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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pinterest Recipe Round-Up

I have a confession to make.

I don't really like to cook. THERE, I said it.

I used to like to cook. Back in the day when it was just Hubster and me, I would make wonderful meals that were waiting for him when he came home from a long day at work. We tried to eat healthy and tried new recipes. I even....wait for it....made homemade bread.

True story.

And then we had kids. I quickly found out that when I cook, I am "in the zone." I don't want to be interrupted. I don't want to have meaningful conversations, don't want to hear about your day. When I cook, I don't want to be distracted. I have to focus. As I'm sure you all know....that's really hard when you have kids.

Secondly, when the kids entered our lives, we all of the sudden had picky eaters in our house. There are two of them. Let me introduce you....

First, there's "Little Picky." He doesn't like melted cheese on anything, but pizza. He's really not a big fan of dairy at all.  He also doesn't like casseroles because he doesn't like different foods to touch each other on his plate. Oddly enough though, he does like vegetables. Even raw vegetables. If we are having something he doesn't like for dinner, he will sometimes ask if he can have salad instead. He generally only drinks water. ( WAIT A MINUTE....I just realized he sounds like a healthy eater. Okay, so the rest of us like cheese. Don't judge.)

Then there's "Truly Picky." She has never met a vegetable she wanted to eat. She also doesn't like beans (black, kidney, etc.), pepperoni, or....<gasp>....potatoes! For a long time the girl lived on mostly yogurt....seriously.

As most moms know, it's no fun to make dinner for your family only to sit down and have 2/5 of them say, "I don't like this!"

When homework entered our lives, making dinner was even less appealing. I mean, who wants to make dinner after their brain is fried from helping with 9th grade Algebra?

SO....all of that to say we needed a little excitement in our dinner menu. Enter Pinterest. You all know how I feel about's only a time-sucker if you don't use it, right?  I figured that since I had pinned so many recipes on my "Foodie Stuff" board that I better try some of them. Lately, I try to remember to look at that board before I do my grocery shopping and pick a couple new recipes to try.

Here are a couple that we've tried. Not all have been embraced by the "Picky's," but we've had a some success.

Beef-Stuffed Crescent Rolls from Six Sister's Stuff

We all loved these and they were gobbled up. Super easy to make and I mean, who doesn't like something wrapped in a crescent roll?

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Bell Peppers from Quick 'N Easy Recipes

(I'm not sharing the photo here because it's a whole bunch of photos strung together showing how to make these, but you can check it out.)

These were pretty yummy. Those of us who like vegetables and cheese enjoyed them.
I do have to admit that I'm a bit of a roast beef snob though. So I substituted Hormel's Italian Roast Beef, which we like, for the deli meat.

Baked Pierogi Casserole from Table For Seven

Everyone loved this one! I must say that every time we have this I tell myself it should probably be a side dish. But we like it and use it as a main dish. And I may add extra bacon. Just sayin'.

There you have it. Three new recipes we've tried.

And this week we will be trying these.

Oven-Baked Beef Tacos from Six Sister's Stuff

Chicken Roll-Ups from Jenna's Journey

* Just a little mudroom update....I'm making progress slowly but surely. I just haven't been able to have big blocks of time to work on it. So it's been a few minutes or an hour here and there. I have sorted, organized, washed, and vacuumed though. And yesterday I got a little inspired to add some "cute." So I'm hoping to work on that a little today.*

Today's Thankfulness....

* For food on our table.

* That Hubster is home from a long business trip.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Keepin' It Real

If you've come here today looking for a post about a beautifully cleaned's not happening today.

Today there will be no "pinnable" photographs.....not even any unsuitable for pinning ones.

I thought about not even writing today at all, but I decided that I would just be honest.

As I write this, it's still only 7:30am, and it's already been a rough day in our house. 

I always want to be careful of protecting my children's privacy. So let's just say that it involved a pretty big, screaming-at-the-top-of-your-lungs tantrum, the possible re-injury of a knee that was hurt back in the Summer, and me sending said child on the bus to school anyways.

Nope, there won't be any Mother Of The Year award coming my way any time soon. (But in my defense I'm still not sure if it was a real injury or just for drama sake.)

This is the kind of stuff that happens at our house. We have three children with special needs. 

