Wednesday, December 14, 2011

deck the halls!

Just a few glimpses of our Christmas decor this year...I just love how my house looks at Christmas! Well, except for the mass chaos on the kitchen counters & breakfast room table, as those are my dumping ground for various crafts, gifts, etc...
but the living room is a sanctuary! ;-)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

christmas wreath: the simple edition.

Wow. It's been almost a month since I last posted, and that post was also about a wreath. I'm the best blogger EVER. [insert sarcasm here]

Anyway...I was browsing Pinterest for Christmas wreath ideas, and I was totally inspired by this lovely yarn Christmas wreath. However, I have made a few yarn-wrapped wreaths, and I DESPISE the wrapping. It's simple, yes. But very time-consuming. So, I decided to make my own version using fabric.

I found some glittery felt fabric at Hobby Lobby, cut it into strips, and wrapped my 18" wreath form. Then I wrapped some red yarn around for a simple stripe, cut my holly leaves from green felt, and stuck some shimmery poms on for holly berries. Voila! My easy Christmas wreath! I may add a cute painted "G" later, just for kicks. We'll see. Also, it's a shame you can't see the glitter in the fabric in this picture, but I assure you, it makes for a happy moment when standing at my front door. :-)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

simple fall-ish wreath

For the fall, I wanted a good transitional wreath. Something for September-November, and possibly even for Christmas with a few added touches. I found this on Pinterest courtesy of Our Celebrated Life, and I LOVE it. So, here it is, my simple fall-ish wreath:

{wrapped with upholstery webbing, which I got from Hobby Lobby}

{felt flowers same as my houndstooth wreath; tutorial courtesy of Little Things Bring Smiles}

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

the second time...

"When are you going to have another baby?"

"Are you going to adopt again?"

"Natalie is about ready for a little brother or sister!"

Those are the comments you get when you have one kid. I'm sure when you have two, you probably still get them. :) Well, we actually had it in our plans to start the adoption process again toward the end of this year. Guess what? It's NOVEMBER. That's "toward the end of this year". :) We had planned to use a local agency that has strong ties to our home church. Agape of Central Alabama is an awesome organization that focuses on foster care, adoption, and crisis pregnancy counseling. We used them to conduct our home study when we were preparing to adopt Natalie. We wanted to use them for our next adoption for two reasons: 1) They are local, and 2) Their adoption expenses are lower than that of the agency we used the first time. So, the other day I decided to email their Adoption Specialist & ask what we need to do to get the process started. Her reply felt like a door shut in my face. They are not accepting applications for adoptive families right now, due to a lack of birthmothers coming to them. While I realize this is somewhat good news, that there aren't many birthmothers who need or want to place their child in another home, it's not good news for adoptive families. I'll be honest: I got upset when I got this news. You would think that by now, I would realize that my plans aren't always what God's plans are, but I guess my thick skull hasn't quite let it sink in yet. MY PLANS were to go through this agency; it would just be so much simpler that way.

So, that's where we stand right now. We have to decide if we want to use another agency, or if we want to raise the funds to be able to use Nightlight in South Carolina {who we used for Natalie's adoption}, or if maybe God just wants us to wait. We shall see!

Please join us in praying for God's will to be revealed to us as we decide how to grow our family.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. ~1 John 5:14

Thursday, October 20, 2011

an adoption fundraiser

My friend Robin over at Blessed Beyond Belief has shared some wonderful news on her blog today! Go read her post, please...and consider her plea!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

creamy chicken & spinach casserole

Hold the phone.

I decided to make up a recipe.

I know, I's scary!

