Kitchen Reno

We’ve lived in our house for 10 years now and actually, it’s the only house we’ve lived in.  Secretly I hope it’s the only house we ever live in.  I can seriously imagine filling it with grandkids for sleepovers and shoving grown kids and their spouses in every little open space.  It could happen.

Our kitchen hasn’t been touched since we moved in other than painting the cabinets.  The cabinets were particle board and apparently the countertops had never been sealed so after our tribe put some heavy wear and tear on it over the years the cabinets started breaking and the countertops started growing some moldy goodness.  I had moved our silverware into jars on the countertops because they weighed down the broken drawers and one time Amon almost died when he pulled a drawer out and it collapsed :)  I kid.  He didn’t almost die.  It was for dramatics sake, but you get the picture.

So it was time to really overhaul our kitchen, but on a budget…hello family of 7 on basically one income. Our house was built in the 40s so it’s quite wonky in so many ways including the floors and walls.  Josh Kelley and I don’t mind doing some work, but we also knew we needed to be logical due to it being our kitchen, time and actually physically being able to pull it off in a reasonable time frame so we decided to hire someone to do the major parts…enter Song and Story Millworks.  Josh and I chose to do all the demo to save in that department and we also got a good deal on cabinets and picked up other big items at IKEA.  Something super interesting we discovered…IKEA items are actually a bit cheaper in store VS online.  Who knew?!?!  I did lots of looking online for good deals as well.  And we kept all our old appliances and our flooring.

I painted our laundry room door and after Josh got everything out of the kitchen Aubrey of Song and Story Millworks set to work.  I laid out what I envisioned for our kitchen and he made it happen.  So flippin pleased with the outcome.  Turns out kitchen cabinets are crazy expensive so we ditched all uppers on one side of the kitchen and went with open shelving which saved us soooooooo much money.  We do not have a pantry so we kept one side of uppers because the one big upper cabinet is where we store food.

I totally love the open shelving.  It works really well for our crew and everyone loves the easy access to everything.  The kids have all said it makes unloading the dishwasher easier as well. (that’s one of their chores.)  I also love being able to display things we use and love that we’re Mom’s.

Our walls are wonky so I wanted shiplap…not the real stuff because it’s mucho money, but fake because it’s way cheaper…and simple subway tile to cover the walls.  I went with the same white paint we’ve used in the rest of the house.  I love all the white mixed with the natural wood of the open shelving and butcher block countertops.  Aubrey nailed the open shelving and made my wall dreams come true.  We’re still figuring out the butcher block countertops…they’ve had 4 coats of sealer stuff put on them so far, but apparently you have to do that pretty regularly for about the first year, from there it’s easier sailing.

A few things which have blown our minds about the new kitchen:

1.  The silverware drawer.  My life is made.  I laughed so hard because the kids were so confused about where the spoons and forks were.  I was all “Gather round children.  THIS is what people call a silverware drawer.”  I then opened the drawer, a beam of light shone down upon it and angels sang and the Kelley kids’ minds were blown.

2.  The countertops are at a normal height.  Our old countertops were higher than your typical countertops so only Harper could reach the faucet easily and other weird things.  It’s so funny how just a countertops height difference can make things more functional.

3.  My spice drawer.  I’m 5’2 so always have had issues with reaching things high up including all the spices in our tiny weird and hard to figure out spice cabinet.  Well problemo solved.  Enter the spice drawer.  It is amazing.  I love it.  I want to make out with it.

Our old kitchen had this small open corner at the end by the laundry room door.  We’re really not sure why they didnt take the countertops all the way to the wall, but they didn’t.  We made that change as well which meant we got more lower cabinet space.  Once we loaded everything back into the kitchen I had a completely empty drawer.  It was so weird.  So I did what any normal person does and put 3 trivets, 2 oven mitts, a few napkins and a stack of paper plates in it.  Drawer be empty no more.

