A Thing of Beauty , An Act of Love

img_11481This is my new dining room table. She is a thing of beauty to be sure! With eight feet of length to her we can easily seat ten around her. I’m guessing we could fit more if they’re children once our bench is finished being constructed. Yes, that’s what I said. It’s a custom order. As was the table. They are our housewarming gift from Erik’s father’s hands. I love homemade gifts! This table means so much more to our family than anything we could have found on a showroom floor! Inara is a real fan of the table as well, as evidenced here:


Oh, the meals that will be served at this table and the stories told!

What is your favorite made by hand, filled with the givers love gift you’ve received?

Ducks in a Row

Praise the Lord! We have a family that’s going to rent the condo from us for a year with the intent to buy it at the years end! Doing things this way, we will just break even on our mortgage. Any other way and we stood to lose up to $5,000, so as I said before: Praise the Lord!

Our CR house failed its radon test and quite frankly, I was kinda hoping it would. The statistics say that 70% of homes in Iowa have radon issues and I would feel more comfortable having a mitigation system in place than to just be wondering if this was the year that it would fail a test. Peace of mind, baby!

Here’s another pic of the house.

master bedroom

master bedroom

Look at that sun shine! To the left there’s a little cove and closet. i’m going to put my rocking chair there. :)

kids roon

kids room

Down the hall we have the children’s sleeping quarters. We figure one room is enough for at least the next ten years. :)

This Old House

Here are (finally) some pictures of the house! We had the home inspection Saturday morning and it passed with flying colors. Praise the Lord! We close November 12th and we’ll move on the 15th. I can’t wait!



This is the backyard. There’s no garage, thus the nice shed. The yard is actually about ten feet deeper than the tree line.

dining room/kitchen

dining room/kitchen

This is the narrow dining room and cozy kitchen. Like the arched doorway? I do!

1st floor bathroom

1st floor bathroom

Don’t worry, you don’t have to lay on your side to use the toilet. Fear not.

sitting room/bedroom 1

sitting room/bedroom 1

The whole house has so much natural light. It’s wonderful! Oh, and did I mention that all four bedrooms have hardwood flours?

basement-finished side

basement-finished side

There’s even a lot of natural light in the basement!

laundry room

laundry room

We believe there is a difference between ugly wallpaper and hideous wallpaper. As far as we’re concerned, ugly can go and hideous can stay. This wallpaper is so staying!

I’ll post more pictures at a later time. :)

Where does the time go?

Sorry it’s been so long and I’ve kept you all so out of the loop. Life’s been moving at a very fast pace around here. Saturday morning I went on a four and a half hour adventure with our Realtor, who by the way, has grown on me, to view fifteen houses. The goal was to find the ones worth dragging the baby through and to see them some night this week as a family. As I said: that was the plan. I saw some very nice houses that wouldn’t meet our needs and some other houses that I should have just turned away from at the door. This is one of those houses:

Yes, that’s a dryer that my 67 year old Realtor and I had to step over. A real gem.

I did find one house out of the fifteen that I really felt good about. So good, in fact, that I went back to it later on in our outting. The next day Inara hung out with Leslie and Amber while Erik and I went to the open house. We were sold. Monday afternoon we got our pre-approval (finally!) and Monday night we put in an offer! Now we’re in that fun 24 hour torture waiting period. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

We did include a contingency on selling or renting our condo in our offer. This morning my mom asked me if the condo was ready to show and if we’d put it on the market yet. I told her it was ready to show. :) I really should go do more cleaning. We put the condo on CraigsList and we already have someone interested in the rent to own option. pray that the Lord’s will be done!

Realtor Rant

I think that Realtors can be some of the most unhelpful people around. Not all of them, of course, just the majority I’ve had the displeasure of working with. Our current Realtor is not proactive at all and her only true usefulness is in getting the codes so we can get into the houses. I kid you not, I do the rest. 

