art to make with kids.

Jake and I have worked on a few projects together.

We made crayon art.
We made abstract art.
We even worked on a family rules project for Katie’s Mother’s Day gift.

We’ve been talking about doing another craft day and maybe even working on some Christmas gifts together. I can’t talk about our Christmas gift ideas yet, but here are some of the other things we’ve been thinking about trying.

I love this Bubble Art from Life as a Thrifter, and this is the one Jake is the most excited about. It’s pretty simple – just add food coloring to bubbles and blow it at a white canvas. I’ve had some trouble finding liquid food coloring, so we might need to wait until Easter (and egg dye) to try this one.

bubble art

[Source via Pinterest]

As I’ve said before, I’m a big fan of anything with words, so this simple project is right up my alley and I think it would be great to do with Jake. You just use an old painting (or create your own with paint or even magazine clippings, add vinyl stickers on top with a word or phrase, paint over top it, then remove the stickers to reveal the colors underneath.

song lyric wall art

[Source via Pinterest]

We’re thinking about doing something like this Messy String Art from Polish the Stars, but using a single initial and without the extra pieces of string. He might need a little help with the nails, but stringing it would be pretty straightforward. I’ve also seen something like this using the outline of a state or country (like this one).

messy string art 1

[Source via Pinterest]

Jake is also really excited about making a drip painting, like this example from Take the Side Street. It’s pretty simple – paint, a water bottle, and no real rules about what is “right.”

drip painting

[Source via Pinterest]

We’re still trying to figure out which project we’ll start with, and when. But I love getting the chance to experiment and be creative (and sometimes, teach him how to use power tools).

And next time, we’re thinking about inviting more people to our craft days.

bedroom ideas.

After finishing the board and batten wall treatment in the dining room, I dived right into working on the master bedroom. Usually I like to break up the big projects with smaller ones, but this time I was motivated. I wanted to take advantage of that, so I pulled all the furniture in to the middle of the room and started taping. It's still in process (everything around here takes forever), so while I work on it, I thought I'd share some of my ideas for the room.

I love the look of wood planked walls, so I'm experimenting a little with something that looks kind of like this:

I'm also planning to build my own headboard. I'm thinking about something kind of like this, using these plans:

I want to include some kind of phrase on it, something like this:

I'll also need to repaint my nightstand, because I don't think the existing color will work with the new wall color. My old dresser could use a new coat of paint, as well, since it's gotten a little beaten up with all the moves in the last year. The closet has sliding doors, which I hate, so I'm thinking about creative ways to replace those.

Overall, the bedroom isn't tiny (especially compared to the bedrooms upstairs), but it isn't very big, either. One wall has a door in from the hallway and the closet, two walls have single windows, and one wall is empty (though this is the wall the door opens against, so that limits the amount of usable space). I don't want to place my bed against a window, because the headboard I want to make will block part of it, and because the scale of the 3-foot window would look odd against my queen-size bed. This leaves the blank wall for the bed. After leaving room for the door to open, it would be difficult to fit the bed and two nightstands along the wall, so I'm thinking about placing a small shelf and maybe a wall basket on the other side of the bed. Neither of these photos are really my style at all, but you get the idea.

[Source (both) via Pinterest (left and right)]

So, lots of plans for this room! Right now I've got the first coat of paint on the wall, and the planked wall is in process. Hopefully I've have a reveal photo (at least of the wall) soon.

my dealer.

Because some conversations are just too funny not to record.

The other day I had dinner with my parents, and I brought corn from my CSA. This is the conversation I had with my dad.

Dad: Is that from your dealer?
Me: Yes, Dad. It's the same place I get my pot.

dining room closet.

This is one of those projects that should have been finished a long, long time ago. In fact, it's been mostly done for a while now, but I haven't written about it because it didn't look pretty and organized yet.

Well, there is enough going on around here, in my house and in my life, that making a closet pretty and organized just isn't at the top of the list. So, here, finally, are pictures.

One area where there really isn't enough storage in this house, is in the kitchen. There's enough room for the basics, but extra things like serving bowls and display items don't really fit. And since there are already two coat closets in the hallway, I decided to turn the coat closet in the dining room into something that works a bit better for my house.

I removed the bi-fold door and the hanging rod and added shelves (made of 3/4-inch MDF, cut to size at Home Depot). I used a simple piece of trim for the front of the shelves, just to finish it off a little.

Someday I might organize it a little more and maybe add a curtain rod to keep it hidden most of the time. And eventually, I'll continue the dining room wall color up the stairs, but I don't want to think about painting that for a while.


I'm kind of on a roll with the book thing. Normally, I really need some kind of external motivation to finish a non-fiction book (like a small group), but I've been reading a lot lately. It helps that I really like Jen Hatmaker's writing style - its sometimes serious, sometimes silly, sometimes irreverent, and sometimes just really in-process, which is something I can really appreciate in another person. It also helps that since T and K moved in, I've been going to bed at a more normal hour.

And let's be honest - it also helps that it's the summer and there isn't a ton of good stuff to watch on Hulu at the moment.

