Saturday, January 26, 2013

project: sweater pillows!

project: sweater pillows!
Love of pillows + low decor budget = creativity!
I saw the idea for a sweater pillow here and here.
After purchasing a few over-sized sweaters at Goodwill, my mom and I got to work.
Here we are mid-project. I used a bunch of pillows I already had and pretty much followed the tutorials linked above.

And the finished product! They're really hard to photograph in my living room,
since there's so much light coming into the room.

Purple pillow and dark green (on the far right) are sweater covers.

All pillows, except for the dark brown on the right, are sweater covers.
 Cheap project that can be accomplished in an afternoon?
New, "wintry" and cozy pillows for the couch?
Yes, please!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

project: pretty desk chair

project: pretty desk chair

My desk needed a chair. I found this one at an antique shop for $10.
And, yes, I did drag Bryce and JD into the store--they are troopers.
The seat was broken and the wood needed to go.
(Our dining room already has a wood floor, desk, table and piano.)
Time for a change!

Goal: super fast, easy project.
Did I make it? Not so much.
Let's just say I sat on a folding chair at my desk for 4+ months.
First I tried using spray paint, but it bubbled when I put on the finish coat. I had to start over: sand the bubble spots, primer and then paint two coats of bright white paint by hand, plus two sealer/protective coats. Ugh. Terribly tedious. I was trying to avoid the hand painting part.
I waited 48 hours for everything to dry and then Bryce helped make a new seat: thin piece of plywood + foam cushion + batting + fun material, all stapled together and then screwed to the chair.
Here she is!

The paint job is definitely not perfect, but the chair has lots of character
and it's just right for my work space.

Monday, January 21, 2013

project: work desk

project: work desk
I found this desk at a garage sale down the road. I think it was around $25.
I did the following to revitalize it:
sanded the top and resealed it;
spray-painted the knobs black;
cleaned the drawer fronts with a special wood cleaner; and
lightly sanded and painted the base with flat black paint.

And the finished product. 

Here is the set-up in our dining room. (More to come on the desk chair!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013 Reading List

2013 Reading List


A Chance to Die - Amy Carmichael

My Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chambers

Radical Hospitality - Lonni Collins Pratt and Father Daniel Homan

Living Sacrifice - Helen Roseveare

Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis

Keep a Quiet Heart – Elisabeth Elliot

Let. It. Go. - Karen Ehman

The Power of Words and the Wonder of God – various authors

Gospel Wakefulness - Jared Wilson

Gospel Deeps – Jared Wilson


Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

The Hobbit - Tolkien


Dare to Discipline – Dr. James Dobson

Don't Make Me Count to Three – Ginger Plowman

The Meaning of Marriage – Dr. Timothy Keller


January: Plato’s Republic & Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar

February: Virgil’s Aeneid & Ovid’s Metamorphoses

March: Augustine’s City of God

April: Beowulf

May: Dante’s Divine Comedy





Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Justus Daniel ~ Eleven Months

Oh. Where do I even begin? Bryce and I just look at JD these days and "ooo" & "ahh" over how much fun he is and how cute he is and how much we love him. I think we're pretty much smitten with being parents to our little man.

* JD loves to use his little pointer finger to touch everything...his little pudgy finger. And it's adorable. Yesterday he was using his pointer on my iPhone and it actually looked like he knew what he was doing! He also reaches toward everything, almost as if he is showing you whatever is in his hand or trying to say "look at that!".

* He had his first sickness this week--fever, runny nose, coughing. Poor thing. He usually never stops moving and has no time for cuddling, so when he cuddled with me during the day I knew that he was definitely not feeling well. One morning he woke up around 6am and I brought him to my bed. He put his head on me and slept off and on for a couple of hours--he's never done that! So precious and I cherished every moment of it. That day Bryce and I took turns holding him and he even took a few naps on us during the day, which he hasn't done since month 2 or 3. It's definitely not fun that he wasn't feeling well but we loved the snuggles!

* Another first: teeth! They started coming right around Christmas....the bottom two and now the top two. We thought he drooled a lot before--there is so much drool right now!

* He took his first steps last Saturday! Bryce and I were both watching and he walked from the coffee table to Bryce. He doesn't want to walk when you're helping him, but if there's something that he wants to get to, he may take a few faltering steps. Grandma & Grandpa Eberly gave JD a small walking "bike" for Christmas and he loves pushing it around the house.

* Also last Saturday, JD had his first little haircut. Maybe I should just call it a trim. Bryce held him down and tried to distract him while I quickly trimmed his bangs, over the ears, and the back (no mullets please!). Yay for no more hair in his eyes.

* It was fun to take our son to all of the Christmas gatherings this year. He's doing much better in big groups of people. JD and I spent 5 days up in Fort Wayne right after Christmas with my family. My brother Jason was in town from L.A. and got to meet his nephew for the first time! That was a highlight for me. Such good memories. Before Christmas there was a Langebartels extended family brunch and an immediate family dinner, and also the Christmas breakfast tradition. Lots of family time with both sides!