No, I'm not trying to play the special needs sympathy card. And I'm not looking for a pat on the back. This is the life we chose and we are blessed beyond measure. But I don't want anyone to ever think that things are all sunshine and roses at our house....because they are not. And I just want to be honest.

Amazingly, when I sat down to do this post, what came to my mind were the verses in Psalm 121:1-2.

 I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Wow! Did you get that? 
The Maker of the Universe is there to help ME! Even on tough mornings like today's.
All I have to do is LOOK UP.
And whatever situation you find Yourself in.....He's there to help you too.
That gives me great comfort today and I hope it does you too.

I will continue working on my mud room closets today, but it is slower-going than I thought it would be. But I'll get there and I promise I will share the "afters" with you when I'm done.

Today's Thankfulness....

* For Scripture that I learned as a child coming back to my mind this morning.

* For the help that comes from the Lord.

* For my usually-sweet children.
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Monday, October 28, 2013

Mud Room Organization OR Airing Out the Dirty Laundry

How's THAT for a post title?

Good Monday morning, everyone! And welcome to our mud room. I don't think I've shown you much of this room before....and you're all probably tired of seeing my living let's take a quick little tour. And I'm not kidding when I say quick.

This is the room you enter first when you come in our back door. Mud room is a good name for it because that's really all it does. It's painted a buttery yellow color, which I love. Someday, I would like to do something to make this a more used maybe add a settee or a couple comfy chairs to make it a nice space for reading. But for now it is just the spot that houses our coat closet and laundry.

Fortunately you wouldn't know that when you first walk in the room. We keep it all well hidden. This room was part of an addition we put on our house about three years ago. I knew our family could not have an open mudroom with cubbies and hooks. I knew that it would be perpetually messy and that would drive my crazy. So as much as I wanted cute cubbies with hooks, I used my head, did the practical thing, and put it all behind closed doors.

So as you walk in the door, there are double bifold doors to the right which is our coat closet.

And to the left, there are bifold doors which house our laundry as well as some storage shelves.

By the way, that cup shelf was made by my Dad when I was a little girl to have in my home someday. It is very special to me! My Mom and my sister have shelves just like it.

If you keep going around the room you'll see this little table.

So that's the little tour. And now for the dirty laundry part....

Saturday afternoon I was scrambling to find gloves and hats for the kids when we went to Trunk or Treat. I figured I should probably get the coat closet organized before Winter really kicks in. I know there are probably some coats and maybe boots in there that have been outgrown and could be donated. And the laundry closet closet always seems to be overflowing. So I decided to challenge myself to get these spots in order this week. And I figure if I post it here, I have to complete it, right?

So here are the "before" pictures. (Yikes! I hope you all appreciate my transparency here! Ha ha!)

Hopefully I will be back with an update in a day or two and have some "after" photos to show you.

Oh, and if you're interested in seeing the kids in their Halloween costumes that I slaved over last week (okay, not REALLY), I posted them over on my Facebook page.

Have a great day, everybody!

Today's Thankfulness....

*For a great weekend....Trunk or Treat, being together as a family, worship on Sunday.

* For the chance Hubster and I had yesterday to have some concentrated time with just our oldest son.

* For humor....we would not be able to survive around here without it!
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Friday, October 25, 2013

Four Things For Friday 10.25.13

Happy Friday!

Here are just a few thoughts that have been rolling around in my head.

1.) Did you hear me say I wanted to make Halloween costumes? Did I REALLY say that? I think it was a moment of insanity....truly. The problem is that when it comes to creative projects, I'm a perfectionist. No more, I tell you, NO MORE!!

2.) Okay, rant over. And speaking of Halloween....a friend shared a link on Facebook to this blog post about Halloween at TroubleFace Mom. I don't know what your feelings are about Halloween, but hopefully it will get you thinking about what an opportunity it actually is. I know it did for me. Tomorrow night our family will be heading to Trunk or Treat at our church to hand out candy and information about Jesus and our church to hundreds of neighborhood kids. Definitely an opportunity. 

3.) One of the benefits of me driving all over town to try and find items needed for said Halloween costumes the other day is that I found a little treasure. If you follow me on Facebook (and if you don't, WHY NOT?), you already saw this pretty ironstone pitcher I found at the Goodwill Store. The Goodwill Store!!! Can you believe it? With it's lovely wheat pattern, I think it's very Fall-ish, don't you?

