Our home

Some inspiration {dining room and kitchen remodel and #mugswap2014}

Hello there! In case you forgot about me in my absence, my name is Elizabeth and I used to blog here ;). Just kidding, I still blog here but it's been a little bit. We've had a lot going on in my gracefull little home and family. I'll try to catch you up little by little, but today I want to share with you some before and after pictures of the dining room and kitchen in the house we recently moved into. These rooms {at least the dining room/living area} are far from finished, but there have been some drastic changes recently and I'm not good at waiting so you get a min-reveal today! In addition, I just participated in my first mug swap, which incidentally gave me some inspiration for the rooms I am finishing. So I'll be sharing a little about that as well.  

Let's just jump right in with a couple pictures.















As you can see, this room was pretty dated and undefined. Here is what we did:


- define a dining space

-replace floors in this room and the kitchen to make it feel like one space

-paint wood paneling

-paint fireplace surround

-paint accent wall in the kitchen

-add comfy and functional seating by the fireplace, along with a rug and coffee table or ottoman


The biggest challenge for me was choosing a color for the accent wall in the kitchen. I have been known to paint every wall in my house some shade of beige, but I wanted a bold color here. Enter Mug Swap 2014. The mug swap is something that I came across on Instagram. A gal named Kim organizes a swap for people who enjoy mugs and enjoy giving. You submit your name and address and a little about yourself and then in a few days Kim will send you the name and info of someone else who signed up. You go find a mug and perhaps some other goodies that you think will bless this person along with a card introducing yourself and ship it to them. All the while, someone somewhere else is doing this for you :). The focus in on giving, not receiving, and blessing, not waiting to see how blessed you are. I got a cute girl in Texas who said she likes vintage and color. This is what I sent her



And a few days later I received my mug swap gift! The mug is so cool and unique!


Okay, now that you know what mug swap is.... back to the wall dilemma. So I was shopping around for a mug for my girl when I came across these in Starbucks.


I'm still kicking myself for not buying them because they were only $4 each.... but I wanted something a little less available than a Starbucks mug. Meaning I didn't want my partner to just be able to go out and buy the mug I sent her. I wanted it to be hard to find and unique :). Even though I shot down the mugs, I fell in love with the color combo. I have a few sage green accessories in my kitchen, some from IKEA, some homemade, and when I saw the purple and green in the mugs, I knew I had found the color for my wall. So I went to Sherwin Williams and bought a gallon of really dark purple paint. This was such a stretch for me. Not only do I normally gravitate toward neutrals, if I pick a color it is almost always warm.

But I really love the way it turned out. Oh, and I forgot to mention to the Dude that his kitchen wall would be purple when he got home that day. He knew I was going to paint it, but wasn't clued in on the color until the deed was done. Thankfully he came home, said "What the?!?!" and told me he really liked it! Phew!

Now I have plans to paint the dining room table. I have some antique white milk paint that I'm going to try my hand at. Fingers crossed!


Okay, now that you've seen the changes, what do you think? Do you like the purple? Can you help me pick a rug? Here are my top three choices. Leave a comment with yours!

Rug 1


Rug 3



Thanks so much for reading! I'll update this post as the room gets finished. My deadline is October 9th, wish me luck!

I hope you all have a great day!




Source info:

Bamboo Floors: Lumber Liquidators

All paint: Sherwin Williams {Kilim Beige, Divine White, Dewberry}

Rugs: World Market

Owl Mug: Kirkland's


at peace

I spent all last week pealing wallpaper from the walls of our new (to us) house. Every wall with the exception of one room had at least a border of wallpaper. I have never had the *ahem* privilege of dealing with wallpaper before last week. Most of the paper came off pretty easily but there was one wall in Monkey's soon-to-be room that gave me all kinds of trouble. photo 1 I spent four hours on that wall picking one inch pieces off at a time, often taking layers of drywall with it. Then came the entryway, same sad story.

photo 2

Slow going and a torn up wall after hours of tedious work. Needless to say, I was feeling a little fried after those days of pick, pick, picking. I was even seeing wallpaper when I closed my eyes to go to sleep. Sheets of wallpaper flying off the walls. No lie! Early Friday morning I was still feeling on edge. I sat down with my coffee and Bible needing a fresh word from him before the day began. I opened to Romans 5 and didn't even make it past verse one before being confronted with a life-giving, wake you up kind of truth.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1


