Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Getting Married Young Rocks

We got married young. And it rocked. (In case you couldn't tell by the title of the post, I decided to just reiterate it there for ya).
We also got married fast, but that's another story for another day.
There were plenty of people who objected to our marriage, either for the young or the fast reason. Both of which we could and still do understand. When we got engaged, I was 20 and he was 19. We were both a year older when we were married. Some would say that we hardly had any life experience under our belts, and they are probably right. But here is why it was still awesome and I would still do it again, in a heartbeat. 
1. We didn't have as much life experience. 
Wait. Didn't we just agree that this was NOT a good reason to get married? Yes, yes we did. But I think it was actually a good reason. We didn't have as much opportunity and time to be burned by other relationships (though we had both had our fair share of that). We weren't both set in our ways. We got to figure out how to do life together. I can imagine that if you bring two middle aged people together, who have both been doing things their own way for the last 20 years, it would probably be hard to blend that. I'm in no way saying that they won't figure it out or it won't work, I would just imagine it would be a lot harder! We are creatures of habit. We get used to doing things a certain way, and then to have someone suddenly come in and disrupt everything that you do in your own home? It would be tricky I think! If I had gotten used to never having socks on the floor, I would probably be a lot more annoyed by the socks that get left on the floor. Just kidding though, because my husband doesn't leave his socks on the floor...but you get where I'm going here.
2. We  get to spend more of our lives together.
This reason is probably my favorite. I feel so blessed that I met him at such a young age. I love that, Lord willing, we will get to spend so much of our lives together. Every time I see an elderly couple holding hands or being sweet with each other, I smile because I feel like I'm looking into the future. The other day we were at the mall and there was this cute couple, probably in their 80s, sitting on a bench together and they were just giddy. They were sitting really close to each other on the bench, knees toward each other, holding hands on top of their lap and he kept whispering things in her ear and she was giggling like a little girl! It was the cutest thing ever and both my husband and I noticed at the same time and looked at each other knowingly. Mark my words, if we are blessed to live that long, that will be us. I've kind of gotten away from the point here, but all that to say that I feel like it is a privilege that I get to spend so much of my life, majority of my life really, side by side with this wonderful guy! 
3. We got to learn a lot of things together.
This kind of goes hand in hand with number one, but we didn't know that much when we got married. We didn't know how to make a budget, or how to spend our money wisely. We often remark about how when we first got married, we'd go to the grocery store with no plan in mind, just throwing whatever we wanted into our cart. We didn't know what was healthy, and we didn't care how much stuff cost. We didn't by specific ingredients for a meal, we just threw together what we had. It wasn't planned out and we wasted a ton of money and food doing it, but we got to figure it out together. And honestly, I think we both have really fond memories of that time together. We laugh about the meals we used to eat and how we thought that stuff was good! Besides just learning how to budget and shop, we've learned so many other things side by side. 
4. We got to grow in Christ together.
We were both really young believers when we married. This may not always be the best thing, but for us it worked out well. I had been a Christian about a  year when we met, and he was saved around the time we started dating. Looking back, we were foolish. We would have done things totally different now than we did then, but again, fond memories. I love that we got to study the Bible together, learn right from wrong together, grow in God's truth together. I love looking back and seeing how far we have come. I have learned so much from that man, and it's been so incredible to watch God grow and use him! 
This was on the day he was baptized in 2007.
5. We weren't as rushed to have kids.
This may or may not have anything to do with age. I'm sure some 20 year olds are itching to have children immediately, and there are 40 year olds who want to wait 5 years. We swore that we would wait AT LEAST 5 years before having kids. Swore it up and down, we were 100% sure. Well I'm sure everyone was laughing at us when 9 months later we decided to start trying for a baby. God clearly had other plans for us, but even still I am glad we  had those years together to just enjoy married life. Not that there is anything at all wrong with having a baby right away! I would have loved to have kids at any time, I just really enjoyed getting to figure out marriage first. At the time when we were struggling to get pregnant, I didn't see that as a blessing, but now I wish I would have cherished that time with just the two of us even more!
I've recently read several things about young marriage and how bad it is. What do you think? I loved getting married young, and unless something drastically changes my mind, I wouldn't mind at all if my girls did the same. I think things probably depend a lot more on the people than the age, but I'm still curious to hear everyone's thoughts on the matter! 
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Mini Felt Wreath Tutorial