4.) I'm starting to think about gift-giving. November and December are big celebration months around here and if I don't get some gift shopping done soon, I'm going to be scrambling big-time. My love language is gifts so I really do enjoy shopping to find just the right thing for someone. But my kids have gotten to that "hard to buy for" stage. I miss shopping for fun toys.

Well, I guess that's if for Friday. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Today's Thankfulness.....

* That the predicted October snow missed us. (There's still hope for our trees to hit their peak of color.)

* For a drama-free morning with the kiddos.

* For the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall In My Backyard

For a couple weeks now I've been thinking that when the leaves reach their peak in our back yard I wanted to share a photo with you. So I've been waiting. Our leaves seem to be a little behind this year. I guess that's because our weather didn't really get consistently chilly until a few days ago.

But when I heard that the weather report for the next day or so calls for a freeze warning along with a mix of rain and...<gasp>...SNOW, I though that maybe I should dig out the photos I took a couple years ago of our back yard. If you were paying attention, you may have noticed this photo back when I posted the recipe for Pie Filling Cobbler.....which sounds really good about now!

We are really blessed by God's beautiful paintbrush each Autumn.

I remember the first time we came to look at our house when we were house hunting. When we pulled in the driveway and stepped out of our car, we were met with the wonderful scent of pine. I don't notice it so much now....I guess because I live here....but that scent and the beautiful trees in the back yard were definitely a wonderful surprise and made an impression on me.

I have a feeling our leaves aren't going to reach their peak of color this year. Many will probably fall over the next couple days. I'm glad I have these photos to look at this year. Which makes me think....Have you taken pictures of the outside of your home and your yard? Those would probably be precious mementos for you children when they grow up.

By the way, our yard looks beautiful in the winter too. After a new snow, before the trees have a chance to shake all the snow off, it looks like a Winter Wonderland. I'll have to share photos of that when the time comes.
Today I'm off to the thrift store to hopefully find some items needed for Halloween costumes. I KNOW...I said I was hoping we were over the costume thing. But the kids actually came up with some cute ideas of what they wanted to dress as, so I was swayed. I have a hard time saying no to a creative project.
Have a GREAT day!

Today's Thankfulness....

(We had a special speaker in church on Sunday who talked about God's PROVISION, so that's been on my mind the last couple days.)

* For God's provision for a dear friend who underwent unexpected surgery yesterday.

* For financial provision God has provided in a very unexpected way
* That even though God never changes, His ways are often unexpected.

* For the beauty of Fall....however it beautiful color or in rain and snowflakes.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Kid's Bathroom Re-Do

Hello Everyone!

Today I'm going to share a little bathroom makeover we did just about a year ago. And by little I mean cosmetic changes only....except for the toilet, which is where this story begins.

So, out of necessity, we had to replace the toilet in our kid's bathroom. And you know how that thing leads to another, which leads to another, and so on, and so on, etc., etc....

Literally, while Hubster was replacing the toilet, I [sheepishly] said, "It's too bad that while you have the toilet out, we couldn't replace the flooring in here."


A few minutes went by and Hubs said, "If you go pick out the flooring and bring it home, I'll put it in."

(That's the sound of me high-tailing it out of the house before he had a chance to change his mind.)

I pretty much had it in my mind what I wanted. After all, I had been secretly contemplating this bathroom for a long time. I wanted to use vinyl planks since we had used them in your mudroom and were happy with them. Of course when I got to the home store, they didn't have the style I wanted. So it was either compromise and get a style that I didn't want or order it online and wait. I didn't want to wind up being unhappy, so we ordered online.

But why just wait when you could do something else? Like PAINT!

However, painting this room meant pulling off the lovely 80's rose print wallpaper. No problem, right?


Whoever had  wallpapered this room had not primed the walls first and had papered directly over new drywall.

I began to pull off wallpaper and with it came layers of drywall. It was horrible!   

Here are a couple more "during" photos. It gives you a little idea of what the wallpaper was like. Those are tiny little rosebuds and I forgot to mention there was also a border. And you can see the flooring samples I brought home.

