oh there you are…


the adventures this week are never-ending it seems.

yesterday, i heard the girls talking & playing in what i thought was the kitchen. i had the sliding glass door open to bring a fresh, rainy breeze into our house. plus, i love the sound of a rain shower. little did i know that the girls (2 1/2 & 19 mos) had escaped.

there they were running through the yard & playing in the water table. happy little larks. soaking wet little larks. they were thrilled! this lady…not so much.

but, i let them have their fun for about 10 minutes in the pouring down rain, b/c what child doesn’t need to play in rain puddles? plus, i was actually surprised that either of them had summoned up such bravery & spontaneity, that i wanted them to savor it a little. 🙂

onto today’s adventure…the missing play doh. yep, no mom wants to find an empty play doh container. no mom especially wants to find an empty container for royal blue play doh.
our house has cream carpets, drapes, pillows, upholsteries…let’s just say the possibilities for disaster were quite numerous.

but, yay! i found it! not too bad.
i think i’ll give her an 8 on the creativity scale & a 1 on the difficulty to clean up.
thank goodness.

ok, let’s hope the rest of the day is a little more predictable. 🙂

oh & btw, when you use play doh as an incentive & reward for going number 2 on the potty…it may seem like an awesome idea at the time, but when your child starts doing the deed like 3 times a day, well, you may see play doh more than you ever anticipated.
just sayin’.



woke up this am with a raging headache & to the sound of ava crying b/c of the rain. that child hears everything, which i’m thankful for, but boy does it make nap & bed time challenging. so, there we were, with it still dark out, ready to “carpe diem!” ava was at least… i realized quickly that she had peed through her clothes. that meant 2 things – washing of sheets & child, but seeing that i had failed to shower yesterday, a “wipe bath” for the bean & shower for the mama was all i had the energy for. conclusion: the sheets could wait for now…

came downstairs to do laundry before the other kiddos i watch showed up & noticed brown smudges all over everything i had just removed from the dryer. nice. did you know that chocolate can actually bake itself onto your dryer drum? yup. conclusion: there was a peppermint patty in someone’s dress slacks. not gonna mention any names, but it was the only article with pockets…

ok, time to redeem my morning!

got the ingredients out to make pumpkin pie, complete with homemade crust. took a big ol’ turkey breast out of the refrigerator & broke out the trusty roaster. turned on the oven to preheat for the pie & filled the roaster with fresh celery, carrots, onions, seasonings, stock, & the turkey. dinner is already started. conclusion: mama is a champ.

then came the smell…chicken re-cooking in the oven. oh yeah. remember how you tried to get “ahead of the game” last night, kristi, & baked those chicken breasts for easy meal options for the girls this week? yeah, they’re still in there, “champ.” good job. threw the chicken out & got back to my pie. avey helped me make the pie; turkey was already smelling wonderful. next, it was time to make breakfast. scrambled eggs & fruit would do it. conclusion: i still had pie. things were looking up again.

went to get the kiddos for breakfast & found my coffee table & leather sofas were so happily coated in sidewalk chalk. lovely. i’ll get to that later too. conclusion: chalk in the trash.

ava goes to the bathroom during breakfast (something she does all of the time by herself these days), & i hear a flush. no ava. another flush. still no ava. opened the door to my three-year-old elbows deep in the toilet rubbing her hands all along the rim! okay, now i think i’ll vomit. i screamed “nooooo!” scared the willies out of her. child then sits on the floor, in the splashed potty water having a “mommy, you scared me with your scream out of no where, while i was happily rubbing my hands in the dirty, scummy, toilet water with my little back to the door” meltdown. i tell her not to move & successfully diaper & put the three other kids down for their naps in a record time of five minutes. they probably didn’t know what hit them. conclusion: ava is no longer allowed her “privacy” in the bathroom until she’s like ten or something.

ava continued to have a meltdown all throughout her too-early-in-the-day bath, the changing of her sheets & the praying over our terrible little experience & the boo boo she discovered on her knee at the moment. conclusion: my child still desperately needs a nap, & she’s not allowed to get up before 6:30AM, until she’s like ten also. ten seems to be a good age for these things, don’t you think?

so to round up my morning, b/c this all happened before noon, i will simply draw the conclusion that i am grateful to my children & husband for motivating me to wash the sheets, scrub the furniture, clean the bathroom from top to bottom, stain-treat an entire load of clothes, & clean the inside of our dryer. i have also decided that on this rainy, wacky day that i am thankful for pie.