Every house we’ve seen, as we walk in the door we ask the same three questions: “Has the electrical had a complete overhaul and been brought up to date?”, “Has the plumbing been brought up to date?”, and “What is an average utility bill?” (can you tell we’re looking at old houses?). You’d think that she would be use to this and have that information ready for us, but no. She always says, “Oh, I don’t know. Let me call the listing Realtor and ask.” which results in a rousing game of phone tag and her having to get back to us later. This generally results in us having to spend way more time than necessary at each house which is not the greatest when you have a tired one year old.  

We went and saw a house on Friday night. We asked the three questions per usual and she went to make her call per usual. The listing Realtor was unavailable and the owners had moved to New York so we were told she would get back to us. I called her back Sunday to follow up and was told that no one could get in touch with the owners but that they’d keep trying. In the meantime I had looked at the house online on the listing site and saw that there is a “get more information” option. I filled out the form with my questions and waited. I just received a call from a ReMax Realtor. He says “I got a message with your questions and would love to help you out with that. Have you driven by the house or just seen it online?” I explained the situation to him and as soon as he heard we already had a Realtor he says “Oh, well you should just wait for your Realtor to get you those answers then” and he HUNG UP! He didn’t even say good-bye! What a lousy system. I’m just glad I’m not supporting ReMax.

My guess is the electrical was just given a band-aid job and no one wants to admit it. Bummer, cause it was a gorgeous house with a huge plum tree…

For Your Information

This is the cleaning/home preparation for selling edition. Hope you find something useful!

*When hanging pictures, put a piece of tape on the wall before driving the nail. This will prevent teh paint from peeling off when you remove the nail.

*Clean windows with any of the following solutions:

  1. rubbing alcohol
  2. white vinegar
  3. 1/2 cup ammonia + 1/2 cup vinegar+ 2 Tbl. cornstarch

*You can remove pain splatters from glass (windows) with hot vinegar.

*You can eliminate bathroom odors by keeping a small decorative dish of vinegar out on a counter or open shelf.

*Keep bathroom mirrors from fogging by rubbing a thin layer of dish soap over the mirror when dry. This works wonderfully!

*You can revive droopy veggies by placing them in a dish of cold water with a Tbl. or two of lemon juice and letting them soak for a bit. (I know that has nothing to do with home care.)

*If you are a knickknack person and you have a bunch of small containers of sorts fill them with a bit of sand to weigh them down and prevent tipping during dusting. That is of course, if you dust. If you don’t, I won’t hold it against you…

*Clean the inside of your fridge with baking soda so you can deodorize at the same time,

*To more quickly clean an oatmeal pot, soak it in cold water instead of hot. Amazing!

*I’ve never tried this, but word on the street is that if you crack a favorite dish you should boil it in a pot of milk for 45 minutes. This should cause the crack to disappear and actually make the dish stronger as well. Who comes up with this stuff?

So, what do you know this week?

Pretty Picture For The Day

Pretty Picture For The Day

As The Music Moves Me

Lately, I’ve had these lyrics running through my head all the time it seems:

“Should we stay or should we go now? If we stay there could be trouble, if we go it could be doubled!”

Yep, that pretty much sums up how this whole moving/not moving adventure has left us feeling. Until now that is. I really feel we’re reaching a place of peace about our decisions. Last night in bed I surmised it as “We’ll plan on doing it short of meeting a Jonah fish.” Erik was unfamiliar with my Jonah fish analogy so I explained that short of a fish swallowing us up and spitting us out miles from our intended destination we would continue to move forward in faith. I thought that was as clear as an “understood You” from fifth grade English. Now it is.

So we’re moving forward. Today I met with a Realtor about listing the condo and we’re going to sign the contract on Saturday, Lord willing. Now I’m off to continue packing while Inara is sleeping which means only packing once and not worrying about someone unpacking in over helpfulness.

Tah, Tah!