You can also see the old flooring. It was vinyl and had some staining and gouges in it. It was not in great shape. 

This wound up being about five week project. Because of the wallpaper situation, we had to remud large parts of the walls....and sand....and patch.... and sand. It seemed never-ending.
Then came the painting, the flooring, and all the little things.

But the end result was worth it. Take a look!

Big change, huh?

I chose a dark wood vinyl planking for the floor. The beadboard was already there, we just repainted it. I chose a nice, bright turquoise color for the rest of the walls.

We replaced the single, old, plastic towel bar with two double towel bars with a satin nickel finish so everyone could have their own.

It took me a while to find the right shower curtain. As usual, I knew exactly what I wanted and had a hard time finding it. I finally splurged on this bold striped one from West Elm.

The light fixtures are inexpensive exterior barn lights from Lowes.

I made my own wall art using Photoshop Elements and some frames from WalMart.

I don't have a good picture of it, but I also repainted the old vanity and added turquoise glass knobs that I found at Hobby Lobby. The faucet was replaced with one with a matching satin nickel finish.

I looked around for a while before I found art for next to the sink. But I eventually found this word art at TJMaxx. I think it's the perfect thing for my kids to see every morning as they start their day.

So there you have it. A bathroom makeover that all started with a toilet.
**UPDATE:  The wall art I created for this room is now available as a free download. Just click here....

Today's thankfulness....

* For friends both far and near.

* For peace that we have that can only come from God

* For a God who hears our prayers and answers them

Have a great day!
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Friday, October 18, 2013

Easy Kitchen Updates, Part 2: Pendant Light Adaptor And More

I promised to share another easy thing we did to update our kitchen today. Yesterday I told you about how we transformed a wall in the kitchen with bead board wallpaper. If you missed it, you can read about it HERE.

Today we're going to talk about lighting and paint.

2.) Pendant Light Conversion Kit

Before, our over-the-sink lighting was just a typical recessed can light. Not too pretty or interesting. At Lowe's I found this Pendant Light Conversion Kit which allowed me to easily convert the can light to a pretty pendant light with a shade.

This had to be about the easiest project EVER. And I'm no electrician.


You simply screw the adaptor into your can light just like you would the light bulb. Adjust the cord to the desired length and tighten a screw on the cover plate. Then just attach your shade and you're done. Easy peasy!

The shade does not come with the kit....which is good...because then you can choose whatever style, size, and color shade you want. I chose this great burlap one.

I love that this project was so easy, was fairly inexpensive (the kit was 24.99 and I think I payed around $20 for the shade), and had a nice impact on the room. It added some texture and even more importantly, I use the light over the sink way more now. 

3.) Paint

The third thing we did was paint. You've probably heard it said a million times. The least expensive way to make a big impact on a room is with paint.

The color we chose was Sweet Almond by Valspar.

It wasn't really a huge change color-wise.....just a little creamier looking than what we had before. But it definitely freshened up the space.

And I guess under the category of paint, I could include our chalkboard wall. This was so easy to do and made a HUGE impact on the room.
(This photo was taken after I finished the chalkboard project, but before we painted the rest of the walls.)

So there you have it.....some super simple and fairly inexpensive ways we updated our kitchen. I hope it inspires you to find simple ways to freshen up a space in your home.

Today's Thankfulness....


* For the chance to sleep in!

* For other bloggers who inspire me.

* For the home God has given us.

Make it a great day everyone!
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Easy Kitchen Updates, Part 1: Beadboard Wallpaper

Over the next couple days, I want to share with you a couple pretty easy and inexpensive updates that we made to our kitchen this year.

First up....

1.) Beadboard Wallpaper

If you remember, I started by lining the back of a couple of our kitchen cupboards with decorative paper and removing the glass doors. This was a really random project and when I was done, I loved it but knew that meant some changes for the rest of the kitchen.

I contemplated what to do on the wall our cabinets are on for a long time. You see, when we moved into our house ten years ago the kitchen had a lovely hand-sponged (yes, sponged) grapevine board along the top of the walls. I actually did like it at first. It gave the kitchen a little country charm and some color since the rest of the kitchen was fairly neutral. But it was started feeling kind of outdated and I was ready for something fresh.