So here’s the real breakdown.  I love my kitchen.  Call me worldy all you want, but I love this kitchen.  I love cooking in it.  I love how functional it is for our family.  I love how easy everything feels.  I love how awesome Song and Story Millworks are.  I love that we pulled it off on a major budget.  Let me just sit and look at my kitchen for a while.  And make cookies.  Oh, I almost forgot…I now leave my mixer out on the counter and it’s uh-mazing as well.  I know, I know, I know…so many bigger fish to fry in this world.  I agree, but I’ll just lay it all out there…I freakin loves this kitchen :)

Here’s are list of supplies and links.  If there’s something I missed you want to know about just ask and I’ll point you in the best direction.

 Countertops IKEA


Faucet IKEA

Hardware Lowes

Lights Lowes (Here & here)

Mug rack World Market

Rifle Paper Co. Recipe Box Amazon

Mason Spice Jars Amazon

Flour & Sugar Jars Target

Canisters, oil can, rug, pitchers, painted plate, fruit bowl we’re Mom’s

Scale, tea can, number, letter and lemon/apple canister all previously thrifted

Paint colors: Clean & Crisp by Porter (we just get it color matched wherever)  Mint Parfait by Behr

Large wooden bowl from Ethiopia

Collage wall all thanks to Swaziland, Hudson & Solomon, a gift and the flea market

 *amazon affiliate links

Fun Things

Just wanted to stop in and say hi.  We have so much going on right now and I am barely keeping up, but so much excitement on the horizon.

A few things I wanted to share today:

One.  I’m working on a new online store front.  This is super exciting to me because I will be able to list items asap and you can purchase them all on your own.  I have tons of key fobs in the works, stationary and instant access to my online Bible journaling class.  We have a big goal for these funds and I’ll share about that in a bit.  Super super excited about what God might have in store.  So keep an eye out.  Hoping to have it up and running crazy soon.

Two.  I’m working on a post about our kitchen.  I’ve had lots of questions so I’m going to post about the items and where we found everything.  It might sound completely worldly, but our new kitchen has totally encouraged me.  Our cabinets were broken and our counter top had mold probs so seriously, we are thoroughly enjoying the new, more functional space for us.  First world problems for sure, but I’m grateful.

Three.  I am really wanting to get Bible journaling classes back up and running.  If you would like to book a class for you and your friends please let me know.  I would love love love to come teach the class for you and your people.

And Four.  I just feel the need to share the following:  I literally spilled the beans…into a paint pan of white paint.  And why yes I do keep dried beans in a spaghetti tin.  Why was the spaghetti tin full of dried beans in our laundry room in the first place?  Good question.  I can’t even remember at this point.  It all makes perfect sense.

Amon and I went to Chuck E Cheese today…a Tuesday…just the 2 of us.  Thank you Will Smith and Dr. Evil for now filling my head with a catchy tune I won’t be able to kick until Thursday afternoon.  But I digress.  The mouse and his pizza and skee ball and basketball games were just what we needed.  Plus we had a gift card, a coupon and several solo hours since our littlest was at her visitation.  And I set the new high score on basketball.  Needless to say, we partied.

And Josh’s dad got a metal detector to help him find a missing item.  You guys, this can only mean one thing…Fun for all.  Josh’s brother Andy has some metal in his face so they set to work to locate it.  I could not stop laughing.  Like COULD.NOT!!!!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

10 Things

1.  Found these at Target and, ummmmm, I maybe ate the whole bag.  Maybe.

2.  Our kitchen is done…minus a little touch up paint.  It’s so so functional for us which makes cooking a whole lot more enjoyable.  First dinners up were pancakes and tacos.

3.  Speaking of pancakes…hands down the best pancakes.  I sub almond milk for milk and earth balance for butter for allergy reasons and whoa…just whoa!!!  And if I’m out of eggs I sub in a 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil. They melt like butter in your mouth.

4. Jenni’s salted peanut butter with chocolate flakes is CRAZY…just crazy.  I want to eat it forever.

5.  Harper picked her glasses out and instantly she is so much older.  She was really nervous about them, but she was more excited after she picked these out.  Her favorite part is the sparkly inside.

