Monday, October 16, 2017

Teal Pumpkin

We have enjoyed two full weeks off from school, and it has been amazing!! A break that we definitely needed. All three of us were starting to go a little batty.
I have been able to knock out so many things on my to-do list. Things that are a little harder to tackle when we are busy with school work.
One of the tasks at hand was diving a little deeper into Paleo cooking. Sister and I struggle with intestinal and stomach issues, and Paleo seems to be a great option for us. 
We are using Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Cookbooks, and we have not been disappointed. 

The food has been delicious and our stomachs are much happier.
Since we have taken on this new style of eating, it has opened my eyes to the world of food intolerance and food-related allergies.
Halloween candy is definitely a big no-no for those who fall into that category.
Have you guys heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project 
We will be participating in it this year, and to let other families know that we are handing out non-candy alternatives, we have our very own teal pumpkin on our front porch.
This is what our little pumpkin looked like when we found him at the thrift store. He was a whopping $1.
Breakin' the bank, I tell ya.
 Fortunately, I had turquoise paint sitting around.
 The pumpkin took two coats of paint.
While it was drying, I drank my afternoon coffee from my new coffee mug.
You can find the vinyl decal HERE.
Can you name the movie this quote comes from??
After the pumpkin dried completely, I decided to glam it up a bit. 
I used Modge Podge on the stem, and added rose gold glitter.
Perfect.
All he needs is a little candle to make him glow :-)
Who else is participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fall/Halloween Home Tour

Good Morning Friends!
Are you guys ready for Halloween?? 
Our house has been decorated, costumes have been purchased (even for myself), and the Fall baking has begun.
We are so excited for the upcoming holiday season!! 
I have lots of Halloween decor, but I don't usually put out the creepy stuff until the day of Halloween because it doesn't really go with the rest of my decor. I will most likely take pictures, but I won't be blogging about it, so make sure you are following me on Instagram. I will be sharing the pictures and videos on my "stories."
So today, you'll get to see the "non-creepy" decorations ;-)

If you notice, my front porch isn't covered with any real pumpkins...we haven't been to the pumpkin patch yet. :-) That's on next week's agenda.
We have become a Paleo family, so gluten and processed sugars are out for us. Sister also got braces this week, so we sympathize with the non-candy families out there. This year, we will be handing out treats that are allergy friendly, hence the turquoise pumpkin.
Check back to see the process of how I transformed this little guy I picked up from the thrift store the other day. 
Here's our fireplace mantel. Fairly simple, with just a few touches of Halloween.


And my interchangeable hymnal wreath with the Halloween center. 
 I like to have my Fall decor carry me all the way through Thanksgiving if possible. 
I found this quote on Pinterest, and loved it. 
 This little pumpkin sign is a new addition this year. I purchased it from 2crafty4myskirt. I have been following Alese on Instagram for a few weeks now, and her signs are super cute.
Confession time:
I am fighting the urge to bring out all my Christmas decor. 
Ridiculous, I know. 
This year I will have to show some restraint because we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house. 
I won't put Christmas decorations out until the day after Thanksgiving. 
It's going to be so hard!! 
(First world problems).




Thursday, October 12, 2017

New Disney Promotion!


