Archive | May, 2013

three really good reasons to not get a dog


Atlas, the labradoodle, joined our family this past christmas.

Since then, I’ve learned a thing or two about having a dog. Here’s what I’ve discovered: there are three very good reasons not to get a dog.


I mean, this one is pretty obvious. Dogs are animals and by default that means they are not overly concerned with wiping muddy paws before coming inside and relieving themselves in discrete locations. And they shed. Oh, the hair! We thought we were safe with our choice of a labradoodle, but come to find out, the non-shedding factor is as unpredictable as the weather. We bought a shedder.



Each night after wrestling the kids into jammies, brushing their teeth, reading books, saying prayers, tucking them in, I come downstairs to a pup who thinks it’s his turn for some attention. So we play fetch and I rub his belly and give him a treat and within seconds of turning on the tv or sitting down at the computer or opening a book, he is in my face or on my lap asking for more. He needs walks even when it’s raining and playtime even when you’re tired and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been playing tug-o-war with him for an hour – he’ll still want more.



First you buy the dog. Then you buy the dog some stuff {toys, dog bed, food}. Then the dog destroys the toy and chews up his bed and needs fancier food for his sensitive stomach and you spend more money. Then you go on a vacation and pay to board the dog. But you feel bad and so you spend a little extra so he can have some special doggy play time during his lodging stay. He needs grooming and vaccinations and a new leash because he chewed through it and a bigger collar because he grows like a weed. He costs a lot of money.



There is something so right about having a dog in our family.

Atlas is inconvenient; he’s messy and needy and costs money I could find of 384 other ways to spend, but we really can’t imagine not having this sweet puppy in our lives.


He is cute. He is fun. He makes us laugh. He licks up crumbs. He is happy to see us. He is loyal. He is part of our family.

So, even though there are three really good reasons why you should not get a dog, there are even more reasons why you should.

But maybe try to find a non-shedder.

Continue Reading | 57 comments

the laundry room is finished

My once boring laundry room is now a bright and organized space that I can’t wait to show you.

If you’ve miss any laundry room redo posts, I started with this as the inspiration, then painted the cabinets white {that made a huge difference!} and used gift wrap as wallpaper. Next I added a bunch of favorite art to the long wall opposite the washer/dryer.  The final two steps were to hang the hand-me-down chandelier {originally from home depot, but given to me by my sister & brother-in-law} and install the shelves between the two cabinets.


I am proud to say that every single upgrade done in this room was tackled by me. I probably could have had Ryan install the light and shelves, but I’m learning that sometimes it feels really good to try something new and gain confidence in my DIY abilities. Thankfully, I did not shock myself or drill unnecessary holes in the wall. And so far the light works and the shelves and their contents have not come tumbling down. Success.

So would you like to see my new favorite room in our house? Be prepared for an onslaught of photos because I’m kinda proud of this space.






    laundry-chandelier-wm   open-shelves-in-laundry-room-to-store-supplies



  laundry-room-budget Not too bad for a complete transformation for our laundry room.

The best part is: I now love being in this space which will hopefully translate into loving the chore of laundry.

sources rug: west elm
chandelier: discontinued, here’s a similar one
wallpaper: paper source
wallpaper paste: amazon
knobs: etsy
cabinet & shelf paint color: du jour by valspar
shelf brackets: ikea ekby stilig bracket
shelves: home depot wood planks
laundry hamper & striped basket: the container store
butterfly poster: ikea

Continue Reading | 53 comments



Today we celebrate the US soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Today families of those fallen soldiers grieve and celebrate their loved ones’ lives.

Because of them, today we are free.

Because of them, today we are grateful.

Continue Reading | 1 comments

stylish and functional paper goods + cute wrapping for giftcards

Because we all need a little motivation to keep organized and simple ways to be creative, each month I design a stylish collection of printable papergoods for JDC | monthly members.

envelopes-for-cash-and-gift-cards       scripture-and-shopping

The month of June has a subtle vintage feel with banners, silhouettes and a mix of patterns.


