Kitchen Remodel – Before and After

It’s always so fun to see pictures side by side with the before and the big reveal! So that’s what I am posting here. First photo shows my very cluttered kitchen. Second picture shows it after the demo. Final photo is complete!

North Wall:

East Wall (Window side):

South Wall:

West Wall (stove side):

What a huge transformation of this small space! I never want to leave this room!

God is in control

It’s 4:30 in the morning and I am sitting next to my Grandma’s bedside. Her breathing is labored, and I keep listening to make sure there is a next breath. There is Christian music playing in the background and I have tears rolling down my face making it hard to type this.

I’ve been here for about an hour as the family wasn’t sure she would make it through until tomorrow. There have been so many moments since I sat down that I have felt God’s comfort around me, whether through a song or just a peace in my heart.

We are praying for God to take Grandma home. She is ready to go, and her body at 96 years old is tired. But the thought breaks my heart and makes me weep again.

This song by Matt Maher is bringing me comfort tonight.

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely You’ve bled for us
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bowed to none but Heaven’s will
No scheme of Hell, no scoffer’s crown
No burden great can hold You down
In strength You reign
Forever let Your church proclaim
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night
Sing it, o death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead, He’s alive, He’s alive
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Rise up from the grave

I am trusting in God right now. He loves Grandma more than I do. His will, not mine be done.

Kitchen Remodel – Part 1 – Demolition

April 15, 2019

So we have begun the exciting, yet overwhelming task of remodeling our kitchen. While still living in our house with three little kids, a puppy, and a goldfish.

Yikes! What was I thinking?!

Well as with any good remodel, we have started demoing. I have to say, Chip Gaines you are a LIAR! You make it look so easy on TV with your sledgehammer and Ninja kicks through the wall. This process feels like it is taking forever! But we also have the added ‘bonus’ of dealing with 100 year old lath and plaster walls. What a mess! I will be so grateful when this process/stage is done! We are currently on Day 3. And have at least 2 more days if not more.

I am going to post some BEFORE remodel pics in a different post. But here are some of the demo process. I am thankful to have my Dad’s expert advice and help. But boy are my arms and shoulders sore! I haven’t swung a sledgehammer in years.

Thanks for going on this journey with us!

As you can see in the pictures we don’t have a very big kitchen, so I am very excited to be making the space more user friendly.

Ripping off the ugly wood paneling off the ceiling.

No more cabinets!

Starting Day #3 of Demo

Don’t want to breathe in all that toxic dust from lead paint, plaster and insulation.

Day #4

I hope we only have 1 day left!

As you can see in the above photo, we are almost done with the walls and ceiling. About 50 boards to pull off, clean up and then taking out the floor. Yay!

May 7, 2019

Updating about 3 weeks later. Demo has taken a long time as we have discovered some major problems in how things were built, poorly that is. Also had to replace the sewer stack to the upstairs toilet as it was rusting out. We are now at the point of starting to put things back together.

You can see in this picture we had to cut the wall between the kitchen and powder room since the floor under the toilet was rotting due to being done poorly. We also plan to hang a small sink in there.

It is getting closer to the stage of putting back together. It has been a solid month without a kitchen. I’m ready to have my space back! I’ve already spent the money I was comfortable spending and we are not done yet. But no going back now. We have to keep going forward. Please pray for no more setbacks.

Weekend to Remember

This weekend my husband and I were blessed by my parents to have a weekend away at a marriage conference. It has great to have a kid free weekend to reconnect and relax together.

Hosted by Family Life, the Weekend to Remember conference we attended was in Des Moines.

We both knew that even after 7 years of marriage there were areas we needed to work on. Areas that needed forgiveness and healing. And hurts and resentments we needed to hit the ‘reset’ button on.

MARRIAGE IS TOUGH! As an excited young bride I had no idea how hard marriage actually is. Adjusting to living with another person who may not be as today as you, or who does things differently. Discuss how the toilet paper goes on or the proper way to squeeze your tooth paste before you get married. They seem insignificant but when there are other hard things happening in your marriage like financial trouble, or loss, or depression, or kids, the little stuff can set you off!

Our speakers this weekend we’re Joe and Cindi Ferrini and Trent and Andrea Griffith. They were excellent. Full of insight on how to make God the center of your marriage and how doing that allows your marriage to reflect God’s perfect design. They shared Biblical truth, their own stories and examples to really hit home the importance of marriage to God. And how you shouldn’t give up, even when life is hard.

I loved how we learned about communication styles and how are spouse is. Communication is key to a healthy relationship. A few examples include the Land the Plane vs. Enjoy the Ride. I really liked when one of our speakers said the best way to respond when someone comes to you Fact to Fact, or Feeling to Feeling. Do not respond with facts if someone comes to you with strong feelings.

RESPECT Husbands need respect. It should be given even when we don’t feel like they have “earned” it. And don’t forget, your kids are always watching. If I want my kids to have respect for their dad or others in authority, I need to model that behavior for them.

Trent Griffith said that it can be hard to accept an imperfect gift. But that is what our spouse is. God’s gift to us, imperfect though they are.. He isn’t done working on them. So we need to choose to accept the gift, imperfections and all and trust who God is going to make them into.