Here's the thing: I have a picky 18-month-old who doesn't like a lot of veggies. She loves casseroles with pasta; aka, baked spaghetti, etc, so I try to make a lot of those with whole wheat pasta & sneak veggies into them. I've made baked spaghetti with chopped up carrots, baked chicken cheesy casserole with peas, chopped bell peppers & onions, and...that's about it. It's hard to come up with stuff with different veggies that she will approve. So I was thinking the other day about trying to sneak some spinach into a casserole, and this is what I came up with! The hubs & I loved it, and...wait for it...SO DID NATALIE! Kid-tested. Mother-approved. :)

Creamy Chicken & Spinach Casserole

1 box whole wheat pasta
2 large cans chunk chicken (I am lazy & used canned; obviously you can cook chicken breasts if you want)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (if I'd had more in the fridge, I would have totally used up to 2 cups! I love cheese. You can add as much or as little as you'd like.)
1 pkg Bird's Eye Steamfresh Lightly Sauced Cream Spinach (frozen)
1 pkg Pictsweet Seasoning Blend (frozen)

Cook pasta. Cook seasoning blend in skillet as directed on bag. Prepare cream spinach as directed on bag. In large mixing bowl, mix chicken, cream of chicken soup, cheese, spinach, & seasoning blend. Add pasta & mix well. Pour into 9x13 baking dish & cook at 350 for 30 minutes.


(I know, it's not the most appetizing picture. Just trust me, it tastes good!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

the secret.

"...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." ~Paul, in Philippians Chapter 4

I am dealing right now with a major case of the discontentments. No, that is not a word. But it's what's up. I read lots of blogs, and browse Pinterest, and see friends' things, and I want. I want my house to be cleaner, I want the list of projects to be done, I want those new pillows, and I want a prettier home office. I want my daughter to obey me, I want more money each week for groceries, and I want a garage for all the stuff overflowing my house. I want to get the van fixed, I want to go back to the doctor so maybe my ear won't be stopped up anymore, and I want to have money to go eat lunch at McAlister's on any given day. I want to be a better mommy, I want to be a better wife, and I want to love God more.

That is a LOT of wants. And that's just the short list. wonder I feel so overwhelmed! I expend a lot of energy wanting things that I don't have. They are not necessarily bad things, but constantly wanting things is leaving me feeling in a state of disarray. I am a busy mom of an 18-month-old, trying to maintain some semblance of a proper household, while working a part-time job and still trying to make time for family & friends. I don't need to add to that stress, the energy it takes to want all of this stuff. I am tired. I am way too tired to do all of this extra wanting.

So, I am turning to God, to show me the secret. Paul said in Philippians that he had learned the secret of being content in any situation, whether in plenty or in want. Wait...hold on. You can be content while also "in want"? Evidently so! I need to learn this secret. I need to work on being content while I am in want, and stop using up my much-needed energy on all of the wanting.

What I need to want, is God. I need to just want God.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

cute & easy roll tide wreath

My sister-&-brother-in-law are moving soon from Tennessee to Arizona, and we went to visit them this weekend. I wanted to give them something to represent The South over in the desert, and they are big Bama fans, so I decided to make this super easy Roll Tide wreath! I got the idea from Jamie at Two Plus Jilly, just doing a random Google search. I made the felt flowers using a tutorial from Katie at Little Things Bring Smiles, also found through a Google search. I realize everyone's been making these flowers forever, but I'm always late to jump on the bandwagon. :) I also decided to print a little Roll Tide banner and string it across with yarn. I love how it turned out, and it was so quick & easy to make!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

living room semi-redo

I've always had a thing for rearranging furniture. I'm pretty sure I get it from my mom. We would come home from school on frequent occasions to find the den completely rearranged. I always thought it was fun - it kind of freshens up a room, ya know?

When we built our current house, part of the draw to the floor plan was the openness. The living room is open to the kitchen & breakfast room. We love the high ceilings & the airy feel. The one drawback is that an open floor plan limits furniture placement. Especially when you own an 8' couch that may or may not have been purchased solely for the fact that the 6'4" husband can stretch out on it. So, by default, we've had our couch on the same wall since we moved in: the one wall that wasn't (a) 6' long (too short) or (b) consumed by 2 windows & a fireplace.