Having a cohesive suite of calendars/lists/note cards helps keep life organized in a stylish way.

As always, here’s what’s included:

* monthly calendar
* weekly calendar
* menu calendars
* chore charts
* shopping list
* grocery lists
* note cards
* scripture memory cards
* art print
* a project tutorial with printable templates

You simply download the pdf, print on your favorite paper and fill in the details.


Summertime means slowing down, less scheduling, a more laid back day-to-day.  Even still, our calendar is essential to keep things straight in our household. While we don’t have regular school and sports and lessons, we do have vacations, swim, playdates with friends, neighborhood BBQ’s. Our days are more laid back, yes, but certainly just as full.

Our project for this month are these cute envelopes.


With all of the graduations, baby showers, parties this time of year {plus Father’s Day!} you may find yourself gifting cash or gift cards. While the gift itself may not be super original, you can always present it in a pretty way. There are two different templates for creating these envelopes and all six patterns. Simply fold and glue the envelope, insert the cash or gift card {who doesn’t love this gift!} and embellish. Oh, so easy and also cute.

And, as with every month, I design a special art print to fit the theme.

This time around it’s a summer list – a fun way to jot down 20 things you want to do this summer with your family. Post it somewhere visible and check them off as you make memories.


I would love for you to be part of JDC | Monthly and enjoy all of these goodies! The cost is $9.99 per month and your first month is free. You are welcome to give it a try. If it’s not the right fit, you can cancel at any time.

Plus, all JDC | Monthly members receive 50% off all printables in the shop.


Make your month organized and become a JDC | Monthly member!


When you sign up you will be directed to the current month’s link immediately. Billing is done on a 30 day cycle {so if you join on the 15th, you will be billed the following month on the 15th}. On the 22nd of each month, you will receive an email with the link to download the collection of pdfs, as well as the project tutorial.


start your month off in style and sign up today!

Continue Reading | 9 comments

solution to kitchen counter clutter

No matter how hard I try, the kitchen counter just seems to collect clutter.


Paperwork, receipts, mail, sunglasses, random toys, cords, ipads, phones … it all accumulates right here.


Ryan suggested that we find some sort of organizer to sort this mess.

Then he went to the thrift store and found this beauty:


He totally inherited his mom’s knack for finding good things in the midst of junk.

The 70’s wood grain side panels were a bit much, so I took it outside and sprayed the whole thing green – partially because it is a fun color, partially because it was all we had.



I’m not always a great spraypainter, but this one actually turned out great. The key is making sure there is no dust or dirt on the item, shaking the can for a long time, then spraying one pass at a time, releasing the spray nozzle each time. I did several light coats {letting each one dry for a few minutes} and it came out smooth and without major drip marks.

Now here it sits on the kitchen counter, organizing all of that kitchen counter clutter.


I’m not sure if that basket will stay, and I will probably tire of the green and spray it white, but for now it serves its purpose of corralling the clutter.


The random paperwork, receipts, cords, sunglasses are all still there, they’re just a bit more organized.


If you can’t find a funky 70’s metal organizer with faux wood stickers on the sides at your local thrift store, I have found a few great options available online:


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Here’s to practical solutions for the inevitable clutter.

Continue Reading | 17 comments

diy tote bag

Here’s an easy project to do:

customize an inexpensive canvas tote bag with a design of your choice.


You just need a few supplies:


:: canvas tote bag {like these}
:: printable fabric transfer sheet {like these}
:: computer & ink jet printer
:: iron
:: scissors

STEP ONE: design what you want on your bag


I made these simple banners with each of my children’s numbers, but you could do anything you like. An initial would be cute, favorite quote or word, clipart you love … anything you like. Just design in whatever program you are comfortable with { is a good free one} formatted on an 8.5 x 11 document.

