Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Setting Up Your Bookcase

I love books.
I love holding them, hoarding them and harboring them neatly on my shelves.
I have a problem.
I also love bookcases.
I love making sure the books are ordered into matching subjects and then I subject the groupings to specific shelves.
And I love making the shelves pretty. In keeping with the living room's brown, cream and soft turquoise colorings, I painted the backboard with my favorite chalkpaint. On top of the case I put some of my favorite knick-knacks: a beautifully framed burlap monogram, our salt covenant bags + a few books.
A clock which chimes hymns, a few of Dalton's hand-carved soup figures and a D & F seem to feel at home and keep the books company.
Are you a lover of books or shelves or both? What sort of collections fill your shelves?
With love, coffee and lots of happy books!

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Joys of Dust // Cleaning Tales


I've found keeping house one of the greatest joys of life. For as long as I can remember, I've delighted in making ordinary things beautiful, penciling in order where there is chaos and finding ways to make things work smoothly.
(Of course, though, there are plenty of times when I don't want to laundry ... my most detested chore)
You cannot imagine the joy I had when, after being away for several days for our honeymoon, I was able to get back into routine. The laundry pile had become a tumbling mountain on top of the washer, floors were needing vacuumed and bills asking to be paid.
Of course, when all's done and the broom has been put back into the closet, I also enjoy the pleasantness of having an afternoon to blog, drink coffee and watch Sense and Sensibility. I keep dreaming of chocolate cake in the future, too.
What kind of woman are you? Do you enjoy keeping house? Have you discovered your favorite and least favorite task?
With love, coffee and a clean house (woot woot!),

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Guest Post // Four Ingredients for Hospitality

Guess what, dear readers?
I wrote a guest post.
And I'd love for you to visit its home ... a lovely, bright blog named A Happy Homemaker. Carolann is the domestic queen reigning over there; her kindred spirit writes about the joys of being newly married. She also shares a lot of yummy recipes and really good material on anxiety. Her blog is a treat and one I know you'd love to check out.
While you're there, check out the post I wrote titled Four Ingredients for Hospitality. It's all about how to practice (and enjoy!) the biblical command of hospitality when you're:
on a budget,
and full of other excuses.
With love,

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

d.i.y. // Chalkpaint + Branches


I love the way branches seem to make everything more beautiful; earlier this year I ransacked the side of our driveway scouring for just the right set. Afterwards, I sprayed the grass over as I painted the branches with a few good coatings muted gold spray-paint.
I also found a empty spaghetti jar and bathed the insides with the most lovely shade of turquoise (the perfect color to add "pop" to our living room's cream + brown hues). The chalk-paint came in the most adorable little jar from Hobby Lobby. I've painted nearly everything I can get my hands on with it. :)
Sometimes, the simplest of things can bring so much joy.
Dearhearts, what have you been up to lately? Have you set your hands to making beautiful things?
With love, coffee, and lots and lots of snow!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Home Again, Home Again // Las Vegas Honeymoon

It's official.

I love traveling with my darling man.

Not only do I have someone to tote the large suitcase onto scary, metal escalators but there's a constant hand to hold + smile to find ... even when we're lost + travel weary.

Our (late) honeymoon was a blast. We flew to Las Vegas + spent ten warm, sun-shiny days touring the strip + lounging in the lazy river at our resort. A very kind friend had given us a week of his time share so we were able to really feel at home in a Wyndham apartment.

We spent hours walking the strip, eating gelato + exploring the sites.


One of our favorite discoveries was Las Vegas' Chinatown. While there we ate at Mother's Grill, a beautiful Korean restaurant.
Afterwards, we explored a busy grocery store full of foreign foods, fresh meat + produce.

Trinket shops were full of adorable items + hilarious signs.

And we wandered into one shop that was full of dried goods including shark fin, mushrooms + ginseng. Everything was amazingly expensive ...

The Hershey Chocolate store was lovely ... every type of candy lined the shelves.

Often times, we'd prepare our own meals at our apartment ... Dalton loves pickle juice + took full advantage of the lovely glasses we found in the cupboard.
And many nights we spent watching a movie with the fireplace ablaze, snuggled close.
It was a really special trip + one I'm so thankful we could go on. Now we are back home + making the most of our days here ... but we will always be able to look back to this trip + smile!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Coffee, Valentine? \\ Giveaway Announced!

I love celebrating Valentine's Day + I especially get a kick out of sharing heartfelt goodies with friends! There was a lot of fun brewing (smeeheehee, pun!) with this giveaway + while I was away honeymooning I enjoyed reading each comment. You all are so great!
Home is always so sweet + we are thoroughly enjoying getting back into routine. Bags are unpacked, the pantry's restocked, + the happy winner drawn for our giveaway is ... 

Hurray!! Emma is a fun, quirky, amazingly perceptive friend I worked with at Discovery Ministries. You all would love  her blog -- she writes of newly married life + ministry. She is one of the friendliest souls I have ever met + true dearheart. Blessings to you, Emma!! I think I have your address but if not I'll find you somehow! ;)
Sweet friends, thank you for sharing yourselves with me through this giveaway. I have so much fun getting to know you ... next time a giveaway comes 'round I plan to have a more "action oriented" theme ... it will be a lot of fun too!
With lots of love, blessings, + prayers!

