Home Makeover: Coffee Bar

My husband finished up a project recently that has been a beautiful addition to our kitchen - a coffee bar. He purchased the cabinet for $30 at the Re-Store (Habitat for Humanity's discount store). It was an upper corner cabinet for a kitchen. With some work, he finished it, put tile on the top and painted it. Then viola - it's a mighty fine looking coffee bar. The toaster, my hubby's coffee maker and his coffee bean grinder perch on the top, which my husband loves. Below are 4 deep shelves of pantry/cupboard space, which I love!

Family Photo Friday


It's Friday again. The last Friday of September. Wow! In Indiana the last few days have still been Summer-like, but Fall is just around the corner. As is my Friday custom, I'm posting a few pictures from our week.

This first shot is of my son, buried in clothes. He thinks laundry is fun to play with. Whenever I'm about to dump out the laundry on the couch to sort and fold it, he says "Wait, Mama!" He lays on the couch and then asks me to bury him under the laundry. Total cost for this continuous fun: NOTHING! :-)

We ripped out the tomatoes from our garden this week. My kids helped. The tomato cages provided hours of enjoyment. Here are the kids playing inside the cages.

My daughter then got even more creative, making a tunnel out of the cages and some outdoor blankets.

Here is the creative genius with her head sticking out of the tunnel. Again, total cost for these hours of amusement: NOTHING! :-)

And here is a picture of Eli - the little guy we're watching these days. This was his first time in the high chair at our house - he loved it.

Happy last-weekend-of-September to you! Make it a good one!

Foster Parenting - Log #1

Monday of this week we passed the final hurdle in our preparations for foster parenting - the final walk-through of our home to ensure safety standards, the completion of our home study report and confirmation that we have completed all necessary paperwork to send to the State. We were told that the State will issue us a license within 30 days - so that is how much time to have to finish preparing the room we will use for foster children. We still need at least one more bed and need curtains on the windows. Ok. 30 days. Sounds good.

Two days later we got a call from the agency saying that they had 4 siblings that need a foster home. Are we interested?!


We don't have a license yet, so there must be some mistake. No mistake. If you are willing to accept this placement, the State will expedite the process and grant you an immediate license.

4 siblings. A 5-year-old boy, a 4-year-old girl and 3-year-old twins (boy and girl).

We said no.

We aren't ready yet.

And we don't have room for 4 even if we were "ready." Our van's capacity would only allow us to take in 3 foster children at a time.

We said no.

Yet our hearts so want to say yes.

We're praying for a home for those siblings. Praying that a home can be found where they can stay together, to not be separated from each other during an already hard time.

There are likely 2 reasons why we were contacted to consider taking this group in. First, we have said that we will take sibling groups. Many families state on their home study that they will only accept 1 foster child. No sibling groups. Period. We stated clearly that we would consider any sibling groups. Secondly, we have the room to accept as many as 6 foster children, based on the square footage of our home / the large room we're using for foster kids.

But we're not ready at this point for even one. We thought we had 30 days.

We will work diligently this weekend to get ready so that if we get a call next week, we just might be able to say yes as our hearts so desire to!

Home Makeover: Kitchen

Over the weekend, my husband worked tirelessly to install a new stovetop in our kitchen. For 18 months, we have lived without a stove (to see "before" pictures and read about the state of the kitchen when we moved in, go here) . We have a built-in oven unit but no stovetop for cooking. We borrowed a "hot plate" from our church. It had 2 burners. One worked, one didn't. The one that worked had two settings - OFF or HIGH! This made cooking all the more challenging! So it goes without saying that my husband is now my hero and I'm ecstatic to have a kitchen that has 100% of the appliances we Americans consider to be standard in a modern kitchen.

  • New ceramic stovetop installed last Saturday.
  • New fridge installed in July.
  • New-to-us wall oven installed in May.
  • New dishwasher installed about a year ago.
Home makeover - baby step edition! :-) May take longer, but we don't have any debt to show for it either!

Monday Monday

Today is a big day at our house. It's the beginning of the end of the foster parenting prep process. Today at 10:00 am we have our final home walk-through with a rep from the agency. She will confirm

  • we have enough space for a foster child or two [50 square feet minimum per child]
  • we have some safety measures in place [1 fire extinguisher in the kitchen, working smoke detectors on each level]
  • the home study the agency prepared is accurate [this is a 10 page document describing our family, based on our nearly 25 pages of answers to questions about family history, childhood, relationships with parents and siblings, parenting philosophy, values, etc]
  • all paperwork is in place, ready to send to the State for licensing
Lord willing, the visit will go well and things will continue to move forward. Once the State receives the paperwork, they have a deadline of 30 days to provide a license or give a reason for why they will not approve our request for licensing.

I will say that this process has not been fast nor has it been easy. My first contact with this agency requesting more information about foster parenting was January 22. To get to this point has taken us 8 months. As with anything the government is involved with, the paperwork alone is a maze to wade through. The requirements are many, including backround checks, local police checks and fingerprinting. Yet I understand that it's necessary to be thorough and to do everything necessary to ensure that foster children will be safe and loved in our home.

