Camera Giveaway!!!

I found a really cool giveaway today! I was surfing blogs, when I came upon this:

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Source: IHeart Organizing via Katie on Pinterest

I don’t normally enter giveaways, but this one seemed too good to pass up! I would love to win a canon rebel! Plus, if you win, you get one for a friend too!  How cool is that! Can you tell I’m excited!? Anyway, I thought that I would pass this on to you all and maybe one of us will win.

Here’s the link if you want to enter too:

http://social.pickyourplum.com/aot4k2/3m7i0r

Good luck! 🙂

Why I’m a Nanny

I  decided that it was time to tell you all why I  became a nanny.

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When I was in high school, I went back and forth on what I wanted to do after I graduated. For a while, I was planning on going to college and getting a degree. I thought about being a dietician, a personal trainer, a psychologist, a counselor, a nurse, and an interior designer. I couldn’t find something that I could stick with.  My other problem was finances. I made the decision that I didn’t want to take out student loans. I felt that God wanted me to remain debt free so that I would have the freedom to do whatever He wanted me too in the future and not be constrained by finances. I am smart and I worked hard in school and received very good grades. However, I am not a great standardized test taker and I didn’t get a super high ACT score. I would’ve been able to get some scholarships, but not enough to cover the cost of school.

For months, I tried to figure out what I wanted to do, where I should attend college, and how to pay for it. I went over it and over it in my mind.  Things never fell into place. I was stressed out and I didn’t know what to do.

Finally, I just gave up. I told God that I was done trying to plan my life and I was going to wait for Him to show me. It felt good to give that burden to God. I felt at peace, it was still difficult to not know what I was doing when my classmates were getting accepted into college and planning for the fall.

Some time went by and I started thinking about jobs that I could get without very much training. I thought about being a medical assistant or an office assistant. I even thought about starting an online business selling crafts.

Then, one day, I thought about being a nanny. I thought: “I love children, I’m organized, I like to play, I’m responsible…” and the list went on. I could imagine myself taking care of kids all day and I could imagine enjoying it and finding it fulfilling.

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I signed up on Care.com and Sittercity, wrote out my resume, and began looking for jobs. I applied for many positions and never heard back from the families. I did go to several interviews and I picked up a few babysitting jobs and through referral, I got a part-time summer nanny position. Throughout the summer, I continued to interview with families for full-time positions. On my last Friday with my summer family, I got the full-time job I am working at. God orchestrated each and every detail. I am so thankful!!

Every day isn’t tons of fun, but I love my job and I’m so happy! I love snuggles in the morning, craft time, playdates with friends, making meals, cleaning rooms, learning ABC’s, reading, and exploring the world with little minds! It is so much fun to spend my days with two special little people!!

Sometimes, I still struggle with feeling like I’m worth less than my college going peers because I’m not following the expected pattern of high school graduates. I still get questions about what do I “really” want to do for the rest of my life or when will I be going to college. Some people don’t understand where I’m coming from and that’s okay. We all have our own ideas and opinions. This is God’s plan for me and I know that what I am doing is right for me and that is what ultimately matters.

I’m not sure what the future holds. I do hope that some day I can have a family of my own enjoy exploring the world with my kids! At some point, I may go to college or change careers, but for now this is my life and I could”t be happier!

Demolition

A couple of months after we purchased the house, the demolition began. The reason that we purchased such a fixer-upper was because my grandpa was a builder and he is extremely knowledgable about renovation, building, and houses. My cousin, Andrew, is interested in building work and he was able to do an apprenticeship with my grandpa and learn from him. This arrangement is working great because Andrew is gaining knowledge and skills and my grandpa has some help.

In the first few of months, some trees were cut down, they took down all the basement walls, tore apart the upstairs, and started a new roof.

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Here is  a look at the back of the house after they cut down the trees and started getting ready to do the roof.

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The front of the house after the trees were trimmed and the shrubs removed. Notice the garbage shoot into the dumpster in the far right corner of the house below the window!

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Tree remains

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The tool base camp

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Here are the stairs to the basement after the tear down

DSCN0034Bare walls

DSCN0042A big picture view of the basement after all the walls came down

DSCN0100The upstairs demolition got messy! This is my grandpa scraping the junk into the dumpster.

