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I have been busy staging homes this year and realized how much I missed writing.  I’m finally back at my desk to share what we have been working on so far this year. In addition to adding home staging photos, I have created a list of ideas to help those who are thinking of selling their home.  If you love before and after photos as much as I do, then stay tuned because I am in the process of putting my portfolio together.  In the interim, check out this list I’ve compiled for my clients.  I hope this checklist helps you sell your home fast!

1. Declutter

Over the years we accumulate things we think will look good in a certain spot in our home, which is great, however, we sometimes fail to remove the old.  So experts suggest asking a friend or hiring someone to help you declutter.    Not only does it allow potential buyers to focus on the room’s important features, but sellers can carefully pack up the things we value most and tuck them away for our next home.

Photo courtesy of Colin Photography

Photo courtesy of CDB Photography

Over-sized windows that drink in the views are features we don’t want anyone to forget.

Photo courtesy of CDB Photography

Photo courtesy of CDB Photography

Decluttering our home creates a more serene backdrop so buyers can focus on the architectural features we are selling. The expanse of windows in the breakfast nook and mahogany built-ins surrounding the cozy gas fireplace are features we want buyers to keep in mind.

photo courtesy of Colin Photography

photo courtesy of CDB Photography

An unobstructed view of the well tailored built-ins and fireplace make this room stand out.

2.  Repaint

Bayard Estates – photo courtesy of CDB Photography

Updated neutrals make your home feel fresh and welcoming.  This grand foyer received a fresh coat of paint to compliment the adjoining rooms.  A neutral pallet appeals to the masses and also makes potential buyers think your home is well cared for and move in ready.

3. Furniture Groupings

Photo courtesy of Colin Photography

Photo courtesy of CDB Photography

Its a common mistake to push furniture towards corners and against walls to make rooms feel larger, but in doing so, this actually creates stark, cold rooms.  Instead, create convenient conversation areas and place furniture in such a way so traffic flow is obvious.  This will make a room feel more welcoming as well as making it feel larger.

4. Home Lighting

Photo courtesy of Colin Photography

Photo courtesy of CDB Photography

One of the tricks of the trade to make homes feel warm and inviting is great lighting.  Most homes are not well lit, so increase wattage in lamps in fixtures.  In addition, focus on the three areas of lighting: Ambient-general or overhead, task- under cabinet, reading or pendant, and accent-table or wall.

5. Odd is in

The right accessories can make a room more pleasing to the eye. Odd numbers are preferable, especially three. Rather than lining up a trio of accessories in a row, imagine a triangle and place one object at each point. Scale is also important, so in your group of three be sure to vary height and width, with the largest item at the back and the smallest in front.  In addition, group accessories by color or shape or some other unifying element.

6.  Study others

staging3 neutral

One of the starting points to staging your home is to look to others who have done it well.  There are many excellent resources out there, so take advantage of all the free information online.

You don’t have to spend a fortune getting your house ready to sell.  Use what you have, ask for professional advice and get packing.

Happy selling!

~D

footprints

image courtesy daccentkueh

After reading the introduction and first chapter of Jeremiah, I feel a brotherly affection for the “weeping prophet”. I too, weep for family and close friends who don’t want to come to bible study because they are too busy, or feel its “not for me”. Those of us who feel that we are good enough or better than the next guy.  I don’t want to feel that I am better than anyone. Ever. An [inflated] EGO is just the acronym for Easing God Out.

I encourage my friends and family to gain a deeper understanding of Christ from time to time. I truly believe that learning more about Christ, in turn, allows us to learn more about ourselves and how we relate to the rest of their world.  However, with my toughest compadres, I am often met with contempt and even anger.  In these times, I return close to home to protect myself and my family from any negative reactions. It has happened so many times.

In the end, though, I can only look at my own heart.

And with each passing day, after another scriptural lesson, I know that I am called to do God’s work.  After starting a morning in bible study, prayer, worship and contemplation, God brings people into my life who are seeking Him.  I find it fascinating that what I just studied that particular morning or week is exactly the lesson or scriptural reference that someone needs to hear. And I am so honored and humbled that I can be the person God calls to do His work.

As I was contemplating His words through prayer in the early morning hours of our vacation, I heard my golden retriever walking around on the first floor.  This moment actually struck me out of my prayerful state as this is a rare occasion.  All week my sweet canine has had quite a bit of trouble getting to his 12 year old feet on the slippery laminate floor.  My husband or I have had to pick up all 86 lbs. of our fluffy canine to get him to his food bowl or to the back door for relief at least 4 times each day.

