Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Powder Room Full of History!!!

With all the things we brought home from my grandmothers, I was beginning to panic because my home was slowly slowly becoming a thrift store look alike. I have clutter! And I hate having things just lying around.

So I decided to use some of the stuff from my grandmothers, for our downstairs powder room. It kind of took on a theme of its own. All family heirlooms. There is a letter I framed to my great grandmother (my namesake) from 1899!!!

There are pictures of my grandparents and my husband grandparents. One of my favorite "hidden themes" is a picture of my great grandmother holding one of her babies. Then one of her grand babies. And then one of my grandmother holding one of her grand babies.

These two pieces came from Asheville, North Carolina, where my family is all from.

A little collage wall, a mirror from my grandmother.

And to the left, A picture of my wedding and my sister's wedding.

The curtain was an old vintage table cloth I made into a curtain. Its a little fancier than I am used to, so I wanted to add a little country charm. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Loving My Family and Others Through Food...

We all have to eat. And everyone love food! But what I love even more is making meals special for my Family! Making it fun! Delighting in the whole process!!! From the menu planning, to the shopping, to 
 the cooking to the eating! I want our home to be remembered as a house full of love! A place where they were all loved and welcomed. And where we also welcomed others. And for our children to remember that momma loved being in the kitchen!

I think that sometimes we mommas can get stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking. Or at least loose our vision! There are so many "joy stealers" out there! Especially in the areas of food! And especially when we look more to other mommas than we do to the Lord and our husbands. "Food rules" as I call them. Types of food, PREFERENCES: Grass fed or not, organic or non organic, gluten or no gluten, white or wheat, sugar or honey, honey or maple syrup, maple syrup or stevia, stevia or no sugar at all. Microwave or no microwave. Cooked meals or raw. Cans or no cans. And on and on I could go!!! But I think what saddens me more than all these "choices" is the judgement placed on others from others who hold these "food titles" at a higher priority that then do the unity between the body of Christ. I have seen such judgement from some. And then the other side of it, such condemnation that latch onto others who may not cook as others do. Meal times are not supposed to be drudgery. But a wonderful and exciting time where we can come together as a family! Where we can bless our husbands, tired from a long day at work, with a hot meal made with love. Where we can teach our children the wonderful skills of cooking! Where we open our home and make others feel loved! Where wonderful memories are made! And beautiful conversations happen!

Recently, I have been in a big rut myself! Not that my love of cooking ever faded. Nor did my vision of delighting in preparing food for family and guests. Mine stemmed more from too many different "rules" about food. In this area where I took my eyes off of the Lord and began following man, I lost my joy for what food preparation should be in my family! I lost the vision of stewardship I once had and was struggling to find it amidst all these "rules". But the Lord used a weekend at a dear friend's home to break that bondage! And I thank the Lord for that! And my friend! EVERYDAY! 

Food is a blessing from God! But it cannot become our God! It is something we use to nourish our own bodies and our families! It is something that is used to build friendships and relationships! To minister to those in need! It is not something that sanctifies us! It is not something that makes us more holy! In my experience, these "preferences" can often cause disunity between husband and wife, cause children to stumble and divide people in the church! I have experienced  both sides of this! It is not a good thing! 

Food should be a tool used to bring together the body of Christ! Just as Jesus broke bread with his disciples! We are to break bread with our families and show hospitality to our families and to those in our communities! Just as Jesus accepted the food that others prepared for Him in their homes. So we too should joyfully receive and give food to others.

Does food separate you from others? Does it break relationships?
Or does it bring people in?

Even the momma without "food convictions" can "break relationships" within her home by not prioritizing cooking in the home! Eating out too much cheapens the experience of eating meals together as a family! When used properly, it can be a fun experience! And I even think that there is a season where eating out a lot is the best one can do. But in the case of a momma just neglecting it al together when they could do a bit more, it can hurt the family. Even if it is boxed macaroni and cheese and a salad…the act of preparing the meal and then sitting together as a family has the ability to tighten dangling family bonds. The act of preparing food together and then enjoying the fruits of our work creates security and love within our homes!

The same goes for when we open our home to others. Do you dread cooking for those people? Do you feel as though your food is not "good enough" for this family, or that family?
As the body of Christ and as mommas in our homes, we need to break this discord! And we need to show the true joy of preparing food for another!

We need to put food in its place! And put relationships above preferences! Now, I am not talking about people with true food allergies. Apart from true food allergies, food preference should be something that brings us together!

There is a time for everything! Right? A time for bread made from scratch. And a time for buying bread in the store. A time for an elaborate meal. And a time for take out pizza! Let not your heart be troubled if you you are not where you want to be when it comes to cooking! Enjoy the season you are in! But also seek to be the best steward you can be where you are! That will look differently to all of us!

Sometimes, it is fun to try a new food from a take out place! :)

And sometimes, it is fun to re-create one of your children's favorite food at home!
(One of our children has a love for fajitas like I have never seen! So I tried to make them from scratch)

5 things I have learned I need to do to properly steward the issue of food in my home!!

1. Pray with your husband for what food will look like in your home! Every family's food goals will be different! 

PLEASE! I beseech you mommas! Honor your husbands desires for grocery budget and food in your home! I have seen too many families where momma does not submit in that area! And it is a big deal! Also, when we seek our husband's guidance and his desires, we may find that he is much more layer back in that area and that you may be making it harder! I write all of this from my own hard learned lessons!