Anyway, I actually downloaded 7 before Interrupted (my review is here) but thought it would be better to read them in the order they were written. And once I finished the first one, I flew through the second. 7 is the story of an experiment to make 7 simple changes in 7 different areas of excess (including things like media, possessions, and shopping) for one month each and record the results. It's written almost like a blog, with entries labeled by day. It was funny and challenging at the same time. It was also not a little bit convicting, given my frustration with significantly reducing spending last month, though some of the words in the conclusion brought me a lot of peace (see the final quote below).

I highlighted far too many things to list them all, so here's a sample:

"As I reduce, He is enough. As I simplify, He is enough. He is my portion where food and clothes and comfort fall woefully short. He can heal me from greed and excess, materialism and pride, selfishness and envy. While my earthly treasures and creature comforts will fail me, Jesus is more than enough. In my privileged world where 'need' and 'want' have become indistinguishable, my only true requirement is the sweet presence of Jesus."

"I won't defile my blessings by imagining that I deserve them. Until every human receives the dignity I casually enjoy, I pray my heart aches with tension and my belly rumbles for injustice."

"When the jars of clay remember they are jars of clay, the treasure within gets all the glory, which seems somehow more fitting."

"What if we are actually called to a radical life? What if Jesus knew our Christian culture would design a lovely life template complete with all the privileges and exemptions we want, but even with that widespread approval, He still expected radical simplicity, radical generosity, radical obedience from those with ears to hear, eyes to see?"

"The church the Bible described is exciting and adventurous and wrought with sacrifice. It cost the believers everything, and they still came. It was good news to the poor and stumped its enemies. The church was patterned after a Savior who had no place to lay his head and voluntarily died a brutal death, even knowing we would reduce the gospel to a self-serving personal improvement program where people were encouraged to make a truce with their Maker and stop sinning and join the church, when in fact the gospel does not call for a truce but a complete surrender."

"Self-deprecation is a cruel response to Jesus, who died and made us righteous. Guilt is not Jesus' medium. He is battling for global redemption right now; His objective hardly includes huddling in the corner with us, rehashing our shame again. He finished that discussion on the cross. Plus, there's no time for that. We're so conditioned to being a problem that we've forgotten we're actually the answer. God is not angry at you; how could He possibly be? You are His daughter, His son; you're on the team."

dining room board and batten.

This room has taken forever to complete. My poor dining room has looked like a construction zone for months now. I'd like to say this is the biggest project I've ever tackled, and while it might come close, the truth is that it just involved a lot of painting. I don't mind painting itself, and I love the difference it makes, but it's the prep work and the clean-up that makes me put it off. Finally, though, I got my butt in gear and got this at least finished.

I've been wanting to play around with adding some kind of architectural treatment to walls for a while, and I love this look:

There are a million ways to do this, and of course, this just mimics the look of true board and batten, but I am so happy with the way it turned out. The entire thing is made out of a single 4x8 piece of 1/2-inch MDF (less than $30). I had Home Depot rip it in widths  I needed, then I cut the lengths individually at home. The only other costs were for liquid nails, caulk, and paint.

The MDF and lower half of the walls are all painted with the same paint I'm using for all of the trim in the house, and the top color matches the living room (and the hallway, once I get that painted). I have shower curtains that I'm going to convert into window treatments. I want to create a gallery to fill the walls - I'll add to that over time. And at some point, the light fixture will need to change, but I'm still waiting on finding the right option for that.

In the meantime, I can't wait to entertain in this new space! Who wants to come over for dinner?

fruit and veggie inventory.

Have I mentioned that I love my CSA? I do. It's a great deal, the variety of stuff is amazing, and it lasts all season. And, bonus, Michael and Michelle are just really fun and personable. This is definitely something I'll be signing up for next year.

But, one of the challenges of a CSA is making sure that I use up all the fresh produce every week before it goes bad. There's lots of fresh stuff around the house, which is fantastic, but if I'm not careful and don't plan ahead, I'll find myself throwing away a cucumber, for example, that has gotten a little...fuzzy. And with T and K living here, the refrigerator is full enough that there isn't I can't necessarily see everything in one glance, like I could before.

(Did I mention that I have new roommates? T and her daughter K are staying with me for a few minutes. Among other things, this means a lot more stuff in the refrigerator.)

As OCD/anal-retentive as it sounds, I had this idea that if we kept some kind of list/inventory on the front of the refrigerator, it would be easier to plan food, knowing what we had on hand and what needed to be used up. I could have bought a dry-erase board, but this solution was cheaper (and cuter, too).

I've seen lots of projects using the glass in picture frames with dry-erase markers, so I picked up a multi-color pack of mini markers ($3.50) and a simple 8x10 frame ($4). I filled it with a piece of scrapbook paper that I had on hand and added magnet strips (that I also had on hand) to the back of the frame so it would stick to the refrigerator. I was going to just do a simple list, but K wanted to make it color-coded and pretty.

We'll see how well the fruit and veggie inventory list works, but I think this could also be used for a grocery list, instructions for dog sitters - lots of other things.

By the way, this is just the stuff that's either in the bottom part of the refrigerator or in the fruit bowl on the counter. It doesn't include things in the freezer or canned goods in the pantry. See how healthy we are?

no spend july - recap.