Last winter I made my mother in law a felt square wreath. It turned out SO cute that I have been dreaming of one for my own home ever since. I have a lot of wreath ideas constantly swirling around in my head so I didn't really have a season or holiday to make one for since I already have a lot of wreaths (and ideas for new ones)! After someone handed down a bunch of kids hangers to me and I had nothing to do with the wire ones, it hit me! I should make a miniature version for my girls' bedroom door. It was perfect timing, because right after I had this epiphany, Hobby Lobby opened in our town! I was heading there to buy supplies for another wreath idea I had (I told you, I have a wreath problem), so I picked up this stuff for just a few dollars and went on my way! I have seen versions of this type of wreaths on several blogs over the last few years, but I decided to go with Lyndsey's hanger method-it seemed most simple! I had tried that with my MIL's wreath and so I knew I'd do that again!

Here's what you'll need to make a mini felt wreath of your own: 
*18 sheets of felt (4/$1 at Hobby Lobby)
*Scissors (free-already had)
*Kids size wire hanger (free-already had)
*Embellishment, such as a bow, for the top (Bow was $1.99 at HobLob)
Project total= $6.50
(If you want to make a full size wreath, double the number of felt sheets, and use an adult size hanger. The process will be exactly the same)

Cut each of your felt sheets into about 2"x2" square (12 squares per sheet).
Unravel your wire hanger and form it into a circular shape. Mine had a coating on it that I had to peel back around the neck of it to get to the wire so I could unravel it.

Push each piece of felt onto the wire hanger.
Add your bow or embellishment on the top, and hang! 
And you're done!  It is such a really easy and inexpensive craft! 
To attach it to the door, I just used a 3M hook!
The fun thing about this kind of wreath is that there are so many options! I chose to do this one in an ombre pattern, with 3 different shades of purple, but you could do one color, do every other square a different color, or do a chunk in one color, then another chunk, then another chunk, then start over. The possibilities are endless! 
Have you made any fun wreaths lately?! 
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Grilling: Pizza

Have you ever had grilled pizza? Did you even know that was a thing?! Several years ago, I was driving and some DJ was talking about grilling pizza and so I decided to try it. Never having done it before and not having a recipe or anything to follow, we just winged it, but we've been doing it ever since! Something about the grill just brings all the delicious flavors together. If you've never grilled pizza, you are definitely gonna want to try this one! 
What you'll need: 
*Pre-made pizza crust
*Olive oil
*Pizza sauce (You can make your own, if you're feelin' wild!)
*Shredded mozzarella cheese, or pizza blend cheese
*Toppings (We usually use turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes, olives, etc.)
Here's what you do:
1. Pre-heat your grill on medium heat for a few minutes
2. Put your pizza crust face down on the grill, and baste the side that is up (which is actually the bottom...have I lost you?!) with olive oil. Let it sit for a few minutes.
3. If you haven't already, this would be a good time to get your toppings ready!
4. Flip the crust over, add your sauce, and spread. Check out those grill marks...mmmm!
5. Sprinkle on your cheese and add other toppings.

