Friday, February 29, 2008



Many of you have been keeping up with Sara, Matt, and Bella from the Live Lightly Tour. Or maybe you know Sara from her fabulous blog, Walk Slowly, Live Wildly.
For those of you who live nearby, I am excited to tell you that they are coming here in just a few weeks!! Sara is still trying to iron out the details and settle on the date, but it will be somewhere around the 10-17. There will be a lot of things going on while they are here. I am trying to pull some things together, but I could use some help.

First, Sara and Matt would like to do a demonstration at the University. I am not sure who to contact. I have talked to a few friends that are professors, but they aren't sure either. If you have any ideas of a contact, please let me know ASAP.

Secondly, we will be having a pot luck or something at our house one night so everyone can come and tour the RV, meet Sara and Matt, and talk sustainability. If you are interested in coming to this, and/or know someone else who would like to come, please let me know so I can start planning that.

Third, if you would like to use their services while they are here, let me know! Sara does awesome photography, as well as interior design consultations (just check out the adorable places she has called home!). Matt does carpentry work. If you have anything that needs some repair around your home, now is the time!

I am so excited to meet the Janssens and to have them here with us for a few days! I want to make their time here both a wonderful learning experience for the community, and a great time of fellowship. Please let me know asap if you are interested in being a part of their visit!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ALL THINGS OLD ARE NEW AGAINThe hunt continues for an old claw foot tub to restore.
Yesterday, I called the lone antique store in a neighboring town. "We don't have any tiger paws, but I know where you could find one" was the answer from the old lady on the other end of the line. And that is how my mother, sister, three boys, and I ended up behind a decrepit old farmhouse in a town that time forgot.

As we were driving down country roads, I was musing about the familiarity of it all. I remember so vividly, being the child in the back seat, complaining about being dragged along on yet another "adventure" for an old claw foot tub, tongue and groove, or sinks. Mom, on the hunt for old fixtures to go in the house that, at the time, was still just a dream in her head, would haul all four of us kids (6, 4, 2, and newborn, at the time) into her extended cab Ford F-150, and spend the afternoon traversing the dirt roads of south GA, looking for the perfect sink to restore. I remember it so vividly. And now I am doing the same with my children...and my mother. All things old are new again.

This is why I stay. This is why I live in small town, GA with the gnats, and the obnoxious who's who, and the unbelievable heat and humidity. I stay for the family connections. The roots. Hearing my children whining in the backseat, and telling them that when I was a little girl, I traveled these same roads, with a mother who was on the same mission.
Stealing dirt from my Daddy's back forty, putting my children down for naps at Nana's in the same room, same crib, I grew up in, searching the backwoods of GA for a claw foot tub with an excited passion that my mother not only understands, but passed down to me, is priceless.

Searching for the perfect old tub to save is much more than just searching for an old tub. It is a piece of my past. A connection to my mother. My children don't get that now. Hopefully they will someday. I hope that when they are grown, they laugh together about the times that mom dragged them with her all over the country, looking for the perfect tub in a tumbleweed town....just like I do with my brothers now.

*this image is from poll sci girl on

Monday, February 25, 2008

93 words

Speed test I just love stuff like this. I am such a dork. Thanks, Becky, for sharing!

This is fun too. This was passed on to me from another Becky. I could do this stuff for hours!

GARDEN PREPI spent the better part of the morning filling the back of the minivan with some prime south GA farmland. Bella Terra Firma, if you will. Child sized shovels for the little ones, and these cute galoshes made the job more fun.

Hopefully, Daddy won't notice the holes in his field.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

BATHROOM RENOVATION Our bathroom renovation is in full swing. We are about halfway through, and I am busy picking out materials, paint colors, etc. Here is how I am doing my best to Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle during our bathroom project.
The square footage of our bathroom did not change at all. We pulled out a large sink w/ a cabinet and three drawers. I plan to reuse this cabinet in another bathroom we will be adding later this year (this is the first in a series of projects we are doing to the house). All the cabinetry in the house was custom made and are the same style, so I would like to reuse it later. I really liked the sink and fixture that were existing in the old bathroom, so we will be reusing those in the new bathroom. We will also be reusing the sconces that were above the sink (I don't have a picture of them handy). They are pewter and glass, very pretty and classic. The sink basin and faucet will be set in a new base, which our builder is going to make for me. It will look similar to this, though probably with only one shelf. I am hoping to find a white cararra marble remnant, but if not, will use wood, painted and sealed with a water-proof sealant.

We will be reusing the doors, toilet, switch plates, sconces, sink, and sink faucet. I had hoped to save the floor (1 inch thick slate tile, which is in all the bathrooms, kitchen, and around the fireplace), but it couldn't be matched. I left the house while they tore it up, I hated to see it go! I am going to go through pieces though, and see if any are big enough to salvage for a small patio area. We are going to replace the floor with 12 inch pine boards, painted white. I have always wanted a white wood floor, but knew it would be impossible to keep clean with three small boys. Now that this bathroom will not be open to the rest of the house (we just took out a door that was accessible from the hallway), I am going for it! Plus, it is a more economical than other flooring options. Here is a picture of what the floors will look like (as a side note, I love this sink too, but it is just too expensive, even from a local place).