* I know I wrote this before but Justus really is such a good eater and we're very grateful. Lately he's been trying all sorts of new finger foods and he doesn't even make a face. However, he's not very fond of the bottle anymore and it's all we can do to get formula in him--he refuses to drink more than 3-4 oz at a time. We might have to go to an all-solid diet sooner than I expected.

And now for those pictures you've been waiting for!

JD loves wearing Bryce's hats.

Look at those chubby legs!

Riding the push bike.
This is when he was sick. Poor thing.
Sick baby--he actually fell asleep like this.

Climbing into the pantry.

JD loves applesauce.

Playing the piano with Uncle Jason.

Hanging with Uncle Jordan.
Justus only sucks his thumb when he's holding his sleeping-time raccoon.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

She Called Me Mom

Since Miss G, our first Safe Families child (that I wrote about here), we were blessed by a visit from Mr. W, Miss RR, and then Miss C. Now C was our toughest little booger yet. I can't quite put my finger on why, but she was exhausting and challenging. C was constantly moving, constantly touching, constantly into something--constant energy and emotion. She was only with us for five days, but I was worn out by the end.

And yet, her little smile was so adorable. I'd be upset with her and then C would grin at me and I couldn't help but melt a little. And she was the first one to call me "Mom."

Look at me, Mom.
Come over here, Mom.
Look at this, Mom.
I'm running, Mom.
Let's read a book, Mom.
Look, Mom.
(She liked to say "look" a lot.)

Every other sentence: "Mom." Literally. She regularly talked about her "Mommy" at home but I was always "Mom." I tried to reinforce "Miss Jana" but it never happened.

Towards the end of the week (and the end of my rope), it suddenly occurred to me: this is the first little person to ever call me "Mom." Not even Justus has called me Mom yet (at least not on purpose, he says "mamamamam" a lot and it's not particularly directed at me so it doesn't really count). And I looked at the precious little girl in a new way. For five days, I was a Mom to her. What a responsibility; what a privilege.

On her last day with us, I happened to read C's paperwork more carefully and realized that it was her third birthday! While JD was napping, I quickly scrounged up a little birthday celebration. Miss C blew out a Christmas candle (twice, because it was so much fun), ate a chocolate cheesecake bar dessert (that I happened to have in the fridge, thank goodness), and opened up a gift of a necklace & bracelet (that I had picked up as a Christmas gift for Miss RR--praise the Lord!). How special to celebrate her before she left us.

What a crazy, yet lovable, child.
What a learning experience.
What a blessing.

I will forever remember C as the first child to call me Mom.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Italian Pork Chops

I had in mind the dish I wanted to make but couldn't find the perfect recipe. So I made one up. :-) And Bryce said it's a keeper, so here you go.

Italian Pork Chops
  • Pork chops, 6
  • Half an onion, chopped into large slices
  • Marinara sauce, about 24 oz
  • Frozen chopped spinach, about 10 oz, thawed and well drained
  • Fresh mushrooms, about half a cup, chopped
  • Spices: garlic, basil, oregano
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Quickly brown the pork chops in a skillet on medium-high heat. Place in a greased casserole dish with high sides.

Place chopped onions on top of the pork chops.

Mix marinara sauce, spinach, mushrooms and spice to taste. Spread the marinara mixture over the pork chops and onions.

Cook uncovered for 1 hour. Serve with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Let me know if you try it!

(Inspiration from this recipe.)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Resolutions....the 2013 rendition

The hush before the start of a new day . . . I'm trying to take a few deep breaths. Workout, shower, and quiet time are done. Three little boys are sleeping peacefully. Bryce is off to work and my mom will show up in about an hour to help me with the extra little ones. Two Safe Families boys, ages 3 years and 16 months, are living with us for awhile and they are a handful. Deep breath. Praise Jesus for quiet early mornings.

I don't always make New Years resolutions, but this year I was feeling inspired and actually worked on a list of goals & dreams for the year. Some are silly--grow my hair out--and some are serious--develop a consistent and doable-for-me quiet time routine. But there is one goal I made specifically for this little bloggy of mine.

I've been writing a blog (this is my 3rd one) for over 6 years now. For me it is a place to remember, reflect and rejoice--an online journal of sorts. A place to keep friends and family far away updated on our family happenings. A place to post home crafty projects. A place to mull over spiritual matters. I love to write and this venue is perfect for me. So I wanted to set a goal that would encourage me to write more often:

At least one blog post every week for a whole year.

That's it. Shouldn't be too hard, right?

Consider this the blog for week #1. And I've got a list of seven topics waiting in the wings. Get excited!

Thanks for coming along on this journey!
Jana Alexis

PS: If you would like to receive my blogs in your e-mail inbox, simply enter your e-mail address into the blank on the right (underneath my picture) and click "submit." You will then need to enter a phrase to confirm your subscrition, and after you receive an e-mail click on the link in the e-mail to confirm once more. Let me know if you need help setting it up!