6. Cook until the cheese melts and the crust is crisp (5-10 minutes).
7. Go ahead, stuff your face!
We usually choose a thin crust so it is really crisp and delicious.
 When we go out for pizza or order in, we always go by the motto that the more crust the better, so I think the thinner crust just makes it feel like a whole different food to us. 
Bonus: it's even toddler approved!
If you didn't have dinner plans tonight, now you do! Give this one a whirl...you can thank us later! 
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Monday, August 18, 2014

I Don't Believe in Soul Mates

We've all heard it said a million times over. "S/he is my SOUL MATE!" 
There's something so magically romantic about those words, right? Something about the idea that this one person was created just for you to love. That you were meant to be together and no matter what happened in your lives, you were meant to find each other. 
Well I'm here to say sorry to my husband-you're NOT my soul mate. 
Doesn't it just sound mean? Hollywood has romanticized it to the level that if you say someone ISN'T your soul mate, it's like the worst, most heartbreaking insult you could ever receive. 
I believe that my husband and I are great together. We complement each other well, have similar senses of humor, and agree on most of the big life issues. This is why we chose each other. We clicked. We got along well. It was comfortable and safe and like we have always been together. Is he the only person my soul could love? Is he the one I had been searching my whole life for? Well....yes AND no. He is the person I had been searching for in the sense that I wanted a husband with his attributes and characteristics. But no in the sense that his soul isn't the one that made mine complete. Could I have found another man with many characteristics that I wanted and fallen in love and had a happy life with him? Yes. I'm super thankful that I didn't though, because I really like the one that I chose. And that's exactly it. We chose each other. We made a choice to spend our lives together. To work hard to make an incredible marriage last. Personally, I think it's a lot sweeter to be reminded that you love this person so much, you are choosing to do life together. We didn't just come together because the love gods brought us together and fate aligned to bring me my soul mate. We met, connected, fell in love and decided we loved and cared for each other so much that we wanted to make it a life long thing. Isn't it kind of cool? To acknowledge that it could have been someone else, but it's HIM? And that he could have chosen another lady to love and to cherish until death, but he didn't. He chose me. He likes me, he really likes me!! I think it makes our marriage that much more special. To know that we made this conscious decision to make this other person the most important person in our world. And that they loved us enough to do the same. We're just two people who happen to be madly in love.
Do you believe in soul mates? Why or why not? 
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Friday, August 15, 2014

Cookies for Neighbors

It's been a good long time since I've baked. We were living with my in-laws while our house was being built and my MIL is a great chef, so I had no need to bake there. Then we were doing the whole 30, then we were eating paleo-ish, and on and on. My husband has been really wanting to bake cookies for some neighbors and we just had 2 new neighbors move in in the last week, so I figured we'd better get on it! He had been promising my oldest daughter that they would bake cookies together, but yesterday morning she came and woke me up and asked if we could make them that day. I really didn't want to. I was having an exhausting week and it seemed too messy and like too much work! But I said yes and we did, and I'm soooo glad. It was such a fun time with my big girl! 
The last time I baked anything she was only at the age of really being able to "mix" up the batter, but this time she did everything except crack the eggs and put the dough on the cookie sheets!

Ready to get started... She seriously asked me 83 times before we started if we could bake cookies. Excited to say the least!

"Mixa, mixa, mixa!"

She was seriously so happy the whole time! What could be better for a mama's heart?!

Little sister happily played doctor at our feet. She really had no interest in helping us mix, which probably worked out well for all of us ;) 

This is where she starts thinking about tasting the batter. The smile says it all....

...and she goes for it!

"mmmm. Delicious in my tum-tum-tummy" she says!

Proud of her handiwork! 

So I kicked them out of the kitchen while I dealt with the hot oven, and then we waited patiently to taste the fruits of our labor. I think they approved!

So much fun in the kitchen with my sweet girl, baking up sweet memories. (That was totally cheesy, but I didn't mean for it to be so I'm leaving it, ha!)
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

You Can't Start Over

A few weeks ago at church, I was chatting with a wonderfully wise, dear friend whose children are grown. I don't remember the exact conversation but I think it was something about a struggle I was having with one of my kids. Again, don't remember the exact circumstance, but I do remember what she told me. 
"There are days when I wish I could go back and parent all over again and do some things differently." 
But as parents, we can't go back and start over. Sure, each day is a fresh start. A chance to make things right with your children. A chance to show them more grace than you showed them the day before. A chance to show them what patience looks like. An opportunity to lovingly teach them to mind you, and guide their hearts toward the Lord. Yes, we can start over each day and try to do better than yesterday. But we can't go all the way back and start over. We can't re-parent and hope that we do it better the second time around. 

