Friday, July 31, 2015

Apparently I'm a Giveaway Champ...(Plus, Introducing Ol' Blue)

There's been a few changes made in our living room lately. First and foremost, we got a new couch. I say "new" but those of you who've been following MLST for any length of time, should know what that means... ;)

I got ol' Blue off the side of the road. It had a "free" sign on it. I even posted a picture on Facebook for you guys to weigh in on the matter: should I pull the trigger and pick her up? There were definitely mixed feelings about picking up a piece of furniture (upholstered furniture) off the side of the road. I myself had mixed feelings. But in the end, I pushed the negative feelings to the back of my head. And dove right in. Not literally. No way...this puppy needed a thorough cleaning first.

First, it sat outside in our driveway for several weeks (yes, that's what happens when you have 73 projects going on at the same time). Then Mitch and his dad took this puppy to the car wash. Yup, like the self-serve car wash. They sprayed it with the sudsy stuff first, then full blast on rinse. They rinsed it for a very long time. Then after all that, it sat outside for probably a couple more weeks, drying in the sun. I was still leery about bringing it into our house, so Mitch thoroughly cleaned it with an upholstery cleaner/vacuum. He seriously spent several hours cleaning it that second time. I have an awesome husband. This I know.

After that second thorough cleaning, I then felt pretty confident bringing it into our living room. And there it now sits. I will be honest with you--ol' Blue ain't the most comfy couch in the world, but it does the job. We really don't watch much tv, so we're not on it a whole lot. The back is kinda upright so there is a need for all those pillows that grace her.

It's definitely a burst of color in an otherwise pretty neutral room. I did switch out the rug (the leopard print and bright blue were not a good combo). Bringing in a neutral natural-fiber rug really balances out everything.

I recently picked up this wool ball garland from Sheep Farm Felt. I was able to customize the colors and I love the fun touch it brings to my mantel. 

And if you're observant, you'll notice I recovered our ottoman as well. The former brown fabric had seen better days. (The pillow on the far left, I won in a recent Instagram giveaway from Kate Marker Interiors. It's a Kelly Wearstler fabric and I think it fits right in with my pillow obsession collection.) 

I actually won the ottoman fabric from a giveaway hosted by Sherry Hart several years ago. What up, giveaways! I'll credit my lucky streak to my Irish heritage. :) I held on to the fabric for a couple years and finally think it found its perfect debut in my home.

I simply staple-gunned it right over the existing fabric. It was a pretty straight forward project that required no help from Mitch whatsoever! 

The candle and matches/holder were also part of the giveaway from Kate Marker.

And seriously, how cute is that little photobomber?

So, there ya go: our updated living room. If you hate the blue couch, don't worry--I'm sure I'll be mixing it up soon enough. But for now, it just adds a fun punch of color that fits our family right now. And, I mean was free. So what about you guys--would you pick up a free couch alongside the road? 
Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

An Interview with the Hertzler Boys - 2015

A few years ago, I thought it would be fun to make up some random questions and interview my boys. I asked each boy the questions separately and wrote down the first answer they gave me. It seemed like a fun way to get to know how they think and would make for some good memories to look back on for years to come. Just the other day, I brought up that post and sure enough had a good laugh.

Since Finn was only 10 months old at the time, he wasn't able to participate. I decided now that it has been 2 years, I wanted to ask them the same questions to compare how things have changed in their little worlds since then. Does Ryder still have aspirations to be an ice cream truck driver? Does Bryce still think that Santa Claus is the President? We'll find out and this time I can include Finn.

Once again, here are the subjects:

3 boys holding American flags

First, I started off with a few easy questions. 

The answers in parenthesis are their answers from 2 years ago.

1)  What is your favorite movie
  • Finn:   "Thomas" 
  • Bryce: "Penguins of Madagascar" (Cars) 
  • Ryder: "Night at the Museum" (Despicable Me)

2)  What is your favorite book?
  • Finn:   "Dreams" - no idea
  • Bryce: "The one that the mouse tries to hide" (Train) 
  • Ryder: "Can it be like the Berenstein Bears?" (The Berenstein Bears Computer Trouble)

3)  What is your favorite food?
  • Finn:    "Toast"
  • Bryce:  "Eggs" (Eggs) - the boy does love his eggs
  • Ryder:  "Cheeseburgers" (An apple) - like father, like son!