So this no-spend month was actually going rather well. I found it a little annoying having to be so careful at the grocery store and second-guessing meals with friends. I realized how many times I grabbed fast food just because it was convenient. I didn't miss buying clothes, browsing thrift stores, or even buying supplies for a new project (there is certainly enough already here to keep me busy). I only had Starbucks once this month, and didn't even really miss it.


However, by week three, I was just annoyed. T and K moved in with me, and there were a few things that I had to buy (like a baby gate to keep the dogs downstairs). I wanted to plan a meal out with a friend without thinking about the cost. I wanted to make a bunch of mini loaves of zucchini bread for my neighbors, or muffins for my sisters/brother/brother-in-law's kickball team, without thinking about the cost. So I just kind of...stopped thinking about it.

And yes, I know that there are many people who aren't so blessed. There are many people who don't have extra, who have to count these costs, and more people who don't even have enough. In light of that, this started to just feel like a silly little experiment, with no real value.

So, sometime in week three, I just stopped playing along. Partly for these reasons, but mostly because I was tired of it. Not a good reason, but there it is.

In end, though, there are a few things that I hope I've learned from this month:

  • There is a difference between enjoying a meal out with friends or family, and just running by Chipotle because I didn't plan ahead, or because I didn't feel like cooking. If I really don't feel like cooking, there are plenty of quick, at-home options.
  • Shopping is not a healthy hobby - at least not when you do it often. (Side note: I really can't figure out how I used to find time for just wandering around a store. Maybe this month has just been unnaturally busy, but really, where did my free time go?)
  • Errands are dumb. Really, I used to actually enjoy running to this store then that one, because it was a quick, fairly mindless way to check things off my to-do list. Now whenever I add another errand to my list, I'm annoyed.

at the risk of looking ridiculous.

A few times now, my sisters and I have taken a kickboxing class at the local rec center.

There is one thing you need to know about me and kickboxing. When it comes to anything involving any sort of rhythm, I'm pretty uncoordinated. So are my sisters, something they'll willingly admit, as well. This means that we carefully avoid looking at each other so we don't get off track (and that we get off track anyway). It also means that I am often counting out the steps under my breath (left-right-kick-hold, left-right-kick-hold).

But finally, after the third class, sometimes I'm comfortable enough with the pattern that my mind wanders a bit. This is what happened last week, when I heard a song that took me back 20 (!) years to high school. I thought about how afraid I was then (and later) to look the least bit silly. I thought about how I avoided doing anything I wasn't sure I could do well, how I so rarely took a risk. I thought about how I would never have done anything like this (kickboxing) in front of other people. I wonder about how much that girl missed out on - how many experiences, how many relationships, how many opportunities to see God move.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and have a chat with that Kristy. I wish I could tell her that you only need to really be worried about the opinions of the people that matter to you, and sometimes not even then. That learning to laugh at yourself is an important life skill. And that stepping off a cliff, while scary, can also be exhilarating, because that's when you see God move in extraordinary ways.


I'm so bad at finishing non-fiction books - I really am. I have great intentions, but I usually get bogged down at some point in the process. But, I finally finished the first on my list for the year, and let me tell you, it really messed with me. It challenged me and is still making me think. I've been telling everyone I know to read it, partly because I want someone else to discuss it with me, and partly because it is just that good.

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker is the story of  a radical shift in the way we view life with Christ. It's about learning to do life the way that Jesus did, in relationship, seeking out the least of these. It's radical, but at the same time, it's really not.

Here are just a few of the items I highlighted:

"Why is it so exhausting to uphold someone's heavy, inconvenient burden? Why are we spent from shouldering someone's grief or being an armor bearer? Why is it that lifting someone out of his or her rubble leaves us breathless? Because we are the body of Christ, broken and poured out, just as He was. Mercy has a cost: Someone must be broken for someone else to be fed."

"We don't get to opt out of living on mission because we might not be appreciated. We're not allowed to neglect the oppressed because we have reservations about their discernment. We cannot deny love because it might be despised or misunderstood. We can't without social relief because we're not convinced it will be perfectly managed. Must we be wise? Absolutely. But doing nothing is a blatant sin of omission. Turning a blind eye to the bottom on the grounds of "unworthiness" is the antithesis to Jesus' entire mission."

"Of course we loved the poor, Jesus. You told us to. Of course we opened our homes and invited the lonely in. That was clear in the Word. Of course we clothed naked children and fed starving people. They are human beings made in your image. We took care of the least in obedience to You, Jesus, but we never had the privilege of actually serving You. We did all that for you. But Jesus will say, No, you did that unto Me."

"In Breaking the Missional Code, Ed Stetzer and David Putman wrote, 'The church is one of the few organizations in the world that does not exist for the benefit of its members. The church exists because God, in his infinite wisdom and infinite mercy, chose the church as his instrument to make known his manifold wisdom in the world.'"

"If we've been in church for years yet aren't full, are we really hungry for more knowledge? In our busy lives, do we really need another program or event? Do we really need to be fed more of the Word, or are we simply undernourished from an absence of living the Word?" (from Brandon Hatmaker)