Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Desire to Acquire & New Year's Resolution

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 2:12 NIV
Well, it is that time again! The time to think about a new year and the possibilities for making it better than the last. I, like most everyone, cannot remember a single resolution that I made last year. I seem to always set myself up for failure with lofty ambitions of losing weight, being more organized, blogging more. :-) I know my sister always makes fun resolutions, like "wear more lipstick" or "eat more frozen yogurt." I wish I could be more like her!

But, alas, I am the eldest, and I do come from a long line of over-thinkers. So my resolution for 2014 will not be whimsical, nor will it be easy to achieve. I am trying to set myself up for failure here! But, after reflecting on the verses above for almost a year now, I am certain that this resolution is one that I need to make.

In 2014, I resolve to not make a single purchase of new clothing, accessories (except for M.E.R.CY Jewelry, an amazing organization I help with its online sales) or shoes for myself. I am saying, "Enough with Stuff!"

Why am I doing this? I am starting in the hopes that the anticipated change in my attitudes will inspire my children in years to come to look past our culture's obsession with stuff and to seek more from life. To quote Romans: to "not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." I certainly want this for them, and I want it for myself as well. I want to test and approve God's good, pleasing and perfect will. I want to hear and to be ready to respond. I have asked myself when I read this verse, "How have I conformed to this world?" and "How can I renew my mind?" Well, I have allowed myself to be conformed and distracted by stuff, in my want for something that will make me feel prettier, younger, cooler, greener, etc. Basically, we just want to feel better. So we buy more stuff. And we make resolutions. :-)

I don't think I am the first person to attempt this stunt, and, really, it is not a stunt. I am not going around tooting my own horn about this, to try and make myself seem holier than thou. I have like 6 followers on this blog. I am really fine if it stays that way. My only reason for putting this on screen is so I can have a way to record and reflect on the process and (hopefully) the progress. I think I will be surprised at how difficult it is to break away from these habits. It sounds crazy. I know I have enough stuff, and I know God provides, so why do I need to test it? But, every time I enter Target, there is a battle with my desire to acquire.

I could break away from any other worldly, idle idols, i.e. T.V., Facebook, etc. These are also ways I have conformed to the world and need renewing of my mind. But, being reminded over and over of the verse in Matthew about storing your treasures in heaven has directed me to this path. I am truly praying that God will show me His security, His protection, His ways, and His will through this experience. I hope that I will find real treasure at the end of this map (His Word), and that God guides me as I follow it. This is just a small piece of the way my mind needs constant renewal, day by day.

If you have read this, will you pray for me? You are also welcome to join me on this journey. Wouldn't that be cool? To have a movement? Again, I don't want to make a big fuss of me or what I'm doing, but let's see what God is doing! Feel free to comment with your own New Year's resolutions below.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Amory's Nursery

{HUGE DISCLAIMER: Amory is now 22 months old, and I am just posting this!! Guess I was just enjoying my baby too much! ;-)}

I am beyond excited about the prettiness of Amory Noelle's nursery! I found the bedding (Sweet Sunshine designed by Migi for Bananafish) at a local children's shop. I immediately loved the soft and modern color palette, but I really fell in love with the concept of the entire room when I saw this design board on Project Nursery.

Now I was certainly not able to afford the spectacular nightstand from Z Gallerie. Yes, my eyes do lust. But I was super excited to snag a vintage side table on CraigsList for $10!! I sanded for about 6 hours and then primed and painted two coats of white, and...voila!

I sure wish I had a picture of me 9 months pregnant wearing a washcloth rigged as a mask with an elastic hairband and swim goggles for eye protection. Ghetto fab, I tell ya!

We went with Sherwin William's Silverplate for the walls. The guys at Sherwin Williams never steer us wrong! They are so friendly, and my two-year-old daughter (okay, now she is four), Ellie, always says they "flirt her." Yep. She is going to give us big problems!

An original art project inspired by the goddess of all things stylish, Sarah Richardson, ala HGTV's Sarah's House and Sarah 101
(I used the links to the HGTV Canada site, because that is from where Sarah hails, and the content on this site does her more justice. I lurv Canadians!)

