Friday, July 29, 2011

Our Trip to Shipshewana

Apple Butter, Buggy Rides, Amish Built Furniture, The Essenhaus Restaurant, Yoder's Meat & Cheese Company....I could go on and on about our 4th of July weekend trip south! We had such a good time just being together as a little family, and it was such a relaxing time.

We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express near Elkhart and drove into Middlebury the following day to walk through the Shipshewana area. Our first stop was at Menno-Hof; a beautiful farm dedicated to sharing the history, faith, and everyday life of the Amish and Mennonites. After going on a historical tour (well, I did- Blake & Josh ended up on the fast track to the play area), we spent time walking around out side and taking in the beautiful scenery.

King of the King-sized bed!



Blake and Daddy

Hangin' with Momma

TWO Blake's!

Menno-Hof

The Quilt Garden



Then we were on our way over to the Shipshewana Horse Auction and little shops along the way!
I had brought along my Maya Ring Sling (my $4 thrift store jewel!), and it turned out to be the BEST thing for keeping Blake happy- and contained! We walked through Yoder's Shopping Center, then took a snack break and got big, soft pretzels that were D-Licious!




Blake ended up falling asleep in the sling on my back, so it was nice not to have to stop and try to get him to nap somewhere. Josh and I enjoyed walking through a HUGE antique market, Yoder's Meat and Cheese (where we picked up some beef jerky and sharp cheddar cheese to bring home), and the horse auction.

Later in the day we drove over to the Essenhaus Restaurant and had a good time walking through a few more little shops and antique stores. There were so many, many things I could have brought home with me! Before having dinner, we took a buggy ride around the Essenhaus property to see the big hotel, where they make their famous noodles, and the beautiful flower gardens. Blake must have been getting hungry because about half way through our buggy ride, he decided he was done and threw his Bo (paci, bink, nuk) out of the carriage in a fit of despair!!

The Essenhaus "Bushes"

Mommy and Blake in the buggy

Blake and Daddy

Dinner was divine! We had broasted chicken with homemade noodles, fresh veggies, mashed potatoes, rolls....I think I gained 5 pounds in one meal. So yummy! I think we were all stuffed to the point of passing out, and knew it was time to head back to the hotel. Blake did so good throughout the day...it's nice to be able to go places like this and see his excitement over things like a HUGE hotel bed, lots and lots of horsies, fresh kettle corn, and swimming in the hotel pool.

On our way home the next day, we stopped at the National College Football Hall of Fame and then headed into Michigan City to hit the outlet shops. We found some great deals on clothes for all of us- especially for Blake's fall and next summer wardrobe.

There's something about the Amish living that intrigues me...
Obviously I love living 10 minutes from the mall and wearing makeup & jewelry, but the thought of living so simply and without distraction seems appealing to me at times. Maybe it was just getting out of town and the same ol' , same ol' routine. Maybe it was just taking a step back from the busy-ness of life and savoring the simple, quiet wonder of a cloudless day...but whatever it was, I loved it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

A picture is worth a thousand words....or so they say! These pictures are brought to you today by my adorable little boy-who must wear a hat to breakfast every morning! *Hope you enjoy*

The Blakester



Fresh Bananas in my new (old) Planters Peanuts Jar



Didn't I say these were brought to you today by Blake? Where else would such randomness come from?? And where else would we hide kleenex from Mommy's purse but in the pots and pans cabinet?


Goldfish in a plaid shoe, and a favorite puppy puppet....


My newest craft!! They're called YoYo's and I *heart* them!
Watch for a tutorial and giveaway coming soon!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Hero & The Breakup

Dear Internet Explorer 9,
Yes, it's true, we were together for such a short time. It just wasn't working out for me. You came into my life so quickly, and unexpectedly. You remember don't you? Our computer was going soooo ss-ll-oooo-ww. It was time to wipe it clean and start fresh. No, no.... I don't do that kind of work. I leave it up to my main man with the Computer Degree. He knows how to handle all those techie things that make my head spin and anger level sky rocket.

So the day came, and suddenly- there you were! Newly downloaded. The hip new guy in town. And things started out just fine. Fast connections and quick downloads. It's true in any new relationship...the flaws don't show til later! We were happy and definitely hitting the "like" stage.

And then it happened. I was sitting here minding my own business writing a new blog post, when you, "Mr. Have It My Way Internet Explorer 9", made it quite clear how unwilling you were to work on our budding friendship. We could have had it all....

But NOOO, you had to put up a stink every time I simply asked to Save my writing. Or heaven forbid, Publish it! And frankly, telling me "Java Script:void" every time I hit one of those buttons is just down right foolish and immature. Really, I thought you'd be bigger than that! In the end, we just weren't right for each other and it was time to just say it like it is; we need to break up.

