It was fantastic!

 

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My son before school the other morning. We had some lessons in grace that morning. Life lessons–sometimes it can be hard to decide how to handle a situation. He forgot his snack for school and his special game for his outdoor picnic because of distraction from video games. I made the choice to give him grace and fix his mistake– it made for a great life lesson conversation that evening.

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Me and my love Izzie.

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Jumping on the trampoline with some crazy static hair.

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Berlin and I made this M spring wreath type decor for the door using a pizza box and some flowers. Hot glue gun to pizza box made this beauty! So easy and cheap too.

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Tricks in photos. I’m designated photo taker for these crazy kid ideas. We were waiting in the alley in Ann Arbor while their dad was shopping for records.

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Among the things we’ve been up to lately… finishing our upstairs bathroom and preparing for painting rooms downstairs, I came across this shelf and thought it would be great in the kitchen. I kind of love it.

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And tricks.

 

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And I don’t know. 😛

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Locked out of my house. Yep, great way to start a Sunday. Ended up so late for church we went to Home Depot instead after having to scale the house to climb through the second story window. Spare key inside was not so helpful. Not sure if you deal with trying to use your brain while inundated with kid chatter but sometimes this happens because my brain malfunctions.

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Walks in woods.