Sunday, August 25, 2013

Before and After #2

Remember this table I wrote about? 

I wanted to paint it some bright colors to add color to the front of our house.  This was a super easy, fast project.  Here is the finished product!  Later I painted the watering can red too :)

See that crazy man in the reflection?  That's my husband.  When I was about to take the picture I told him I could see him in the reflection (meaning he should move) and he just started waving.  What a dork.  Anyway, I am pleased with the table!  Fun, cheerful colors.

Next up, this treasure:

It is going to be a big project since it is such weathered wood.  I'm second guessing my original color choices (red and yellow), so I need to think on it some more... But I'm excited to see what we come up with!  It might be awhile before you see a "Before and After #3" post.  Have a good week!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Before and After #1

Our kitchen is the room in our house that we have the most changes planned for.  It is just pretty dark.  Not much lighting, dark wood cabinets, black countertops, black appliances.  There is talk of painting cabinets, adding lighting, and lately I've been entertaining the idea of adding windows, which would require eliminating some cabinet space, however.

But when we first moved in, we had this awkward space in the kitchen.  We had our table in a dining area, which left a big, empty space in our kitchen.  So, we decided it would be perfect for a breakfast nook.  In April, Caleb, his dad, and grandpa came and built a bench into the corner.


We stained and painted it.  And then we added beadboard for the back.  


Finally, after painting the beadboard, we have completed our project!

I love it!  It is just how I pictured it.  We do plan to make a table that matches it perfectly.  That will be a whole 'nother project.  So, even though we have finished one long project for our kitchen, it is still a work in progress.  But I enjoy doing projects like this with my husband :)  It's a good way to spend our evenings together.  I love being married to a handyman!

Stay tuned for Before and After #2 :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

5 months

Little Miss Lyla,

You are 5 months old and I can't believe how fast time is flying by.  You are such a happy baby and we are always getting comments on what a smiley baby you are.  You are just bursting with life and joy, always squealing (at ear drum bursting levels) and you LOVE to laugh.  You are so very ticklish.  You love to be tickled on your neck and ribs and belly.  I am starting to think you are going to have quite the personality.  One that likes to laugh and squeal and have fun.  You still love your brother and he was making you belly laugh quite a bit the other day.  He loves making you smile and is very sweet to you.

E is always determined to get in the picture too...
We started you on solids a few weeks ago.  We planned to hold you off til you were 6 months, but you were acting so interested in our food and expressed much frustration that we weren't giving you any.  So we went for it.  You have had oatmeal, avocado, and sweet potato.  You like them all so far.  We've started to introduce a sippy cup since you won't take a bottle.  You've been going to the church nursery for about a month now and do pretty well at it.  You are pretty good at sleeping around activity, so that helps.

Even though you are very smiley at strangers, you don't like when they hold you.  When I drop you off at the nursery you do fine, but if someone holds you while I am standing right there, you are not ok with that.  You will put your lip out and fight back tears.  You definitely love mommy and daddy.  You are getting close to sitting by yourself, so I imagine that will happen during this next month.  You are very grabby.  I feel like you are much more grabby than Emerson was at this age.  We have to keep things out of your reach, because you are quick. You are still not the best night time sleeper.  You will want to eat at least twice a night, usually waking even more than that.  God gives me strength to get through each day!

You are in size 2 diapers and you can wear some 3 month clothes, 3-6 month, and 6 month clothes.  You still have very tiny hands and feet.  You still don't have much hair and your eyes are looking brown with some green in them too.  They are much lighter than mommy and Emerson's.

There are a few things that I love that you are doing right now.  One is kisses.  I'm serious when I say that you already act like you are giving kisses!  You will grab our faces with your hands and come towards us with an open mouth to kiss us.  You love being kissed on too :)  And the other thing that I love is that when daddy holds you, you always have a hand up on his cheek.  It's because it feels scratchy.  You've learned that daddy has a scratchy face and every single time he holds you, your hand always goes up to feel his face.  It's the most precious thing.

Ok, sweet girl, that's all for now.  We are loving spending this first year with you.  Like I've said all along, you bring so much beauty and joy to our lives.

I love you,

Friday, August 16, 2013

I can't do it all!

Guys, I just haven't figured out how to do everything expected of me.  How am I to do a good job training, teaching, caring for, and loving my kids, while keeping a clean house, and a cute house, and have relationships, and seek God through Scripture and prayer, and exercise, not to mention ministering to anyone else.  I always fall short.  I question whether I use my time wisely enough.  I can't seem to manage it all!!  I stay up too late (10 pm, by the way) to spend time with my husband, and then I get bad sleep (hungry baby), then I can't drag myself out of bed to spend time reading and praying before my kids get up (who are always up before 6:30)!  So I just can't do it.  I find myself feeling like I'm failing.  I struggle with comparing myself to other moms who somehow do it all.  The enemy always tries to use comparison to get me down.