We all know what it is like to not be at peace. Whether it is with our husbands, our children, our boss or coworker, our hair.... even wallpaper. That gut wrenching uneasy feeling you get when confronted with the peace killer- you know what I'm talking about.  Let's be honest for a moment and admit that sometimes the peace-killer is us. Sometimes I am not at peace with my husband from no fault of his at all, but because of my sinful attitude. My tendency when I am not at peace is to go directly to the person and calmly explain how I am feeling. Ask forgiveness and pray for grace...... well actually it looks more like this. Run and hide, give mean looks, avoid at all costs because I don't want to face my guilt and shame head on. I don't want to apologize, I don't want to forgive. And sin heaps on sin heaps on until I finally humble myself and admit once again that my ways are never going to be the right ways.

With God, the peace killer is always us. He has never, not ever done anything wrong. It is us, our fault, our sin, our walls that we put up, our distance that causes us to want to run and hide to avoid the unpleasantness of being in the same room as someone we are not at peace with. But God's word tell me that I am at peace with God. At peace. Do I deserve to be? No, never. But God has done something amazing through our Lord Jesus Christ. He has made a way for us to be at peace with him. No more running and hiding, no more guilt and shame, no more wishing I had been better or done more or said the right thing. I am at peace with him. Think about how that Father looks on his Son. With pure love and affection, never are they not at peace with one another. If you have faith in Jesus, you hold this standing with the Father as well. Never are you out of peace with him because when He looks on you He sees his son.


photo 3    photo 4

I did not want to enter into my house one more time after the wallpaper week. I was not at peace with it. How could I love it while I was tearing it to pieces. How can the Father be at peace with me with all the sin and ugliness covering the walls of my heart? He can because I have been justified by faith in his son. What an amazingly comforting thought. For a girl who hates confrontation and tends to run and hide, I never have to run and hide again knowing that me title as peace-killer has been erased forever.

This truth stirs my love for Him, causing me to speak his name in full assurance of the love he has for me and in thankfulness for the peace he has lavished on me. Won't you dwell in this amazing peace with me today?



Top 10 memories from Rambler Rd

IMG_6408 This is our last week in our little house on Rambler, so I thought I would post a little montage of the best/most memorable times there. It's not really in any order.



10. May 27, 2009. Monkey breaks her arm and Bear is born. On the same day.

That day will go down in infamy for sure. I went into labor really early in the morning and called my friend to come over to watch Monkey. The whole family came (mom, dad, & two young boys), we prayed and the Dude and I left for the hospital. 7 hours later Bear was here and I get a call from my friend saying "Congratulations!! Oh, and by the way, Monkey fell down the stairs." They brought her up to see us and she wouldn't really use her arm. So the Dude left my side to take her to the doctor and they came back plus one big pink cast. Going home with a newborn and a 20 month old in a cast was..... challenging.



9. Moving Day

The day we closed on the house the Dude and I ripped carpet out of the bathroom and slept on sleeping bags. The next day my parents arrived and we painted every wall in the house and replaced all the flooring on the main floor. It was intense.


8. Cookout with family and friends. There is really nothing better than having a bunch of friends over for a cookout. Kids playing outside, hubby cooking, good food. Nothing beats it. {Sorry I don't have pictures of some of these... we've also been through 4 laptops at Rambler Road... pictures lost along the way}


7. Craft Weekend

Inspired by Meg's craft weekends, but too cheap to attend myself, my girl Arwen and I decided to host our own. We sent out invitations, planned 3 crafts, brought in dinner, and pulled an all-night, no kid, girl only, craft-a-thon!

cw 17   cw1   cw 18

6. Movie nights

This isn't really one memory, but a montage in itself. If you mention the words movie night to me I picture these people.



Coming over to eat, putting our kids to bed, and enjoying a movie or game together. Or even just a night of watching previews and YouTube videos until it was too late to actually watch anything.


