From Sea to Shining Sea

From Sea to Shining Sea

Hello my friends!!!

It’s been a while since I caught you up on what’s been going on around here.  I’ve been home for almost a week now from my big trip to Utah for the Young Living International Grand Convention.  I went with 2 of my grown kids who also love the oils and we had a grand old time.  Since there were three of us, we decided it would be more economical to drive.  To Salt Lake City.  From San Antonio, Texas.

I don’t know what I was thinking.  It seemed like a good idea when we were looking at the cost of flying, but on the seventh hour of the second day I wondered what on earth had come over me when making that decision.  My back side is still protesting when I go to get in my car.  I feel like I drove form one side of the country to the other.

The long drive was really pretty easy though, so I shouldn’t complain.  My children that were with me are adults so they don’t require any sort of entertainment or stops for diaper changes and snacks.  I met several ladies at the convention who had driven further than I did with babies and toddlers in the car.  My hat is off to them….I have nothing to say after that.  Frankly I was harder to travel with than my kids, with my constant need for Sonic ice and freezing air blowing on me.  At one point my daughter was in the passenger seat next to me wrapped in a blanket and shivering…..it was 100° outside.  It was 60° inside.

But convention was AMAZING!  I shared a lot of live videos on Facebook showing the new products and how I kept my anxiety in check.  Hop over there and you can see the beauty of where we were and how much fun we had.  I learned lots and fell even more in love with what this company does for its members and the people in the communities where the farms are.  I so wish you had been able to hear all of the beautiful stories of service….that’s where my heart is!

On the way back we decided to take a detour and drive south to see the Grand Canyon.  I had not seen it since I was about 13 years old and my kids have never been there, so it was a real treat!  Of course, it was so majestic that it took our breath away and we took a zillion pictures.  I spent about an hour and a half just staring at it and praying while my kids made videos and went walking down the trails a little ways.  Even though it kind of ended up adding a whole day to our trip it was totally worth it.  Now I want to take my other kids there….especially the 4 youngest who are still in school.  I feel a homeschool road trip coming on!

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Once I got home it took me 5 days to unpack.  I was worn out and spent the first day resting.  Then ever so slowly I started putting things away.  First my suitcase got unpacked, but it was all kind of piled in the bathroom.  The next day I put those things away either where they belong or in the washer.  I tucked all of my oils and supplements back in their places and started finding places for all of the new products and junk I bought.  By junk I meant things I am sending to my new members….I absolutely LOVE to send them gifts!  And I found a bunch of good ones at the convention from various oily vendors.  There were books and cases and gadgets and bottles.

Why oh why do I love those empty bottles?!  I think it’s that they’re nothing but possibility.  I can fill it with anything I want and create.

By the weekend it was all cleaned up just in time for one of my boys’ birthday, which meant a trip to the city with him and a couple of brothers.  We saw “Finding Dory” which they liked, but I thought was pretty much the same as “Finding Nemo”.  I wasn’t that impressed, but who cares?  They had fun and it was a clean movie, so that’s a win-win in my book.  It is way too much to ask for me to enjoy it too.  Then we shopped for his birthday presents and I got home that night and fell into bed.

One of these weeks I’m gonna do nothing at all.  No parties, no shopping, no cleaning, no nuthin’.  Don’t you ever feel like you just need to stop so you can miss some things and want them again?  I need to miss people.  And grocery shopping….if it is ever possible to miss grocery shopping.  I think I could go the rest of my life without grocery shopping and never miss it.

For the fourth we had friends over.  These are some of our best friends and we generally spend all holidays together.  There’s never an end to the things we talk about, from the state of the church today to food from the 70s.  The flow of conversation is always interesting, although in the end we really never settle any of the world’s problems.

This next week it gets even busier for me because my nieces and nephews arrive tomorrow to spend 10 days with us.  We are really looking forward to seeing them and spending time together, but I am trying to find ways to fill the days and wear everyone out.  My theory is that if they’re exhausted then they won’t complain about missing their parents or not having their own beds.  I have a feeling, however, that I will be the only one who gets truly exhausted.

Have a great week!  See you in the funny papers.