The shower will be tiled on three walls, with a glass door on the fourth. The floor will be slate tiles, and the walls will be a white square tile, with little hints of the blue/gray that is in the floor tile. There will be a small corner bench, as well as two low-flow shower heads.
I am hoping to do the walls in pine planks, laid horizontally, up to about five feet, and topped with a picture ledge moulding. Here is an idea of what that will look like.

I am going to be buying an old claw foot tub to refinish, and will be painting the outside. I am also looking for an old chandelier to hang over the tub. I really like this shelf and picture (I don't care for the particular picture, just the concept. Though I do like the frame) hanging at the foot of the tub, and will probably try to recreate this look in our new bathroom.

I am not decided on paint colors yet, other than the floor. I am thinking of doing an all white bathroom. Suggestions are welcome!

Any construction materials that we are unable to use or that are left over from this project, will either be used in our future remodeling projects, or will be given away on freecycle.
SPRING IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER... in South GA. These flowers from our yard are just breath taking! I have been enjoying their happy little pink petals in bud vases all over the house.Nothing, and I mean nothing, melts my heart like seeing these grubby little baby fingers handing me a flower, plucked from the yard.
THIS PICTURE SAYS IT ALLTo the left: Local, farm raised, free range chicken egg. To the right: Store bought, from a cage-kept, grain eating, never-saw-the-light-of-day-much-less-grass chicken.

I finally found a few quiet minutes to upload some pictures that have been hanging out on my camera for the last few weeks. Thought I would share a few of them with you now. I nailed two of the four frames for my raised bed, square foot gardens yesterday. I hope to get them filled w/ soil over the week-end, and plant them with spinach, lettuces, etc. on Monday. I really like the gravel path ways in between. Two more beds will be going in to the right. I am very excited about these! This picture was taken from my kitchen porch. It will be so fun to come out here to my kitchen garden and pick fresh vegetables for dinner! I can't wait.
I didn't get many pictures of our master bath, pre-renovation but here is one looking in from our bedroom. This door has now been moved to another wall, just to the right and the shower is where that door and the sink were. I am still on the hunt for a claw foot tub to rehab. I must say, I am having a lot of fun looking for old materials, thinking outside of the box about ways to re-use the materials from our old bathroom in a new way, and ultimately, getting the classic, well-done bathroom I want on a budget and using as many reclaimed items as possible. I will do a whole post on this later, with links to my inspiration pictures.
Because the door to the bathroom was being moved to the wall our bed was on, I had to rearrange our bedroom and put the bed on a different wall. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. The colors throughout the rest of the house are much more earthy and strong than in our bedroom, and I love how tranquil our room feels.

I have more to share, but I hear a sick baby that has just woken from a nap. More later!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I have become increasingly aware, as of late, of many of my parental short comings. I can't count the number of times this week that I have been convicted of caring more about my to-do list, and the things I "need" to get done, than I have the well-being of my children. So often, when they fight, I yell at them to stop, to be quiet, to CUT IT OUT ALREADY...wanting my own peace above all else. Caring more about having a calm house than taking the time to deal with the issues of their hearts...yelling, instead of speaking calmly, snapping, instead of listening patiently.

Yesterday, I had an agenda. Clean the house. Take off the recycling. Plan the week and the meals. Get groceries. But I had two sick children who wanted nothing more than to be snuggled and comforted by me. I immediately felt frustrated. How could I possibly get this house clean with two children crying and clinging to me?! Then I read this. I closed my computer, and held my baby close as the tears fell freely on top of his little fuzzy head. That post changed the whole tone of my day. I did get some housework done, while the baby slept. But I went out of my way to include my clingy two year old. We had a wonderful time together, and he was happy to be included. I didn't get as much done as if I had done it alone...but it was sweet time with my little boy, and the dishes will still be there tomorrow...but he won't be a baby for long. I am reminded of a poem that a friend has in her house.

Dusting and sweeping can wait 'til tomorrow.
For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

Sunday night, during church, I was looking at my five year old, sitting with my parents a few rows in front of me. My husband, seeing the direction of my gaze, whispered in my ear "can you believe that almost a third of our time with him is gone? It has gone by in a flash, hasn't it?" I looked at him in disbelief. I counted on my fingers. It is true. If he leaves the house at 18, then almost a full third of our time with him has already passed. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

Today, I read this gentle post. Unimaginable. We don't know how long we will have our children with us. It might be many years. Or it may only be today. Either way, I must seize the time I have with them, taking every moment captive to teach and train and love them. This has been heavy on my heart lately. Of course, it is important to clean the house, to do the laundry, to cook dinner. But if I do it without loving those I am doing it for, it means nothing.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


If you read my last post, you might think the computer hiatus of the last week was just me taking my own advice. Wish it were so, but it was nothing so noble as that. Last Monday started out like any other week...a little housework, a little grocery shopping, a little planning and list making. But you know what they say about our best laid plans. On Monday afternoon, one of my dearest of friends, Stacy, was re-admitted to the hospital, with complications from the c-section she had the week before. I won't go into the details because it is her story to tell, but it was a very long, grueling week for her. While she was in the hospital, I had the privilege of caring for her sweet little newborn boy. I enjoyed every moment of it and those to-do lists went out the window.

