Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Just a few weeks ago, we were blessed with the opportunity to host 2 young men (high school) in our home from Canada.  The Canadian’s came to play a 5 day long baseball tournament against 8 other state teams: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.  It’s kind of crazy they come to our little remote town in the middle of no where Oklahoma.  But they do, and it’s a BIG DEAL. {College scouts come from all over}  Anyway, what’s even more insane is that 200 of these baseball players stay in homes of families in the community.  I believe that most families house 2 boys, but there are some families who had up to 5 in their home.  Over the 7 years we have lived here, I’ve heard heartwarming stories about this tournament…really the experience of hosting the players.  Now we know why.
Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Above is one of our boys {yes, we host families used that term} we hosted at bat. {For privacy’s sake we will call him #17}  I love this photo because it also has the whole team and coaches in the background too.  Below, 17 is running from second to third.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Above 17 makes it to home plate.  I love how my camera captured him looking as though he is on his toes.  17 played designated hitter about half of the time while the other half he played outfield.  Now let me introduce our next boy, #21.  He is one of the pitchers on the team and stands at 6’4″.  He is TALL!  And he can pitch a fast ball.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

I swear it looks like he almost does the splits when he throws the ball.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

There was a digital display of the speeds for all the pitches thrown and below shows the speed of one of 21′s pitches.  I know he threw some faster ones, but this is what it was when I decided to take a photo of his speed.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

In the above photo you can see how tall 21 is compared to the rest of the team.  Below is both the boys after a win!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

One night we had a team swim party and they still played baseball…{that’s 17 with the bat}

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Below – Us host moms took a photo together.  We had fun talking about ‘our boys.’  All of us host families got to know each other.  It’s like we were a big extended family.  We sat together at all the games…cheered for our boys.  We all had great experiences with our baseball players.  It was fun learning more about the Canadian culture.  There is NO TELLING what they said about our southern accents.  Best of all is how quickly they were able to integrate into our families.  My son loved having ‘brothers’ for the week.  All of the kids enjoyed having older ‘brothers.’  The other moms talked about how they would play with their kids and help out around the house.  They were true gentlemen with gracious manners.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Below 17 plays catch with my daughter.  Isn’t that sweet?

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

I caught a quick shot of the boys in the back yard before they started their outdoor adventures.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

On the next to the last night of the tournament they announced all of the players and their host families.  We walked on the field. (below)

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

After, we took a big photo of the team with all the families. (below)

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Believe it or not, the last photo was before they boarded the bus to go to the airport.  I’m glad I wasn’t in the photo because it was sad for me to say goodbye to these 2 young men.  We ate meals together, I helped them with their laundry, drove them to their games…basically did all the things mom’s do for their own kids.  What can I say, I’m a softy.  I’m so glad we had this experience before we move back to Texas.  I hope to keep in touch with them and know they have a bright future playing baseball at a college here in America.  By the way, in case you are wondering how Team Canada did in the tournament…they won 2 out of 9 games.  However, they beat their record from last year where they lost every game.  You have to understand, baseball is not a popular sport in Canada.  As a matter of fact, they don’t have high school or college baseball in Canada.  These 2 boys come from a private club team.  So the Canadians have a little disadvantage competing against southern boys who have probably played baseball since they were tiny.  #17 has only been playing baseball for a couple of years.  Personally, {& yes, I’m proud to say I’m biased} I thought they did great!  I was very impressed with the team and their coaches.  I was worried they might be in bad moods after losing games, but they never were.  They were happy to be here and happy to be playing the game.  For us Team Canada families, they are number one.

Baseball brings joy,

Day 5 of Kitchen Week

Belated…I know.  Here we go…

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but we had a professional kitchen designer draw up the design for our kitchen.  I absolutely LOVE the spice drawers on both sides of the stove.

Day 5 of Kitchen Week

Spices are easily accessible when cooking with these drawers.

