Thursday, March 23, 2017

Style: Wolrd Bazaar

Home decor represents you, your family, your likes and dislikes. It is a creative expression of self splashed with lots of personality and love.
I'm really enjoying these interviews. I hope they are helping you gather ideas and examine different styles.

Meet my friend, Stephanie!

I'm a mom, a wife and a "currently-on-hiatus" model home designer. With a husband who works full time for the Air Force, runs a flight school, and works as an examiner for the FAA, I'm taking a break to raise our awesome 7-year-old- daughter. After living all over the U.S. and in Okinawa, Japan, we are hoping to stay in Las Vegas, Nevada for a while. We love spending time with friends and family, and we love to travel. We are currently looking forward to trips to the Grand Canyon and Disney World!

1. What makes your house a home?

As Winnie the Pooh said, " Home is the comfiest place to be", and for me, home is wherever my family is. As long as I have my husband, my daughter and out sweet dog, any house can be a home. I try to create a sense of "home" by adding personal, and unique touches to my house. I have lots of family photos, fun art work and accessories from our travels, and special furniture pieces that have been passed down in my family for several generations (like my great-great- grandmother's sewing table). Someday, I hope to pass the family heirlooms on to my daughter. I also keep a Texas-themed guest room wherever I live. This reminds me of growing p with my dear family.

2. What is your decorating style and why do you like it?

A friend once described my decorating style as " World Bazaar". I think she nailed it. I have a very eclectic mix of rustic pieces, antiques, new pieces purchased through my various design firms, and lots of items picked up in my travels. Everything is anchored with bits of blue (my favorite color). I definitely draw influence from my years living on the Florida Coast and the Island of Okinawa. My walls are painted colors like: Beach Glass, Watery, Rainwashed, and Tidewater. I love having a little of that coastal feel even though I now live in the middle of the desert! I try to keep my artwork fun and every piece has a story. For example, I picked up my "House Elf"at a little antique store in east Texas. The whimsical little elf greets my guests as they enter our home.

3. What decorating accessories are a "must" in your home?

I love all of the pieces I picked up while we were living in Okinawa. I have beautiful collections of shells, glass and coral gathered on the beaches, and various Asian-influenced imports picked up at local gift shops. Family photos are also a "must" in my home.

4. What are your go-to places to find unique decorating items?

The answer to this question is constantly changing. I have quite a few pieces that were returns from my design jobs. I was able to purchase them at bargain prices! Many of my accessories came from the military gift shops in Okinawa. Those shops imported some incredible items from various countries in Asia and Europe. I've also had luck finding treasures at discount stores like Ross and Home Goods. And of course, some of my favorite items come from antique stores in Iowa and Texas.

Thank you so much, Stephanie, for your collaboration on this post! I hope you guys enjoyed it as much I do!

  Take care!



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tooth #20

Abigail lost tooth #4. Actually, she asked Sidge to pull it out for her. It was bugging her so bad, and Sidge agreed to give it a try, and he got it out. Another one bites the dust in the Kitsteiner house!

Wee-wind Wednesday

March always brings on basketball memories. Here is a flashback post to March 22 of 2008 -- two months before little Isaac would join our family and change my life forever. 


We are


It is mostly Hannah and me. However, other three kiddos all seem pretty mellow too. I did not get flu tested, but JB is pretty convinced that is what she and I have. (She had a flu shot and I did not.) We are going on one week of feeling horrible.

I have not been this sick since I was pregnant with Hannah, and I struggle not to have bad memories of that time in my life.

I have a bunch of pictures to share with you all from Roy and Joan's visit to the farm. Hoping I can get to those.

For now, just hanging on. Being a sick mom is NO FUN. And having a sick kid while you are sick is also NO FUN. My in-laws are helping, but I am trying not to have us around them more than we need to be to try to preserve them from this horrid bug.

If you think of it, I could use some extra prayers. Being sick is STINKY!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tribe Life Tuesday: The Anchor

A weekly post from my childhood to grown-up friend Carrie ~ 
sharing her awesome life and her desire to have community while doing it!

What anchors you? Is there something that grounds you when the cares and to-do’s of life begin to pull you away? 

