2013 Pinterest Challenge: Winter Edition

Once I saw the announcement for the next Pinterest Challenge from Katie and Sherry (along with their other co-hosts, Megan from The Remodeled Life and Michelle from Decor & The Dog), I had one week to start and finish a project I had been wanting to do. Great motivation!

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I’ve had this rustic wooden tray that I love (from a local home decor boutique in Indiana) for a while. It’s made its way around multiple rooms in our house, but with its curvy features (which add such character to a pretty basic wooden tray), it’s not very functional. It’s really meant as a strictly decorative piece. Unfortunately, when you have a small home, every inch must have some sort of functionality to it. Or at least that’s how I feel about it.

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So, rather than have her (yes, she’s a curvy she) sit on a dresser or table somewhere not living up to its potential, I decided to hang ‘er up! But first, she needed a little pick me up in the form of some typography and paint.

I’ve seen loads of DIY painted signs floating through Pinterest:

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{ Simply Klassic Home }

{ The Simple Standard }

{ House Tweaking }

Ross recently said that he’d like to see more scripture around the house and so I decided to paint the fruit of the spirit onto my wooden tray.

My first attempt at creating a template to trace completely failed because there is already a finish on the wood. So, after creating a design in InDesign, flipping it so it printed backwards, printing it, and painting over the back of the first word with water, I realized I had to come up with a different method. The ink just sat on top of the wood without soaking through at all.

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Plan B. I always knew my Silhouette Cameo would be an option, but it would take a little more patience (ha…fruit of the spirit reference) and time. I used the same design from InDesign and just imported it into my Silhouette program, used the tracing tool, and sent it through the machine.

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Once the letters were cut, I cut the paper in strips to make it a little easier to align the words on the curved wood and attached each word to the wood with tape.

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And then I did some tracing:

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The most time consuming part of the project was painting the letters. I just used some left over white interior paint and a small paint brush. And soon after the paint was dry, I lightly sanded over it to give it an aged look. I like to think she aged as gracefully as Helen Hunt. (Seriously, there are like zero wrinkles.)

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Oh look! There’s another Pinterest-inspired project in the background!

My baby model would now like to show you how we hung it on the wall:

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I am obsessed with these Command Picture Hanging Strips. No mess, no holes, no commitment. (What would Katie Bower cleverly say here?)

I’m joining the link party at YHL and Bower Power! So many great projects happened this week.

Reading List 2012

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Early last year I shared the books that I read in 2011. Since there was such a great response (1 comment, thanks Dan!), I figured that you all would want me to share what I read in 2012.

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The list happens to be shorter this year, but my reading time was reduced with good reason – finishing a basement remodel and a 33 percent family population increase. Another reason for the decrease in the number of books was the length of Heaven and complexity of The Mortification of Sin. So, here are the books that I read in 2012.

  1. All of Grace by CH Spurgeon
  2. Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski
  3. The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
  4. Adaptive Web Design by Aaron Gustafson
  5. Bringing the Gospel Home by Randy Newman
  6. Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro
  7. Take Care How You Listen by John Piper
  8. Heaven by Randy Alcorn (spent most of January 2013 finishing this one up.)

Audiobooks

New this time around here are the audiobooks that I listened to throughout the year. While I listen to a lot of podcasts, I might try switching it up in 2013 and listening to more books.

  1. Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton (maybe pre-2012)
  2. New Testament (ESV)
  3. Desiring God by John Piper

Articles

Am I going to list every article that I read in 2012? No, but early in the year, I did get into the routine of saving miscellaneous articles that I read and thought were interesting into Evernote. So, I’ve thrown all of these into a shared Reading 2012 notebook. You’ll find a similar topical mix represented in the books above and the articles here. And for the articles, I need to get better clipping random things that I read as opposed to only the stuff coming through my feed reader.

