Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Days {Day 1 } This does not feel like home

Two years ago, when I was pregnant with Collin, I came home after a two week trip.  After being home just a few minutes, I erupted into tears.  This wasn't just a few little tear drops. This was a level five meltdown.

Fearing the pregnancy hormones,  Shad hesitantly asked, "Honey, what's wrong?" In between sobs, I cried, "This doesn't feel like home!"

Shad thought I meant that "Maryland" didn't feel like home.  Being the smart man he is, he tried to console me thinking I was homesick, but I wasn't.  I was upset because this "house" didn't feel like home.

My house felt like the home of someone who still had a pile of unpacked boxes in the basement "just in case we moved."

My house felt like the home of someone who was waiting for her "dream home" to start decorating and enjoying it.

My house felt like the home of someone who had given up just because we were renting.

My house felt like the home of someone who didn't try because we didn't have enough money.

My house felt like the home of someone who was just surviving and not living.

I guess it took a few weeks of being away (and the pregnancy hormones) to make me realize the true state of my house.  Now, I realize a pretty house isn't everything, but my house just reflected how I felt on the inside.  I was surviving, just holding on until a church called Shad to be pastor.  I was living my life on hold, and my house showed it.

Right there, in the middle of that level five meltdown, I decided it was time to change.  I wanted to love my house.

Over the month of October, I will be taking a break from calculating my blessings and blogging "31 days to love your home."

I've never done 31 days of blogging before, and I'm not going to lie, I'm nervous.  However, I love a challenge, and I can't wait to share my journey to loving my home.

You can check out other 31 Day projects here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blessing #141 - A Tweeked Mantle

In August, I started painting the paneling in my dining room. Painting paneling is a beast! It's not easy! I really didn't want to see a paint brush for a while, but then Sherwin Williams had a commercial that proclaimed, "40% off all paint!"

Resistance was futile, I knew I was buying paint.  Most of this week, I have been painting our living room.  After I painted the mantel, the brown flowers I used did not look right.  I had to do a little tweeking so here is the mantel now...

That piece of blue in the left hand corner, is painter's tape that I hadn't taken down yet.  I also realize the mirror is not perfectly centered. I painted the mirror white and sanded the edges, and added the giant mason jar for height.

I'm really happy with the new paint in the living room, and I love my tweeked mantle.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blessing #140 - Another Chalkboard Armoire

About a year ago, I painted my chalkboard armoire, and I still love it! It's my favorite piece I have ever restored.....until now!

Last week, my friend asked if I had a dresser in our stash.  Yes, Shad and I have a hoard.....ahem....stash of furniture we have found here and there.  I sent her a few pictures of items and she picked this dresser....

Now, my friend had a really good use for this dresser.  She is helping someone out, and needed some extra storage so I wanted to make it nice for her.  I wanted to make it beautiful because my friend deserves something beautiful for what she is doing, but at that point it just looked like a giant brown mess. Shad found it almost a year ago for $5. I knew what it could be so I asked her to give me a week, and I would give it to her all fixed up.  I get a blog post out of it, and get to help a friend.  Win Win!

I worked a little each day all week, and here is the finished product...

I used the same paint that I used on my other chalkboard armoire, but I had added some gray paint to the blue.  Of course, I painted the door with chalkboard paint.  I love having a chalkboard to show off my favorite quotes.  A few weeks ago, I found the hardware at a yard sale for a $1.75, and I knew it would be perfect for this job.

Oh! But wait, the outside is pretty, but here is the reason I love this dresser so much...

I love all the details (not the bright green carpet)!

The dresser had this part that looks like a drawer but pulls down into a desk.  I painted it in chalkboard paint just to make labeling easy.

I painted the inside of all the drawers, and lined them with wrapping paper I got at Target.  I just sprayed the bottom of the drawer with spray adhesive and smoothed the wrapping paper down.

I painted a little circle of chalkboard paint in each drawer so that the drawer could be labeled.  Y'all know I love labeling everything.  The chalkboard labels can be erased and changed as the drawers are used for different things.  You can tell I have two little boys because I used the word undies.

I also lined the inside of the hang up part with the paper.  That one roll went a long way.

The details definitely made this project for me! I was so excited to give it to my friend, and she loved it.

I'll be sharing this post with these awesome sites.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Blessing #139 - Mr. Gordon

Remember when I posted about my landing table and the great story behind it? If not, you can read that post by clicking here.

