Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Update: Nursery Makeover

Some of you may be wondering where I’m at with the nursery makeover. To be honest, nothing much has happened there since I painted the walls. I was waiting for the carpet quote to proceed with the rest of the stuff, and once it came in, my in-laws were shocked at the price. Over $600 to install carpet in one bedroom! And that was one of the more affordable carpets around. Guess the price of carpet has increased drastically since they last installed it 10-20 years ago!

My mother-in-law has been looking for cheaper places and we’re just not having much luck. At this point, to save them money and keep the project moving forward, we’re going to try giving the carpets a good deep cleaning and then they’ll purchase me a new rug that coordinates with the nursery decor to cover up any remaining spots. Only thing is, the size rug I need (at least 5’ x 8’) is about $150-$250 and all the ones I found that I like and that match are out of stock. Arrgghh!

Also, I’ve been waiting a few weeks now for the guys at work to raid the scrap pile and cut me the pieces of wood I need to make the shelves to flank the window in the nursery. In the past I would go do it myself, but this little thing called pregnancy has prevented me from stepping foot in the shop (due to the glue/paint/chemical fumes we use from time to time) for the past 8 months. So, not wanting to spend any money on shelves for a room where we won’t be long term, I’m having to change my idea for that too.

The drapes for the window are on hold until I figure out what I’m doing about the shelves. I’m waiting on making the crib bedding until I’m able to get the crib that our friends are giving us. I want to measure how high/low it goes so I can adjust the height of the crib skirt accordingly.

I haven’t started the artwork yet (but I know what I want to do) because basically I don’t know where exactly I’ll end up hanging it until the room is all situated because I’ve decided to leave some of my crafting stuff in there (i.e. table and frequently used supplies) due to a lack of storage spots for it elsewhere so the room is now a combo nursery/craft room.

The goal for this week is to get all the trim painted and to wash the fabric I’m using for the crib bumper and start working on that.

Hopefully I’ll be able to report I have these two tasks done come Monday! After all, our bundle of joy is due to arrive 8 weeks from today and all signs are pointing to her measuring two weeks ahead of schedule. Yikes I have a lot to do!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Sexy Politician

***DISCLAIMER: I know talking politics is a quick way to lose readers, but this is a blog about my everyday life and politics plays a big role in our family, so I’m just staying true to how things are.

IMG_7715_edited_no coat_cropped
I just want to brag for a little bit on my handsome hubby. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned here before that he serves on our local governing body and I’m also pretty sure that I’ve not hidden the fact that we are conservative Republicans. In fact, one of the first questions hubby asked me was if I had ever voted for a Democrat. Seems I got the answer correct thankfully or else he wouldn’t have dated me! (FYI – I have since voted for a Democrat at the local level, and would vote for one at higher level if he/she was more inline with my values/views than the Republican.) I also knew from the moment I met my hubby that politics was a very important part of his life and that one of his life-long dreams is to be a US Senator.

For the past 6 years, he has had the privilege of serving our local community on the governing body and two of those years he’s had the honor of serving as Mayor. The first year was the year we got married and he was up for re-election. He’s also serving as Mayor this year and is again up for re-election.

My hubby does not serve for the pay (he gets less than $4000/year in compensation for what really is a full-time job). He does not serve to boost his own ego or advance his political career. He serves because he truly cares about making a difference in the lives of the 45,000+ residents who live in the town in which he grew up. He is the first to admit that too often politicians stay in office long after they should have retired and I’m proud to know that he is willing and ready to step down when the time is right.

During re-election, he works his tail off. In addition to his 3 full-time jobs (running his wealth management firm, running the farm, and serving as CEO of another small family-owned company) and the job of Mayor, he spends many hours walking door-to-door meeting with residents and listening to their concerns. He gets up early to go to bus stops and communicate with those residents who commute long hours into NYC for work each day. Occasionally he gets to experience fun things like attending a football game this past Sunday with the Governor in his luxury box, and it’s neat to see how he’s getting to be known at higher levels in the state because of his excellent work in our community. Yet, through all of this, he is still the same man.

I love you babe, and I am so proud of all the work you put into being a public servant. I pray God will bless your efforts for re-election this November and that some day if it’s His will, you’ll see your dream of serving in the US Senate come to fruition. Until then, continue to serve with dignity and grace, regardless of the nasty things the papers and opponents try to throw at you, knowing that when you are through, you will hear God say “Well done, good and faithful [public] servant.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping

I’m still trying to use up the canned pumpkin I had leftover from when I made the Pumpkin-Ginger Waffles a little bit ago. A quick internet search turned up this delicious recipe from The Hungry Housewife. One batch made enough for one loaf pan (for small group time at church) and 10 regular size muffins.

Pumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping

by The Hungry Housewife

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup white sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
½ tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup buttermilk
½ to 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease TWO 8 x 3 3/4 x 2 pans (those disposable foil ones at the store). Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in the pumpkin and toasted walnuts. Equally pour into the pans and top with crumb mixture (recipe below). Bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup cold butter, cubed
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup walnuts

In a medium bowl, combine 1st five ingredients with a pastry blender or 2 forks, so it resembles, well "crumbles". Mix in oatmeal and walnuts.

Of course I had to try them as soon as they were fresh from the oven:

Pumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping_biteYummy!

Now, I just need to find another recipe to use up the last little bit of my pumpkin (who would think one large can of pumpkin would spread so far?)…

Friday, September 24, 2010

Summer in Michigan

I was looking through my pictures the other day and realized I never posted any photos from the couple weeks we spent in Michigan with family this past July.

My parents are originally from Michigan and I was born there and lived there until we moved to Colorado when I was 1.5 years old. Growing up, I always loved going back to Michigan to visit relatives. My dad lived on a farm that had a huge pond and a large woods that we loved exploring via canoe, paddle boat, 4-wheelers or on a trailer with all our cousins while being pulled behind Grandpa’s tractor. I also loved playing hide and seek in the corn fields while the sprinklers were going with our cousins.

I haven’t had the opportunity to see my dad’s side of the family, especially my grandparents, for a couple years and with my grandpa’s health not doing too well, I definitely made this trip a priority. It was fun to spend time back in the old stompin’ grounds and to show the area to my hubby and my two nephews. 

Woods Collage 
Uncle “Bock”, Caleb & Braden explore the new dock, the pond and the woods

Woods Collage_2 
Hubby ponders having a pond like this on our farm someday while the boys explore the playground equipment and peddle tractors and Aunt “Bee” and Caleb ride the giant tree swing

4 Generations
Before leaving, we stopped by my great grandma’s house (a couple doors down from the house my dad grew up in and where my grandpa still lives) to get a 5 generation photo for my sister with her boys. I guess you could also say this is a 5 generation photo since I’m 5 months pregnant here. L-R: My grandpa, my dad, my sister, my bro, me and great grandma in front.

After visiting my dad’s family in Cadillac, we travelled south a couple hours to enjoy some time with my mom’s side in Grand Rapids. One of our favorite things is to visit the Grand Haven lighthouse because we have lots of fun stories from this place (such as my mom falling off the end of the pier into Lake Michigan and my dad and I pulling her out to reveal a swamp monster…thankfully we can laugh about it, but many people have lost their lives falling off that pier). Hubby had never seen a Lake Michigan sunset (one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see) so we headed out for a fun night. The sunset wasn’t the best because there were no clouds, but it was still pretty.

Grand Haven collage

Braden was so cute riding on Grandpa’s shoulders. Whenever he’d see something he wanted to look at closer, he’d take his sunglasses off, squint one eye and point. It was so cute! He is such a smart little cookie and I loved spending time with him and seeing him and hubby start to bond.

Grandpa & Braden in Grand Haven
Group shot of all the relatives who enjoyed the evening in Grand Haven

Grand Haven Family Photo L-R: me, my sis, her two boys, cousin Casey, my brother, Casey’s hubby, my mom, cousin Aaron, Uncle Scott (mom’s youngest sibling and Aaron’s dad), cousin Shelby, Gram (Bibi to her great grandkids), my dad, my hubby

In addition to indulging in many excellent mom & pop ice cream shops, and lots of laughs, we also had a scary glimpse into my mom’s future when she came out wearing one of my grandma’s wigs:

Mom & Gram with wigs
Of course, no trip to Michigan is complete without a day at the beach.

Beach collage

Braden looks like he’s striking a pose for muscle beach. Me & Gram chilling on the blanket until little Caleb came and dumped a pile of sand in my hair. He’s lucky he looked so cute toddling after those seagulls it was impossible to get upset!

Beach collage_2 
We also took time to take in a minor league baseball game with my mom’s dad and his wife and some cousins.

Baseball Game
Back L-R: Haila, Gramps, Mom, Dad, cousin Aaron
Front L-R: Me, my sister, cousins Casey & (her sister) Shelby

And, the main reason we were in Michigan this summer was for the Bultema family reunion that my mom and grandma were in charge of hosting this year.

Bultema Reunion Postcard
I made the postcard invite last year (featuring my great grandparents) for them and it was fun to see it used in a slideshow they made honoring all the different members of this LARGE (my mom has over 50 1st cousins) Dutch family.