As I make my way down the stairs, he is staring at me with his head tilted and those big brown eyes tinged with age.  His tail gives a knowing wag as if to ask, “Ready for our morning walk? I have something to show you.”

We open the door to the salty sea air enveloped in darkness.  Lit only by the occasional front porch or streetlight, the quiet streets lead us toward the sound of the ocean.  I removed my shoes and our feet touched the cool, soft sand as we made our way up and over the dunes.  The pitch black ocean seeped into my bones and fear stopped me from going any further.  I took a seat on a wooden bench at the edge of the beach and faced the pounding waves. With the street and house lights casting a weak shadow past my place on the bench towards the dark ocean, I looked into the loud, vast blackness.  I trembled as I looked away and was comforted by a million stars twinkling overhead in the moonless night sky.  I was in awe of the beauty overhead.  I returned my gaze into the ocean and once again felt fear seep in.  But I somehow gained the strength to look directly into the darkness.   As the waves pounded the surf, I saw a faint light from a barge out at sea miles away from where I sat.  I looked to the left of the deep to search for more light, but only then did I find I was beginning to appreciate the darkness. With each crashing wave, I found the simplistic beauty in its raw nature. I was no longer afraid. The waves are just doing their job.  And then I was struck with how my life in Christ resembles this exact moment.

God used my sweet canine to remind me what life looks like in Him.

My life in Christ is this beach.

In the early morning hours of late July.

Behind me I have the man-made light casting a week shadow into my life.  This represents the good and evils in the world.  The shadow created by the man-made world points directly toward the ocean. The tumultuous surf and dark ocean is the ultimate destruction one will face after leading a life without Christ.  The harsh death and eternal darkness of not obeying God.  But the sand is cool and soft beneath my feet.  If I walk along the beach, I know that the narrow stretch of sand runs along the coast for miles. With the ways of the world to my left, and the dark ocean to my right, I will be guided by the stars, aka Christ, until the sun (Son) returns.

The beach is the long stretch that separates land and sea, and this path is well planned. It was created thousands of years ago.  The path that everyone knows to be real. To. Be. True.  This beautiful path has now been laid out before me.  And the sand remains refreshing and soft with each step I take.

And the stars will give me strength in the darkness.  As the waves pound the beach under the cover of complete darkness, I find that I no longer fear its deafening crash and blackest black ocean. The beach is now in front of me.  And even in this moonless night, I can see that it is beautiful. Of course there will be dark days.  But I will not fear what is at my right.  Or my left.  Because I can just look to the stars to lead me home.

[In loving honor of our golden boy, Boomer, who left us to be with our Heavenly Father in December 2015. May he rest in peace, until we meet again.]

 

 

xoxo

The Prophesies

I just find it so amazing that God keeps pursuing those who turn away from Him.  He is never ceasing, and always loving.  It is when I’m becoming completely overwhelmed, ready to ‘throw in the towel’, bone-tired of all that is in this world, I remember how God just keeps on loving.  This knowledge alone gives me renewed strength.

Take, for instance, the discovery of Nineveh.  In the 19th century, near Mosul, Iraq, Sir Austen Layard unearthed the site of one of the greatest cities in ancient times(cited: Wikipedia).  Back then, Nineveh was a powerfully wealthy city full of wayward citizens.  The people built their palaces on the backs of the poor; lied, cheated and stole to become wealthy.  Jonah, the prophet, was told by God to go to Nineveh with warnings.  Remember that story?

Well, the people of Nineveh repented, but then they became complacent and eventually began lying, stealing and cheating once again.  Enter the prophet, Zephaniah, who told them to get it right with God, again.  Did they listen?  No they did not.  So God not only destroyed Nineveh, but He said the ruins of the city would be reduced to a place where shepherds would graze their sheep.

When Sir Austen Layard finally discovered the ruins of Neneveh hidden underneath hundreds of years of dirt and clay, he found clay tablets recording details of Nineveh’s fall to the Medes and Babylonians in August 612 BC-just as prophesied.  But what I found most interesting, was that the mound of ruins used as a place to pasture flocks (Zephaniah 2:13-15) is highlighted by its modern name, Tell Kuyunjik, or mound of many sheep.  This was named by a predominately Muslim country who care nothing about Christian history.

