re-nest life / getting the grace back

this is one of those personal posts. you know, one of those where i step outside of my comfort zone, and outside of the crafty/creative world, and share with y'all what is in my heart. what i've experienced that i'm guessing maybe, just maybe, one or two of you out there have gone through.

my new desk artwork. a little daily reminder to
keep the grace. special thanks to my friend katie for her
courage to share her journey with grace + the
the title of this post is "getting the grace back." a few weeks ago, i was scrolling through my facebook newsfeed, and came across a new blog post from my friend katie. she's an amazing writer...she writes from the heart, and so much of what she writes, i resonate with. i had a few minutes to actually read the post then and there (versus saving it on facebook), and i was brought to tears. she wrote about grace. specifically, her need to re-align herself, and become more gracious in her every day life, in all aspects of it. and, let me tell you, after the past four weeks, that one post, that one word - grace - hit me like a ton of bricks. she could have been writing about me.

let's just say that 2016 didn't get off to the most smooth start in our little corner of the world. there's nothing earth-shattering about it, but there's been some happenings that have rocked our pretty smooth little world off its pretty even-keel axis. and, because i'm writing this to get out of my comfort zone, i'll share.

we can start back at the end of december. it started with a medication that wasn't jiving with me. it made the holidays a little jilty + cumbersome, but we persevered + had a great holiday season. because it wasn't a must-have, i stopped it. and fortunately, between my amazing chiropractor/acupuncturist + my nurse practitioner, i was feeling better quickly. (i'll give a little plug here for chiropractic work, acupuncture, and the use of essential oils. i was always skeptical. i started seeing my fantastic DC last july and when i walked in to see her after this whole medicine thing, she looked at me and without skipping a beat, she said "we're going to get you back on track." and we did. i love it. it's relaxing, it's helped me, and it's a great complement to western medicine. there, i'm exiting my soap box now.) but at first, my grace started to fade a bit. you know when you just don't feel like yourself? that was me. thank goodness for my godsend of a husband for just sweeping in and taking on probably 30 more percent of our 50/50 split of roles and responsibilities at home and in our lives as parents. he's literally the best. and, thank goodness for great doctors.

after that happened, a big change came at work. for anyone who really knows me, i really, really, really, really love my professional life in marketing. i've been at this for almost fifteen years, i've worked hard at it, and i believe in it, and i am nothing if not passionate about it. was it the end of the world? no. was it something that rocked me? yep. once again, enter that grace fading a bit more. but thanks to my family, friends, amazing co-workers, professional colleagues, my community, and my faith, it's on its way back. (which i'm so happy for!)

i guess the whole moral of this is that: 

1. i had gotten really, really, really comfortable in our little life. everything was ticking away "as it should be," and we were in a groove. i had gotten too comfortable. there's something to be said for that. i think i've learned that sometimes shaking things up a bit can be a good thing. for one thing, all of this has gotten me back into a regular exercise routine, which can only help! (confession: i had kind of fallen off that wagon in late-2015.) 

2. change is inevitable. (duh.) i'm a first-born, type-a mama. and i'm a capricorn. change isn't really part of my daily vernacular, so this has been a life lesson. 

3. everything happens for a reason. i've said it before, i'll say it again. my mimi never spoke truer words. and, through all of this, i'm learning. i'm understanding more about myself, my health, and how to find some of that balance that's so important when things are rocked a bit. 

coming out on the other side of this month (which has felt like a really, really, really long month), i can say this start to 2016 isn't a negative. it's a positive. it's educated me. it's helped me grow. it's made me see that having grace in the face of some not-so-fun stuff is important. and isn't that what this life is all about? 


re-nest life / another dinner favorite!

i know i'm not alone in the never-ending quest to find more than two kid-friendly recipes that my whole family can eat. (can i get an amen?) i made it one of my life's missions a year ago to stop making three different dinners, and to get my boys to eat more balanced meals (most of the time). and, anytime i find something that i think might work, i'll try it + see what the verdict is from the boys.

well, this past monday, we had a winner! i belong to an amazing facebook group called melanie's mess hall, where we share recipes + ideas for easy dinners. and, this past weekend (just as i was making my grocery list), i saw a dinner recipe that i knew would win. and, i needed something good to make for mr. re-nest's birthday, so it was a win-win!

so, what was it? it's called meatball sub bake. the recipe was shared in my facebook group, but came from tasty. it was seriously easy to make, and seriously good. and, i got the coveted thumbs up plus a "this. is. a. noah. favorite." (no joke, when he loves something, he says just that. even with the dramatic pauses. and, it makes me want to jump out of my seat when he says it!) 

now, i wouldn't be me if i didn't make a couple of adjustments....to add some more veggies + to use turkey instead of red meat. it's super easy to watch the video at the link above, or i'll of course share how i made it here:


