Friday, May 28, 2010

Curtain Fail

This is embarrassing to admit, but we just now decorated our bedroom after moving in back in December. It has been a long process and it is embarrassing to admit how terrible it was for so long. I had good intentions, but decorating really isn't my thing and it ended up being really bad - for a really long time.

Here's the story.

I had good intentions. It took me awhile to find fabric that I liked, but finally Saul and I found this fabric that we loved and we thought would be so "rich" looking in our bedroom. We were going to wait for a good sale at the fabric store before buying it, but figured we could paint the room in the meantime. So, we purchased the paint and painted the room right around Christmas. The paint was supposed to be this warm caramel color that would compliment our rich red comforter and black furniture. The curtains were a dark sage green color with the caramel and reds weaved in. I had it all pictured in my mind.

Like a lot of home projects, things just didn't quite go as planned. A day or two after painting the fabric went on sale. But, when I got to the store, I found out that the fabric we liked was just a left over piece from a special order. The leftovers weren't even half of what I needed. After talking with several store employees, I found out that they couldn't even find the material in their special order section. I was also told by one employee that the fabric would be too thick to make draperies out of. I was SO discouraged and frustrated, especially because we had just painted our room to coordinate with that material. I was actually successful at finding the same fabric online - only to find out that it was more than triple the price that I wanted to pay. Ugh!! We felt like we hit a dead end.

Also, the paint had thoroughly dried by this time and was looking more and more like mustard and baby diaper filling rather than a nice warm caramel. Not at all like I had pictured. I am SO not a decorator!

Thankfully, a friend's mom does a lot of designing and she came over to offer some suggestions. We had a different fabric picked out for the living room and she actually suggested that we use the living room fabric in the bedroom and just repaint the bedroom. She also suggested that we keep the same basic color scheme throughout the house so that it would make our smaller place seem bigger. So, that is what we decided to do. But, we were too far in on a few other home projects to start in on repainting the bedroom at this point.

So, my Friday Fail is that our bedroom window was covered with this for five months!! Eeeek!

 If this isn't an 80's style sheet, I don't know what is!! We were given this used set of sheets to help keep our mattress clean when moving it. The fitted corners made it work "perfectly" for a window covering. I NEVER would have though that it would stay there for five months though! Ick!

This past week we finally got the room repainted and the curtains hung (hand sewn by my sweet mom!). Stop back by the blog on Monday I'll have new pictures up then!


P.S. This post is linked to Myra's Friday Fail meme. Stop by her blog to read about other fails.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Yummy, Healthy Meal

The other week dinner time came and I was at a loss for what to fix (I know, I really need to start working in this!). A friend had given us a ton of vegetables that were left over from her brothers wedding, but I just wasn't sure what to do with them. Like usual when this happens, my sweet husband came to the rescue and created a yummy and healthy meal!

While he was boiling some whole wheat spaghetti and penne pasta, he steamed/sauteed the vegetables in another pan with some seasoning (sea salt, garlic, rosemary, and thyme). He added just a little bit of water to the vegetables and covered them, cooking them on low. The end result was delicious vegetables with a little bit of a "sauce" to toss the pasta with. After the pasta and veggies were done, he gently tossed them and plated them. After they were plated he added a little bit of grated parmesan. Add a little bit of toasted homemade bread, and you've got a delicious, healthy, filling meal!

I will be honest and say that I wasn't sure how I would do with "all of the veggies." However, the flavors just blended together wonderfully and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We enjoyed it so much that we actually made it another time and added some diced chicken to the mix! Delicious!!!

Have you tried any new healthy recipes recently? If so, please leave a link in the comments. I'm always searching for new healthy meals to try!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Beautiful Wedding

My big brother is married. I love it!! We are so excited that Christopher found the love of his life, that God brought such a perfect girl for him, and that God brought them together in such a perfect way.

It has been so wonderful to watch their relationship grow and to see how well they compliment each other. We are excited to welcome Jen into the family! She is such a sweetie and we love her already.

Everything seemed to go extremely well with no absolute craziness on the day of the wedding. Jen did wake up with a broken blood vessel in the corner of her eye on Friday, but she was still able to wear her contacts for the wedding (a huge praise) and you really can't see it in the pictures.