So here is scientific proof that a biblical city existed and then destroyed while prophets are proven correct.  Why was it recovered?  Why bother?  Because God is pursuing even the toughest of toughs.  The thinkers, the scientists, the “I need proof”ers.

Before I became baptized, I was one of the “I need proof”ers.  And God, our awesome and powerful God, gently showed me some proof.

Shortly thereafter, I jumped into the water to pursue Him.

After I became baptized, I began to see and hear of many miracles done by Him.

The story of the Muslim woman from Iran who came to America under political asylum.  She became a Christian against her families’ wishes after Jesus came to her and restored her “dead” womb.  Her son is thriving here and she is proud to serve God through Jesus here in the US.

The story of the blind African woman immediately becoming healed after a member of our church prayed with her on a mission trip to her tribe.

And these are just two of the stories of the extraordinary works of God – in my lifetime.  In this country.  Why does He personally move me when I hear about these modern day miracles?  Because He is preparing me for the bigger miracles still to come.  Its as if He is saying “Now that I’ve got your attention, stay tuned.”

I am so excited for what the future holds.

I hope you can add a miracle or two to your life.  Let Him provide one for you.  He is just waiting to hear from you.

 

 

Angel Eggs

I’ve added a photo of more saturated egg colors. Have a fabulous Easter!

Stable Living

Angel Eggs Angel Eggs

Are you interested in a new family friendly science project to help celebrate the Easter holiday this year?  We are mad about earth friendly projects that cater to kids of all ages around here and  Angel eggs are a great way to teach your kids how to make all natural food coloring.  Plus, this dish is so pretty, it always takes center stage at the Easter dinner table.

In addition to being fun for kids, its a healthier option for the littles and its good for the earth.  Plus, the ingredients can be found right in your local grocery store, so its an easy project for busy moms.

Formerly known as deviled eggs (we’ve changed the name for obvious reasons), the filling and dyed eggs can be prepared a few days before your Easter dinner.

Grocery ingredients Grocery ingredients

Your Farmer’s market grocery list:

4 Beets  (red and pink)

Turmeric (orange)

1 bag of Spinach or Spirulina powder (green)

Baking…

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Angel Eggs

Angel Eggs

Angel Eggs

Are you interested in a new family friendly science project to help celebrate the Easter holiday this year?  We are mad about earth friendly projects that cater to kids of all ages around here and  Angel eggs are a great way to teach your kids how to make all natural food coloring.  Plus, this dish is so pretty, it always takes center stage at the Easter dinner table.

In addition to being fun for kids, its a healthier option for the littles and its good for the earth.  Plus, the ingredients can be found right in your local grocery store, so its an easy project for busy moms.

Formerly known as deviled eggs (we’ve changed the name for obvious reasons), angel egg filling and dyes can be prepared a few days before your Easter dinner (just add 2 tbsp. of vinegar to each dye to make them last longer in the refrigerator).

 

Grocery ingredients

Grocery ingredients

Your Farmer’s market grocery list:

4 Beets  (red and pink)

Turmeric (orange)

1 bag of Spinach or Spirulina powder (green)

Baking soda (blue)

1 head of Purple Cabbage  (purple)

How to make homemade, natural,  raw, vegan food dyes:

Create red dye by boiling beets for 10 minutes. Place beet water in ball jar and add 2 tsp of white vinegar.

Orange/Yellow is made by boiling 1 tsp. turmeric in 2 cups water for 30 seconds.  Let cool and add egg halves.  The eggs will dye quickly.  Note: If you would like a deeper shade, add 1/2 tsp. more turmeric and keep eggs in dye longer until you achieve the desired shade.

Green dye is made by boiling spinach for 1 minute and letting it simmer for 10 minutes.  Place green dye mixture in ball jar with 2 tsp. white vinegar.  Place egg halves in jar into refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  Note: The spinach green is a much earthier green than the dye you will find in the store.

Green dye can also be achieved by adding 1 tsp. of Spirulina powder to a quart of boiled water.  Stir in powder and let cool.  Spirulina creates bright green eggs.

Purple dye is from boiling purple cabbage.  Wash the cabbage, cut out stem and cut into large pieces.  Place in pot and cover with water.  Boil for 10 minutes.

Blue: Pour half the cabbage water into a bowl with ½ tsp of baking soda at a time until you get the desired blue hue.