Of course, this all got me to thinking. This is my one shot. This is my chance to point these sweet souls toward Jesus. To teach them about goodness, kindness and joy. To guide and mold who they become. I don't want to mess this up, people! There are no perfect parents, and I'm certainly not even close. There are some things that I think I'm probably doing right, and there are things that I know I'm doing wrong. At the end of the day, I don't want to look back and wish that I had done something different. I want to try my hardest to be the best mom that I can be. To show my kids unconditional love and acceptance. To teach them about the world. To teach them to be model citizens and kind hearted women who seek the Lord. 

When they are going off to college one day, I don't want to look back and wish that I had been more patient with them. To wish that I hadn't worried about the spilled milk or the messy, crazy hair. To wish that I hadn't gotten frustrated on days where they just wouldn't nap. But most importantly, I don't want them to grow up and wish that they had a mom who was more patient, or more giving, or more loving, or happier, or more understanding. So I'm choosing to think about that every day. I would never want something like impatience or discontentment to be the norm, or to be what my kids expect of me. I want to remember that I am shaping their hearts. I am affecting their future with every interaction. That is a big job! A lot is at stake there. I know I'll never get it right, but by God's grace, I will do the best that I can. 15 years from now, when I look back on the early years, I'll will know that I did the best that I could. For them.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Summer Grilling: Sweet Corn

We live in the Midwest, so naturally we love corn. This time of year it is THE BEST. So fresh, so sweet, so perfect. Our very favorite way to prepare corn is on the grill. Actually, that's the ONLY way we do it. My husband is a professional corn griller, so I can guarantee you that if you try this, you'll be hooked. 
I've heard of several people lately saying they have never grilled corn, or didn't know you could. Ohh, you can. And you should. Here's how!
 The trick is that you want to leave the husk ON the corn. Don't take it off. Just trust me here. Leaving the husk on allows it to get super moist and not burn the kernels. 
Lay the corn directly on your grill. 
Turn the grill on  400-450 and cook corn for about 20-30 minutes, turning it over halfway through. 
Now is the hardest part. You are going to have to take it off the grill and shuck it (remove the green stuff) and it is HOT. Use oven mitts if you must. We usually let it sit for a couple minutes then suck it up and pull it off. Roll it in butter, sprinkle some salt & pepper over it and you are good to go. The best corn of your life! 
What's your favorite thing to grill? 
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Monday, August 11, 2014

I Belong with You {Master Bedroom Prints}

I love how song lyrics can so often say what I want to say, but even better. Somehow they are way more eloquent than what I could ever make them! Apparently I've recently become obsessed with displaying lyrics in my home. I have a You Are My Sunshine pillow in my living room, and before we moved last winter, I made up some prints for my girls' room with songs we sing to them. I guess I am quickly looking to fill every room in my house with lyrics, because I've decided on some new song lyrics for our bedroom now. I have only heard this song while shopping in stores, so I actually don't even know all the lyrics, but it caught my ear and I just thought it was the cutest little saying. So naturally, I thought it needed to be displayed in our little haven. I'm slowly getting our bedroom to just how I want it to be. It's a process, and this room always gets pushed to the back burner no matter how much I try to prioritize it (we spend less time in our bedroom than any other room...). It's coming along and this little addition helped, I think! 
During the "design process" I couldn't just stop at one so I made all three so I could stare at them for awhile and decide which one I want in our room. I still haven't decided...opinions? Feel free to save any or all of them for personal use! (Right click to save. They are 5x7.)

It makes me smile. 
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