Monday, February 9, 2015

How to Make a Date out of $8 | Hyvee Magic

Around here, budgeting is a big deal and something my husband is *really good at.* We set aside money for fixed expenses including utilities, tithe, rent, gas, food and odds-and-ends. Budgeting was a little tricky in the beginning, but for the most part, we've learned what we need and how much money should go into each "area." We then save what is leftover.
Sometimes the end of the month can be really tight so when we discovered an extra $40 left in the gas budget (thank you $1.78 gas prices!) we knew we could have a little fun. First, we put $20 away for end-of-the-month emergencies (things like a low gas tank or unexpected necessaries) and decided to spend $20 on something fun. :) The first $12 went to lunch at a local eatery and the remaining $8 was split evenly between us ... and we went for a "spree" in the Hyvee grocery store. :)
Now, if you've never been to Hyvee let me have the honor of introducing you.
It's a place where fairies are born and every possible ounce of goodness is manufactured and wrapped in the fairest packaging. I'm fairly certain happy hobbits stock the cheese shelves themselves ... of course, they use ladders because the shelves are tall and lined with every kind of cheese. And my! I can't tell you how lovely the bakery is -- bagels, doughnuts, freshly baked bread and every delicious pastry sits behind glass covered cases. I'm convinced the very best baker of all the bakers found his way into the kitchen of Jefferson City's Hyvee.
Which is funny when I tell you who the "Muffin Man" is ... did you catch my nursery rhyme? 
The kind man who waited on us was a mustached gentleman named Guy who has worked in the bakery for thirty years.
And this tall, mustached, jolly man who has baked for thirty-years is pretty magical in my opinion.
We walked about for an hour deciding how to spend our fortune. Dalton was attempting to choose between a slab of meat from the butcher, a special protein drink or a deliciously large grapefruit. I was struggling over a $3 African Violet or visiting Guy and his bakery.
Needless to say, Dalton settled on $4 worth of thick-sliced bacon and I decided on a $1 crème horn, a $1.50 specialty brownie, and a $1.50 salted caramel mini cupcake.

Satisfied with our spree, we journeyed home. The cupcake was thoroughly enjoyed between us (and a fresh cup of coffee!). Bacon has been on the breakfast menu all week. 

And that, my dears, is one way to make a date out of $8. It really doesn't cost a lot to make memories and have fun with your spouse -- even if you haven't got $8 to your name, enjoy strolling your favorite grocery store, country lane or downtown park. :)

Have you ever been excited over a little bit of money? How did you spend it? Or, maybe you have a really good (and cheap!) date idea. I'd love to hear all about it!

With love and a yummy crème horn!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Meg + John | Really in Love and Really Realistic

I'm not sure if there is a more enjoyable, entertaining group of words than Louisa May Alcott's description of Meg and John's first home. Join me in laughing over this descriptive, life-like look into a first home. ♥♥♥
"... And speaking of sentiment brings us very naturally to the `Dovecote'.
 That was the name of the little brown house Mr. Brooke had prepared for Meg's first home. Laurie had christened it, saying it was highly appropriate to the gentle lovers who `went on together like a pair of turtledoves, with first a bill and then a coo'.
  It was a tiny house, with a little garden behind and a lawn about as big as a pocket handkerchief in the front. Here Meg meant to have a fountain, shrubbery, and a profusion of lovely flowers, though just at present the fountain was represented by a weather-beaten urn, very like a dilapidated slopbowl, the shrubbery consisted of several young larches,  undecided whether to live or die, and the profusion of flowers was merely hinted by regiments of sticks to show where seeds were planted. But inside, it was altogether charming, and the happy bride saw no fault from garret to cellar. To be sure, the hall was so narrow it was fortunate that they had no piano, for one never could have been got in whole, the dining room was so small that six people were a tight fit, and the kitchen stairs seemed built for the express purpose of precipitating both servants and china pell-mell into the coalbin.
 But once get used to these slight blemishes and nothing could be more complete, for good sense and good taste had presided over the furnishing, and the result was highly satisfactory. There
were no marble-topped tables, long mirrors, or lace curtains in the little parlor, but simple furniture, plenty of books, a fine picture or two, a stand of flowers in the bay window, and, scattered all about, the pretty gifts which came from friendly hands and were the fairer for the loving messages they brought."
Little Women, chapter 24

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Submission + Freedom Go Hand-in-Hand

"Submission leads to the awareness that happiness should not be based on whether we get our way."
Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
Happy is the woman who treasures what God treasures. As I strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman I am challenged to (truly) believe that submission is a beautiful trait God values. It isn't the crushing, negative loss we're led to believe ... it is the "freedom from the need to always get my way." And, sweets, isn't it nice to know that we are free to not always have our way? I don't know about you, but I have ruined enough days battling for what I want.
So here's to submission: may we see the beauty, radiance, and freedom this God-treasured trait grants. And may sunshine and love fill your hearts today.