For Your Information

First off, sorry I haven’t been writing more. I think my brain suffers more than you do though cause it’s bursting with information it wants to share! We’re trying to get the condo ready to put on the market so that’s what I’ve been working on in my overabundance of free time. I hope to be able to write more regularly again soon!

Okay, on to some random facts…

*Giraffes sleep only two out of every twenty-four hours. I think that’s why they use their heads as weapons: cause they’re too tired to remember what a headache it will result in!

*Doctors at the UofVA just finished up a study on bees and pollution in an effort to figure out this colony collapse disorder nightmare. One thing they discovered according coauthor Jose D. Fuentes is that “Air pollution destroys the aroma of flowers by as much as 90%.” Suck.

Speaking of bees, I told Erik that I want to have a bee hive in the yard when we buy a house. He’s in no way keen on the idea cause he’s convinced people will get stung. The next day I discovered that bees are nesting in the siding by our door on the patio. I was pretty amused.

*Sloths in the wild sleep nine and a half hours a day. Sloths in captivity sleep up to fifteen and a half hous a day. What bums!

*Over a 28 day period, your vinyl shower curtain will leak 108 potentially harmful chemicals into the air according to the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice. That’s what that crazy smell is when you open the package on a new shower curtain- you know the smell I’m talking about! It’s a bunch of chemicals from the PVC. If we don’t drink out of bottles that have been warmed and cooled anymore, why do we steam a big sheet of it right next to our naked bodies? I’ll tell you why: cause the alternative is to use a heavy cotton or bamboo cloth curtain instead and my dear husband is none too keen on that idea either.

*Another study, this one published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, has finally cleared 100% fruit juice of the “making kids fat” reputation it’s carried. Turns out it’s only those not 100% juices, you know, the ones with added sugar, that are the real culprits. Go figure. 

*Garlic works better at lowering your cholesterol than even Lipitor. Hmmm… God’s knowledge vs. Man’s knowledge…

*I have now put 43 bins worth of stuff in storage and because of the small space we live in it feels great!

What Do You Know? Please Share!

For Your Information

*If your diamonds are dull a soak in a dish of vodka can resuscitate them. Hooray!

* Okra (serious yum) should be eaten immediately after picking it. If it’s put in the fridge it can turn an ugly black and get a nasty slime. So eat it or freeze it, ya hear?

*Need to lower your blood pressure of relieve tension? Looking at pictures of nature has been known to accomplish just that in five minutes or less. Better yet? Take a walk outside. Hello, cooler weather!

*Americans spend an average of two billion dollars a year on candles. I wonder how many lives could be saved with that much money…

*Broccoli is purple or white. The stuff you buy at the store is mislabeled. The green stuff is a veggie named calabrese.

What Do You Know?

What Do You Think Of My New Look?

My 100th Post!

In honor of my 100th post I will be following in the footsteps of my good friend Sarah and share 100 random facts about myself.  I wasn’t sure I would be able to think of 100 things but then I remembered fact number one stopped worrying.