4)  What is your favorite animal?
  • Finn:   "Thomas"
  • Bryce:  "Oh, I think that might be, actually....Flash" - his toy stuffed hamster (Thomas)
  • Ryder:  "Tiger" (A lion)

5)  What is your favorite word?
  • Finn:    " toys"
  • Bryce:  "Can I have some juice please?" (Flowers)
  • Ryder:  "Baseball" (My name)

6)  What is your favorite sport?
  • Finn:    "Baseball, Thomas, and Spongebob" 
  • Bryce:  "Baseball" (Baseball)
  • Ryder:  "Baseball" (Soccer)

7)  What is your favorite place to visit?
  • Finn:    "Going to the cabin"
  • Bryce:  "Nannan and Ma's" (Ma's) 
  • Ryder:  "Mom Mom and Pop Pop's" (Mom Mom and Pop Pop's)
Now for some harder and deeper questions.

8)  What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • Finn:    "like Jesus" - wow, what an answer from a 2 year old
  • Bryce:  "A dad" (An animal) 
  • Ryder:  "A baseball player" (An ice cream truck driver)

9)  What is the best thing about your family?
  • Finn:    "Nothing"
  • Bryce:  "That I like to play with my mom" (Dessert
  • Ryder:  "That they sometimes play with me" (Watching movies together)

10)  Who is your best friend?
  • Finn:    "Dad" - ahhh, now that's a good answer
  • Bryce:  "Ethan and Hannah" (Ryder) 
  • Ryder:  "Ethan" (Ethan and Carter)

11)  What is the hardest thing about your life?
  • Finn:    "I don't know"
  • Bryce:  "Sin" (Picking flowers)
  • Ryder:  "My brothers are annoying" (Cleaning up)

12)  What 3 things would you take with you if you were stranded on an island?
  • Finn:    "I don't know, sand, and nothing"
  • Bryce:  "Blanket, pillow, and something to eat" (Thomas, a toy, and an animal)
  • Ryder:  "Food, water, and a baseball" (A boat, some food, and a bucket of water)

13)  What makes you happy?
  • Finn:    "God and Jesus. They don't fight, they care for us and say hi" 
  • Bryce:  "That Jesus rose again" (A birthday cake)
  • Ryder:  "My family" (Playing on Daddy's tablet)

14)  Who is the President of the USA?
  • Finn:    "Ryder"
  • Bryce:  "I don't really know, Jesus I guess" (Santa Claus
  • Ryder:  "George Washington... uh, no Barack Obama" (George Washington)

15)  Who is Jesus?
  • Finn:    "God "
  • Bryce:  "He is the One Who is really powerful" (God)
  • Ryder:  "Our Savior" (God)

16)  What is the best thing about summer?
  • Finn:    "Go to Christmas" - I don't think he understood the question
  • Bryce:  "That we get to swim in the pool" (Flowers)
  • Ryder:  "Vacation" (Going on vacation)

17)  How old will you be when you are 26?
  • Finn:    "3"
  • Bryce:  "30" (I can't know that) - Numbers aren't exactly his thing
  • Ryder:  "What? 26" (26)

18)  Do you like sharing a room with your brother?
  • Finn:    "Yes"
  • Bryce:  Big smile and head nod,  "Yeah" (Yeah)
  • Ryder:  "No" - Now has his own room (No)

19)  What do you think about girls?
  • Finn:   "Girls go to the Rec" - YMCA
  • Bryce:  "Nothing" (Toys)
  • Ryder:  Shoulder shrug, no response (giggles... um they like play with baby dolls and watch movies that are girly)
Right now there are more important things than girls like baseball, juice, and Thomas.

