Thursday, March 30, 2017

Laundry Room Makeover (DIY)

We have lived in our home for almost 9 years now, which seems totally crazy. The years keep flying by. We moved in with two toddlers and a newborn and the only thing we did right away was paint over the awful dated wallpaper in the kitchen.  It was the one thing I knew I couldn't live with.  The house had pretty much been renovated before we bought it.  It just wasn't necessarily "us" but it was nice and livable and nothing "had" to be done right away.....except for that kitchen.  We moved from an older, historical home that we had also done a lot of renovating on ourselves.  We loved that house so much and still do but we were simply outgrowing it.  The moment I walked into our current home, I knew it was right.  I could see our family living here. I couldn't even tell you why it was right really...I just knew it was. 
Slowly but surely, as our four children have gotten a bit older and as time and money allows, we have been working on making this home truly reflect our style and personality.  And I must say, I am completely smitten with it now.
The most recent renovation was our laundry room and I love it so much! I actually want to be in there. I call that a success right there, my friends.
This is the room before.  That sliding door used to lead to a bathroom but we blocked that off in our last renovation as we created a new master suite. So, now to block it off on this side.
Ah, that's better. 
We used the same tongue and groove pine wood that we used on previous projects, but rather than staining it, we painted it white to create a shiplap look. This is a small space with great natural light coming in the window so I wanted a nice clean and bright space.

 This is now my new view.  (insert nerdy giggling and ridiculously large grins)
We replaced the floors with a durable vinyl floor that looks like weathered oak hardwood. And my husband made this amazing folding station for me out of pallets.  I added some paint and stain and voila!
Isn't it so happy?! My laundry baskets slide in and out. I have one for clean and one for dirty.
What's that you say? A family of 6 and you have simply one for clean and one for dirty?! 
Simplify has been a running theme in my mind and in my heart for several years now.  Laundry is inevitable.  There are 6 of us and I am so grateful that we have clothes to wear and get dirty in the first place.  And then the means to conveniently wash them in our own home. 
Yet, I still felt like there was a better way to simplify this process and make me less crazy!  I've tried several ways in the past.  We simplified everyone's closet and wardrobe, which is very helpful.  We used to have a hamper in everyone's bedrooms which was counterproductive in my opinion.  Then, I tried a big hamper with four separate slots in the laundry room which only made me think I had more time before I "had" to tackle laundry.  So....1 basket for dirty and 1 basket for clean it is. And you know what? It is working beautifully! We get it done and it stays caught up!  Crazy awesome!

Simplified....and pretty too.  I am a firm believer in making your space beautiful; a place that consists of beautiful moments and collected things that bring a smile.  This is our home and I love making it a place of beauty.

Our home actually has quite a lot of closets for the size of it.  But since we don't have a garage or a mudroom type area or pantry, we still needed more storage for bulk grocery store items, laundry items, and random things that don't have a designated place.
So, hubby to the rescue again with the free pallets from our sweet friend!  He made this monster of a shelving unit and I added some white paint.  It is so big that I wanted it to blend into the white walls rather than being a statement piece.  It has been SO nice having this storage now.
Isn't it crazy how much lighting can truly change the feel of a room?  We had just your typical inexpensive flush mount light in here before, came with the house.  This new light came from Lowes. It's a brushed aluminum and just looks modern and clean which is my fav!  We bought a oiled bronze finish ceiling medallion to cover the hole from the old light and I actually love the contrast.
 I added this fun textile to the room recently. I bought this kitchen towel at IKEA about a year or so ago because it just made me smile. I love the pop of green, the strange old man, and the "do you dig?" text on it, so much!
And the shelf in front of the window has proven to be the happiest little spot in the whole house.  I keep adding more plants.  They love it there and I love them there.

The actual transformation of  the laundry room took one weekend.  We had to use another weekend to build the two shelving units because ya know, we have jobs and children to school and care for. ;)  I seriously love this space now...makes me smile every time I look in there from the kitchen and I love doing laundry now!

Cost Breakdown:
-Light- $19.98
-ceiling medallion- $9.98
-Shiplap wall- $20.00
-White paint (for walls and shelf)-$20.00

Grand Total- A full laundry room makeover for about $220.00!!

Hope you enjoyed viewing our latest renovation and more than that, I hope it has inspired and encouraged you to do your own!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Henna Hair Dye, Oh My!