Me & Hubs at Reunion

We took a picture of the tallest and shortest at the wedding. The tallest guy I believe is one of my mom’s 1st cousins. The shortest was my grandma’s oldest sibling.

Reunion collage
I love this pic of my grandma and her two siblings who are still here on this earth. My grandma is the youngest (of 7 I believe), next to hear is the oldest sibling (I think she’s older than my grandma by at least 20 years) and on the left is the sibling closest in age to my grandma (but still 10 years older than her).

Summers in Michigan are always so much fun!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

31 Weeks (only 9 to go!)

It’s crazy to think that in 9 weeks (give or take) I will be holding our little girl in my arms! I am so excited. My mom has made plans to fly in on November 21st, and according to her, the 22nd would be the perfect day for our little girl to make her entrance into this world. Nothing like a little pressure from Grandma! :-)

31 Weeks

Yesterday I went in for a doctor appointment and learned that I lost .5 lb since I was there two weeks ago. That brings my total weight gain to 18.5 lbs. My doctor says she doesn’t care if I don’t gain anymore, so we’ll see how well I do at maintaining this weight. I have to say I never really had a ravenous appetite this whole pregnancy. We’ll see if that changes over the next 9 weeks. So far, no new stretch marks either, but if I’m like my sister, I won’t get them until the last week. I’m hoping all the lotion I’ve been applying will help keep those at bay, but it’s all worth it.

Today hubby and I get to see our active little one on the monitor again because we have another ultrasound to see how she’s coming in the growth department. Can’t wait to see her cute little body and hopefully get another picture.

Here’s what she’s up to this week according to this site:

As far as growth goes, your baby's still on a roll, measuring an impressive 18 inches and weighing in at more than three pounds. At 31 weeks pregnant, you can still expect your baby to gain at least three to five pounds, possibly more, before you two meet.

Your baby's brain is working overtime these days, developing faster than ever.   Connections between individual nerve cells are growing at a frenetic clip, and your baby can now perceive information from all five senses. Sure, your baby can't smell anything right now, but that's only because he or she is still submerged in amniotic fluid and needs to be breathing air to get a whiff of anything. Lucky for you — and your baby — yours will be one of the very first scents your baby breathes in, a scent that will quickly become his or her very favorite.

So what's your little dove doing all day while you're busy feathering your nest for his or her arrival? Making faces, hiccupping, swallowing, breathing, pedaling with little hands and feet along your uterine wall, and even sucking his or her thumb. In fact, some babies suck their thumbs so vigorously while in the womb that they're born with a callus on their thumb (what a little sucker!).

This weekend I’ll be getting my exercise in while exploring NYC with some great friends of ours who are driving in tonight from out-of-state for the weekend. Can’t wait for the fun to begin!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Mantle Decor

A couple weeks ago I finally took down the stuff that has been on my mantle since before the 4th of July and replaced it with cozy fall stuff.

Money is TIGHT right now so I decorated with items I already had. For not spending a dime, I’m very happy with how much it cozied up the room and helps to welcome fall.

Fall Mantle

I think my favorite thing on the mantle is the pear wreath. It was hanging in my craft room, but in the conversion to the nursery it was taken down. What a perfect place to display it for now.

Fall Mantle Closeup 
The Indian corn I picked up on sale last year at Michael’s. The metal wall hanging was another thing I had laying around. I think I got it and the yellow ceramic vase on sale at Michael’s a couple years ago too.

Fall Mantle Elixir Bottle
This purple glass elixir bottle belonged to one of my hubby’s great aunts. I thought it was a neat bottle but never had a place to display it until now.

Fall Coffee Table Decor
These items are sitting on the coffee table. I picked up the copper container and the garland on sale a few years ago at Michael’s as well. The potpourri inside the container is colorful and smells so good!

So, it’s not much, but for free it works for me to bring a touch of fall to our living room.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pumpkin-Ginger Waffles

If there is one breakfast you must make this fall, it is Pumpkin-Ginger Waffles.

I found the recipe a couple weeks ago as I was going through my 50+ magazines to be recycled and knew I had to try it. I figured when I couldn’t sleep past 4:30am this past Sunday it would be the perfect time to surprise my hubby with some homemade breakfast.

Pumpkin-Ginger Waffles

I topped mine with pure maple syrup, a dollop of whipped cream and chopped pecans. They were delicious and definitely made the “make again” list.