They both love music, so we thought this picture was so pretty, especially with the reflection. Jen teaches piano and Chris plays several instruments, thus the following sign that was made for one of their showers and then used at the rehearsal dinner and reception.

Like I said in my last post, one really neat part about the wedding was seeing so much of my family. Here is a picture of all of my immediate family (siblings and grandparents). 

This is everyone except my sister-in-law Abbie (We missed you Abbie!!). I am one of six children - (1) Christopher - the groom (2) Kyle - far right, his wife was the unable to come (3) Me and my handsome husband (4) Kirk - far left, with his wife Kelly (5) Carlton - far right on the top (6) Carolyn - the cute girl on the front right. My mom's parents are on the front row and my dad's parents are right behind them. Such a cute family, huh? I love them so much.

The next picture has our whole family and Jen's whole family too. 

 The Ceremony

The vows were conducted by Jen's dad who is a pastor. It was very sweet.

The Kiss! Finally husband and wife!

A few more pictures
Beautiful bouquets 

The floating unity candle. So pretty.

The guest book table. The Guest Book was a scrapbook that Jen made full of engagement pictures. It was so nice for family and friends to write notes of advice in.

The strawberries for the reception. Yum!

Chris and Jen, we couldn't be more happy for you! We are excited to see how God will use you! Thank you for your God-honoring wedding. We love you!


A Trip, A Tick, Some Treasures, and Terrible Temperatures!

This weekend was another full one!! Whew, what a weekend!

First, my oldest brother Christopher got married!! We are so excited for Chris and Jen! (More on this later.) So, on Thursday evening, we packed up our car - along with my dad, sister, and brother - and headed to Wisconsin. Chris and Jen live in northern Wisconsin near the Upper Peninsula. It wasn't too bad of a drive, but we were way more packed than we had originally though. It was good to catch up with my brother who has been at college and just spend time with some family. We didn't get into the place that we were staying until around midnight, but we made it safely.

Here is a sneak peak of the wedding. Like I said, more pictures to come!

On Friday while a bunch of the girls were decorating for the wedding, Saul, my dad, and some of the other guys worked on some stuff at my brother's house. Saul and my dad installed a closet door and then worked with some brush outside.

On Saturday morning Saul woke up and told me that he felt like something was eating at his leg. I took a look, and sure enough, a tick was buried in his leg - ICK!!! I was going to put a picture on here, but I think I'll spare you! = ) I got some peroxide to pour on it before taking it out and while that didn't kill it, I was able to get the entire thing out of him. Nasty!!

The next "T" on the list is treasures. It was such a treasure to be able to spend time with family. Other than my parents and my brother and sister (when they aren't at college), all of my family lives out of state. It was wonderful to see all of my siblings there (minus one sister-in-law), all four of my grandparents, some cousins and aunts and uncles!!! It was so great to see and spend time with some of them that I hadn't seen in awhile.  Here are a few pictures - again, I'll put more up later this week.

Three generations on my mom's side. (Can you tell it was so bright outside?)

Two more cousins from my mom's side.

With some of the guys in the family -
Kyle (my brother), Carlton (brother), Saul (handsome husband), Josh (cousin's husband), Joanna (cousin), and me
Our camera broke a few days before the wedding, so I am waiting for people to put pictures on facebook so that I can get a copy. I'll have to post more pictures of my dad's side of the family once I get my hands on them. = )

The final T's are for Terrible Temperatures! It has been pretty cool here in Chicago and we haven't needed to use our air conditioner yet because it has been cool. Because we had been out of town, we didn't realize that the forecast for Sunday included upper 80 temps. We had a busy, but great, day at church on Sunday and knew that we would turn the air on when we got home since it was so hot outside. Plus, my parents, grandparents, and sister were all coming over for dinner on their way back from Wisconsin and we wanted it comfortable in the house for our company. We ended up getting home from church about thirty minutes before everyone arrived and immediately turned the air on - only to find that our air conditioner wasn't working!!! Ugh!!

We purchased our home in December and there was no way to test the air conditioner at that point. Thankfully we were able to work out a deal to include the air conditioner on a home warranty paid for by the seller. Needless to say, that home warranty is going to be put to good use (for a second time) because although the fans were blowing, nothing cold was coming out of the vents.

