Monday, May 23, 2011

Saturday's loot

By close to 8:00 this past Saturday morning, all four of us, loaded up with breakfast, drinks, snacks, cash and the GPS, were off to hunt for treasure. Hubby was looking for books, kids were looking for toys, and I was looking for educational toys, baby stuff, a cordless drill, plants/gardening supplies, and anything else that might catch my fancy. Oh yeah, and a 13x9 in Pyrex baking dish, per the request of a friend. :) (Got something you want me to look out for? Let me know! Between my mom and I we have a pretty good success rate...if you can be patient.)

We were back home before 11:30 with this loot in tow:

So I didn't get a new cordless drill for Mother's Day but I knew if I was patient I'd find one at a yard sale. I don't need anything professional, just something to hang up stuff like blinds, curtain rods, and heavy wall decor. Found one barely used (claimed the seller) for $20.

Katherine was in her glory when she found this "Toy Story" Jessie doll with a pull-string in the back. Twister to help teach left from right, Mancala to teach strategy, Alphabet Bingo to teach/enforce letters, jumbo playing cards, and swimming goggles.
Eeeks! We've seen our better days, but here we are, serious about playing War with the new jumbo cards (which I discovered are impossible to shuffle right).
She's happy to play Twister by herself but still asks which side is left and right after each spin. When do they figure that out???
I had gotten rid of ALL my baby toys so now I'm starting to pick up stuff like this in like-new condition that doesn't appear slobbered on. My 2 year old is admiring herself in this mirror toy.
One guy was selling lots of veggies and perennials from his garden. The only flowering perennial he had was Lupines so I scooped up a few baby ones for $1. We've got a few out front already but these will go out back. They should grow to full size and flower next year.
As I mentioned in my last post, I recently noticed that almost all my vases are green - my favorite dark grassy green. The other day I'd clipped some Azaleas and was looking for a bud vase for the bathroom but everything that fit was dark green and didn't match and my clear glass ones (that weren't already in use elsewhere) didn't fit. One yard sale was selling a ton of vintage bottles so I picked up this old root beer syrup bottle for $3. It fits perfectly and matches the collection I already have on the shelf above it, shown here.
Brand new silicone kitchen utensils. These, together with all the baby & kids toys and games, totalled $10.

Last but not least, this vintage tray tied with the drill for my favorite score of the day. I'm not superstitious but am desperately hoping it is a sign from God because it would be perfect displayed on a shelf in a vintage boy nursery. I was determined not to buy anything related to my boy nursery inspiration until I find out what we're having, but for $1, it was a risk I was willing to take.
After getting home and thinking about what I spent on all the goods, it hit me that I never once haggled price. That's not like me! I almost always haggle down prices. I'm sure I could have paid only $15 for the drill if I'd just asked. I probably could have gotten the $3 Twister game down to $2. After a week off last weekend and a fairly unsuccessful hunt the week prior, I guess I was just so excited to find good stuff that I forgot to ask if they'd take less. Next week I'll be back on my game!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Beauty and the Beast

Ever since we upgraded our main family TV to a flat screen a few years ago, we've hung on to "the beast" - our old 32" traditional TV that is almost as deep as it is high and wide. Connected only to a VCR it only gets used rarely by the kids to watch old VHS tapes (I've picked up all the Disney classics for a buck each at yard sales vs. waiting for them to be released from the Disney vault on DVD and paying full price). This clunker been sitting on "Beauty," a Lane hope chest I had gotten at a yard sale in hopes (no pun intended) that it would make a good stand for electronic components under the TV in our new addition.

Well "beauty" didn't quite fit the corner for the TV in addition as I'd hoped so it has remained in what was our old living room with "the beast" on top. The kids just haul in their beanbags when they want to watch their VHS tapes. But I've hated the fact that this beast is the first thing you see when you walk into our house and I have been brainstorming ways to move it or get rid of it for a while now. 
So two weeks ago at a yard sale I discovered a much smaller TV with built-in DVD player and VCR that would be perfect to put in my daughter's room. It was only $25 and I convinced hubby we should get it. (Being the penny pinching financial advisor that he is, he reminded me it would really cost us $50 since it would cost an additional $25 to dispose of "the beast.") But I was pretty confident we could give it away. Sure enough the next day I posted it on Facebook and a friend and her husband hauled it off for their teen. I was SO happy to see it leave!

