Change Is Good

Change Is Good

Hey there!  It’s good to be back!  I’ve missed blogging.  We are somewhat settled into our new abode here in TX.  It feels good to be back in my home state and very close to where I grew up.  Today is the kids first day of school! (at least my 2 youngest ones.)  I enjoyed walking my daughter to school.  Yes, I did say walking.  Our town home is directly across the street from my 6th graders school.  It was THE best first day of school experience EVER!

Change Is Good

{I hope you overlooked the second who above, because I sure did! ugh! Change Is Good }

Change Is Good

Now that 2 of the 3 kids are back in school, I have time to blog again…yippee!  I’m looking forward to sharing more special features about our house in OK (which is still for sale…boo hiss.)  I will also be posting a really cool DIY craft tutorial I made for our new mantel here.  I hope this finds everyone safe and in good spirits.

See You SOON,

You Never Know…

You Never Know...I have this little plaque in our playroom.

“You never know what you have…until you clean your room.”

Well, this goes for your whole house too.  After living for 43 years, you tend to collect a lot of stuff.  Yet, when you have a family, it multiplies.  Even though our family has moved 7 times since my husband & I got married (20 years ago,) we STILL have too much stuff.  To be honest, in the past, I didn’t make a big enough effort to purge as much as I should have.  I’m doing things differently this time.  Instead of jumping right into packing and haphazardly giving a few things away here and there, I have been primarily focusing on PURGING the last few months.

Here’s the deal, I come from sweet parents who are sentimental and like to hold onto things.  I come by it honest. {That saying might be a southern thang…he he he}  Personally, I really think there is a genetic disposition when it comes to this.  It’s been interesting, because my husband likes to throw things away.  He would rather throw things of value away than give them away.  I can’t do that.  If it has value, if someone else can use it…I would rather give it away.  Otherwise, I feel it’s like taking dollar bills and throwing them away.  I definitely see it’s easier to throw things away since it cuts out the sorting step and taking it to the local charity.  However, we initially paid for the items or someone gave them to us (which they paid for) and I can’t throw that money away.

If you’ve been reading here for awhile you know I have ADD.  I like to share the ins and outs of what it’s like to have it.  Mine is the inattentive kind.  Medicine has been miraculous for me.  However, when it comes to having a high stress level, like now, sometimes the medicine doesn’t work as much as I’d like.  I only realized I had ADD about 11 years ago.  So pre-medicine days (32 years) I would get so overwhelmed, there wouldn’t be much purging or sorting.  I was doing  good to just have everything packed for moving day.  To take a box and sort through it is almost like torture.  The act of making so many decisions is so mentally taxing on me that it effects me physically.  After going through several boxes I am completely wiped out.  I know my ADD has something to do with this.  My brain works differently than someone without ADD.

Over the years, I’ve been trying to teach my children about letting go of things they don’t need or use anymore.  I seem to have done a good enough job with my two oldest…it’s the youngest who is resistant.  Yet, I have been so pleased with her progress while we’ve been sorting.  I found it’s easier on her to give away things to people she knows and cares for.  It’s funny…she will make a pile for charity and then she will have an even bigger pile for our friends.  Personally, I find it easier to give things of value or emotional significance to my friends as well.  My best friend is also moving {yet she is moving 2 hours North of here, while I will be moving almost 3 hours South. You Never Know... } Anyway, there are many toys we’ve kept that my kids no longer play with. {Partly because I’m in denial they aren’t little anymore.}  We’ve had them in the playroom and when little ones come over to our house they know where they are.  I enjoy seeing the kids play with the toys.  Since we are downsizing, we won’t have room to store these toys anymore.  I’m grateful my youngest was able to give those toys to my best friend’s kids (who are much younger than my kids.)  Bestie sends me texts of the kids playing with the toys and it feels so great knowing the items are in a good home.

So, I’m off to go through more boxes.  Most of the boxes now are in the attic.  I’ve pretty much gone through the stuff in the home.  We have a HUGE attic, though and it was completely FULL before we began this process.  I refuse to move it all.  If it’s been in the attic all this time, I haven’t missed it much, right?  Moving is stressful but if it motivates me to purge and simplify…that’s a good thing.  I need to keep telling myself that during this process.

I hope everyone is having a good summer!

Lighten your load,

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,