6.  We saw 3 praying mantises this summer.  We feel like it’s lucky.

7.  I like to work, work, work, work, work, work, work.  Message me HERE if you’d like to place an order.

8.  Amon used his money to buy a tool set.  Cutest.Buy.Ever.  He’s fixed everything in our house and in our van.  My van is dirty so therefore the window is filthy…to match the rest of the car.  And he ate his entire Arby’s meal wearing safety googles.

9.  Extra curricular activities have begun.  Baseball, swimming and soccer are on the docket.  Everyone gets to do one thing because I can barely keep up with just that.  At Solomon’s baseball practice the other night Amon and our littlest yelled and taunted runners on the trail nearby.  It was seriously hilarious.  They also got lots of high-5s despite Amon insisting everyone owed him fifty dollars for passing.  I die.

10.  And before Hudson got baptized he came over to me very serious, furrowed brow like and said, “Mom, will you please hold this for me?”  This is Hudson and I couldn’t love him more.  Nothing worse than a wet Lego body.

Hope you guys have an amazing weekend.  Refresh up!

Happy Friday.

Just Jesus

I’m not even really sure what to type these days.  I’m struggling with finding words lately and feel like I’ve experienced quite the tilt in my axis.  Parenting is hard.  Foster care is hard.  Let’s just all agree life in general is hard.  Nothing is normal or routine right now…which my OCD, controlling self craves most days.  Nothing seems to add up quite right, life never ever slows down, but I’ve had one on going consistent thought for the past few months and it’s simply Jesus.  The rest of my thoughts and feelings are all over the place.  I forget things so easily…I feel like I can’t keep up and with what???  Well that’s a great question.  I look around at our life…what a mess we are…what a mess we feel like and I think “Jesus.  Just Jesus.”  He is all we’ve got and He is what sustains and guides and pursues our hearts.  He is the constant when life is flat out crazy town.

We’ve hit up more doctor’s offices lately than in a long time.  Harper needs glasses.  Hudson did not act like a ferrel cat when he got his allergy shots this week…praise hands.  Amon got a pretty good heart report minus a leaking valve which is causing issues.  And we live this crazy privileged life to have access to good medical care and are able to pay for it.  There are some people in this world who are faced with the decision to give their child up so they can receive medical care or keep their child and watch them die.  This is reality and I can’t even fathom.

Our kitchen is almost done.  I have’t cooked in over a week and I actually really can’t wait.  I miss it.  And we live this crazy privileged life of clean running water and a nice home and food at our fingertips.  I’m oozing privilege and most of you are too.  I don’t understand so many things…a laundry list for God, but we waste and throw away food other’s long for.

My heart feels pretty torn in a million and one directions lately.  It’s so easy for the world to feel like too much.  Stress and anxiety can creep in at a moments notice and take hold.  I make mistake after mistake after mistake as a wife and mom and person in general.  Josh Kelley got the sheer honor of baptizing Harper, Hudson and Solomon on Sunday.  As we were getting ready to leave the house, I got really emotional…Josh was about to baptize three our children…and because of absolutely nothing we did and because of everything Jesus did.  He pursues us.  He longs for us.  He is His mighty, strong and good self in spite of all our messed up-ness.  I just couldn’t get over what a disaster I am and yet, God is God and flips hearts for Him.

I read in Genesis 33 the other day and was floored by how Esau…after hating Jacob and saying he was going to kill him…ran and hugged and kissed Jacob’s neck and cried.  That’s God you guys…only God does that kind of turning of hearts.  And that’s how I feel about Harper, Hudson and Solomon choosing Him…that’s just Jesus.  Only Jesus.  And it is absolutely wondrous to my brain and heart.

Life can feel really really big right now.  We’ve been through a rough season lately, but it has also been really sweet.  God is teaching me how to pray and the value in prayer.  He’s teaching me about trust and holding onto Him alone.  He’s doing wondrous things and it’s so lovely to watch.  I feel tired and down and out and yet so hopeful and I just keep saying “Jesus” over and over again.  And He keeps showing up.  And He keeps being Himself and doing what only He can do.


I swear I haven’t given up on this space…things have just been wild.  And continue to be and sometimes I feel like I don’t have one little legit thing to share.  Then I realize I never really have legit stuff to share…I just sit down and peck away on these keys all the randomness which floods my mind most days.