Makes: 10 waffles (1/4 cup batter each)

1-1/4 cup flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs (avoid having one roll onto the floor and causing a big mess), buttermilk, pumpkin, sugar and vanilla. Combine with flour mixture. Stir in butter but do not overmix. Let sit for about 5 minutes while your waffle iron heats. Make waffles using about 1/4 cup batter per waffle. Keep warm in 200 degree oven, if desired. Top with syrup, whipped cream and chopped pecans. Enjoy your delicious fall breakfast!

I’m linkin’ up to Tutorial Tuesday at Hope Studios. Go check out other great projects and recipes!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Wedding on our Farm

Our friends’ wedding was absolutely beautiful this past Saturday.

I made the wooden signs on Friday and they turned out pretty great, but unfortunately they ended up not needing them after all. Any body want/need three rustic wooden signs that say wedding? I’ll give them to you if you pay shipping. Otherwise, they’re headed for the trash because it will be at least 30 years before our daughter gets married (based on when her daddy will probably let her start dating) and no sense storing them for that long!

Here are some pictures from the happy day:


This is where the tent was going to go. We took out a lot of scrub trees, dried them, burned them and bulldozed it level to make way for things.


This is that same area on the day of the wedding. Looks so different. 


The scrub trees ran all the way back to the wood line. I think it was about 7 huge piles of brush we burned. Didn’t they have a gorgeous sky on their wedding day?


This is the parking area a few weeks ago.


This is the parking area on the wedding day. We brought in too many piles of woodchips to count.


Inside the tent.


The bride’s aunt made the delicious cakes.


The groom’s mother made all the centerpieces and favors. I loved their color choice of deep purple.


Some friends from church.


More friends from church.


Handsome hubby and me. He’s seen this dress come full cycle now. I wore it on our first date over 7 years ago. I weighed the same then that I do now at 7.5 months pregnant. Scary! In hindsight I should have worn a necklace but I was running late because I got sidetracked crafting all morning, and of course I ran out of foundation that day too.


I love the color of the soybean field against the bride and her bridesmaid.


The grooms’ kids. His oldest daughter on the left, middle child on the right and his son in the back right (not looking).


The Mr. & Mrs. waiting to be introduced. I’m not surprised at all that he must have done something funny to have her crackin’ up.

It was a great celebration. The reception started at 3pm. We left around 8pm and we hear from some of our friends that it ran well past 10:30pm. They sure knew how to party!

Friday, September 17, 2010

To Do List

Yesterday was 30 weeks. It hit me that our little girl should be here in just about 10 weeks. Personally, I’m hoping for 8 just so I can breathe again, but who needs to breathe? The thing that literally struck me just 5 minutes ago, though, was that there are only about 10 more weeks where it is just “me and hubby”. No longer will it be just the two of us because soon we’ll be a family of three. (NOTE: Not like it’s ever been just the two of us since we were married seeing how we lived with my roommate for two months until she got married and then we moved in with the in-laws when my lease was up almost three years ago.) Life as we know it is going to change, but it will be good great change. I do need to remember, though, to cherish these next weeks with just me and hubby. After all, it’s going to be many years before it will ever be “just the two of us” in our own place.

I also have a huge list of “to-do” items before the baby arrives:

  1. Make 3 wooden signs that say “wedding” before tomorrow
  2. Attend our friends’ wedding tomorrow on our property…can’t wait!
  3. Make and send baby shower thank-you notes
  4. Make a baby blanket for a baby shower I can’t attend on Oct. 3rd
  5. Spend time with out-of-state friends who are coming to visit next weekend
  6. Finish painting the trim in the nursery
  7. Replace the carpet in the nursery
  8. Make the bumper for the crib
  9. Make the bed skirt for the crib
  10. Make the shelves to flank the window in the nursery
  11. Make a cushioned window seat for the nursery
  12. Wash and fold all the baby clothes
  13. Train someone to fill in for me while I’m on maternity leave
  14. Find fabric and make drapes for the nursery
  15. Sell/donate a lot of unwanted stuff to avoid having to find a place to store it
  16. Find a place to store all the things besides my crafting essentials that used to be stored in the nursery
  17. Get a pedicure
  18. Get a haircut
  19. Finish shopping for the essentials for baby (i.e. stroller and car seat)
  20. Make the tissue paper pom-poms for the nursery
  21. Make custom artwork for the nursery walls
  22. Watch DVDs on childbirth (instead of going to a class)
  23. Make some headbands for our little girl to wear in photo shoots for her birth announcement and Christmas cards 
  24. Put up the Christmas decorations (I really won’t have time/feel like doing this with a newborn so they’re going up before Thanksgiving this year)
  25. Get the Christmas cards ready to be mailed

That’s all I have for now, but I’m sure there will be many things that get added to my list. Looks like I better get cracking because I’ll need to accomplish at least 2-3 a week in order to have them all done before baby arrives.