There are many days when, as soon as my feet hit the floor, I feel like I’m going Mach 6 and everything I have to get done is far more important that taking care of myself. Of course this is the farthest thing from truth, yet most days, self-care is crowded out by all of my other tasks. I believe in balance and boundaries; I believe that soul health is vital to living well. But I am all too familiar with the difficulty of consistently walking this out.

What is an anchor? An anchor is a device used to stabilize a boat in heavy weather. 

What does it do? It secures the boat firmly in position. 

I like to compare life to a ship or boat. A ship is big, beautiful, and tough. She has all the necessary safety features and is ready to weather almost any storm. The ship has been tested over and over on land so she can successfully set sail onto the boundless ocean. What’s in front of her is far greater than the port she leaves behind. The places she can travel are inexhaustible. Similarly to a beautiful ship, you are meant to travel the ocean of life and travel it well. The possibilities are innumerable and life is waiting for you! 

So back to the anchor. Every ship has an anchor to help stabilize it because drifting happens easily and often. You see, whenever a boat has to stay afloat in a stationary position on the water, the anchor is cast into the sea so it doesn’t drift unnecessarily from its position due to the currents. Well, yes please! The metaphor just keeps getting better!

Have you ever felt stuck? Do you currently feel stuck? Have you ever wondered if you’re just floating in stagnation? Have you felt adrift, as if you were floating to and fro with the current? If you’ve ever felt this way, you’re in good company! We all drift, beliefs get cloudy, perspectives get skewed, but it’s the anchoring of your soul that calms the current. If you feel as though you’re being pulled away right now, don’t be afraid to move things out of your way and lower your anchor.

To anchor a boat you have to follow certain steps and, amazingly enough, these steps can help us anchor ourselves when we’ve been moved. 
  1. Find a location to anchor the ship. The location is selected by YOU! Once you’ve found that place tell your tribe. They will help you stay anchored and gracefully let you know when you’ve landed elsewhere. Staying anchored is easier with your people. 
  2. Slow down your ship and move into position. OH MY, YES!!! SLOW DOWN!!!! The world, your world will keep moving even if you’re not the one spinning it. Take the time to slow down, look around, and embrace what really matters, the things that breathe life into your soul and bring you joy!
  3. Once you have found the perfect place, the anchor must be dropped. Stake your place of peace. 
  4. The anchor must reach the sea bed and the crew has to ensure that the anchor has reached it before they move on. Give your tribe permission help keep your anchor in place. 
  5. After the anchor is dropped don’t be afraid to go in reverse a little, this will ensure the anchor digs deep into the sea bed. Sometimes, especially after you’ve slowed down, you might realize that you need to step back from a commitment or two in order to truly anchor yourself well. 
  6. When the anchor is dug into the sea bed, it ensures that the ship is stable. The time this process takes depends on the depth of the water. How anchored do you want your soul? Don’t be afraid to go deep. When put in the time and energy to dig your anchor deep into the sea bed, you’ll be less likely to be moved from that spot when the storm comes. Plus, it’s harder for the current to move you when you’ve diligently put in the effort to fortify your anchor. 

A sailor knows the importance of the anchor. If a ship is not anchored properly then it may get dragged and damaged. The same is true for our souls. Anchoring your soul is an important part of living well and it must be done with much care.

As you embark of life’s journey, don’t be afraid to slow down, even stop, and secure your anchor. If you have lost your anchor and have been tossed about or damaged by life’s debris, know that you can always anchor yourself. Find your tribe, let them in, allow them to help because, after all, you can’t sail a ship on your own. (Resource)

See you next Tuesday!!

*Please note that content in guest blogs is not necessarily shared by the station manager (i.e. Wendi!)

Review: Strong Learning, Inc.: Bessie's Pillow

Bessie's Pillow
I cannot say enough good things about Strong Learning, Inc. and their book Bessie's Pillow. What an outstanding book! I recommend it vehemently and whole-heartedly, and have no doubt you'll read it as fast as I did -- three days -- or as fast as my mother-in-law who read it two! It was that good. I just did not want to put it down.

