Wednesday, November 6, 2013

An Orchid


I once read that a welcoming home always has fresh flowers displayed throughout it.

There really is something wonderful about a beautiful pitcher full of Hydrangea cuttings, or a small vase with single rose bloom. But purchasing fresh flowers each week can get quite expensive. In the spring and summer months, there are always cuttings that can be taken from the garden. In the winter, fresh greens and a Christmas tree evoke the same feelings of freshness. But between the arrival of Fall when the gardens are being put to rest, and before it's time to trim the tree, lies November.

Soon I will start forcing some bulbs for the winter; Amaryllis and Paper Whites. But for now, a simple potted plant, less than the cost of a single bouquet, fills the month between.

I purchased this pretty white orchid at the grocery store a few weeks ago and she is in full bloom. I'm particularly fond of orchids because they don't need daily watering. She adds the same beautiful touch to my living room, but lasts much longer.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Planning A Kitchen Update

Updating our kitchen has been on my list of things to do since the day we moved into our house over 5 years ago. To date, the only work I've done to it is to repaint the butter yellow walls White Chocolate by Benjamin Moore, and put up some open shelving.

Once painted, I felt it was livable until I had decided on what I wanted to do.

Many times we've found ourselves sketching out plans to remove walls and change the layout. Currently it's a poor use of space, and could be made more functional. However, all of those renovations are quite costly, and while they would be nice to have, they aren't necessary. I've grown accustomed to a smaller kitchen and I don't mind it.

So my goal for now has been to come up with a plan to update our existing kitchen as cost effectively as possible.

I will use some photos I've pinned for inspiration.
(Remember the days, pre-Pinterest, when all of our images were torn out of magazines and filed in sheet protectors... I love Pinterest!)

First, I would like to paint my cabinets white. Our cabinets, though they are the original old hardwood cabinets, are in good condition and I can't justify replacing them. Refinishing them white, though a lot of work, will have the most impact. However, to make them feel new, I would like to add molding to the tops, change the hardware, and add simple brackets underneath.

[Muskoka Living Interiors]

I like the molding around the tops of these white cabinets. I also like the simple hardware.


I'm on the lookout for a small wicker tray like this for beside my stove.

[Atlanta Homes Magazine]

Simple brackets add beautiful detail to cabinets. Ours are quite high from the counter, and I think brackets would suit them perfectly.

This view of the kitchen shows the poor use of space. A cold air return vent prevents me from putting anything on the far wall. An L-shaped counter would have given a lot more needed storage and work space. Usually my chalkboard hangs here for notes and reminders, however it was sold at my sale, and I have yet to get around to making a new one. On the left are my open shelves with my bakers table. It was a blank wall as well! It technically was an eat-in kitchen, but that isn't possibly with four people as well as a highchair. So, shelves went up, and Ryan updated an old barn cabinet so it would function as more work space.

I would love to have a plate rack build similar to the one in this kitchen for this space. It would need to be more narrow, but I like the look of it, and it's extra cabinet space.

[In The Fields]

I love these simple open shelves and the butcher block counter tops. I plan to replace our existing counter top with one similar to this. It adds beautiful contrast to all of the white. I also only have two shelves. I plan to replace them with larger shelves, and to add a third shelf with matching brackets.

The wall color will be updated to match the rest of the house - Simply White by Benjamin Moore. As for the floors, we talked about continuing the hardwood into the kitchen, but I also like the idea of having simple white tile. We haven't decided, so for now, the ugly laminate will stay. I would also like to add a transom window (like below) above the entrance to the living room. It would add more natural light.

[Tim Barber Ltd.]

As for the sink, I would like white with this faucet. It's clean and simple.

[via Vintage Simple Home]

[Frog Goes to Market]

I'm also searching for a basket similar to this to disguise my garbage can, as well as a pendant light for above my sink and a schoolhouse-style fixture for the center.

And so my pricing and sourcing begins! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pumpkin Carving and Trick or Treating

Halloween this year was such a welcomed distraction. 

It was filled with happy children.

Wednesday afternoon, Willen and I carved our pumpkins. We even roasted the pumpkin seeds, though he wasn't impressed with how they tasted. He preferred his candy. That evening, we went to his Cubbies event at a local church called Hero's Unmasked. It's a fun fair where kids come dressed up and meet hero's of the bible. We came home and lit our pumpkins, and then sat and had tea while we waited for Ryan to get home from work and see our masterpieces.

