Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Siri & Jesus

Carter asked me a question while I was driving last night. 
Me: I'm not sure, pal. Let's ask Siri. 
Carter: "Mom, Siri is kind of like Jesus. She knows everything. She gives us directions."
This boy has been asking loaded questions this year. Remember this biggie?
 I catch him reading The Jesus Storybook Bible often. I can't blame him. Have you read it?
I recommend it even for adults who are looking to learn the basic stories of the Bible. Every story whispers His Name, indeed. The stories are terrific launching points for further study and inquiry. I just cannot recommend it enough. You'll find yourself reading it and seeing Jesus as He should be seen, a loving, Rescuer & Redeemer. Read an excerpt here.

And if you're looking for something to explain Jesus and a relationship with him, on a more grown-up level,  I highly recommend listening to Tim Keller's A Covenant Relationship podcast. He addresses the question: "Is God's love unconditional or conditional?"  

The Bible spells out His laws and the blessings of obedience along with the consequences of disobedience. But, it also states clearly that salvation is a free gift, by grace through faith and not works. So, which is it? Or is it both? And what does that mean for my daily life? 
When you understand the conditions of the covenant relationship..it leads you to paradoxical obedience. If you understand the Gospel.."You resist sin like crazy, and you never have a sense of condemnation and despair when you fall into it." 
From someone who has graduated from Bible college and was raised in church, this single message explains the Gospel to me like I've never recognized before. Listen to it! 

Download A Covenant Relationship (FREE) to your iTunes (very quickly) by clicking here.
or you can also listen to A Covenant Relationship by clicking here.
Get your house The Jesus Storybook Bible here.

Both will help you answer your own questions as well as those that seem to pop out of your child's mouth without warning!
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Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Fun, Finds, & sales

It's Freeeeezing here in NY right now! The heat has been on all week and I've heard "snow" from the weatherman a few times already. Yikes!
Just a couple weekends ago I was wandering across the Brooklyn Bridge in a sleeveless dress in 80 degree weather!
My son has been pining for Halloween for months now, we've spent hours on the elusive task of raking leaves from our yard, but I'm only now accepting that I can't wear flip flops anymore.
I got in the spirit this week making some signs for tonight's Monster Mash at the school.
We visited a local Apple orchard earlier this month & my kitchen has never smelled better than with bowls of apples from the trees. It's looks like something out of a storybook, doesn't it?
Here are some of my Target finds for Fall: Their entire clothing section right now makes my black & white heart happy! (And quite tempted to fill my cart.)

 (I have the bag in Navy. It looks more expensive than $34 b/c it's that matte, soft leather.) 

Bath & Body Works has their 14.5oz 3-wick candles on SALE 2 for $22 right now. 'Leaves' comes highly recommended, which should I choose for my 2nd?

If your family needs warmer shoes, try Famous Footwear with this 30% off coupon and earn a $10 off coupon for a future purchase.

We're heading to our hometown to celebrate this cutie's 1st birthday. And I get to do some shopping with this brother, setting up his first place. Hope you have a lovely weekend!
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Friday, October 18, 2013

DIY Shelves for $100 | Dining Room Shelf styling

Open shelves are practical, fun to style, and easy to DIY!
We have one large open wall in our dining room that was crying out for a big statement.
Open shelving was the perfect choice for the space. It cost just $100ish (depending on what you already own), provides ample storage for hardly-used serving platters, and the neutral basics allow me to decorate seasonally.

The shelves are positioned higher on the wall to allow for a buffet below them, with plenty of space to set higher items on top of it. I'm still searching for the right buffet so imagine it under there with me!

You'll need:
Corbels: Home Depot
Pine Boards: cut to at least the depth of corbel (NOT shorter)
*Most Lowes & Home Depot will cut yours for free.
Primer: Kilz, water-based
Paint: Benjamin Moore, White Dove
Sand paper
Stud finder (optional)
Screw driver
Painter's tape (optional)

*Optional Prep step:
I used painter's tape to envision the shelves on the wall. This allowed my me to locate studs & map out my corbels. I used the painters tape to mimic the height of the corbels also & held platters up to the wall to be sure I could style & store what I had in mind. I don't recommend "winging" this project.

