A pirates night for me :)

Sail away…

Nothing like a night of assembling these little cupcake topper’s for Gavin’s fifth birthday party and enjoying a glass of one of my faves… Gewürztraminer!!

So I have a thing for wines and happen to enjoy putting extra effort into the little details that make birthday parties special. Being that it’s a milestone birthday, I’m trying to make it extra special for him. I’ve always been a little more laid back with my sons parties as opposed to my daughters. The girly parties are not hard to go overboard with of course! So ever since he decided on a pirate party, I’ve been inundated with different inspiration and ideas while surfing the web. I love these free printable’s I found online…makes party planning and detailed decorating go so much smoother and affordable (you can’t beat free).

I also saw this cute idea on Etsy for the table decor. I don’t know why, but mama felt like trying her hand at building a “ship.” It’s not like any other project I’ve ever taken on… interesting to try to figure out going off of a picture, but its been fun. Gavin absolutely LOVED it when he saw it. Best thing is, it was easy and cheap to make. With the help of my trusty ol’ coupons from Joanne’s of course and using supplies I’d already had, it was around $10. Not too shabby I think…

Here is a peak!

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Casted and ready to soon set sail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully it all comes together on the day of the party. Until then my hands are tied in preparation…thankfully not for walking the plank Haha.

 

 

Home is where my heart is…always

I’m not sure what compelled me to take this photo back in May, as I was outside in our backyard doing some exploring with the kids. At the time it was mostly my inclination to get a shot using the magnified/zoom feature. (That’s always a fun one to me) It could have also been that they were such cute little clovers, a miniature weed as I like to call them, since they tend to pop up out of nowhere. Or purely reveling in the simple beauty that was just steps away from my everyday living. Whatever the reason then however, holds more value to me now that I’ve let go of that way of living for a while. And that brings me to the story behind the “move.”

Sometimes life hits you with things you never thought possible, the ‘curve balls’ as they say, and that’s when you have the opportunities to choose your next path or destination. Of course there is always the alternative, which is to not grab life by the horns and direct it, but rather get swept away from the undertow of what we can’t change. For many it would be a safer reaction to ride that current deeper and let it own you for a while. For me, I know that the calmer water awaits, but not before an upstream battle. We were coasting for a bit I’ll admit but certainly getting nowhere fast. I may not have felt ready or willing to face the challenge of getting through the tough times we’ve been faced with, but I’m not one to sit back and ride things out either. I’m the ‘take charge’ type of personality and it was time to step in and make changes.

One of my favorite flowers in our backyard...such a beautiful fragrance it gave off

 It has never been my intention to become defined by what I have in this world,  or in what I own. What mattered to me years ago, which I’m not afraid to admit, was fitting into what “should” be or what I thought was expected. This world today certainly makes it hard to stay in tune with, and discern what we identify ourselves with. It’s the whole concept of “Living the American Dream” right? It’s so overrated if you ask me!! It’s an obsession with “things.” Whatever happened to just being ok with the simple necessities? As I’ve grown over the years, I’ve realized now what matters most to me is my family that I adore. Lucky for me, I realized this at a time when I needed to most. When people, and jobs, and money felt like it failed us, it was still okay. Time to turn new leaves and directions obviously.

So owning a home with a horrible loan attached to it has been detrimental to many, including myself. Add that to an array of other unforseen hurdles and uh Houston… we have a problem. I’m so not about to let things go down without a fight around here, so my conclusion to the mortgage issue was simple.

Let someone else carry the load for a while…

I love my house, period. But that’s just it, it’s just a house when it comes down to it. It doesn’t define what we are as people in the end. And could it be that in finding someone who can handle the mortgage for a while better than we can, is a way to make it to our end without regrets? After all it’s being proactive and not going for an easy out, which will strengthen our character overall. But was I really ready to let go and be okay with someone or other family using it and calling it their home for a while? The thought of that was more than just an unsettling moment of consideration. It was through much prayer and visualization that I could actually see that the opportunity would become a blessing in disguise for our family. More importantly it was what needed to be done.

Hand washing, here I come!!

After convincing my husband that renting out our home was the answer, we were on our way to yet another huge, life changing event….a two bedroom, one bathroom tri-plex soon awaited the arrival of our six person family. Am I crazy you ask? Maybe so, but my crazy is going to get us results so I am proud of that. It is a huge sacrifice for our family (let me mention we are going without a dishwasher, microwave, washer & dryer, no outlets in the bathroom among other minor things) but it’s down to those simplicities now. I can appreciate that and I want the kids to develop an appreciation for it as well. What we are going without, I’ve realized, is not the end of the world. It’s all those things we have come to expect, because we are used to having them in our life. But not having all the little niceties won’t be the end of me, it will make me even more joyful on the day I do have them again.

It has been a little over a month now and the truth is I am completely content here. It has been so eye-opening to downsize and learn to let go of a lot of the “Stuff” that accumulated over the years. The kids have adjusted well to smaller spaces and less unnecessary toys. Although they are tiny still themselves so they probably hardly notice.  It was actually a great lesson for them as I had them pick only their three favorite toys to bring with us. A few favorites went to storage where they could trade it out at a later time. Most of it I’m proud to say, they opted to donate or give away to friends. The most important thing to me is knowing we don’t need those things or the house to be happy. Our home is without a doubt where our heart is. Our heart and family are here now and there is nothing more I need or could ask for when it comes down to it. Thankfully we found a nice family to rent our home to, and I’m grateful to give them a place to call home as well.