Our front room has been in identity crisis since we moved our living room to the addition. It's an entry way/mudroom-slash-den-slash-office. In my mind a proper entry way should have a table to place your keys/wallet, a mirror to check yourself on the way out :) and a nice vase of fresh flowers.

(A cable modem and wireless router weren't a part of my vision
but since the hookups are behind the chest, they reside on beauty for now.)

The mirror goes with a dresser that was handed down to us by my in-laws when we moved into our apartment. When we moved to our house and used the dresser in my daughter's room, I put the mirror in the basement because I wanted to use the space above the dresser to hang pictures (which I recently shared here). So I dug the mirror out of the dungeon, cleaned it up nice and rested it on top of the chest. I like how it reflects the sunlight from the windows on the opposite wall.

The catch-all basket was a yard sale find from years ago. I placed our Entertainment coupon book inside hoping we'll remember to take it with us and use it more often! Fresh lilacs from the yard in a green yard sale vase. I noticed recently that almost all my vases, whether glass or pottery, are green (my favorite color).

Beside the chest remains our basket (from yard sale) for hats, mittens, gloves and scarves. Seeing as it is May already I should probably put those out of site!

When I look at the whole wall I'm contemplating hanging the mirror above the chest to give it some height but the thing weighs a TON so I'm not sure how to go about doing that. And now my gears are turning considering what, if anything, to hang on either side of the mirror. With freshly painted walls I'm hesitant to clutter the clean space, though that's usually my tendency. I'm sure my treasure hunts will turn up just the right thing(s) eventually!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vintage Nursery

I was more than a little disappointed that I wasn't able to get out yard saling this past Saturday. I had too much to do before lunch and dinner commitments. When something gets in the way of my Saturday morning treasure hunt I get this awful feeling that I am missing out on something great. Well little did I know my mother-in-law was out treasure hunting with her friend up in Maine and she managed to come home with something for each of us. I just LOVE this set of vintage kid puzzles she picked up for me. She knows me so well.

If we learn I'm having a boy (only 2 more weeks till my "hopefully-find-out-the-sex-ultrasound"!), displaying some of these puzzles on the wall would really kick start a great retro boy nursery and I might even head towards a vintage cowboy/western theme. I shouldn't even waste my time getting inspired for a little boy nursery until I know, but I can't help it. (Is it obvious what I'm hoping for????)  :)

Buckaroo sheets

Would also look nice with our brown Jenny Lind crib. Not sure about throwing in a little modern cow print.
 If I'm having a boy and IF I don't go western, I'll still certainly stick with retro/vintage either way. No "bedding set prints", Wallies or matchy-matchy diaper holder/trash can/lamp activity allowed in my nurseries! Any on-theme decor has to be authentic and eclectic. That's the stance I've taken as I've decorated both of the girls' nurseries/rooms.

So I LOVE Dick and Jane. A collection of original readers as well as some updated reprints join Raggedy Anne & Andy and some vintage alphabet blocks with engraved animals. Of course even the shelf was a yard sale find that just needed painting.

For years now my wall calendar at home has been Dick & Jane but one year I had a mini-one at work too. I framed a bunch of them for my first girl's nursery/room. I love how they capture the simple joys of childhood.

I also love how these framed Normal Rockwell prints capture the essense of childhood summer days. I snagged these at yardsale for a couple bucks for my oldest's nursery too.

close up without the glare

Holly Hobby plates also a yardsale find. She's a vintage icon from my own childhood. I remember proudly marching off to Kindergarden with my metal Holly Hobby lunchbox.

