Archives for November 2016

End table makeover

Awhile back we were given a couple of nice quality end tables that a couple of our girls used as night stands for awhile.  When they moved on to other room arrangements, I wasn’t sure where else they would fit in the house.  I knew I’d need more end tables at the beach house, but I was concerned that the dark wood was a little outdated and not ‘beachy’ looking.  But then I spotted an adorable chalk paint makeover on Pinterest that turned out to be the perfect update.

I’m terrible at getting ‘before’ pictures with my projects since I usually just leap in.  But here’s a picture of the project in the early phases.  The table on the left has been lightly sprayed with plain old spray paint.  The one on the right shows the original color of the tables.

beforeHere are the drawer faces with white spray paint on them.  Something about the lighter color made the details pop in a new and fresh way for me.  I did zero prep of the wood before spraying them, except for sticking each drawer in a sack before painting so that I wouldn’t get over-spray inside the drawers.


Here’s one of the drawer faces after paint.  Isn’t the blue sweet?  It is a 50/50 combination of Junk Monkey Teal River and Sherwin Williams Dover White.


To paint the table itself, I started out with it upside down.  Since the legs and sides have so many crevices and details, that took a little while.


When that first coat was dry, I turned each table top side up so I could paint the tops, and also touch up any bits that I missed when painting the legs the first time around. Then as a finishing touch, I spray-painted the hardware a crisp black before I put it back on the drawers.  It had been a bronzy brown before.  I really love the way the black hardware pops against the turquoise paint.


If I wanted to, I could lightly sand the edges of the pieces to give them a distressed look.  But for now I am just enjoying the pretty surface.  I do plan to wax the dressers before bringing them over to the beach house to give the finish more durability. This project was so much fun to do that I have an old dresser on my list to try next.  Most likely it will also be headed for the beach house.  Fun!!

IKEA cabinet adventure

Click on over to the beach house blog to read about our IKEA cabinet adventure. Talk about a LONG weekend!!


9 stocking stuffers under $3



Sometimes it can be hard to think of fun small items to use as stocking stuffers. I thought I’d share a few ideas that I’ve seen on Amazon, and I’m hoping you’ll chime in and add your own ideas.

Nivea Hand Cream is wonderful, and these little tins are small enough to fit perfectly into a purse or pocket.  I carry mine in my pocket at work to counter-act the effects of washing my hands five times an hour all shift long.  It’s great stuff.

Flash lights are always useful.  They can be toys for bored toddlers in the car, grabbed during power outages, or kept in the glove box in case of roadside emergencies.  And what kid doesn’t want to read a book under the covers with a flashlight after bedtime?


Who wouldn’t welcome a nice pair of fuzzy socks especially in cold weather?  I’m kind of hoping someone will buy something this cozy for me!


Chocolate is always a winner.  Here’s a nice big bag of Hershey’s nuggets at a reasonable price. Divvy the bag out between all the stockings you have to fill, and you’ll still have a few left over to munch as you finish up your Santa duties.


Beeswax Natural Lip Balm is another great cold-weather offering, especially this 6-pack that comes in 6 different flavors.


How about a new toothbrush in a fun color?  Maybe not the most exciting gift for a kid, but I’m guessing my newly-moved-out young adults have already developed an appreciation for necessities that they don’t have to buy for themselves.


If you’re shopping for little guys, these pull-back race cars might be just the ticket.  I’m pretty sure that my little granddaughters would enjoy them just about as much as the boys.

These adorable finger puppets would also be a hit with little ones.  What a darling find in a stocking!  If you’re a real over-achiever, you might even be able to find a story book or two featuring some of these adorable little critters.

And if you’ve got guitar-players in your midst, these might be the prettiest guitar picks they’ve ever seen.  The picks feature art by Vincent van Gogh.



OK, now you know a few of my best ideas. (Shhh….don’t tell my kids and grandkids!)   Will you pin this post if you found it useful?  And by all means, share your own affordable ideas in comments, below. I would love to add to this list.


This post contains affiliate links.  Affiliate links don’t raise the cost to you, but they do send a few cents from each purchase to support all the free content here at Owlhaven.

A message to younger mothers

Join me today at 12 PM CST for my interview with  MyFaithRadio  Website:


On Sunday during church I glanced over at my 14 year old daughter.  She was sitting on the pew, cross-legged and jeans-clad and barefoot, having abandoned her shoes under the bench.  On her left arm was a rather ornate flower drawn in ink and colored in with gel pen. A moment before she’d been singing her heart out to Jesus. As my eyes lingered admiringly on the gel pen art, it suddenly struck me how very much I have changed over the years.

ink-2With our first half dozen children or so, I was so very caught up in appearances.  Sunday clothes meant skirts for the girls, with pants allowed only now and then.  Boys wore nice pants, or maybe black jeans, but only if not too faded. Shoes, of course.  No going barefoot in church. Keep your feet on the floor. Hair was neat and tidy and slicked back. No writing on your arms, and especially not with colored ink.

I am not sure how I decided on all those rules, but I’m pretty sure I had unhappy moments with my older children over every single one of those rules.

So why on earth the other day was I simply admiring my daughter’s arm instead of coaxing her to put shoes back on, and sit up straight, and wipe off all that ink?

It’s simple.  When you’ve raised enough kids, chances are you’ve seen enough big stuff– the really important decisions that big kids make– to see that appearance means nothing.  Not one thing.

You also see more clearly how fast this parenting journey goes.

Plenty of times in my early parenting years I ruined good moments– moments that could have bound hearts together– making sure my kids looked good in public. I valued their appearance over their hearts.

Don’t get me wrong– I’ve always cared for their hearts too.  We spent many hours teaching them truth and sharing our values and praying with and for them. But I know there were times when my worry over how things looked to the world sidetracked me from the really important stuff that was going on in my kids’ hearts.  Times when the ‘appearance’ message made it hard for my kids to see how profoundly I do care about their hearts.  And probably harder for them to share those precious hearts with me.

If I could go back as a mom and redo the parenting of my older kids, I’d release my expectations about appearances. With little kids, expectations are often related to whether their clothes match or look nice enough for church.  With big kids these days, parents find themselves wrestling with questions about piercings and ink and what’s modest and what’s not.  These discussions are weighty indeed.  But when it comes down to it, none of those things truly affect my child’s salvation.

The real heart-and-soul questions have nothing to do with what my children wear or what they choose to write on their bodies, or whether their feet are on the pew or on the floor during the sermon. It all comes down to the heart. What’s going on inside those precious, priceless hearts of theirs? Do they love and trust in Jesus? Are they loving the people around them?  Do they know how much they are loved by God and by us?

We humans can fall into so many pits and traps.  We can be sidetracked in so very many ways.  But our only hope — our children’s only hope– in life and in eternity is faith in Jesus’ perfect atoning work on the cross.  Faith in the Saviour who passionately loves us.  Enough that He died for us right in the middle of all our mixed-up imperfection and brokenness.  That is the one thing this finally-getting-wiser momma wants each and every one of my precious ones to understand.

Where is your child’s hope?

Where is yours?

In Christ alone our hope is found.

That’s what really matters.

Nothing else.


1 Samuel 16:7–  “The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”