My other issue was all the wood. Don't get me wrong, I love wood. But we had oak cabinets, hardwood floors, large overhead beams. Sometimes it felt like a little much.
I knew I could never talk the Hubster into painting the cabinets. I approached the subject once by saying, "Have you ever thought about painting our kitchen cabinets." His immediate response was, "Noooo..."  I knew I didn't have a chance so I didn't pursue it. Sometimes it's worth being persistant in order for Hubster to catch the vision. But in this case, I knew not to waste my time.

So I decided instead to embrace the wood, but try to figure out a plan that would help it to not take over the room. I pinned many beautiful kitchens on Pinterest and I began to realize that I loved the look of plain white subway tile.
Here's one of my inspiration photos from Remodelaholic.

I love this look. And it was even with oak cabinets similar to mine. But tiling was something we had never tackled before. And I knew that tile would probably be a little out of our budget.

I started doing a little more inspirational research and found out about a paintable textured wall paper in a beadboard pattern from Lowes. I decided this would be a great alternative to subway tile. And since the wallpaper is only about $20 a roll (I used about 2 rolls), it was a much less expensive option that tile also. So we used it on the entire wall where the cabinets are and I couldn't be happier with it. 

First, Hubster primed the wall and painted over the border. Goodbye grapevine!

Now I said these updates were easy. Well I don't know if you would call wallpapering hard so much as stressful. Although I had watched and helped my Dad and Hubster wallpaper many times, I had never done it myself. My wall also had a window and cupboards to fit around. So, yes, it was a little stressful.
But this product was great and easy to use. It has a thicker, foam-like texture so you do have to be careful to not make an impression on it by leaning on it, with fingernails, etc., but it went up without problems. It is prepasted and you just have to wet it. It stuck very well and I didn't have any problems with corners or seams coming unglued. Hubster and I wound up tag-teaming this project. I did the lower section below the cabinets and he did above.

I'm really happy with how it turned out. It adds some character back to the kitchen that the border gave it, but in a more updated way. It also gives me a neutral canvas to accessorize with any color I want.

And the wallpaper is holding up really well, even around the sink. If there are ever any splatters, I can just wipe them off with a sponge.

Tomorrow I'm going to share about this little project. Stay tuned!

Today's Thankfulness....

* That my husband's work schedule allows him to be home in the mornings to see the kids off to school.

* For technology.....especially on the days that it works. :-)

* For the changing colors of leaves in my backyard.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Project: Birth Country Pride Print

Today I have a little project to share with you.

You've probably seen all the "state pride" projects all over the web lately. Framed prints, pillows....even pumpkins....all sporting a favorite state. I decided to do my own little spin on that idea and make a birth country pride print.

As you know, we adopted our three kiddos and they were all born in India. Teaching our children about their Indian heritage is important to us, but with our kids, the understanding comes more difficultly it seems. This little print is meant to be a small, subtle reminder of where they've come from. And you know my theme is "letting your home tell your story"(see the About Me section at the top), so this project fits the bill.

I started with a very simple craft frame. This frame doesn't have any glass. It just has a cardboard insert that is held in with metal tabs on the back. I could've bought a frame to put my print in, but I was really trying to just use what I had on hand. Plus, what's the fun in that? :)

To create my image I did a Google search for maps of India. I found one that would work and saved it to my desktop. Then I used Photoshop Elements to create my image. The opening in the frame was 3 1/2 inches square so I made my image just slightly bigger. For the chevron background, I used a digital paper created by my friend Heather Nay (same paper as used in my blog header.) When I was done I saved it and printed it out.

Well, first I had to make a run to WalMart to get colored ink for my printer. AHHHHH!!!!!

Next, I painted my frame black using some leftover chalkboard paint. I don't intend to do any chalking on the frame, but again, I was just trying to use what I already had. I wound up doing three coats of paint.

Since there was not going to be a lot holding my image in place in the frame, I decided to Modge Podge my cut out image to the cardboard insert that came with the frame. It gives it a little protection since there's no glass also. I like the way this turned out because it also gave it a little texture.

I let everything dry well overnight and then I put the print in the frame.


I think it fits in nicely with this little gallery wall I've done that includes the silhouettes I showed you last week.