1. Sand corbels & pine boards (cut to size)
2. Dust with cheesecloth or other lint-free cloth
3. Prime corbels & pine boards, dry according to can
4. Paint corbels & pine boards
5. Use a stud finder, or just a stud who can find them, and map out placement.
6. Secure the corbels to the studs or with heavy duty anchors like these
7. Place shelves on corbels & style it up!

farmhouse table: Ana-white farmhouse table (free plans here), stained Minwax Jacobean, sealed with Minwax Polycrylic
jute rug: RugsUSA.com
Bamboo shade: custom, selectblinds.com
Sheer panels: IKEA
Chandelier: Lowes, discontinued
Owl cookie jar: Home Goods
Turkey platter: Target
EAT: DIY anthro letters, tutorial here
Other dinnerware: assorted Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Macy's
Chairs: craigslist collected, spray-painted Rustoleum Heirloom White (placeholders for slipcovered chairs!) Pin It

Friday, October 4, 2013

you may lose a lot of things but you cannot lose my love

My mind goes down a morbid road when I'm preparing to leave my kids overnight, go "under" for a medical procedure, board a flight, or any other scenario with perceived heightened potential for harm.
I begin with "Nobody would love & nurture them to their potential like I will. 
No one else should get to raise them. 
I should leave a letter permitting them to accept a new wife for Daddy, respect his choices, trust his judgement."
Tell me you do this too? 

With a lump in my throat, tonight, I sang each child this song as I tucked then into bed. The song I sang to them when their whole body fit into my one arm. Perhaps, no lyrics convey a mother's love quite as well. Affectionately called "baby teeth" in our home, You Cannot Lose My Love:

You will lose your baby teeth.
At times, you'll lose your faith in me.
You will lose a lot of things,
But you cannot lose my love.

You may lose your appetite,
Your guiding sense of wrong and right.
You may lose your will to fight,
But you cannot lose my love.

You will lose your confidence.
In times of trial, your common sense.
You may lose your innocence,
But you cannot lose my love.

Many things can be misplaced;
Your very memories be erased.
No matter what the time or space,
You cannot lose my love.
You cannot lose,
You cannot lose,
You cannot lose my love.  

This song (& many of my favorites) is included in Sara Groves' newest recording: The Collection, download here.
Single available for download here
Have a listen to this live recording I found:

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Setting Up House Checklist: Kitchen, Cleaning, Linens

My little brother just bought his first home! And like many in his generation, he's setting up home without a wedding registry. Lucky for his big, opinionated sister there isn't a girl filling the cart with him. After 2 cross-country moves, I am experienced in setting up a house from scratch. And after 10+ years of housekeeping, I have quite a collection of tried & true, everyday basics. I compiled a list of basics for him and included a FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLIST for download (below).

My favorite brands & specific items are pictured but,  I did NOT include specific brands in the download, so you'll want to jot those in the margins, if you want to try my tried & trues. Nicholas, you have to use the brands I use, at least at first.

I worked at Williams-Sonoma, so most of my kitchen basics come from there & I'd buy them all over again (minus the discount..eek!). TJMaxx, Marshalls, Homegoods would be my second choice for finding close replacements at a reasonable price.

Kitchen Starter Kit

clockwise from top left: 
All Clad 8qt Stockpot, All Clad 4qt saucepan Williams-Sonoma *FREE gift with purchase includes another favorite of mine: the Lasagna pan!; Calphalon Unison 12in & 10in pan set: Williams-Sonoma, Everyday large baker: Crate & Barrel, White Traditional Dinnerware: Pottery Barn

Pyrex glass storage w/lids: Target
Wusthof Santoku knife; Spoonula & Spatula, OXO tongs, kitchen shears & paring knife set, half sheet pan, antibacterial cutting board, measuring cups & spoons, kitchen towels: Williams-Sonoma

This is the Cleaning Starter Kit I recommend, pictured are specific brands I prefer.
All items can be found at Target, excluding pop up sponges: Williams-Sonoma or Trader Joes.

Not pictured but necessary: Folex carpet cleaner (Bed, Bath, & Beyond), Lysol wipes, hand soap, a broom & dust pan, garbage bags & cans. I interchange Mrs. Meyers Clean Day with Method cleaners and sometimes fall for Gain detergent. *Bar Keepers Friend: for caked on dish grime, ceramic scratches, shining stainless steel.

Linen Basics
shower curtain & bath mat: West Elm
bath & hand towels: Thomas O'Brien, Target, Bed sheets: Threshold, Target 

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