This idea, featured on an episode where Sarah and Tommy (isn't he just as cute as a teacup pig!) were redesigning a Toronto bachelor pad condo, was the perfect crazy creative idea for original artwork in my sweet baby girl's nursery. Who would have thunk?

I received special help with this project, first from the dazzling, amazingly talented duo at TopBlockType.  I really wanted a set of letterpress blocks that included all the letters in the alphabet in varying sizes and fonts. The sets I found on ebay were around $150-300; they were mostly vintage. But I found that TopBlockType has vintage inspired wood letterpress reproductions. Jill is a typographer and her husband is a woodworker. So they make their own letterpress blocks! And they are gorgeous! I got a custom set of the entire alphabet for just $70. I am so in love with people who do such creative things in their spare time, instead of sitting around, watching T.V., and wasting their lives! Visit their Etsy site, purty please!

And, finally, the artwork behind the crib is another great Etsy find, from the shop Fancy Prints. She has really unique work. And I JUST saw the customizable prints for a girl's room in the green and pink scheme. That would be so sweet in my first born, Ellie's, room. We are about to switch her over to a "big girl" bed, and I am getting lots of ideas for transitioning the nursery while keeping the main color the same. I was not as savvy with Etsy and other design resources when she was born. Four years ago was ancient times. No Pinterest! How did we survive?

The last "story" in the room is the rocker/glider. It is a long story, but basically the chair we are using was old and molting, and my husband and I lolligagged (spell check doesn't know what to do with that word) in deciding what to do with it. We considered choking up the money and buying a new chair, but this one was soooo comfortable (an old Lay-z-boy), and it had sentimental value to my husband, as he spent an average of 14 hours a day in that chair studying for his medical school board exam. So we had it reupholstered by a rock star dude who will remain nameless. He actually works for Lay-Z-Boy in the repairs department and gets their fabrics at a steep discount, so it really saves money on reupholstery. We basically got a brand new recliner for almost half the price! Yipee!

Anyway, Amory's room is definitely my favorite room in our house right now. My satisfaction with its outcome has given me a scary new fuel for decorating. I hope I don't go too overboard! :)

Thanks for letting me share!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Our Ohana (Family) Vacation to Hawaii

This is my post-post! We went to Hawaii, and WE SURVIVED!! All of that stressing for nothing! AMAZING!

It was absolutely a perfect trip. I don't think it could have gone better, and I really didn't want to leave. The plane ride on the way out there was not magical (that came once we arrived at the Disney resort in Hawaii!), but I really can't believe how well the kids fared considering. We left Chattanooga at 5:45 a.m., and Ellie probably got about a 45-minute snooze in the car on the way down to Atlanta. Our 10:15 flight was delayed about an hour due to a malfunction in the entertainment system. They never got it working for everyone on the flight (which I hear those folks got credited a free flight, so I am sure that assuaged any inconvenience they experienced with this problem), and I do truly understand how tragic that would be on a 9-hour flight!

Here's a picture of Maddox and Ellie watching the planes take off!
With Ellie being under two-years-old (just barely!), we didn't have to pay for her a seat on the plane (yay!), which meant she had to sit with someone the entire time (not so yay!). It was difficult for her to get comfortable on top of us when she was ready to nap, but other than that, she was very content on the plane. She even wanted to continue her potty training. Good for her, not for me! Try squishing a big pregnancy belly and a two-year-old into the tiny airplane bathroom and maneuvering from having the changing table open to closed to open again while you have to remove a diaper, allow your child to do their business on the potty, and then put the diaper back on the child. Whew!

We got to Hawaii around 3 p.m. local time (9 p.m. back home time), so the kids were very tired. However, other than a quick hour-long nap in the rental car to the resort, Ellie stayed awake until about 7 local time (1 in the morning at home)! And then she woke up at what would have been 6 a.m. back home (midnight) and was up the entire night and until about 9 a.m. local time the next morning. Boy that was a tough first day! I am not sure if the extreme adjustment affected her response when she met Mickey and Minnie for the first time at the character breakfast that morning. It was the only day during our trip we could get a reservation for it, and we figured it would be a good way to introduce the kids to the fun time they were going to have while on vacation. Ellie did not love seeing the characters.

