that time we ran into famous people + a spring recharging

It's finally spring break at our house! It feels like I have been waiting so long for this week to come. :) 

We started off our big break with a little junk food celebration:

Did you notice the M&M's?? :DDD

They taste like carrot cake, believe it or not. A little bit of artificial carrot cake, but if you're a cake fan, I guess you tend to like cake-flavored ice cream and candy... ;)

We also escaped away for a bit of alone time thanks to my dad again. :) We strolled into our favorite date spot, the Christian bookstore- completely oblivious that a major book signing was going on until we made it in the door.

But as soon as we found out it was these lovely people, we bought a book and hopped in line! :P

Who would've thought we'd run into the Duggars in the bookstore on a date?? :) 

I think Zane really liked Michelle too...

I mean really liked her...

Oh my, yes, my little Zane loved her.

Here he's got that look in his eye...

 And then...he's leaning in,


Yes, only my child would pull a famous person's hair. :P

He was extremely excited to take home a fistful of Mrs. Duggar's hair as a souvenir:

Luckily, she's the most gracious woman on the planet. My husband reminded me that if there was anyone who would understand an embarrassing baby incident, it would be Michelle Duggar. :)

You guys, she is the real deal...I've never met anyone who could sign books for hours and still be as interested and caring as she was that night. I've only met her on tv and once in a bookstore, but I LOVE her. :)

The Duggar parents and their older kids both signed the new book that I'm reading this week:

And I'm planning to read this one on my week off too:

You can tell I'm hoping to have lots of time to read. ;) I am going to be away from the internet until next week because my body and heart seem to be in great need of recharging. I've been feeling really weary for some time now, and I'm praying that this week will reenergize me in the best of ways. Most of all, I'm really wanting to get alone with Jesus and spend lots of time drinking in the living water. I know that will be the only way I'll find true refreshment. I need Him so much, all the time.

I hope you have a wonderful week, sweet friends!! :) I'll see you in a few days!

Have you been feeling the weariness lately too? Or is it just me?

Have you ever met the Duggars?
They pretty much amaze me on all counts. I am in awe of them. :)

What do you think about these weird M&M flavors? 
I really love plain ones the best, but peanut butter and mint surprised me, and I want to try coconut! :)

homemaking hack: the best pot scrubber ever {is in your pantry}

You guys know we eat a lot of beans around these parts. :)

After just a couple of rounds of beans on the stove, my pans look like this despite all my scrubbing efforts:

This big cast iron pot was new- it was a surprise gift from my husband last month, and I'm in LOVE with it. Even more in love with it than my first cast iron stovetop oven. If the house was on fire I would grab my children first, and depending on the location of the fire, it would be a toss up between grabbing this pan and my Macbook next. {Who needs wedding photos anyway?? :P}

Other than their amazing cooking ability, the best part about these pans is that stuff doesn't burn and doesn't stick easily to them. So the bean residue almost worried me. I wasn't sure what I could do- and then I suddenly remembered the best cleaning tool ever was sitting in my pantry:

I didn't look it up, and I hadn't read it before- but what doesn't baking soda clean really?

It was worth a shot:

A whole minute or two later with a scrub brush and here's what it looked like:

eeeeekkkk! :) It was magical. Just like that. Baking soda and coconut oil are my new best friends {and everyone else's old ones, hahahah!}.

But I had more to test- how about 5-6 years of grease build-up on my skillet?

This one was much tougher of course, but after a several minutes of soda and scrubbing, here's what it looked like:

I didn't get it all, because I was happy with that result- definitely good enough for me! :) {obviously the attitude that got me to the "before" state in the first place :P)

And then, there was the bean crockpot that wasn't so pretty:

I scrubbed it and forgot to take an after but the baking soda worked on it too!

If I had any doubts about baking soda before, I don't now. It's way cheaper and even better than almost any product you can find. {If vinegar was less smelly I might love it as much.} :)

Baking soda is amazing. Can I get an amen? :)

What is your favorite baking soda use?
I had to laugh, but I had no memory whatsoever that it would scrub pans, but my dad says it's the way you do it. What? How did I miss that? I knew it made good toothpaste and cookies. ;)

If your house were on fire, and you had the chance to grab three things {after family and pets were safe of course}, what would they be?
I think if I still had my very favorite old Bible I actually would grab it first, but all of my current ones are fairly new so we're still making memories together. :) I might go for my purse or our social security cards, passports and birth certificates. hehehe. :P

Do beans leave a residue in your pot too? What do you think- is it more likely to have that skillet grease residue if you have a gas stove?

a very good weekend: the maker's market, the best popcorn, and things I'm crazy about