This picture could be transferred to a boy's room. :) It is special because it came from my best friend's family. I felt very blessed when her mom allowed me to take some of their vintage heirlooms when they cleaned out 4 generations worth of stuff 6 years ago.

This home-made pillow was a combined gift from my mother and dear friend Naomi for my oldest's baby shower. The embroidered panel in the middle was a scrap of material my mom found at work (why she can't quit). She knew I'd love it so she gave it to my friend to make into a pillow as a shower gift. Little did my mother know Naomi chose some of the same fabrics for the pillow as my mom was using to make a quilt for a shower gift too. So the pillow is vintage yet new and a special gift to my daughter.

This chair was actually a freebie. Before I was ever even pregnant, I was working with the youth group I volunteered with to clean out the house of a women who'd recently passed away. Our job was to empty what was left in the house into a large dumpster. This was one of the few treasures I carried out to my car instead. It was to be my "some day nursery rocker". You can't tell, but it does rock. It has served as a perfect nursing chair for both my girls and would be just fine in a boy's nursery as well. :)

This light is one of two white hobnail lamps I found at a yardsale for $5. A vintage baby planter holds barettes. Vintage baby hangers hang above next to her baby shoes.

This vintage Doll-E-Crib is where we stash all the dolls and stuffed animals. It was the inspiration behind my toybox make-over below.

I picked up this old wooden chest for $5 at a yard sale about 8 years ago. It's served many purposes in many rooms but once I had kids I wanted to give it a make over as a toybox. Slapped on some light yellow paint, applied vintage decals from eBay (didn't come out as nice as I hoped), installed new hardware from where else but Anthropologie, lined the inside with fabric and oila!

I picked up this sweet little picture (that could also be used in a boy nursery) at a yard sale last summer. The print is a little rippled but it was dirt cheap and I loved it. 
My favorite thing of all is not really vintage, just inspired by the vintage-icon Sunbonnet Sue. This applique quilt was also made for my oldest daughter by my friend Naomi. What makes it most special is the mini-heart that she embroidered in the upper right square as she was praying for my daughter who had serious heart complications in utero. It's a constant reminder that God answers prayers and healed her heart!

I've had so much fun finding and/or compiling these treasures for my girls' rooms and would love the opportunity to hunt for boy stuff this time around. Beyond the "boys carry low" and other old wives tales, our culture has certain superstitions ingrained in my head even though I know they are false. For instance, two weeks ago I came across a vintage western-theme crib set at a yard sale but I didn't buy it because I thought I might jinx myself. Okay, so it was more like I didn't want to spend the money until I know what I'm having, but the idea of giving myself bad luck certainly crossed my mind. I even thought twice about publishing a post like this because of "Murphy's Law" - then I'll find out I'm having another girl. It's so ridiculous. Colossians 2:8 reminds me to "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

And obviously the sex of the baby has already been determined - its not like a boy will turn girl if I buy boy stuff, yet there's still this nagging "bad luck" hunch that's based on squat! Being jinxed, bad luck, karma - it's all crap and I know it. I will not live my life or make my decisions by those standards or be tempted to think they are true! God is sovereign, he is in control, and I trust him! My baby is the boy or girl God created it to be and he has a plan for this child's life, regardless of my nursery inspiration.

Psalm 139:13-16 is one of my favorite Bible passages of all time because it highlights the purposeful, planned and unique creation that each of us are. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." God knew the sex of this baby before it was even conceived.

So I am anxiously waiting another two weeks to get a little glimpse of the child that is being knit together and wonderfully made inside of me. Thanks to ultrasound technology these little frames are not kept quite as secret as they used to be! Just 14 more days to find out of this nursery inspiration is a pipe dream or not.

(On a side note, I thought it was kind of funny timing that another blogger I know and enjoy following posted about her inspiration for a nursery today too! Check out Jen's girl nursery ideas here.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Mother's Day Pledge

On Mother's Day I can't help but think about what kind of a mother I am and how I can be a better one. I rediscovered a "mother's pledge" of sorts that I'd come across years ago. Since then I've had it taped on the inside of my bathroom cabinet doors (which I promised in a recent post that I will open for your curious eyes one day). Because I "see" this printout every day, I don't really see it anymore - it just blends into the background. But being Mother's Day, it caught my attention again today.