STEP TWO: print onto transfer sheet


Make sure you print in reverse {your print out will look like a mirror image of what you designed}. Your program may have an option for t-shirt transfer for the media type and it will reverse automatically. If not, you can reverse the image before you print. Not sure how? Google “reverse image in ___ ” and fill in whatever design software you are using.  You should be able to find an easy solution.

STEP THREE: cut out design, leaving a small border of white


STEP FOUR – SEVEN: follow the directions on the transfer paper packaging


put your design face down on your bag . press iron firmly for about 30 seconds, moving slowly across paper . let cool . peel off paper backing

You end up with a custom bag that is super versatile, and pretty darling, too.


We’ll use ours this summer for swim lessons.


But they also work great for overnight stays, dance class, piano lessons, trick-or-treating, easter egg hunting, library book toting. My kids received monogrammed bags as a party favor a few years ago and we’ve used them for everything. They wash up well for the first few washes, but the transfers will probably start to fade or peel over time.  But, really, by that point, you’ll probably want a new design anyway so go ahead and replace them when the time comes.

Multi-purpose, inexpensive, cute and simple to make: pretty much the perfect project!

Continue Reading | 9 comments

my dirty little secret

I’m coming clean today …


this is what the closet under our stairs looks like.

I try to keep it organized, but it just doesn’t keep. It’s where we store our vacuum, but also where we keep extra picture frames, accessories, lamp shades, pillows, paper, half-finished projects, a broken printer. The best thing about it is that I can close the door and forget this madness exists.


So I’m wondering … do you have a space like this in your home that you’d never dare show your guests, and you cringe every time you see it, but you do nothing to change it?

Come clean, my friends. Come clean.

Continue Reading | 50 comments

the next big thing in desserts

I was informed yesterday by my father-in-law that the trendy cupcake is so out and the next big thing in the dessert world is … wait for it … the mug cake.

cake in a mug

Maybe it’s not that new … but it’s new to me. You bake a cake in a mug. In the microwave. And it takes about 5 minutes. Why was this not invented sooner?!!

The whole bake-a-cake-in-a-mug thing is new to me, but I’ve been eying these pretty desserts in jars for a while. I suppose it’s the same thing, but just presented differently.

lemon coconut cupcake in a jar

The girls at oh so very pretty {a new favorite blog} share this recipe for lemon coconut cupcakes as well as one for carrot cake {below}. I want to make both immediately.

carrot cake in a jar

Another favorite blogger, Kasey Buick, makes these fancy cheesecakes {with chevre and coconut milk, no less!} in petite jars.

cheesecake in a jar

If you are looking for a cute dessert to make for a party or shower or dinner with friends, perhaps what you need is a mug cake.

Thanks, Bob, for keeping me in the know.

Continue Reading | 18 comments

a note to my children


When I was a little girl, all I could dream of was being a mommy. Your aunties and I played dolls until we were way too old for it. We crafted baby books with photos torn from clothing catalogs to document our imaginary children’s lives. I spent hours daydreaming about how many children I would have, what their names would be, what color hair they would have and, most importantly, what I would dress them in for family pictures. Once I was old enough, I spent my time babysitting and playing with kids in the church nursery, then later nannying for a family and falling in love with those children.

My friends in college would sometimes laugh at me because I just wanted to get married and have kids. I wasn’t looking for a career path, I didn’t have a strategic post-graduation plan. I had a boyfriend {your daddy} and the dream of marrying him and becoming a mommy.

Now that I’m here – on this side of my dream – with four healthy, bright, happy and unique children, there is something I want you to know.

My darling children, you have made my dream come true.

In my young mind, I wanted kids to dress up and cuddle and show off. I do that with you sometimes and it’s fun, for sure.

But, as it turns out, that is not my favorite part of motherhood.