  1. I tend to share a lot of info fast at the beginning of relationships if I really like you. Not much is considered sacred.
  2. I have five younger sisters and two younger brothers. 
  3. I have a five year old nephew named Tucker. 
  4. My husband and I shared our first kiss at the altar.
  5. I could easily eat half a watermelon every day.
  6. I saw Knight’s Tale in theaters seven times. Don’t judge!
  7. I moved 19 times before turning 20. 
  8. I gained 49 pounds during my pregnancy.
  9. I have lost 56 pounds since my pregnancy.
  10. I tend to only have two to three really good friends at a time.
  11. I think all mothers should be able to stay home with their children for the first five years paid.
  12. I love giraffes.
  13. I own over 60 cookbooks.
  14. My friend April and I once drove from Chicago to Bloomington just for Godfather’s Pizza. 
  15. I once drove from Chicago to Ames, IA in under four hours.
  16. My first boyfriend was a kid names Matt at my daycare when I was three. He was “going with” at least three little girls at the time. We would take turns sitting on his lap. Yep. Heavy stuff.
  17. My mom took me to the Return of the Jedi when I was ten days old.
  18. I have eighteen year old twin sisters who are six feet tall.
  19. I asked Jesus to be my Saviour when I was four years old. 
  20. I read approximately 900 words per minute.
  21. I still have most of the friends I made when I was five. 
  22. I have a hierarchy of relationships: my “world”, my good friends, my friends, acquaintances, people I love because God has told us to love everyone. Um, yeah. I’m a bit of a social snob.
  23. I completely and utterly adore my in-laws. They could not be better for this family if I’d hand picked them. You know why? Cause God’s hand picking is way better than my own. :) He done good.
  24. I get motion sickness on carousels.
  25. I am an introvert. Ha! I had you fooled, didn’t I? It’s true though.
  26. Erik and I dream of one day living on an acreage with a big garden, some chickens, and a goat or sheep.
  27. I tend to have a heart for sheep who are wandering from the flock. Maybe because I’ve been there.
  28. I haven’t used shampoo or conditioner in my hair since Luke and Holly’s wedding in May.  I don’t miss it.
  29. If I could meet one Hollywood celebrity it would have to be Angelina Jolie. I want to tell her how to find what’s missing in her life.
  30. My upbringing trained me to act the part of an extrovert. Thanks mom.
  31. I have a stripe of scar tissue down the center of my forehead that serves as a personal emotion barometer. It turns bright red with strong emotion lighter red with less strong emotions.
  32. I miss being a waitress. 
  33. I was in a sledding accident when I was eleven that resulted in 23 stitches on my nose and #30.
  34. I once broke two bones in my foot by dropping a plastic children’s chair on it.
  35. I was home schooled my whole life until I started college.
  36. I started college at sixteen.  
  37. I never technically finished high school.
  38. I have lived in three states.
  39. George MacDonald is one of my favorite authors.
  40. We have the names of our next daughter and first son picked out and engraved in stone (not literally). 
  41. I grew up in a Chicago suburb.
  42. I believe love is a verb.
  43. I was a flower girl four times.
  44. I’ve been a bridesmaid twice. Both times for people who didn’t really like me anymore at the time.
  45. I love raw honey. Love it.
  46. I watched every episode of Alias. Even the dumb ones (Thanks a lot Abrams).
  47. I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket since my daughter was born.
  48. I had my license suspended for too many tickets when I was nineteen.
  49. I don’t like living in college towns. At all. 
  50. Christ’s example of loving leadership in the New Testament is the example I believe leaders should live up to. I believe His example is one of loving guidance versus forceful directive as a matter of routine. This is what I strive for towards my daughter as her authority as well.  
  51. I am double jointed in my fingers.
  52. I am married to Erik.
  53. I like my husband about as much as I love him.
  54. My husband is a cute pretty-boy that my daughter is the spitting image of.
  55. The first concert that I ever went to was for Clay Cross. Yep. Old school Christian.
  56. The first secular concert I ever went to was at the House of Blues in Chicago and it was a personal sized set (about 50-75 people) for the Verve Pipe. Still like them a whole bunch.
  57. I gave up drinking bottled water. Making my dent in the landfill issue. I have been doused with water as a punishment for this.
  58. I love getting handwritten notes. Love, love, love. even like an e-mail is good. Words in writing that I can read over again at another time are what I like.
