Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real – Independence Day

For more {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} entries click over to Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Pretty IMG_4864


(Just the art is pretty. I’m not making any claims about the top of the fridge, which is where all things the toddlers aren’t allowed to touch go to live.)

I am terrible about hanging pictures. After four years in this home, many are still leaning against walls or stacked in closets. Photos are equally bad. It’s not that I don’t like art, I just suffer from crippling indecision when trying to pick what to hang where. It feels so permanent! Enter a length of twine, a $2 pack of mini clothespins, and ten minutes during yesterday’s naptime. We now have an inexpensive and changeable art gallery. We love that we can fill it up or thin it down to a few different pieces, rotate through our large stacks of unframed prints, switch it all out for photos, or take it down for a break if we feel like it. I might move it up another four inches or so, but other than that we’re both loving it.

IMG_4861 Right now it holds:

  • A postcard print of the opening of the Gospel of John from the Tyndale New Testament
  • A watercolor painting of hawks by Lydia (her lovely and affordable bird paintings are available here on Etsy)
  • A print of the bush in Victoria from the Man’s stepmother
  • A handpainted picture of a family I picked up in Kenya years ago


  • A botanical print
  • A print of Eugene Delacroix’s portrait of the Sultan of Morocco (unearthed years ago from a mound of discarded art prints surrounded by mounds of discarded asbestos tiles in a dingy furnace room at my Alma Mater, the University of Chicago)
  • A map of Byzantium from my Mom. She bought it from the map prints collection at the Newberry Library in Chicago where I did much of my B.A. paper research


  • Another watercolor by Lydia (this one of owls)
  • Prints of the Swedish Army given to me years ago
  • A postcard of a painting the Man and I loved at the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, NC.

It will change again soon as we cycle through our stacks of prints and cards. For now, it makes the large blank wall in the kitchen much prettier, and makes me happy while I cook.


We had the nicest Independence Day weekend. The Man got off work early on Thursday and we all walked to the grocery store.


We treated ourselves to Buffalo Wings from a new takeout place for dinner. After packing the toddlers off to bed the grown ups settled in for a couple episodes of Elementary while a batch of our favorite Blueberry Lemon Streusel Muffins baked in the oven.

On Independence Day we packed up early for a day trip to swim at our favorite lake. The beach we usually use was closed off, but the ranger directed us to another. It ended up being a lovely surprise – a strip of sandy beach carved out of the edge of the woods, surrounded by rocky shore and facing forests and wooded hills across the way. The kids moved from tentative about swimming to drenching everybody in a five foot radius with their enthusiastic splashing in about 10 minutes. By the time we needed to pack up and leave our formerly timid son was dragging me back into the water with heartbroken sobs. Afterwards we stopped to visit lovely Lauren and her two youngest kids at their new home – such a treat to see them again! – then headed home for a good 4th of July dinner of steak, corn on the cob, and tomatoes, followed by baths for sandy babies and early bedtimes for all. We didn’t go anywhere to view fireworks this year, but thanks to the neighbors we were still serenaded by them until 11:00 at night. The wonderful thing about raising toddlers in an artillery town is that they sleep right through it all.

On Saturday we mowed the lawn, basked in family time, baked and ate Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, played games, let the toddlers get thoroughly dirty, trimmed the front bushes and generally relaxed.




(one has a hair bow and the other has socks – that totally counts as being dressed)


We go to the early service, so after church on Sunday we swung by home for a change of clothes, picked up barbeque and hushpuppies, and headed to the closest State Park for a picnic lunch, relaxation in the sun, and a toddler-length hike along the river. On the way home I handed our son a leftover hushpuppy to keep him awake. It didn’t work. He’s the first human I’ve ever observed who’s capable of eating in his sleep: taking delicate bites of hushpuppy, chewing, swallowing all while fast asleep with a beatific smile on his chubby face. We spent a quiet and restful afternoon at home reading, playing more games, and going for a family walk before wrapping up the weekend. It’s very rare for us to have such a stretch together at home (the Man often works weekends and holidays). It felt like a vacation and we headed into the week refreshed from the family time, change of pace, and break from cooking.


If you’re Facebook friends with me you may already have seen this. Jack loves trying on shoes and hats, in this case Daddy’scombat boots and his sister’s pink sleep cap. A stylish combination.


Annie fell in love with an old pillowcase while I was doing laundry. I clipped it on her as a cape. It made Superbaby’s day – she ran around admiring her fluttering cape for a good hour.




It takes a lot of clips to section hair for styling. Also, a lot of cheerios.



6 thoughts on “Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real – Independence Day

    • Thanks! I wish I could claim credit for the idea, but I actually ran across it somewhere on Pinterest. There were a few other gallery options like narrow shelves or clips, but this one required the fewest holes in the wall – always strongly persuasive for me :). By the way, we’re having the best luck with your crock pot yogurt trick – such a grocery bill savings! My mother sent us a strainer for greek yogurt, too, so we’ve been making that with some of the crock pot yogurt.

  1. Ah the top of the fridge makes me laugh – somehow ours isn’t even sacred space anymore, because John Paul is tall enough to climb onto the counter and reach whatever we have up there! Some of them never seem to grow out of that “DON’T TOUCH IT” stage…

    • *sigh* There go my hopes of having a pretty fridge again some day. I was hoping they’d grow out of it. I can’t think of anywhere higher to put forbidden articles unless I hang them from the ceiling. It’s probably time to invest in some more child safety locks.

  2. The combat boots are FANTASTIC. Your kids are adorable. I also love your post card from Tyndale New Testament is really wonderful. Your blog is very fun to read.

    • Thanks, I love the post card too. An Aunt sent it while she was on vacation in England. Such a nice free way to collect some art :).

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