Ellie clinging to me as the Disney characters walked around
She was so terrified that Paul took her back up to the room and didn't get to have breakfast. Once his dad was finished with his breakfast, he went up to the room to take care of Ellie (who passed out the minute Paul got her up there) and let Paul come back down and enjoy. The rest of the day was a relaxing mix of naps and more naps. (Ellie kept having nightmares about the characters the rest of the trip. When she woke up, we would hear her frantically repeating "No Minnie, No Mickey, No Goofy.")

Everyone did eventually get adjusted (Ellie with a few 15-hour nights!), and we had the most absolutely amazing vacation ever. The resort was beyond beautiful. Disney is all about the details, and they do make all the difference. Some of the activities we participated in during the stay included....

Swimming in the Pacific

Playing in the sand

Splashing in the pools

Going down the waterslide (incessantly) with Daddy

Hanging out at the unbelievable kids' club, Auntie's Beach House

Playing dress-up

Learning to hula hoop
Touring the Dole Pineapple Plant

Giggling with Mommy
I can't stress enough how much fun the entire family had. We are so blessed to be able to make these memories and spend quality time with each other. Through this experience, I learned to just "go for it" when it comes to doing things that I think my child can't handle (or that will be overly stressful for me). I was being too "Martha" about the situation, trying to make everything perfect and not being willing to just enjoy the gift of being together. Even the times that weren't easy were worth it. In some ways, when the kids are still young, it is more about you taking these special times down in your memories, since a two-year-old won't remember it in detail. But they do still benefit from exposure to new experiences. It helps them learn more than any other method. So even the most inconvenient situation with young kids may turn out to be truly unforgettable for you and extremely beneficial for your kids.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Toddlers & Traveling

In less than a week, the Boerema clan is off to Hawaii! We are staying at the new Disney resort, Aulani, and we are all very excited to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

There are some other emotions competing with the excitement, however. Mainly fear and trepidation. You see, we will be traveling with a 5-year-old (my niece Meridith), a 28-month-old (my nephew, Maddox) and a 23-month-old (my own sweetness, Ellie). To say that the 9-hour flight to Honolulu could get interesting is putting it mildly. Even though these kids are very well-mannered and content, this will be quite a test for such little ones. It is sad that just 18 hours (plane rides there and back) of the entire 8-day trip is consuming 99% of my thoughts!

I am not concerned with whether the kids will remain entertained. Oh no. That is never an issue for children of this generation. There will be in-flight movies, DVDs on the computer, and Super Mom (yeah, that's me) is packing the ultimate travel pack, which will include silly putty, activity books, stickers, the new Hallmark® interactive story buddy Abagail™ the Bunny, Smarties®, lollipops, and perhaps some Benadryl®. Naughty but possibly necessary if little bit can't get to sleep, which I anticipate to be the main problem. Ellie just does not know how to tune things out. She is just not going to sleep if she is not in her bed, in a dark and quiet room, with no one else around. This is because her mommy did such a good job of creating a nice, relaxing bedtime environment and routine for her since Day 1. Blame me for being Super Mom! :)

Anyway, I am anxious to see how we all handle this. Maybe it is not Ellie whose tolerance should be in question; maybe it is mom's. We'll see just what a Super Mom I actually am.

(Let's not mention that I will be 30-31 weeks pregnant at the time of the trip, which means discomfort already abounds!)