give yourself a break

i’m sure every blogging mama writes about what’s relevant in her life. how else would we be able to write? you go through an experience, you take that experience, good, bad, whatever it is, & you give God a chance to do a work in you through it. i believe that’s probably the main reason we even go through half of what we do – God has a plan for refinement & He knows what we have to offer is needed by someone else out there.

this morning, i literally forced all four little ones to nap at the same time. ava has gotten up the last two mornings in a row at 6:45am. she skipped her nap yesterday, b/c i just didn’t have the patience to do the forcing, but it was clear by 4pm that a nap was sorely missed by not just me. the usually happy girl was an emotional wreck. meltdown city. the babies never need the forcing – they’re all on their schedule & like it for now. so, the push comes when dealing with my almost three-year-old.

anyway, that said, the last few weeks have been especially rough around here. the hubby’s been traveling for work, so the days were extra exhausting & the schedules were extra flexed, which all added to just an overwhelming frantic feeling in my mind. i couldn’t get anything done around the house; i couldn’t get anything done well; i just felt all tattered inside. you ever have days like that? e-mails were out-of-the-question. phone calls were even more of a joke, & it was all i could do just to find a few minutes to read my bible.

well, the Lord has been laying a little message on my heart it seems over the last few days. when i’ve been thinking so incessantly about time & all i can’t seem to manage well or accomplish, & i’m giving myself a hard time about motherhood, marriage, & friendship…i feel him saying “give yourself a break.”

give yourself a break, kristi.

you are not a bad mother. you adore & dote on your children. if you snapped at them for getting on that last, dangling nerve, ask them in their little eyes to forgive mommy for being angry, & forgive yourself. give big hugs. tell them you need Jesus to give you patience & a happy heart. be an example of humility & a person who is confident in God’s ability to help us in our time of need. give yourself a break.

you are not a bad wife. you love your husband. you admire your husband. you respect your husband. as your strong partner, provider, & protector, it’s only natural to want him to come home & “rescue” you. don’t be disappointed, though, when he can’t. that’s not his job. he can’t supernaturally give you grace & revive your spirit & soul. that’s the Lord’s work. instead, expect a big hug & ask the Lord for the rest to help you continue your night’s tasks. God supplies your second-wind, & your hubby supplies the hugs. give yourself a break.

you are not a bad friend. you love your friends. they love you. your relationships are not contingent upon whether or not you were able to call them today. so often you beat yourself up over the “neglecting” of your most treasured relationships, but realize, your phone isn’t ringing off-the-hook either. when was the last time you got a random “hello!” or “thinking about you” e-mail, visit, text, etc. from a friend? we’re all in the same boat. we’re all busy, trying to get our kids to take a nap, preparing meals, trying to have devotional time, get in a chapter of that book we desperately want to finish. we are all there. you give your friends & family members grace & aren’t quick to think they don’t love you anymore if you haven’t heard from them in awhile, so why are you so quick to beat yourself up for having the same challenge? give yourself a break.

bottom line…keep your priorities in order – God, family, others. if i’m surrendering myself to the Lord first, i can trust Him to guide my day, my thoughts, my actions & my words. that alone helps clear out that frantic “i just can’t keep up” mindset, which directly affects my interactions with my spouse, children, family members & friends. my greatest tool for loving them & myself is prayer. God said through Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

doing anything without ceasing should be exhausting, right? not the case with prayer. it is the exact opposite. that whole chapter is a gem. i recommend you check it out. put on your breastplate of faith & love…help those in need…live in peace with one another…be patient with everyone…seek after what is good…rejoice always…encourage one another…pray without ceasing.

don’t make it more complicated than it is. act in love. put God first, & give yourself a break. allow grace to move in your life. the kids may actually not fray your nerves; your husband’s hug may actually just be enough, & your day may not really feel that frantic after all…

ribbon repair


ribbon repair.


i bought these adorable little birdie boxes before ava was even born. they match her room’s decor & she’s my little birdie, after all, so they are just darling. they were on clearance. i literally bought the last two in the store & had to search them out pretty intensely. so, you can see why i can’t just pitch them now that they’re tattered & broken a little.

i got out the trusty scotch tape, but hesitated. scotch tape. yeah, scotch tape just gets messy. it collects fuzzies in unwanted places. it tears & rips & just…just didn’t seem fitting for these little sweeties. now, the melissa & doug puzle box? that received the scotch tape treatment, but these boxes are meant to be pretty…



i bought a plethora of pretty ribbon about two months ago just because. my hubby doesn’t exactly approve of my “just because” purchases, but sometimes they prove worth it. this is one of those times. i went with the intention of buying one spool of ribbon, but walked away with like thirteen, b/c they were just too cute & on clearance.

