Do You Advent?

Based on the number of blog posts and Pinterest pictures I’ve seen of Advent calendar ideas and scripture readings, it seems everyone observes Advent! Being a Catholic household we try to observe the different seasons of the church year. “Try” being a loose term. Hopefully as the kids get older and the days don’t blur together as much, we’ll be more successful in setting apart the different seasons.

Advent and Christmas, however, we can do! This year, we’ve approached Advent as a season of joyful anticipation. Each night we pray and light our advent candles. Slowly, very slowly, we’ve been putting up Christmas decorations rather than putting everything up all at once.  This works well for two reasons: 1. It builds the anticipation as Christmas approaches 2. Let’s be honest, I can only do one extra thing a day. As an added bonus, separating Advent and Christmas means I get to decorate twice!

Each day we add a new decoration the girls get so excited. We’ve put up our nativity and our outdoor decorations. This week is dedicated for the rest of the indoor things. It doesn’t look like we’ll be getting a tree this year, so I’m working on something creative for our lights and ornaments. We’ll see if I can pull it off or if it will just look stupid! So far, this is our house for Advent!

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And, well, the rest of the living room looks like this:

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Maybe by the Epiphany the house will be set up for the holidays!

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To-Read List

As the holidays wind up and the  year fizzles out, I’ve started thinking about what I want to accomplish next year — reading wise. Goodreads.com just posted the winners of their Best Books of 2013 survey (results are here). Scrolling through the runner’s up, I started adding again to my “To Read” list.

I haven’t yet decided if I want to set up a to read list for next year like I did this year. But I certainly know I want to keep up my reading pace. These are some of the books on my to-read list that I’m most excited to get to read.

What to Expect When No One’s Expecting by Jonathon Last (this is actually on my nightstand this very moment)

The Men Who United the States by Simon Winchester

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

I may need some more fiction :/

What’s on your list? Are you close to meeting your year’s goal? Already making a list for next year?

Chalkboard Shoulda Coulda Woulda

Do you know, when you use chalkboard paint, you have to “season” the board before using it for the first time?

I do…

…but didn’t when I did my chalkboard frame. 😦

Do you know what happens if you write on a chalkboard that hasn’t been “seasoned”?

I do…

…now that I wanted to change my chalkboard message 😦

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So I was reading through m’blogs last week and came across this post by Interiors by Kenz where she mentions, off offhandedly, that you have to season your board before you can use it. Otherwise, the first thing you write on it will be sort of etched in. Oh boy, Kenz, if only you could have done your chalkboard before I did mine. I thought, hopefully, that maybe it was just a difference in the chalkboard paint brand we used. I certainly didn’t remember reading anything about seasoning the board after painting.

Alas

I erased my “Give Thanks” , getting ready to start on a baby shower picture, and wouldn’t you know it? “Give Thanks” just wouldn’t quite go away.

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Luckily, I had plenty of paint left and slapped a coat over my thankful board, let it sit 24 hours and then seasoned it by rubbing white chalk over the whole thing. You first rub it in horizontally then again vertically. This fills in any open pores. As I now know, chalkboard is very porous.

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So there you go, read all the directions, check up on your blogs, read the directions again, *then* paint.

Now to find something cute for the baby shower!!

Living Room Additions!!

This has been in the works for a while now and I’m so excited to finally get to share. During the summer, my dad made some beautiful end tables and a coffee table for my sister’s new apartment. At the time, he asked if Ryan and I would like a set of end tables too– he had a simple plan and said he could put some together quickly. We enthusiastically said “yes!”

We were using a second hand press-board\ laminate table which got pretty beat up during the move as our only end table. It had served us well, and was very well loved, but it was indeed on it’s last leg. One thing led to another, as it often does, and our end tables are finally done!! Of course the simple plan my dad found was transformed a bit into these beautiful tables that co-ordinate with our new dining room table (more to come on that later!)

Check these out!

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Thanks to the generosity of a friend, we also got a new rug! Our living room is really coming together fast. We went through a few stain choices before deciding on this dark brown for the tables. I love the rich wood tones in the beams and tables. It makes the room feel so warm. I want to continue adding pops of yellow and cool greys and chromes to keep the room from feeling too dark.

Of course the pictures show our few fall decorations and those are gone now. I can’t wait to start decorating for the holidays. Before we turn everything pink and purple for Advent though, we get to host a baby shower. We have a fun fun month ahead of us!

I’m still considering what to put over the couch, and we’ve been thinking about new lamps and how they would logistically work with a house full of toddlers. This is our living room now!

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