As most of you know, I am an official Disney and Universal travel specialist. As if I needed anything else added to my plate!! Ha!!
 For the record, this blog will remain a DIY, lifestyle blog, but I will be sharing travel promotions when they become available. 
Travel planning is a new'ish favorite past time of mine. I have been doing this for over a year, and I love it! I will eventually do more than just Disney and Universal, but for now, in this season, I will just stick to Mickey and Harry ;-)
I am what some would call a "Dis-nerd." I am not totally obsessed, but it's pretty stinkin' close. I would live at Disney World if it were allowed...like in the castle, wearing my mouse ears, and my princess dresses, hangin' like a boss...but apparently that's not "allowed"... so, whatevs. (insert eye roll and shoulder shrug)
Most of my accessories have some form of a mouse on it. 
It's almost embarrassing...almost ;-) I have no shame in that department.
However, Disney makes me smile, and it also reminds me of some of my absolute-most-favorite memories as a child. 
And don't we all need a reminder of that occasionally??
Anyway, if you are looking to travel to Disney at the beginning of 2018, here is a great deal to consider!
You can Play, Stay, Dine and save up to $500* on a 5-night/6-day Walt Disney Travel Company room, ticket and dining plan package for a family of four at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for arrivals most nights Jan. 1-March 10, 2018 when they book Oct. 3-Dec. 22, 2017.
When you purchase this package and stay at a Disney Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort, you'll enjoy the Disney Dining Plan, which allows you to savor a variety of delicious dining options. When you purchase this package and stay at a select Disney Value Resort, you'll get the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan that offers convenient meals and snacks throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.
Booking Window: Oct. 3-Dec. 22, 2017
Travel Window: Jan. 1-March 10, 2018
Full List of Disney Resort Hotel Exclusions:
  • Campsites
  • 3-bedroom villas
  • The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Room
  • Disney's All-Star Movies Resort
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge – Cabins
  • Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
If you are interested in receiving a free quote for a Disney vacation, please feel free to email me at castleboundwithcrystal@gmail.com. 
Make sure to follow me on Instagram, to keep up with what's going on!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I'm Still Here...

Wow! Long time no see, right? I didn't realize how long it had been until I received an email about my blog a few days ago. It made me realize how much I miss blogging, and the connection to the outside world. I actually started this blog after spending 5 solid months with sick babies who caught everything imaginable, and I had not seen any adults outside of hubby and the doctor during that span of time(slight exaggeration, but it was almost that bad). I needed a way to connect with humanity, and blogging provided that connection. Here lately I have felt extremely isolated due to our season of life. A feeling I know a lot of mommas and daddys feel at one point or another when in the throes of child rearing.
Our lives are so busy right now with homeschool, our Classical Conversations community, church, Taekwondo, and golf(new to us...and I love it) that I have barely been able to keep my head above water at times. That's just the stuff we have to do with the kids. Somewhere in the midst of all that I am a wife, a hair stylist (once a month), and a travel agent(which I also LOVE). There have been moments where I have literally broken down into tears with just feeling completely overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done in a day.
Last night I woke up at 1:30 a.m., and could not get my mind to turn off. I could not stop thinking about all of the things I have ahead of me in the coming weeks. So many opportunities, and every one of them are blessings...but it takes time and planning for those to come about. I am at a point where I feel the need to drop a thing or two, but then there's this little thing called commitment, and there are people depending on me. It will all work out, I just need to quit putting the cart before the horse :-)
We have had so many changes come about in our family this year, and I do plan on sharing them. This has been a year of spiritual and mental growth for me, and I have fought it tooth and nail the entire way. I look forward to sharing the journey that I have been on, as well as my family's journey, so I hope that you will keep checking back to see what we have been up to.
Until then... :-)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Our Portion of Faith

It has literally been forever and a day since I have posted here, but I felt a tug at the heart. Most of the time this blog is dedicated to DIY and home decor. Occasionally, though, I share my faith. Today seems to be one of those days. I have had a few conversations lately that made me want to dive a little deeper into the thought of "Bearing one another's burdens." Mind you, there is nothing earth-shattering here. Just my thoughts.

We are told in Galatians 6:2, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." For most of us who follow the Christian faith, we ignore this verse. We really don't want to air our dirty laundry, or hear about someone else's...especially in this day and age when everything posted on social media portrays our "highlight reel." Granted, we probably have a select few in whom we will divulge our secrets, but for the most part we keep our problems to ourselves. When someone is brave enough to reveal their struggles, we tend to listen for just a bit, and then go on with our daily lives. If that brave soul continues to share on a regular basis, we eventually roll our eyes and run in the other direction and hide. I'm sure each of us can think of at least one person who fits that description. If you can't...you may be that person...I'm kidding!! I remember when I was younger there being certain women in the church who would come forward after the sermon (regularly), asking for prayers. After a few times, it became sort of a joke, and even annoying because it was cutting into lunch time. It was especially irritating if the preacher had been long-winded that day. Shameful, I know, but those thoughts did run through my mind. :-)

Bearing each others' burdens requires slowing down, looking up from our screens, and making eye contact, as well as soul contact. I don't believe that we are required to personally take on someone else's burden as our own. The Psalmist writes, Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22) In some instances, we can help lessen the load, but other times, circumstances won't allow it. However, there are some very important things we can do. We can listen, and we can pray.

