"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it's established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bird Watching

Recently Micah reminded me of a date we once had, before we were married.

We were at a beach and going for a walk, when at a distance we saw a group of people standing around...

They had binoculars strapped around their necks, and cameras set in tripods.

They were talking and pointing...

"What are they looking at?" we wondered.

As we walked closer we realized they were bird watching.

 We were young and quite energetic before getting married, so it struck us as boring!

Well, time and age can have a funny effect on you, can't it?

Because while Micah and I reminisced about that walk along the beach, we laughed about how interesting we find birds to be now!

(Like for example, did you know that Cardinals mate for life? You will almost never see one without the other. If I happen to see a female at the feeder, all I have to do is look around for a minute and I'll almost always spot the male in a tree branch close by. They do all their travelings together. Isn't that sweet?!)


In my last post about our family room, I showed you this picture...

It was a goal of mine to create a corner here beneath the windows for activities I've noticed my family enjoys...

Nola's taken a liking to putting puzzles together, Roman likes to sit and draw, and Micah and I love to bird watch.

So Micah refinished this antique table, and made a shelf from a scrap piece of lumber he had in his workshop.

I think it's perfect for keeping a couple of our bird books and our set of binoculars. 

The large book was just given to us recently by my grandma.

It had been in her home for many years.

My mom remembers it from her childhood.

What I love about the book is not only is it filled with beautiful and colorful illustrations...

but it came with a handwritten log of the birds that were seen and when.

It dates back to 1970...

The last entry was in 1996 - an Indigo Bunting was spotted and recorded...

It is interesting to note that right around the exact time this book was given to us, we were experiencing a four-day stretch of time when an Indigo Bunting was visiting our feeders!

So... not wanting the tradition to die, I snatched a piece of notebook paper to begin the next era of bird documentation for our book.

I also made sure to get a picture of him while he was here...

I'm glad I did, because we haven't seen him since! 

(I thought he looked pretty next to the yellow finch.)

What about you?

Do you enjoy bird watching?

Do you keep track of the birds you see in your yard?

I don't know that I would have thought to keep track had I not gotten the idea from my grandparents' log.

I wonder if any of my children will want this book and the generations of handwritten recordings someday...?

I can imagine a third sheet of paper slipped in, with dates like 2039, or something like that!

I guess I should teach them to appreciate it first!

So that when they encounter a group of bird-watchers at the beach someday, they won't laugh and think, how boring!

Well, what do you think? Am I off to a good start?...



~ Courtney ~

Friday, July 13, 2018

Before and After Family Room Photos

It was just several weeks after Christmas when we dove head first into renovating our family room.

Do you remember when I showed you this picture?...

This was the Saturday morning in mid-January when Micah began preparing for what would become a half-year project.

It's always real satisfying to see before and after photos side by side. It makes me feel like we've accomplished so much!

So today I'm sharing with you how far we've come in our family room over the last six months. (With a few 'during' shots thrown in, as well!)

Are you up for a picture-heavy post?! Haha...

Let's get started!

I suppose this would be considered the official 'before' photo of the fireplace wall...

The kids are notorious for trashing this room! *eye roll...

The 'during' photos...

Since the previous owners did a lot with dark, earthy colors, my main desire for this house has been to brighten things up!

I find dark houses to be sad and melancholy... I want my home to be light and airy!

SO... bright white paint has become my best friend! 


Micah built a new mantle piece for our fireplace...

And finally, (after a lot of late nights working once the kids have been tucked into bed) we have the 'after'!...

I just LOVE it!

(I wanted to move Roman's roller coster creation out of the way for the photo, but he reminded me that it is delicate and precarious to try to move... I remembered that this is a real-life blog! So I agreed to leave it. *smile)

This is what the other side of the room looked like before...

You can see that we decided to keep the wood paneling. It was here when we moved in, but our research on the house has us certain that it's not original. Oh well, we pretend that it is, haha. Micah freshened it up with a new coat of varnish.


And the same wall 'after'...

I am very happy with it!

We have an area for some books and baskets of toys...

And a table for bird-watching and putting puzzles together...

My aim wasn't to make this a fancy or fussy room, but just a comfortable place to relax and play.

This is just an overview, so please let me know in the comments if you'd like to see anything close up. I'd be happy to compose a "details" post in the future! 

Also- I didn't include any information in this post about the flooring or chandelier because I've done posts on those already. I'd hate to repeat myself and bore you if you've been following. However, if you're new here and you're interested, you can look up other posts on the progress of our family room under the "Room Makeovers" and "Projects" tabs. They are located on the right hand side of the web version's home page.

Well friends, what do you think?

I am just so pleased with how it turned out!

I wish I could invite each of you over for a cup of coffee and a nice chat in my new family room! We'd have such a lovely time, wouldn't we? We can always chat in the comments, you know! I always love hearing from you!

Hope you're having a wonderful summer.

Check back with me soon...


~ Courtney ~

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Elsa Pickle

Yesterday was Elsa's Fourth birthday...

My baby isn't a baby anymore.


When I was pregnant with her I asked my other children what we should name her, and Nola (who was three at the time) suggested, "Elsa Pickle."

We laughed, but to this day we call her Elsa Pickle.

(Elsa with one of her brothers...)

Some family jokes just stick! Haha...

