Thursday, December 15, 2011

MaMa in the Kitchen...

Ohhh, they made it look so easy back then. It honestly looks like this lady is thinking, "Little girl, go a little faster or I am going to throw this bottle of homemade vinegar across the room." Sometimes I feel like I look like this lady when I am trying to teach my kids something. My hands gripping the jar and my jaws clenched. I want them to do it right, mess free, and quickly. Is there some control freak in me? Probably. Okay, yes. And the more I try to pull away from control the tighter the grip. So, I choose to fight it. Everyday. And honestly the more I embrace my time with my children and all the imperfections of the day, the more I feel the "what the heck" come on. 

When I want to clean my counters from fingerprints and dried spaghetti, I think, "what the heck, it's going to get dirty again in 20 minutes, do something else."

When my kids want to bake with me and I know it's going to get messy, I choose to think, "ahh, what the heck. At least they want to hang out with me, I wouldn't trade
 that for a clean kitchen anyday of the week."

When it's bedtime and my kids who have brushed their teeth and already have their pj's on ask, "mom, can we have hot coco?"... I choose to think, "what the heck, bedtime? Boring. Let's have some spontaneous fun every now and then. There's nothing like the sound of four little mouths sipping their hot coco like a thirsty herd of wild buffaloe.
Those little cuties.

Let go of the expectations you have on yourself, your kids, or your spouse and learn choose to enjoy the simple things that create memories and happy moments.

Embrace where you are today and whatever you do, Do it well. This is what you were made for.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

a happy blend.

A little trick I do every year is mix fresh greenery with faux. You can get Christmas tree pickings  free at any place that sells fresh trees. Grab a bundle of it and mix it with some Holiday picks from Hobby Lobby... and the two become one happy focal point for your table and home.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Give Thanks in Everything...

That's right. Everything. Even when you wake up at 2am because two little girls are staring you down in the dark and decided they want to sleep with you? Yes. Even when you wake up late at 7:45am because you didn't sleep because of the tiny feet in your face AND now you are rushing to get the kids to school by 8? Yes.

Angel #1.


Angel #2.

God is changing my perspective and it is the best thing that ever happened to me. He is showing me the miracles in life that I have overlooked, every day. The smell and feel of warm clothes that just come out of the dryer. This day and age that seems to be a luxury, clean clothes. The way the wind moves the trees and the way they dance in harmony, swaying back and forth. The way my children's cheeks fill up with food and their faces look like they are going to burst, bellies full.
I am reading Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts. I don't want to put it down because this book reiterates what the Bible has been saying for thousands of years... "In everything, give thanks, for this is the will of God". It is the secret to life. Giving thanks changes the tune of any good day, bad day, or situation in life.
Last night, instead of getting mad because this is the third time this week I have been woken up by a child, I laughed. You see, thankfulness changes perspective. Instead of seeing two little ones disturbing my sleep, I saw two cute, adorable little heads wanting their mommy. I embraced that moment because one day it will be gone.
Today, go get your nails dirty and play in the dirt with your kids. Count their sweet little fingers and laugh with them. Give thanks for the sweet miracle of Today.

It's a Good Day

October 19, 2011

“Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!”
Isaiah 43:19
Let God do a new work in your heart this season. He wants to bring back to life that which has died in your heart. Focus on the things in front of you and all around you. Enjoy and rest in Today and embrace all that is good, lovely, and pure.
Allow yourself a fresh start today...
And maybe bake some cookies for your babies today! All the smells and tastes you create are what makes Home for your children.
Let them enjoy it!
A blend of all my favorite ingredients:
First: blend 1 cup butter softened, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup packed brown sugar. After you have done this, Add 2 eggs and 1 ½ tsp vanilla and blend.
In separate bowl: mix 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt.
Combine all ingredients and then ADD in 1 cup choc chips, 1 cup walnuts(or pecans), 1 cup peanut butter chips, and 3 cups quick oatmeal.
Mix all ingredients by hand and bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes. Take them out before they fully cooked, you will love the texture of these cookies!

Fall in Love with your home.

October 12, 2011

I hear this a lot with women I run in to, "There is just something about my home I don't like". If you find yourself saying this, I want to challenge you to get to a place where you are thankful and grateful for your home. Sometimes it is a simple as changing the wall color and getting a new sofa, but a lot of the times it is more of an issue of the heart. There is a peaceful sense you pass down to your children and husband when they know mom is content with her nest. In this new season, find that place of rest and contentment so you can enjoy and embrace all that is truly Home.

{Fall Decorating Ideas}

Fall is always my favorite time of the year to decorate. I always get in the mood to "nest" when it starts feeling cool outside. Sticks, pumpkins, and any brown tone colors are a fun way to add warmth to your home. Have fun with it! Yesterday I burned my pumpkin spice candle, sipped on my pumpkin spice latte, and started to create a simple yet warm pallete for the fall. I got the kids involved by letting them pick out their pumpkins at the local pumpkin patch and now the pumpkins sit proudly in their nest at the table.

