Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Johnson Family! We pray your Christmas is filled with joy, merry-making and good memories as you celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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Settling In

We are getting settled into our new home and the new school year (my baby started Kindergarten… sniff, sniff). I’m a little sad to see summer come to an end, but I’m anxious to get back into a “normal” routine after the busy and hectic year that 2013 has been so far.

We’ve been in our new house for three weeks now and have tackled quite a few projects, some big and some on the smaller scale, and while we aren’t fully complete with some of these projects we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and are finally able to slow down a bit and just enjoy living here.

This home was a foreclosure so there were quite a few things that needed some attention right away. Although thankfully, the bank replaced the flooring and appliances and painted inside and out before we even saw the place, there were other things like a hot water heater that didn’t work, a garage door with no opener, a faulty garbage disposer, no window coverings… etc. Things that you come to take for granted in a normal purchase situation. 🙂 Despite all of that we are really loving our “project” house. It’s been hard work but it’s also been fun.

My most favorite project we’ve done so far is our kitchen… which of course wasn’t a necessity to be functional, but I knew I wanted to update it and before moving in seemed like the best time to do it, so we went for it and I love the result.

Here’s a pic of what it looked like before we moved in:

Kitchen Before And here’s a pic of what it looked like after we did a few updates…

kitchen after

I’m so thrilled with how it turned out! 🙂

Now, we’ve moved on to bigger fish and started a much needed update on our yard. Ugh. We have a pretty large yard that needed a lot of help. The foundation had a bit of settling over the 3 years that it was vacant and so we had been getting some water in the basement. The yard had a lot of dips and was very uneven which wasn’t helping the water drain properly away from the house. So the last week and a half has been spent ripping out nearly everything in the yard (except for a few choice trees) and starting over from scratch… bringing in new dirt to even out the yard and eventually we’ll have some new bushes, shrubs and stuff to prettify it.

Here’s a few in process photos from our yard adventures:

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It’s going to be fun to see what this place looks like when we are finished.

In the meantime, while the work is being done on the outside, I’m busy putting the inside of the house together, unpacking and settling in. I hope to share my new art space with you soon and will be posting some new things in my shop in the coming weeks.

Good Distractions

Wow, these last few weeks have flown by so quickly! I’ve been pretty distracted… by good things though.

For one… it’s Summer! My kids are both home and we’ve been making the most of every moment… swimming, watching movies (including the newly released Monsters University), Vacation Bible School, play dates, park fun, fun with cousins and grandparents, T-Ball games, fishing, eating chocolate dipped cones from McDonald’s, berry picking and much, much more. I love that my kids are getting old enough that we can just pick up and go somewhere if we feel like it. I don’t have to make sure we have a diaper bag, clean diapers, change of clothes, food, etc. Although it is still a process if we want to be prepared for a certain activity, but not like it used to. Of course there are things I miss about those days too… 😉

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Another big distraction in our life right now is that we are in the process of buying a house! Yippee!! When we moved back to Kansas 5 months ago we decided to rent for a time and now we are closing in on another moving date… this time only a mile away and Lord willing this will be the last move for a very, very long time and I absolutely cannot wait! 🙂

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So, that’s what I’ve been up to so far this Summer. What have you been up to?

35 by 35 Update: #5 Try 10 Local Restaurants or Coffee Shops, Part 1

Those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while know that last October I celebrated my 34th birthday and made a “bucket list” of things I wanted to do by the time I turned 35. Well, I’m half way through the year with less than 6 months left until I turn 35 and my list still has quite a few items left to cross off. Of course with our move back to Kansas, there are several items on the list that will likely not be able to be crossed off (this year anyway), but after a bit of debating with myself I’ve decided to go ahead and leave those items on there. A Summer road trip maybe? You never know…

For now though, I need to play a little catch up as there are some on the list that have already been completed, I just haven’t shared the story here yet, so I’ll be doing that over the course of the next few weeks.

This week I thought I’d share completed #5… Try 10 new local restaurants or coffee shops. When I originally started drafting this list I had “try 12 new local restaurants or coffee shops”, but decided that was a little too many because we really don’t eat out very often, however, to my surprise this is one of the first items I completed! It helped that we had a few visitors during this time as well as some holidays and my husbands birthday, so I was able to complete this one right after the new year!

Here’s what qualified a restaurant as “local”: It had to be within a 65 mile radius of our home (couldn’t leave the Denver metro out of the list of options) and have started somewhere in Colorado with less than 10 locations.

And here’s a run down of 5 of the 10 places I tried (I’ll share the other 5 later).

Jelly Cafe Denver

1. Jelly Cafe, Denver 9/29/12… Yes, this was technically before my birthday, but since it was my birthday weekend and we had visitors, I decided it should count! This is my list, so I can make up the rules, right!? 😉

I went here with my family (the four of us) and my cousin Rachel. It was AWESOME! We waited outside for nearly 2 hours on a Saturday morning… weren’t sure if it would end up being worth it, but it was. These donut bites… to die for.

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Lucille's Creole Cafe Fort Collins2. Lucile’s Creole Cafe, Fort Collins 9/30/12… again, before my birthday, but we had visitors, my list, my rules. 😉

The four of us went here with my cousin Rachel again and Aunt Meg and her man Charlie. We were told this is one of the best breakfast spots in Fort Collins… it definitely didn’t disappoint.

