Thrifty Finds {round 2}, Home & Garden Update

>>Thrifty Finds<< Friday is laundromat day! This is a great fact. On my way home from the laundromat I saw my favorite sign:

"Estate Sale -->"

Lucky me, I had $8 left from my birthday money sent from Grandma. Here are my fun finds!

Estate sale finds

  • 9 Mason Jars $2
  • Laundry sign for our future laundry room {it is currently sitting above our laundry basket} $1
  • Aluminum form cake pan, removable bottom $1.50
  • Bouquet of dried...things $1
  • Photo frame {I obviously love frames} $2

>>HOME<< Yesterday I found a bundle of frames at the Arc. Here are our walls since adding the spring photos taken by K. Barnes Photography.Photo wall, living room, old clock, old lamp, sewing desk, writing desk, photo collage

Writing desk + Photo frames + Gold + Old clock Front walk way, door entrance, coat hanger, photo wall, photo collage

Tin mail holder


To say that I am proud of my little babies is an understatement! The joy that I have gotten from these little lives is great. Also, we added some fun lighting for when we hang out with the bonfire in the evenings.

Broccoli! Apartment patio gardening

Sunflower kissing the air :) ThursdaySunflower opening up, Friday

Open sunflower

 Plants in mason jar {sun flower}

Garden - apartment patio

Mason Jars with candles to light up our patio!

This apartment has become our home. We told ourselves going into this apartment "we may be here for 1 year," and we would definitely be moving if there is ever an addition of any sort to this Brenner Bunch. BUT, after 20 months in this beautiful place, we feel so at home! It takes so much time to make a building a home. We love it. We have built this garden and our hearts are invested into this apartment and its complex.

Beginning next weekend, we are going to be throwing {every-other} monthly "block parties." I am so excited to deepen the relationships with our neighbors and learn ways to serve them.

Do you feel at home in your home?

Day 18: Building Respect Habits

Read Day 17 HEREDay 18: Keep the House Tidy 25 Days of Building Respect Habits

Growing up, our house always felt so cluttered and dirty. Dishes dirty all over the kitchen, cups everywhere, beer bottles, unfolded clothes all over the couch and floor, too much stuff that was unneeded everywhere... I remember the laundry room being an overwhelming mess of dirty and clean clothes, games, and STUFF. It was the "junk room" as opposed  to the junk drawer (we had many of those as well!). Looking back, I am sure this is because my mom worked so hard as a Real Estate agent and was exhausted by the time she got home so late. However! I will never forget the feeling of living in a chaotic home.

When I {officially} moved out, I became obsessed with being organized. Having only a desk and a small wardrobe to keep tidy, I did what I could. Moving into a house, I then shared a bedroom with my now-sister-in-law. There I loosened a bit about tidiness, but still highly valued it. Now as a wife, I get to fully manage this! I love keeping our home tidy and clean - it brings an atmosphere of welcome and acceptance. However, I have experienced some homes SO tidy and SO clean that it feels just the opposite: you get the dont-touch-or-ruin-anything vibe. That is the opposite of what I want. I pray that my friends with babies and children feel completely welcome in our home - that they can bring their kids and I truly don't mind if our books and VHS/DVD's are strewn everywhere.

Moral of the story is this: I highly value keeping our home clean and welcoming, but also have grown in not being OCD if something gets out of place. Really, is it that important?

I know that coming home to a clean and put-together home is a gift and that it relieves tension - it creates a love for being home.  I hope to always give that to my husband. I love what Sharaya wrote here about her mom teaching her that cleaning was loving to her dad - that as a wife, she (her mom) wanted to prepare her home for husband (her dad) to come home after a busy day at work. The kids joined in and it became a beautiful routine! I pray and hope to do that when we have kidddos.

"To the best of your abilities, try to maintain a clean and orderly home. Seek to make it a haven of rest for your entire family," -Jennifer from the original post.

Today, internalize and pray this verse: "She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness." Proverbs 31:27


Sometimes You Need a Blanket-Fort.