There’s still time to register for my Moms’ Summer Camp!!! Hop over and join us!!  You’ll love it.  :)

Weddings & Water & Wrecks….OH MY!

Weddings & Water & Wrecks….OH MY!

I expected this past weekend to be long, but I had no idea it would be like a piece of taffy being stretched, and stretched and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d.  It just wore me out.

We had 2 weddings to attend, each in different towns.  “OK,” I told myself, “You can do this, you just have to be prepared.”  I got the clothes ready in advance and made sure the car was gassed up and cleaned out.  Meals ready – check.  Plans for the kids that need rides – check.  Hard working husband taken care of – check. (he couldn’t go to any weddings because he’s a CPA and it was tax season weekend)

My 5 youngest kids and I headed early Saturday morning to Austin (2.5 hours away) for the wedding of one of my son Jacob’s best friends.  This is a precious family and I was looking forward to what I knew would be a Christ-centered ceremony.  It was absolutely lovely and I was glad we went.  But as an introvert, I find those things hard, mainly the reception.  I didn’t really know anyone and wasn’t likely to start up a new relationship, so I sat there at my table being mostly anti-social.  I did chat with a few people here and there, but overall I kind of felt out of place.  I wondered as I looked around the room if that happens to everyone or if I am the only person who often feels like a bird in the wrong cage.  What do you do in those situations?  Do you just walk up and talk to people?  Do you pretend to be busy feeding your kids?  Do you sit like a wallflower not talking?  I don’t expect answers to these questions.  I’m just pondering out loud.  Introvert problems.

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We left the reception and headed to have dinner with my daughter who lives in the same town.  We had a nice time with her and just as we were wrapping up and getting ready to drive the 2.5 hours home I got a call.  My oldest son Jacob (who had taken his own car to the wedding and stayed after to hang out with his friends) had been in an accident.  He wasn’t hurt and the woman in the other car was fine, but his vehicle was not drivable.

Now, this kind of thing shakes a mama to the core.  I had that angry/terrified/panic/relief feeling that sends adrenaline through your system and turns you into a mother bear.  “Get in the car kids…drop the burger and let’s go!! Jacob needs us!”  We left the restaurant, dropped my daughter off at her apartment and headed back to the area where the accident had taken place (near the wedding venue).

When I saw my son I may have hugged him a little too hard and hung on too long.

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Once I saw that he was OK I felt a little better.  We said our goodbyes (again) to the wedding party and made the long drive home in the dark, trying to forget the traumatic end to what was otherwise a lovely day.  We made it home and I was so tired, but still pretty wired from the excitement, so it took me a couple of hours to fall asleep.  If not for my oils I probably would have been awake all night.

Then it was Sunday and another wedding.  This time it was the son of one my MY best friends and in the opposite direction of the Saturday wedding.  We all decided earlier in the week that only two of us would go, the younger kids really don’t know this family well and we knew we would be wiped out from the day before.  My daughter and I would attend alone and enjoy some togetherness.  We ran a few errands in the city then headed to the wedding venue in the late afternoon, which was a bit out in the country.  We got about 6 miles away when it started to rain.  Hard.  Like, I can’t see the road at all kind of rain.

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I slowed to about 20 mph and inched my way to the location.  Each time we contemplated just pulling over and waiting it out the rain would let up enough that we could see a little better.  Finally, after a few scary low water crossings we made it.  Whew!  Next problem: we had to park about 50 yards from the building and we had no umbrella.  We sat in the car trying to decide what to do.  Do we sit and hope it lets up or do we make a run for it?  We ran.

And I am not kidding you, we may as well have jumped in the river.  We were soaked down to our panties, hair was stuck to our heads, my makeup was smearing all down my face.  Have you ever been to a wedding with no eyebrows?  ‘Cuz I have and it’s not pretty.

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I want to say here that earlier in the day when it was time to get ready to go I started to blow my hair dry and had a sense not to, so I left it curly and more natural.  I am taking this as a sign that I really do hear God’s voice…..I just wish I’d been listening when He was telling me to make sure we had an umbrella in the car.

Wedding #2 was gorgeous, even the rain pounding on the roof as they said their vows made it seem a little magical.  What wasn’t magical was the sound of my dress dripping on the floor beneath my seat.  I was still soaking wet 3 hours later when we got back to our house.  The drive home was no picnic either….hail and storms pounding on my car in the dark.  My knuckles are still white.