In that post, I mentioned that Mr. Gordon made my table and I would have to blog about him on another day.  Today is that day.

Over the weekend, Mr. Gordon passed away, and my heart is hurting for Mrs. Gordon and his family.   Today, I just wanted to share with you a little about him because he's the type of person that everyone should know.

When I was a little girl, Mr. and Mrs. Gordon sat right behind my mom in church. Often, I would sit on my Mom's lap facing backwards, and I would spend most of the service looking at him.  With his own unique style, Mr. Gordon half sung and half whistled every hymn during the congregational singing. Actually, he mostly whistled.

  Mr. Gordon always had a toothpick in his mouth and his outfit of choice was usually his blue and white striped overalls.   As a little girl, I was always fascinated at how he could talk, sing, and whistle and yet his toothpick would never fall out of his mouth.

Mr. Gordon was a painter by trade, and did all of the painting in the church.  Every time I saw him painting, he was calmly whistling.  He never seemed to be in a hurry (Mr. Gordon was never in a hurry). I guess he just wanted to get the job right.

In the past year, I've painted a few rooms in our home.  Now that I paint, I realize I never saw him using painter's tape.  Never! Every time I'm working on a paint project, and my Dad asks how it's going, I answer, "I'm no Mr. Gordon."

Mr. Gordon's life demonstrated the love of Christ by how he loved his wife of 65 years, how he loved his big family, how he loved his country as he served in World War II, and how he loved Ridgeway Baptist Church.

Although I won't be at his funeral today, I am going to honor Mr. Gordon the best way I know how.  I'm painting my living room.  I'll probably whistle some, and I may even go without the painter's tape...nah! I'm no Mr. Gordon.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Blessing #138 - Stopping to Smell the Caramel Apples

Yesterday, as I was innocently running errands, I saw this sign and stopped dead in my tracks.

Now, I did not plan on going into that particular store, but when I saw that sign, I quickly changed my plans.  Maybe some disciplined person could drive right by that sign unaffected, but that person is not me.  To me, that sign did not read "Caramel Apples Today."  My mind filled in that open space between Apples and today and the sign read, "CARAMEL APPLES (Stephanie you have to get one) TODAY."

Collin and I ran into the store and watched as an Amish man made up two caramel apples just for us.  He tied them up in  pretty bows giving the beautiful apples the respect they deserved.  He was a little surprised that someone came at 9:00 in the morning for caramel apples, but  I just told him, "Your sign worked."

The caramel apples were a small pause in our day, but it was so nice to take a moment to celebrate the the wonderfulness of fall. Plus, I scored major points with B for his after school snack.

"Hey Mom, are you done yet? 'Cause I'm about to eat one!"

Tomorrow is the first official day of fall.  Make sure you take some time this weekend to have your own mini celebration. Drink some apple cider, wear your favorite boots, buy a pumpkin spice latte, or lite a pumpkin scented candle.

Life goes by so fast.  In a few months, you'll blink and it will be winter and you'll be stuck in your house for the fifth day in a row with a crazy toddler and you'll be staring out the window at two feet of snow wondering, "Why won't they just come and plow our road!" .....I'm sorry....Where was I?.....Sometimes I have flashbacks to the Snowpacolypse of a few years ago.

Anyway, don't let this great season slip by you.  Take some time to stop and smell the roses... or the caramel apples.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blessing #137 - Dear 16 year old me,

Dear 16 year old me, 

Greetings from 30 year old Stephanie.  At almost double your age, I have lived an entire lifetime beyond you so I thought I'd take some time to tell you a few things.  

There are a few things in life that are still the same at 30 as they were at 16. First, you're still awesome. Just kidding, just kidding....okay, I'm not really kidding. 

As you can tell from this letter so far, you are still a little on the dorky side.

You still get all your clothes from Goodwill, but instead of clothes from the 60's and 70's you've moved up to the current decade.

At 30, you still love Frank Sinatra. For a 15 year old, you have great taste in music, The Backstreet Boys and Nsync will lose popularity, but Frank is timeless.

The “klumsy phase” that you are in never really goes away. It's just who you are. At least you learn to fall with style. (Not really, but I thought that would make you feel better.)

The strange rapid fire, machine gun sneeze that you have, well it never really goes away.
Enjoy the fact that it is still “cute” on you. At 30, it's not so cute. It's scares people.

You will never like change, but you learn to work with it.