Wish me luck and feel free to offer any sage advice on traveling with toddlers! I will be sure to do a post post (translation: a post occurring after this all transpires).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stealing from baby

One of the many big perks of motherhood is the luxurious loot you can "borrow" from your innocent and completely unassuming little angel. No need to feel guilty. Baby doesn't know or care, and you were up every 1 1/2 hours feeding him/her last night/! So treat yourself to some of these wonderful products bought for or given to baby that do amazing double duty for you. We all know you will RARELY spend money on just yourself ever again, so why not make these purchases "for baby".....and sneak them all the time! :)

California Baby® has a wonderful cream for babies called Calendula Cream. It is clean smelling and non-greasy and makes the perfect soothing night cream for mom. $13.42 on amazon.com. Make sure to sign up for Amazon Mom at www.amazon.com/mom. It's free to join, and you get Amazon Prime benefits such as free shipping and up to 30% off of diapers if you use Subscribe & Save. I have found that to be a HUGE help in the scramble to always have everything stocked.

L'Occitane makes a whole line for Mom & Baby. You can purchase this cleanser for $20 on amazon.com. It is a pricey, but maybe put it on your baby registry and see who loves you that much!

Johnson & Johnson's® Bedtime Bath softly smells like lavender and makes the best bubble baths in the world. I don't use it for baby, because my husband learned a mathematical equation during his pediatrics rotation: bubble baths + baby = yeast infection. But it is another good registry item that people will buy for baby, and you can reap all the benefits yourself! Nothing takes away the stress of a busy day with the kids like a cup of tea and warm bath.

Last but not least. MD Moms Baby Silk sunscreen wipes. Er, Katie, do I really need to spend $24 on sunscreen wipes? And why? No, grasshopper, you don't need to spend $24. Remember what you have learned and use it. Register for it! In fact, do your registry on amazon.com (I promise they don't pay me. I have four followers. Obviously, I'm off the radar.), and then you can get all of these great products for you, er, baby. These actually are great for baby, however. I can't find sunscreen creams that rub in quickly enough. I have a 20-month-old who isn't even still in her sleep, so I need to get sunscreen on her pronto. The spray variety just goes right into her eyes. Pool time=no fun; that math doesn't work. These wipes are perfect, just perfect. You can swipe them up, down, up on arms, legs, even face and get full coverage sun protection without precious seconds, or even more precious eyes, lost. And for mommy? These are great to wipe gently over your hair to tame fly aways and give it that oh-so-desirable shine. Use one that you have already used on baby, so you don't feel like you are wiping a $1 bill over your hair and then tossing it!

And that concludes the day's lesson on stealing from baby. Now if only we could raid their closets and wear those cute clothes ourselves! :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My favorite place

This is the best place on earth.

You wake so sweetly. When I come to get you, you latch onto me, and we sit in the rocking chair and cuddle. You lay your head on my shoulder and wrap your left arm around my neck, your fingers burying deep into my hair, twirling it softly.

This place is safe and warm. We could be on a front porch looking over the salty seas. We could be by a fire with snowy white peaks outside the window. We could be any where. But we are here in your green room, with the tree on the wall, and this the best place on earth.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Green Machine Shake

Katie here. Jack of all trades, master of none. I am really hoping to use this blog as a place to grow my card design business: Caritas Cards. But from time to time, I think I will need to add some random content. :)

Such as this: The Green Machine recipe!! I have been enjoying the benefits of a crop share (that I am splitting three ways with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law) since early May. We get great stuff that I can definitely use: broccoli, sugar snap peas, beets, radishes, cilantro, and much more to come. But, we also get more "greens" than I know what to do with! And with my early pregnancy nausea, sometimes the last thing I can handle is eating sauteed kale. Bleh. So I have turned to this amazing "Green Machine" shake to kill two (well actually three) birds with one stone.
  • Bird #1 - It is healthy, healthy, healthy
  • Bird #2 - It is an easy way to use up all of the greens I have
  • Bird #3 - It tastes delicious!
Here is the recipe:
  • Add 2 cups of liquid (I used pineapple juice, but you could use orange juice, coconut water, regular water, etc.)
  • Add 2 cups of "greens" (I used a bunch of different greens. Some kale, some swiss chard, some green bib lettuce. You can substitute pretty much anything here as well)
  • Add 1/2 cup of frozen fruit (any kind)
  • Add 1 tablespoon of nut butter (peanut, soy, almond, etc.)
  • Add 1 tablespoon of honey to sweeten
Blend and enjoy!