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A look at the dumpster

DSCN0060Here is my mom’s room with half her ceiling torn out

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Ceiling

DSCN0087Here is my room. Notice how my room (red) has been joined with the little blue room on the right. In the middle is the door to the storage room, which will be our storage. I am so happy about having such a huge room to store my stuff (mom’s too) and it is connected to my bedroom!!

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It got VERY dirty!! These pictures look a bit blurry because of all the dust flying around up there.

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Andrew, working hard!!!

DSCN0107They took up all the hardwood in the upper level to save and put back in the house

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Convenient 🙂

This process was so much fun to watch. The progress was very quick and it was so much fun to see the spaces opened up! It opened the doors to dream up how we wanted to put the house back together. Demolition Part 2 is coming up next!

Picture Vacation

I love taking vacations. Getting away from the stress and business of life is a real treat. I think about going away more in the summer. I think it’s because the weather is nice and the beach sounds extremely appealing when the weather is hot and steamy. I can’t afford to go to exotic and expensive places, but I do enjoy looking at them on Pinterest. I go to Pinterest when I want to go on a “picture” vacation.  I thought that I would share some of my top choices for summer escapes with you!

1. I looovvee the color of the water!

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Source: pinimg.com via Katie on Pinterest

2. This so looks so peaceful and serene.

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Source: coffeepearlsandpoetry.tumblr.com  via Katie on Pinterest

 3. Beautiful.

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Source: crescentmoon06.tumblr.com via Katie on Pinterest

4. A great place to lounge and read a book!

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Source: bhg.com via Katie on Pinterest

5. Island.

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Source: victortravelblog.com via Katie on Pinterest

6. A gourmet dinner, good company, beach, and ocean breeze. A winning combination.

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Source: pinimg.com via Katie on Pinterest

7. Secluded. Private. Yes!

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 Source: 500px.com via Katie on Pinterest

I hope that you enjoyed a little mental mini vacation! Happy Friday!!

Book Review

Good morning!

I’m sitting in Grand Rapids Community College this morning. I am here with my best friend and cousin, Anna, waiting for her younger brother to take a CLEP test. I have the day off, so I slept over last night and am enjoying extra time with my cousins.

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As the title indicates, this is a book review post. A couple of weeks ago a read a book that I found very interesting and eye-opening. The book that I read was All Things New, by Lynn Austin.

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Source: lynnaustin.org

The book is set in the late 1800s right after the civil war. The three primary charters are: Eugenia, a confederate mother who lost her husband; Josephine, her young adult daughter who has interesting ideas; and Lizzy, their former slave who is trying to figure out how to live life as a free women.  The book includes chapters from each women’s perspective and weaves them all together in a seamless way.

As we know from history, there was a lot of bitterness and prejudice after the civil war ended. The South highly resented the Yankees for coming in and taking over. They were also upset at Washington and had decided the government was not trustworthy. In the book, many of the confederate veterans  take matters into their own hands and try to frighten the former slaves into submission. The veterans deal with adjusting to civilian life and accepting that they won’t be able to run their plantations just as their fathers before.

One of the characters in the book is a Yankee solider who was sent to help rebuild the South. After the war ended, no one knew exactly how to proceed and the slaves were afraid to cross the white men. He builds a school and tries to help the plantation owners form crop sharing agreements with the former slaves. He has an uphill battle the whole way as he tries to help the South to accept the changes and find a new way of life.

From the slaves’ perspective, the situation seemed almost just the same as when they had been slaves.  They still lived in fear of what the white men might do to them. Even though many of them left the plantations that they worked at, they didn’t have any place to go and were constantly under threat from the white men. They hardly dared to even send their children to the black school that the Yankees set up.

After the war, the South was a troubled place and everything was in an upheaval. The Southern way of life and thinking had been dashed against the rocks and they had to try and put the pieces back together to form a new way of life.