The Olympics:  Well, during the Olympics Josh Kelley and myself go from non-TV watchers to full on addicts.  We turn the TV on and then it just stays.  I woke up the other morning to the Olympics app downloaded on my phone…which I did not download.  All I can imagine is Josh supposedly working while really catching up on all the most recent Olympic news and drama.

Every 4 years I get my best friend Ashley at her best…Olympic-overly-enthusiastic-go-America-Ashley.  And she’s kind of so much fun.  We text and call…yes, I do still talk on the phone, but pretty much only the Ashley and a few of my aunts…and hash out all the Olympic drama together.  We talk about our nervous Olympic habits including my rocking back and forth during swimming because obviously my body movements propel our US swimmers forward more quickly…I gotta do my part.  We also discuss our favorites and the countries we’d boo if we were present.  And which moments almost made us throw up and have to leave the room.  Sometimes you just can’t even watch.

Kitchen Reno:  I really want to take a full on video of our home in it’s current disastrous state.  I’m making smoothies and doing dishes in our bathroom.  It’s amazing :) but our kitchen is looking awesome.  Seeing progress made is soooooooo good.  I love it.  I’ve been doing some updates on Instagram’s stories now.  If you haven’t checked out other people’s stories on IG yet, you must.  I really enjoy everyone’s videos.  It’s like snap chat for instagram without all the confusion because they made it crazy easy to use.  You can check mine out HERE just by clicking on my profile pic.  Videos do expire so once 24 hours is up the videos are gone.

Zero Children:  On Monday Amon and our littlest started school which meant I was absolutely alone for 5 hours straight and it was glorious.  I went home and worked, worked, worked and loved every last minute of it.  Again, I adore my children, but man was it good to think and just be alone.  So so good.

Work, Work, Work:  Yes, I am back to orders and it makes my heart crazy happy.  Yesterday I worked on name pillows and lots of key fobs.  Key fobs are always in full affect with the start of school.  Tomorrow I have another work day and I’m knocking out some art pieces.  If you’d like to place an order you can do so just by emailing me or messaging me HERE.


Beth Moore:  Last weekend Beth Moore was in Nashville speaking for two days.  Again Courtney, our friend who is the inviter, heard she was in town and rallied a group.  We decided to just spend the night in Nashville right across the street from where the conference was and did the yummiest late night dinner and drinks!!!!  It was such an amazingly fun time.  It was refreshing and encouraging and we all walked away feeling renewed a bit.  We all needed some friend time.  I also forgot how much I like Beth Moore because of the way she uses scripture.  I never in a million years thought I would like really, deeply and truly love the Bible, but I do.  So listening to her teach and throw out verse after verse after verse was just overwhelming wonderful.

#214 Why I Love Our Friend Jess:  As the conference started she rolled this bad boy out of her bag and asked if anyone needed a pen.  I die!!!

Hudson’s Tri:  While I was at Beth Moore, Hudson was participating in another triathlon.  This kid kills me.  He is just the funniest and has the most interesting personality.  He’s so sensitive and wears his emotions on his sleeve and has such a heavy sense of right and wrong and worries about the world and everything in it and in the same breath goes out and does really physically hard things without a single worry…like he’s just pumped to be there!  He is really fun to parent.  Josh Kelley loaded everyone up in the 5am hour and got Hudson where he needed to be, then they all cheered him on and documented so I could still see him in action.  Gah!!!!  I love him.

Boys Room:  While our kitchen is getting a full on facelift, we’ve also been working on the boys room.  Nothing as drastic as the kitchen, but we had not really touched their room in a very long time…minus the moving of beds.  It’s been given a fresh coat of paint, new bedding (I’ll share more on this later), Josh Kelley added some built in shelves for storage, new curtains, etc.  They have really enjoyed seeing it come together and become more functional for them.  My most recent update was a map wall.  They have one pretty geometric wall with lots of character around a big window.  Since we went white with the new paint I decided this would add some color.  It took me a grand total of about 45 minutes to do the whole wall along with some thumb tacks and painters tape.  Super easy.  Can’t wait to share the whole thing with you guys.