Even though it was sweet and scary and sometimes humiliating, nothing that happened this weekend was really about me.  I was simply an observer in all of it, which was nice.  I got to just smile and sit and drip quietly.  Everyone else that attended these weddings also has their own story and this is only mine.  I like to remind myself of that when I lose perspective and feel like complaining about not knowing anyone or looking like a drowned cat.

This next week it’s predicted to keep raining and I think I will just stay inside and recover from my harrowing wedding weekend.  And maybe hug all my kids a little extra hard, just to be on the safe side.

Have a good one!

When Your Adult Kids Still Live at Home

When Your Adult Kids Still Live at Home

Tips and thoughts for ways to handle adult kids still living at home

Right now we have 4 adult kids living at home and 1 more graduated that’s just under the wire of official adulthood.

This is a whole new level of parenting.  People say toddlers and teenagers are hard….we didn’t have big struggles with those ages.  But adults, that is a topic that needs some attention!

Our kids have always had responsibility and had to learn hard lessons.  They pay for their own things and work from home (mostly) and earn their own money.  They help around the house and are generally pleasant.  But there are still some things that we are working to figure out.

1. Where does the authority of the parents end and the “child’s” begin? (I am calling them child for the sake of clarity, but I know they’re not children)
2. How much of their needs should they pay for?  Rent?  Food?  Insurance?
3. Should we let them use our car?  Our wifi?  Our phone plan?
4. How do we handle discipline?  Or do we?

This is just the tip of the iceberg of adult children living at home.  If they were someone else just moving in with us we would have set clear boundaries from the beginning, but since we eased into this for the past 18+ years it’s not so cut and dried.

The good news is that we do all believe in the Bible being the Word of God and even though not all of those things are addressed directly, is it clear how to handle disputes and so we manage to keep the peace.  That is a victory all by itself!  If you are still raising your young children keep that in mind.  Teach them now to love the Lord, do hard things and care for other people.  It will benefit them now and forever more.

I am sympathetic to my kids’ situation.  They are adults living a child’s life.  They need to break out and believe me….we want our little birdies to fly from our nest.  I am not anxious to be the head of an adult living center.

Even though I am still in the midst of this season and I do not have a full view from the rearview mirror, I have learned a few things that might help anyone headed this direction.

1. If it belongs to me I have authority.  My house, my car, my food….I can say how it gets used and if I let you paint the room you are living in your favorite color then I am doing you a favor.  And you should be grateful.  But if it’s yours…..your purse, your clothes, your car then I should leave you alone about it, even if I have a great idea that would help you undoubtedly achieve great future successes.  I close my mouth.
2. They should pay for themselves as much as possible.  We haven’t moved to having our kids pay rent, but that is because they are responsible with their money and they voluntarily hold themselves accountable to us about how they use it (accountable, not obedient).  But we do require them to pay for their phone (they are on our plan) and they buy their own special foods (so if they like a certain cereal or drink they buy their own, but they eat meals with us).  I have thought about charging my son for laundry services.  Free if you do it yourself, $2 per load if you convince a sister to do it for you. 😉
3. Easing into adult responsibilities.  Our two oldest kids are each saving to buy a car and when that happens it will be 100% their responsibility.  For now they use our cars, but there are rules.  They have to ask.  Every time.  They have to tell us where they are going and when they will be home and if that changes they have to let us know.  And they have to pay for insurance and whatever gas they use.
4. Discipline is a harder issue.  For example, if we request they get up and be dressed by 7:00 in the morning and they don’t do it….what should happen?  Basically, we give them adult sized consequences for these things.  A week without the use of our car has been a consequence we used in the past.  That wasn’t fun.  We do give them a lot of privileges that we could take away if necessary.  I mean, eating here is a privilege and so is having your own room.  If you want that privilege then you have to show respect for our needs as a family and joyfully do what we ask unless we discuss it and all agree to something else.