I realize it's only been a few days, but I'm feeling so much better. In fact, I met a really great new program named Google Chrome and so far we're really hitting it off! Don't feel bad, Internet Explorer 9, I'm sure you'll find someone new. Besides, I'm already taken...I have my very own uber talented, hot stuff tech guy. And since downloading Google Chrome- he's my hero <3


~the answer to my technological prayers~

Thursday, July 21, 2011

No Heat Curls

Living in the great state of Michigan is one of the greatest blessings I know. Having 4 separate seasons is Uh-Mazing....especially being able to see the gorgeous fall leaves changing color. I would even go as far as to say that the winter's really aren't that bad (and this is coming from the person who's driveway becomes a sledding hill anytime we get snow!)

But what I literally can not handle is the Michigan summer's humidity. Or I guess to clarify what the Michigan summer humidity does to my hair. My hair and I have always seemed to have a certain love/hate relationship. I love the color most of the time. I even love that I can style it straight or curly on any given day. But it's very rarely ever been a quick process. And now that my hair's gotten thinner (I really should figure out how to bottle those pregnancy hormones that left my hair thick and luscious for 9 months)....it's just hard to know what to do with it! Should I have bangs in the front or bangs to the side? Long or short? Layers? Brighter red or strawberry blonde?

So in my perusing of some of my blogging faves out there the other day, I stumbled upon a post by Beautiful Blendings that may have just changed my whole strategy in the Warfare Against Humidity. The tutorial on No Heat Curls is a fabulous find, and one of the simplest and fastest ways I have ever put natural looking curls into my hair. (I know because I tried it last night...Josh made fun of my "tribal headband"- watch the video & you'll know what I'm talking about!)

My own naturally curly hair is tricky now that there's not as much of it. It easily goes flat or frizzy. For some reason though, this curl technique worked like a charm and I will definitely be doing it again! Take a peek....


So whatcha think?? I'd love to hear how it works for you if you decide to give it a go!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sprinklers of Blessing

What little boy can resist a running sprinkler and the mud puddles it's creating?? Not mine! Blake saw the sprinkler going out back tonight and didn't care about it's main purpose of watering the grass seed. He just saw something wet and fun! I love seeing him run under the water as it's getting closer and closer, only to wipe it from his eyes as soon as it hits him!

I think he's grown again this week....his legs are looking longer. Sniff, sniff* This mama loves seeing her little man grow, but on the other hand can't stand it! His personality just shines more and more each day as he jabbers away on and on telling us some story we can't decipher. He's SO boy too...full of curiosity, mischief, and silliness! But he's still a cuddler, a snuggler, a mama's boy; and for that I am so thankful and have chosen to soak in every moment. Even the ones where he yells repeatedly MAAMEEEEE, MAAMEEEEE- like he's got a french accent going on.

Water on my head!
Here it comes!
Aaaaa! It got me!
While we were in the backyard tonight, our neighbor in the house behind us came out to say hello. We'd never met him before, and what a delightful old man he is! I felt like there was such a connection right away- Josh and I stood talking with him for probably 20 minutes while Blake played in the sprinkler. His last name is Rood, and he told us he's "rude in name, but not in nature".....*so cute!* We invited to come over for dinner sometime- his wife passed away 8 years ago and I think he needs some company & we'll gladly give it! It was just a blessing sort of night I guess. Meeting someone new and watching my 16 month old love having the time of his life....it's the little things <3
What little blessings have come YOUR way this week??

Sunday, July 17, 2011

One Man's Junk....

is this girl's treasure! I am a softie for anything old and in need of some TLC when it comes to garage sale-ing. Those ugly, odd shaped end tables for $5? Yes, please! I can totally see them in a beautiful Watermelon pink or creamy Butter yellow and used as a TV stand in the office.
Last week I hit up some garage sales in the area with my MIL (mother-in-law/love) and managed to find a few good things that had to come home with me. I admit they're not pretty right now... but just give me a week, mmkay?
Here's a little peek at the *Befores*
Blue Chair - $2 , Wooden Mail Sorter - 50 cents

Assorted Fabrics - 50 cents each piece

"Fisherman" Basket - 50 cents , Lace Hankie - also 50 cents

Canning Jars - 25 cents a piece

So far (like in the last 2 days) I've managed to wash out the jars and cover the lids with some of the pink checkered fabric. They work great in the office/ craft room/ catch-all area for holding little treasures. The other redo I squeezed in this weekend was the wooden mail sorter.

I've been looking for something (anything!) to help with the paper piles that always seem to find their way onto the top of the desk. I knew as soon as I found this little gem at the yard sale that a little paint would go along way, and I'd be able to "go vertical" with my organization.