Day 5 of Kitchen Week

Day 5 of Kitchen Week

Day 5 of Kitchen Week

Below you will see one of the two gigantic drawers underneath our stove for pots and pans.

Day 5 of Kitchen Week

If you are building a house, the following is a must.  It’s easy to store your pans, trays, etc. in this divider over the oven.

Day 5 of Kitchen Week

Next up, there are a row of 4 bottom cabinets in which I house my baking items in.  They each have 2 drawers in them to make retrieving these items quick.  In the following cabinet you see where I store my cookie cutters and some of my Tupperware.  Here’s a little trivia about me.  I used to be a Tupperware Manager long ago before my son was born.  I even had a Tupperware car.  Needless to say, I have a TON of Tupperware.  I still LOVE it and use it every day!

Day 5 of Kitchen Week

Last is the pretty glass pantry door.

Day 5 of Kitchen Week

Now it’s back to sorting through countless boxes in my attic.  Ugh!

Have a great day,

Good Kitchen Design Brings Joy (Day 4 of Kitchen Week)

Good Kitchen Design Brings Joy (Day 4 of Kitchen Week)I’m happy to be documenting our kitchen this week.  I’m glad you’ve been following along with me.

Quick Update

The hubster came home from work yesterday and told me someone at his office had been reading my blog.  I love that!  Thank you! However, the reason they brought it up was because they read on here about our moving back to Texas.  For those who are new here, our family currently lives in Oklahoma and we are moving back to the state we grew up in, Texas.  You can read more about that by clicking here.  Anyway, I failed to mention hubby will not be leaving his job here. (everyone exhale)  He is going to commute to work.  We are only moving about 2 hours away in North Texas.  Hubby loves his practice he’s developed over the last 7 years here.  So those of you who live in our little town, he will still be working here. :)  Please continue to follow along with our family here on Family Brings Joy.  I love having local readers.  Be sure to follow Family Brings Joy on Facebook to see all the latest posts.  Unless the house sells sooner, we won’t be moving until the end of July.

Back to special features of our kitchen:

The first 3 pictures on here are some different angled shots I haven’t previously shared.  In the above photo you can see our stainless steel apron sink.

The following photo was taken in the living room looking into the kitchen.  You can see part of the breakfast room to the left.  The stairs going up to the craft room and tween suite are behind the wall with the fridge and stove top.  The alcove you see at the end with the computer and cork board (where I currently am) is what I refer to as Command Central.  This is where I pay bills, keep all the necessary items needed for me to be a Family Manager.  It has a desk, filing cabinet and lots of storage.

Good Kitchen Design Brings Joy (Day 4 of Kitchen Week)

The photo below was taken again in the living room looking into the kitchen.  I like the look of the brick we used for the walls of the bar and the wall dividing the kitchen from the living room.  Since our living room is octagon shaped and I can’t hold a camera level (sorry) it looks a little tilted.

Good Kitchen Design Brings Joy (Day 4 of Kitchen Week)

Below shows how we chose a few cabinets to have glass panes to break up the monotony of wood.  I think it is pleasing to the eye and I like showcasing special pieces like this cake stand Uncle M. gave to our oldest daughter.

Good Kitchen Design Brings Joy (Day 4 of Kitchen Week)

I always wanted vegetable drawers.  They keep our potatoes, onions and garlic fresh for a long time.

Good Kitchen Design Brings Joy (Day 4 of Kitchen Week)

Good Kitchen Design Brings Joy (Day 4 of Kitchen Week)

Hubby wanted a pot filler.  Honestly, I didn’t know what a pot filler was before we built this house.  It is handy to fill up a huge pot of water for pasta or soup.  It is like an accordion and swivels around to reach the pot you want to fill.  It is definitely NOT a necessity, but remember, I told you we were building our dream home.  A pot filler was part of chef hubby’s dream kitchen.  The stove is a Kenmore Pro gas stove.