We expect our adult children to take care of more than just themselves.  By age 18 you should carry your own weight and help those around you.  That means they have responsibilities for kitchen, cleaning, car maintenance, helping with siblings, working for Mom or Dad in our business, etc.  Their whole day can’t be just about them.  That is not good for them and it certainly isn’t good for the parents.  We can’t carry our adult kids around and we shouldn’t have to.  Each adult in the home must be making a large contribution to the cost (financial, physical, emotional, etc.) of living in the home.  We expect them to contribute a minimum of 4 hours per day on family needs, but this can include working for us in our businesses.  If they have jobs that allow them to contribute financially then that time requirement would change.

But what happens when they just don’t agree?  They shouldn’t have to agree with us all of the time of course!   And all of our kids disagree with us on various topics.  That’s when the relationship becomes so, so important.  James and I work hard to spend time with our older kids and listen to them.  What’s important to them? How can we support their dreams?  How are their friends doing?  What are they struggling with right now?  How can we help without jumping in and rescuing them?

It is a delicate balance for all of us and one that we can all become more like Christ through the process. 

If you only have young children now or are looking at being in this situation soon, hear me when I tell you….keep the lines of communication open.  Your adult children still need you.  But you have to practice self-control like you never have before.  No more swooping in and saving the day.  No more endless streams of motherly advice.  No more being bossy (come on, it’s not just me).  They need to make mistakes….sometimes big ones…..to learn and be able to fly away.

Be strong mamma……we are growing and learning too even though we’re supposed to be the more mature one.  It sure ain’t easy.

And when all else fails I can remind my adult kids of what it says in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them,  then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones.”

😉

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Who Says I Can’t Pull Off a Surprise?!

Who Says I Can’t Pull Off a Surprise?!

I am writing my Monday post on Tuesday because, well, I’m tired and it was a long weekend.

I remember in college I could stay up all night for a week then recover with a nap and some cold pizza.  Now I require three days of sleep and chicken soup (without the noodles) to get over staying up until midnight.  Which I did on Saturday night.  You would think I’d learn not to do that but I was hanging out with some of the most amazing women and I decided it was worth the sacrifice of being coherent for the next week.

On Friday I drove 8 hours to Oklahoma City for my husband’s law school graduation ceremony.  I didn’t tell y’all I was going because I didn’t tell him.  It was a huge surprise.  It’s not that I don’t trust you all and I am sure you would have kept my secret, but I couldn’t risk it.  My 9 children already knew about it and just keeping them from spilling the beans was all I could manage.

I rented a zippy little red car and drove myself to Oklahoma.  Considering a 15 passenger van has been my mode of transportation for the past dozen years I felt like I had been released from some kind of prison.  I was all in and out of parking spaces like I hadn’t a care in the world.

James was so, so surprised and it was fun to pull it off with my son.  The graduation ceremony was beautiful and I am so glad I went.  It was better than any church service I have been to in a long time.  On Friday night after the first part of the ceremony each graduate took a turn sitting in a chair while the faculty prayed over them.  How often do you see THAT at a law school graduation?!

On Saturday after the actual graduation I went to a meeting with the Winter Summit planning team.  I hope y’all will go to the Summit in January either in Texas or Oklahoma!  It’s going to be an incredible weekend of refreshment and encouragement.  You do not want to miss it!!

Then on Sunday came the dreaded 8 hour drive home.  It was rough.  I got about 2 hours down the road and it felt like I couldn’t drive any more.  I kept stopping and walking around then I’d drive another hour or 2.  Stop.  Walk.  Repeat.

I finally got home around 6:00 PM and was so glad to see my family that I fell asleep.

Have a great week!

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If You Don’t Mind…..

If You Don’t Mind…..

I may have a problem.  Like I need counseling and possibly shock therapy.  I love books.  I have shelves full of them in every room and when someone offers to send me one to review I simply can’t resist.  #bookaddiction

But I realize I have not told you much about all of the writing that’s happening right under our very roof. #mykids

Besides writing a book myself, my daughter Grace has written 4 books and the first three are available on Amazon.  #true

1. Firmament: Radialloy is about a young woman who lives on a starship.  If your teen or young adult likes sci-fi this is a fun adventure!
2. Firmament: In His Image is the second in this series (with the third coming out very soon!) and follows the same main character.
3. Never is a clean, wholesome, family friendly western with slightly more mature conflicts.