Just another little personalization in our home.

Today's Thankfulness....

* For a rainy day with nowhere to go.

* For beauty in simple things.

* For raisins (my latest craving)

* For a roof over my head.

Have a great day everybody!
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Monday, October 14, 2013

The Monday Morning Blues

Happy Monday Everybody! I hope you all had a great weekend.

Our Monday morning didn't start out too happy. Nobody wanted to get out of their nice warm beds. Can't blame 'em really. Too-green bananas and favorite pants that have grown too short threatened the delicate balance we have around here every morning. Tears were shed. I may or may not have been one of those shedding them.

What a way to start the week, huh?

I think it is inevitable that there are going to be days when kids get on the bus unhappy or with a few tears....well, at least in our family. Please tell me it happens in yours too! It is one of the most heartbreaking things to me as a parent.

So what do you do? 

We pray.

Early on, my husband began praying with each of our children individually before they leave for school. And when he is not here because of travel I try to do it too.

We pray for their safety....that they would do their best....that they would be kind to their friends and respectful to their teachers....that others would see the light of Jesus in them. And that on days like today, that the Lord would calm their spirit and they would be able to move on with their day.

And Dad or Mom taking that minute just for them goes a long way too. That minute together spent in prayer can really turn the morning around. It did today.

I went searching for a great quote or something about prayer to add to this post and I actually found a great bonus.


I love this!

Landee, at the blog landeelu, has shared this great quote as a downloadable print. How cool is that?  I love how she framed it for her home as a reminder to herself and her family. I may follow suit. You should check it out and also read why this quote is important to her. It looks like she has a great blog. I am definitely going to look around some more.

I hope your Monday is a happy one!

Prayer. It's a good thing.

Today's Thankfulness....

* For a weekend that was mostly chillin' at home.

* For a great message from the life of Joseph from our Pastor yesterday.

* For fun with family on "Second Sunday."

* For the resilience of children.....that they can bounce back after a rough morning.

* For the privilege of prayer.

One more thing....I realize that my blog header has made a disappearance. I don't know what is going on, and it's kind of frustrating to me, but I wanted you to know that I'm working on trying to make everything pretty again.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Four Things For Friday 10.11.13

Happy Friday Everyone!

I know I shared this photo of the October calendar on our chalkboard wall before. But that was for "Yeah, October is here!"  Today I'm sharing it because "YIKES! October is almost half over folks!!"  Where DOES the time go?

On this Friday, I'm just sharing four things that have been happening or rolling around in my mind.

1.)  This has been kind of a tough week around here. the Hubster has been traveling most of the week for work. Our world is just not right when he isn't here. We all miss him and I am really glad that the weekend is about here.

2.)  Speaking of the weekend....This weekend is one of my most favorite things in the whole world - Second Sunday. What is Second Sunday? Well, it is something that was instituted with my family way before we had kids. Every second Sunday of the month we get together with my parents and my sister and her family for Sunday lunch. We used to try and plan things haphazardly and we realized that if we wanted to gather regularly, we were going to have to make it a priority on our calendar. So we picked that Sunday each month and now there are no excuses for not getting together. Generally, we meet at my parents house and we each pitch in for the meal. We eat and catch up and it is just a lot of fun. It's another tradition we carry on and we all love it. My kids look forward to going to Grandma and Grandpa's house each Second Sunday and the memories being made are just priceless. And you know I'm all about the memories!

3.)  I've been thinking about following Carmel's lead over at Our Fifth House and "decrapifying" a bit around our house. Earlier in the year I did a 30 Days, 30 Bags plan to get rid of some junk around here. I think I actually only got to day 20, but it still felt so good to get some things cleared out. I'm noticing that my kids have outgrown a lot of clothes since last Fall and I should probably start there. I'll let you know how it goes.

4.)  In case you were wondering (I know it's probably keeping you up at night), I'm still loving my new coffee table. I'm starting to lean toward not painting it. It's kind of growing on me the way it is. And I can always change my mind, right?

It's time for today's thankfulness....

* For strength to get through a trying week.

* For a husband who works so hard to take care of us.

* For time spent with my Mom yesterday, shopping and talking.

* For a weekend to look forward to.

 I hope you all have a fabulous Fall weekend!

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