Have a great weekend! I’ll be back next week with a delicious cookie recipe and hopefully pictures of some of the items I accomplish from my list above.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

29 Weeks

I have no idea how we got here so quickly, but today I am 29 weeks pregnant and feeling every bit of it! I had an appointment with the doctor yesterday and she confirmed what I’ve already known…our daughter is very active in the womb! The doc had a hard time keeping her on the screen she was moving so much! The doctor was also surprised to see that she already has her head positioned downwards. Don’t know if it will stay like that for the rest of the pregnancy or not, but we’ll see. As of our last ultrasound on July 9th, she was measuring in the 48th percentile. We have another ultrasound scheduled for the 23rd to check her weight so we’ll see where she’s at then. Based on how much bigger I feel each morning when I wake up, I say she’s grown quite a bit.

For fun, here are the weekly pictures I took from Week 15 through Week 29 (minus a few weeks I missed):

Pregnant_15 Weeks

Pregnant_16 Weeks

Pregnant_17 Weeks

Pregnant_18 Weeks

Pregnant_19 weeks

Pregnant_20 Weeks

Pregnant_21 Weeks

Missed weeks 22 & 23

Pregnant_24 Weeks

Missed Week 25

Pregnant_26 Weeks

Pregnant_27 Weeks

Pregnant_28 Weeks

Pregnant_29 Weeks

No doubt I’m pregnant now! Total I’ve gained 19 pounds so far, but it feels like 30. The sad part? At 7 months pregnant I weigh the same that I did when my hubby first met me…I sure was chubby back then! Ha!

Basically all our little girl is up to right now is growing. Her brain development is in overdrive and she’s adding about 1/2 pound a week. Can’t wait to meet her in a couple more months!

Oh yeah…did you notice I finally changed my mantlescape? Talk about time! I’m off to Colorado right now for a baby shower and am really looking forward to it. When I get back I’ll post more photos of my new fall mantle and some recipes I made over the past few days. Plus, I also have a bonfire post to put up. I’ve been busy with things, just haven’t had time to blog.

Be back sometime next week!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Exhausting Myself in Joy

There is a blog I read about once a week that always challenges me in my walk with the Lord. The author is a woman who was a couple years ahead of me at Covenant College. The college was small enough that I knew of her, but didn’t really know her; through her blog, I have come to know her as a woman of great faith who inspires me greatly in my walk with the Lord.

One particular post of hers stood out to me today and I want to share parts of it with you in hopes that she’ll inspire you as well:

When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left,
and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”
~Erma Bombeck

My prayer many mornings has been this: God, help me to enjoy exhausting myself for you.  A simple prayer.  Help me to really find the joy in service, the wealth in being poured out, the beauty in giving.  Help me if I burn out at times, to feel like I have burned out for a good cause.   And to be happy about it.   After all, I could run dry for a lot of trivial causes, serving myself incessantly, but what would be the fulfillment in that?

Serving is not just, and I realize that I do not want to live a life of justice.  Justice means you only do what is fair.  And who knows what the measuring-stick on that is.  Most people use their own measurements to determine fair: scary.  Grace is giving what is beyond fair, and enters the realm of service when there may be no reward and no appreciation.  Grace is measuring self against the riches of Christ and realizing that God’s Son trumps any of our efforts, so Who am I to complain?  Who am I to stomp my foot about this life I have been given, full of the people God has placed in it?  Grace gives and does so with the goal of not complaining (what a challenge!).  Grace pours out and does not need to report the good deed.  It does not criticize the response we receive and how much better I would have done it.   Grace is peaceful.  It is living with so much that is unseen, that clinging to the visible is simply less important.

Living busy life takes a heaping portion of grace, not justice.  Justice rants and raves.  Grace quietly perseveres.  And it is actually quite difficult to live graciously when we feel too tired or too busy.  But God does not give us clauses for behavior.  His standards are for all time and in all circumstances.

Which brings me back to my prayer of this year: to exhaust myself in joy.  Knowing with head and heart that God’s grace is sufficient.

An excellent reminder to myself when I’m tired of picking up the trail of papers and clothes my husband leaves from the front door to the edge of our bed. A great reminder to not take my mother-in-law for granted and the work she does around the house, but to find ways to help her even when I’m tired at the end of a long day. A wonderful reminder that even trivial things like organizing and cleaning and laundry and cooking, when done with an attitude of grace, bring peace, life and joy to those who are around me. Yes, Lord, help me to enjoy exhausting myself for you in joy.