| Pallet Art // A Christmas Gift |

For Christmas the Mr. and I are supposed to only do $100 stockings {or something that may not fit in the stocking but within the $100 range}.  

 I don't often obey this rule, especially since this year my SIL found me an amazing steal of a deal on a paddle board for $550.  There are exceptions to every rule especially when it's going to be a "family" activity. 

My Mr. did in fact stay rather close to the $100 limit.  But he did something that warms my heart more than anything purchased.  He made me a monogram pallet.   

Now let me say this, he LOVES pallets.  Maybe as much as he loves me {okay, maybe he loves me a little more}.  When he sees a pallet behind his office with cool distressing or markings, he throws it in the back of his little white BMW, all whilst wearing a suite and comes home to proudly show me his *ahem* kill per say. 

I seriously dislike "stuff" however I married a man who sees something out of nothing {does this say something about me!?!}, especially when it comes to pallets.  We've done a huge pallet wall in the boys bedroom as well as pallet book shelves for them, he's made me a gas fire pit in the back yard out of pallets and now the monogram {I have a very unhealthy love for all things monogrammed}.  

I love the art that comes out of the pallets but hate the process of them being stacked at the side of the house to be "seasoned".  LOL! 

At any rate, this beauty has found the perfect home in our main hall from the main entrance {to the left of the pallet} to the mudroom {to the right of the pallet} as well as visible from the kitchen {past the staircase straight ahead of the pallet}.  I have to say other than the flowers that he gave me on Christmas morning, I couldn't love any gift more!

Happy Monday...anybody need any pallets ;-) 



| New Year // New Ideas |

Happy New Year!  

It's over a week into the New Year and the dust from the holiday's isn't quite settled yet.  However we are moving swiftly into 2015 with hope and joy of what it will bring. 

* * *

In the midst of the dust and trying to put away the things of the past and tidy up for 2015 I find myself dealing with all the beautiful cards we received over the Christmas season.  

SO much love and care is put into those cards that it's a shame to get rid of them!  So I'm sharing with you a new idea {which I don't remember where I saw it but it wasn't my own} for those beautiful cards. 

First I always post all the photo cards onto a door in our home {usually the basement door as everyone frequents past it} and then from there I move them to a post board in our mud room, somewhere that's tucked away but close enough so we see them on a daily basis and remember to pray for those near and far that we may not see often --- I love seeing them but I heard this new idea and thought it was BRILLIANT!!! 

Here's the most brilliant idea: 

- With your smart phone {mine is an iphone 4s} take a photo of the card {mainly the photo on the card}

- Go through your contacts to "edit" and you'll see a spot for a photo, click on that and it will give you an option to choose existing photo.  
- Simply choose the contacts photo, crop it to the size desired and save...see told ya, BRILLIANT! 

Every time you text or call your contact you see their lovely photo!  So simple and so fun!

I took some time with a latte and spa music playing on the tv and did it with all my photo cards this afternoon.  Took me all of 1 hour to take photos {doing this in daylight is best}, upload them to each contact then deleting each photo off my phone as it would just take up memory I don't have :-) 

Hope you've had a great first ten days of 2015 and praying this year is better than the last! 



| Christmas Wish List 2014 |

Christmas is fast approching and while I'm busy finding, sourcing & 
wrapping everyone's gifts I find myself wandering 
to all the thinks I'm eying up this season too! 

Here's a list of my favorite items from super thrifty to a little more 
expensive {LOL // Love that LV but truly not expecting it
 for Christmas!}. 

Hope you enjoy and are inspired to write your own list to Santa...
especially if you've been extra good this year! ;-) 

Christmas Wish List 2014

Sam Edelman brown shoes

Converse flat shoes

Daniel Wellington dial watch
$195 - theiconic.com.au

Sport umbrella

Holiday gift card

Curling iron

3 wick candle


New House

Okay okay, it's not really a new house, but it's not the "jail house" anymore!  It's the same house we have been in for the past {almost} 3 years; but it looks like a new house now!! 