So, here we were in a second level townhome with upper 80 temperatures and the oven on to make homemade pizza plus a house full of guests! I felt awful that it was so hot in there, but other than leaving, there was nothing we could do. We pulled out our one fan and had it going to at least circulate the air. Our townhome also has a "whole house fan" that helps circulate the air as well, but our thermostat still said 91 degrees while everyone was there! Everyone was so gracious about it and said it wasn't too bad. As a hostess though, I felt terrible. I was going to make some cookies, but decided against it so that we could just turn the oven off. Needless to say, it was an interesting experience.

Again, once I can get pictures from my parents from everyone's visit, I'll post them.

So, that was our weekend. It was a great one full of many memories. I love my family so much and was so thankful to spend time with them.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Lessons Learned from Sunday

Yesterday was a WONDERFUL day at church. I am so thankful for our little church, for our pastor, and for the encouragement that each Sunday brings.

I'll be honest and say that last week was just a rough week in my walk with Christ. I knew I should be praying, yet nothing inside me wanted to pray. When I made myself pray, I felt like I didn't know what to say or that I was just repeating "normal" prayers even though my heart wasn't in it. Admittedly, this is not at all what I want my walk with Christ to be.

I started feeling a little bit better by the end of the week and was really looking forward to the boost that Sunday would give. Our pastor has been doing a series on prayer and I was really looking forward to hearing the next message.

The message on Sunday was just what I needed - and what I think a lot of others needed as well. Here is a little recap (all notes taken from my pastor).

Three things to do when you are overwhelmed from Psalm 42:
  1. Pour out your soul to God (v. 4) - the only way to release a depressed spirit is to use your voice and tell God everything going on inside with absolute, child-like honesty. Seeking His face is the best way to quiet your noisy soul.
    (Pastor gave a visual illustration using two cups, one with water and one without.  Just seeing the visual of pouring water from one cup to another as we should pour out our soul to God was a big help to me.)
  2. Counsel your soul (vv. 5,11) - do not be a passive student to every thought and impulse that arises in your soul. Instead, by the Holy Spirit's power, become an active teacher of these thoughts and impulses.  
  3. Remember the Lord's past deliverances (vv. 5,6,11) - hope in God that He will do the same in the future. 
At the end of the service, we took time to get with our spouse or with another person from church and just pour out our hearts to God. Boy, did I need this. Just telling my God all that I was feeling was such a huge help. Also just bringing to remembrance all of the wonderful things that God has done and thanking Him for that just lightened my "load."

What are you struggling with today? What do you need to just pour out to God? I would encourage you to do it - and to keep doing it. It makes a world of difference!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Encouraging Evening

Tonight Saul and I went to visit a friend who is in the hospital for a medical "tune up" and we left the hospital encouraged and with a smile on our faces. We had a great time with Bethany and her mom Audrey. We laughed and just enjoyed the fellowship. Hopefully we "entertained" them for at least a little while. = )

I want to brag on Bethany and Audrey for a minute. They go to church with us and are such an encouragement. Bethany and her brother both have a serious illnesses. However, you would never know it from being with them. They are seriously some of the most upbeat and positive people you have ever met. Joy exudes them and they are such a blessing.

Their mom Audrey is such an encouragement too. She has a ton on her plate, but is also very joyful and encouraging. She is always loving on people and doing whatever she can to take care of those around her.

(I know this is blurry, but I wanted to get Audrey in here too!)

I am so thankful for this family. God's grace and love is so evident in their lives. Audrey and Bethany, thank you for your love for your God and your love for others. You are such a blessing! We are praying for you!!!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What We've Been Watching

This week, my sweet husband and I have been watching this:

AND then this:

While growing up, these were some of my favorite movies to watch. One of my best friends and I would watch these for hours on end. We couldn't get enough of them! Of course, I always pretended that I was Anne since I have always had "red" hair. = )

When I found out that Saul had never seen them, I knew we had to watch them together. So, we borrowed them from my parents. My sweet husband has been watching them faithfully with me. He laughed at how many lines I knew. He has enjoyed it though - and I have really enjoyed watching them again with my man at my side. I would dream about that day when I watched these movies years ago.

Watching these movies brought back so many memories from childhood. It has been fun to reminisce.

Do you have any favorite movies from childhood? I'd love to hear about them!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Whirlwind Weekend!!

