life is beautiful

Monday, October 31, 2011

Candy Corn Marshmallows

While we don't celebrate halloween in our family (some of this stuff bothers us, so we've made a personal choice not to be a part of it), we surely do enjoy fall treats and harvest-type festivities.  In fact, if the weather cooperates, we have a HUGE fall family day planned this coming Saturday and I promise to treat you to tons of pictures and ideas! Yay!

One of our little man's favorite projects this fall has been these Candy Corn Marshmallows.  The original recipe (as far as I can tell!) is found here at 3kidsandus.com, but I actually saw it on Pinterest. (Ohhh Pinterest, how I love thee, and how I have to limit my time with thee, for thou wouldst consume all of it if I let thee!!!)

Sooo, ours didn't turn out as neat as those pictured elsewhere (although they weren't THIS bad! Hee hee!), and I think it's because we left out the Crisco recommended by 3kidsandus, PLUS we were a bit impatient with letting them cool between colors, but we were thrilled with our results despite those small issues!

Instead of orange and yellow colored candy melts, we just used icing food coloring and vanilla [off-white] melts), whereby I was able to incorporate color mixing (for the orange) as well some excellent dexterity practice (and mommy-patience practice!) as the little guy toothpicked out the coloring and we carefully stirred the candy.

It was a super fun Sunday evening project - something simple and quick but rewarding for a boy who had done VERY well in the evening church service and was up later than little sister...


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday is Special

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge him,  and he will make straight your paths."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's Fall at Our House!

What does fall look like in your neck of the woods?
At our house, well.... why don't you just come take a look?!

We have lots of leaves and gray skies, and there's a chill in the air most of the time;

but not allll the time, as you can see.  Our petunias are still going strong right beside the pumpkins!

Come on inside.  It's warm and cozy in here!  We're so happy to have you for a visit!  Don't be surprised if a very excited boy gives tackles you with his exuberant greeting, "Happy Fall, Y'all!"

For us, fall means grapevine wreaths and fresh squash and candles.  Lots and lots and lots and lots of candles!

I just love this "In every thing give thanks" print, and it was a free download from CheepIdeas.com. This is the pumpkin color, but they also have Toast, Cranberry and Pine. Lovely!  I printed mine at Costco and it turned out beautifully.
Our neighbor's grapevines (you can see them if you peek out our window!) are a bounty this time of year.

We love fall inside and outside!

Our school area even gets a fall makeover here and there.  (Found this autographed "November Boots" book at our neighborhood thrift store for 59 cents. Wow!

This monogram "wreath" was sooo simple to make.  I just took some "scratch and dent" upholstery foam, printed out a huge letter in the font I wanted, drew it on the foam with a sharpie, cut it out with my electric turkey carver, and wrapped it with pretty ribbon. Easy-peasy!

Of course we pull out the fall linens and I find a special place for my Sara Mincy pumpkin print.  I love her work! (She's pretty loveable herself, too! ;)

I love to tuck little hints and touches of fall everywhere - just to warm up the house with color as well as to add layers that hold physical warmth to combat the damp and chill that are setting in outside.

And finally, I have to let you know that we certainly have a fair amount of snuggling and cuddling going on around here - the VERY BEST fall activity, if you ask us!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Before and After #5: Green Couch Redo

One happy yard sale-ing morning in September, 2009, I stumbled upon this beautiful Ethan Allen couch for $15.  It smelled like unkempt cats and was sticky (as if it had been kept in a frequently-fried-food environment??), but it was structurally sound and had a sightly form so I scooped it up (with some muscley help, of course.).

At first I thought the foam could be re-used, but it was ultimately UNsalvageable, so I stripped it off and started cleaning (scrub, bleach, scrape, scrub, scrub, scrub and finally a little restore-a-finish wipe-down):

We moved it inside where it housed every single available throw pillow for FOR-EV-ER while I decided what to do with it!

At one point I so despaired of knowing what to do with it that I tried to sell it on craigslist...

THANKFULLY, it was at around this time that I got completely fed up with my beige on beige on beige living room color scheme AND this fed-up-ness coincided with the relocation and liquidation of my local JoAnn's!  So long story short: my couch budget suddenly looked a LOT bigger, and after much deliberation, I yanked my craigslist ad, ordered seat cushion foam (very, very happy with the Foam Factory's customer service, prices and quality, and no, they didn't pay me to say that. ;) and snatched up some delicious deep-discount grass green fabric (in a soft but sturdy denim, believe it or not!).

That was 6 months ago, and even though I had a great plan, I was still frozen about how to execute it, until..... I came across Creative Little Daisy's excellently clear tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew! It gave me courage and understanding on how exactly to plan out the zippers...  so I did it! (Although I skipped the piping, not out of fear mind you {I was afraid of them there zippers, though!} but out of laziness practicality...)

And I used the previous over-sized-throw-pillows-turned-too-flat-seat-cushions as foundational back cushions in the same color, plus I recovered a few of the other stand-ins for a pop of color!

What do you think? Doesn't it liven up the space?!

Well, these little chickens help in that department too.... Yay!

[I think ultimately this couch would be perfect paired with sky blue walls... Check out the color combo on my Pinterest.]