1. one package of pillsbury biscuits (with eight qty.)
2. one jar of marinara sauce (i use organic from aldi)
3. eight ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
4. one chopped red pepper (mixed in to the marinara sauce....my little addition to up the veggies!)
5. turkey meatballs (i used leftover once from making the sweet + spicy meatball recipe from skinnytaste the night before, and added a package of pre-made turkey meatballs)

get out a 13" x 9" casserole dish + open the biscuits. peel away each biscuit one at a time, and cut each biscuit into 1/8ths. lay out all of the pieces in the bottom of the dish. cover the biscuit pieces with the marinara sauce, and make sure all of the pieces are covered. place the meatballs over the marinara + biscuit pieces, then top with the shredded cheese. and, bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes (depending on how hot your oven runs!) once it comes out of the oven, let cool for five minutes, then scoop out and serve up! 

and, for us, this made a ton of leftovers, so we're having more this week! 

tell me: did you try the meatball sub bake? what was the verdict in your house?


sparkle, sparkle, sparkle!

i love me some sparkle. it never really used to be the case, but i blame being outnumbered in the girl department in my happy home. so, when a chance to make something pink + sparkly comes around, i jump. like, seriously, jump.

so, when i was so fortunate in december to meet an adorable mama over facebook (thanks to her friend sharing canvases i had just made for her daughters on facebook....did you follow that?) and this mama told me all about how she wanted me to make some canvases for her teenage daughter, i jumped. this sweet mama shared with me that her daughter loves sparkle and glitter and all things girly. and, her daughter happens to be a really, really, really good figure skater. can you say f-u-n?!? 

we got to work. this awesome mama sent me pics of her bedding (which is adorbs! from anthropologie) and, i got inspired.

i loved the watercolor-esque treatment on the bedding. i loved the bright colors. and, i really loved the sayings that this mama asked to have on the canvases:

born to sparkle

some girls are just born with glitter in their veins

the sketches were so much fun to do, especially since i wanted to add a lot of sparkle + glitter, any way i could! 

we went with two different sizes....a 12"h x 24"w canvas for "born to sparkle," and 18"w x 24"h for "some girls are just born with glitter in their veins." for colors, we kept the palette to pinks + purples, with touches of white + sparkle with rhinestones! i think one of my very fave things about these is the "splash" of glitter on the large canvas that looks like someone threw glitter!

i can't wait to hear how these make this young girl's room special + feel like home for her. and, i hope these have just the right amount of sparkle for this girl (because i know she sparkles inside + out!)


my top five fave handmade gifts!

i am so very late with this post. so very late. but better late than never....the holidays are wrapped up. and for the last couple of weeks, we've been unwrapping lots o' toys + gifts that our boys were gifted with. and, there were some faves that i gifted to amazing friends! and, i couldn't help but pull together a quick list of my fave handmade gifts received + gifted....gifts that are super simple, great ideas for birthday gifts this year, or if you're a super planner...great gifts for next christmas! (because i know there are some of you out there that start your 2016 list now!)

gift #1: no-sew fleece throws

i know you've seen them. my boys even have them. but i firmly believe you can never have too many blankets + ways to snuggle in the cold winter months. and, as my boys get bigger, bigger blankets are needed! so, i set out to make them some comfy fleece blankets in themes that they love! 

for little mr. re-nest #1, i went with a cream, crimson, and black theme, as a nod to his love for all things indiana university. and, for little mr. re-nest #2, i had to go with his total affection for mickey mouse 

there are all sorts of instructions online about how to make these, but here's the one i used! enjoy!

gift #2: favorite college team string art from hello sunshine home decor

i discovered tammy with hello sunshine home decor over on instagram....and, what i love about social media is how she'd become a friend via such a cool social network. well, she happened to share a really cool pic of some college sports team string art she was offering....so i jumped + asked her if she'd create a special indiana university one for my #1 hoosier fan! and, what she did was perfection! be sure to check her out on etsy and instagram for all of her amazing string art + wreaths!

gift #3: i-spy busy bags from the crafting corner on etsy

i confess: i did not know a thing about these amazing busy bags, until one sunday at church. my great friend (who has three little ones) had a couple of these in her diaper bag, and i had to know what in the world it was. turns out, these are the bestest things ever! a little hand-sewn bag, filled with beads + little trinkets, for the littles to find. isn't that genius??

gift #4: monogram pillow

this was one of my crafty endeavors from the holidays. i came across a bright green throw pillow cover + thought "hmmmm, this would be just perfect for little mr. re-nest #2's room!" and, everyone knows how much i love a monogram, so i set to work and came up with this little modern twist on the monogram! 

gift #5: "joy" handmade shirt from lois pearl designs

okay, i have to do a little gushing about this gift....this is one that i gave to a dear, dear friend of mine for Christmas. and, it came from a lovely handmade shop right near my hometown in indiana. and, what makes this story even cooler is that i have quite a few childhood memories with this amazing artist + mama, as our mamas worked together when we were littles. (isn't that cool?) 

i'm so in love with this "joy" tee, with it's hand-sewn lettering + the cute little heart on the back! 

i love, love, love giving handmade gifts, no matter what the occasion! and, of course, i love supporting my fellow handmade friends.

tell me: what are some of your favorite handmade gifts to give (and get)??

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