From the moment I realized you were going to be part of our family, you each captured my heart. That love developed through the months of growing you in my tummy, holding you for the first time, staring at your perfect little face, admiring how you looked so much like your siblings and yet so very different. Each of you have your own personalities, you own talents, your own struggles and needs. As you grow, you become more and more of your own person and I get the best view to watch it all play out. I see things in you that remind me of daddy, you have mannerisms that you get from me. Then there are those things that are all your own and I get to find ways to encourage you, protect you, understand you … those are the best parts of being a mommy.

You are mine; we are forever connected, and I love you so much deeper than I ever knew was possible.

Yesterday a mama duck and her little ducklings started crossing the busy road. I slowed down and came to a stop {on the highway!} to avoid hurting them. After a few moments, their mama turned direction and her babies followed quickly after her.  It was the sweetest sight watching those tiny baby chicks waddle after their mama. They needed her and she led them confidently towards safety.

Sometimes, that’s how I feel. I feel like the mama duck with my little ducklings following after.

Sometimes I feel confident and walk with my chest held high, confident of where I’m going. I have four well-behaved, darling little babies and parade you proudly. Look what I’ve done!, I say. Look at these amazing children who call me mom!

But sometimes {okay, maybe a lot of times} I feel exhausted. I feel selfish. I feel ill-equipped.

Sometimes I feel like I’d rather not have four little ones following me at every turn. Sometimes I want to turn around and tell you to sit still or leave me alone or find someone else to follow. Sometimes I actually say those things and I’m so sorry for that. I’m not always the nicest mommy to you and I hope you will forgive me for my times of impatience and rudeness.

Sometimes I don’t know if I’m very good at motherhood. Am I answering your questions? Am I nurturing your heart? Am I teaching you to love people more than things? Are you well-rounded? Are you kind? Am I praying for you enough? Reading to you enough? Saving for you enough?

What I have learned over and over in my short years of being a mom is that as hard as I try to lead you confidently, I will let you down.  I am still a work in progress – I’m still figuring out how to be less selfish and well-rounded and kind right along with you.

So, my babies, here’s what I want to say to you today:

thank you.

Thank you for making me a mommy. For being a dream come true. For teaching me about selflessness and forgiveness and my unending need for grace. For making me laugh and being my companions. For following after me like those baby chicks. For wanting me and needing me and accepting me. You are the best children ever.

I love you, my darlings. Oh, how I love you.



Continue Reading | 46 comments

winner of the voice bible {and a few good explanations}


I’ll be honest … I like to select giveaway winners randomly just to keep things fair, but this time I did not. I read this comment and just knew the bible needed to go to miss Krista. I think anyone who wants a bible should have one and I’m so honored to give Krista the first of her own.

If you’d like to buy a copy, they are actually quite affordable. You can get a hardback for $24 or a paperback {like the one shown} for $48.

A handful of you had some questions and concerns about the use of the word Eternal rather than LORD – maybe getting the sense that it sounded new-agey and to be careful about any bible that doesn’t use the words Christ or Apostle or Angel.

These were concerns of mine as well. I certainly don’t want to be filling my mind with a false or misleading version of The Truth.

David Capes, one of the leading scholars who worked on this translation emailed me on monday and I was able to ask him a few of these questions. Rather than recap, I’ll post his complete response because he is way smarter than I am and words things a bit more eloquently.

Here’s what he had to say:

Thanks for your email and questions.  I have written a little book called The Story of The Voice which details a number of our translation decisions and our translation philosophy.  We didn’t take these decisions lightly.
Regarding translating the word generally translated as LORD (note: all caps in most translations), I wrote 3 blog posts last year. 
Here they are:
I think these should give you more information than you may want to know. If you want more detail than that, I can provide it. I am currently writing the entry “Lord” for one of the Oxford encyclopedias so I’m rather well-versed on these matters (or at the least the people at Oxford think I am ;-).
Regarding translating the Greek word normally rendered “Christ” by “Anointed One,” that is probably the decision which created the most controversy.  At least it did last year when I was interviewed on CNN.  Until now all major Bible translations did not translate the Greek word CHRISTOS.  They merely transliterated it Christ.  The unfortunate effect is that people do not understand what it means.  They think it is a name, not a title.  And CHRISTOS happens to be the earliest honorific title given to Jesus.  “Jesus Christ” is not a name.  It is a confession: “Jesus is the Messiah.”  The word “MESSIAH” is Hebrew for “Anointed One.”  So we are trying to help people understand the titular meaning of the confession.  You will note that at key places, we gloss a phrase like “Jesus Christ” (in most translations) with “Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King.” The addition of ‘the Liberating King” is there to unpack the meaning of the title “Christos” which is not self-evident to modern readers.  It is part of our contextual equivalence approach.  
In translation theory we work with “equivalence” not “exactness.” Whenever you move from one language to the next, you realize a given word has meaning and associations (or denotations and connotations).  Take the difference between words like “home” and “house.”  Though they mean the same thing . . . roughly, the former has associations the latter doesn’t have.  Consider the phrase “apple pie.”  In America there are associations which you don’t find in South Africa, for example.
To put it in mathematical terms 5 is 5 but 3+2 is equivalent to 5.  In other words it might take 4 words to express the meaning of a single Greek word.  This is probably more than you want to know.
Regarding Revelation 22:18.  When John wrote Revelation, he didn’t realize it would be the last book of the Bible.  He is referring specifically to his own book.  “The words of the prophecy of this book” refers to Revelation not the entire Bible (after all, not all the Bible is prophecy; Leviticus for example is law code).  The Bible is actually a collection of 66 books not a single book. This is not controversial.  Any good commentary will confirm what I’m saying.  So John is warning people not to add to or take away from the prophecies of this book (that is Revelation). 
That said, it is standard translation practice (goes back in English to the King James Bible) for words to be added in order to help make sense out of what is being said. Original readers would have understood idioms, context, social customs, which modern readers don’t.  Every translation adds words to help make sense of these foreign languages, but not every translation tells you up front.  In fact, the NIV translation team did. I think I read that is your favorite translation.  They chose, however, not to tell you which words were added the same way we and others do by italicizing them (e.g., KJV, RSV, ESV, etc).  The above example is a good one.  The additional words are giving to explain or unpack the meaning of words which are not readily understood.  We did this translation, by the way for people who have never read the Bible before or find the Bible a hard book to read and understand. 
I hope this helps some.  If you have further questions, let me know.

Hopefully this eases your fears {if you have any} as it does mine. More than anything, I love that this version was written with the new-bible-reader in mind. It can be a confusing and intimidating book to read so having a resource like this with the chance that it will be read, understood and applied makes me a big fan.

Again, if you’d like more information on The Voice translation, you can visit their website here.
Continue Reading | 5 comments

4 steps to the perfect {make at home} latte

For our anniversary, Ryan gave me the milk frother I had been wanting. Romantic? Maybe not. But I was thrilled. Each afternoon, I long for a sweet coffee treat and our new set up has not only indulged that craving but has also saved us lots of trips and money spent at our local starbucks.

Here’s my latte-making routine:

4-steps supplies-to-make-latte

step-1-&-2 step-3-&-4


1. I use the bosch tassimo single serve machine {a hand-me-down from Ryan’s parents!} with decaf espresso pods.  It takes seconds for a freshly brewed cup of espresso.

2. All I need is just a splash of vanilla syrup and a heaping teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder for that subtly sweet afternoon pick-me-up.

3. Pour milk into the frother and set to desired temperature. Press the button and it whirls the milk around heating it up and making it the most delicious creamy/airy milk

4. Add milk to espresso/flavoring. If you’re fancy you can make little swirls and leaf shapes and hearts with your foam. I haven’t perfected this yet.



