Island Adventures

Here it is!  The long awaited kitchen island renovation.  We started work on the island in April.  I planned out two weeks without a dishwasher and island and Mark worked hard to get us working by then.  I think he did a great job!  Regardless, we didn’t get it fully finished until May.  Even now, we need to install our disposal button and fix a little bit of a leak.

So before:

The wonky angled sink and the the extremely high bar made the island counter space pretty much useless. (note our sweet Sunny girl who passed away at the end of May.  She was our sweet baby.)

And close to after. Right now, the floors are all torn up…new flooring is going in this month.

Here’s the process:

Getting the tile in.  We used white ceramic tile and some beautiful hand painted talavera tiles.We bought the cabinets and Mark started the planning process

Yes, I would have loved a farmhouse sink, but we found this one and the size and style was perfect.  We thought we wanted a double sink, but we did a lot more research and talking to others (i.e. surveying friends and Facebook peeps) and realized a large one bowl sink may be what will work.  After using it for over two months, I am in love with it.  We go the largest and deepest sink and it’s great for our large pans and dishes!  It’s also going to make a sweet bath for baby Tobin!

Industrial?  Commerical?  Sure, but it was just the style I wanted.

Demo day.  Mark got the bar granite removed while I was away but I got to watch the rest of the island come down.

Bye, bye crazy island set up.

Putting the cabinets in place. We did very little moving of the plumbing and Mark built a box around it to make it easy to get to if needed.  Saved us thousands of dollars in plumbing re-location.  One of the joys of a concrete slab. Since I know next to nothing about how to construct things, I got to paint.  See, I’m the visionary and Mark is the one who makes it happen.

The night before we tiled the counter, was spent arranging, rearranging and sending pictures to friends for approvals and ideas.

Finally decided what we wanted.

The next morning, we go to work.  I did most of the tiling.  Mark did a lot of the cutting.

The couple who grouts together, stays together…right?!  After we finished grouting the whole thing, we we went out on our cruise.  We were exhausted but it was the perfect way to relax.

Mark turned gray from a day of cutting tile!


My parents have a lot of stuff because they have an antique booth, go to estate sales, and are frequent auction attendees.  As such, when I mentioned I needed drawer pulls, my mom told me to shop with them first.  And I did.  I found these brass and ceramic pulls that I thought would look great with our already decked out island.  Just needed some slight updating.  

A good ol’ cleaning eraser and some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint….Ta Da!  Brand new drawer pulls.

This island has been wonderful!  We have plenty of room to do meal preps, and all the other things we need to do.  Because we took out the bar, and set it at a proper rectangle, we also have a much wider space.  Our living room looks huge!  I can not wait to get the floors in and see it all finished up (and to get my house put back together.).

Lock it Up

We are at the end stages of a big kitchen renovation but before that started, we were busy in January finishing up some projects that were waiting on us.

First up was my locker re-do.  I have been on the hunt for old school lockers that we could use in our mudroom.  In December, I happened across a vintage store about two hours from home that had these old uniform lockers for $50 each!

I snatched up two of these-a total of sixteen small lockers. They were the ugly, boring gray lockers.  Very dirty.  We scrubbed them clean, took off every single lock and started the project.

My new red lockers.  It took about six cans of spray paints and about four primer spray paint cans.  It was worth the time it would have taken to hand roll all of these.

They fit perfectly in our mudroom!

I added our old cubbies for purse storage and some other minor things.  We had to get a step stool for the boys who couldn’t quite make it to hang their jackets.  Oh yeah, each locker has a rod to hang coats!  What!?  These were well worth the time and money we put in to them.  All shoes are organized and jackets are in their place.  When we get back in to minor repairs and updates, we’ll get the painting done from where we had hooks hanging up.