You know how Mom says that when you have a house of your own, you are going to magically change and be a neat freak just like her? You won't! You are a naturally messy and unorganized. The part of your brain that makes you creative also makes you unorganized, but you find ways to help that work for you.

Your nerd quotient goes way down when you get lasik and lose your contacts and glasses, but don't get too excited.  It goes right back up when you have to carry an inhaler with you all the time.  

Now, here's a few tips and hints that will help you out along your way.

I know you were so proud of yourself when you got all your hair cut off, but please remember the name of the lady that did it.  She did a great job, but that's an easy hair cut to mess up. Trust me.

Don't ever get rid of the purple shirt that says “awesome” on it. At every 80's night event, you will wish you had it.

I know you hate to hear this because at 30 I still hate to hear this, but Mom is right about many things. When she says, “I think you're going to be a teacher someday,” don't laugh so hard, it will maker her, “I told you so,” a little easier.

For matters of love and the heart, Jenny, your sister by choice, has lots of insight. Listen to her. At just the right moment, she gives you some tough words but the best advice that you needed. Jenny is also a  breastfeeding GeNiUs! She is way better than any lactation consultant.  

I know you just said, "Gross" when you read the word"breastfeeding," but yes, you breastfeed because you birth two babies. Yes, you Stephanie Lankford do the impossible and birth a 9lb.9oz and later a 10lb. babies.

It's okay! Stop hyperventilating! Labor is not nearly as bad as you built it up in your head.  

I know middle school was hard, but there is really only one person that tries to bully you in high school. It's confusing because he's a teacher, and you are supposed to respect your elders, but just between you and me....he's a jerk. Let his threats and comments roll right off your back. He's just full of hot air.

There will come a day when Mom will tell you to call Papaw, no matter how crazy the day is, no matter what is going on, CALL HIM!

Be nice to everyone! The one girl that you are mean to in high school, ends up being the daughter of an important head of some organization that your job depends on. God has a serious sense of humor with you! Besides, you never know what people are going through, so be nice!

On that note, you know how everyone tells you, “After high school you won't ever know any of your friends.” I know this sounds crazy, but that's not true at all! You will not only know how your high school friends are doing, but you might just know what they had for lunch that day.

On your first day of college, a man will tell you, “I think you need to change your major.” He doesn't know anything about you. He doesn't even know your name. He is just making a judgement based on a test, and you are a horrible test taker. (Ironically, 30 year old Stephanie teaches a class on test taking.) Although, his words devastate you for a while, one day when you find your passion his words will be very funny.

At family get togethers you just sit in the corner passing time because you think they are boring. Get up! Give some hugs! Let Aunt Peggy kiss you on the cheeks! Make some memories. Those family get togethers end way to soon, and just when you are old enough to realize how awesome your aunts and uncles are, many of them are taken out of your life.

I know you absolutely hate to write, but writing really helps you process through things. Trust me. As crazy as it sounds, some day you will write for fun.

Trust your instinct.  That "feeling" you have about a situation or someone is usually right.

There will come a day when you become more focused on how you look from the outside than what is in your heart. You will change your clothes, and so much about you just so that people that aren't important will think you are “good.” I hate to break it to you, but you will never be a meek and quiet wallflower. You will only make yourself miserable trying. Don't worry though. It takes a while but you get back to your old crazy quirky self.

God doesn't need perfect. God loves to use broken things.  

Someday, God is going to surprise you when He doesn't fit inside the box you made for him. Once you realize He's bigger than your box, you will only love Him more.

I know you've been patiently reading, but I know you too well. I know, you have one question on your mind. So here it is, yes, your husband is hot!

Shine bright,
Thirty Year Old Stephanie

I wrote this letter to my 16 year old self to celebrate in the release of Emily Freeman's new book Graceful. Emily is a long time youth pastor's wife, and she wrote this book just for teenage girls.  I read the adult version of this book called Grace for the Good Girl and loved it.  You can head over to Chatting at the Sky to read other Dear Me, letters.  


Monday, September 10, 2012

Curse #47 - Mistaken Identity

This weekend, I went to a Women of Faith event with a group of women from my church. On Friday afternoon, I met my friends at a Wawa (a gas station) to carpool to the event. They were running about thirty minutes late, and it was almost time for B to get out of school so I told Shad, “You can just leave me here. I'm a big girl. I'll be okay.”

