Tuesday, December 24, 2013


This is the year we really learned that blessings come in all shapes and sizes, the most important of those are a growing, healthy, two-year-old boy, and the love and salvation that is found in Jesus Christ.  Wishing all of our friends and family a Merry Christmas!
Love, the Stovers

Sunday, December 22, 2013


A few years ago, Byron brought home a gingerbread house kit.  I think it was a gingerbread train, actually.  And as we attempted to assemble and decorate it, and it fell over countless times and nearly led us to divorce (okay, I'm strongly exaggerating...but still), I vowed never again.  There had to be an easier way.
And, I am here to tell you, there is.
What if, my friends, you simply take an ice cream cone turned upside down, and smear it with frosting and candy?  Voila.  A Christmas tree.  It tastes yummy.  It is festive.  And nobody gets divorced!
We invited over some friends who had toddler and pre-school aged kids to give it a go with us.  It was definitely a hit!
Though notice we did keep baby wipes on hand.  I wouldn't describe this as a clean project.
The best part was watching the kids chow down afterwards.  They were pretty stoked.  And the little dude definitely enjoyed that part!  Watching him was classic.
So go buy some cones, grab everything sugary in your house, and you've got what you need for a new holiday tradition.  This was even a tradition that Daddy supports.  Any activity where he gets a free pass to indulge in endless amounts of sugar is good in his book.
And as I usually do, I've got to end my post with one more picture, just for mama.  This face!  Although I am finally breaking down and getting my handsome boy the haircut he so desperately needs.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


I love Christmas ornaments.  My ornaments are probably the most organized part of my life (sad or awesome, you choose), and I have quite a few.  I especially love what I call Christmas balls.  I am sure that is not what I should be saying, but you know what I mean (the round ones).  My goal is to add a couple of new ones each year, so that I can vary my color scheme each year without spending a lot of money.  And I can get pretty particular as to exactly which color I have my eye on.  (Like yellow...but not gold...)
So two years ago, which translates to THREE Christmas seasons ago, I pinned this image of some ornaments I wanted to try to make.  I liked this for several reasons:
a) they are Christmas balls
b) they are glittery
c) they promise to be no mess
d) they can be customized to ANY color I want
Finally, this year would be the year.  I made the fantastic discovery that I had extra vacation days that I had to use before the end of the year, so I did what I have done very little of before.  I dropped Mason off at the babysitter and got a ton of stuff done, including making myself some new ornaments.
I had picked up fillable ornaments at Michael's a few weeks back, and I had extra fine glitter on hand (left over from my wedding almost 6 years ago - ha!), so this project was very inexpensive for me.  I wanted to use what I had to see how I liked it before buying new glitter.  I basically followed the tutorial from Pinterest (here), and it was so easy!  I'm definitely going to make more.
I have a few comments that I will share though.  First, the packaging has changed in the past few years and the Pledge stuff does not say Future Shine.  The bottle looks the same though, and the lid is still blue, if that helps.  Second, I actually did these two different ways.  The first way I did a whole ornament at a time - wax, glitter, done, repeat.  The second way I did all the wax, all the glitter, done.  And although an untrained eye probably couldn't tell the difference, I preferred the result of the first way better.  The second was faster though, so if you are not a perfectionist or don't plan to spend a lot of time examining your finished project, then the second way is fine.
As you can see, I did green (which I have wanted for a long time - yay!) and copper.  Now though, I CAN NOT WAIT to do more.  And the color possibilities are endless.  Pink!  Yellow!  Black!  (But not all on the same tree...I'm not that crazy.)
What have you been doing to prepare your house for Christmas?

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Because Byron has been spending a lot of time working in the basement, Mason has gotten familiar with some of the things he uses down there - rulers, tape measures, squares, drills, etc. He is always very closely supervised, and we try to keep the dangerous things out of his reach. It is amazing how quickly his little mind picks up on the uses for each tool and how quickly he imitates his dad.
And here's one more, just because I couldn't resist!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


It's November.  This morning in church we heard that after today, there are only 6 Sundays left in the year.  Can you believe it?  And yet, I haven't even shared most of our fall activities.  I'll start with Halloween.  It's that holiday that happened a couple of weeks ago that we've already banished to the way back of our minds because we have much bigger holidays to focus on in the next few weeks.
Here is our little Buzz Lightyear.
Such a cutie. I am obsessed with him. We took him trick or treating around the neighborhood as well as to a party at a local church.  He got to play games, go on inflatable slides and bounce houses, and possibly his favorite thing lately, get candy.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Pin dreams...like pipe dreams. With our basement work crawling along, I can't help but imagine us at the end of the process and to the place where I finally get to decorate the space.  In the meantime, I pin. I pin images that I want to emulate. Sometimes it is the color scheme, or sometimes it is the feel of the room in general, and sometimes it is a particular item. But with my pins lately, I am beginning to notice a pattern - light walls, rustic wood and furnishings, lots of greenery, a touch of black, and pops of color or pattern.  Do you see it?
***I very much did my best to link back to the original sources of these pins.  These images are not mine and I am in no way intending to take credit.  I just really admire them all!