If you have questions, comments, or recommended reading for 2013, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

 

Instagram Highlights: January 2013

Behold a new name for these posts. Ross didn’t like having the word “dump” in the title. I can’t blame the guy.

Here’s what we were up to in January:

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This was my new year’s day attire for most of the day. We loved having Ross home for an extended period over the holidays. We were lazy as much as we could be.

Sometimes Analiese gets really sweaty during her naps and the only reasonable solution is to pull her sweaty hair on top of her head. She prefers low ponytails and reminds me every time I do her hair, but there’s something so petite and cute about a little bun way up top.

Oh how I love love love the last feeding of the day. We are both ready for some quiet snuggle time and it’s not uncommon for her to doze off. Sometimes I wake her before I lay her down in her crib, but other times, I just can’t do it. I don’t want to.

This little girl was so excited to go to her friend, Mercy’s, first birthday party. She got dressed up and had such a good time. She left with a balloon. Always a sign of a time well had.

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In early January, Hayden Kate was spending a lot of time in the exersaucer. Analiese, being the helper that she is, would pile as many toys as she could find on top of her. She was never at a loss of what to do. We’ve since retired the exersaucer, but Analiese remains as Hayden Kate’s personal toy assistant.

I can’t believe we started this project in early January and got it done in time for Analiese’s birthday. It was a really fun project that I’m so glad we did for her. Compared to the basement renovation, this was a piece of cake! (And it’s more decorated than our basement is.)

We visited the doctor for Hayden Kate’s six month appointment. Bottom line: she’s a big girl. She also loved the paper and entertained herself for a long time while we waited for the doctor.

The Chasey side of the family was not a fan of the girls’ Halloween costumes this year (UofM and Michigan State cheerleaders) so they equipped the girls with the proper spirit wear. We “cheered on” the Fighting Irish at the championship game by wearing the gear to Meijer. :)

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Every trip to Target includes an obligatory perusing of the dollar bins. I love this wrapping paper! At first, I thought I would use it as wallpaper for the dollhouse, but decided to go a different route with that. Instead, this pretty paper awaits the proper gift.

Little Miss HK is teething and her favorite chew toy has been this little stuffed flower that belonged to her sister when she was a baby. The stem is perfect for gnawing on.

Analiese on the other hand is all about the lights and sound toys. This symphony toy be B. (at Target) is really great. You can choose up to six instruments to set on the “stage” and they play the song. Then you switch out the instruments to hear it in a different way. The song repeats itself over and over again (to allow time to switch out the instruments), but Analiese just lets it play for SO long in the background of whatever else she is doing.

One day Ross let me go out by. my. self. to a few stores to get decorating goodies for the dollhouse. So many great finds. I couldn’t wait to have time to put it all together.

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The first step, though, was to install the wallpaper. We did this a little differently than the tutorial we were following and are really pleased with the seamless results. Also, I love the paper I found. It’s just scrapbook paper from a scrapbook store.

While visiting Ross’s family over Christmas, we started season 1 of Downton Abbey (thanks, Angie!) and loved it. So, we borrowed the dvd’s and watched all of them in time to start watching season 3. We had to watch a few episodes online, but are now fans of watching it live on Sunday nights. It’s the only show we watch on the tv versus Hulu or Amazon Prime.

I’m always trying to think of creative ways to keep Analiese entertained. She really likes to be creative, but I also don’t mind there being an educational aspect. I think I had seen something similar to Pinterest, but they used q-tips. My girl just loves an opportunity to use paint brushes, so I let her have at it. She’s really getting good at her letters!

My brother, Erik, is in two bands. He plays the drums and he’s really really good. Ross and I decided we’d go see him play one night at a bar in downtown Cincinnati. We had to ask for tips on how to not stand out. Totally not our scene, but we had so much fun…even if we called it a night after one set. If sleeping in the next morning was an option, we would have stayed out later.