IMG_3170The kids were of course all smiles once this mean waffle came out just for them. These two don’t mess around when it comes to breakfast.

Lucile’s has locations in Denver and Boulder too, so if you are traveling in that area sometime, definitely check it out… I’m sure those locations are just as yummy.

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Jax Fish House, Fort Collins 10/5/12… this is after my birthday, so no need for excuses here. 🙂

Ah, yes, Jax… good times… went here with the four of us, Rachel, Meg & Charlie again. This is one I won’t soon forget. Just an FYI, this place does not serve steaks. It’s a fish house… just clearing that up in case someone gets confused. It’s kind of a long story, but somehow or another the 7 of us ended up at a fish house when not a one of us really cares all that much for seafood. And, really I say seafood lightly because this place is… well… more of a fish house (hence the name), they carry things your normal seafood restaurant probably doesn’t. If you love seafood and fish, you definitely will love Jax, if you don’t… well, then you might want to come up with another option. 🙂

Jax has locations in Denver and Boulder as well.

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4. Deli Works, Fort Collins 10/13/12

When my cousin, Rachel and I went on our Antique Shopping extravaganza on College Ave. we stopped into Deli Works (also on College Ave.) for lunch. Honestly, my expectations were pretty low, based on the outer appearance of this establishment, but it really lived up to its reputation of having the best sandwiches in the world. They were really good as was their side salad. Really, really yummy! A good reminder not to judge a book by it’s cover. 😉

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5. Snooze, Fort Collins 10/18/12

We had been wanting to try “Snooze: An AM Eatery” for a while, ever since we’d heard it was one of the (other) best breakfast places in Fort Collins. So, what better excuse than Rodney’s 40th birthday to go and check it out! Even better, Noelle was out of school that day for parent-teacher conferences, so we made it a family affair. Rodney absolutely LOVED his dish and still talks about it from time to time. We liked it so much that it was on our list of places to go to one more time before we moved, but unfortunately we didn’t make it. That’s ok, one more excuse to go back and visit! 🙂

So, many delicious eateries in Fort Collins and surrounding areas and this is just the first half! Stay tuned… I’ll share the rest later this week!

Getting Settled


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For the most part we’ve unburied ourselves from underneath the boxes and have settled back into Kansas life. It pretty much feels like we never left… with the exception of a different house in a different neighborhood and a different school; life is pretty much as it was when we left. We are grateful to be near our family and friends again, but of course miss those we met in Colorado, but it really feels as though this is truly where we belong. Home Sweet Home.

Just thought I’d share a few fun photos from the move.

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There’s No Place Like Home

ruby-slippersAfter 7 months in Colorado, we’ve come to the conclusion that there’s just no place like home. We’re clicking our heels together and loading the moving van once again. It’s time to get back to Kansas Toto.

After years of dreaming of Colorado living you’d think we’d have not ever wanted to leave, but we’ve come to realize the real dream is living near our family. My husband and I both grew up in the Kansas City area, so it’s home for both of us. As much as we have LOVED Colorado, there’s just something missing here, there’s an emptiness that is hard to explain. Once the honeymoon of being here was over and we stopped having visitors, the homesickness set in and we just couldn’t shake it, especially after being back over Christmas. We’d rather visit Colorado and live near family instead of the other way around… something we just didn’t know it until we experienced it. We want to give our children the opportunity to grow up with their cousins around, having the grandparents at their school events and activities, having the positive influence of aunts and uncles nearby… this is what God has helped us realize… home is where we’re meant to be… to live and grow… to bloom where we were planted. Not to say that’s where everyone is supposed to be, but for us, it is.

Of course, this transition back is bittersweet as we’ve definitely met some great people here, made some wonderful friends and of course we will miss the daily mountain views, the nice weather and laid back culture. But, we know now that home is where our heart really is and it’s just where we belong… despite the flat grassy plains, crazy summer humidity, pesky mosquitos, scary extreme weather and fewer bicycles and beer… home is home whether we like it or not… it’s more about the people than the scenery and weather anyway.

So, stay tuned as the next couple of weeks will be super busy as we finish packing and moving into our new place. But, soon I will be back with lots more art, inspiration and more! 🙂

Tis the Season…

IMG_3615 ‘Tis the season to be jolly fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la… 

Yes, feeling jolly, but also busy… as I’m sure you are as well!

We’ve trimmed the tree and decked the halls…

christmas cards Sent Christmas cards…

ft collins winter marketGone Christmas shopping…

coffee  Indulged in delicious warm beverages…

christmas presence celebrated the real reason for the season (and my daughter’s role as star sheep in her on-stage dance debut)! 😉

IMG_3688 paper snowflakes made paper snowflakes…

handmade gift tags and handmade gift tags!

Despite the busyness and (honestly) a bit of home-sickness it really has been a jolly season so far… hope it is for you too… and if you don’t see much of me in the next few weeks… you’ll know why! 😉

Also… just a side note… last day to order from my shop for delivery by Christmas is December 16th and the shop will be closed from December 21st – January 1st.