Here's the back story: I enter blog contest through Monika Hibbs for a $500 Home Depot gift card, I actually WON said gift card, then this arrived on my doorstep:

We had a family vote as to what Behr colors we liked {it was all between different shades of grey} // We all ended up liking the exact same color grey {Mined Coal} and white {Falling Snow} so off to Home Depot we go: 
We spent labor day long weekend painting our house, it was a big job but manageable for my Mr. and I to do over the three days.  The weather was perfect, the kids were near to perfect {until they decided to paint the driveway white...NBD!! Dear Lord!} // My Dad dropped by on Monday afternoon to give us some assistance too which was so welcome, especially since it included my Marm coming later with BBQ for us!

So here is the before: 

And After: 

Our house is two stories straight up on the sides and back and since we are novice painters we are hiring someone to come and finish the fascia board next week for us. 
Paul also decided our front steps were less than savory so he ended up rebuilding them this past weekend.  

Now we can rest.  Well kinda.  Okay, not at all.  The stairs need to be stained and we need to figure out how to make the rest of the front porch look like its new but it will get there.  It's all a process ;-) 

We are SO delighted with how it turned out, we loved using the Behr paint, it went on so well and dried super fast with great coverage!   Feels so good to have the exterior match the interior now!  

Up next I'm going to do a summer wrap up post, it's been a great summer full of making memories that I don't want to forget. But for now, I'm off to play with the boys in the cul-de-sac with our new neighbors.  Feeling very full and content.  We count ourselves blessed. 

Thanks Monika & Home Depot; we're no longer the ugliest house on the block ;-)


| I'm a FOMO |

I'm a FOMO // I don't think this is actually an acronym in real life but it's a real one in my life. 

You know what it means?  Once you hear what it means, you'll be like...OH!!! Yeah, I'm totally that person!  Or you'll be like...OH!!!! That's totally Shawna ;-)

F O M O // Fear Of Missing Out

Living in a social media world there is plenty that I see that I'm not part of that I "miss out on" -- not that I was even invited but woosh, that feeling or pang of "I would love to be there, to do that...etc"

For example, two of my friends took their daughters to get their ears pierced yesterday; one was her first holes the other was her third or fourth...but the overwhelming feeling to go and pierce something came over me. 

I may or may not have gone upstairs to see if my belly piercing was still able to receive the stud.  For your information it was completely able.  Shock and awe I know! 

It wasn't that I want to have a daughter to go get something pierced with..that actually didn't even cross my mind until I started writing this post. It's just about "ooooh, I love piercing...what else can I pierce?!" {I can hear my parents cringing as they read this! LOL}

While I live my life and do what I love when I want to, I end up missing out on other things that are going on.  For instance when we are on our family camping trip this august I will miss a baby shower and a wedding shower.  I'm SO sad to be missing out on these events; not that I won't be so happy to be away with my family doing our own thing but just that I'm sad I'll be missing out. 

I'm a total FOMO 

All this came to mind while I prepared the gifts to drop off to the appropriate locations for both parties.  I'm so so sad not to be everywhere I want to be when I want to.  See, cause ideally I would be camping and at the showers & visiting with out of town guests.  But realistically I have to choose one over the other and at the end of the day I'm perfectly happy knowing I've done my best to show my love to the couples parties I'm missing out on.  I don't think my absence will be missed; I'm just a FOMO. 

As I've aged my FOMO-ness has relaxed.  I want to do it all, be it all, make it all -- that's just my nature.  Realistically I just end up double booking myself all over the place and nobody {especially my Mr.} is happy.  

So I'm content to wrap up these gifts and send my note of FOMO sorriness along with the gift.  Maybe I've turned into a SFOMO -- Sometimes Fear Of Missing Out..because realistically my family are the ones that are at the top of the chain for me; and that's exactly where they should be. 

It's okay to miss out on things that are important to me because making memories for my boys is what's more important right now.  

Thanks to having majorly talented friends to whip together sweet little gifts // my friend Olga made a delightful hat for my sweet second cousin that is about to arrive..{I'm a sucker for great packaging too // makes my life that much easier!}

Off I go to deliver these gifts and to let go of my FOMO-ness ;-) 



| Camping Traditions |

Summertime is in full swing and we have been out-and-about quite a fair amount this summer. 