After Shad left, I went into the gas station to get some snacks for the road. As I walked around the gas station with my overnight bag, everyone looked at me like I was a kleptomaniac even though my overnight bag was a Thirty One bag, and everyone knows Thirty One is based on Proverbs 31 the virtuous woman passage. It's impossible to use a Thirty One bag to steal!

Tired of looking like a klepto, I went outside hoping to find a bench. With no benches in sight, I just stood outside the gas station holding my overnight bag. I thought, “Great. Now I look like a hooker.” I tried to think of a funny facebook status about it, but I couldn't get my words right so I just took a picture of my cute bag.

Content with the quiet, I checked my favorite blogs on my phone as I waited for my ride. Then I heard it.


*snap snap snap*

*snap snap*

At first, I just thought, “Hmm. That's annoying. Someone is not snapping on beat at all.” Then after a minute, I realized, the snapping was at me. I debated if I should look or not, but eventually I looked towards the snapping. Halfway across the parking lot, but close enough to clearly see his face, a man in a locksmith's truck was looking right at me. Apparently, he thought I looked like a hooker too.  As soon as we made eye contact, he slapped the side of his truck. He was silent, but his eyes clearly spoke what he wanted.  

Creeped out, I wanted to yell at him, “Mr. Locksmith, you will never pick this lock. I'm happily married and on my way to the Women of FAITH not Women of the Night conference, and who would turn tricks while carrying a Thirty One bag!?!” However, I didn't yell at him. Instead, I looked right at him with the meanest face I had, turned around, and walked back into the Wawa. I figured I was safer in there, and besides, I would rather look like a klepto than a hooker.

I didn't believe he would follow me into the gas station, but I determined that if he came near me the headline would read....

man in critical condition, but bag is fine due to its wipe able exterior

Honestly, I was never scared because I never felt like I was in danger. I was just very....VERY creeped out and stunned.

Now to recap because it's a lot to take in: I, Stephanie Lankford, was accosted in a Wawa parking lot while I waited for my ride to a Christian women's conference.

Who does this happen to !?!

You may be wondering what I was wearing to make this happen.  Well, I just so happen to have a pic of the outfit.

See! A completely respectable outfit, not fish nets and platform boots. Afterwards, I texted my mom (because that is what I do after every major life event) and told her it must have been the giant black flower pin. Mom thought the pin may have been a signal, like turning on the red light, and told me to take it off.

Other than that incident, I really enjoyed my weekend at Women of Faith.  I just had a really interesting (and long) answer when somone asked, "How was your ride up here?"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Curse #46 - What Happens When I Try to Get Out of the House

When Brandon started school, I'm not going to lie, one of the things I was looking forward to was getting out more.  With just one child it should be easy for me to meet with friends and such....or so I thought.

Yesterday, for my first post-school outing, I met a friend at Chickfila to brainstorm for a project.  A simple trip, but this is what happens when I try to get out of the house.

1. As I was walking out the door I grabbed a pair of shoes for Collin.  When we got to Chickfila, I went to put on Colli's shoes, but the shoes were not there. I have no idea how they did not make it to the car. Something must have distracted me somewhere in the 30 steps from his room to the van.  So my Collin ran into Chickfila barefooted.  Yes, we brought the country back to Chickfila.  "You'd better redneckognize!" (Sorry, I know that was kind of random, but I've been looking for any chance to throw in a Honey Boo Boo reference on the blog.)

2. As the boys played, my friend and I brainstormed and took copious notes.  In a truly brilliant moment,  I knocked over my drink, and the straw poked a hole in the bottom of the fragile styrofoam cup. Diet Dr. Pepper spewed everywhere ruining my copious notes.

Now, I am not known for my fast reflexes, but I actually thought fast and dumped the bag out that I had with me.  Knowing that the inside of the bag was wipe-able, I threw in the cup and ran it to the trash can.  I threw the cup in the trash, shook out the Diet Dr. Pepper in the bag, and wiped out the bag. Easy peasy.  How smart was I?

Apparently, not too smart because I missed this sign outside of the play place.

3. As my friend and I were leaving, I went to grab my keys...only I could not find them.  I retraced my steps, and soon realized that my keys were in the trash.  When I shook the Diet Dr. Pepper out of my bag, I also shook my keys out that were in the outside pockets.  Not so easy peasy.  I tried to see if my keys were on top,  but the lunch rush had started and the trash can was full.