Whew!! What a fun, but crazy weekend! We hit the ground running on Thursday night and are now enjoying an evening of doing nothing after a whirlwind weekend!

Thursday night started with Prayer Gathering - which is always a great night of prayer, fellowship, and encouragement. We stayed so late and enjoyed the fellowship with all of our friends from church. I don't think we left until around 11:30!!

On Friday morning we got up bright and early (actually it wasn't even bright out when we got up!!). We met my parents and rode with them up to MBBC for my "little" brother's college graduation! We are so proud of you, Kirk!!

Thankfully the graduation was inside - because it was freezing cold and raining. Kirk graduated with a degree in physical education. He finished his student teaching in January and is happy to have school behind him.

My sister-in-law Kelly and brother Kirk

Kirk and Kelly with my parents

While we were taking pictures, I met up with this blogging friend!! We were actually best friends when we were in elementary school, but hadn't seen each other in ages. She actually found my blog through the Ultimate Blog Party!!! Crazy, huh? Anyway, it was great to see her again!! Wish I would have thought to take a picture!! (As you'll see, I didn't think of pulling out my camera very many times this weekend at all. Oops!)

After pictures we headed over to Kirk and Kelly's place and had a great "cook in" there. Thankfully they had enough room for everyone to eat inside since it was still raining - and freezing cold!! Kelly made a delicious fruit salad and we had tons of wonderful food! It was fun to spend time celebrating with a group of family and friends. We got home around 9:00 and I was exhausted. We tried watching a movie, but I lasted about ten minutes before crashing!

It was nice to be able to sleep in for a little bit on Saturday morning. I woke up early but stayed in bed and read while Saul slept for a little while longer. My grandparents gave me this book and this book  (from the Acts of Faith series by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke) awhile ago and I never had time to read them. I picked the first one up the other week to read while waiting for my aunt at the airport and now I'm on the second one. I am thoroughly enjoying them! I hadn't read a book in ages, but after finishing the first one, I immediately wanted to start the second!

Because we took our time in the morning, we ended up rushing to arrive on time for a friend's wedding in Indiana (about an hour and fifteen minute drive). The wedding was beautiful and the bride and groom were beaming! It was wonderful to celebrate with our friends. Again, I totally forgot to take pictures. Ughh. The reception was at the groom's parents home - a beautiful, Victorian home. There were planning on an outdoor reception, but it was again rainy and cold, so everyone squeezed inside - and it was a squeeze. Even though the house is large, it was wall-to-wall people! The groom's mom thinks that around 500 people came throughout the afternoon! Again it was delicious food and fun fellowship.

On our way back, we caravaned with our friends Phillip and Lydia from church. We ended up stopping at Starbucks when we were almost home just to chat. It was great to get to know them better and also see their sweet baby girl Elizabeth who is six weeks old! Unfortunately, about halfway through our time at Starbucks baby Elizabeth decided that she'd had enough partying and was ready to go home. = ) We had a great time with them and are looking forward to going out again! It was 9:45 by the time we got home, so we got things ready for Sunday and headed to bed.

Today was a great day at church with a special dedication to mothers and a message on resisting temptation. I'll try to write more on that later.

Right after church, we headed over to my parent's for lunch. My dad made lunch since we weren't there to help prepare. I felt terrible that I couldn't do more since it was Mother's Day! We had a yummy lunch with my parents and sister Carolyn who came home from college on Friday. It was fun to catch up with my mom and sit and chat while Dad and Saul played ping pong. It was a fun day.

So, we are home now, relaxing after a weekend full of travel, family, friends, and fellowship. The whirlwind of a weekend was well worth the memories and fun times.

How was your weekend?


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My First Attempt At Making Bread Was. . .


I had been wanting to make bread for awhile now and finally convinced myself to try it this past Saturday. We do not have a breadmaker or anything, but I still felt up to the challenge.

I used this recipe from (a favorite site of mine = ) and we loved how it turned out!!! Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside!

Here are a few pictures from the bread-making process.

After the long hours of kneading the dough and letting it rise, I put it in the bread pans to rise again. (After seeing the smaller loafs of bread, Saul said I could buy bigger bread pans if I wanted too. = )

After letting the bread rise for awhile.