Allergies, A Mouse & Root Canal:  And I decided these three needed to be lumped together.  We are figuring out all of Hudson’s new allergies.  Thank you for all your recommendations.  Earth Balance has reunited myself and baking.  Hudson is thrilled.  We’ve also been tying all different new products like crackers and cookies and snacks, etc.  We’ve a had a few whammos, but so far mostly good.  He started allergy shots yesterday.  He LOATHES shots.  Harper and Solomon hop right up and never even flinch when they get shots, but Hudson acts like a feral cat.  And now I’m laughing.  I had full on prepped him for one shot and when we got there they had three laid out.  Jesus be near.  It was not pretty, but we all survived.  So 3 weekly shots will hopefully make some things much better for his little body.

We have a mouse in our house.  Josh watched him run back-and-forth over and over again between our dishwasher and stove last night while he was watching the Olympics.  The kids all want to humanely capture and release him at the park down our street.  Today I bought the old school mouse traps.  And we shall no longer discuss the mouse’s whereabouts :)

And I’m pretty confident I need a root canal.  This has not been confirmed nor denied by my dentist yet, but I’ve pretty much self diagnosed.  And it’s the tooth I just got a crown on.  Jesus be near, again.  I need to call and get another appointment, but you guys, I HAVE DENTAL ANXIETY and I just can’t bring myself to do it just yet.  I’m going to need all the laughing gas I can get.

Happy Tuesday!


Today we are off school and then tomorrow it is officially officially on.  Like full force…a full day of school.  So we’re back-to-school shopping this morning and taking it easy.  Tomorrow I’ll only have two little ones in tow so I’m going to get some work done.  Fingers crossed.

I am all about some tacos, but especially fish tacos.  They are my favorite.  The other night I tried these steak tacos and whoa!!!  It was love.  I haven’t eaten a ton of steak tacos, but these from Outback definitely took the cake.

This guy.  The dinner time struggle is real with this one.  What more can I say.

Hudson has a pretty amazing goggle tan line.  It’s hilarious.  I was trying to get a good picture, but the lighting was bad which made for a most excellent black and white.  He makes my heart beat a little faster and a little sweeter.

Josh Kelley and I pulled an all day IKEA trip off thanks to his parents.  We are re-doing our kitchen and needed some major supplies.  Our house is old so we’ve redone several things, but never renovated an entire room.  I keep telling myself it won’t be that bad, despite it being our kitchen, because it is such a small room.  Our cabinets are particle board and falling apart so I might be insanely excited to have a more functional and working kitchen.  First world probs for sure.

Speaking of our kitchen…

Alas.  And this is where we will be eating all week.  This is going to be fun!!!

These four spent forever making their own all pets newspaper.  Yes you read that correctly.  They made copies from lots of different newspapers…only pet stories or information on pets needing a home.  Then they cut and ever so carefully pieced it together with scotch tape.  I like them.

When you cut your boiled egg in half and it kind of makes your day.

We’ve been changing things up in the boy’s room and giving it a fresh coat of white paint.  Their room was the last remaining non-white color.  I love how it is turning out.  As they grow and change and get bigger it’s always challenging and fun to figure out how to accommodate the three boys in one room.  I love love love when we figure out something new that works.  Like taking out their large bookshelf and replacing it with a craigslist metal library cart.  Smaller.  Less space consumed.  Still holds all their books.  Win, win, win.

Solomon and his gymnastics ninja skillz astounds us.  The kid is insane and strong and yet still so little.  We call him the big skinny.  Boy do I love him!!!

And we are still fostering on.  Our littlest has been with us for 19 months now.  It feels like forever.  We had a big meeting last week and I took all the kids.  Truthfully, I won’t do that again…it was a mistake on my part.  Harper was all ears and got very emotional when we left.  Then cried her little heart out that night too.  God has been doing something special in her heart.  He has been cultivating great compassion for our littlest and her family in Harper’s heart.  It’s humbling to see and yet, really really hard.  We are still so hopeful for our littlest and reunification…we are all still fighting for them.

Tomorrow is Friday and well, the weekend is looking good.