(Mama and Elsa on the day she was born...)

She has been an absolute delight for the past four years!

I can't imagine our family, or my life, without her!

(Elsa's birthday breakfast...)

She wakes me up each day by coming into my room, sticking her little face close to mine and saying, "Mama, it's morning!!!"

And every night at bedtime she asks if I'd sing her, "Lullaby." So I sit on her bed and sing to her each night, sometimes three or four rounds of it if she asks me to keep going, haha... I never say no.

We have a sweet and special bond.

Prayers I have prayed over her...

That the Lord will grant her repentance at a young age,

and she will come to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior.

That she will always have a tender heart for God's Word,

and seek Him and serve Him all the days of her life.

That I will be a good mama for her,

and the Lord will keep her safe and feeling loved.

That she will have a heart for obedience and a heart that loves truth...

and a mouth that only ever speaks what is right and true.

I've prayed that

The Lord will bless her with godly friends

and a husband someday who loves God and His ways.

I've asked that

Her husband will be a good fit for our family, and treats her well...

That her womb will be opened and blessed.

And that I will be available to help her with her babies and alive to watch them grow.

I've prayed that

She will be a better and wiser mother than I, and that each generation after me will only get stronger and better.

I've asked that

Any pain or heartache that enters her life will cause her to run after God and love Him deeper. That it will be used for good and ultimately prove to be a blessing in her life.

I have thanked God for giving her to me and consider her a joy and a gift!

"Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward."
- Psalm 127:3

What a wonderful four years with my Elsa Pickle!

I look forward to seeing what God does in her life as the years progress.

Thanks for reading, friends!

I hope you have a fun and safe 4th of July!

We're off to see a parade!!!


 ~ Courtney ~

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Making Pictures

Hi friends!

I hope you are enjoying your summer!

I have a decorating post for you today...

I've been putting the finishing touches on our family room and thought you'd like to see how I make pictures for my home.

My home is a mix of old and new, with an emphasis on what feels authentic for an old farmhouse.

Sometimes when I'm out and about, I'll happen upon something that really speaks to me; something that I think will be perfect for my home.

This happened recently when I was in a gift shop.

I found a rack of greeting cards that I thought were really beautiful.

They were $3.00 each.

I bought three and decided to make them into pictures for this skinny wall in the family room...

The frames are from Hobby Lobby. I think they look antique! They were $6.00 each.

I bring up prices to demonstrate that walls can be filled beautifully on a budget.

You just need to be willing to think outside the box!

(Tip: If you decide to do this, make sure to pop the easel off the back before hanging it. If you leave it on, the frame won't lay nice and flat against the wall.)

This most recent picture making project caused me to realize that I've done this quite a bit throughout my home.

The idea started years ago with my grandparents.

When I was a teenager I was given this picture for my bedroom...

(The note on the back...)

My grandparents tore a page from an old book and framed it for me.

It hung in my childhood bedroom, and has been with me in all my homes ever since.

The idea to make pictures has stayed with me, too.

Come take a look around! I'll show you some examples...

This bird botanical came out of an old book.

I had this antique frame that I wanted to use but the sizes didn't match up.

When this happens, my trick is to get a matte cut to 'marry' the two.

(You can get small mattes cut at craft stores very inexpensively. Just bring in the picture and the frame and they'll measure and cut everything for you.)

I've done this trick several times throughout my home.

Here's another one...

Framing pictures from old books is a great way to decorate.

If the book is already damaged or holds no sentimental value, I have no problem doing this.

Here are other pictures I've made using pages from old books, and frames I had on hand...

In these cases a matte wasn't needed...

I just adore this one...

Reminds me of my Nola when baby Elsa was born.


(I may be getting off track, haha!)

Even old sheet music and postcards can be beautiful framed...

This last decorating trick I'm about to show you is one I've gotten a lot of milage out of...

Years ago I came across a site that offered free downloads from old books.

I found a flora and fauna book and selected my favorite pages to do this wall in my mudroom...

I simply printed them right here at home using card stock in the printer.

I took a different approach to matting these, however.

Since I purchased the frames new, they came with paper inserts - as all new store-bought frames do.

I flipped the paper over to reveal a perfectly plain white sheet.

Then I taped the picture onto the sheet before sliding it back into the frame.

(I measured a two-inch space on top, and a three-inch space on the bottom because as my mother would say, you need to give the eye a place to rest.)


They look matted! And it was free!!!

I loved how this turned out so much, that I did a similar arrangement in my hallway upstairs...

Again, I just printed my favorite botanicals and put them in cheap, new frames.

(Taking the easels off the back before hanging them, of course. *wink)

Aren't these beautiful?!

But I couldn't stop there.

Once I saw how lovely this worked, I repeated the process with some African-themed prints in my boys' room...

(I'm sure I don't need to inform you that Soren "made" his bed the morning I snapped this picture, haha...)

If you decide to do this, make sure you find a site that says FREE downloads.

Some are not free, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can't print them.

For example, I found this precious baby owl years ago and just paid a small fee to get it printed.

(And here's my matte trick again, to 'marry' a print with a frame...)

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

Hopefully I've given you some ideas to try in your own home!

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."
~ Proverbs 24:3-4

Let me know in the comments if you try any of these tricks!

Happy decorating!


~ Courtney ~