Saturday, March 31, 2012

EASY DIY Book Display

This is probably the easiest DIY ever posted and it can make a huge difference in the way a room looks! Ok, so I love books. I think have over a billion. But I have no where to put them because I have always though displaying them can be so tacky (unless you are one of those amazing people who can strategically arrange them by color gradient or possibly by height- you are a Real Man of Genius!) I am no good at arranging things and I love matchy-matchy things............ so I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner!!!!!!

OK! Is it lame that I am THIS excited to share this? This was my book display before my breakthrough. Meh, nothing to write home about. Lame attempt at color coordination if you ask me.

BUT! Then I saw this idea in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine, which I read religiously.

Gather: FUN scrapbook paper and at least 7 books of varying size
Cover the books with the scrapbook paper. Repeat. That's EASY!

For some books I was able to just take the paper to the cover. For others (antiques or paperbacks), I decided to fold over a leaf of paper inside the front and back covers.

To quickly keep the books straight, I wrote the titles just inside. See Gone with the Wind to the right.

Here's the "after" display:

Ta-DA! I love my new matchy-matchy books! 
How fun! I think the patterns are fun yet subtle and they complement the room and its colors.

Please also note my amazing IKEA purchase, a giant B bookend. I love Ikea

Try it yourself! Use your own paper and creative book arrangement. Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Yard Work, Shmard Work

Colorado tends to be a bit behind Kansas in the changing of seasons, probably because of that dry Western air. In fact, during the fall time, I would try to pick out one weekend to go home from college after the leaves had turned in Kansas just so I could see them do the same in Colorado, the window was small but my Sophomore year, I hit it perfectly! It was enrapturing.

As Nick and I returned from our Spring break adventure to Colorado, we felt like we had stepped from the mountainous frigid air into a lush spring garden, just a state away. Everyone's lawns in Clay Center were green and freshly mowed, garden beds were inundated with new buds and blossoms, just teeming with life! We stared out the windows of the car in amazement.

And then we pulled up to our house.... EW! We realized just how much work needed to be done! Though the air was humid and buzzing with spring insects and birds,  our house seemed to be a few steps behind. It seemed saggy, lonely, bedraggled. Leaves scattered our patchy yellowed grass and the bushes surrounding our house ran wild. No flowers bloomed at the Brown's house.

Something  HAD to be done about this. SO yesterday we all packed up into Nick's truck and we went yard/lawn shopping at Menard's!

Then today, we put it all to practice. First, Nick raked the leaves. 28 bagfuls. And the problem STILL wasn't taken care of! We just ran out bags....

Then, he mowed the yard and replanted grass where it should have been all along. He also completely swept the front and back porches (my hero!) and watered all the new plantlife. Yay Nick!

My job was the cosmetics, i.e. the flowers. We had bought pansies, violas, rose bushes, rudbekias, hosta plants wildflowers, etc. and now I had to decide where to put them. And I discovered that potting soil is not my friend at all! But here's how it turned out:

Hopefully the pansies to the left perk up a bit after some tender loving care!

 Thanks to the Goodwill, I got this gorgeous green pot dirt cheap, and filled it with some hydrangeas (maybe that's what those pink things are called??) and purple/yellow pansies.

And of course this amazing six-plant pot, courtesy of my aunt as a wedding gift from Ten Thousand Villages (I LOVE this place!) is filled with violas that are already starting to look a little less sickly (which was my ultimate goal).

Please ignore the color of our house, as it is subject to spontaneous change at any moment.

I love the tulips, but alas I cannot take credit for them. I didn't plant them- they just seem to grow like weeds around our cement. We intend on digging up the bulbs to relocate them.

Hopefully I have inherited my grandma Orange's green thumb. She is an amazing gardener and I would love to (someday) acquire that status, although, as we can see, that is going to take a lot of work and even MORE faith!!!!

This is the big picture:

Still nothing to be too amazed about, but the house has come such a long way! And, yes, I may have chosen to paint our front door orange, and it may have turned out brighter than anticipated.... and we may be embracing it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think it is my mission in life to convince EVERYONE that orange is the best color ever!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Babies=Expensive, God=Good

This is just an amazing testament to God's power. He is able to work through anything and for the good of those who trust him! While I can't say I'm a pro at trust, I can say that I have had to do so more in my lifetime just recently than ever before.

A pregnancy one month after marriage?
God can handle it.
Sickness day in and day out?
Like I said, God is good.
I might not have dealt so well with this aspect of pregnancy, but God never abandoned me through that!
Being induced early because of a baby-threatening condition?
God was, and IS, in control. I have a happy, healthy baby, thanks to the Lord of the Universe!