Warm bread, just out of the oven! The smell of fresh bread baking is FABULOUS!!

We couldn't resist eating a few slices while it was warm!!

My bread-making experience made me wonder why I hadn't done it sooner. It turned out great! I loved knowing exactly what was in the bread I was eating. I also loved that the one recipe made four loaves. I was able to take a loaf to church the next day for our soup and salad lunch and freeze two other loaves (before they completed the rising process in order to save room in the freezer). Very Yummy!!

My next adventure is making sourdough bread. I am using this recipe for my starter and so far it has been doing great! I haven't made anything with it yet, but am looking forward to trying it soon.

I'm a newbie at this. Does anyone have any starter or bread-making tips! I'd love any help I can get?


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bathroom Makeover

Our bathroom was the only room that had color in it when we moved in - and it was a bright yellow. Someone helping us move in said that it would definitely wake you up in the morning! The bathroom also had this strange partition right above the shower rod that blocked any light from coming into the shower. Unless you used a clear shower curtain, it was pretty dark when you took a shower. Not good for shaving - at all!

So, we decided to do a little bathroom remodeling job. First, Saul knocked down the partition. It ended up being wood, so it was a little bit of a tough job. I think he enjoyed the destruction though. = )

Next, he had to patch the ceiling and make it smooth where the partition was. Don't worry, the pink stuff turns white when it dries. (Oh, and don't mind my husband's buzz cut. He had to because of the nasty haircut he'd paid for!)

We finally decided on a paint color - a pale green, and we started the painting.

Finally, Saul installed a curved shower rod!! Every time we have stayed in hotel that has had a curved shower rod we have had a hard time not coveting! They are so nice and make the shower feel huge. So, when we saw one on sale for $10 during a Black Friday sale, we snatched it right up even though we hadn't closed on our townhome yet. We knew that this was something that we wanted in the bathroom of our new home.

We LOVE it and would definitely recommend it!

Last, but not least, we added a little bit of wall art. This is a little picture that my parents got us as part of a shower gift. We had red and brown in our bathroom before, but this little picture has the perfect shades of green in it as well. We love having Scripture verses around our home.

 We definitely enjoy our calm look of our bathroom and the extra shower room!


Monday, May 3, 2010

My Sweet Man

I am so thankful for my sweet husband, Saul. He does so much for me and for our little family and I want to take a moment to thank him publicly for being the man that he is. He is such an encouragement and source of strength. He is so loving and caring and I couldn't be more thankful for him. He is always looking for ways to help me and show me that he loves me. Oh, how thankful I am that God brought us together!

Today I want to brag on just one big way that he has helps me and shows me he loves me. It may not seem like a big thing, but it sure is to me!

Saul helps me in the kitchen - a ton! I am THE WORST at coming up with meals, especially when I haven't planned ahead. When I haven't been grocery shopping in awhile, I often think "There is NOTHING in this house to eat." He always assures me that there is plenty to eat. His chef mindset kicks in and he goes into the kitchen to make one of his tasty creations. Whatever he makes always turns out delicious, even though I would never in my wildest dreams have been able to think of them, much less make them and have them taste great. I love having a man who cooks! His most recent creations were fried rice and hot and sour soup.

I cannot tell you what a blessing this is to me! We usually end up working in the kitchen together and I do what little jobs I can to assist him or make something to go along with his creation. We get to spend great time together, have fun doing it, and end up with a delicious meal. What could be better than that!!!

Saul, I love you so much! Thank you for all that you do. You are THE BEST husband!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Glad It Is the Weekend?

I sure am glad it is the weekend. It has been a very busy week and I am ready for a break. This weekend is our only "free" weekend in the month of May because of graduations and weddings, so we are going to try to relax and enjoy. A few home projects may creep in too = ), but we will definitely do what we can to relax before the crazy month of May hits us in full.

Last night we took time to relax, watch a movie, go for a run, and read before going to bed and it was glorious! It was wonderful to just relax and not have to worry about getting to bed by a certain time so that we wouldn't be exhausted in the morning.

The sun woke us up this morning (and my husband's crazy rooster alarm clock on his phone = ) and we both feel rested and ready for a great day!

What is it about weekends that revive us and give us the boost that we need for the next week? And it isn't even Sunday yet!!

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?