Here's some *Afters*




~The jars worked great for my button collection~

~Cross-stitch done by my mama~

I'll do a step-by-step post soon on what I did to the mail sorter, and my list of goals for the week includes getting flowers to put in the fisherman basket for our front porch/steps. I'm still deciding on a color for the chair, but whatever I pick it's definitely got to go with the black and white polka dot fabric I bought at one of the sales....it's going to make a divine chair cushion!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

a tree and the beach

Hello again! We're gearing up for some extremely hot weather this week in Michigan! So I thought I'd share some pics of our beach day at Millenium Park a few weeks ago. We loved the man-made beach almost as much as our trips out to the West Michigan shoreline, and the splash pad is UH-MAZING! Most of our beach pictures are of Blake (we don't really take pictures of "us" much these days!). He's getting really good at making anything into a hat- including his sand bucket- and he insanely loves the TASTE of sand. BLECH!!
First though....a sneak peek into our backyard. No, I've not been planting flowers or weeding (any volunteers??). Just a rundown of our "excitement" for the week!
Monday was a weird exciting day. An early morning thunderstorm had us being lazy waking up and Blake and I finally got out of bed around 9am! About an hour later I was standing at the kitchen counter clipping a coupon and I heard a loud CRACKKKK....the only thing I could see out the kitchen window was tree branches! I grabbed Blake away from the slider door and stared out the glass in amazement....our big Redbud tree had completely fallen over. The roots were sticking way up in the air and the only thing we can see off our deck now is tree =)
Blake of course kept saying "Whoa...wow!" over and over, and when we called daddy to tell him about the tree Blake had a very long jabbering story to tell. I'm thankful that the tree only hit the deck and that we don't have much damage. I'm also more thankful that the tree didn't come through the house and that we weren't hurt!
Small blessings in disguise....because the tree landed partially on the deck, our insurance will pay for most of the removal and repair costs. We also will have some room now to put in a playset for Blake next summer. God's good even in the midst of the strange and unexpected things that "fall" our way!

~ Before: The view form our slider out into the backyard, including a baby deer!~
~After~


~Look how big the roots are!~
~Shoveling sand...~
~A bucket hat for Blake~


~Love that face!~

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dreamin and Wishin

I read blogs everyday. Beautiful, inspiring, uplifting blogs that make my heart smile and my creative energy meter ding with delight. But I end up feeling SOOO insecure and incapable of achieving the kinds of things my heart desires to!
I think to myself, "Well if I just go and get that extra can of spray paint then I could finish such and such a project." or "Oooo how fun! I would LOVE to experiment with that craft....but where would I start, what do I buy?".
Honesty moment, friends...I have dreams and wishes with no idea of how to see them through.
Can you relate? Are there things in your life that you really want to do? Things you want to try? Places you want to go?
My thought is this... Before we can accomplish the great ideas and big dreams we have, we MUST come to terms with who God made us and for what purpose! Right now I don't have a blog filled with beautiful photography, pictures of the trendy clothes and jewelery I'm wearing ( think juice stained t-shirt today), or inspiring craft ideas for you to try.
But what I do have is a dream and a BIG God who knows my heart. And I have a little boy whose big brown eyes stole my heart almost as fast as his daddy's big brown eyes. And he needs me...he needs me to love him and spend time with him and show him that his mama is a lover of God, and not a lover of the internet and blogs. For right now, that's my purpose. And what a wonderful purpose it is!
I may not post 3 days a week or dazzle you with my creativity and wit, but I hope that I can encourage you in some small way to just be you! Be who God made you to be. Be happy, be content, be thankful, be loving, be forgiving (especially of yourself!) I am walking the road too...
So here's my list (did I mention I love making lists?) My bucket list of dreams....have you made yours?
1. Be a great wife.
2. Be a great mommy.
3. Do something inspirational with my life.
4. See my little(s) learn to love and obey God.
5. Go to Ireland.
6. Grow old with Josh.
7. Live in a big, rambling farmhouse with lots of open land.
8. Make our home inviting and warm. Fill it with friends and family.
9. Try gourmet cooking.
10. Learn to take great pictures.
11. Run a marathon.
12. Learn to sew (better than I have in past attempts!)
13. Put something 'crafty' in a craft show.
14. Learn to use more power tools.
15. Write a book.
16. Invent something cool and useful.
17. Take care of my parents when they are old.
18. Stop disliking my nose (it's ok, you can laugh...)
19. Finish the crocheted blanket I started 2 years ago.
20. Follow my Savior who leads my heart.
I'd love to hear from you! Will you share your "list"?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

15 Months...so Full of Life

i am proud there is never
a dull moment




i am blessed because of you SON



the world is full of wonders.



because of you


i am more patient & forgiving


my heart is full of you!