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30 October 2011

We're ready...

...are you?

Stop by tomorrow to meet a butterfly princess and the cutest little monkey!

26 October 2011

A little autumn dinner party

I love entertaining in the fall and winter months. There's something so comforting about a cool day spent in the kitchen and an evening of conversation shared with friends...old or new!

We recently had a little dinner party with our dear pastor and his family. It was so wonderful to get to know them a bit better, and to share an evening with this family who so faithfully serves our church body. I was excited to finally feel up for entertaining again...it only took 4 months after Truett was born for me to get motivated to do so!

I try to find balance between keeping things simple, and making things feel just special enough to 'spoil' our company. There are times when friends are invited over for a bowl of soup, and we eat around our kitchen table...complete with paper napkins. Other times I feel inspired to set a lovely table in the dining room. Either way, we feel it's important to welcome others into our home. Brett and I want our kids to be hospitable and generous with others and we have found dinners in our home to be an excellent way to put these values to practice.

I have a couple of tried-and-true menus I like to serve to company. I also have a nice little plan now that turns a potentially stressful day into an enjoyable day at home. I do the cleaning several days beforehand, so all we're doing the day-of is picking up toys and straightening a few things. I've given up the idea that our home must be spotless and fresh whenever we invite people in. Real people do live here, and I have learned to embrace the fact that very few people will ever notice if the piano is a little dusty.

I do as much of the food-prep as possible the evening before after the kids go to bed. Sometimes Brett cooks with me, and it's really fun to share that time with him in the kitchen. The morning of the dinner I set the table. Maren and I typically do any necessary baking together, which is always entertaining. She loves to help me in the kitchen, and she's almost to the age where she actually is helpful. *wink* In the afternoon while the kids are napping I'm able to finish up any of the cooking-prep. All that's left is to get dinner in the oven and to fill the glasses with ice and water before our friends arrive.

Our pastor and his wife have four kids. I wanted to be sure the kids felt a part of the conversation, so I put together a little box with some fun questions we could discuss during dinner. Maren was the youngest and the oldest was a seventh-grader, so I did my best to include topics that anyone could discuss. I passed the box around while we ate, and everyone received a question to answer. It was a fun way to learn more about each other, and the kids were eager to participate.
Do you enjoy hosting others for meals in your home? What are some things you do to make others feel welcome around your table?

Linking up...

Thirty Hand Made Days

24 October 2011

I love Erin Condren! {And now you will, too!}

Happy Monday! I just stumbled across the most amazing deal on Plum District. Have you heard of Erin Condren? I've been drooling over her Life Planner for quite sometime. Well, there's a steal of a deal going on at Plum District right now and you can purchase a $50 credit for only $25! Hop on over there quick so you don't miss out!

I hope your week is off to a lovely start!

18 October 2011

Red Door {not the perfume}

We did something brave a few weeks ago. Actually, my husband did the painting {as usual!} and I instigated the project and bought the paint. That's typically how it goes around here. Brett is my hero-painter and I love him for it. Well, I love him for that and a million other things. Remember when he rescued August? He's such a good man.

I originally found my inspiration on Pinterest. Aren't these red doors fabulous?
{1, 2, 3 via Pinterest}

Believe it or not, this is the only 'before' picture I could find! That's baby Maren with her Gigi when we were first looking at this house. The color we chose is Caliente by Benjamin Moore. It was a recent Pottery Barn color and it really was the perfect red for our door. {Thanks, Mom, for suggesting it!}

Here's our shiny, red door. I love how unexpected it is in this space. I also love the cheerful pop of color it adds to the front rooms in the house. You can actually see the door from the family room and kitchen area, too.

Ah! Please excuse the crooked shade on our dining room light. We really don't like this light. I think it's too small, and those shades are always crooked. I've thought about painting it, but I'm not sure what color. Suggestions are welcome. Please...share your 'bright' ideas. {Sorry...couldn't help myself!}

Have you painted any interior doors in your home an interesting color? If you've thought about it, I say go for it! And let me know if you do...I'd love to see!

Linking up here this week:

Thirty Hand Made DaysSomewhat Simple

17 October 2011

My new habitat {pillow}

A couple months ago, I was lucky enough to take home some fat eighths of Jay McCarroll's Habitat fabric for a little quilt guild challenge. The fabric reminded me of time spent playing in the woods near my parents' cottage. I was inspired to make a funky little pillow cover that now reminds me of playing in the woods, or as we called them, 'the birches'.

I cut random sized strips from my favorite fabrics for the 'branches' on the front. I left the edges raw so the stripes would have a messy, frayed look.

For the back of the pillow I pieced together some bigger strips of the fabric. I snagged a few extra pieces from guild friends who hadn't used all their fabric.

I love the way the pillow turned out, and I love the little reminder of a favorite autumn childhood memory that now sits on my entry bench.

11 October 2011

My tiny paper village

It's Tuesday again, which means that Amanda is hosting another little 'pin-did' party, and I was inspired to try out another one of my many pins.

This time...origami paper houses like these fabulous creations, originally seen on How About Orange.
{source: via Pinterest}

Jessica directs you to this site for the pattern to make these little houses. I was able to figure out the basics, but since the directions were a bit vague, I made a practice house from plain computer paper. For this house, I started with the same size of paper for both the top and bottom of the house. I didn't love how the two pieces fit together, so I decided to make the top piece slightly larger for my future houses.