i only found one spool of this ribbon. it had all of the same colors as the boxes, & i like mixing stripes & florals, so it was perfect! (i don’t think my artificial kitchen lighting did these pics justice…)

so, i broke out my mom’s handy glue gun – yep, i still have it, mom. sorry! – & went to town!
just a little band of glue went a looong way. i did one side at a time to be sure i got each corner patched correctly.

before gluing the last side, i measured & cut it ahead of gluing
so as to not have to deal with any messiness at the last moment.

to finish things off, i kind of “caulked” the interior of the corners. just as the glue cooled, i pressed it into the corners to kind of smooth it down a little. i wanted to reinforce the repair, but i didn’t want the boxes to have any trouble closing. it worked out really well!

i know ava can’t realize it now, but repairing our special things carefully & purposefully will hopefully instill in my kids that 1 – you can fix something that is broken; 2- you should try to fix something that is broken; 3 – taking your time & putting a little thought & care into your efforts is worth it; 4 – be slow to “trash” & quick to “create.” 😉 see any little life lessons in there?

i know – balance, people, right? don’t want to be raising any hoarders now, do we? haha
mister is probably thinking i’m close…anyway, that’s for another day… 😉

i think they’ll be around for a little bit longer, now, & avey baby has found
a refreshed love for her pretty, little, good-as-new birdie boxes!
i had to bribe her to get one last photo…she wasn’t giving them back to me!


now…go be thrifty!

a ralph lauren let-down…

i cringed like crazy paying for my new cream, ralph lauren pillows i scored at tj’s last week. $25 a pillow is a big splurge for this frugal chick (even though that’s still a “deal” when considering pb, west elm, etc.). i haven’t purchased new living room pillows in over SIX YEARS!

(these are my tired & tattered oldies)

so imagine my face when I walked in on my niece just now adding extra “stripes” to one of them with a navy blue marker! eeeek! noooooo!

then, i walk into the kitchen with the pillow-in-hand to find the entire pack of 50 markers strewn about the kitchen floor & ava sitting nicely at the kitchen table coloring in her coloring book.

“ava, you know you are not supposed to get the markers out without telling mommy first. the babies can get them, & look at what happened to mommy’s new pillow. this is bad, ava.”

(without looking up) “that’s not bad, mom. this is great fun!”

hmmph. yep. teach me to go potty.

hope crayola is as washable as they claim when it comes to my lovely “spot-clean only” pillow that just said hello to the delicate cycle…

as for why i’m sharing – “ava-isms” – everything that comes out of that cutie’s mouth is just classic.

she’s up & she’s lovely.

“she” is finally finished!

a few months ago, my grandparents so graciously handed their buffet/hutch down to our family. i have always loved this piece of furniture. it will forever remind me of them, the house i practically grew up in, the tea parties my grandma prepared for me & my cousin using the fine china she kept tucked away in the bottom right-hand cabinet, & of thanksgiving. (my favorite holiday). before our entire family’s photos adorned every last inch of it’s space, i remember her putting out her homemade pumpkin pies on this piece. i just love it, love it, love it.

they recently downsized their home, which made me so sad, but i was absolutely overjoyed when they said i could bring this dear old friend home to my kitchen. such an honor… such a treasure…

there was one stipulation, however…her color. she was a warm, gorgeous amber. i liked it just fine, but hubs worried it was too dark for our already “dark” space. there’s plenty of natural light, but our combined kitchen/dining space is relatively small. so with mahogany wood floors, cabinets, & dining table accompanied by black dining chairs, accessories, & bookshelf…hubs may have very well been right. (ok, he was absolutely right.)

so, with oodles of apprehension, i searched & searched for tutorials & inspiration to help me take on such a huge & important project. i did not want to mess this up.

thanks to pinterest, i did happen upon a ton of great blogs & tutes regarding this very task. they all made it sound soooo easy. one well-written, easy-to-follow “how to” can be found {here}.

i bought materials (over the course of probably ten, late-night trips to home depot, lowes, & target), removed all hardware, disassembled, primed, sanded, primed, sanded, spray-painted, sanded, spray-painted, spray-painted, & spray-painted until the cows came home…

*note we did not sand the piece in its original state. i only sanded out brushstrokes as we went, b/c i’m a complete nut when it comes to perfection…

this part was particularily painful…emotionally…i was nervous…

just yesterday, we carried her inside, (actually, my he-man hubby did all of the heavy lifting – i did a lot of nearly falling over & almost passing out), reassembled her (ALL BY MYSELF!!!), loaded her up with good stuff, & took her pic for you.

voila! that’s it. easy peasy! haha not so much. i won’t lie. that’s what we did, but it wasn’t too easy. if you have any tricks, i’d love to hear ’em!