  59. I think guys can be pretty dumb when it comes to girls and relationships. Once, in high school, I had a close friend who always told me he loved me as a sister.  I believed him. Then we didn’t talk for awhile and I e-mailed him and said “hi. I’m thinking about you and praying for you. I love you, Ambre” and he responds with “um, what exactly do you mean by ‘love’? do you mean ‘love, love’ cause if you do, I’m sorry that I led you on.” He goes on to confess that he did think of me as more than a friend once, but now he’s getting engaged. What?!? How to kill an innocent friendship in 50 words or less.
  60. I like Grasshoppers and Brandy Alexanders.
  61. I think the SNL “cowbell” skit is funny.
  62. I think the SNL “get off the roof!” skit is side-splitting funny. 
  63. I believe the the movie “the Wedding Date” has some of the most amazingly awful lines of any romance movie ever. Here’s a gem, ” I would miss you even if we’d never met.” righhhht.  Or how about “I would rather fight with you than make love with anyone else.” Uh, huh. Give that man an emmy!
  64. I don’t think my roommates when I lived at Gryn realized how often my morning OJ was spiked.
  65. I use to have a gorgeous great dane named Freya. Now she lives with Erik’s parents. Lucky them!
  66. I love getting mail.
  67. I believe that chastity should be a lifelong goal and hope to impart that to my children.
  68. I play guitar. Not super well, but I enjoy it. 
  69. I have an annual Mighty Ducks Marathon with one of my girlfriends. Two words: Jonathan Jackson.
  70. I love fireplaces.
  71. I could drink hot chocolate every day and never get sick of it. 
  72. I’ve been to Canada and Mexico.
  73. If I was to go back to school I would want to be a nutritionist and a naturopath. Not the type of naturopath that communes with spirits though. They scare me.
  74. Speaking of scares, I am scared of the outdoors after dark in the fall. Blowing leaves don’t help at all. 
  75. I love fall.
  76. I wish I could eat white pasta everyday for as long as I live. Angel hair especially. Yum!
  77. I read the last installment of Harry Potter in eleven hours. My wonderful hubby picked it up at midnight so I could start reading when I got up in the morning and he tended the baby all day. He loves me. 
  78. I believe the church needs to be more concerned about loving people and less concerned with visible to the earthly eye results.
  79. My engagement ring is a beautiful pearl. I was tired of girls always comparing carats. I didn’t view it as the measure of my worth or a wise use of Erik’s income. He picked it out on the way to propose and I couldn’t love it more. Since then he’s given me earrings and a necklace to match. I’m a lucky girl.
  80. I think that families should live within 30 minutes of each other and be huge parts of each others lives. I also think families shouldn’t drive each other to the bottle. That’s not part of my utopia.
  81. I don’t like cats, but since my baby loves them, I’ll probably end up owning one in the next five years.
  82. I hate beer.
  83. I had an eating disorder in my teens.
  84. I’ve never smoked a cigarette or done any drugs. 
  85. I once lived with a family where the dad smoked pot every day.
  86. I detest folding laundry and putting folded laundry away. If it wasn’t for Erik, we’d never have clean clothes.
  87. One of my pet peeves is when someone has done something major to someone else in a relationship, but acts like nothing ever happened. Just cause the other person never brings it up, doesn’t mean it was okay.
  88. I really enjoy wearing skirts, but
  89. I hate shaving my legs.
  90. I very much am not excited about the idea of camping. Very much not.
  91. I already have a date arranged with a friend for opening night for Harry Potter.
  92. I am 1/8 Native American. That’s why I have a flat face with super wide cheek bones. 
  93. My mom wanted me to be a journalist. I think freedom of speech is turning into a joke in our country.
  94. I sleep under a down comforter all year round.
  95. I have an irrational fear (or is it?) of someone breaking into our home through open windows while we’re sleeping.
  96. I wish I had been born a Jew. I’d like to share that in common with Christ.
  97. I would love to share a huge house with another family of our choosing (you know who you are) so our kids could grow up together, we could work the land together, support each other as women, and serve God better. Unfortunately my low standards when it comes to tidiness would drive a wedge between us. Bummer.
  98. I wanted to be a missionary to an orphanage in the Ukraine when I was younger. 
  99. I eat my steaks medium-rare.
  100. I really enjoy reading peoples comments on my posts.


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