Listening to someone unload can be downright exhausting, especially when they are going through a trying time. As a hair stylist, I get to hear A LOT about someone when they are sitting in my chair. Sometimes it's good news, and then other times it's just awful, and all that person really needs is an ear to listen. Two things I have had to learn as a listener, though. 1.) I cannot make these burdens my own, and 2.) I cannot compare my life to theirs. Those are difficult lessons to learn, and ones that I haven't quite mastered. There have been several times where I have literally dropped to my knees in tears for friends or family who were suffering, asking God to lessen their load. And it can be especially frustrating when you don't see immediate results. The bible tells us that patience is a "fruit."
Gal. 5:22
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
For me, patience is a lemon...still a fruit, but sour to taste. :-) 

We have several examples in the bible where strong leaders were either praying intercessory prayers, or asking for them. Christ, when He was about to be led to the cross, prays for His disciples because He knows the trials they will face. Paul requested from the church at Ephesus  “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains” (Ephesians 6:18-20).
We must pray for those who are burdened, but have the understanding that everything is done in God's time.
I mentioned earlier that we cannot compare our lives to the ones for whom we are praying. It's really hard when we see others who seem to be doing more than us. Who seem to be killing it in God's kingdom. Who are completely on fire for God's cause. And when they become burdened, it causes us to take a moments pause and reevaluate our own lives. Maybe even bring about guilt in what we see as our own shortcomings as a Christian. Why aren't we doing more for the kingdom? Should we be doing this or that to bring more souls to Christ? However, in that moment, we must realize everyone has been given a "measure of faith" by God.

Romans 12 says:
 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members,[e] and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

We do not all have the "same function" or the same "gifts." We are all wired differently, and it's 100% ok.  We should focus on the gifts that God has given us and make the most of them. Comparison and guilt kill joy, and they cause us to focus inward instead of outward. How can it be possible to help those who are burdened if we are dwelling on what we perceive to be our shortcomings? 

All in all, the only way I have found it possible to "bear another's burdens" is to lie those burdens at the feet of Jesus and wait patiently, while holding the hand of the one who is burdened.






Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Laundry Room Renovation-Part 4


 Life has been SO FULL these past few weeks! We were in a whirlwind of activity surrounding my sister's wedding, with all of the preparation that is involved with that. I am happy to announce she is happily married, and I couldn't be happier for her. The wedding was beautiful, and my sister was absolutely gorgeous! She looked like a princess, and I am pretty sure her face hurt by the end of the day because she never stopped smiling. She and her hubby went on a cruise for their honeymoon to Cozumel, and I really missed our daily texts. It was kind of sad. 
As soon as we got her married off, we dove head first into VBS preparation. Why is VBS so exhausting?!? A friend and I were in charge of decorating the preschool areas. There was lots of crafting and painting involved, and the kids loved being at the church building playing hide and seek.
 (Pictures to follow soon!)
And then there is school. We are getting to it when we can, but there are only so many hours in the day.
So, we have been extremely busy.
And there hasn't been a lot of time to dedicate to our laundry room, or laundry for that matter!
I will say that it is almost completely finished. All of the painting and caulking is finished. There are a few places that need some touch up paint, but that will have to wait a little bit longer. We are also adding new lighting. I am SUPER pumped about the lighting. It's going to add so much character to the space. 
Y'all are going to love it!!

So here are some pictures of the progress.
Hubby cut wooden slats like he did for the half bath walls. It was so much cheaper to make our own than to buy the pre made slats we used in the kids bathroom.

