Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Favorite Room of the House

Okay - so it's time for some big reveal.  (Think maybe I'm hyping this up in my head some?  That's alright, I'm sure I am.)  I'm not sure why, because I really am loving several rooms in my home, but I think the reason that Bryton's stands so clearly out to me right now is because it has been a work in progress in my head for a very, very long time, and what has come together in his room, is actually what was in my head.  (Can I be very honest, from a writer's perspective, about how rarely that really happens?  I mean, let's be honest.)  So where all of the other rooms in the house (yes, literally, all) still need something here and there, his is only missing a small handful of things.  Small enough that I thought you'd get the idea of it all without them, so without further adiu - here's my toddler boy's little / big boy room.

Let me first remind you what it looked like to begin with.  The house was freshly painted an off white color.  Clean, but a little institutional like.  Bryton had his choice of which of the two rooms he wanted upstairs, this was the one he chose.  His room has a little zig when you walk in (Ansley's closet jets here into his room some), so I wasn't surprised that this 'character' drew him in.  

If you could see me taking this picture from the picture above, I'd be in the left corner, he has a window there.  These double doors are his closet. 

This would be the view from the doorway, like the first one above!  He has one striped yellow / white wall with the rest of the walls gray (which happens to be the same gray that is on all four walls of our bedroom!)  I wanted bright and fun for his room, with some little boy nostalgia.  (I'm feeling that word today, apparently!) 

This is the little zig I talked about when going through his doorway.  We've used this wall to hang Bryton's guitar.  Good for several reasons:  1.) Makes totally cute decor.  2.)  It's just high enough that he gets it when I want him to, under my conditions ;) 

I love that he has plenty of room for his stuff and he can still have the toys he loves kept out and set up. Notice the geo-trax train set (that I believe every little boy will love.)  

Under his bed we have set up a little fold out couch with some stuffed animals.  Sometimes he reads under here, sometimes he plays, but it's one of the things I'd talked about that isn't 'done' yet.  He will eventually have a curtain going across and white lights around the inside for a cool little tent area.  

This is the view from the second picture above, basically.  We've added a little bit of wall decor:  a piece done as a mission project by the kids in his Wednesday night 'small group', the letter B, and the collage I made for him of the words, scriptures etc. for when he was born.  Then he has a dresser, and his Easter bucket down next to it (which was too cute not to use as storage in the room!)

The prerequisites for his bed was that I didn't want everything all matchy matchy, and I didn't want something he could outgrow totally quick, so the bed was an awesome find from Ikea.  It's not the super high loft bed (I can still reach over it to give him a kiss good night), but it's off the ground enough it makes for play room underneath.  The comforter is from Ikea as well (it's actually a duvet cover, if I'm being specific), and it's just some random, green drawn animals.  I bought him some super cute toy story sheets (you can see Woody in his pillow) that actually match it better that I would have expected (you know, the not matchy matchy kind of match), and of course he sleeps with his Mickey, his Cardinal Fredbird pillow, and on this particular day, George, whom he received from Gaga.  

Also - this awesome 'pocket chart' (if you want to call it that - all I have are the teacher words for it) from Ikea is great for him to put books in to look at during his quiet time!  

This little shelving unit is AWESOME.  The tubs pull all the way out for when he's playing with something specific, you can indicate what size tubs and where you want them, and it's super sturdy!  Best of all, even with all of their toys, these tubs aren't even full yet!  Woot woot! 

I just love the little details of his room.  You can see this guy hanging above the storage piece above in one of the photos.  This is another toy he gets on a permission basis (poor guy just can't understand not to point it at someone), but every little boy needs a pop gun hung on his wall!  I still think he needs something like this to go with it! 

I also love that so many of his family and friends are represented in random places in his room.  Grandma Sandy and Papa Gary got him his Fredbird pillow.  Papa Bruce got him his pop gun. 

Gaga Marilyn got him his George.  And together they gifted him the geo-trax train.  In the corner above is his dancing Mickey from our dear friends Adam and Amber and his friend Reagan. 

This little fella was mine, made for me by a friend of my dads when I was little bitty.  It's even written on underneath.  The details of this little semi-truck are amazing, the back can even dump a load and the trailer of the truck detaches from the truck itself.  Bryton loves it now.  A great thing for me to pass on!

This little construction backhoe toy (you can see how up I am on the lingo) is a hand me down from our great friends the Files, and I believe he received this elephant from VBS last year.   (And yes, it is still blown up and still a part of his room.) 

It all works together as to why I love it so much.  

 Every little detail, conducive to little boy (ahem, and little tomgirl) fun!  