This book really opened my eyes to the South’s perspective of the civil war. They felt angry at their government for attacking them and violating what they believed were their state rights. I learned about some of the teachings that went on in the South that heavily influenced their way of thinking. Straight from  the cradle, children were taught that God created the black population to work, that slaves should be handled firmly, and should be put in their place. It isn’t so hard for me to understand how they could believe that slavery was okay when I think about how they were taught and the fact that everyone else was doing the same thing. The Southern way of life was completely dependent on their crops and the fact that they didn’t have to pay workers. In no way do I feel that slavery was right. I think that slavery was not in keeping with the Bible’s teaching and that it was very wrong. However, this book helped me to understand the civil war a little better by showing the Southern perspective.

Here are a few things that I took away from this book:

  • How a person is taught has a huge impact on their way of thinking. Lies have so much power.  If a person believes them for long enough, they can become so much like the truth.
  • Bitterness is never a good idea. Yes, one may feel like they were dealt an unfair hand, and it may actually be true. Dwelling on that fact will only hurt you more. The best option is to accept the situation and move on. Try to find the positives and don’t dwell on the past. That is a lot easier said that done.
  • Trying to understand another person’s perspective can go along way when you are trying to get along and solve a problem.

I really enjoyed this book and the truths that it brought to light. I would encourage anyone to read this book. It was wonderfully written and packed with insight. Definitely a book to remember!

5 Things Summer 2013

To help keep this summer fresh and fun, I came up with 5 things from Pinterest that I want to try. My goal is to complete this list by the end of August. It probably won’t take that long, but I wanted to give myself plenty of time to complete it. After I try/do each thing, I’ll post pictures and commentary on the finished product. So, without further ado, here are my 5 Things to Try in Summer 2013.

1. Make and try a “Frosty” Protein Drink.

This one should be pretty fun and tasty. This drink is supposed to taste just like a Wendy’s Frosty. I’ve never had a Frosty, so I’ll just have to let you know if it tastes good or not.

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Source: http://mealsandmovesblog.com via Katie on Pinterest

2. Chalk a quote on my chalkboard with really cool lettering from this tutorial.

 I love my chalkboard and I also love typographyand fancy lettering. I am excited to learn how to do some cool new letters!

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Source: http://www.myvintagewindow.com via Katie on Pinterest

3. Crochet a cute bow.

I enjoy crocheting. I’m not an expert, but I’m fairly confident that I can pull off this bow.

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Source: abbyscrafts.blogspot.com via Katie on Pinterest

4. Make a plastic bag dispenser from and old wipes can.

This tutorial looks super fun and useful!

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Source: http://tatertotsandjello.com via Katie on Pinterest

5. Try the smokey eye look.

It might seem crazy, but I like to play around with eye make up and I’ve never worn this look before.

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Source: Media via Katie on Pinterest

If you are interested in learning more about a project, the link is located below the photo.

I can’t wait to get started with my summer projects! What are you doing this summer?

back on the wagon

Okay, so, I have a confession. I used to exercise regularly with a mixture of cardio and strength. I’ve been off and on with the cardio lately, but I still get in some activity – taking walks and playing with my nanny kids. However, it has been months, I repeat, MONTHS since I have done any type of strength routine! I let it slip  through the cracks and now my abs are as flabby as ever. I decided that there is no time like the present and I am jumping back on the wagon with my strength workouts. I am going to attempt to do some type of exercise each day, but if I miss a day, I’ll just pick up the next day.  Even if it is only a few crunches and a plank, it will be better than nothing. I’ve picked out a nice little handful of exercises (mostly ab)  to start me off.

  • Crunches
  • Scissor Kicks
  • Bicycle
  • Plank
  • Wall sit
  • Leg Raises
  • Jack Knife Sit-ups

I’ll either do the whole list or pick out a few. Whatever seems to work out best. I’ll also be adding to the list when I find new exercises.

My goal is to eventually reach around 100 or 250 reps, depending on the exercise. Right now, I’m only doing about 15-20 reps. Very low number, I know, but I have a LOT of room for improvement!

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 Source: Buzzfeed.com via Katie on Pinterest

 As I said in my Friday post, I strive to make small changes and go with flow. I’m sure that it won’t go perfectly everyday, but like I said,  some exercise is a lot better than none. I’ll try to give you and update when I’ve done this for a couple of weeks. Now, I’m off to exercise!