God will bless the "by choice" (that means non-allergic) gluten free momma that joyfully eats the pizza that her husband loves to eat every Friday night! Rather than a wife who disrespects her husband by refusing to let the children eat pizza and argues with him that it is not healthy and that he is making bad choices for the family!

2. Joyfully accept food from others, even if it isn't what you would make.
If you are a "from scratch momma" and someone serves you chips and dip from the kindness of their heart…be gracious! Not everyone may have the food budget you have! You don't have to love it. And you do not need to make it at home every week. But you do need to be gracious! Giving the hostess of the home a small lecture on why you can't eat the casserole she made that has canned soup in it does not show the love of Jesus!!!!

3. Build a glorious vision for gracious hospitality in your home! And use it one your family first! Do not withhold the wonderful hospitality you show to others from your own husband and children! Put them first! And make special things for them before you make them for others. Make cookies for them. Make their favorite meals! Set the table nicely occasionally. 

4. Be joyful in this process! It really is a gift to be able to do this! And our time with our family is not as long as we think! Let us not squander this very precious time! And let us joyfully teach our children how to do this for their families! We want food and meal time to be a delight in our family! And children's attitudes will reflect momma's attitude!

5. Find a good menu plan system! All of this excitement and vision is no good without planning! :)
If you are overwhelmed with how to do this, then see if a friend of your WITH SIMILAR LIFESTYLE DYNAMICS ( living on land, older and younger children, etc) and ask how she does things. My dear friend was gracious to lay it all out for me! And it has been such an enormous blessing for me!

How ever your family chooses to eat, please remember two things.

 1. Food is a gift given by God! A creation made by him! We should never forget that! And we should always seek to worship the CREATOR and not the creation! Do not look down on people who do not eat like you do! Let us be united in Jesus! And not preferences!

2. Food is a gift to be used to bring families together! Do not squander this precious experience because of wrong thinking or life circumstances!

May the Lord richly bless you as you seek to honor him in this and all areas of life!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kitchen - After

Our trash can! How could I ever have though that I would love a trash can so much?!?!? My dear friend Bobbi gave us this trash can! It was there sitting and waiting for us in their guest cottage when we went to visit them!

Why is is solo special? Well it was not only given by my dear friend. But it is beautiful! And fits our "country charm" of our home. But most importantly, it is HUGE! The perfect "large family" trash can! When our sweet friends came to stay with us, she noticed how our boys were taking out the trash multiple times a day. :) This trash can is so big, it fits a contractors bag. And we only have to take the trash out once a day!!! WOW!!!

Our little "shutter" apron rack

 When I saw this little sign, I knew it would be so cute in our kitchen!

I mean, I am always searching for the children to help me…right? This is just a playful little reminder that "Many hands make light work".

The lamp adds a homey feel.

Here is our little "office nook"/ drink counter. This is where we put our incoming and outgoing mail, various frequently used office supplies and our "drink bands" to have the children put on their cup of the day. Each child has a color in our family. And are responsible to put these on their cups. This is our attempt to keep cup washing to a minimum.

Our "welcome" counter.  where I always keep clean and with a candle on it. 

Frequently used cookbooks. And on the walls a little chalk board and our family guidelines.

Our "command center" where chore charts, family schedule, ticket reward system", menu plan and kids mail boxes are.

Since we turned our kitchen closet into a pantry, I decided to put our dishes in the hutch. It is much more convenient. And adds a nice decorative element to the kitchen.

Friday, July 18, 2014

How Time Flies

Look how little my sweet girl was! She was SOOO little! Looking at my sister like she is a princess!

I can't believe my sister has been married for 5 years already! And has 2 little ones! We are 17 months apart. I just married much younger than her!

Here I am I was too shy to walk down the isle with my daddy cause I was nervous everyone was going to stare at me! ;) I only wish that I had sleeves on my dress now 

Here is one of the boys! His hair was sooo red! I wish it had stayed that way! He was so precious! My sister used to say he looked like a "visiting neighbor" that I just dressed like my own children! But I can assure you, he is ALL MINE! I was there when he was born! ;)

Kitchen Changes

When we moved into this home three years ago, the last thing on our minds was changing the kitchen.

And as we lived in it slowly…we began to see the need to change a few things.

We decided to paint the cabinets white and change the hardware to lighten things up a bit since our kitchen can seem a little cave like...

We needed to change our countertop after it broke! So we decided to go with white vicostone to make things clean and plain.

Changing our two bowl sink into a big one bowl sink. This was a huge blessing! With a large family and doing lots of hospitality, we always cook with lots of big pots and pans. This sink definitely helps!

Changing the faucet as well. We needed a higher faucet so the big pots wouldn't get in the way.

Changing the ugly metal star back splash for a more "farm style" look.

A Trip to IKEA

A little while back, we took a little trip to IKEAS for more bookshelves for the Living Room. We always have so much fun going to IKEA! So I had to document it!

This little guy climbed one of the couches that was anchored to the wall. So I did what any good and observant momma would do…I took a picture before taking him down and correcting him.

After walking through half of the store, the children were delighted to grab a bite to eat!

These meatballs remind me of my grandmother. When she was alive, we would drive from New York to New Jersey to go to IKEA and we would always eat these meatballs.

The next day, we the boys got to work building the shelves.

They sure came out nice!!! And how thankful I was that they wanted to build them. :)

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockabye, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
Author Unknown

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