Friday, September 20, 2013


It is time to admit something on this little old blog of mine. It is something that I haven't really mentioned for over a year now, but it is a significant reason why I haven't had much of a chance to do many projects myself. Are you ready to hear what my secret is? I won't hold you off - we are finishing our basement!
And we are pretty much doing it all ourselves. Well, Byron is doing it mostly himself. It has meant that many of our Saturdays and Sundays involve me taking the boy and Byron making progress on our future expanded living area. I think I got the fun job. 
Because we already have a year's (plus) worth of work put into this project, I'm not going to go into a play by play of any part of what we've accomplished so far. Instead, I think I'll give you a bulleted list of what's done and another of what is left to come, as well as let the pictures do the talking. 

  • Frame the exterior walls and the remaining interior walls 
  • Design a half wall to split the two main rooms 
  • Install a service panel dedicated to the basement 
  • Hookup electrical connections (light and power) 
  • Prep rooms for cable hookups 
  • Move the drain in the bathroom to accommodate a tub instead of a shower 
  • Insulate 
I may have missed a few steps, but judging by the amount of time as well as thought that Byron (and maybe a little bit me) have put into this, I know everything has been done with an extremely high level of quality. That man doesn't miss anything. Insulating is what Byron is just wrapping up now. And in my opinion, this step is what has really shown me what it will be like when the space is finished. Our list of things left to tackle is not short, however. 

  • Install drywall
  • Mud, tape, and sand drywall 
  • Tile the bathroom floor 
  • Tile the bathroom shower area 
  • Install bathroom toilet and vanity and run water lines 
  • Install carpet (this will most likely NOT be a DIY) 
  • Install a bank of cabinetry for storage 
  • Paint 
  • Furnish 
  • Decorate (!!!)
And again, there may be a few things that I didn't list that we'll tackle, but you get the picture. Those last few items on the list are what I have been waiting patiently for. Like seriously, I can't wait to decorate! I am eager to share a few of my visions for the space. Warning, a few of my ideas are a little out there. I am really hoping that we can finish things, at least to the point that it is usable, within one more year. I don't care if every last thing is in its place, but it will be nice to let Mason play down there without worrying about the tools that are sitting out (right now the basement is permanently blocked off with a gate). 
So there it is - the secret I haven't talked about. Even in the short time since I started writing this post, we are already almost finished with hanging the drywall, and I think I am going to convince Byron that we might want to hire someone to do the finishing for us.  So who knows...in another couple of weeks we could have a few more items checked off our list!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Lately, nothing super special has been going on, but it seems like we have been keeping busy.  We took a little labor day adventure to Union Park which included a picnic lunch, a ride on the Heritage Carousel, and several trips down the rocket slide.
We are about to enroll Mason in a gym class.  Just saying that makes me feel like he is growing up right before my eyes.  I really hope he likes it.  This boy has so much energy that I was just beginning to dread what it would be like for him to be cooped up in the house all winter long, and I had to find a way to get him out and active at least once a week.  I guess gym class is to boys what ballet is to girls, right?
After extreme heat for so long, fall weather is upon us, at least for the past few days, and it feels nice.  It is a welcome change of pace for us as we wrap up all of our exciting summer adventures and get ready for what comes next.  And although I don't usually get too deep on this little blog of mine, I'd like to share a few words that have really resonated with me lately.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths."  Proverbs 3:5-6
These are familiar words to many of us, but they have a new meaning for me.  For some reason when I read these verses, I have always jumped to the part about "he will direct your paths" skipping right over "acknowledge him."  Just as we are entering this season of fall, I am entering a season of life where my focus will be on acknowledging God first in everything that I do.  Yes, he will still direct my paths, but that will be the result of my trust, praise, and acknowledgement.
There might be a shift in focus in this place.  It is obvious that I don't have time for craft projects or sewing or decorating like I used to, but what I do have time for is to reflect on my little life with my little family, and I hope to be able to share it with anyone who chooses to read.