She also has a blog where she reviews books and it’s always nice to find clean books for our kids to read.

Grace

My daughter Patience also has a blog that is for budding photographers.  She’s really good at encouraging you to love your family and follow your passion.  Your photo-driven kids would love this.  #itisprecious

Pep

And, if you don’t mind me telling you, my oldest son is making an album of songs that he has written.  He has a website that tells about his vision and he is also wrapping up a fundraiser to help get it made.  #hemakesmyheartmelt

Jacob

Not to be left out, my daughter Hope is writing a graphic novel (kind of like a faith-based comic book) and my other daughter Faith is starting her own jewelry line.  Those are still works in progress. #iamconstantlyamazed

I really don’t mention all of their accomplishments much because I don’t want to be braggy.  But just this once….I had to say it.

Thanks for letting me.  #proudmom

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A New Door

A New Door

Well, it took two days but we got the junk all out of my bedroom and the kitchen, which is our other nuclear fallout zone.  Not only did we have the boys’ room cleanup to deal with, but as school approaches I am getting in a panic about the house, as if we can never straighten it once we get back to lessons.  I don’t know why, but I feel like I have to clear the entire house of all clutter as if I’m nesting.

The birth of a new school year.

I’m also really happy to have an office for myself.  I took what was our little study room (it used to be Noah’s Lego room until we moved him upstairs) and made it into my own office.  If I am in there with the doors closed it means KEEP OUT.  If I am not in there then the kids can still use it for quiet study.

The reason I couldn’t just use the room the way it was before is it had no door between it and the boys’ bedroom.  That would have made it difficult to concentrate.  So we built a door between the two rooms. When I say “we” I mean I designed it and bought all of the materials, my son built it and my daughters painted it.

Because the room is SO small I didn’t have room for a swinging door.  So this slides along a track we built with a galvanized pipe and hangs from eyes screwed into the top of the door.  It’s a simple 2×2 frame with chalkboard behind it.  The back is a dry erase white board for the boys to draw on.  I decided to make it floor to ceiling to add height to the room.

A great door wheh you have a tight spot!

Open on the Left — Closed on the right

I put stationary casters on the bottom, which makes it super easy to open and close!

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And now I have a place to work when I need quiet.  It was either that or drive to an undisclosed location and work in the car with my computer mashed against the steering wheel and the A/C blasting in my face.

I still have a few small messes to deal with, but it’s mostly all back to normal.  By “normal” I mean not normal at all because nothing ever stays the same around here for more than two weeks.

On Sunday I drove an hour and a half to meet my parents for lunch and handed off two of my daughters to help them for the week.  It was a nice Sunday drive (we used to take Sunday drives all of the time when I was a kid, why don’t we do that anymore?!) and great to see my folks.  I had the two youngest boys with me so as we drove home they started asking questions.  “Mom, why would someone want to get married just for the sake of getting married?!” “How do you know if you’re old enough to get a job?” “Why does a church need elders?”  I am not kidding.  These were the questions.  I mostly replied with answers like, “Hey, does anyone want some frozen yogurt?!”

Have a great week!

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Let There Be Light!

Let There Be Light!

Some weekends are the lazy kind where you sit around and wonder what to do with yourselves.  Like when James and I were first married and we would hear people say they were really busy and wonder what they meant.  Because all we had to do was dust under the bentwood rocker and decide what movie to rent for the weekend.

Then came kids.  And home ownership.  And several home businesses and now we wonder why we ever thought this would be easy.

This past weekend was not a lazy weekend.  We spent our time divided between managing this old house that doesn’t fair well through thunderstorms and catching up on some much delayed home improvement projects….one of which was my Mother’s Day present circa 2010.

Yes, approximately 4 years ago I had this genius idea.  I bought some wire baskets at a flea market and brought them home to make dining room light fixtures with.  On the way home from that same flea market I stopped at IKEA and purchased all of the hardware for this random project.  We have literally had everything we needed to build these lights for FOUR YEARS, yet never did it.

Why?

Because for some reason I am not “allowed” to play with electricity so I had to wait for James to have time to do it.  What’s the man been doing for four years?  Oh yeah….going to law school.  What. Ever.