You know it's going to be a good weekend when Friday starts with a garage sale. :) A local church hosted a Maker's Market where 100% of the proceeds went to missions and outreach. Could thrifting get any better than that?? :)

I bought this yellow frame with clips {from the handmade booth in the picture} for $10: 

Along with a potted flower and one of the best ideas I've seen in a long time- a painted baby jar full of popcorn with a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil: 

And now I'm officially addicted to this salted coconut popcorn. {For some reason, I'd never thought to put coconut oil in with the popcorn?!}. If you wanted to try it, I measured out the ingredients to estimate- it's about 4 tbs. of popcorn kernels to 1 heaping tbs. of oil. :)

And after thrifting, Friday gets even better when your little girls fill your window with this sweetness:

These little girls bring so much special joy into our house, I tell you. I think little girls were made to love on their mamas and daddies. I'm so thankful they're ours. :)

And of course, I had to remember this special moment by recreating it in a watercolor painting. ;) If had the skills like my girls Lindsay and Ruth, I wouldn't need an awesome iPhone app called Waterlogue to do it for me. ;)

I honestly have way too much fun with that app. ;) {I'm even thinking of printing this one for the wall!}

Our weekend festivities continued with much food, like this bread kit bread with cheddar cheese added on top. Oh my. Even overdone a little it was so good. 


And I made a BBQ chicken with spinach, and two more pizzas on Saturday night:

turkey pepperoni is the best.

I wasn't feeling the pizza {usually don't eat it too often anyway}, but I had a slice of the thin crust veggie one and I liked it okay. I find that I really prefer freshly made crust to pre-mades, though the Sam's crusts are far more convenient. :)

We ate lunch at a hamburger place with my dad on Saturday and then our favorite sandwich place with my in-laws on Sunday, so food and fellowship were definitely some of the highs of my weekend. :) That, and something else I hope to tell you about very soon. :P

And oh my goodness, I had to laugh because this pic represents Sunday morning at our house- the mascara gets put on in the car, and the baby's shoes never made it on to his feet at all. :) And big praise- even with the forgotten {and rarely used!} shoes, yesterday was the easiest Sunday morning we've had in a very long while. I seriously love those little kinds of surprises. :)

Thank you Father God for restful, happy weekends, and very good days in the midst of harder ones. :)

I'm praying that your week goes well! 

How was your Friday- Sunday? :)

Have you ever made coconut oil popcorn in the skillet? 
I know I'm so late to that game, but if you haven't you must! :)

What's your favorite bread topping?
If I ever eat at Subway, I order the three cheese italian bread kind of like the homemade version above. Next time I think I'm going to add a bit of asiago and garlic too! And I used to be on the fat-free wagon in my early 20's but now that I'm past 30, I'm in love with butter again. And fresh bread and homemade butter? Ridiculously awesome. My kids love the whipped honey too!

1895 master bedroom reveal {on a budget}

This "reveal" has been waiting for the longest time. I have no idea why, really, except all decorating motivation completely abandoned me for about 12 months. ;) 2013 = pregnancy, newborn #5, and the return of full-time homeschooling meant decorating was shelved for quite a while. ;) Well, I think we did actually do one or two things last year, so that's not entirely true. Decorating was on the back burner, anyway. :) But even though it's been done for a little while, I'm still excited about it all!

Did I ever tell you my husband is my hero? The longer I'm married to him, the more I'm convinced he can do pretty much anything. Renovation? Check. Solo two-story house painting? Check. Build furniture? Check. Car repair? Check. Computer anything? You betcha. He's a stud. :)

He tore out our falling sheet rock and spent hours on a ladder pulling out thread after thread from a zillion wall paper nails to reveal these beautiful planks on the ceiling:

He even hung my 9 foot curtains from IKEA and painted our old dining room doors teal for our headboard. :)

And he redid the floors, hung the ceiling fan, and repainted every bit of the room and the trim on this old fireplace. :)

When it comes to remodels, I get out easy. :) I specialize in the decor department- I select paint colors, and buy and redo stuff like the $10 aqua mirror, $7ish fireplace cover, and a wall basket from Goodwill and $3 candleholders from Craigslist.

Some of the decor was homemade too, like the book page flower wreath and the euro shams {from part of a $20 clearanced Amy Butler duvet} and throw pillow made from a Goodwill skirt {the middle black one was from a garage sale though :)}.

I found the ruffled white duvet with shams at Target a few years ago on clearance for $50, and the colorful one at Linen's and Things on clearance for $25, and the white shams at Goodwill for a few dollars a couple of years ago.

I found this side table at Lowe's on clearance several years ago too and painted it yellow to make it look old {hahah!}:

And our old living room rug from Pottery Barn for $129 was probably the biggest splurge of the room, along with a frame and poster from IKEA that totaled about $40. It was the best deal I could find for a frame I really liked in that size. :) And I'm still in love with the rug!