Monday, September 2, 2013


It seems like holiday weekends always kick start my blogging after a break, but this time I ran into a little snag.  We have a mac and I use iphoto to store all my pictures.  And I noticed on Friday when I went to import some pictures that it was gone. How an application just disappears is surely beyond me, but it did.  After a couple of days of trying to figure out how to fix it ourselves online, we resorted to making an appointment at our local Apple store.  30 minutes later, they had us fixed up and back in business.  I tell you that only because that is the reason I don't have anything good to share today.  But I do have something quick that I whipped up for the boy to play with. You may have seen it on Pinterest, since that is where I stole it from found my inspiration.
It's basically a matching game for him to practice his colors, but the clothes pin also help him work on his fine motor skills as well.  It keeps him busy for a few minutes, which is pretty much an hour in toddler time.  At least with my toddler!
Hopefully my computer woes are over and I can get back to sharing more of our summer as it comes to a close.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


And just like that, my baby is two.
Sometimes parenting is hard, but it is peppered with lots of joy.  Today is one of the moments as a parent where I am full of joy - celebrating our little fireball turning 2.
Mason is in a really fun stage.  He is learning new words almost daily, and starting to pair words together without being prompted.  Some of the more frequent ones are "help please" and "pants on".  We waited a long time for him to talk, so I love hearing him verbalize his thoughts and opinions.  He loves the color blue, but green and purple are popular with him as well.  He is a very active and physical little boy who lives to be outside.  He loves cars, trains, Buzz Lightyear, and balls as most little boys do.
I'm looking forward to this year.  I know we are entering the so-called "terrible twos", and he has given us a taste of tantrums already, but as he moves from baby to toddler to little boy, he is just so much fun.  There are so many more experiences to be had, and we are so excited to have them!
Happy birthday to the one who will always be my baby!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Tonight really was just an evening, like any other.  The one difference? I remembered to grab my camera!
Byron had gone to his parents' house so that he could mow their lawn. Yes, he tries to get over there and take care of them as much as he can. Everyone say awwww.  He is so good to them.  So that left Mason and I home alone.  Mason loves to be outside, and quite honestly, it is nice to be able to keep him happy.  And if we are outside, I don't have to listen to the tv or help with the ipad.  We can just play. And I like to see my boy's adventurous spirit. He helps me build mine, too, since it is not really my natural tendency to choose to be outside.
So Grandma helped us plant some flowers, we played with sidewalk chalk, and we looked for ats (ants).  To be honest, we do this most nights.  Maybe not plant flowers, my garden bed is getting kind of full.
I sure do love that boy of ours.  Are you ready to fall in love with him too?  Check out this next picture.
Oh my goodness!  That face!  He has my heart.  I know as mom, I am supposed to think my child is the cutest.  And the smartest.  And the... And you know what?  I do!  Gush gush gush gush gush.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