Besides the curtain and lights under the bed, I have a few more pictures of he and Ansley that will go on a wall of their 'superhero' pictures, with a little sign that says, "Sometimes, being a big brother is even better than being a superhero."  

Love it.  

More to come!

Until next time - 

Little Nostalgic Meanderings

Occasionally I get a little sentimental about things.  It could be something random like an old visor of Aaron's (that he just happened to be wearing when I met him) or when I'm cleaning out the kids clothing drawers, yet permanent indicators that they'll never be that small again and the baby years are passing.  Sometimes it's a song on the radio that brings back times in my life of love and loss or a Bible verse that reminds me of some of my first moments experiencing Jesus.

But those aren't the ones I'm talking about today.  The ones I'm talking about today are the little nostalgic, sentimental things that remind me of my parents.  Small, seemingly insignificant things that give me the 'warm and fuzzies', as I call them, and some that bring me to tears.

There's a whole world of these things that I enjoyed as a child, but have learned to deeply appreciate as an adult.

It was making Snowballs, my mom's signature Christmas cookie, at Christmas time.  I'd always have my hands freshly buttered as she mixed perfectly proportioned ingredients together atop the stove.  We'd work together and roll those balls until our hands were red, heave them around in powdered sugar, and put them on wax paper to dry.  I think I'll remember the look of my mom's hands mostly from this event that happened, in most years, only once.

There was the annual 4th of July picnic with my grandparents at their lake, and the taste of all of my mom's 'summer salads'.  Bean salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, cucumber salad (of which I have recipes for none).

There was our annual trek to the fair parade.

I can remember many nights sitting with them in the screened in room watching the lightning bugs.

And the way the air conditioning felt when we'd watch TV Land inside on late summer nights.

I remember the evenings that dad would put a roast on the spit and I'd cut the slits in the roast to insert fresh cloves of garlic.  And the homemade spaghetti sauce that he made from scratch (that left a horrible mess in my mom's kitchen, but boy was it good.) I can even remember the voice and the precision with which he'd explain to me how things were to be done.

And he's the reason today that I can't see a box of rice krispies without thinking of him.

And that is totally where this blog is going.

My dad (and now I, ahem) made the best rice krispy treats ever.  Ever.  Hands down.  Maybe this is my opinion because rice krispy treats were one of my favorite treats going up and for whatever reason, my mom couldn't nail them to save her life.  (Which is odd, because her signature Christmas cookie is full of rice krispies!)  But maybe it was because dad was just that good at making them.

Rarely were they 'special' at all.  We didn't add anything to them, but I can remember standing in a chair next to the stove, normally after dinner, when my dad would make us all rice krispy treats.

What I'm about to tell you is really a family secret, but it's not really rocket science either, so do with it what you may.

Everything was measured out before hand.  Butter.  Check.  Rice Krispies.  Check.  Marshmallows.  Check.  Pre - sprayed 9X13.  Check.

This step was essential as the secret to the best ever rice krispy treats is all in the timing... and the timing must be perfect.

The four tbsps (+ just a hair more) of butter was put in the already warming pan and pushed around with a wooden spoon.  I don't know what utensil is your rice krispy utensil, but in this house it will always be a wooden spoon.

The moment the butter is melted all of the marshmallows (recipes say about 35, and we use 40) must be added and stirred consistently.  Melting must be consistent and that meant moving them over the heat often.

Just as you are seeing the last few lumps of marshmallow, and not a moment later, you remove from the heat and immediately add half of the rice krispies, stirring constantly and adding the rest as quickly as possible.  All lumps of marshmallow still disappear, but it doesn't allow the marshmallow to begin to harden at all.  (It's a fair note to add here that if the recipe says 6 cups of rice krispies, we use about 5 1/3 to 5 1/2.)

The mixture is then poured (ahem - I use that word literally, it should pour) into the pre-sprayed 9x13.  (Aren't you glad we pre-sprayed it!  No need cooking that marshmallow in that warm pan any longer than we have to.)  Don't bother trying to mold it into the pan yet.  It's not going to happen.  Too sticky.  Take this opportunity to eat whats on the spoon, and the dig the excess out of the pan with said spoon and eat that too.  It's mandatory.

After you've chiseled off the cemented on marshmallow from the pan, you're probably good to go smush down the treats into your 9x13.  Let sit for an hour or so to cool, then to cover press wax paper to the top.

Now, don't be surprised when you go to 'cut' yourself a treat to no avail.  These stay gooey and should pull right apart for you from the moment they go in the pan to the last bite days (or day) later.  Cut if you wish, but I assure you'll just pull apart in the end.