Till we meet again...

I know I was blessed to have the opportunity to make all the sweet memories we h aveat our home for the past 8 years. From bringing each baby home from the hospital, and welcoming them to their new world, the day little legs and hands first crawled across the floors, the sounds of the kids busy at play, the good nights and good mornings, the beauty in my backyard, to the toy messes and random silly bands I’d find around the place…It’s all kept close to my heart. While one door has closed on those times for us for a short while, another one opened to pick up where it left off. There are plenty of new memories to be made here for the time being! So I’m okay with letting go.  I consider this a small adventure on the big journey of life and I have faith that I’m headed the right direction.

It was a touch of Hawaii every time I looked out from my kitchen.

Apple days are upon us!!

Well Fall is knocking on our door already, which is exciting in so many ways!! The seasons are shifting, colors are changing, the leaves are descending and of course apples are in all their ripening glory (‘A touch of fall is in the air’ as my dad always puts it)…and we happen to be an apple loving family around here. Particularly Grant, who is the youngest, has had an apple in his hands since before he turned one! We’ve humored quite a number of people when they saw someone Grant’s size going to town on an entire apple, like it was nothing! Anyway it’s practically a given that we would study apples at this point in our school year . So I thought I’d share our fun experimenting with apples!

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Dissecting an apple, incorporating division (it’s never too early for that!) We discussed the parts of an apple and similarities and differences between the varieties.

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They did taste testing of course and charted their personal favorites, to least favorite!

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We also counted all the seeds from each apple and graphed out which apple had the most seeds…Golden Delicious won!!

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Grant had to partake in the festivities!!

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Nothing to end an apple lesson, like an apple and cheddar sandwich. There has to be a first time for trying everything right?! The kids actually enjoyed this unique sandwich!

This lesson was a follow-up to our reading that we’ve done this month, which has been a variety of apple themed books from the library (Apples by:Gail Gibbons, Apples: Wonder Books, level 1, Golden Delicious, A Cinderella Apple Story to name a few). We will also be doing a field trip to the apple orchards, which they are super excited for! So happy apple picking season to everyone!! 😉

When life hands you bruised bananas…

Make a math lesson, with banana bread of course! 😉

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As you may or may not know, we are a homeschooling fam around here. So I’m always up to the challenge and fun of finding hands on ways to teach the kids. And of course those things which will help apply and connect the concepts to life experiences, is such a plus in my eyes! I came across this great website as I was searching for easy banana bread recipes to incorporate in our math lesson today. It was super simple for the kids to do, which was good!

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Lots of measuring!

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Counting…

 

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can’t forget mixing…

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I have a new appreciation for cracking an egg. After seeing the delight it brings my children, when they get the chance to crack one, I wonder to myself if I was the same way. Funny how we forget those little joys as we get older LOL.

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AHHHHH…. you beautiful bruised banana you… so begging to be transformed into something more pleasing to the eye, and satisfying to the palette…

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A little stirring,

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A lot of learning, and a pinch of love later, we have our bread!!!

Don’t mind my silly picture, I was trying out fish eye 😉

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What a great lesson in patience too as they had to wait a painstakingly 65 minutes long for it to bake, but it was well worth the wait! Here’s to tasty learning!!

The writing on the wall…

A story behind the name…

It all began as a space, namely a loft, and that space soon needed a wall. With the wall it then became a room for which new life would be welcomed to in a short nine months.  The nine months became a waiting game, infused with anticipation over what we were having, and the wall waited patiently, silently white… yet beyond that beautiful day in May, as we were blessed to bring a daughter into this world, the wall remained a needy blank canvas in the room, which was now vital and full of the little life named Ella.

Around 6 months here is Ella; big beautiful baby blues and a smile to light up the room!

Sometime after the duration of long nights, lullaby’s, sweet giggles and silly stories, her growing personality gave direction for the day that the wall would soon find its face. Inspiration came in the name of “CLEARANCE”… this butterfly bedding screamed at me with its vibrant colors, textured patterns of flowers and LOTS of butterflies which are one of Ella’s favorite things! Much brainstorming, sketching and a few paint chips later, I was ready to try my hand at painting a mural. I also discovered this quote and decided that it needed to be used in my work:

The butterfly is a flying flower,
The flower a tethered butterfly.
~Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun

A recent photo of her next to her special wall...

The wall was now completely in harmony with the young, spunky personality it joined forces with on that lovely day in May.  But as the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end,” and the time has come to say goodbye for a short while to the face of that wall.  Thankfully a good friend of mine had some great words of advice for me, as I came to admit an emotional attachment to the work I put into it (sounds crazy I know…it’s a wall). She said I should use this experience as a stepping stone toward something new and reminded me that I can always be re-inspired at some point down the road. This was not goodbye, but a welcome to good growth and change. We will be back to that wall in due time and I am confident it will be ready for a face lift.

For now, the writing is on the wall ♥