We painted the wainscotting a bright white to lighten the room up because there are no windows to allow natural light in. We ended up with what looks like faux ship lap. That was totally unintentional. I have never really been a huge fan of the white ship lap look. I know, I know...all of you Joanna Gaines followers are probably ready to burn me at the stake...just kidding. 
(I really do love that show, by the way, and it's fun to see someone on TV of whom I have a lot in common with).
Anyway, it has grown on me, and I really do like it, but if we get tired of the white, then we can paint over it....some day....in the very DISTANT future!!
(The walls are "Gravity" by Valspar.)
See that florescent light? It's going bye bye, and I CANNOT WAIT for the new fixture to come to life. It's so exciting!!
I'll give you a little hint...
Barn Wood, and Pulleys.
 I have to find a few decorative items to soften the space up because it's very stark in the laundry room right now. I tried an antique store, and once again was reminded of how cheap I am. And the prices weren't really that bad. I am just a thrift store girl at heart. The prices are so much better at thrift stores and I am so grateful that we have some amazing little gems down here. 

I'll be sharing the lighting progress when we get a few minutes to breathe.

If you missed the first few posts about our laundry room progress, click the links below to see how things have been moving along. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bachelorette Weekend-Part 2

Y'all, there is nothing worse than going hungry on vacation.
It just ruins the whole experience. You can't focus on the fun because all you can think about is what you're not eating at any given time.
I had that happen, once. At Disney World. 
One Word:
HANGRY
It won't happen again...if I can help it. 
I can assure you that we didn't go hungry during my sister's bachelorette weekend getaway. 
If anything, we were full as ticks the whole time. 
Saturday morning, I prepared a big ole country breakfast so we could have plenty of fuel to tackle the day's activities.
I saw on Pinterest where people are serving Biscuit Bars at weddings, and I thought that was such a cute idea.
A super easy breakfast, that will fill anyone up.
Now, I am a gluten free girl, and it kind of hurt my feelings to know that I wouldn't be eating any biscuits. I love me a biscuit, especially with gravy.
Biscuit and gravy makes this country girl's heart sing...along with a side of grits.
Lip smackin' deliciousness. 
There are days when I crave a good biscuit, and will cave in and eat it,
but friends, I wasn't willing to deal with all of the issues I encounter after indulging.
So, I watched my sister and her friends eat the biscuits.
I felt like Captain Barbossa offering Miss Swan the apple. 
 :-)
Hopefully I didn't look this creepy offering them their food. HA!
 On the menu:
Buttermilk Biscuits
Assorted Jams
Bacon
Sausage
Country Ham
Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits (per request of the Bride)
Fruit
Orange Juice
Coffee
 
I think everyone's favorite dish was the Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits.
I will share the recipe in another post.
They were truly divine.
Once we were full, we went for pedicures.
That was an experience I won't soon forget.
I made sure to find a place that had excellent ratings. The place I picked had a 4.9 star rating out of 5, and there were hundreds of awesome reviews.
I thought we were set.
We must have gone on an off day...
One girl had her legs slapped numerous times with steaming hot towels wrapped around them. Imagine 6 girls all turning, leaning forward and looking to see what the commotion was all about..at the same time. It's not every day you hear somebody being slapped while getting their pedicure. My little guy told me hated me, then tried to flirt with me, and then didn't give me a massage. Booooo! Another girl sat in her chair for what seemed like days because her person was new, and was slower than molasses. She was the first to sit down and the last of the 7 to get up.
It was an adventure, and something to laugh about for years to come. 

We hit the outlet mall in Pigeon Forge, and later that evening, we went to the Dixie Stampede.
When it first started, the spoiled part of me thought, "this doesn't hold a candle to Disney."  Once the show started rolling, it turned out to be really fun.
My favorite part was when a man came out in a chicken suit dancing, and I laughed so hard I thought my food was going to hit reverse.
I had tears rolling out of my eyes.
It was truly a good time.

These girls made this weekend a blast!
I have one more post to share about this weekend. I'll share the welcome bags I made for the girls, and all the loot that was inside.
Stay Tuned!