20)  What would you buy if you had a million dollars?
  • Finn:    "Money in my cup" - he then proceeds to go to his room to get his cup off his shelf  with his tokens inside it. 
  • Bryce:  "Probably like everything in every store" (A big basket full of cakes)
  • Ryder:  "A Wii, a baseball video game, a baseball bat, a baseball field, a pool, a new DS,  that's it" (The tablet that Mommy told me that was 7 inches tall)

Well I really enjoyed talking to my boys to find out how they think. As you can tell, Ryder has been pretty obsessed with baseball lately. He literally has watched the 2008 Phillies DVD "The Perfect Season" everyday for the past 2 weeks. Bryce seems to love Bible stories from church, VBS, and Awana and it shows in his answers. And Finn is a daddy's boy. Nothing wrong with that! :)

I would encourage everyone to do this with their kids. I know we hear it all the time that they grow up so fast. Well it is true. Being involved in their lives and learning about what they enjoy is a great way to build lasting relationships. God made them unique and gave us the responsibility to raise and care for them. Even if some (or most) days are chaos, let's cherish them while we can.

You can follow MLST on Instagram in between blog posts here.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer Hike

We went for a walk today

and I thought I'd bring my "real" camera along.

We saw lots of cool things, including an interesting box turtle making his way around the middle of the woods. Ryder discovered him when he almost stepped on him. 

After briefly researching when we came home, we learned that male box turtles have red eyes while females have yellowish-brown ones.

On our hike back, we tried looking for him, but he was gone. We nicknamed him "Speedy."

I know this picture of Finn is blurry, but I had to share it with you. It's a total reflection of his happy personality. This kid is always joking around and smiling. And the little stinker uses potty words (like literal potty words...not curse words) all the time...trying to break him of that. #raisingboysisnojoke 

And the bond that he and Bryce share is precious.

I can't believe how old Ryder looks in this picture (he'll be 8 in Sept.). He's loving all things baseball these days. He doesn't play on a team, but rather spends hours in our backyard with his Daddy hitting balls and working on his throws.

And this picture totally describes he and Bryce's relationship. Here Ry is laughing while Bryce fake cries. They are constantly egging each other on, but I know they'd be lost without the other.

I wrote this verse on our chalkboard the other day and we had a good discussion about it:

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!"
~Psalm 133:1

These summer days can be long (and exhausting!), but I have to remind myself that these boys won't be little for very long either. So I'm trying to soak up these summer days with my three little guys. Hope you're enjoying your summer!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

DIY Barnwood Kitchen Shelves

There's a trend in kitchens right now--open shelving. And while I LOVE the look, I knew when designing our kitchen, there was no way I could squeeze in a few shelves on which to display pretty things. Practicality won out and I maximized every square inch of our kitchen by running our upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling and installing a big pantry for extra storage. In a small kitchen, every wall counts and I knew I had to use each one to get the storage I needed.

(See more of my kitchen here)

I kinda gave up hoping for open shelving in my kitchen until the light bulb went on one day. Sure--I have ONE spot in my kitchen where I could squeeze in a couple shelves. See that wall to the right of our couch? Well I scooted that armoire over a bit and that's the area we're talking about. (more living room pics here, and yes, this picture is old--two couches ago!)

Just enough room for two shelves, and it's perfect above my DIY baking station. (I've been using my baking station a lot more now that I'm food blogging over at

This project was inspired by Rebecca from A Daily Something. I saw her post on Instagram and was smitten right away. I knew we could recreate the look.

(Bryce found the bird's nest in our backyard the same day the shelves went up so I thought it was only fitting!)

And it worked out perfectly--we had just enough barnwood (left over from our barnwood dining table) to make a couple shelves. Mitch cut the wood into 24" long boards, sanded them down, and installed two metal brackets in each of them. 

If you look closely, you can tell the brackets aren't centered. Mitch measured everything out and put the brackets where they can be screwed right into the wall studs. Smart planning, eh? That guy thinks of everything.

I wanted a more natural look, so I left the boards as-is with no stain or sealer. And I didn't want to see the brackets underneath, so Mitch put them so they face the top--which can easily be hidden with my "pretties" on the shelves. If they were a more decorative bracket, I would have put them on the bottom, but these guys are just your normal metal brackets you can pick up at any local hardware store.

I do love how they turned out. And this was a quick one-evening DIY. Gotta love those! So what have you guys been up to lately? Tackle any DIYs recently? What are your thoughts about open shelves in a kitchen?

Come check out my latest recipe over at Golden Barrel's blog. It's what's pictured up on the baking station--Zucchini Bread. You'll love it!

Follow MLST on Instagram in between blog posts!
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