5. Bringing our three boys home.



mason birth




sept 2012 096



4. Planting our first vegetable garden. This was a whole-family project. The Dude built the raised bed and filled it will dirt. I planned out what we would be planting and the kids helped me plant and harvest. They would eat cherry tomatoes

right out of the garden.




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3. Our porch swing.

Many family pictures were taken here, many summer nights spent watching the kids run in the backyard, many deep discussions, many long phone calls. Most of the interactions we had with our neighbors happened on this swing. It was a good swing.

photo 2   brothers3   bench1   bench


2. Birthday Parties

Pirate, Princess, Trucks, or just simple with the family. The birthday parties here were always special and fun.


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1. The Little Years

This was the house of the little years. Where my kids were little enough to all sleep in the same bed, to take baths together, to be disciplined for things like biting, fussing, and throwing food on the floor. This is where the Dude and I became comfortable in our role as parents, not perfected, but comfortable. This is the house where I gave up on my standard of perfection and learned to rely fully on grace in parenting. This is where Monkey and Bear learned to read and write. Where the Little Dude learned to color. Where they boys' favorite toys were plastic swords and hand-sewn capes. Where Monkey taped pretty pictures to the wall by my bed so I could look at them while I fell asleep. This is where they were small enough to sit in laundry baskets and take baths in the sink.

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004   little2   little1   little   IMG_4081



Thanks for coming along at this look back at the last 6 years. God has blessed us greatly in this house both with the things you see here and immeasurably in Spirit and Truth. I'm beyond grateful for this chapter in our lives in this house and move on with full confidence that God will continue the good work he has started in us! {Phil 1:6}

Living minimally, accidentally

The Dude and I decided a while back to put our house on the market and move in town to something that works a little better for our family, today and in the future. Not that we know the future, but you know what I mean. I'm one of those people that when a new task is on the horizon I tackle it with the brute force of an NFL linebacker. The Dude like to say that I am on speed 10 and everyone else is on speed 3. Case in point. I did some math and figured that 4 small children + 1 small house + stuff lining the walls in every room = impossible to keep in a "show ready" state. And when I say show-ready, I mean to the standards of all those shows I have been watching on HGTV for years. This was my chance to redeem all of those mindless hours of House Hunters and Get It Sold. So I made a list of things to tackle in every room and enlisted help with everything from dumpster diving for free packing supplies to painting my treacherous stairwell. I sent two friends into the abyss that was my children's shared bedroom and said "Pack it all." And they did. All that was left for my three oldest children was one shelf of books and two small plastic drawers of toys. We even took one of their beds away. Meanwhile, in the kitchen I decided that we wouldn't need glasses or mixing bowls anymore. They went into storage along with every seemingly meaningless kitchen gadget. Food processor, rolling pin, cake pans, blender, baking sheets, ice cream scoop. Gone. I left myself 6 plates, 1 drinking glass, and 4 bowls.

In hindsight this was a mistake. Please don't pack your kitchen until very last. I think I was under some sort of delusion that this process would take a total of 3 weeks and we would perfectly unpacked and drinking out of our own glasses and baking birthday cakes well before we would miss any of this stuff. Three weeks later my day came up to take a meal to a friend who had a baby. I chose Vegetable Beef Pie. It's delicious. Planning to blog about it soon. I got all of the filling prepared, went to roll out the dough and realized I had packed the rolling pins. So I got creative and used the one glass I had left behind to roll the dough into a vague circle. When I went to place it in the pie plate I realized I did not have a pie plate anymore. So the vague circle became a sort-of-square to accommodate the only baking dish that remained in the cupboard....One month later my husband was found drinking milk out of a pyrex measuring cup.... two months and I'm borrowing cake pans from my friends to bake his birthday cake.

I don't have any "before" pictures of my house. I wish I did. But here are some pictures of what it looks like now.