What I love even more about this is how wonderfully it is set up to be a part of a homeschool child's history lessons.
Because my children are a little too young to enjoy having this book read to them, I read it, but kept in mind how I might be able to use it with them as they got a little older. To be honest, the book was clean enough that I really do think they could almost handle it now. But some of the concepts (including the death of children, etc.) might be a little too heavy for their hearts. I definitely think that middle school children are able to handle this book, and that it would be a wonderful inclusion in the history unit of your homeschool curriculum.

As you read on the website for Bessie's Pillow, twenty million immigrants came to America between 1880 and 1924. TWENTY MILLION! This book represents just one of those immigrants stories. Written by her granddaughter, this story chronicles the journey of just one of these immigrants: Bessie Markman who left Lithuania in 1906 completely alone and only 18 years old. Bessie's Pillow was based on conversations between the author's grandmother, Bessie Markman, and her mother, Ann Bress around 1950.

I cannot even fathom the idea of saying good bye to your family for what you know will probably be FOREVER. I do not think in our modern era, we cannot even comprehend what that idea means as it is so easy to stay in touch or hop on a plane and fly across the world. Written in the first person, this book truly did grab me from the first page. It was an easy, steady read, and it was filled with emotion as you watch tragedy and celebrations unfold in this Jewish woman's life. 

Check out this video of the granddaughter sharing a few details from the story:

At the conclusion of the book there are quite a few pictures and more information about immigrants there is a website with TONS of fun information on what life would have been like during this era. From lists of famous people to food and recipes and even sample radio programs that they might have listened to. You can truly allow yourself and your student to immerse themselves in this pivotal time in our country's history and the life they lead.

In addition, you can also visit them on Facebook or Twitter @Bessie'sPillow. I strongly suggest you take a look at this book, if not just for yourself, for the student in your life.

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday Truth

Monday, March 20, 2017

Review: Creating a Masterpiece

Creating a Masterpiece

I may be married to a former graphic designer, but implementing art in homeschooling is still a challenge for us. That being said, I was very excited to try a product like the Monthly Plan from Creating a Masterpiece.

This program is a monthly subscription (you can also buy an annual pass) that allows anyone in your family unlimited access to over 144 videos and art projects.

We did numerous projects, but for the sake of this review, I want to focus on two of the projects we did.

The first was LESSONS IN WATERCOLOR: AFRICAN SUNSET. Here is a video I took of my three children (ages 5, 8, and 8) doing this lesson:

I took quite a few pictures during this lesson so that you can how this looked for our family. All of my children (who have VERY different likes and personalities) enjoyed every art project we did. They really got into them and had fun watching their masterpiece come alive. There is NO complaining when we did these art projects:

Isaac is my most serious artist. He always appears to not be having a good time (but really is!)

Abigail is currently our most "talented" artist. She is really showing signs that she might take after her Daddy in this area.

Sidge putting a few finishing touches on his water color project. He always does things like this with great eagerness and gusto. He is animated and shares his enjoyment.

Here's Isaac with his finished project.

Abigail putting the final touches on her watercolor picture.

You can tell from the video that Sharon Hofer is an incredibly sweet and knowledgable teacher (with over 15 years of teaching experience) She has a wonderful voice and was pleasant to listen to! She created Creating a Masterpiece because she wanted to extend the reach of her fine art school. Sharon was hoping to find a program that would teach technique but that would also equip each student to produce excellent results.

The program is designed to be done by children as young as 4 and 5, and that is definitely the case as my Abigail (who is 5.5) did very well paying attention and following along with Sharon. However, what I really loved was that each project was designed to be a masterpiece level of work. As Sharon said on her website: "I want to encourage them to take pride in their work and help them feel like a real artist, instead of doing simplistic crafts."

And she does just that. I wanted to take a moment to show another finished project that we did. This one was Lessons in Charcoal: Sailing Adventure. I have to admit that I was intimidated by this one, but I was so impressed with how well my very young children did at following the directions and completing their pictures. (Note that two of my children used brown charcoal.)

This picture really brings me joy. Sidge was SOOOOO proud of his work and truly felt like it was a masterpiece. This is SO fun to see from a child. I just loved how happy he was.