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday is Special

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Today We Celebrate...

...6 years of a beautiful marriage.

I love you, my dear.  You are always a kind encouragement and inspiration to me in so many ways. I thank God for you!!
Some wonderful memories with you.....

Our Honeymoon - 2005

Top of the Space Needle - 2009

Retreat in Lynden, WA - 2009

Anniversary Trip, Seattle - 2010

With the munchkins, October 8, 2011

We're celebrating together this weekend at the NW Chocolate Festival.... so stay tuned for special pictures.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday is Special

"Our soul waits for the LORD;
   He is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in Him,
   because we trust in His holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
   even as we hope in You."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Healthy "Starbucks" Frappuccino

image from www.starbucks.com
I've been to Starbucks for a Frappuccino or five in my lifetime, and each time the yummy taste is offset by sadness as I sip and consider the fact that I'm consuming about 5 zillion calories AND the fact that I just paid wayyyyyy too much moolah for said calorific yumminess.  Plus, as I learned this week from "Chocolate Covered Katie," (and I looked it up here to verify) a Grande Coffee Frappuccino drink from Starbucks (that's the 16 oz medium size for those of you who, like me, can't remember your venti from your tall) has 49 grams of sugar. 
Now, this part is a little complicated, so if you just need a coffee drink, skip to the link below, but if you're interested: doctors recommend that the average healthy adult have a maximum 25% of their calories from sugar each day.  I personally feel that's high, but that's what they (and they) recommend. And they probably know a lot more than me.  ANYWAY, for someone who eats 2,000 calories a day (And how many calories a day should you eat to maintain, lose or gain weight?  Check this out.), that means you can have about 125 grams of sugar each day.  So this one drink has more than 1/3 of your daily sugar! And it's not so great in other ways too, especially if you need to avoid dairy....
SO, I feel quite spoiled now that I've discovered Katie, because she has tons of lovely, non-healthy-tasting recipes that are really not so bad for you, including cakes, shakes, dips and other snackies that I used to think I had to avoid to be healthy.
Without further ado, go here as fast as you possibly can to find Katie's very, very yummy frapp-uh recipe.  It makes 2 drinks with only 146 calorioes in each, is vegan and delish! Yay!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Waffles

This summer I was inspired by the watermelon waffles I saw over at Sara's Art House, and although I never followed through to finish that good idea, yesterday on a whim the little man and I whipped up some pumpkin waffles for lunch.
To keep things simple on a fairly crazy day at our house (notice, or maybe you should ignore, the clutter in the boy's room and the toys on the counter?!) we simply used Krusteaz waffle mix (made according to the box's directions) with a few drops of yellow and red food coloring splashed in.  But since we've been studying the color orange and color mixing in general, that is okay!  It's more than okay.  It was educational!
In place of syrup (well, that was the plan, anyway, but somehow the syrup bottle still crept onto the table before lunch was over...) we made sweet "stems" by using a saved knob of cream cheese from the fridge (softened in the microwave), a little confectioner's sugar and some green icing coloring that we had on hand. Perfect!  This little guy had a great time cooking up lunch for everyone, and everyone had a great time eating it, too! Win-win-win.

image from www.whatsgoodattraderjoes.com
Important note: 
While these aren't the famed Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pancake/Waffle Mix waffles, the mix is currently in-house and they are on the menu for this weekend!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

WFD Featured on Remodelaholic!

Well would you look here?!  We were featured on the Remodelaholic blog! What an  honor!!  If you've never visited Remodelaholic, you simply must stop by at your earlist convenience.  Every single day she shows amazing diy projects that people have successfully finished, sometimes with links to tutorials, even.  It's an incredible place to get ideas!

And I'm still loving these chairs every single day!  That's a beautiful thing to me.  Thanks for visiting today - be sure to have a beautiful day! :)

Want to know something else beautiful, extra, just-for-free? ;)  The plant in this photo is a "baby" of a plant that my husband's grandpa gave to his mom when he was born, and she gave this to me when we were pregnant with our first child.  Such a precious treasure!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sewing in No Man's Land

image from www.sewinginnomansland.com

How have I never seen this girl's handiwork before?!

image from www.sewinginnomansland.com
She has a stunningly gorgeous blog, with ah-may-zing projects, free tutorials/free patterns and jaw-dropping photos.  It's my new favorite place to drool!

 She also has an etsy shop... (although it's empty now, it can't hurt to keep an eye on it with stuff this cute).
image from www.sewinginnomansland.com
If you like to craft and sew - especially for little people but also for women - no kidding! - visit Sewing in No Man's Land right away.

(No she didn't pay me to say this and no, I don't even know her - I'm just so stunned by the beauty of her site/work I had to share with you!)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


The days are getting gray again around here, so we're inside more (which = blogging more~~) and enjoying the cozy comforts of fall in Washington. It's really a lovely season, especially when the drizzle clears and the clouds pile up on the foothills. We were on a walk this week when I noticed a bunch of the foggy whiteness scrunched up with the "hill" (we South-easterners still call them mountains...) of evergreens that towers above our town's river.
It took my breath away in its stark beauty!
Thank you, God, for eyes with which we can see your beautiful creation!