I asked several times if I could just try doing it myself.  But my reputation for electrical projects goes to the dogs every winter when we have to post a sign on the microwave reminding anyone using it to make sure the heater is off before heating food.  It’s the small matter of an outlet I installed myself when I was remodeling the kitchen.  It works great…unless you try to turn on anything else that’s on the same circuit when the microwave is running.  This only becomes obvious when we use the little space heater in the dining room.  Cook.  Pop.  No microwave.  No heat.

I argue that for most of the year we don’t need heat so it is perfectly fine.  What’s the big deal?

BUT James said no.  So finally he finished school, the Bar Exam and all of the other little tests and applications required to become an attorney and now he can focus on what’s important.  My dining room lights.

He and Jacob took down the old light and installed an outlet in the ceiling.  This was my idea since my IKEA parts had plugs.  What rule says you have to hardwire your lights?

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We clipped the bottoms out of the baskets and my daughter Faith made little cardboard circles to fill in the open middle.  Then we just popped the IKEA lights in them.  Jacob built me some simple boxes from old wood from our backyard wood pile and we drilled holes in the boxes for the lights to go through.  Patience made me some cord covers from old curtains.  It really was a family affair.

Then we hung them (it sounds so easy when I sum it up in 4 little words, but it took us several hours)….at last we have decent light on both sides of the dining room and I couldn’t be happier.  It was worth waiting 4 years.

Make lights from wire baskets

A future project is getting rid of the popcorn ceiling….ick!

Here’s a view of the second light on the other side of the room….

Make lights from wire baskets

We also spent Saturday taking photos for our upcoming summer home tour that includes a whole slew of other amazing, creative bloggers.  So stay tuned for that!

And now we’re back to repairing water damaged parts of the house like the roof of the back deck that caved in yesterday and the pool, which has turned green from the rain.  If you’ve always dreamed of buying an old farmhouse and fixing it up, this is what it’s like.  Not exactly the dream, but still pretty great.

Have a wonderful last week of May.  Stay dry!

For more info on how we made the lights head over to Hometalk and see how we did it!

Christian Worldview Film Festival

Christian Worldview Film Festival

Did you know that my older kids went through a film making phase?  My son Jacob made 2 animated movies and entered them into a Christian film festival several years ago and was a semi finalist with one of his films.  My oldest daughter also entered 2 films.  It was such a blessing to watch my kids develop skills that they both use today.  My son is still into animation and hopes to develop that into a career.

So imagine my excitement when I heard about a new festival in town!

Don't miss the Christian Worldview Film Festival in San Antonio TX!

The Christian Worldview Film Festival is coming.  Yep.  It’s right up our alley.  And if you like to see good, wholesome films made with purpose you should think about going.  If the 60 films, incredible speakers, wonderful music (our friends the 4 Proches will be playing live!) aren’t enough….then come to spend time with us!

Here’s a great list of reasons to attend this event!

The festival starts Thursday, March 13 at noon and goes through Saturday night.  There’s also a Filmmakers Guild (which we are super excited to go to!) on Tuesday and Wednesday.  You can buy tickets to just the festival or the whole event.  If you have anyone in your family that is interested in making movies or being involved in the media industry you would be wise to go to the whole thing.

AND if you use the code “PENNINGTON” you will get 25% off of your ticket.  How’s that for an added blessing?

The Stockings Are Hung and the Singing is Sung

The Stockings Are Hung and the Singing is Sung

Yep.  It’s Monday.

After a long, cold weekend Monday is a beautiful thing.  I like normalcy….if you can call 11 people in one house all day normal.

This weekend we filled Shop 24 orders and went to church.  That’s pretty much it.  ‘Tis the season.  Our little etsy shop will be open for one more week before we take a holiday break.  I love making stockings for people, but I’m always glad to be finished and hunkered down with my family.

This week, in addition to a couple of holiday events, I am planning to finish my Christmas shopping.  I am about halfway done.  A couple of my kids are giving me trouble.  The things they asked for are either $2 or $200.  Isn’t there any $40-$50 present you can think of?!  Give mamma a break, will ya?

So I’m perusing Amazon and blogs and Pinterest looking for the perfect thing.  I may have to settle for next to perfect.  I am giving myself until Thursday.  After that I am heading to Target with my money and what will be will be.