And voila.  The best. rice. krispy. treats. ever.  And from now forward I hope my kids will think of their Papa when we make rice krispy treats... and moreover, I hope that as they grow and learn that as they reach adulthood they will have many of the same memories of how we've impacted them.

It just goes to show you how very small the effort has to be to impact the lives of your children for their entire lives.  Such a humbling and awesome responsibility.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

So - We are Finally Moved In

It's been a doozy of a month, folks.  It's been busier than I ever could have imagined, and a little stressful to top it off, but good none the less.

After something around 7 closing dates, we finally closed on  random Saturday morning with about an hour notice.  I must add that it was the Saturday preceding the Sunday that we were leaving for vacation back to our 'ole stomping grounds', so not much was accomplished on the new house that we'd signed our lives away on.

Ok - let's be real - the hubs and I did get B and Ans' rooms painted and their bathroom (which we later found out 2 of the 3 of these would need two coats, despite our efforts and $$ spent on the two in one paints that are proclaimed by Lowe's employees to be 'one coat only'.  Ahem.)

Anyway.  So vacation was great.  In fact, I think it's safe to say that it went better than we ever would have expected.  The kids did so well on their first 11 hour car ride (25 hours + over the course of a week!) that it almost makes me nervous to do it again.  Could they be that good again?  I'm not so sure. And, no, folks, we did not drive at night.  (This momma covets bedtime fiercely, and I don't mess with it if I don't have to!)

So anyway - there was a baptism, and great time with great friends, and stories, and good lunch and dinner dates, and go carts, and bumper boats, and batting cages, and running around barefoot in green (not painful) grass, and there was the hubs and I soaking each other to the core with water guns.  There was Cardinal games and dippin' dots in little Cardinal helmets.  There was good ole summer fun I tell ya.  Good ole summer fun.

And then chaos started.  Get home, paint like no other for three days non-stop, clean and move and unpack and clean some more.  Bring in more boxes and unpack some more... and that's pretty much been our 'non-eventful' life the past couple weeks.  As well as hanging things on walls and installing ceiling fans and putting together Ikea furniture.  And you know what?  EVERY bit of it is a blessing.  Every bit.

Lemme be honest here for a minute, folks.  I love this house.  It is more than I ever could have dreamed of or hoped for.  In every room I can envision memories to be made as a family with our kiddos.  I love seeing the kids play outside.  I love my kitchen.  I love the kids rooms.  But I'm so afraid to say how I love it.  It's so much greater than I could have imagined.  So much better than I would have allowed myself to have, and I prayed fiercely for God to put us in 'the right house', that sometimes I still get the perception of God that He leads us to destruction to make us stronger and teach us stuff.  All of that said to say that I'm semi-impatiently waiting for the dark cloud to loom.  Something's gonna go wrong.  This can't really be good can it?

And then I realize that I'm so ignorant.  What a lie to believe that God's just waiting to make us miserable to teach us.  I have to think that this may just be one of many small blessings that God has given us for a time.  The ultimate blessing - an eternal one - being Christ Jesus our Lord and the sacrifice He made for us.  If God willingly gave Himself up for us then, why then am I so surprised that He surpassed my expectations in this much more insignificant circumstance?

Anyway -  so without further adiu - let me show you some house pictures 'pre-us' (as in - we'd not done anything to it yet :):

The house is 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath with 3 living areas and 2 dining.  I pray that we have lots of guests stay here from back home, that we have BBQ's with friends, are a safe haven for our kids friends as they get older... this can be a place to hang out safely... etc etc etc.

This first picture below is walking in the front door.  The stairs are immediately in front of you, this picture shows the formal dining with the formal living being just to the right of the picture.

Another view of the formal dining / living, from the hall to the back of the house.

Walk towards the rear and to your right will be the kitchen, that's what you see here - and the door in the back right, yep - this girl has a pantry (and a laundry room - but let's focus on the pantry for now ;)

That there light fixture hangs above the 2nd dining area and the kids are running through the family room.


This is the upstairs bath which serves mostly as the kids bathroom but also as a guest.

This here is Bryton's room.  He chose it.  I'm stoked with how it's turning out.  Totally.  Can't wait to show you!

This is Ansley's room.  They are side by side with just her closet separating them.

And this is not the 3rd living area (which I actually don't have pics of???) this is the master bedroom.  LOVE!)

Master bath.

Another view.

Master (walk in) closet!
 And the yard... high priority with two kiddos!

I'm probably going to blog a room at a time for awhile, but I may even do a video walk through at some point (for all your friends of ours back home who are curious).  It's just easier to piece it all together that way.

Anyway - back to blogland again :)