Thanksgiving Review

I am thankful for all of the usual things – just like you, I suppose. God. Family. Friends. Health. Conveniences. But for this creative girl, the holiday season, with all of its beauty, makes me the most thankful for our creator God. He created all of the toys in nature that we use to make our tables beautiful, food taste good and homes smell amazing. And while I really love playing with these elements it makes me wonder how much more fun God must have had when he was coming up with these things: the strong trees, beautiful flowers, aromatic herbs, tasty roots. If we can put these things together and make beautiful centerpieces, vignettes and delicious meals how much more can God envision making with these same things. Then my minds travels to how much more amazing Heaven will be. I hope that one day, when I am in Heaven, I get to create with the Great Creator – or at least play in the same sandbox along side Him. The thought of it is beyond exciting.

Enjoy a peek at what we created with God’s toys this Thanksgiving. DSC_0311

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Give Thanks

DSC_0304We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Every Thanksgiving. But this week as I was looking for a verse to put on our kitchen chalkboard I stumbled onto the Psalm 118 the Thanksgiving Prayer. We use pieces of this prayer all the time, but in total it is really powerful, so I thought I would share it here with all of you in hopes that some part of it resonates with you as well.

DSC_0403Psalm 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
    but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];
    he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad.

25 Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you.[b]
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
    up[c] to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
    you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

How to Make No-Sew Cushions for Banquette Seating or Window Seats

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I finally completed the cushions for our banquette seating around the kitchen table. I had the bench built-in right after we moved here a year and a half ago. It only took me this long to do my part!

No sewing. Water proof. Washable. These were my non negotiable’s on the project. ANYONE can do this. If you have a window seat and want to make a cushion for it, this is the way to go.

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What you will need:

– Measurements (width and depth)
– Thin boards (I used 1/4 inch thick boards and had the store cut them to my sizes)
– Foam from a craft store. I purchased 3″ thick, but they come in 1″, 2″ and so on…
– Fabric: I wanted mine to be waterproof since we have small kids and this is at our table. I purchased a vinyl fabric to go underneath and then a cotton pattern to go on the top. My top fabric was a light upholstery grade fabric. It could be used for curtains or other type project.
– Staple gun
– Fabric tape, or duck tape.
– Measuring tape
– Scissors
– Sharp serrated kitchen knife

STEP 1

First I cut the foam to the sizes of my boards. I used a serrated kitchen knife which worked well. The store used an electric knife like our mothers used when they carved our thanksgiving turkeys but I don’t have one of those antiques. I have to say it did make the cleanest cut, but my kitchen knives worked ok too.

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STEP 2

Next I attached the vinyl fabric around the foam and to the boards with a staple gun. See the picture for how I did the corners. they came out very nice a square looking when finished.

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STEP 3

Finally I attached the fabric with tape to the bottom of the boards. I used tape instead of staples so I could pull it off and wash it without ruining it.

It’s that easy.

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Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

It’s here, the start of crazy season. This week I’m taking it easy at This Beautifully Imperfect Life – not so much at home! But I thought I would share a little last minute inspiration for your thanksgiving table. Enjoy!

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Thanksgiving Tablescapes

Oh yeah, this is my favorite part of decorating for the holidays – the table.

Here are some inspirational pictures from our Thanksgiving tables over the years.

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Before and After Playhouse

We have had this playhouse for years and it took a beating under some trees. It was overtaken by spiders and very dirty. No one would play in it. We are re-doing our backyard and so I decided it was time to do something with it, or trash it.

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So I decided to make it nice, of course!

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Here it is in progress. First I built a base for it. The brown floor was my creation and I was very proud of it. With a floor off the ground we will be able to keep it clean and spider free.

Then I made it prettier. It was the best I could do. I’m not a good painter, but I made a window and added flowers. That made a big difference. Next year it should be in the garden with flowers all around.

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Best of all, we like it and we use it!

 

The End of An Era (and I need your opinion)

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Well, that’s it, our house is officially un-baby-fied. That means everyone is a “big” kid now.

We sleep in big kid beds.

We use the big potties.

We drink out of big kid cups.

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The changing table was the last thing to go because I was still using it as a dresser. Then the other day I found this beautiful piece at a second hand furniture shop. It was just what I was looking for. It’s an old buffet that I am going to repurpose as a dresser.

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The only question I have is, “should I paint it or not” I can’t decide. I don’t want to mess it up, but their room is totally white and bright, so maybe this doesn’t go. Or maybe it does. I was thinking about doing a creamy paint all over and distressing it a bit. I’m just not sure. What do you think?