I recently got the itch to move that crazy couch. I considered "floating" it in the open space, with the back of it to the opening of the breakfast room/kitchen. Well, that got the buzzer when I measured out how far it would stick out, almost completely blocking the entrance to the room. The only other option was to put it in front of the fireplace, which is just weird. Right? Is it weird? At first the consideration was just a joke, but then I started thinking, we don't ever use the fireplace anyway. We've lived here for 5 years & haven't once used it. It's a gas fireplace, but we don't have gas logs in it. We bought gas logs but then found out we'd have to have someone cap the gas line in order to get the existing grate out, yadda yadda yadda...pretty sure all that will never happen. {Side note: anyone want to buy some gas logs?? Never used!}

Anyway, to make a long story even longer, I did it. I put the couch in front of the fireplace. I don't like that it's blocking the fireplace, of course, because that just seems weird. But I do LOVE the placement of it in the room. It's actually facing the TV now instead of to the side of it, and it makes the open room seem more cozy. {Do any of you have an open floor plan & sometimes feel like it's TOO open??} We've still got to work on the wall that the couch used to be on; I plan to get another accent chair to go with the one we have, and put a small table between the two. But for now, it works.

Here are some pics of the new placement:

view from the hallway

{yes I still have my summer mantel up! I'll work on it.}

view from the entry

view from the breakfast room

Natalie approves :)

How do you feel about blocking the fireplace?

Do you have furniture placement in your house that is "against the rules"?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

that time of year again...purge time!

Wow. I have become pretty horrible at updating this blog! I'm sure y'all have been checking every single day for a new post, right? ;)

It's getting close to the time of year when I traditionally purge my home of STUFF & have a yard sale. This year, I thought I'd try to sell some stuff via word of mouth before our yard sale, just because I want to. So, here are a few items I have for sale. If you're local, & you're interested, let me know! {Sorry, no shipping...}

Friday, July 15, 2011

the tale of a dining room who longs to become a study

It's been a long time a-comin'.

We started converting our dining room into a home office months ago, when we gave away our dining room table & chairs. Since then, we've moved the computer desk into the new home office...and that's about it. Why? Because we have no money. :) However, eventually, the 3rd bedroom, which used to be the study, will hopefully be another nursery {PLEASE note that I said EVENTUALLY :)}. So we want to get the ball rolling to have that room empty before we actually NEED to have it empty. Make sense?

We have a bit of a decorating dilemma. This is the room that will be the study:

{See that wall there? Yeah that's the only full wall we have in this room.}

{that door goes into the kitchen. thus the fridge. :) perhaps a curtain would make for a good divider...}

{this is the view of the room from the kitchen}

The room is located to your left as you walk in the front door, so it kinda needs to look presentable. Which is not the case currently, obviously. I work from home, so the computer + desk is functional, but it's not a feasible long-term set-up, because my husband will need to also have a work space in this room eventually. {Check out his hobby here!} Also, one "wall" is actually an opening to the room from the entry, one wall has a double window taking up most of it, and a 3rd wall has the doorway to the kitchen. We have one complete wall for furniture placement, and two slivers of a wall on either side of the kitchen doorway. Fun.

I'd like to do this room with an industrial feel. I think that is a good way to combine my husband's taste with mine. First of all, a desk unit like this would be perfect along that window wall:

Then, we'll need some storage, and I'm diggin' on the idea of some old school lockers. We'll actually need a whole lot more storage than this, since we're losing a closet that's currently holding a bunch-o-stuff, but we'll figure that out later. :)

And the hubs has a lot of sports figures in his own personal collection that he likes to display, which I tend to oppose, but it would make him happy. So I'm considering something like this, up high on the one long wall we have:

For the color scheme, I'm thinking of yellow/gray/blue. Think old globe/school map. {Is this room turning into an old classroom??}

So there ya have it. My ideas for our hopefully-soon-to-be study. If you're on Pinterest {or even if you're not}, check out my inspiration board {and my sources for the above photos} here:

Thoughts? Suggestions? Do tell!