Girls Room Redo

I don’t know where I got this wild hair to redo the girls room.  Oh wait…it started with Mark being gone to Ukraine.  While he was gone, I decided to finally redo the kitchen table.  While getting paint for that, I found paint chip samples that I thought the girls would like.  They did.  We finally decided to work on their rooms in December. Mark painted while Emmie was at an appointment.

The blue is the new color.

We decided to swap out the girls beds to give them more space.  Our friends were getting rid of their old bunk beds and we grabbed them up.

We painted the girls beds but the girls’ were ready for their new layout before the beds were ready.  The girls’ new bedding came with a pillow that didn’t really match.  Enter matching fabric that I used to cover the pillows.
And the vanity chair.  Actually, Zoe did the chair.  She didn’t want to paint it, preferring the shabby shic. I found some really cute vinyl decals we put up on the long wall. I also added the fabric to to the top of the white curtains.We added shelves for some storage.

I also updated, added and improved on the girls hair clip board.  It turned out better than I though.  Room for flexis and Emmie’s precious bows she loves to wear.


A bit last minute last year, but we managed to squeeze in some pumpkin decoration before October ended. While Mark worked on our chosen designs to carve, the kids got to work painting baby pumpkins.
While he continued to work, they started rolling down the hill. I mustache you if this was a cute pumpkin!

We worked on a pumpkin with a message.  The design in the back worked but I didn’t print out the words with enough gaps.  So, we had to write out the words instead of carve them.

The Find

We have a neighborhood trade page on Facebook.  This can be a good thing or a bad thing.  You know, you run across a thingamajig that can do whatsit and it’s only a buck.  So, you grab it and throw it in a cabinet never to be heard from again, or at least until you reach in, find it, and then list it on the trade page for fifty cents.

That may be the bad, but the good can go oh, so good.  For instance:

img_20160412_184406166 img_20160412_184414143 img_20160412_184439128

This beautiful armoire was $25!  Yes, that’s right, TWENTY-FIVE SMACKAROOS!  I snagged it in April with the intention of painting and selling it for profit.  As it sat and I brainstormed what to do with it, I decided I couldn’t let it go.

And a plan came together…img_20160418_222311088


And a project piece armoire became…



A dress-up closet.

We tallied the cost and with the paint, scrapbook paper, stain and poly, we were under $100 for the whole project.  The kids love it!  I love it!  And I definitely think it went from trash to treasure.  Woo-hoo!

End of the Rainbow

Spring!  There is nothing like it as we soak in the cool days, blooming flowers and the smell of rain.  After the rain, comes the rainbow.  For some reason, the past few years have brought many beautiful rainbows to our area.  At the beginning of May, I even drove through one!  I had never seen a double rainbow until a year a few years ago.  Now, we see them at least once a year.

In March, we were heading out after a thunderstorm in the early evening and got to spot another double rainbow.  There’s so much joy and hope that we experience when we see that rainbow (double or not).
IMG_20160314_183856514 Emmie had had her surgery.  We were through that hurdle.  We were waiting.  Watching.  Healing.  And then we see the rainbow.  A reminder that God is there.  That He is in control.  Every time I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God’s everlasting love and care for us.  No matter what we go through, He is there.IMG_20160314_183915462_HDRI have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. -Genesis 9:13


Sweet Sixteen

In April, 20 years ago, Mark showed up at a young 18 year old’s house with a dozen purple roses and escorted her to her senior prom.  I don’t think (and still don’t) he knew what he was getting in to.

Neither of us could have ever imagined that four years and one month after that first date that he would meet that same girl at a church altar to join his life to hers.

And of course, sixteen years later, eight kids on US earthside, one on European soil and three babies in heaven…hospital adventures, family travel adventures, seeking God adventures and home school adventures.  And here we are.  Sixteen years.

I knew that 16 year old young man would have my heart forever that first night 20 years ago.  I could not have imagined the rock he would become.  The forgiveness he would extend daily for me.  The example of Christ’s love that he would be for me.  I am blessed.