Maren loved playing with the finished products, and she didn't mind a bit that the top and bottom didn't nest well together.

I love messy little kid hands!

For my 'designer' houses, I used scrapbook paper in different patterns. It is very important to use thin paper...no card stock for this project! I started by cutting my bottom squares to 7.5 in. square, and my top pieces to 8 in. square. These dimensions will make a finished house with a 2.5 in. square base.

Since the directions for both pieces tell you to fold the paper in thirds, I drew quick pencil marks on the backs of the paper.

The directions for the top and bottom are pretty self explanatory. Here's one of my little house bottoms...

A cute little village of paper houses...

I love that the tops and bottoms are interchangeable. I suppose you could always add some glue if you wanted to make things a bit more secure. I'm hoping to have Brett hang a shelf in my powder bath where I will make a little house display.

Have you ever tried your hand at origami? I found it to be a nice simple craft with a fun outcome. To see what other's are 'pin-doing', be sure to visit The Modern Marigold!

10 October 2011

Quilt blocks

I finally got around to taking some pictures of my first three blocks for our FRMQG monthly swap. It's been so fun to make some different things, and to get inspired for my own future projects.

August {Kristen}

September {Melissa}

October {Traci}

08 October 2011

Sweet Saturday

Things that I'm loving today...{in no particular order}

1. Truett bouncing around in his Johnny Jump Up

2. Truett smiling at himself in the mirror {and the fact that he's wearing snuggly fleecy pj's}

3. Waking up to snow {OH MY GOODNESS!}

4. Listening to one Christmas CD in honor of the first snow, even though the pumpkins are still fresh on the front step

5. My favorite blue-eyed girl all bundled up and ready to play in the snow

6. Building the first snowman of the year with neighbor friends {Maren was so thrilled at the prospect of playing in the snow!}

7. Getting lucky at Old Navy...I just ran in to pick up a hat for Truett, and came out with summer wardrobes for both kids...30% off already marked-down clearance plus a $5 off coupon!

8. My favorite outfit...I love preppy little-boy clothes!

9. The best part...
What made your Saturday sweet?

07 October 2011

A quiet day and catching a picture of '3'

I hope you're all having a lovely Friday! I'm enjoying a quieter day at home...Maren is spending some time with her Gigi (grandma), so it's just me and Truett today. Truett is the most laid-back, content little guy, so it's easy to get things done when it's just the two of us. He loves to roll around on the floor and watch me operate. He also takes 3-hour naps, which means I'm getting some rare alone time, too. I'm hoping to have a few finished projects to share with you all next week. I'm also working on some Christmas things. I can hardly believe it's time for that, but it will creep up on me if I don't start now!

I'll leave you with a little photo montage of my beautiful girl. It's next to impossible to catch a nice, smiling picture of her these days, so I've resolved to capture her in whatever mood she presents. This is who she is right now...a spunky, independent, funny 3-year-old who refuses to smile for a picture. These are the types of pictures we'll love to look at some day, right?
Maren entertains us so much. The other night, she was refusing to try something I'd served for dinner. We have a rule at our house that it's okay to not like every food, but we all have to at least try a few bites of what's being served. In effort to get Maren to try a bite, Brett was recalling the classic Dr. Seuss story of Green Eggs and Ham. He reminded us of how at the end of the book, when he finally decides to try some green eggs and ham, he actually ends up liking it. Maren's swift reply was, "Well, he didn't like them with a fox, though."

Try as we may, Brett and I are rarely able to maintain composure during moments like these. They are times when we're reminded what a delight it is to have small minds in our midst.

Happy weekend!

04 October 2011

pin-did week 1: a tiny bird's nest and chocolate-banana-fail

I had so much fun picking out a couple of my Pinterest projects to try this week. I had one great success and one near-fail.

I loved these sweet bird's nests from the first time I saw them...

...so, one evening last week I pulled out my boxes of small treasures and set to work on making my own little nests.

The wire I had on hand wasn't quite what Sarah originally recommended, so I have one chunky nest and one very petite nest. I used wire to make loops for the chain instead of using jump rings. I love how sweet and whimsical these little nests turned out. This project went together very quickly, and I think these would make lovely gifts for friends. If I get motivated enough I might make them for our youth group girls this Christmas.

My second attempt at a Pinterest recreation was not so impressive. Doesn't this look great?
The instructions were simple enough: Freeze a banana, then combine with 2 tbsp cocoa powder and blend until smooth and creamy. I did exactly as instructed, with less-than-favorable results...{sorry for the disgusting photo...just keeping it real!}
I have to admit, this did taste quite delicious. I found it to be a little too cocoa-y, so I'll probably just use 1 T. of cocoa next time. I tried to use my Magic Bullet, and things didn't blend up well at all. I might attempt this again in my real blender. The problem is, with just one banana, there really isn't much substance to blend up. My sweet {nursing} boy has an aversion to dairy, so I had high hopes of this concoction being a satisfactory substitution for ice-cream. While it was yummy, it just wasn't quite as appetizing-looking as that picture I pinned.

So, there you have it! I actually get to check off 2 things from my ever-growing lists of Pinterest projects to try.