My other challenge every year is filling 10 stockings.  I like a fully loaded stocking complete with little notes and special things that only Mom would know you like.  It’s a love note from me to them.  I usually shop for little things all year, making it easy on myself.  But this year I just didn’t do it and now I am left with hitting the city and going through every dollar bin I can find.  And with so many of us not eating sweets or gluten, the extra filling of candy and snacks is going to be an added challenge.

I may have to stuff a few with granola and walnuts.

The stockings

On Sunday my oldest son, Jacob, and I sang a song at his church.  He asked me on Friday if I would do it with him.  If you’re good at math you have already figured out that gave me less than 2 days to learn this song.  I guess I could have said no, but really what were the chances of that?  He asks me to do something with him about once every 2 years, so I jumped at the opportunity.  In other words, he had me over a barrel.

I don’t have any pictures or videos of us singing because the rest of my family went to a different church so there was no one to take a picture.  It’s complicated.

This is a gift of ours, making things complicated.  We are extraordinarily good at it.

But I did take a picture while we were practicing.  I needed some kind of proof that we did something together.  Plus he loves it when I say, “Hey Jacob!  Look over here so I can Instagram you!”

Despite my lack of practice, the song went OK except for one measure that we both forgot and stood there for 4 beats staring at each other.  Then we picked it up again….what are ya gonna do but smile and go forward?  Perfection is highly overrated.

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any good kid ideas for Christmas this year let me know.  I need it!

How to Add Trim to Make Your Shutters Reach the Ceiling

How to Add Trim to Make Your Shutters Reach the Ceiling

Last week I showed you my beautiful new shutters and how they have improved my lifestyle.  I no longer have to wedge myself between my chair and the wall to open the curtains in my bedroom.  I can have easy privacy when necessary and let the sunshine in with one flip of the wrist.

I love, love, love them.  BUT my bedroom needed height at the windows and the new shutters were only the size of my windows.  I thought, while I loved them with all my heart, that they needed some tweaking.

I wanted to make them look a bit more grand, more substantial.  So I hopped in the van and went to the hardware store for some trim.  I wanted to widen the windows a bit, so I got a 4″ trim and I wanted to stretch the windows to the ceiling, so I got a package of beadboard and some smaller trim.

In less than 3 hours I was finished with the whole project and my windows are perfection.  Mwah!

First we cut the 4″ trim to fit along the sides of the window from floor to ceiling.

How to add trim to your shutters

We also added this same trim across the top, below the crown molding that was already there.  If I didn’t have crown I would have just taken it all the way to meet the ceiling.  We mitered those corners.  Mitering corners isn’t scary…you just need the right tool. (my oldest son was sweet to help me with the project)

How to add height to shutters

The only hitch was that we had to notch around the window sills.  After cutting the side piece the exact length to fit floor to ceiling we held it up to the window and marked where the notch needed to be.

How to add trim to your shutters

Then we measured how far in we needed to cut and we marked that.

How to add trim to your shutters

Until we had our mark exactly where we needed it.

How to add trim to your shutters

There are several ways to cut a notch.  This is just how we do it. We use the miter saw (we also used it for the mitered corners above) to start the cuts.

How to add trim to your shutters

Then used a chisel to chip out the rest.  It only took about a minute.

How to add trim to your shutters

And it was ready to put up.

How to add trim to your shutters

Then we cut the beadboard to fit into the opening above the windows.  I attached everything using a brad nailer, but you can also use finish nails.

Next I cut some narrow trim into a frame to fit inside of the beaded board.  I just did that to add a paneling feeling.  After it was all caulked and painted it looked like this:

How to add trim to your store bought shutters

Below the window I just painted the exposed wall with the white paint, but I didn’t add beadboard there.  I was too cheap to buy another package when I really didn’t need it.

How to add trim to your shutters

To show you what a huge difference the trim makes, I did one window at a time so you could see them before and after side by side.

How to add trim to your shutters

Here it is finished….nice, huh?

How to add trim to your shutters

I am in love.  Real, true, deep love.

How to add trim to make your shutters look bigger

 Click Here to check out some of my other home/DIY projects!

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