Tassimo single-serve coffee brewer
{there are many different single serve coffee makers on the market – or you can just use strongly brewed coffee}

Gevalia decaffeinated espresso pods
{be sure to use the pods specifically made for your machine}

Breville milk frother
{there are many different frothers on the market. I chose this based on reviews and am very happy with it. My one request would be for an even hotter setting. I like my lattes very, very hot}

Vanilla syrup

Cocoa powder
{the only link I could find is for a pack of 10 – you probably won’t want that many – a little goes a long way. I love getting the flavor of chocolate without all the sweetness}

Continue Reading | 15 comments

the voice bible giveaway

There is a new translation of the Bible on the market and it has quickly become my favorite.


My best friend and her mom hosted a small women’s retreat this past weekend and it was wonderful in every way possible. At the last minute I grabbed my Voice bible instead of my marked-up, well-loved NIV study bible. I’m so glad I did because we read a lot of scripture as a group and every time it was my turn to read, I just loved the way my new bible worded them.


I’ve been a believer since my childhood and many of the most popular bible passages are very familiar to me. Reading the verses I know from memory in my new bible made them come alive in new ways to me.  The cool thing is, there were a few women there this weekend who are newer Christians and not as familiar with the bible and The Voice translation spoke to them as well.  It is the perfect combination of modern language and original text. The literary styles and original intention of the scriptures are kept as true as possible while making the book read as a story and speak to us in words that make sense in this time in history.

Here are a few comparisons of beloved verses from the New International Version {blue} and The Voice {red}.


Isn’t the wording lovely?

I will always refer to my NIV study bible {I like the concordance in the back to look up scripture} as well as the years of little markings and notes I’ve written. This bible has been through a lot with me and I am attached.  But I think the Voice will be my new go-to.


You can now read the Voice on {my favorite online bible resource} and can also download the new testament online for free. And you can read much more about what went in to creating this version on the Voice bible website, and order a full version here.

win-a-copy-of-the-voice-bible The people at Thomas Nelson sent me a bible to giveaway, so if you’d like a chance to win it please leave a comment below. I think you will love it.


Thank you to all who entered! I will announce a winner shortly.

Continue Reading | comments

because you asked … new art prints are in the shop

By popular demand: we are now offering a few favorite JDC | monthly art prints in the shop.



If you are not a jdc | monthly member, but love the print, you now have the opportunity to have one of your own!


Continue Reading | 10 comments

the only thing constant in our house is change

One request I’ve been hearing a lot is ‘can you do an updated house tour?’. Yes, yes I can. And I will. But that requires that first of all the house is clean and second that the fourteen million unfinished projects get finished up. So until then, I’ll go space by space.

We’ll start with this one.

There is a little cut out in our house across from the dining room and below the staircase. It’s one of those funky nooks that give you extra space, but doesn’t really serve an obvious purpose.


In the past, our piano has lived here. We also use the space for our christmas tree each year. The wall has gone through many phases – first the random bird collage, then the wall of l’s.


When I moved the wall of l’s to the opposite wall, we also moved the piano to the book page wall {can you tell we are obnoxious furniture re-arrangers?!} and this nook was left empty.

But then we bought this perfect bookshelf for the other awkward nook in the dining room which left us a homeless piece of furniture that we affectionately call ‘the black thing’.


And so, it now lives here.


We inherited this piece from a friend years ago and painted it flat black. It has a perfectly worn finish and is a storage dream. The large drawers hold all kinds of odds and ends:


If you are short on storage space, a big dresser like this can be a great solution.

Above the dresser I hung this beautifully drawn poppy chart by Jessica at Vol. 25. She has an antler one that I’d love to get for the fall/winter.


 On the dresser sits my favorite frame from potterybarn with a photo of my kiddos that was supposed to go on our christmas card until I decided not to do them.  The lamp is a hand-me-down from my m-i-l and that little ampersand never did get a makeover.


We’ve kept this arrangement for a few months, and it’s very likely that we’ll switch it up again, but it works for now.


Am I the only crazy furniture/art/accessories re-arranger? Please tell me I’m not alone …

Continue Reading | 36 comments