Friday, July 01, 2011

favorite things: the baby edition

When it comes to baby gear, we all know that the bumbo, bottles, boppy & bibs are a necessity. But sometimes it can get a bit confusing when it comes time to choose amongst the plethora of gadgets for little ones. Here are a few of my personal favorite baby items that have made my life with a little one a ton easier & a tad more fun...

A friend of ours gave Natalie these orbit labels from inchbug for her birthday, and they are a great find! These would be especially handy for daycare kids. They fit on bottles and sippy cups as well.

Natalie was a formula baby, and for all formula babies, a formula dispenser is a must-have. Let me save you time and money: go with the Avent formula dispenser. I tried 3 different kinds, and this one is by far the best. I had one other brand warp when I boiled it (even though the directions say to boil it before first use to sterilize it), and neither of the other two brands were as good about emptying all of the formula easily. And also...with the Avent one, the dividers are removable, making it into a snack cup for later. Ours now houses Cheerios. :)

There are a plethora of strollers out there, and I made the mistake of not researching & thinking ahead when I registered. The travel system stroller is awesome when baby is little & still fits in the carrier, but they quickly outgrow it. I bought an older version of this stroller for a plane flight, since this folds up compact like an umbrella stroller. It still has the height of a regular sized stroller, and it's super easy to steer and comfortable to push. This one looks WAY cooler than the one we have, being that ours came from a flea market for $10. :)

And when do you do order that awesome'll quickly notice there is no cup holder. Enter this. {Available at TJ Maxx, Baby Depot, and I think Wal-Mart as well.}

Natalie got a super awesome wagon for her birthday, courtesy of her Mimi & Paparoxy. We added this clip-on canopy for some shade, and I've decided it's a must-have if you have a wagon!

Evenflo BabyGo High Chair. This thing folds up almost as compact as a camping chair, and let me tell you, we have already gotten our money's worth from it, and we just got it for Christmas. Ours came from Amazon, but I don't see it on their site anymore. Find it here. This might be the #1 baby gear item I recommend because it's just not very well known.

**UPDATE: This chair has been discontinued by Evenflo. I know, it's DEVASTATING. :) Every time I use this chair in public, I get comments on how awesome it is. I know several moms who would love to have this chair. And it's not available. I called Evenflo, and the best thing we can do as consumers is call or email them & let them know you want this product on the market again. Call Evenflo at 800-233-5921 & just tell them you would LOVE to have this chair. It only takes a couple of minutes, so DO IT. Or you can email them by visiting their website here & filling out the form. {It asks for model # & manufacture date. You can use the info from my chair if you want; the model # is 25703917 and date 10/08.} Thanks!**

What are your favorite baby items? Please share!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

free instant art

So I tend to tell people that I'm a "blogger"...but if you look at how (in)frequently I write, I'm not so sure I can label myself as such. :) I need to work on that! That's my disclaimer: I realize I haven't blogged in forever, and here I am, and I'll try better, yadda yadda yadda.

Anyway, I wanted to change the wall above our bed in the master bedroom, but alas, I have no money for decorating right now. There are lots of cheap-o options out there, but I needed something FREE, not just cheap. So I decided to just hang some quick prints, and this is what I came up with... {sorry for the poor quality photos. camera phone + bad lighting.}

{PLEASE ignore the hideous bedside lamps. I painted them white to get rid of the Kirkland's-esque feel, and haven't replaced the shades yet. White drumshades, please?}

{Also ignore the bedside tables that are in disarray. Another soon-to-be project, hopefully...I digress...}

I got most of the prints from The Graphics Fairy, and I hate to admit this, but 1 or 2 of the prints came from elsewhere on the web & I failed to save the source. My bad. Anyway, this was a super quick, free way to change up the space. I hope to one day do a board & batten project in that space between the windows, much like this:

I'd love to do this, but with the top a little lower so I can use it as a ledge for frames, cutesy knick-knacks, and what not. {Knick-knacks & what not? Is that redundant?} Jenny at Evolution of Style has a complete tutorial. Gorgeous.