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There are a few things to note about this picture: 1. the cute Hello Kitty dolls from Uncle Greg 2. the adorable Matilda Jane dress–love the hood tail! 3. my little girl keeps doing things that seem so grown up. I just love her movie-watching position.

We celebrated her third birthday a little early with my family in Ohio. I had suggested “anything My Little Pony” without realizing that everything My Little Pony is wedding related. I’m not sure if that’s a seasonal thing they change or what, but I hope there are other story lines the creators of these ponies can think of. Why do little girls need to be inundated with wedding stories? We watched a dvd that my mom (innocently) bought without knowing the theme and it was filled with teenage drama. We didn’t finish it. We were all so disappointed and kind of disgusted by it.

Ice cream cake is not disgusting. It’s delicious.

We miss this family SO much and wish we were closer. Thankfully, our time in Ohio allowed us to spend a lot of time with them. We caught them on our way home at Chick-fil-a one last time. We were so happy to finally eat some chicken because we typically head home on Sunday and they are closed. We drove home on a Monday this time and just missed a sudden, blinding snow storm that caused a 50-car pile-up on the interstate. I don’t think anyone was badly injured, thankfully, but it was scary to drive by.

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One of my furnishings for the dollhouse: a mini bed made from a gift box, some pleated trim, stuffing and a piece of fabric.

One of my friends told me about Trader Joe’s frozen crushed garlic cubes. Amazing. So handy.

I did some rearranging one day. I moved two wing back chairs downstairs and brought our swedish chair upstairs to go in the coffee room with the love seat, which is now near the bay window. Parker is a big fan. He immediately saw the potential for the perfect perch.

Isn’t this thank you card just the best?

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We’ve had snow in Michigan and Analiese LOVES the snow. Thankfully, Daddy has been home on fresh snow fall days to take her out while I stay warm inside. They play with the sled, shovel together and throw snowballs. She says she’s cold, but never wants to go in.

I surprised her with an offer to drink warm chocolate milk and you should have seen the size of her eyes. We don’t offer many sweet things because we know how her body reacts and we’d just rather avoid that! But, it seemed fitting on this snowy day to make it special. I put marshmallows on top, but she said she likes them chewy instead of soft.

Where’s Hayden Kate?

In college, my roommates and I devoured a few of these peach cakes. It is delicious and has been Analiese’s birthday cake since she was born.

 

Hayden Kate: 7 Months

7 Months

Dear Hayden Kate,

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What a fun month this has been! You are on all fours and moving your little body all around. You haven’t quite gotten the hang of crawling yet, but you manage to end up in the most peculiar places by scooting yourself backwards.

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Your big sister is learning to keep her stuff out of your reach because everything goes into your mouth! Your fifth tooth starting to show through recently and it is causing you a bit of pain. Your favorite toy is a stuffed flower. No noise or lights…just a great stem to gnaw on. Those teeth are helping you eat all sorts of foods, but mostly you eat a lot of carrots and sweet potatoes and as a result, your cheeks are a constant shade of orange!

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Speaking of your big sister, you both still adore each other. She is your entertainment, your companion, your toy retriever…your best friend. You watch her every move and even mimic a few things. I caught you trying out your thumb one day as you intently examined Analiese sucking on hers.

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As Bible study started back up again, we decided to preserve your morning nap by having a babysitter here once a week. It has been working out so nicely. I love coming home to a well rested Hayden Kate!

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We finally celebrated Christmas with the Olsens. The car ride there was dreadful. We all arrived exhausted and cranky, but our visit and the return trip made it all worth it. Analiese gladly helped you open all of your presents and you contently played with toys on the floor while we ate a yummy dinner with Nana, Poppa and your uncles. On the way home, we stopped for lunch with friends and then you fell asleep quickly with Analiese’s music blaring and lots of talking. You must have been tired!

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You are a very content baby most of the time. We don’t have to work too hard to get a smile or giggle from you. You get especially worked up and excited when your daddy comes home from work. You are a strange mix of excited and frustrated (that he doesn’t pick you up right away). You love your daddy!

