Do you know someone who needs a word of encouragement? More likely, do you know anyone who does not? Since March, our lives in the United States (and a little earlier in other countries) have been upended by this virus called Covid 19. Counting back…can you believe it has been six months?!
I believe we are all stronger for it. This time has demanded a ton of flexibility, creativity, love for others, and resolve. We realize more than ever the importance of community, even if it is virtual. Now as our kids are getting back into school, whether virtual or in person, we have to work together to make it all work.
Quickly, I want to share with you some great encouraging gifts on Dayspring that are affordable and perfect for gifts! If there is someone in your life you want to encourage, take a look at these great encouraging gifts: decor, mugs, calendars, kids books, and planners. These clearance prices on encouraging gifts are fantastic, and I cannot think of a more appropriate, simple way to let someone know you are encouraging them and praying for them. Extra 25% off Clearance Items with Code CLEARANCE25 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 8!
As much as we all want this virus to go away, it isn’t leaving fast enough! As you make plans for back to school and other events, don’t forget to get a few face masks for your family. If your kids are required to wear them daily, you will want to have multiple.
I am predicting places will sell out again, so I have bought several Vera Bradley face masks for each of us. We also have more masculine masks on hand for the guys like these masks here. We can make them if we have to (hopefully not, because my sewing skills and more importantly, my patience (!) are little), but having one that fits well is so important!
Well- made Face Masks
I purchased these Vera Bradley face masks online and and I am so pleased with them. I don’t tolerate anything on my face well but these were surprisingly good. Vera Bradley even created liners to go inside of them. The elastic fits well over our ears, and the size of the mask is great for me. My daughter says her mask is a little too high over her nose, but she loves the Vera patterns. Made from Vera Bradley’s soft signature cotton, these non-medical face masks come in a ton of amazing prints and colors. Plus, they’re designed with care to be washable, breathable and comfortable to wear.
God is in Control
You moms probably agree with me that having everything up in the air is hard to get used to! Nothing is set on the calendar like it used to be, and while I love that freedom in a way, it’s also painful! So, we literally have to prepare for multiple plans at the same time. Buying face masks and lots of food is my only way of planning!
As we pray and prepare, wait and see, we remember that God is still on His Throne and He is sovereign over all of this going on in our crazy world! We prepare for this and that, but we stay focused on Him and wait with expectant Hope.
One of our favorite spots to gather is the backyard fire pit. Settled under large shade oak trees, this spot is peaceful and with all of the shade, much cooler than the rest of the property. We like to roast marshmallows and make smores, and have even cooked dinner over this fire pit! We can sit and stay awhile because the chairs are so comfortable.
I want to make memories with our friends and family that last, and this has been a great spot for that already, since moving here six months ago. We didn’t bring the old Adirondack chairs from our other house because even though they were teak, they were really worn and we wanted to get a new set. The previous chairs, though, lasted for a good 15 years! They were made of long-lasting teak wood, and they will still probably last for more years. I found the new Adirondack chairs at the same place- Sam’s club- for an amazing price- less than $150 each. I am hoping we get as much use out of these as the previous couple of chairs.
These Adirondack chairs are also made of teak wood and are incredibly comfortable. We’re not tiny people, but we fit in them well and they are a relaxing spot to rest. They are not too difficult to assemble- my 10 year old son with the help of my husband put them together in little time! I am so in love with them! We’ve moved them to the lawn when we’ve had people over and they look great.
Our fire pit is not neatly manicured, but so peaceful. We love light strands over the fire pit and in the backyard in general! They add an ambience to the yard that makes you want to hang around. Some of my favorites are found here and here.
The Adirondack chairs for your reference were purchased online from Sam’s Club. If you have a premium membership, you do not have to pay shipping for any orders, which came in handy for these chairs as well as other nonperishable food and toiletry items during this time. These chairs are such a bargain compared to other places I’ve shopped! We are loving this fire pit and these Adirondack chairs and hope we get 15 years out of these at least like we did our last pair of chairs! For other projects we are working in, check out Mom’s Priority.
Who else loves to stalk Zillow and realtor.com for home listings? It can’t be just me! For years now, we’ve talked about buying land and having “land and horses.” We were always held back with nothing for sale or reasonably priced in our excellent school district. We loved our house and we loved our neighborhood too, and didn’t want to leave the community.
For 2 years of that time, this house on 15 acres that we live in now sat for sale and empty for at least 6 months of that time. It said “well-maintained” but I beg to differ! It has “good bones” seems more appropriate. I saw it for sale in the perfect location- right outside the neighborhood in our growing area where large tracts of land are becoming rare. Every time I saw it, though, I prayed, “please, God, no!” because it needed SOOO much work. I am not kidding, and long story short, we got that house after 2 years of watching it sit on the market!
I wake up thankful every day! It still needs so much work to bring it up to date and the exterior is not pretty (yet!), but these woods and trails on these 15 acres, the pasture we are building out front for the horses, and all of the beautiful nature and peace and SPACE we have now to move around- it definitely has my heart.
How to Create Your Perfect Master Bath Retreat
Before, I shared the master bedroom remodel– you can read about it here. Today I want to share with you our elegant master bath remodel. We took elements we liked from our last home’s bathroom remodel and used it again, because we moved before we could really enjoy that room. Here are 5 Tips to creating your perfect master bath retreat!