Secret to making eggs peel so easily, your toddler can help you:  place a teaspoon of salt and eggs into pot of water. Turn on high until rolling boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Immediately pour out hot water and replace with ice cold water.

Place halved hard boiled eggs with yolks removed into each color (we use Ball jars with lids). Place in refrigerator overnight for the brightest hues.

We like this filling recipe the best:

6 egg yolks

1 tbsp mayo

1 tbsp of pickled relish

1/2 tbsp whole grain mustard

fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano

salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle paprika on top of finished eggs (we use Emeril’s Essence to top them off)

Enjoy!

Angel Eggs

Angel Eggs

~~~

Easter is a favorite time of year here in the northeast.  The warm sun melts away the last moments of the cold winter days and daylight lingers just a little longer each evening.  But what we love most about this time of year is honoring our Lord and Savior.  As you are dropping the eggs into the food coloring, be sure to share the story of God’s precious gift with your littles.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

xoxo ~D

Image

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

I am a renaissance woman.  I am a supportive wife, loving mother, forgiving daughter, humble horse trainer, thankful friend, budding artist, fierce warrior, passionate witness, thoughtful writer and humbled child of God.

I never would have said I were any of these things less than 10 years ago.  I was my own worst critic.  The inner voice told me I was lazy, stupid, selfish and hard-hearted. But through this long journey, God has a gentle way of showing me who I am in Him.  He has allowed me to see that I am wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14).  Because everything good comes from God (James 1:17).  And I am good.

A modern day poet sings it like this:

“This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine

From the inside out it shows, you’re worth more than gold”

So you can choose to see yourself the way others see you.  But let me tell you, my friend, the world is a very cruel place.  There are so many skeptics and doubters and some will only see you in a negative light.  Why?  Because they either do not have the Holy Spirit at all, or they struggle with how much time the Holy Spirit resides in them.

Ask God to show you how He sees you.  Jesus was able to see the good in every one and recover the good from everything.

Only the full glory of Jesus allowed the adulterous woman to walk freely away toward a new beginning when everyone else wanted to stone her (John 8-11).  How she lived her life from that day on, only God knows, but she had the opportunity to begin again. In addition, only Jesus had the authority to forgive the crippled man He then asked to get up when the teachers of the law were skeptical (Mark 2:6-10).  What became of the man? No one knows, but he was able to go on living a full live with the ability to share his miraculous story.

Only Jesus could heal the boy of his seizures after his disciples failed to heal him (Matthew 17:16).  What became of the boy? I will bet money he followed Christ.

And finally, only Jesus saw the greatness beyond the darkest moments in his own brutal murder (Matthew 16:21).

So don’t let “the people” stone you.  Even some of the greatest disciples fail to heal.

Remember this: you ARE awesome.  Let God show you just how awesome you truly are.

With love, always, ~D

Come Sail Away

Our boys love everything beach.  Every so often throughout the cold winter months, I will hear the voice of my 5 year old sweetly ask, “can we go to the beach, pwwwwweeeease?”

To bring a piece of the shore back home with us, we decided to create a nautical boys room for our preschooler. Although it doesn’t stop the littles from asking to go down the shore, it does bring a little bit of “by the sea” life into our suburban home and gives us a comfy little boys room to tuck the little ones into each night.

Enjoy!

The boys removing all the staples after carpet was pulled up.

The boys removing all the staples after carpet was pulled up (My 3 -year-old is wearing my paddock boats;-).

 

AFTER

I created a sail with our preschoolers age on it ( I hope he doesn't want a 6 next year!)

I created a sail with our preschoolers age on it ( I hope he won’t want a 6 next year). I  used rope and boat cleats to attached it to the wall.

We found this great bed with a trundle on Craigslist.  The flooring is made to look like weathered wood.

We found this great bed with a trundle on Craigslist. The flooring is made to look like weathered wood.

I created a mural of the island where we vacation.  I drew all of our favorite places on the island.  I plan to add more favorites through the years.

I created a blueprint mural of the island where we vacation. I drew all of our favorite places on the wall and plan to add more favorites through the years.

Our boys' rooms would not be complete without a biblical verse.

Our boys’ rooms would not be complete without a biblical verse.

Our IKEA dresser is made new again with boat cleats for pulls.

Our IKEA dresser is made new again with boat cleats for pulls.

DSC_0340

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