I love filling wreaths with pumpkins or a large pumpkin like shown above. I have these small nests that I put on top of the plates and stuck a pumpkin in each place setting. If you can't find nests, use the small grapevine ones at hobby lobby in the floral section.

You can also elevate your centerpiece with a cakeplate stand

You can even say a lot with one pumpkin

... or odd looking ones. I love these!

We've Moved...

September 12, 2011

We moved out of our home of 5 years into a flip we had on the market. It happened quick and I haven't even had time to think about it until now. Three weeks ago we sold our house and I threw everything I had into unmarked boxes(don't do this) and stuffed it all into this new house.
Sadly, I didn't take any before shots so all I have is this old flyer. Thankfully however, my talented and amazing photographer friend Molly Winn took the after pics...

We are here now, unpacked, and living in our new home and I love it. When Chip first purchased this home I was upset that he bought it. No character, no curb appeal, no nothing. Now, since this is what I do for a living you think I would have had better vision but I didn't. I told him he was on his own with this one. I couldnt see past the 1980's indoor landscaping boxes and the sea of built-ins that were literally everywhere. The next day we got a bottle of wine and a card(it was of the house with an "x" marked on it) reading, "Thank you so much for buying this house, it has been an eye sore for years, we can't wait to see what you do with it." That kind gesture from the neighbors made me want to do something great with this home. I decided I would help Chip take it on and during that time I fell in love with it. What are the chances!?
The interesting part is that I didn't fall in love with it for the same reasons I typically fall in love with a home. It's quirky. This house is a great house for my children. Do you realize how many hide and go seek places there are in a house full of built-ins? My old home, though I loved it, was more like a museum and not a home. It was my playground where the kids had little room to play and create. I want a house for my children now, it's not about me anymore.
I love this house and I love how God put it in our laps for this season. He surprised me.
There is beauty hidden in all things. I am thankful He is teaching me this daily. Let Him surprise you today!

Surviving or Thriving?

July 14, 2011

I love to work, I got it from my dad. My job is fun and fulfilling and I get to work with my best friend (Chip). We get to see houses come to life everyday and get the benefit of knowing wonderful families are filling their spaces in these places we helped create.

I have been balancing(or so I say) work part of the day with being a mother the other part. Since I see my life in a grid, kids are on one side and work is on the other. Marriage fits happily in both places because we work together well and play together too. For a while, it was working just great and then the stress of work started spilling over on the “mother” side and I noticed even when I was home, my mind was always at work. I noticed some things coming up in their hearts and even mine that were red flags. They needed their mom in this season of life and honestly I needed my kids.

I know that some people can truly balance both but I could not figure that scale out. I also know I am not really a part-time mother but the cold boundary line that I created helped my mind function well as an employer. The second I would leave the house and lock the door, my mind would switch from nurturer to “hurry up warrior woman, you only have five hours to conquer the world so get goin!”.

I have recently made the decision to stop working away from home so I could BE with my kids. I was tired of missing out on opportunities like this…

So within the last month I have hired a couple of wonderful people to help with my portion of the business. I stay home and I work during nap time and at night. I am more tired and frustrated then before. I need to first stop compartmentalizing(long word) my life and start letting it FLOW. I want to be a mother who flows with things instead of FrEaKiNg out over sticky floors and interrupted naptimes.

It’s the challenge set before all of us. How do we give up control in areas so we don’t smother our little ones? How do we not yell at them for yelling at their sibling? How do we take advantage of teachable moments when sometimes we’d rather a clean kitchen?

That’s not my kitchen by the way…
I don’t want to be the mom that just goes through the day and survives it. I want to truly know that everyday is a gift and that I only have these little ducklings for so long and then they are off.

Last night I was really frustrated with myself because I have all these great ideas I want to implement during the day with my children but as soon as we all wake up, we are already 2 hours behind. It seems like we are just surviving our day and getting nowhere emotionally or spiritually. I really felt like God spoke to me and said, “meet with me in the mornings and I will help you plan your day.” So, this is going to be my new challenge. Meet with God and get a plan, not a week plan, or a month plan, just a TODAY plan. If I have a plan, I will be excited to fill our day with purpose instead of perfection and we will all thrive.

Happy Birthday Duke Man!

June 13, 2011

If you know my little Duke, you know he is my clown. He makes me laugh…all the time. The circus theme was perfect for his hilarious personality. If you ask Duke what he wanted for his birthday he would say a “Linon” (lion) and if you ever asked him what he wanted to be he would say, “Linon, roarrrr!” This is why we chose to have his party at Kiddieland in Lion’s Park. It’s this vintage little theme park in the heart of town… who needs Six Flags anyways?