Incorporate Items From Places You’ve Been Together – It really does bring back good memories of times we spent in different places. You should try it in your home! We added a tile rug like we saw in a hotel in North Carolina, and a chandelier we found in Florida. You can try to recreate what you saw or buy an item while you are there.
Choose Calming Colors and Décor – For the bathroom, we opted for no signs that we have to read or intricate photos of people. Instead, calming artwork, elegant sconces and mirrors, and muted colors.
Collect Design Ideas and Plan in Detail First – I love to look at designer magazines, pinterest and Instagram. Find styles you like and follow them. Mom’s Priority has a full board of décor pictures on Pinterest from talented designers.
Find thick, micro-wicking towels, rugs, and robes for luxury and clean. Some of my favorite towels are from Macys- Hotel Collection. I also like TJ Maxx and HomeGoods for these items.
Choose Easy to Clean Materials – My idea of a calming, elegant master bath is one that feels clean most of the time. The grey and white is so calming and clean-looking. Since we went with ceramic tile instead of marble, it is much easier to keep clean (than our previous home), in my opinion.
First, here are pictures from before. The house was built in 1985 and I think this pink tile is original! We weren’t huge fans of the fan, the sky lights, not having a separate room for the toilet or really any of the tile. But, the space was great for a master bath and it was a fun project!
Demolition and Remodel
It was quite a process to tear everything out to the studs, create new walls, level out the floor, smooth the ceiling and walls, move plumbing and electrical some, tile, and paint walls. The demolition was such an incredible mess!
We absolutely love this cost- effective master bathroom! In our previous home, we used grey and white marble, which I absolutely love! But, this room was much larger than our other master and with all of the projects we were doing in order to move in here, we couldn’t justify the marble in this room. Instead, we used basket weave marble in a small space in the middle of the floor as a tile rug, and ceramic tile throughout.
The basket weave marble tile reminds me of the gracious bathrooms at the Old Edwards Inn’s Half Mile Farm in Highlands, NC. An absolutely beautiful and peaceful place to visit as a couple, I think of that place (and their amazing breakfasts!) every time I look at it!
Throughout the rest of the room, we used ceramic grey and white tile, and grey grout. The free standing soaker tub is a favorite, and combining oil rubbed bronze and vintage gold fixtures make me happy! The large double vanity is from Home Depot- it is a solid piece of furniture with marble top that they delivered while we were away and we had to get a crew of guys to get it to the master bathroom space! Incredibly heavy!! I spray painted the pulls oil rubbed bronze to match everything else. I would definitely recommend this version of Rust-Oleum. The coverage is great and it dries quickly and smooth.
The vanity was a solid piece of furniture at a great price, except that the handles were chrome. Easy fix!
We love the simple monogrammed towels, and the ladder towel rack my son and dad made! The curtains are stand-ins until I make or buy something with better movement, but I like that they are black out, so we are using them for now. This tub is just perfect, and we saved money by buying one with an internal faucet. Many of the free standing tubs require a separate free standing mount filler, which added significantly to the cost of the remodel. We were thankful for this economical tub option.
The vintage gold sconces and gold mirrors add that elegance and are a good fit for the high ceiling. The hanging chandelier was a purchase of ours on a trip to Seaside, FL. One of our favorite places to go, we remember the beach and our many trips there when we look up at it!
Overall, we are pleased with how this bathroom remodel turned out. I appreciate the calming affect of this room and its simple elegance. I can’t wait to share with you the before and after of the other 2 main level bathrooms that we renovated.
Taking on a fixer upper of this magnitude is not for the faint of heart. We are just crazy enough to do it, and love it most of the time! In fact, we often say these days that all of this work is keeping us from going crazy during the quarantine! There is always a project to do! Now you may want to create your master bath retreat! I seriously doubt you will ever regret it. Send me your thoughts/projects at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again, time to get outside more and enjoy the outdoors, for our health! At the same time, we know we need to apply sunscreen on ourselves and our kids (and of course, avoid being outside from 10-2… right…) Y’all, is it just me, or do the ingredient lists on the back of these sunscreens we use scare you too? You know there is a problem when my usually non-sensitive kids are complaining of face sunscreen causing their faces to feel burned. I’ve read about chemicals in sunscreens causing problems with a person’s endocrine system, and more research needs to be done. We all need to do our best at determining what’s best for our own families.
You may be looking for safe sunscreens because you are planning a trip and your resort is banning chemical sunscreens. I didn’t know this until recently, but the chemicals in the traditional sunscreens are being blamed for coral reef disappearances. So, resorts in Hawaii and the Florida Keys especially are beginning to ban chemical sunscreens.
Everything is a balance, and we are all just doing our best, BUT I want to share with you sunscreens we’ve found that may be a little healthier and more natural. Here is a list of 7 safe sunscreens for you to try.
Disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist or endocrinologist, and am sharing products that have helped me and my family and friends. Please see a doctor for medical advice.
What’s great about this sunscreen is it is “Hypoallergenic and Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Gluten, Cruelty and Paraben Free to ensure a fun day in the sun,” according to their description. It’s oil-free, smells great, and doesn’t irritate our family’s skin like some others do.
We all have so many fun times to look forward to with the weather warming up, and I hope you take a look at these safe(r) sunscreen suggestions for your family. We could also add to this safe sunscreen list Rodan and Fields and Beauty Counter products. There will always be give and take with the pros and cons of each product and each of us as moms has to make the best decision for our families at the time (and no judging!). Wishing you many fun and safe memories with your family this summer, whether is be at the beach, the lake, or at home in your backyard.
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