I was praying about all this and then began to read 2 Peter 3.  I was reminded of some very good things.  Basically, this earth is one day going to be destroyed (2 Peter 3:7).  Anything I am working on that can be burned up (cleaning, decorating, exercising, etc.) will not last.  So this makes my decision for me.  If I want to do something that will last eternally, I must choose to seeking Christ and making Him known to others. 

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolve, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.   2 Peter 3:9-10

What is worth living for?  What works of mine will be exposed?  I want to value and live for what Christ valued and lived for.  I want to live for things that will last:

-Knowing Christ
-Making Christ known through relationships
-Making Him known to my children as a mother

-a perfect body
-a spotless house
-a perfectly decorated house

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

Oh what a beautiful day :) I have a beautiful feeling everything's going my way! Who could step outside today and not be overwhelmed with God's beautiful creation? It's one of those days that just fills people with joy.

A few families on our street are having a yard sale today. So the kids and I enjoyed walking down to those and purchasing a few goodies. Then we came home to our house filled with the smell of chocolate banana bread (recipe coming!), soon to enjoy sweet time with good friends.

After playgroup left, Emerson and Lyla were having the sweetest interactions with each other. Emerson kept making Lyla belly laugh over and over. My heart was just welling up with joy and thankfulness. Yes, we do have some hard days, but I feel so thankful for the beautiful gift God has blessed us with. I pray that these two will always have a special bond and help take care of each other.

Now the kids treated me by napping at the same time :-) how much better could this day get? I lay on the hammock in the gorgeous weather and thank God.  If you get a chance today, you should go outside and enjoy the beautiful day.  This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Friday, August 9, 2013


We have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe around here.  When we first got married, I had previously made slice and bake cookies.  After many failures at the Nestle Tollhouse recipe (never worked for me, I still don't know why!), I set out on a search for my favorite recipe.  This recipe soon rose to the top of the list.  If I ever offer to make Caleb a treat, he requests these cookies 100% of the time.  They are whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.  Yes, they are whole wheat so they are a little healthier than some other cookies out there, but they do have lots of sugar and butter, which is what makes them so good :)  And you must use REAL butter.  That's what makes them.  And I like to use real vanilla extract, too, but that's up to you.

Here are your ingredients:
-3/4 C. sugar
-3/4 C. brown sugar
-1 C. butter, softened
-1 egg
-1 t. vanilla
-2 C. whole wheat flour
-1 t. baking soda
-3/4 t. salt
-1 bag of chocolate chips (we usually like dark chocolate, but I use dairy free for now)

  Mix together the sugars, butter, vanilla, and egg.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix.

Add the chocolate chips.

Drop by the spoonful onto a lightly greased pan.

-Bake at  375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. 

Enjoy!  And Danielle, I'm sorry it took me THIS LONG to get you the recipe... Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Potty Training and Painting

We Gutshalls are a happy clan right now.  I'm especially feeling good because I think Emerson is officially potty trained.  Before I was a parent of a toddler, I never would've thought potty training was something you would be proud of your child for.  But it's so funny, because anytime he had success or made progress, I felt so proud and excited inside.  I rewarded myself with M&M's every time I had to clean up poop AND every time we had success!  Let's be honest, it's the mom who does the dirty work.  He got a few treats too.  But now that he is in big boy undies and Lyla is in cloth diapers, I'm feeling PRETTY good about out dirty diaper output.

We have been staying put the month of August (a whole week in, lol), and I am loving having the time on the weekends to get things done around the house, plus have quality time as our own little family unit.  We have a few painting projects headed our way.  First we need to paint the beadboard to our bench (white).  We've already done tedious jobs of filling hole with wood putty and sanding.  So I think we are about to the painting!  There are so many annoying parts of preparing to paint, when the fun part is the actual painting itself.  I guess it's better to do it right the first time though, yes?

We also acquired this cute table and chairs from my parents for our front porch.  I am wanting to paint them bright colors to help add color to the front of our house.  I'm thinking red table and teal chairs.

For my birthday present (27 years old! Crazy!), Caleb and my parents got me this table and chairs for our back patio.   I found it on Craigslist.  The wood is fairly weathered, but when I envision it with a bright red table and dandelion yellow chairs, I love it.  I love the curves on the legs of the table and I love the curves on the arms of the chairs.  I think it will be beautiful when we are done!  Do any of you have advice on painting weathered wood?  Caleb is going to have to replace one slat due to rot.  The dark spot on the table is where it is just wet because I had laid Emerson's floatie on it. 

Anyway, I'm excited to get these paint jobs going, but I know it's hard to get things like this done when you have little ones.  It'll probably be months before we are done with them all!  If you have any advice on what type paint to use and how to do it, send it my way!

And I will leave you with a few pictures of life lately:

My baby doll in a pillowcase dress :)

My nephew Caeden's 4th Birthday (we share a birthday) at the fire station!  Emerson and Caeden are on the far right.  I  LOVE this picture and I LOVE how Caeden and Emerson are becoming such good buddies!

And finally, enjoy some baby giggles :)  It's good for your soul.

Thursday, August 1, 2013