We have done a solo trip {sans kids} to Harrison lake.. 
Since it was such a beautiful place to rest we returned home for 5 days only to return back to Harrison lake with the boys...
We also had a family wedding that we attended in Washington state last weekend and we were lucky enough to have stayed in a beautiful little resort, again {thanks to G&G} sans kids. 
We are again packing up {this time not in a tent or a lovely ocean side resort} in my parent's trailer {camping with class or glam = fondly known as "glamping"} -- We are off to Port Townsend, WA...it's an idyllic spot for camping, it's seaside, it's basically in our backyard and it's tradition. 

Truthfully tradition has a lot to do with what we do in our house, both of us are sappy sentimentalists and love doing & going to the same places every year.  

At any rate I'm the one that does the planning and preparation for these *ahem* "vacations" -- yes, now that our babies really aren't babies it's much easier to "vacate" and rest but it's still quite a bit of work to pack up and make sure we don't forget any of these special items...some of which are traditions.  

So today it was the first day of preparations; cookie baking.  
We don't always make the same cookie recipe; usually it goes between three different recipes.  The nestle toll house recipe, monster cookie recipe and this recipe for dad's cookies.
For this recipe {as for almost all of my recipes} I just throw everything in the mixing bowl and mix it up.  I don't follow any of the directions and bake at 350 degrees.
Since Mr. L is working for all the vacation prep I depend on lists, lots of lists to get us ready to vacate.  This is the best way to ensure there isn't any spending on food or things we already have at home.  This morning I came down to find my list vandalized by a little man in my house..
Better be sure we don't forget the most important items "guns" & "cookies" too sweet! Ps. both items were already on the list(s) the little man just didn't realize that list he added them to was "boys clothes" ;-)

Hope you're having a great summer and not getting too exhausted from the preparation to have fun & vacate ;-) 



| Re:Post // Big Crumb Rhubarb Cake |

Happy Summer Y'all!!!  

We are busy being not very busy...there is alot going on but since it's spread out through the week and not all smashed into one day it's not a crazy and much more manageable // it is glorious! 

Anyway, I picked up a few pounds of local rhubarb the other day and since today is "hump day" I decided that my Mr. needed a fresh baked cake {as I can't eat it, it truly is for his enjoyment} and so referred to my very favorite most amazing recipe for rhubarb coffee cake. 
I have posted this recipe before but it's THAT good it needs to be posted again! 

‘Big Crumb’ Coffeecake with Rhubarb
Adapted from The New York Times 6/6/07
Not rhubarb season? Don’t fret. I think this cake would be amazing with a blueberry, raspberry, sour cherry or any other tangy fruit filling you can think of. Simply adjust the sugar level accordingly–most of these will need far less than rhubarb does to make them palatable.

Time: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling

Butter for greasing pan

For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cups cake flour (I was out and used all-purpose and it worked great)

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour (ditto on the all-purpose flour–worked just fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

2. To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk together sugars, spices, salt and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. It will look like a solid dough.

3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.

5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Hope you're enjoying the Summer thus far and get a chance to bake a cake and have a cup of coffee with friends, everything is better when 
shared ;-) 



| Winter Days |

This morning we woke up to this beautiful sight. 
After three full days of snow {which by the way I much prefer snow to 3 days of rain!} we woke to beautiful blue sky and a layer of white reflecting the beautiful light. 

So much to be thankful for. 

Yesterday was a pro-d day for my boys so they were home.  
 We had a wonderful day enjoying movies, organizing, building snow forts and shoveling the drive. 

So much fun in fact that after dinner when we went to tuck the boys in Jacob was already sound asleep in his bed.  Oh, to not forget these precious days. 

So since the snow stuck around and having the boys with me for a 4 day long weekend just wasn't enough, I wrote their teachers and asked for permission to do their work from home today.  "Just one more day with you please Mama?"  How do I resist that request.  Not many more years and they won't want to be around me at all! 
So we hunkered in to a plate full of pancakes and their school work to get it out of the way.  It wasn't dreamy but we got it done and a speech written for the district wide speech competition. 

Now we are waiting on fresh baked cookies and a walk in the snow. 

Seems like a perfect winter day to me. 



| Project Life |

I have made a resolution to not make a resolution this year -- weird, I know.  But my theory behind it is that I always fail at my resolutions..I can't remember anytime that they have ever taken root and actually happened.

Example: Last year I made a resolution to document our years {with kids} into multiple albums I have owned for 7 years {I bought them with this plan in mind}, I have moved these albums through three houses and two renovations and they are still empty.