Well, hello there!
Let's talk about hair today.  To be more specific, lets talk about hair dye.
I don't know about you, but I love changing my hair! I've had red hair (in various shades), black hair, plum hair, rainbow hair, highlights in various forms, and even platinum blonde!  And that just covers my hair color...doesn't even touch my hair cuts and styles over the years. 
Ahem...I might have a problem.
I love change. I crave change. And I figure with grows back and if the color is awful, then I can always just put my natural dark hair color back in. So, why not?!
I've truly loved the different colors and had so much fun with the changes over the years but you know what I always discover....I actually love my natural hair color the best.
Go figure..the color that my Creator gave to me.
So, I always end up going back to that.  Silly me.
Alas, fast forward a few years (ahem) and here I am simply wanting something healthy and sustainable to keep my natural color looking pretty and without gray.
Good did I get here?!
Those stubborn, determined little grayish white hairs have been making an appearance over the last few months and let's just say, I am not a fan.
My son walked by the bathroom door not long ago and caught me with my weapon in hand (tweezers), right in the middle of a full on war against the gray team.  Though I suppose plucking them out one by one as they appear is not the best long term plan.
Insert Henna.
I have always wanted to try Henna hair color because I truly truly dislike the chemicals in the hair color.  I've made great efforts over the last several years to rid of the chemicals that go into my body and on my body and hair color is the last biggie to go.
I've had this Henna since Christmas.  Every time I began to read up on it online, I was left totally freaked out and intimidated by other blogs and reviews on the whole process.
But, in true Jenny style, I decided on a whim the other day that I was just going to do it and so I did.

So, the henna powder is green...and mud-like once you mix it...and smells very earthy, but that part works in my favor because I love that.  It may not, however, work in anyone else's favor around me.
I used a product called Rainbow Henna, in dark brown.  Be careful to read the ingredients when purchasing henna hair color, just like anything else, some products have added ingredients that aren't that great for you.  This one is simply henna and indigo powder.  Henna itself gives beautiful red tones but when indigo is added, you end up with a beautiful dark brown.
I added copper highlights to my hair a few weeks before doing Henna because I wanted the highlights to show through the henna to give my color some depth.  And it worked!
The cool thing about Henna hair color is that not only is it incredibly healthy for your hair, it is not harmful to your body at all AND you have all of these fun options!

Henna Add in's:
-mix with strong brewed coffee instead of water to deepen your brown tones
-mix with red fruit tea instead of water for more red tones
-mix in cinnamon powder for more auburn tones throughout
-mix in ginger to help with the earthy smell
-mix in an egg, yogurt, or coconut oil to help deep condition your hair even more
-mix in Apple Cider Vinegar to help the henna give your gray hairs better coverage

You mix the henna in a plastic bowl with your liquid of choice until its creamy like yogurt.  Then apply using a hair color brush or your hands...wear gloves!

I used brewed coffee in place of water and added some cinnamon and apple cider vinegar,

I sectioned my hair, put on some gloves, and just used my hands to saturate my hair with the henna goop.
Then, you wrap your hair in plastic wrap, followed by a plastic grocery bag. This keeps the heat in and allows your color to set.
I kept mine on for about an hour, maybe a tad bit longer.

Then, looking all stylish, set your timer and go about your business, ignoring the many clever comments from your children.

Times up!

It's now or never...

Heck yeah! My natural color, with pretty auburn highlights throughout and my hair is silky soft!  Seriously, it made my hair look and feel so healthy.

Ladies, I will be using Henna a lot in the future. It will now be my go to and I can't wait for Fall to try some more red tones mixed in!

The one jar I purchased was less than $20 on Amazon and it will get me 2-4 more color jobs before it's gone!  Say whaaaaaaat???!!!!

Oh, and ignore the scary stories of henna all over your bathroom and staining everything in sight! unless you're just slinging the henna loaded hair color brush around like a crazy person, then I'm not quite sure how that happens.
I didn't cover everything in sight. I just wore an old t-shirt and headed to the bathroom counter and mirror.  That's it.

Now, go get you some!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Finding the Extra in the Ordinary

We live in a world full of noise; physical noise and head noise.  From the time our feet hit the ground in the morning, noise fills our hears, our minds, and our hearts. No, actually, from the time our eyelids open, there is noise; alarm clocks, text alerts, checking social media before even leaving the bed... noise, constant noise.
Not all noise is bad of course. Music, laughter, birds singing in the trees, hearts being shared and poured much beauty to be heard.  Though, I find that we so fill our days and lives with such an abundance of noise, that we often cannot fully appreciate the beauty in the sites and sounds around us in the every day....the extra in the ordinary.