Happy Anniversary, Mark!  My knight!  I would go anywhere with you!

Our life is crazy and so out-of-the-ordinary-insane but you have stuck with me through it and we’ve attacked, prayed and enjoyed it each step of the way together!  I love you.


I can’t leave this post without saying something about this picture!  First, it was our 20th anniversary date in April.  Second, I found this dress that fit in all the right places and loved it.  It’s the first time in a long time that I have loved what I looked like in a dress.  And last, notice the photobomber in the background.  Yep.  Our life and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Thanksgiving 2015

IMG_20151126_124215207_HDR IMG_20151126_131151973_HDRIt took me a good week to sleep off the jet lag which meant that when Thanksgiving came around, I was just coming out of the fog.  We managed to pull together a spread for our family.  We rotate our Thanksgiving every year.  One year we’ll hit up Grandmere and Papa’s house.  The next year is Ge and Granddaddy’s turn and then the third year is at home.  I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s my absolute favorite meal.  This year, despite the fog, was no exception.  The only thing that could have made the day even more awesome would have been having Y home.

We made the most of it.  I even made homemade cranberry sauce which was yummy and super easy!


Mark enjoyed the turkey leg.  Renaissance faire, anyone?!


I made pies.  While they looked lovely, they did not taste too yummy.  Oh well, we’ll try for next year.


We played outside with neighbors and made silly faces…IMG_20151126_172047512 IMG_20151126_172051905_HDRuntil it got dark.  Then we made a fire and roasted marshmallows!IMG_20151126_185956352

After Zoe got a couple of hours of sleep, I woke her up and we hit the sales (don’t freak out.  It was midnight).   IMG_20151127_043414069

We shopped with my friend, Tracy, until 7 in the morning!  And we missed all the crowds but still got all the deals.  Insane exhaustion ensued but we had a wonderful time!


Fancy Schmancy

We recently purchased the new Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook and also re-vamped our supper meals.  We’re doing themes for each night.  It makes planning a bit easier and it keeps us from having tacos one night and enchiladas the next and fajitas the night after.   Flipping through the cookbook, Zoe found a recipe for crepes and then all the other kids saw it too.  That was the number one request for Breakfast Night.

Sure, I think.  I can do this.  I made crepes in high school.  And then I remembered.  I didn’t make crepes in high school.  Our French class did and there were a ton of kids who got it right.  But not our group.  Our group had some issues.

This all came to light as I went through five or more crepes that ended their miserable life in the trash.  It was so bad, a neighbor heard my pleas and attempted to help.  She too threw in the white flag.

Just when I was about to quit, I found my groove.

And my springform pan.IMG_20151024_182249832 IMG_20151024_185312951And voila!  Success!

We’ll definitely try this again and not wait over 20 years either!

A Post about the Cat



I know.  But all our newest members deserve a post or two solely devoted to them.  Even if they are the four legged kind.

This cat, ya’ll.  Could not have been a better fit to our family.  He is the weirdest cat we have ever had.  He refuses to drink out of a water bowl but prefers to drink from the faucet.  He loves to sneak up behind Zoe and just stand there.  Only he belongs on counters.  He has decided that 5:30 is my wake up time.  Every.  single.  day.

And the kids.  He tolerates them so well.  They will scoop him up and he just goes with the flow.  None of our cats have ever done that.  They will usually wiggle, hiss, or scratch to get down if a child just grabs them up any ol’ way.

IMG_20150601_202859_376 Feet are his favorite toy.IMG_20150608_122623_516 And Josiah’s school box (appropriately covered in cat fabric) is his favorite hiding place.IMG_20150615_221137_278 Boxes work too.IMG_20150627_163902_231 And we can spend a ton of money on cat toys but he prefers pretty much anything.

IMG_20150627_163915_867He wanted to help us decorate Y’s Welcome sign.

Yeah, we love this crazy, weird cat.  He fits so well in to our crazy, weird family.