You have a funny habit of kicking your feet together when you’re sitting. Socks don’t stand a chance.

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The big news of the month (from Mama’s perspective) is that we dropped your dream feed and you continued to sleep through the night without it! We are so glad you’re sleeping so well.

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Our meal times have become quite loud as you discover your voice. Daddy took a video of the “ahhh!” sounds you make periodically whenever we’re sitting down to eat something. Analiese typically joins in.

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You are growing up so fast, Hayden Kate! I had forgotten how temporary all of these phases are. When one day is a struggle because of poor sleep or fussiness and I quickly wish it away, I must remember how I will someday miss all of it and wish for it back.

Love, Mama (& Daddy)

Hayden Kate: 6 Months

6-Months

Dear Hayden Kate,

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Our favorite days are ones where we have nothing to do but lay on a rug and take pictures for fun. It can be a little challenging to get Analiese to look at the camera. She’s just smitten with her little sister. You both seem to feed off of each other’s joy when you’re in close proximity. A mama’s dream come true.

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Another dream come true is that you are finally sleeping through the night consistently. I think you wake from time to time in the middle of the night…mostly around 4 or 5 a.m. I can tell from the video monitor that you are wide awake and looking all around your dark room. You make a few peeps, but put yourself back to sleep. Most likely this is because you determine from said dark room that there isn’t anything fun to be awake for yet. Smart girl.

Now we just need to get rid of the dream feed so Mama and Daddy can go to bed early from time to time.

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One of the reasons your sleep habits have improved is because you are finally out of the swaddle and sleeping with your arms free in a sleep sack. As a newborn, you loved being swaddled, but it was time to say goodbye to it. Unfortunately, since you do not use a pacifier or suck your thumb, you had to figure out a different way to soothe yourself. The first few days were rough, but you got the hang of it and have been sleeping so much better since. We also realized that you hadn’t really figured out how to roll from your tummy to your back, which frustrated you as you tried to fall asleep. Everything worked itself out in time.

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You accomplished sitting up on your own this month! It was perfect timing, too, since you were able to play with all of your new toys. This new feat also means you get to take baths with your sister.

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Arms to hold you, voices and smiles to entertain you, and, of course, new toys were of no shortage in Indiana where we celebrated Christmas this year. It was a fun and restful week for all of us!

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You and Analiese watched some Veggie Tales with Uncle Ryan one day. It was nearing your nap time and you silently closed your eyes and cuddled up to Uncle Ryan. You are so sweet when you sleep.

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Never fear, little one. Your big sister is always nearby and ready to help you, especially if you have unopened gifts that need opening. She’s also quite fond of helping you drink water from a bottle. She may or may not also pile all of your toys on you when I ask her to hand you a toy. I think you love her very much.

Oh, and how she makes you laugh! You light up at the sight of your sister or the sound of her voice. She is always giving your face lots of kisses, too. But what seems to get your goose giggling is when she jumps for you. You just love it!

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You have two little teeth! You’re eating foods like carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, apples and bananas. You’re also using your little mouth to stick out your tongue and blow raspberries.

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I’ve been lucky enough to cradle you in my arms myself. As we transition from three naps to two, you are very sleepy by the time bed time rolls around. I nurse you and you can’t help but doze off. It is such a peaceful time of day for you and I to just sit there for a few minutes, rocking back and forth, your tiny little finger tapping every once in a while as the sounds of Analiese’s nighttime routine play in the background.

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The hurriedness of the day can make me forget how much I love what I am doing right now and how blessed I am to be doing it. I am raising two beautiful little girls whom I love and adore more and more each day. Quiet time with you–to inspect your features, to kiss your head and hold your hand, to pray for your future–is a gift to me. You are such a gift to us, Hayden Kate.

Love, Mama (& Daddy)