More updates to come. We appreciate your prayers for the Lord's will to be done in our lives as it relates to foster parenting.

"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

Family Photo Friday


It's Friday again. I've had a wonderfully quiet week, for which I am thankful.
This is Mr. Eli - the little guy I'm watching these days. He is now 7 months old and enjoys standing in the walker to take in all the action of my two kids. Never a dull moment! We've been outside every day this week, soaking in the last rays of summer sun. My kids are all smiles during "recess" time. :-)My mom sent some small gifts for the kids this week - a cup/plate/bowl set. My daughter loved her Strawberry Shortcake set. And my son was more than happy with his Cars set. Got to love the cheesy grin of a 2-year-old!

Happy Friday to one and all!

Home Makeover: Daughter's Bedroom

We have been tackling our home makeover with baby steps for many months. Since my husband is not taking any classes this fall, however, we have had more time and energy to put into some unfinished projects. One project that was completed last weekend was my daughter's bedroom.

Thankfully we have an extra bedroom in our home, so she's been in the extra temporary room for many months while "her room" was painted and carpeted, a ceiling fan installed, her ceiling textured, etc. The room looks great and she's happy to be back in it, as of last Saturday.

She has hot pink curtains that she picked for this room, but they are too sheer to use by themselves. So they will wait until we put up some blinds. For now, she has some beige curtains that are doing the job just fine.

She has a little study area with a desk and lamp, where she can read or do schoolwork.

Next up: major cleaning in the spare bedroom to make it ready for foster children

What does a church secretary do anyway?

What does a church secretary do anyway?

Jobs within the church are a bit nebulous. Besides Sunday morning duties, nobody knows for sure what the staff does. The secretary... what does she do all week?

Last week was my last week as a church secretary. Of course it is bittersweet, but also a relief to be free to move on to the next phase of life. I've greatly enjoyed working for my church for over 6 years.

Here are a few stats to commemorate my resignation:

  • I have personally folded over 31,000 Sunday bulletins!
  • I have answered the phone "Hello. Faith Community Church. How can I help you?" approximately 500 times.
  • I have created and printed promotional documents for church events, to the tune of 5,000 printed pieces.
  • I have attended staff meetings with our church pastors for well over 200 hours, as we've discussed, planned and prayed.
  • I have been responsible for purchasing thousands of dollars worth of office supplies, Christian Education materials, ink and toner cartridges, stamps, etc.
  • One job I won't miss at all - licking envelopes for mailings! I have likely licked over 2,000 envelopes for numerous mailings over the years! Ewwww!
  • Week after week I have organized 10-15 "quiet pack" boxes that our youngsters use during the worship service (they contain crayons, blank paper, some stencils, some small books, coloring pages, etc). 10 boxes organized every week for 6 years means I handled those boxes over 3,000 times!
  • I have printed hundreds of visitor letters - as a follow-up for every person/family that has visited our church and left contact information.
I truly consider it an honor to serve the Lord in this way! It is an honor to serve the Lord in any capacity, but to be a part of His local Church is beautiful... and stressful... and wonderful... and frustrating... and fulfilling... and exhausting. It's been a great run. I am happy to say that I finished this race and can walk away with my head held high, knowing that I gave it my all. Thank you, Father, for the privilege of serving You in this way for this time.

Not much time to rest up for the next race - Foster Parenting!

Family Time: Mini-Golfing

A week or so ago we enjoyed a family night out, playing mini-golf. We thought this would be great for our kids. They enjoyed it, but ran through the course so quickly that it was hardly worth the drive there! :-) But we made memories...

My daughter, who was 2 holes ahead of the rest of us the entire time.

This picture of my son shows his philosophy towards mini-golf - whack the ball!

And my hubby sizing up the course.

Summer fun!

Family Photo Friday


The weeks are flying by so fast I can't keep up! The good news is that I will be done with my part-time job as the church secretary in one more week. Then I should have a little more time on my hands. Juggling the part-time church job, the full-time childcare job as well as homeschooling and general "mommying" - my days have been overstuffed and exhausting. Just a week ago I was stressed out and there was no clear answer in sight. Now in just a few days the Lord answered our prayers. I am thankful.

I do have a few pictures to share, though, as summer comes to its unofficial end.

Here is Eli - the little guy we're watching these days. Had a great week with Eli, establishing a better sense of routine and normalcy.

My daughter had some time to play with her cousin and best bud Racquel. Here they are all decked out with jewelry, wands, crowns and gloves... having a blast.

My son has been into puzzles lately. Here he is on the floor with his current favorite - a 5 foot long construction scene puzzle. Dump trucks, hard hats, tools - easy to see why it's his favorite!

My hard-working hubby has been chopping wood in the backyard. Here is my hard-working son by his side with his toy chain saw. He is a helper through and through. Love it!

Happy long weekend to you all!