So the changing table is going. The last of the baby things we had.

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I’m a little sad, but only a little. Mostly, I’m excited (very excited) for this stage of life. Ten years of little babies was good, but it was enough for me. I loved the baby holding and snuggling years. The sweet firsts and nurturing that went on every day. I loved those years and I’m ready for them to be over.

I’m excited that we can travel with just a bag full of clothes for each of them, we don’t need tons of extra gear. We can walk on our own so I don’t have to carry someone all the time. We can do big kid activities like riding bikes, zip lining, and kayaking. And we can sit still for more than 5 minutes if mommy needs to go in somewhere.

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My shoulders relax just thinking about it. It’s good.

My Kids Took Over the Kitchen This Summer

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This is the new sign in my kitchen. It all started when I told my daughter I hated my life. Statements like that are excellent confidence and security builders – you should try them. You say something like that to your kid and stand back and watch them flourish.

I’m kidding of course.

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It was a real humbling moment for me.

All summer our kitchen has been riddled with crushed cereal, half eaten fruit laying on counters and cabinet doors wide open with snack boxes ajar. Little ones eating in the living room and crumbing all over my rugs and furniture. Snack wrappers stashed under sofas and chairs… you get the picture.

One day while getting breakfast for everyone I ran downstairs to get some milk (because the fridge in our kitchen was not working) when I realized someone (not me) left the basement refrigerator door open all night. Everything gone. On my way upstairs I noticed a half eaten apple sitting on the basement floor. Ants all around.

Later that day the subsequent trip to Costco, post fridge disaster, was still stacked high on the counter when my oldest decided it was time to bake something. Trying to give her freedom to be a big kid I decided to let her continue. While I cleaned off the table and floor (by myself) from breakfast, lunch and snack, she was making a new mess on the small portion of the counter you could still see. Looking for help I glanced into the sitting room to find four other kids watching TV and playing on electronic devices while I was cleaning up their messes.

It was then that I reached my boiling point and words flew. I didn’t really mean what I said. I was just frustrated with the situation I found myself in. I had just then decided they should be helping me but I wasn’t making them, in fact, I wasn’t even asking them to. But I was mad they weren’t helping me anyway.

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That night at my Bible study this statement struck me. “Your emotions are an indicator, not a determiner”.

OK, so my feelings don’t dictate, or determine how I must react. I am asked to have self control with my actions and words. That is a choice that I have to make in the moment and I take responsibility for that.

I know this, but I blow it once in a while. I’m not perfect and I’m not going to be perfect. Even God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. Ahhhh, sigh of relief.

But the most freeing piece of that statement was that my emotions are an indicator.

For some reason I have a very difficult time feeling justified in creating household rules based upon my feelings of frustration or irritation. When I am frustrated with some behavior going on in my home I feel like I need to “deal” with my emotion rather than changing the situation that is causing my frustration. So for me this was liberating to realize that my feelings of frustration over the constant state of my kitchen were an indicator that something was wrong in my home. And it was not only ok, but my job as mother, to change the situation.

In this case it was straight forward. I have the right to insist others clean up their own messes and respect our home and if they don’t they lose some privileges in the kitchen. While it isn’t ok for me to say hurtful things, it is ok for me to insist on some appropriate behavior around our home.

So for now the hours of operation were posted. This enables me to manage the meals and enforce the cleanup without hanging around my kitchen ALL DAY LONG.

I apologized to the kids that night for my actions and I prayed in front of them asking God for forgiveness as well. Then we discussed how out of control the kitchen had been lately and I told them the kitchen was going to have open hours each day until I knew people would clean up after themselves. I expected a lot of groaning and moaning, whining and complaining, but instead, I think they appreciated the boundaries. Imagine that.

We are all beautifully imperfect!

Craft Closet Clean-Up

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One of the first projects I did in our new house was the craft closet. It started out as a bare closet with wooden shelves on the right side. I purchased a shelving system from Lowes and installed it in a few hours. I did this entire thing myself ladies, it was that easy! Then I labeled some tubs that I already had and organized away.

Once every few months I have to go through and re-organize, throw away, and straighten up but now that I have a system that is all labeled – it is much easier. This weekend I tackled the clean up in here and as part of my house purge, I got a rid of a lot of junk that had accumulated. Here is what it looked like when I was done:

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My favorite part of the closet is this over-the-door shoe hanger that I turned into a wrapping station. Now I can always find the tape, scissors, wrap and ribbon! Ahhh. If you like this you can find a million great ideas on Pinterest.

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Now for a few before-the-clean-up pictures…

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