Remarkable. unusually great.

no special or distinctive features. uninteresting. average.

I don't believe our days were meant to be ordinary.  I believe that our mere existence in this grand world obliterates that theory altogether. Boom. Done. Moving on.
However, we can certainly walk out these extraordinary lives in an ordinary simply not seeing the extra in the ordinary.

There is nothing extraordinary about these photos in and of themselves.  They are small glimpses into my day to day, into what can easily seem like my ordinary life.
There are two things that make these photos extraordinary and they are HUGE.



Choosing to see the EXTRA in the ordinary.

Seeing the sunlight bounce around, cast shadows and illuminate all in its path will never seize to bring me to a place of awe...its beautiful...pleasing to the eye and nourishing to my soul.


...will always cause contrast and make it's presence known.  It's the very thing that cast beauty onto even the most ordinary of things.

We have a choice every single day of our lives.

We can choose to stop for a moment, look up from our screens, take our minds off ourselves and our plans, and look around....
...breathe in the extra in the ordinary.

See the beauty bouncing around like rays of light...all throughout your days here.

When you choose to see the extra in the ordinary...everything becomes extraordinary.

Monday, February 27, 2017

It's All Grace

As I sit here at my desk, I find myself staring at this plant; this sweet little succulent that is perfectly placed in front of the window, with the sun casting it's rays to create these lovely shadows and pockets of light.  I love plants, especially these cute little guys.  But dang it, I keep coming into my newly remodeled creative space, sitting in this chair, and desperately wanting to create something. 

My soul needs it; this space of my own; this place of retreat in the chaos of life; the act of creating something.  Yet, this is the third time I have entered this room and sat at this desk to find myself simply staring at this plant.  It's all I can do.  I am emotionally exhausted and spiritually strained. 

You see, life has been hard lately.  There has been loss and pain, hurt and shame.  We've walked along and beside, sat in hospital rooms and funeral homes, cried with friends who are struggling, fought on our knees for our children's hearts......and the day to day has to.  People need to eat and learn and have clean clothes.

One more load of laundry.....push back the darkness....prepare dinner....push back the darkness....gather school supplies...push back the darkness....
.......and I just sit here staring at this plant. I'm tired. I don't want to push back anymore. It's too hard. 

No one prepared me for children growing older and it being harder.  We got past diapers and sleepless nights and all of my children can absolutely do most things on their own.  Isn't it supposed to be easier now?

No one prepared me for the war that is waging on their hearts.  Oh God, be near. 

No one prepared me for sweet friends losing their husbands far too early and far too young and losing our friend. Oh God, be near.

No one prepared me for how my heart would ache and break for the broken lives, the hurting, the hungry, the enslaved....

And just then, the Lord spoke back to my heart the very same sentence I had just spoken days ago to a sweet friend...
"The hurt is so very hard, but it is necessary."

I know He's right.  I have a story of pain and hurt and shame just like so many of us do.  I know that in my darkest of times, that my God made himself so very present.  The sweetest times with my Savior have always been in the darkest of times....always.
I know He's right. 

But my heart just wants to honestly kick and scream a little and say, NO.
The hurt is's painful.  BUT, it is absolutely necessary. 

If I believe what I say that I do; that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins; that His death was enough to pay for the weight of my sin and yours; that my life is not my own; that I exist here now to share the love that He has shown me; that my sole purpose as His child is do just that unto His glory....then I have to keep pushing back the darkness to let the light shine through.  I have to. I get to.  I will.

But I don't always feel like it.  I feel weak and tired.

And then I open my bible in search of scripture to read over my son....
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
I stop.  I read it again. And again. And again.

He always knows exactly what I need and when I need it.
"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

So friends, I am weak.  I do not have this whole parenting, schooling, mentoring, homemaking, ministry, life stuff figured out.  By the incredible grace of God, I am learning every single day. By His mercy, I am still here and getting to live this life.
Because sprinkled about in the midst of the hard are so many beautiful pockets of light and beauty and growth and much joy to be had....
...but we must keep pushing back the dark in order to see.