This is not something that I wrote, rather I stole it from someone else. If memory serves me correctly, it came in an email from Proverbs 31 Ministries but I can't remember specifically who wrote it - otherwise I would give credit where it is due. Regardless of who wrote it, I found it very inspiring. Oh boy do I fall so short, but it is something to aim for, to aspire to. I wanted to share it for all the other moms of young kids out there who may also find it convicting and inspiring. I need to daily ask for God's wisdom, strength and guidance as I feebly attempt to renew this Mother's Day Pledge:

I will put my Bible before the television, computer, music, telephone, and other books, for my children will know my priorities by the way they see me spend my free time.

I will make my prayer requests known before God and my children, enlisting their help in the process and informing them of the outcome, for by letting them help when I petition our Lord, they will learn of a living God who answers prayer.

When times of crisis, conflict or confusion arise, I will hit my knees before I hit the phone or keyboard, knowing that by my example my children will discover that although friends are important, God alone is the one who holds the solution to life's every problem.

I will erase the words "luck" and "lucky" from my vocabulary and will instead by my speech point my children toward the One who orchestrates every detail of our lives and brings all good things to pass, for by this my children will learn of an all-knowing, all-powerful God.

When bad things happen, I'll neither grumble or complain, but will instead help my children see that in the scope of our lives even bad times are allowed for a reason, for by this my children will learn quiet trust in their Maker.

When normal childhood mishaps occur, I will remember that although difficult, it is still easier to remove grape juice from the beige couch than to erase harsh and unloving words hurled at a child whose chubby fingers have failed her, for by this my children will see a God who understands when our best efforts fall short.

When my children have witnessed something ugly in me - unkind words, an angry temper, "harmless" gossip, biting sarcasm or a "mommy pout" when things don't go my way, I will confess it as sin before them seeking their forgiveness, for by this my children will develop the much needed habit of wiping their spiritual slate clean before God and man.

I will teach my children the importance of cleanliness and order while at the same time remaining sensitive to the fact that a skinned knee or hurt feeling is more important than a spotless floor or uncluttered counter, for by this my children will learn to value people above things.

I will make time for the lonely, the sick, the elderly, the difficult to love, and will bring my children along, for with each afternoon visit, each meal delivered, each ride to the doctor, each raked lawn or washed window, they will have opportunity to serve Jesus by serving "the least of these."

I will make our home a haven of rest and retreat from the outside world and a welcomed place for my children's friends, for with each impromptu backyard soccer game, each video viewed on a rainy day, each cup of hot cocoa or chocolate chip cookie, my children will have opportunity to practice the art of Christian hospitality thereby learning to share all God has given them.

I will by my actions and my speech let my children see a mom love their dad, for by this will my children sense family stability at a time when marriages all around them are crumbling.

I will not require of my children obedience, honesty, patience or kindness without first being willing to submit to the same rules whether in speech, in miscounted change from the store or when answering a toddler for the fourteenth time, for by this my children will see a mother who is also learning and not a perfect parent to whom they'll never measure up.

In all things remember that more is caught than is taught.

There are little eyes upon you, mom. You are the first Bible your children will ever read.

Feeling like a horrible mother right now? Every time I read it I am so humbled and reminded of how far off the mark I am. But then it inspires me to get back on track and to again ask God for the wisdom and patience that only he can give to be the mother he wants me to be.

This just happens to be one woman's own pledge of sorts that she shared but I found all parts of it worthy of aspiring to. I'll admit I've tweaked it slightly to better fit me personally, but I've decided I'm going to use this as a starting block to write my own personal Mother's Pledge. I will take much of this content but also change a lot and add some things. What would you add to this list? Do you have any motherhood goals or pledges that you would share for the benefit of others? Please comment with them here or contact me. Thank you and Happy Mother's Day!
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