So in my quest to not resolute my resolutions, I'm going to complete {and admit my failure from last year & 5 other years! LOL} I'm going to take a good kick at the can and document our lives.

This isn't going to be costly, I already have the page protectors, plenty of papers, the albums & anything that I may need to produce these 6 albums.

I have seen "project life" albums {that's the brand name for this specific way of documenting aka: scrapbooking} I LOVE the way they look...but..I don't want to invest in papers, pockets, washi tape if I'm not 100% committed to it.

I have also seen friends who just print off a few photos every month and keep them in an envelope and on New Years day they do up a two page spread of their whole year.  I LOVE this idea too...and initially I thought I could do this...

Yeah RIGHT!!!  What was I thinking!?!  I take blinking photos of everything! I enjoy documenting our lives through photos, my boys {all three} LOVE to look through albums and re-live our adventures. I adore digital life, but truly my heart belongs to paper...list writing, journal keeping, photo albums, worn pages of my favorite books...there is just something about holding it in your hands.

So this is what I've done thus far; I've organized the year in photos..hokey stink that's A LOT of work!  I had over 10,000 photos from 2013 alone.  Ridiculous!

But I did it and now I'm compiling them onto 12x12 sheets to be printed. I will add some journal details on scrap paper once I get them back from the printers.  

 So here, since I've sucked at keeping up on my blog for the past year I will just post my project life pages here...Here is our trip to Hawaii in three pages:


| New Year // BE |

2013 has gone with the wind, just like that it was here and now it's gone.  Sometimes it's sad it goes so fast...those rich moments fade, other times I'm thankful that the cheap moments flee just as quickly. 

 | 2014 |
 You're a blank canvas
You have potential and yet are still unknown
You bring promise and new beginnings 

 Along with all that you bring fear of the unknown and unrest of what is yet to come. 

See, I know we have not been promised anything.  We just need to have faith. We trust. We stand guard and prepare for what we think is to come, but at the end of the day we just have faith.  That faith can overwhelm everything else.  So with that I will rest. 

I will just BE

2014 // I will just BE 
I will be free to be me, free to love Him, free to love unconditionally & be loved unconditionally.

- - - 

Back a few weeks before Christmas I was watching Ellen, I'm not a huge fan of Katy Perry but she was on Ellen and was actually dressed, so I watched. 

What came next absolutely astounded me. I saw a young beautiful broken girl singing, not just any song but a song about unconditional love. 

There is conditions on everything in life. That's part of this whole deal, but Christ is unconditional with His love for us.  So when I first heard this song it brought tears running down my cheeks.  I didn't hear it with ears of a worldly love but of a love from the Father to his daughter.

I hadn't heard this song before this version on Ellen...that may be why it made it so obvious to me as to the intention of the song -- my mind wasn't comparing the way it sounded on the radio etc. I just heard the story of the song.  

I'm worthy of His love and that it's unconditional. 
I sat with tears streaming from my face to my heart at a new revelation of His love for me, for you, for Katy.

It's my hope that this year, this fresh 2014 is filled with unconditional love from our Father, that He reveals His love on a new level; that there are no strings, no stipulations but just unconditional love felt in every aspect of your life and that you're able to slow down and revel in that love.  

Accept it.  Accept Him.  And just BE

{here is the song clip from Ellen, please listen then read the lyrics as if God was writing it to you}

Oh no, did I get too close?
Oh, did I almost see what's really on the inside?
All your insecurities
All the dirty laundry
Never made me blink one time

Unconditional, unconditionally
I will love you unconditionally
There is no fear now
Let go and just be free
I will love you unconditionally

Come just as you are to me
Don't need apologies
Know that you are worthy
I'll take your bad days with your good
Walk through the storm I would
I do it all because I love you, I love you

Unconditional, unconditionally
I will love you unconditionally
There is no fear now
Let go and just be free
I will love you unconditionally

So open up your heart and just let it begin
Open up your heart and just let it begin
Open up your heart and just let it begin
Open up your heart

Acceptance is the key to be
To be truly free
Will you do the same for me?

Unconditional, unconditionally
I will love you unconditionally
And there is no fear now
Let go and just be free
'Cause I will love you unconditionally (oh yeah)
I will love you (unconditionally)
I will love you
I will love you unconditionally 

- - -

Much Love, 
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