Thursday was busy. It was Willen's first class party and Hudson and I were invited to come along and celebrate. Afterwards we popped into Tante 'Netty's house and Beams and Papa's for some early trick or treating before heading to my parents for the night. We only ever get one trick or treater. Every year we carve pumpkins and put out a bowl of candy, but only one comes. This year, we had five bags taken. I don't know if we actually had five kids come, but there were still a couple left so I'm hopeful!

At my parents, I made dinner for us as it was Ryan's birthday (he had to work his day off), and later we all went out trick or treating. It was raining and windy, but the boys still had a great time. It was the first time Ryan was able to walk around with us. They brought home a pillowcase full, and it was so fun to watch Willen excitedly go through it all the next morning and sort it all.

This year, Willen picked out his own pumpkin while on his first bus trip with school to the Pumpkin Patch.

He needed a little help from his big brother.

Yes, I had to bribe him with chocolate to try and sit for a photo. It still didn't work.

He was the cutest little lion I've ever seen. He loved his costume and enjoyed 'roaring' at the kids we passed on the street. Willen was a race car driver which was a welcome change as nearly every other boy in his class was a superhero.

Hopefully we'll get to spend some time properly celebrating Ryan's birthday one night soon.

'Til Then, My Dear Friend

I don't even know how to begin writing this post... My heart is heavy and I'm at a loss for words.

Last Thursday night, one of the most beautiful women in my life, and my dearest friend went home to be with the Lord.

Most of you know her as Jess, or simply my cousin. It was with her that I toured the countryside every Spring and Fall. Every December First for the past decade has been spent with her celebrating the arrival of the holiday season. Countless shopping trips, coffee dates, bible studies and afternoon teas...

She has always been a part of my life. 

Ever since we were little girls, all of our school holidays were spent at our Oma and Opa's. In high school, I spent every single first period spare on the payphone talking with her. In college she edited every paper of mine, and visited me on my breaks when I worked at the Starbucks across the street from her apartment. It was on her couch, by her scheming, that I had my first conversation with Ryan. Secretly we both knew then already that we would one day get married. All the while she was in bed down the hall, pretending to be asleep. At our wedding, she was my maid of honor and was there whenever I needed help adjusting to being a new wife out on my own. She was the first one we told we were expecting our boys and she spoiled them with stashes of jellybeans and toys to play with.

She has simply always been there.

She is in the middle, I'm on the right.

Her and I making French Toast for Oma with my little sister, Becki.

Her and I, right before I started dating Ryan.

Out on one of our adventures when I was pregnant with Willen.

Most of you also didn't know that she had Muscular Dystrophy. She was diagnosed with it at the age of six, and aside from her being in a chair, no one would have ever known by looking at her.

She always smiled. 

Her joy for life, and love for Christ radiated from her. It was addicting to those around her and never went unnoticed. She had learned something very important and her simple words will always stay with me.

"He is God, and I am not."

That was it. It was those words that allowed her the freedom to wake up each morning and live her life joyfully, and not caught up in her inabilities. They were her strength, and her comfort and her hope. Her life had meaning and purpose and it was for her greater good that she was were she was. And that was that.

Many of you also don't know that she wasn't only my cousin, she was also Ryan's. Here he is, the only boy at the tea party. She is front and center, and my sister in law, Rachelle, is front right. It sounds ridiculous, I know. She's had many laughs and has happily told people for years that her cousins are married. (Her dad and Ryan's dad are brothers, and her mom and my dad are brother and sister. So we share her as a mutual cousin.)

She was only thirty one, and it was so sudden I didn't even have a chance to say goodbye. Hours before we had been joking back and forth and she was only supposed to be having some tests done. 

And then she was gone.

There is only one consolation that brings comfort and hope. She is with her Savior and she has been transformed into His beautiful image. She is free from sickness, and disease and sin. She has an eternity to spend in the glory of God and until I join her, I am resting in Him, and on His promises for strength and comfort.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; and she laughs in the face of the future."
Psalm 31:25

She won't be gone forever. One day we will meet again. And what a sweet, sweet reunion that will be. After all, we never said goodbye.