IMG_5958 I don't know about you, but sometimes you just need to construct a blanket fort, make some pumpkin pie (paleo of course), and watch Balto. Don't forget the snuggling with your husband part. Some weeks are filled with so many emotions, so much mental-usage, not enough Spirit-filling-up moments, and a whole lot of being awake. And at the end of those weeks, those weeks full of weepy nights, long hours, and self-centered self pity, you just need a blanket fort. It just needs to happen. You should let it happen. Your heart can be filled through such events, if you are truly grateful to Jesus for moments as such: loosen up those tense shoulders, don't think about the mess you are about to make (I lean towards OCD clean), build that fort, eat that food, let the dishes sit, and sleep on the hard ground. Without mom and dad yelling at you to clean it up. Guess what? You can clean it up whenever you want. Which is awesome, I will tell you that much.

I encourage you to do this. Let your childlike passions and dreams come alive, the ones that mom and dad thought were annoying. Allow yourself to jump on the bed. To dance around in your under pants. To fling mashed potatoes against the wall or at your husband's face; I have never done that, but I have been tempted to for a good laugh. Just let it happen. Let your inner child break free once in awhile and relax. That's what we are anyways: a child of God.

Life will go on and you will be blessed.


Neighborhood Children + M&M's.

These are some of my neighborhood orphans. The boys' names are Caleb (orange shirt), who has introduced me to "Landon my brother" (waving in the dark shirt) about sixteen times. And over there in the pink shirt and adorable pig tails, well that is Dora. Her older sister Denise chose her name. 20130906-212255.jpg

Last night as Loren and I were getting into the car to head downtown to the Beanery, I saw Caleb bending over that drain, sticking his fingers into that pile of dirt. And he was definitely eating it.

"Caleb! What are you eating?!" His response as he looked up and sprinted across the parking lot to our car was, "DOG POOP!" He was smiling so big. But as he approached me he asked "Hey. Do you have M&M's?"


On the left is Caleb again (quite the littele tyrant) hauling some baby I had never met into my house.  I was looking around just waiting for the cops to show up yelling "stranger danger." The thing about Caleb is that he brings all of the other neighborhood kids to my door and begs for candy. You cannot see, but to the left of that adorably chubby baby are two more girls. Julia and a girl Loren and I refer to as "that one girl." (I should really learn her name).


This is Caleb, once again. I had given him some M&M's about 1800 times before this and ran out of them. The day before this photo was taken, I offered him a tomato in replace of M&M's (haha) which he happily took. Biting into it like an apple, he scrunched his face, and then he stated "I dont like potatoes." Oh the joy.

The following day, I arrived home late, was exhausted, and ready for bed. As I got out of the car I dropped all of my groceries because a little tyrant M&M seeking boy was hiding behind my car door and shrieked "DO YOU HAVE M&M'S TODAY?!" I did not, so instead I asked him to help me carry in all my food and I would give him some chocolate chips.


About a week ago, these precious rugrats were literally waiting outside of my door for us to get home. It was getting DARK. To the left of the stairs is my door. They had piled up about 300 random balls and 3 bikes.

Chilling M&M-lady got home.

The second we rounded the corner into our hall way, the question was asked. No, stated: "Can we have M&M's." It was music to my ears.

How can you resist a bunch of kids who are always running around the parking lot? All day, all night, literally keeping us up with their screaming games until after 10 pm. I am sure they are orphans -- there are never any parents around. Ever. Not even mentioned. It is odd.

I anticipate the question, "DO you have M&M's?" I love it. I love these kids. I have told Caleb about Jesus and I want to just sit with them in a circle and tell them about Noah and the Ark. I dont know why, I just do. I want to give them yummy food and invite them in to make cookies (is that so illegal?).

But seriously people! Do you have precious children running around your life that need a little extra attention?. Maybe some M&M's? Maybe you can make a mark on these precious, most fragile lives that are so fertile. So ready to have some seeds of Life planted.

Maybe you can be remembered as the neighbor who gave them M&M's and shared the best thing ever shared (Jesus. Love). MAYBE, you can give them Jesus so they can give Jesus to others. IMG_5740

PS. Please note this: tonight I made cookies and they (you can't see them all but there were 5) were literally smashed up against our "drive through window" for an hour. It was great. It made my night. And my soul is being refreshed by these vibrant tyrants.