At the same time, the main bathroom was being completely gutted. Strange men in my house, sheetrock dust on every surface, no downstairs bathroom, and general mayhem completely threw me off balance. Trying to get four small boys (5, 2, 8 months, and the newborn) to nap while the house shakes with banging and sawing is no easy task, let me tell you!! I am looking forward to showing you the before and after pictures of our new master bathroom in just a few weeks, but first, I have to find an old claw foot tub to restore!
There are so many pictures I want to share and thoughts I want to commit to a post (like how we finally decided to homeschool Caedmon in the fall!!). I know I will get to them eventually. Right now I am just in the thick of my messy, happy, (sometimes) not-so-simple life!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

SIMPLIFYING THE DESIRE TO SIMPLIFYI love to read about simple living. I could spend hours, DAYS even, on the computer, reading blogs about women all over the country who are simplifying their lives and their families lives in new ways all the time. I love to read their thoughts, look at their pictures, think about and get wrapped up in this internet world. I am inspired and encouraged by what I see and read. The wheels in my head start spinning as I plan new ways to implement the ideas I read about.
If I am honest, sometimes I am jealous of what I read on other's blogs...other people whose lives seem a little more "together" than mine. Women who appear to get more done than me, have more time than me, who knit and sew and take fabulous pictures. Women whose homes look so inviting and cozy. Women who are homeschooling a zillion children. Sometimes that can breed discontentment.

I week or so ago, I was on the computer, zoning out on a fabulous new blog I had just discovered, when one of my children came running around the corner, yelling my name. I didn't hear what he was saying. I was listening to HER, the fabulous new BFF I had just found on the internet with the awesome house and the great ideas. After a few minutes of incessant "mommy, mommy, MAMA!!", I snapped out of my internet-induced coma, to actually LOOK at my child. He had put my glasses on, and was standing there, desperately wanting my attention and approval and acknowledgment. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was, on the internet, reading about the simple life, the "good life", someone else's life...and I was letting sweet, funny moments of mine go by unnoticed.

We all need inspiration. Encouragement. Ideas. There are so many people in this world who are talented and creative and wise, and there is much to be learned. But sometimes, we...I... need to stop looking to make things better, best, and just enjoy how wonderful things already are. My little boy, with his twinkly, sunshiny eyes, is a delight! Too often I hurry him along, or hush him, or don't even hear him calling my name...I am too buried on my computer, reading about how to have simple, meaningful connections with my children! Oh, the irony!

It is time for me to be a more active participant in my own life...less escapism, more LOVING WHAT IS. Less noise that drowns out the happy chaos of a house full of boys. Less TV. Less computer. Less phone and fax and text messaging. Less connecting with people I have never met. More connecting with three little boys that beg for my company. More time for a husband that loves me. Sometimes, even learning and reading and thinking about simplifying needs to be, well, simplified.

*Image from celisa on

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

AWESOME DIAPERSI have been using these diapers for a month or so now, but have waited to mention them, because I wanted to make sure that I really was satisfied with them before recommending them to others. With my eight month old, I use cloth diapers during the day, and these diapers at night or when not at home. I use these diapers with my two year old almost exclusively, with cloth training pants thrown in every once in awhile.

I was so happy to discover these diapers (and wipes, as well as shampoo, disposable bags, lotion and rash cream) at Target. I was especially pleased to see that not only are the diapers biodegradable, chlorine and dye free, and plastic free, but the packaging is also biodegradable and made from natural plant products. Not only will these diapers and wipes not be rotting in the landfill for umpteenth years, but they are much better for our babies as well. I think these are a great solution for those who want to make a more environmentally responsible choice, but aren't wiling to go for cloth. I like using cloth during the day, but they always leak at night, so I am happy to have an alternative for bedtime.

How do they compare to other disposable diapers? Price-wise, they are comparable. They are about the same price, and sometimes cheaper, than Pampers and Huggies. The wipes also, are about the same price. I love the wipes. They are so soft and stretchy. I mostly use homemade flannel wipes, which I LOVE, but these are nice to have on hand for the truly heinous diapers, as well as for in the diaper bag. The diapers don't have as much give to them as Pampers Cruisers, but I haven't had any problems with them. Most of the time, my children do not leak through these diapers, even when worn overnight. I have been completely satisfied.

If you want to try them, you can go here to order online. If you use the referral code "laurel", you will receive $5 off your first order, and I will receive $1 credit for referring you. However, if you are near a Target, you might want to go there, as they are about $2 cheaper a package.
Thank you all so much for your comments. I had so much fun reading them and have found many new blogs to enjoy. Using a random number generator, #34, The Parenting Diaries, is our winner!! I will be contacting you soon.
Even if you didn't win, I really encourage you to check out this book at the library...then buy a used copy, because this book is a keeper (and a sharer!!).
Congratulations, Parenting Diaries!!