So that's about the extent of the decorating I've done around here lately. No money + summer vacation + 15-month-old = tiny changes here & there. :)

Have a good week!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

the 'dos

So...I may have had a few different hairstyles over the years.

I've been trying to grow out the super-short cut I got last summer. {re: bottom right pic above} Growing out a short haircut is NOT fun. I'm getting much-needed highlights & a trim next Friday, and I'm indecisive about what I want to do with the cut. The whole growing-out phase is about to drive me CRAZY. I can't stand for my hair to be on my neck when it's hot, and it's too short to wear in a ponytail. So the question I keep trying to grow it out, or cut it short in the back again?? {re: bottom middle & top right pics above} Decisions, decisions...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

mousepad makeover

As much as I would prefer to just not have a mousepad, our mouse doesn't work without one. I've been resenting the Dell mousepad that we've had for years, and I finally did something about it. The Graphics Fairy has all kinds of cute vintage graphics over on her site, and I snagged this one because it sounds like our house. :) If you need a mousepad makeover, consider heading over to her site for a cute image to print & glue to your existing mousepad!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

adoptive families contest

So, I realize I'm intertwining social media sites by posting on my blog about facebook, but I want to recruit as many voters as I can for this contest. :)

We are entered in an "adoptive families" contest sponsored by Allison Hilyer Photography on facebook, and I really need your votes! It's easy to vote; just follow these 3 steps:

  1. Visit her facebook page {here}

  2. Like her facebook page

  3. Find the 'Goins' photo in her 'Adoptive Families Contest' album, and "like" our photo.

Each "like" for our photo counts as a vote. The contest ends Tuesday, April 19th at 9:00pm. PLEASE vote for us, and tell your friends to vote for us too! Don't forget, you must like her page before you can like our photo.


{ And when you're done voting for us, go visit her website

& check out her awesome photography skillz! }

Thursday, April 07, 2011

I spy...

A few goodies I've been spying online lately...
definitely over the glass-top dining table, with a 1-year-old. and this one comes with a leaf! think: old mismatched dining chairs and a wooden bench, all painted white to contrast the gray-brown table. ahhhh. from ikea.

simple elegance for our entryway. from ikea.

I work from home, and my work space is super inefficient. this antique white desk would help me get organized, while looking cute at the same time. from CSN stores.

this indoor/outdoor rug would definitely brighten up our deck! from World Market.

this white quilt would definitely simplify the bed-making in the mornings...and it's machine washable. yes please. from Target.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

DIY yarn + pinwheel wreath

I was inspired by Kimba of A Soft Place to Land to do a yarn-wrapped wreath for spring. Since doing my daughter's pinwheel-themed birthday party a couple of weeks ago, I've been kind of obsessed with pinwheels, so I wanted to include pinwheels on mine...I mean, who doesn't love pinwheels, right?

So here's how I did it:

I bought a wreath form {for some reason Hobby Lobby only had these straw ones, and none of the styrofoam kind, but was 50% off of $3.99, and I was ready to get started instead of shopping around}, a skein of this fun green & turquoise yarn {ok I bought two, just in case, but I only used one}, and 3 pinwheel picks {also 50% off right now at HobLob}. Total cost: under $7! Holla.

Tape the end of the yarn to the wreath, and start wrapping the yarn around the wreath. Recruite help from an adorable 1-year-old if you can.

You will begin to think it will take all day to finish, but it won't, I promise. Keep wrapping. Distract 1-year-old with puffs if necessary.

Whew! Finally finished.

I wanted my pinwheels to still turn once I attached them, so I cut off the sticks but left the pinwheels intact. I then glued them to floral pins so I could stick them into the wreath. {Sorry I didn't include the floral pins in the "ingredients" pic above...they were an afterthought. :)}

Attach the pinwheels to the wreath and hang. I decided to use regular ole twine instead of cute ribbon, just to keep it simple. Voila!

It makes me smile as I walk up to the door! Especially when Natalie starts "blowing" the pinwheels. :)