There is so much more I could say about this weekend. But it should be a requirement for all engaged or newlywed couples. Help them start out on the right path. So go! Find a Family Life Weekend to Remember near you! They have them all over the country.

If you sign up using my group code Wrights you can save on your registration, for any City they have a weekend. We don’t all have to go together to use the group code. Click the link below to sign up!

Getting away together is so important, because when you get home, reality hits. We had a nice 3 hours to drive home and talk about what we learned over the weekend. It was good we did, because once we were home, the kids wanted all our attention. By the time we fell into bed, I was struggling to keep my eyes opened as Justin talked to me. You get busy with laundry and kids and dishes and jobs. Take some time and invest in your marriage!

Drive-In Movie Cars

Our church has a fun tradition every year as they wrap up the Awana year of having a drive-in movie night. Part of the fun is getting to decorate a box to sit in during the movie. So today I spent several hours making Joy’s box. She is really into My Little Pony these days, and her favorite character is Rainbow Dash 🌈 🦄.

So I googled ideas. And found a good one. Dad had brought over a massive box a week ago after installing cabinets for a client. It was alot of fun to make. Took me about 3 hours.

Supplies Needed:

  • Cardboard Box
  • Strong Clear Packing Tape
  • 7 plastic table cloths
  • Construction Paper
  • Black paper plates
  1. Cut down your box to the right shape. I left it a little taller in the front and back to give it some shape.
  2. Use the light blue table cloths to cover the outside of the box. My box was huge so it took 2 cloths of that color.
  3. I used construction paper to make the eyes.
  4. You are going to need lots of tape! I used almost an entire role. I used some white duct tape, but I wish I hadn’t, it is a little bit visible. I should have used all clear tape.
  5. I used table cloths for the mane and tail also.

All of my supplies cost only $10.

Now to make some fun boxes just for the boys to play in. Joy does not want them anywhere near hers. She actually told me she wants to sell her big queen bed and sleep in the Rainbow Dash box 🌈 🦄. Oh that girl cracks me up.

The Joy of Laundry

Some of you may know our washing machine broke about a week before Christmas. We waited awhile to have it looked at because it is a very old machine and we wanted to just get a new one. And it isn’t like a dishwasher, where you could just wash them hand.. I wouldn’t even know where to pick up a scrub board for handwashing laundry.

After two weeks of waiting for my dear husband to decide. I finally called a service repair man. They came and looked it over. It appeared that somehow a nail had gotten into the washer and wedged itself into the pump which is why it wouldn’t drain out. How a nail got into my washing machine I will not even begin to guess.

They didn’t have the part on hand but ordered a new. It arrived, damaged, and they had to order a new one. Finally arrived last Monday, But the soonest they had to service was today, Friday. So it has been 4 weeks since we had a working washing machine. With three little kids, one of whom wants to potty train, and we had the stomach flu hit, it was too long to be without.

I have never been so happy to see a repair man in my life, despite the fact that the smell of cigarettes lingered even after he left, I almost wanted to hug him.

After he left I immediately began to wash clothes. After this long without a machine of our own, you can only imagine how low on clean underwear we all are.

For the past 6 years of being a parent there has always been the tedious task of lots and lots of laundry. But even as I stare at the 15 piles of laundry that need the be washed, I don’t feel frustrated or overwhelmed by the work. I feel joy.

Joy in the fact that my machine is now fixed and I don’t have to haul wash to my mom’s house or the neighbors. Though I want to say they are awesome for letting us wash clothes at their homes and saving us the astromnomical costs of a laundromat.

I feel joy in the fact that we can afford to buy clothes for our kids.

I feel overwhelming joy in the fact that I have three messy kids to do laundry for. I know for some that don’t have kids that may be a wish, and for some who’s kids are grown and moved away they may miss these days.

So while I sort, and wash and fold and put away piles of clothes I am going to pray for my family, praise God for the blessings he has given us, and thank Him for allowing me to find the Joy in Laundry.

Preparing for Disney!

We are so excited to surprise the kids with a Disney Cruise. We are going to tell them about it at Christmas. Our trip is not until next year, but I have been busy preparing for our trip! If you read my blog, you know that I am a planner. I also love to craft. In this post I will share all I am doing to prepare. Most of these things I will pack in the surprise boxes for the kids to open at Christmas to tell them about the trip.

I’ve been reading lots of Disney blogs with tips and tricks for getting the most out of your Disney cruise. Or also ways to have fun souvenirs without breaking the bank.

I really like this one. She has a list of the items she purchased at the Dollar Tree before the trip! What a great list. Dollar Tree Must Buys before your cruise.

1. Dot Shirts

I made these for the kids’ surprise boxes. I saw the idea on Pinterest, I cut out a stencil of Mickey and traced it on the shirt. Then using quality fabric paint and the eraser on a pencil, dot around the exterior. I loved these because you make them an color you like. For Joy I used black, pink, purple, and yellow. Deano black, red, and yellow, and for Teddy blue, red, and yellow. Find the original post HERE.