Art is always tough to put into homeschool. I do find that most of my attempts at art are more "craftsy" and don't necessarily give my children the feeling of accomplishment. But this program DOES. You can tell that they all felt PROUD of the work they did.

I have to be honest. At first glance, you might think this product is a little on the expensive side. However, I am a cheapskate, and I have to say I disagree. Especially if you have multiple children, the sky is truly the limit with how many things they can do and how much they have with these projects. Truly this is a simply wonderful product that you will find to be WELL WORTH what you might pay for it.

As always, feel free to email me directly at if you would like to speak with me directly about this product.

You can check Creating a Masterpiece out on their website. You can also check them out on Facebook by clicking here.

Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, March 19, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Visitors

This post will help us remember all the people who have visited our farm in Eastern Tennessee.

Our very first visitors to the farm EVER were my childhood friend Michelle and her family. They actually met us there while we were farm-shopping and because we thought there was a good chance we were going to buy this particular farm, we took them to see it!

November 2014
The next person to see the farm was my Mom! They came to see us in Central TN, and she and I took the girls and took a day trip over to the farm so I could show it to her.

December 2014
Next up was my brother and his family. On the tail end of their Christmas visit, we took a two-day jaunt over to the farm to show it to them. Oh what fun the kiddos had all playing outside together. Looking forward to MANY more wonderful farm trips.

January 2015
Next up was my cousin's wife, Briana -- one of our BOI couples and a dear friend. We really hope we can talk her and her husband into living out there on the farm with us someday. They totally share our vision!

February 2015
While I wasn't there for her visit, my sister-in-law Katie took a trip out with my mother-in-law on their way to North Carolina.

April 2015
My Dad visits the farm on our last trip there before final move in!

June 2015
Our niece and nephew: Grace and Nate joined us for a week on the farm. Their parents came and picked them up and spent a night as well. They were our first "real" visitors now that we actually live here!

June 2015
On their way to their home in New Jersey, my beautiful friend Claire, whom I met in the Azores, stopped by for a few hours to have lunch and see our farm. She is such a sweet and wonderful woman and she will definitely be a life-long friend. (Her family is pretty great too which includes her husband Frank and kiddos!)

June 2015
My brother and his two girls drive up and spend four days hanging out with us. The kids have a blast with their cousins!

June 2015
One of my Wifia friends from Eglin AFB, Sarah, came to visit with her two daughters: Morgan (pink dress) and Della (far right.) I haven't seen her since 2010. How wonderful it is to get back to the USA and to get to see all these great people.

June 2015
Veronica, who lived with us in Turkey and helped me when I had to storknest in Germany awaiting Abigail's birth, came out to visit us. It was so wonderful to see how she still just "fits' so well with our family. It had been three years, but it didn't feel like that at all. She will always be a special part of our family!

July 2015
My cousin Ryan, and his wife Briana, come to visit us on the farm. They definitely didn't really vacation ... we put them to week the whole week but completed a guinea hen home and a guest room while they are here.

July 2015
Our friends from Eglin AFB, Eric and Andrea, pop in for a morning while in town for a family reunion. So wonderful to connect with friends who were like family to us.

July 2015
The Connors family came to stay with us for four days on their way from moving from Arizona to North Carolina. We are hopeful that the 4 hour distance means we will get to see a lot of them!

July 2015
So excited to get my Dad and Mom at the farm ... together ... for a visit! They have both visited on their own but this time they were both there at the same time.

September 2015

September 2015
Uncle Matt and Aunt Danielle join us for the first farm conference and, as always, some good laughs!

October 2015
My cousin Josh and his family came in to visit during their fall break. They have two boys and two girls as well so there were EIGHT children here to keep us all on our toes!

October 2015
My sister-in-law AD and her two girls (and baby boy on the way) came to the farm. Their last visit before they add a little boy to their family in December.

October 2015
JB's brother Ray and his family came in for a visit during their kids Fall Break. Here is a picture of everyone (minus JB who was at work) on a starting-to-be-cool-out Fall day. We were eating lunch at Yoder's!

October 2015
Our friend from Turkey, Mr. Shane, drops in for a wonderful week-long visit. He was a big favorite with the kiddos!