Good Kitchen Design Brings Joy (Day 4 of Kitchen Week)

One of my favorite parts of the design in our kitchen are the following pedant lamps.  I purchased these at Restoration Hardware.  I think they blend with the space beautifully and add extra lighting to the bar area.  As you can tell, I like a LOT of light.  I think we counted almost 200 recessed light bulbs throughout the house.  Yet, I especially love natural light the most.

Good Kitchen Design Brings Joy (Day 4 of Kitchen Week)

In the last picture below it shows part of the cabinet design with long narrow shelving and a glass door to showcase items.  Those polka dot bowls (Pier One) are my favorite.  I honestly had no idea what I would house in those 3 small drawers.  However, they are perfect for our left over fast food condiment packs.

Good Kitchen Design Brings Joy (Day 4 of Kitchen Week)

That’s all folks for today.  See you tomorrow!

Good design brings joy,

Kitchen Niches & Shelving

Today I will be showcasing the niches of our kitchen.

I’ve never had designated spots for vignettes or cook books in previous kitchens.  We worked some shelving into the kitchen design and I believe it adds character.  Also, in the below photo you can see how open our floor plan is.  From this angle you can look through the dining room into the front door/foyer.  You can also see how we cut out the wall to make sort of a window into the living room.
Kitchen Niches & Shelving

I enjoy the easy access to these cook books when I need them.

Kitchen Niches & Shelving

Kitchen Niches & ShelvingYou can also see a better view of our handy dandy trash compactor.  I feel the need to stop and talk a little about trash compactors.

My grandparents installed a trash compactor in their kitchen after a tornado ripped through their house in the 70′s.  That is when I was first introduced to a trash compactor.  This appliance has been around for a while now.  Even so, it is interesting how many people come over to our house who have never heard of a trash compactor.

A trash compactor is an appliance that crushes and compresses trash into small convenient bundles.  It is quite entertaining watching people as they try and figure out how to open it.  Our trash compactor (Kenmore) opens by stepping on the small black lever at the bottom.  This is nice if you have trash in your hands and can not pull the drawer open while your hands are full.  Some compactor brands need to be opened by pulling with your hand…it depends on the compactor you purchase.

Those who have heard of a compactor or who have used one in the past, don’t always have a good opinion of them.  I think most complaints I’ve heard are due to odor.  OK, here is the deal…if you don’t put food in the compactor, it will not smell.  We don’t live in the city limits, so our trash pick up only comes ONCE a week.  Having a trash compactor greatly helps with this.  Here is another tip: don’t put plastic/glass bottles or cans in the trash compactor.  Those will break the mechanism that does the compacting (learn from our expensive mistake.)  So, yes, basically it helps compact all the paper & cardboard goods.  However, there are plenty of those.  As long as everyone abides by the rules I’ve mentioned (which are very helpful with recycling), we can go 2-3 weeks before changing our trash compactor bag with no bad odor.  I love that!  I like to think we are helping the environment by compacting our trash too.  I had more trouble with odor in my previous kitchen’s regular trash cans than in our trash compactor.  My BFF’s kids love the trash compactor.  They said they would never want to move out of our house because they love our trash can.  This made me laugh. Kitchen Niches & Shelving

Below you can see my cook books and Hubby’s diet books.  I like the pop of color they add to the kitchen.Kitchen Niches & Shelving

The following isn’t a niche but my favorite sign I found at Hobby Lobby.  It’s true. Kitchen Niches & Shelving

Kitchen Niches & Shelving

Last but not least is our niche above the plate rack:

Kitchen Niches & Shelving

Kitchen Niches & Shelving

I used chalkboard paint to fill in the middle of this plate and chalked one of my favorite scripture verses.  I believe it is an excellent reminder…especially when I’m cleaning the kitchen.

I hope you are enjoying Kitchen Week so far.  If so, please pin and share this post with your friends and family.  Encouraging comments are always welcome too! ;)  I so appreciate you being here today.  There’s more to come tomorrow.  See you then!