Another one of my friends just happened to be in Chickfila,  and just happened to be sitting right next to the trash can.  When I explained why I was hovering around the trash can, being a good friend, she said, "It happens to the best of us." And I quickly replied, "But it seems to happen to me a lot!"

Absolutely embarrassed, I told one of the Chickfila workers, "I think my keys are in your trash can."  I just wanted to find a place where I could discretely look through the trash can.  I really didn't think any of the people in the Chickfila wanted to see me digging through the trash as they ate their nuggets.

The very nice Chickfila workers told me, "Miss, you go sit down and we'll look and bring your keys to you." I felt terrible, "No, you can't do that! I messed up, and I will fix it," but they were persistent and had me sit down.  A few minutes later, one of the great Chickfila employees brought my keys to me. She even sanitized them for me!

Chickfila just got itself an even more loyal customer.

Yes, that is what I get for trying to get out of the house! A simple trip to Chickfila turns into a chaotic event.....chaotic and memorable.  Thankfully, my friend was very patient and my new Chickfila friends were very kind.

P.S. My new Chickfila friends are trying to get to 900 likes on Facebook.  They would love it if you went over and liked them.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blessing #136 - $2 Tuesday

Last Tuesday, since B was in school and I only had Collin.  I decided to head over to Goodwill and do some serious $2 Tuesday shopping.

$2 Tuesday happens every Tuesday in August in all Goodwill of Delaware.  All the summer clothes and jeans are just $2, and the kids summer clothes and jeans are $1.  They also have $2 Tuesdays in February for all the winter clothes.  (Note: This is a Goodwill of Delaware thing.  Not all Goodwills do this.)

During my trip, I scoured all the summer racks and found a few good tank tops and shirts.  I got three pairs of jeans for the boys for $3!  As I was leaving, I skimmed over the jackets rack because according to Style Savvy with Kim blazers are big this fall.  I found an awesome thin jacket.  When I checked out, I asked the cashier if that blazer was a summer blazer.  She thought it was so I got it for $2.

When I got home, I paired the jacket with a flowy shirt I also got a $2 Tuesday, and here is the finished outfit....

Yes, much like the fifteen year old girls, I take pictures of myself in a mirror with my phone. At least I didn't do duck lips.


Jacket: $2 - Goodwill
Shirt - $2 - Goodwill (Old Navy)
Pants - free - hand me down from friend (Calvin Klein)
Shoes - free -  Christmas Gift
Belt - $1 - Goodwill
Necklace - cameo given to me from someone that knows I love old things

Total Cost of Outfit: $5!

I love looking cute for cheap!  In fact, for the past 10 months we have been almost a completely thrift family. The only things I have bought in 10 months that were not thrift were our Easter outfits, and a bright yellow sweater for me.  Everything else we have has been thrift for 10 solid months! 

It's one thing to wear thrifted clothes for 10 months, but it's another thing to look good.  During these 10 months, I feel like I have never dressed better!  Reason #15,456 that I love Goodwill! 

I'm sharing this post with the Pleated Poppy's What I Wore Wednesday .

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Blessing #135 - Lazy Girl's Paper Flowers

Although I am do not normally decorate for the different seasons, this year I couldn't help but celebrate the coming of fall.....correction Autumn. Because this time of year is so beautiful, Autumn seems like a much more fitting word than fall.

Last year, I saw this mantel from A Place for Us on Pinterest and the Nate Berkus show, and I knew I wanted a mantle similar to it.

Once I made the flowers, I realized I made mine slightly different than how A Place for Us did it. I like their flowers better, but here's my lazy girl's way to make paper flowers.

1. Have a "squarish" piece of brown paper.  It doesn't have to be perfectly square, just "squarish."

2. Fold the paper in half.

3. Fold the paper in half again.

4. Fold diagonally.

5. Cut out leaf shape, but remember not to cut out the seems just like when you made snowflakes in elementary school. Don't use a stencil it doesn't have to be perfect.

6. Open it up and fold each leaf in half.

7. Make 5 to 7 flowers in different sizes. You don't have to worry about each flower being perfect.  These paper flowers are very forgiving.

8. Layer the flowers from biggest to smallest.  Put dot of glue in the center and just keep adding flowers until it looks right to you.

Last, I put some blue painters tape (so it would pull the paint) and attached it to my wall.

Here is the finished product....

That is my phone in the mirror.  I was crouched down trying not to be in the picture.

It's almost a little too much, but I love enjoying my scales. The mirror, pumpkins, and vase came from Goodwill.