I was reminded of this power once again as I realized He is always taking care of us. It's Spring break, and we are visiting my family in Colorado (March 16-23). A few nights ago my mom pulled out this statement from our insurance company:

I know it's hard to read, but essentially the statement liberates Nick and I from paying our entire hospital bill (because we already met the deductible- trust me, we had our fair share of charges!!) through some simple numbers.

Total Charge: $17,247.46 (don't forget those 46 pennies, they are crucial!)

Out-of-Pocket Responsibility: $.00

How amazing is that???
Thank you, Lord!

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Fun!

My mom is the best. Every one says that, but mine really is. Not only is she an excellent mother and wife (as if being those two are any small task...), she is also a great interior decorator, scrapbooker, and COOK! Oh my word. Coming home for Spring break was the best decision I have ever made- my Mom's cooking can't be beat!

She is always so creative with holidays, like they are an excuse to treat her family extra special. Growing up she would throw a Valentine's Day celebration, complete with steak and equally delicious side dishes. We loved getting sparkling cider or sparkling jello- so much fun!

Anyways, this year while Nick and I were in town, my Mom did a "Shamrock Shindig," a smorgasbord of delicious corned beef and cabbage (which I love) and other green festive eats!

Left, you'll see corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots, cabbage salad, Lucky Charms salad (I named it that because it's green and has marshmallows in it and is delicious), animal crackers dipped in green almond bark, sparkling apple cider, and even green plates and napkins. My mom is such a trooper!

Needless to say, my dear husband was not thrilled about wearing the hat for this photo, but he did it because he loves me. Also, PS, I woke up that morning NOT EVEN REMEMBERING IT WAS ST. PATTY's and I STILL WORE A BRIGHT GREEN SHIRT! What are the odds? I mean, c'mon. That's amazing!
What a fun way for Nick and I to spend our mini vacation away from Kansas- with my family who is awesome and  absolutely in LOVE with our son (free babysitting!! haha) We don't get to see them very often so that was a real treat!

Another word about Spring break: We have such a flexible baby and I am so thankful! At only a month old, we have not only driven eight hours to Colorado, we have also dragged him shopping (pretty much every day- I love civilization!), to many coffee dates with old friends, and even to the movies! He grunted a little, but never made a fuss. What a sweetie!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Oh man I couldn't contain myself. Kids are so funny! If you search on "Kid History" you'll come up with plenty more episodes of these kids retelling stories their parents have told them... Great idea! Maybe I'll think of a childhood story for Rylan to tell his own version of someday! Maybe you have to watch this to get it...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

God Protected Us

You know those stories of mothers who gain the strength of a dozen men to pick up a car, rescuing her child underneath it? I wish I could say that I am that mother, but my story is not nearly as dramatic as it is just plain terrifying. But I did get a taste of what it might be like-- my instincts kicked in and I went with it!

Today I got to put out a house fire. Well sort  of. I mean I would have had to if I didn't catch it when I did.

The baby was fed and fast asleep, so I seized this opportunity for a hot shower- I might even get to shave my legs! As I was hopping in, (or stepping, rather-- hopping into a slippery tub can be so dangerous!) I got a faint whiff of something burning. That unmistakable smell. I'd woken up this morning and threw some frozen chicken in the crock pot, so I thought I'd better go check and make sure my food wasn't on fire. I reluctantly threw a towel around myself. Approaching the kitchen, the scent faded. Odd. Was it coming from the other end of the house? The living room? Or worse, Rylan's room? That was not the only issue-- there was a cardboard box of baby's clothes directly underneath it. I reached up to move the box-- as I did so, a smoldering nighttime sleeper fell from the top of the box onto the carpet. Its original white was tainted with the black and brown of a fierce burn, while other parts glowed a blinding orange. Quickly grabbing part of the outfit that was not yet destroyed, I rushed to the sink and sprayed it with water.

What a scare! It would have only taken a few minutes more to fill that room with smoke, and worse, my new son's lungs as well. When he woke up from his nap, he coughed a bit, but I think everything is fine! We left the house to make sure the smoke cleared.

All's well that ends well, but I did get such an adrenaline rush as my instincts kicked in. I felt like I understood why those mothers would do crazy things or gain crazy strength to protect their babies, even though I did neither of those things. It's just that the safety and well-being of my baby instantly became my only priority like a horse with blinders on. God must have really had his hand over our family today!

This is the outfit that got burned!

This is where Rylan was sleeping and that closet two feet to the left is where the chaos took place!

Needless to say we will be rearranging our closet!