Happy Thursday.

Back In Session

It’s true…I won’t lie…I’ve been excited about school starting back because this girl was on the verge, if not quite possible over the verge, of losing her mind this summer.  I adore my kiddos.  I absolutely do.  I love, love, love them something fierce, but it was an emotional and hard summer for us and I had none to little time alone which made thinking and processing really hard.  I hope that makes sense.  So come night time when I should be sleeping my brain would spin and process and think and therefore not sleep.  I’m a bit tired :) but I also love to have fun with my kids so we really tried to make the most of summer and our time together even though it might have driven me into the fetal position a few times.


Today was the first day back.  We met teachers on Monday night.  Harper could not have been more excited.  Hudson was nervous.  Solomon was kind of excited, but not nervous.  We made the decision to put Hudson and Solomon in the same class this year.  We’ve never done that before, but I needed a little break from managing 3 different classrooms for 3 different kiddos.  Call me lazy, whatevs.  I’ve been told it’s a mistake, but truthfully, it’s 2nd grade.  I don’t think anyone will perish and maybe next year we’ll go back to separate classrooms.  For now, we’re rolling with it and I’m quite excited.

Amon was sad after we dropped the kids off in their classrooms.  He really wants to go to school too.  Our littlest insisted Sol or “Shol” as she calls him, needed to come with us.  She kept waving him towards her saying “Come on Shol” as we left their classroom.  It was pretty cute.  We spent our morning making cookies and treats to share with some friends.  I sampled, ummmm, everything so I had a green smoothie for lunch.  I call it balance :)

Today was just a 1/2 day which meant it was technically still summer which also meant the wave pool was still open soooooooo of course we went.  We picked the big kids up from school in our swim suits and already pre-sun screened.  Then we nabbed my niece too and off we went.  We partied like it was summer again.  Swimming, snacks, treats and snow cones.  It was the perfect first day of school celebration.

Sidenote:  Today’s snow cone flavor combo was my favorite so far…sour grape and mango.  Perfection.

And now, now I’m swimming in a sea of school paperwork X 3.  One day I imagine there will be amazing technology in place where I can fill out one set of paperwork for all the Kelley kids instead of writing my name, address, phone number and emergency contact 5 bajillion times.  It will happen.

Happy Wednesday!

10 Days Worth

Things have kind of been a mess around our house lately…hence my lack of posting.  I miss this space.  I miss typing and sharing and writing down my thoughts.  Last night I self talked myself off a major anxiety ledge.  It’s what I do.  I used all my techniques I received in therapy a few years ago.  By the way, if time would permit and we grew a money orchard, I’d be back in therapy in a heart beat.  My friend Ashley is getting her license and my plan is to talk her into moving back to Tennessee and then soliciting her to live next door so I can cash in some free therapy.  One can dream.

Anyways, so life is crazy and emotions are high and really, what’s new?!?!  This is life, so we roll with it and adjust and try and figure it all out and talk a lot to Jesus.  It’s been a hard summer, but also good…it can be both and it was both.  Things don’t have to be one way or another and I really like that.  God has been teaching me lots and lots and lots.  I’m kind of a total mess, I’m nothing without Him and none of this life is actually mine like I convince myself of so many times.  It’s often I find myself thinking, I am so glad He has not given up on me yet.  Oh the grace he doles out to me daily.

Our kids have their first 1/2 day of school this Wednesday and their first full day this Friday.  We’re trying to party hard because summer is officially at it’s end.  I feel all the feels about it…happy, sad, elated, disappointed, stressed, relieved and so on and so on.  This summer has contained high of highs and low of lows.  One of our most emotional summers ever!!!!!  But we made it.  We survived.  And maybe, just maybe thrived more than I think.

Since my brain is in a perpetual state of summer toast I’m leaving you with days 21-30 of my 30 Days of Bible Lettering.  It’s officially over, but seriously, it was a little bit of saving grace for my creatively dried up summer brain.

 Here’s to another week where God has major things up His sleeve.  We are seen and loved by the Creator of the Universe.  He is in control and I am resting right there in that.

Happy Monday.