At last I've made it to the last real day of our trip. I bet you are wondering why I even try to consider this a craft/DIY blog anymore. Haha. Someday I will get back to that stuff.
So the final day of our trip was Sunday, and we had booked tickets to SeaWorld. We planned it for Sunday since it was supposed to be the best weather of the trip. In the morning it was a little overcast and even a bit chilly, so I was a bit worried, but fortunately the weather didn't come between us and our fun. It even got quite hot in the afternoon and I think we all left with pink cheeks. But enough about the weather and now for a little recap.
We started off checking out the dolphins.  Mason had actually fallen asleep on the way to SeaWorld (go figure) and so he was a little groggy while we watched the dolphins so we opted not to participate in the feeding. Plus it would have meant holding fish in my bare hands. I was perfectly content to watch.  But seeing these dolphins close up was so cool. This guy literally swam right by me. There is no camera zoom action going on here.  It was really this close!
Yeah, those boys of mine are pretty adorable. After the dolphins we made our way to the aquariums. I think this was highlight number one of Mason's day. He was in heaven and made so many fish noises. (Yes, goldfish was the first animal noise I taught him.) There was everything in here - penguins, sharks, tiny seahorses and jellyfish. This may seem a little sappy to you, but I couldn't help but think while walking through the aquariums of tropical fish and reefs, that some of these things were maybe never even intended for the human eye to see, being located in such deep water sometimes, but God still went to the trouble to make them so beautiful and colorful. Creation just gets me sometimes.
After the aquariums we finally got our act together and saw the dolphin show. It was a good thing, too, because I was starting to think SeaWorld wasn't going to be that cool. Oh no, it is that cool. The dolphin show, while I don't have any pictures, was amazing. It involved things you would see in Cirque du Soleil. I was so mesmerized, that's probably why I forgot to pull out my camera. This show made it all worth it though. I would highly recommend getting to the dolphin show if you ever go to SeaWorld.
I have to point out one other little fact about our day, so I don't forget. They had roller coasters there, which we obviously didn't ride since we were there for Mason, but he was obsessed with watching them. He thought they were choo-choos (trains), which he is also obsessed with. We would watch the roller coaster cars slowly climb up the hill, pause at the top, and then come whooshing down. Mason could probably have done that all day long.
At one point as we were walking, one of the staff was out with this bird (which I believe is a macaw). I literally said to Mason and Byron this is how you know I love him, because I HATE birds. But we went up and saw it.
What you don't realize is that about 10 seconds after this picture was taken the bird cawed really loud in my ear and I flipped. Ran away trembling is what some may have called it. And there Byron is, laughing away. Somehow I managed to recover from my very traumatic experience.
We also got the chance to meet some of the Sesame Street characters. Mason really wanted to go see them, and I was worried that after we stood in line to meet them he would be scared of them, but nope! We have one brave little boy on our hands. He loved it! I think he was even signing more to me when our turn was done.
Above, Mason enjoying his photo op with Elmo, Zoe, and the gang. Below we were watching the song and dance that the characters performed.
Mason begged to ride the carousel, but in typical Mason form, once we got on it he was less than thrilled. We ended up just riding on the bench because we really couldn't get off until the ride ended, so this is Mason's "get me out of here" face.
The last thing we did before we called it a day was to take in the Sea Lion and Otter show, but by then Mason had just about had it. We only stayed for half of it before we realized it was just time to get home. We walked the River Walk one last time, enjoyed dinner at an English Pub, and then made our way back home the next morning. So far, I'm calling this the best family vacation we have had to date. I definitely think it helped us to have a loose agenda with some places we wanted to scope out. Much thanks to this city guide that helped me find some cool places. (They have tons of other cities, too!) If we hadn't done a little research, we probably would have walked the River Walk every day and ended up a little bored. This trip has awakened in me a love for travel and I am very excited for all the adventures my family and I will go on in the future!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Day three.  My favorite day of the trip.  In the morning, we took our time getting ready for the day and then headed out to the farmers market that was being held in the Pearl Brewery area.  You know, the place I was obsessed with.  We got another chance to get some good coffee and awesome crepes for breakfast, and just enjoyed wandering around seeing what things were like.  It made me very excited for our own farmers market to start.
After that, we headed over to a kiddie amusement park.  This place was totally adorable.  We bought Mason a wristband and he got to ride as many rides as he wanted.  Here are just a few of the rides we tried. Yes, I was making a crazy face.
I love this last photo.  Mason is actually signing more.  He had such a great time.  And yes, that is a bruise on his cheek that he got a few days before we left.  Eventually though, it was clear that he was done with the stimulation and we headed out.  We drove over to the zoo, which was just a few blocks away, but in that short amount of time the boy passed out.  So we headed back to the hotel and stuck around the room resting for a few hours.  Later, we headed out for dinner and our nightly walk. And I got a little photo happy with the flora and fauna.
I showed my mom the last picture after we got home and she helped me pick out a similar plant for my garden.  I planted it last week, so we'll see if by mid-summer I have something that matches it.
There is only one day left to post about before we headed home.  But we saved the biggest and best for last - SEAWORLD!

Sunday, April 28, 2013


On our second day in Texas, we headed out (though not too early) to find a little local book store that had a weekly story hour I thought Mason might enjoy. Twig bookstore is nestled in the Pearl Brewery development.  This is where my heart came alive and I became OBSESSED with everything I saw in this neighborhood.  There was a ton of modern architecture, but the plant life was amazing, too.  I was instantly dreaming of transforming our porch, our backyard, our lifestyle. But seriously.
Here are the two Stover men in front of the Choo Choo.  Yes, we rarely call them trains anymore.  We call them choo choos.  One of us was pretty thrilled to see this, even if the picture doesn't show it.
And then we happened upon this little city jewel.  The pipe was wearing a scarf! I have no idea what the inspiration for this was, but it was awesome. And then I got sad that I gave my yarn stash away because I wanted to knit a sweater for a pipe.
This next picture is my favorite picture of the whole trip, well, other than the pictures that include my husband or son.  I can only imagine that I sound silly when I talk about this, but I was head over heals for the industrial meets natural.  Give me a few years and then I'll post photos of my backyard and we'll see if I've achieved my version of paradise.
We went into the bookstore after stopping for pastries (aww darn) and Mason quickly got comfortable with the animals. Whenever we see a cute little raccoon stuffed animal, I can't help but force encourage him to play with it. But I don't think he minds.
We were eagerly waiting for story time to begin.  This picture below is just moments before Mason spilled nearly an entire cup of milk all over the floor - and himself!  Poor little guy. We reacted quickly, but we still totally made a scene. The thought running through my head was "I'll never see these people again.  I'll never see these people again." The only thing that made it slightly better was that it was vanilla milk.  So rather than stink like nasty warm milk, at least it smelled like vanilla!
After this, we went out shopping to an outlet mall, so there aren't a whole lot of pictures of that. No need to photograph me in my natural habitat...haha. We did do a bit of damage at the Gap outlet, and we also discovered that Mason has a love for ketchup. He was eating it plain, just licking it right off his finger!
On day three of the trip, you can bet I drug my boys back to my favorite little area!