*i didn’t apply the protective poly coat yet, b/c, i admit, i got antsy & i wanted her in the house…now! 🙂 maybe in the future, though. i do plan on seeing about getting a custom piece of glass to top the buffet off with, in order to protect from any significant damage. i already bumped & bruised a few spots while putting the drawers & doors back in place, but as hubs simply stated, we’re just further antiquing an antique…i love his outlook. 🙂

long story short…here she is…

she’s beautiful & i love her, not as much as i love “he-man” & our babies, but i love her…

notice i strategically placed the cookie jar in a not-so-reachable spot. hubs is actually accusing me of doing so right at this very moment…he knows me well.

hardware from target. total deal. i’ll be using the same knobs & pulls for our kitchen cabinets. eventually, our backsplash will be in the same creamy color family to tie into this piece. i also intend to paint our last two dining chairs in this antique white as well. i’ll post pics of those endeavors if they ever actually happen. 🙂

thank you, gram & pop. i hope you still love her too!

shared on remodelaholic.com

mama’s new friend

i am slightly obsessed with new furniture.

which is why i am slightly obsessed with new furniture for cheap.

which is why i am slightly obsessed with ikea.

allow me to introduce you to my newest furniture friend…

the hemnes bookcase from ikea.

isn’t she pretty?

i love it!

i must admit when i assembled her in the living room late one night, i was a little intimidated & afraid she wouldn’t fit.

but she did! i couldn’t be happier & ava bean loves it too!

now, we have all sorts of space for her special things…

all of her babies & their “things” fit happily in the canvas totes on the bottom…

her stuffed animals that are sadly never played with, but mommy can’t let them go, b/c they are special, are hiding happily in these brown baskets i scored on clearance for like $4 each at lowes of all places way back in the day…they’re pink on the inside…pink!

her carefully painted ceramic tribute to her lovie, “claire,” rests safely on her most special books…her very first big girl bible, the miraculous journey of edward tulane & charlotte’s web (some of mommy’s favorites)

remember that, aunt julie? she had such a fun time!

i still have to put a few special pictures in her frames (also from ikea) & add the rest of her big girl chapter books to the top shelf, but other than that, it’s complete!

go ahead, get yourself one too – they’re on sale!

7 to 7

7 am…

quiet house.
everything in its place.
dusted shelves.
no fingerprints or crumbs.
clean tables, floors, & countertops.
clean everything.
not a scrap of food nor toy in sight.
freshly showered – wet pony tail, dry clothes.
7 pm…


it’s a mom’s life, & i love it.

congratulations on making it through monday, friends.


making our home our sanctuary

Protect Your Children in the Storms

Reverence for God gives a man deep strength; his children have a place of refuge and security. -Proverbs 14:26

Life is full of storms that batter us, bruise us, and beat us up. Life is very tough, and we all need a place of safety, security, peace, and protection. God has planned that our homes be that place.

There are all kinds of storms that come into our lives, but here are three every one of us will experience:

Change. From day to day, relationships change, jobs change, our health changes, where we live changes. Studies tell us that too much of any change — positive or negative — is stressful. So we need a place of security and support, where we know everything is going to be the same.

Failure. Nobody wins all the time. Sometimes you get passed by for the promotion, you don’t make the team, or you fail the test. And it hurts. But failure is more bearable if you’re coming home to hugs, if you know that when you get home, you’re going to be encouraged.

Rejection. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel criticized, pushed away, or not allowed to be part of the “in” crowd. A lot of that starts on the playground, where kids can be mean, laughing at the flaws of others and making fun of those who seem different. Coming home to acceptance and love helps children through the storms.

How do you build a home that can be a shelter in a storm?

Hear. Listen to the people in your family. Don’t be too quick to come up with a solution before they even get the words out of their mouths. Sometimes they just need to vent or tell you how they feel.

Hug. Express affection. Do the things that say “I love you.”

Hope. Build up the people in your family with affirmation. Make sure you’re giving good input to balance all the negative they hear outside your home.

Help. Make sure that you do whatever it takes to get help when your family is going through a tough time. Unhealthy families ignore their problems or they say, “We can make it without help. We don’t need anyone else’s input. We’re not talking to anybody about this. We can handle it” — or worse, they say, “What problem?” Healthy families are willing to look at themselves realistically and say, “We’re having a tough time right now, and we need some help.”

You may not be able to protect your children from the storms of life, but you can help protect them in the storms of life by making your home a place of security and support.

~Paul Phillips’ “Daily Blessing” for today, May 3rd