Our dresser was from Craigslist, for $40, the chair was a garage sale find for $10, and the mirror was from GW for $10. I think I bought the flower pic for $14ish at Marshall's. :)

I replaced some of the knobs with Hobby Lobby knobs and Marshall's glass ones:

And the velvet pillow was a World Market find. :)

Our very old bedroom is definitely full of old stuff {character}, but I really like it. The white paint and lovely old ceiling and the transom window really make the whole room feel airy and bright. I love the way it all came together, but more than anything, I'm so thankful for such a blessing of a husband who made an old, falling down room into a wonderful retreat for his bride. :)

31 days of thrifting recap + an interview on thrifting

I had the chance to do a really fun radio interview with the lovely Bekah Shaffer on WBCL 90.3's Mid-Morning Show yesterday!  {WBCL is a Christian radio station that covers Northeast Indiana, West and Northwest Ohio, and Southern Michigan.} Bekah was super sweet- we had fun chatting all about thrifting, and you can listen to it here {but only if you promise not to laugh! heheh :P}.

In the interview, she refers to this series I wrote a while back on how to thrift:

31 straight days of blogging was a huge challenge, but you know I had so much fun with this series! Talking about thrifting is so much fun. :) I tried to give lots of tips on how to thrift well, and I shared many of my very favorite finds. I went back and got all the links, so if you're interested, here are all 31 posts in order:

reorganizational laws, longing for eyes above, + do, read, learn, and be goals

You know, we humans try to predict the weather's behavior, but I really think the weather can predict human behavior even better.

No matter how long your to-do list, you stay huddled under the covers totally unmotivated to move when it's cold out. But then the moment it's warm and sunny, you suddenly get strange urges to reorganize and clean and do big projects. And it happens every single year. We are predictable creatures. :)

Last weekend, we moved this storage armoire out of our family closet/pantry:

To here in the dining room:

And the armoire took the place of this bookshelf:

But that was only the beginning, of course. Newton's third law of motion went into effect: every action had an equal and opposite reaction.

Empty/clean armoire = big mess on the floor:

And empty/clean bookshelf = big mess on the table:

So my goal is to work on those reactions this week. ;)

And I'm hoping starting with the mess will equal clean drawers in this case: 

But I doubt it. :) I will have a boxful of cups to donate by the end of it though. :)

I'm also wanting to make another round of bread kits for this week:

 And read this:

And learn this:

I took a picture with my phone so I can carry it with me everywhere!

I really long to be heavenly minded. That's what I want to work on this week- not getting caught up in house stuff, decorating, exercising, cleaning, or even being a mama or a wife. I want to focus on Christ, who is my life- not this world that is passing. EVERYTHING else will fade. My 1895 house will probably outlast me. The trees in my yard were here a hundred years before and will likely be here even longer after me. I am like grass- only barely living for a season and then this life is over.

Jesus is everything. People are important- they are souls that will live for eternity. I want to focus my energy on serving and loving the Lord and people. I want my eyes to be set on Jesus, not on my tasks. Tasks are necessary and good, but they are not my main reason for being here, you know? :)

Here's the do, read, learn, and be list again {for my own sake- I sometimes have to refer back to the blog when I don't write them down anywhere else!}

reorganize cup drawers
put away china on table
clean out back room/armoire mess
list two things for sale
find one bag of stuff to give away
organize kids toys upstairs
help kids clean back porch
sew pillow together from last list {I cut the pillow out but didn't sew it yet}
make bread kits

Experiencing the Presence of God^,  3 chapters
Proverbs 18
Colossians 3

Colossians 3:1-4
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is youra life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 

heavenly-minded and Christ-focused.

red beans and quinoa, being cooked by my good friends the rice cooker and the crockpot

And our tentative meal plans for this week:

:: dinners ::

red beans and quinoa

chicken fajitas + beans

beans + rice

chicken and dumplings 
{total cheater style- we use frozen biscuits for dumplings and they are amazing!}

 baked sweet potato curls + edamame + salad

BBQ chicken veggie pizza {with pre-made crust from Sam's}

dinner out

:: lunches ::

bread {hopefully homemade?}+ pb/honey
turkey sandwiches
beans and rice with chips/salsa

:: breakfasts ::

frosted mini-wheats
eggs/ egg white omelets

What are your goals for this week?

Ever made BBQ pizza? 
We haven't but my kids love it elsewhere, so we're trying it!

Do you have any reorganization projects {a.k.a. big messes all over everywhere} going on at your house right now? :)

{^= amazon affiliate link- if you purchase this item, {bh} gets a small percentage :D yay!}