2. Cabin Door Decor

Apparently decorating your cabin door is very popular on Cruise ships, especially Disney cruises. So I made these cute little signs to hang on ours. I am one letter ‘a’ short to finish her name. I still need to laminate them and add little magnets to the back. Cabin doors are metal so using a peel and stick magnet on the back will work great! They frown upon people using tape or adhesive.

3. Lanyards

All Cruise lines issue credit card style key cards that are used for everything! Your meal ticket, room key, kids camp, etc. They will hole punch them for you to be able to put them on a lanyard. To buy a lanyard in the port waiting area (pre-boarding) is at least $5. I found these great lanyards at Party City online for $1 each! Buy Yours Here . The Cyclone one was a bit more but worth it for my avid ISU fan.

4. Personalized Water Bottles

I am loving these water bottles I made! I ordered the custom name labels from a shop on Etsy and then bought some of the bottles on Amazon and some from Walmart. It is a good idea to take a water bottle with you on a cruise so you can fill up at the drink fountains. Saves money on buying bottled water! And who doesn’t love having something personalized? I know I do.

If you are lucky and own a Cricut you could make the labels yourself. I really wish I had one! Maybe someday!

5. Fun Cozy Blankets

I found these little blankets at Walmart and thought they would be great for the airplane and even just chilling on the pool deck watching the late night movie. They had a lot of great choices so you can choose something that your kids will love!

Joy is so smart. She knows we are planning something, and she hates waiting to find out what it is. Daddy almost ruined the surprise the other day when we got a welcome brochure in the mail from Disney cruise line.

Moana birthday

Joy turned 6 this week. I cannot even believe my little tiny bundle that came three weeks early is already 6. While she loves all Disney princesses. Moana is by far her favorite at the moment. She has been wanting a Moana party for months so I begin planning a few months ago.

The best surprise for her birthday party was when Moana arrrived at our home. I had asked a highschool girl I knew from church if she would be willing to come to the party and pretend to be Moana. She agreed, and she did a fantastic job! She had made a beautiful costume and had rehearsed the song so much she sang it accapela. Beautiful.

Joy didn’t leave her side the whole time she was there. You can see the video of our Moana singing.

We had about 20 kids come to the party. It was loud and crazy and they went through all the planned activities very fast. So we ended up watching the movie Moana towards the end of the day.

I had fun decorating for the party. We had leis for the kids, little straws with pineapples and flamingos. Blue Sea Water punch, a Moana pinata stuffed full of candy.

I decorated cupcakes to resemble the heart of Tafiti and made blue jello with boats.

I love throwing parties for my kids. But I think this will be the last year one of the Princesses comes to visit. It’s exhausting getting all this ready. But as my little Joy said, “It was the best birthday ever!” And I hope it is one she will always remember.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Pizza is beloved in our house. And most of the time we order from one of our favorite local pizza joints. But sometimes we get a craving for some yummy homemade pizza.

What I love most about homemade pizza is then the kids can pick exactly what they want on it. You can make the pizzas to feed 1-2 or 6!

So yesterday I made the crust for our pizzas. It can be made the same day, but is easier to handle when chilled.

Here is my crust recipe: (makes 4 loaves)

  • 2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant rise yeast (2 pkg)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • Corn meal for the pizza stone
  1. Mix yeast, salt, sugar, olive oil and water in a 5 qt mixing bowl, until yeast is dissolved
  2. Slowly add in the flour with bread hook.
  3. Cover, not airtight and allow to rise at room temperature for 2 hours
  4. Dough can be used right away but is easier to handle when chilled. Refridgerate in a lidded (not airtight container). Can be kept for up to 2 weeks.

The pizza stone should be dusted with cornmeal for a better crust texture. I also use a little cornmeal/flour combo when rolling it out.

Roll out the dough, and top with whatever you like. Tonight I made one with cheese and pepperoni and one with chicken and pesto.

For toppings, it is best to use a fresh mozzarella and cube it to spread on the pizza. The more you use, the better coverage you of cheese you will have. Don’t use pre shredded.. it makes your pizza greasy.

This is what we used tonight. I also buy pre made pesto sauce. I liked this one alot. Just saute your chicken pieces ahead of time in a little EVOO with salt and pepper.

When you are ready to bake. Turn your oven to 500 degrees. Yes 500. But not broil, just bake. The cook time will depend on the size and thickness of your crust and toppings. I typically cook mine about 10-12 minutes.


We would like you to meet Finn, or Emperor Finn Roosevelt as my husband calls him. He is the newest member of our little family.

We decided we weren’t busy enough with our 3 young kiddos we needed to add a new baby to the mix.

Finn is a Cockalier. Which means his dad was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and his mom was a Cocker Spaniel.

We are having all sorts of fun with him, kennel training, house breaking, teaching him to not bite. Baby Teddy likes the kennel as much as the pup!

He was a bit of a sponataneous decision. And has been a handful at times. But he is a very sweet cuddler when he isn’t feisty and wanting to play.

He gets lots and lots of attention. Is a bit spoiled I am sure.

So if you are looking for a nice family dog, I recommend his breed. I had done alot of research and his breed is loyal, eager to please, and great with kids. Our kids are on him constantly.

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