November 2015
Longtime friends Jessie (Left) and Grace (right) and their mom, Deanna (not pictured) dropped in for a day visit. So good to reconnect with old friends!

November 2015
My friend Becky and her beautiful family spent another wonderful long weekend at the farm. So fun!

November 2015 
JB's brother Ray and his family (including wife and kids, Grace and Nate, pictured above) come for the Thanksgiving holiday at the farm.

December 2015
We close out the year with all 8 of the cousins joining us for Christmas (with their Dad and Mom's too of course.)

March 2016
Our good friends (and most regular visitors!) the Connors family are here on the weekend we have to say good bye to our Scrubs. This is a picture of their boys: Joshua and Jonah.

April 2016
My dear friend Angelica and her three sweetie pies join us for a week on the farm. From left: Sidge (7), Noah (8), Isaac (7), Rowan (6), and Abigail (4). Hannah (2) and Reese (4) aren't in the picture. And that's Angelica and I in the picture above.

May 2016
Our friend Erin and her two kiddos spend a few days with us. That's Zach (2) and Zoey (4) front and center! And that's Zoey at ballet with my girls.

May 2016
My childhood friend, Michelle and her husband Hershal make their second trip to the farm (If you scroll up, they are the very first picture on this page as well and you can really see how the kids have grown). (The first one was when we were still debating whether to buy it.) We spend a day at Dollywood as well. From left Abigail (4), Annabelle (6), Isaac (8), Hannah (2), Sidge (7), Edward (9), Benjamin (2) 

May 2016
Grama Joni comes in for a nice visit and gets to attend the boys first piano recital as well!

June 2016
One of my dearest Turkey peeps -- "Stebbins" comes to visit me on the farm with her hubby and two adorable boys. Such a great friend!

June 2016
My cousin Eddie, who lives about 2 hours from the farm, comes in for a night with his wife Hannah and their five beautiful children. Yes, nine children total! Call us crazy!

July 2016
I didn't take many pictures AT ALL. Aunt Betsy (Mom K's sister) came in for a week visit. So did Ray, Gabbi and the kiddos. Here is a picture of Hannah hugging Nate. He isn't too sure how he feels about that. 

July 2016
The last time we saw Eddie Bullinger, was at our wedding when he was an usher in 1998! He now has a wife and three kiddos and stopped through for a few hours on their way back home from a camping trip in the smokies. Way fun!

July 2016
My friend from the Azores, Claire, came with her three kiddos. Here is her oldest: Jacob who was a MAJOR help with our chicken processing days!

July 2016
My parents! Makes me so happy!

August 2016
They could only come for a day visit but our friends from the Azores, the Steele family came in for lunch and a tour of the farm. I didn't get a pic of them while here, but I snagged this from Facebook (minus one girl -- the picture taker!) Such a GREAT family!

November 216
Aunt Betsy comes in for three weeks while returning to her winter home in Florida. I am TRYING to find a picture. How can she be here for three weeks, an I don't get a picture. NOT GOOD!

November 2016
Our great buddies drive by after their camping trip for a few days. We LOVE the Pleasant family. (This is their middle child -- Annabelle -- with Abigail.)

November 2016
I didn't take any pics of the Kramer family when they stopped in for the day, so I snagged this off of Facebook. Matthew overlapped with JB just briefly during residency at Eglin, and they share a mutual love of permaculture and organic practice with us. They also are about to move pretty close by in North Carolina. We hope we will be seeing a lot more of them.

November 2016
My cousin's wife, Briana, came to visit. Since I already have so many pics of her (and we forgot to take any) she told me to post one of the six little pigs that were born while she was there.

December 2016
Grama Joni comes in to visit. During this time Isaac ended up in the hospital so we sure were glad to have her here!

December 2016
The Huisman Clan altogether: 7 cousins from left: Sidge (almost 7), Hannah (3), Charleigh (7), Riddick (1), Baylee (almost 6), Abigail (5), and Isaac (8) (My parents came for a few days too!)

March 2017
Our friend Shane makes a quick weekend visit to the farm.

March 2017
Joni AND Roy came to visit us at the farm! We loved showing Roy the ropes.