Have a beautiful day,

I Heart Kitchen Drawers

Welcome back to Kitchen Week here on Family Brings Joy!

Now it’s time to see some unique features of our kitchen.  As I said yesterday, I don’t like wasted space.  Instead of closing off the corner and not taking advantage of the storage offered there, we made a tall drawer which houses our glassware.
I Heart Kitchen Drawers

I like that the drawer is right next to the dishwasher because it makes putting the clean glasses away super easy.

I Heart Kitchen Drawers

It’s was also easier for the kids to get a cup when they were younger.

I Heart Kitchen Drawers

Take a look at our over sized drawers below.

This is about as organized as I come inside drawers.

I Heart Kitchen Drawers

The other drawer identical to this one is our junk drawer.

I’m not bearing that photo today. I Heart Kitchen Drawers

I Heart Kitchen Drawers

I counted 43 drawers in our kitchen which come in all shapes and sizes.  If you are just joining us for the first time, I’m sharing this information because our house is on the market.  My purpose is not to brag about our kitchen.  It is simply to share the selling points for the future homeowner.  If you missed my post yesterday, it shows photos of the whole kitchen.  It is the post right before this one.  Glad you stopped by!  Come back tomorrow for more.

Drawers bring joy,

The Heart Of Our Home

Welcome to our kitchen!  Today I will show you overview pictures of the room.  The rest of the week I will uncover special custom features throughout what people refer to as the heart of the home.

The first two pictures are an aerial view from the breakfast area.
The Heart Of Our Home

The Heart Of Our Home

Hubby wanted a big kitchen because he likes to cook.  The kids have taken on this trait, thank goodness.  (I don’t like to cook. I occasionally like to bake)

The next three photos are looking into the kitchen from the living room.

The Heart Of Our Home

To the right you can see the lockers in our mudroom.

The Heart Of Our Home

To the left, behind the bar, where the flag is…is the breakfast room.

The Heart Of Our Home

The next 2 photos highlight the island which includes lots of storage and one of my favorite appliances…the trash compactor.

(which is actually not shown from these views…oops!)

The Heart Of Our Home

The small sink in the island is what they refer to as a vegetable sink.

The Heart Of Our Home

Our inspiration kitchen had white and brown cabinets.  Yet they had half the cabinets white and half brown (knotty alder.)

Hubby didn’t like the look of half & half on the same wall.  Instead, we compromised with a full wall of brown and a full wall of white cabinets.

The Heart Of Our Home

I wanted to use every inch of the wall for storage.  I see a lot of kitchens with space above the cabinets.  Me, being the practical girl that I am, wanted to use that space for storage.  I really don’t think you can have too much storage.

The Heart Of Our Home

The Heart Of Our Home

The appliance under the microwave is a warming drawer.  It is so handy!  I use it all the time to keep our food warm while cooking.  The hubster is quite particular about his food NOT being cold when we sit down to eat.  It’s perfect to keep pancakes warm when you are making a bunch.

You can see the top of the trash compactor in the island from the below view.

The Heart Of Our Home

I’m pretty much a minimalist when it comes to having things on the counters.  When the counters are cluttered I can’t focus…another one of those ADD things.  Plus, I’ve never mastered the art of staging pretty vignettes in the kitchen.

The Heart Of Our Home

The Heart Of Our Home

Hope you enjoyed this tour of our kitchen.  Come back every day this week to see extra special organizing features of this kitchen.  You can ask questions in the comment section.  Leave a comment by going to the top of the post and clicking on “leave a comment.”  I ALWAYS LOVE to hear from you. :)  Now it’s time for me to clean the kitchen again.  Monday is kitchen deep cleaning day.  Keeping a house clean while it is on the market for sale is definitely not my idea of fun…however, I LOVE a clean kitchen!  Don’t you?

Kitchens bring joy,