The look on his face the entire time read, “Is this all for me?” We loved celebrating him.

Cotton Candy from Sam’s, .80 cents each!

Bags from Michaels Art Supply, 8 to a pack for a dollar. I also got his cute citcus themed invitations and thank you cards, 8 for $1

Popcorn containers from Target’s Dollar Bin…

The entire time I was praying she wouldn’t fall out

Even adults love the train!

It was the best day for Duke. I was happy the kids had fun and I didn’t have to spend a fortune for this smile…

Mother's Day

May 20, 2011

I woke up at three in the morning to my little ella puking, it lasted all morning and went on through out the day. At 3:30 am while I was giving her a bath and washing her sheets, I thought to myself… “Are you kidding me? Not on Mother’s Day God?”. Well, He changed my perspective in an instant. All of a sudden I was thankful that I was the one chosen to hold my little girl as she laid tired and sick. That I was healthy enough to be able to assist her with all the things she can’t do herself.
With four kids it’s hard to really give all your children the one-on-one attention they crave. Yesterday she got it. I got to hold her, comfort her, and sing to her. It was such a blessing in disguise.
I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day.
I wanted to show you pictures of our table for Mother’s Day. My sweet kids used their little fingers to paint the place cards. All we needed for this table was some construction paper and scrapbook paper (placemats). The kids felt like they did all the work and they were proud of their accomplishments!

And these beauties were from my husband…

Teachable Moments

March 24, 2011

My sweet Ella is four. I try to remember back at what age I started caring. Caring about what others thought of me, whether they liked what I was wearing, if they noticed my hair, and if they accepted me.
Sometimes I think my biggest mission is to protect her from this… while also realizing, I can’t always be there to say the right thing after the wrong thing was just said. I feel God’s prompting to let go of the fear and embrace these teachable moments that are given to me. I feel Him saying, ” Tell her that who I created her to be is the most beautiful Ella Rose Gaines. I love her for being HER and no one else.”
I recently heard a story and have since modified it. It’s now my kids favorite bedtime story, ecspecially Ella’s.
Here’s my choppy version:
Daisy the Flower
In the woods, far far away stood an old Pine tree that grumbled and complained every day, “I am tired of making pine needles, no one appreciates them and they are good for nothing. I wish I could make pecans like the Pecan Tree next to me.” Well, Pecan tree had his issues. Every morning when he woke up he would sigh and say, “I wish I was a Magnolia tree, I don’t like making crunchy old pecans. I wish I could make the prettiest white bloom and have them all over.”
When the Magnolia tree heard this she scoffed and said, “Well, I wish I could be a vine, they get to go high up on the trees and see the sky like no other”…. Then she looked down at Daisy and said, “What about you Daisy, Who do you wish you could be?” And Daisy, the delicate yet very strong flower straightened up her petals and cleared her throat and proclaimed, ” Now why would I want to be anything else? If God wanted me to be a vine, He would have planted me a vine. God planted me a daisy and that is exactly what I am going to be! The prettiest Daisy you’ll ever see!!”
That story is still good for me to hear. As women, we deal with comparison, expectation, and lack of contentment- we need to know that we were made for this very moment and we need to thrive in this time. I bet our daughters will sense when we are walking in the fullness of who we are in Him- and in that place they too will find the freedom to love themselves fully.
Every day is a new day, a new grace. Embrace it and let your hair down… Be YOU and stop caring so much. I have learned it’s just a big waste of time and it’s more fun on the other side!

Deer Camp Party

February 20, 2011

My oldest son Drake turned six last month. He loves hunting and he is constantly on the look-out for a “monster buck.” This party was his idea and inspired by his love of “huntin”…

handmade card (thanks alissa) using scrapbook paper and wood chips

It’s an odd picture I know. Here’s Molly the Doe (from Academy) and sweet Chip getting her ready for the party. He was dizzy. On one side of her body is velcro for arrows to stick to. Honestly, the boys had more fun running around with her and pouncing eachother.

My sister Mary Kay would always tell me her favorite store was The Dollar Tree. I finally checked it out and it is now my favorite store too. I got these canteens for a buck. I also got the cutest storage baskets, and yes everything is really a dollar.


These cute little signs are from Michaels, they are cheap and easy to decorate.

Antler Ring Toss, the boys had fun with this

Labels from Crop Paper Scissors.

This cake was my favorite thing about the party. Janice did such an amazing job, and thanks to Tiffany for the great tree stump base! Check out Janice’s blog


rice krispy treats with food coloring

These boys ran around the entire time like cowboys and indians. It’s funny how easy it is to entertain 6 year old boys. Good times!