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After the initial shock of an empty kitchen I began to realize something. My kids were playing very well together. Happily, even peacefully. I had time to join in the fun because I wasn't washing all of the dishes in my kitchen that I had let pile up on the counter. The kids did not ask for the toys that were out of their room. They were too busy enjoying the open space to wrestle with daddy and play basketball on the hoop hanging from their door. I  could actually clean the house because I didn't have any clutter to worry about. I could join in the fun with my family because there was an end to my housework. I'm not saying that our home will always be "show-ready". But I am enjoying how restful a house free from a choking amount of stuff can be. I have realized that hanging onto everything on the off-chance that we might need it someday was stealing my joy in mothering and homemaking and robbing my affections for Christ. I have a hard time looking at a pile of toys in the middle of the living room floor and thinking joyful thoughts about how blessed we are. It is easier for me to look at a pile of children in the middle of the living room floor, giggling and enjoying, sharing and helping, and give thanks to God for the abundance with which he has blessed us. Happy children, healthy bodies, loving hearts. A family.

Mary & Martha

Once upon a time a lady named Martha wanted to have a party, and not just any party, a party with the King and his friends. She asked her sister Mary to help her with all the details. She spent the week prior to the party dusting, washing, organizing, menu planning, and redecorating. The day before the special guests were to arrive was spent shopping for ingredients and prepping the dishes. Finally, the big day arrived and Martha was going to be sure that no detail slipped her mind. After all, this was the King and he deserved the very best. Mary showed up, 10 minutes until party time. She had not done so much as help set the table and when the guest arrived, did she help Martha put the final touches on the four course meal? No. She just sat down with the King. Martha didn't really have time to be too upset about it now, dinner must go on. She served the meal with great poise and grace, every dish perfectly plated. After the meal had ended, Martha began taking plates back to the kitchen to clean up and prepare the coffee for later. She asked if Mary could please bring in the bread basket. Mary responded, "in a minute, I want to spend time with the King." Really? Didn't Mary think that Martha wanted to spend time with the King too? But someone had to actually do something if everyone was going to eat. Food and clean up didn't just happen on its own, you know. Martha reprimanded her sister in front of the King. "King," she said in her sweetest voice all the while shooting daggers at her sister, "would you please excuse Mary for a moment to help me in the kitchen? After all, it is no small task to give you the very best and I could use some help." "Martha," responded the King in a most loving manner, "you are worrying and fretting over things that do not matter, Mary has come to worship at my feet and you should do the same." Martha, instantly humbled and embarrassed shrunk back to the kitchen to hide the tears welling up in her eyes and the lump in her throat. "I missed it," she thought, "I missed my chance to worship the King."

So often I am like Martha. Cleaning, cooking, fussing, running around in an anxious tizzy anticipating the arrival of my guests. But what do I really want my guests to see when they walk through my door? A sparkling kitchen or a content heart? Perfectly decorated walls or a peaceful home filled with love? Stain-free carpets or a restful spirit. These things don't have to necessarily be one or the other, but in my life I tend to focus on the former and neglect the latter. I'm not saying that we shouldn't clean or cook, or decorate, I'm saying we need to value time with Jesus more than how awesome of a hostess or homemaker we are. Jesus knows what we need, namely, more of him and less of ourselves. So how do we ease the tension of taking care of house and home and family and sitting at Jesus' feet? One way is to sit at his feet first. Rise early and meet with the King. While it is quiet, before kids and chores and to do lists start screaming at you, before the noise of life rises to its ear-piercing decibel, sit and listen. 

Another way to balance life in the home and focusing on Jesus is to focus life in the home on Jesus. Decorate with scripture that keeps you mindful of him and his promises. Entertaining is always tricky. We want to show our best to our guests, but we should be mindful that our best is not ours at all, it comes from the Spirit within us. So let your guests see and experience love and care the way you experience love and care from Christ.

I was recently invited to one of those consultant parties for a company called Mary & Martha. I was immediately intrigued by the name and even though I am kind of against parties like this I decided to check it out. Their products are mainly home decor and kitchen ware, but what I like about them is they have scriptures on them that help the decorator and entertainer be mindful of the grace they have been shown and the gratitude that should ensue from that gift of grace.

Commit your work to the Lord and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

This is what I think Mary & Martha is all about. Don't stop decorating, don't stop entertaining, but commit these things to the Lord. Lay them at his feet and watch what He can make of it.

Here are some of my favorite products:


If you want to check out the products that Mary & Martha has to offer GO HERE. I am hosting a party and my shopping link will be open until Monday November 18 at 10 pm. Go check it out, they have some pretty awesome stuff :)