Friday, September 2, 2016

More glad than sad. ☺

Seriously?!  It's been over a month since my last post?!  Goodness gracious.  For the love of Pete.  "You've got to be pulling on my leg!"  *all the sad and/or surprise-faced emojis*

I said a long time ago I wasn't going to apologize for any lapses, so instead, I'll just THANK YOU for sticking with me and for reading.  ☺

Today's post is going to be more introspective than informative.  So, if you're looking for a play-by-play life update, a new recipe to try for supper tonight, or a guide to all the awesome things KC has to offer, you'll probably need to wait till a later post...or you could just read this one, anyway.  ☺

I recently took a trip back to "the good life;" more specifically, Lincoln, NE.  (Calm down - I'm not saying life isn't good in MO - it just says "the good life" on the NE state signs...also, it's true.)

The trip started with a baby shower for a couple former coworkers and quickly developed into a fun-filled, action-packed 24 hours...which actually consisted mostly of "catching up" over food and/or drink.  (Lincoln friends - please don't be offended if this trip didn't include visiting YOU.  Will hope to catch you on a future one!)
Some of the "food and/or drinks" pictured here.
A brown-bag lunch packed just for me?  Be still my heart. ♥

The introspective piece that came of all this - which was mostly developed over the 3-hour journey home - is this:
It was very refreshing to go to a place I am so familiar with and spend time with people who I am also so familiar with...and who are familiar with me and who I am.

Here's why (I think):
As much as I love meeting new people, exploring, building relationships, and trying new things, it's sometimes very exhausting!  Even though I'm more of an extrovert than introvert, there's a large part of me that cherishes the familiarity and ease that comes with established relationships.  Being able to "pick up where we left off" and already know background/"getting to know you" details makes sharing life happenings much easier.  And knowing the path someone has taken to get where they are makes for a unique, deeper perspective on current situations.

If I wanted to be poetic about it, I'd explain it this way:
There are many, many people who have played important roles in various chapters of my life.  You could even say they helped write some of those chapters.  It fills my bucket when those same people are anxious and excited to read the new chapters I am, and have been, working on.  Some prefer a summary, others want to read every word.  Either way, they're more interested in continuing to read than just putting the book down because it doesn't include their name as often as it used to.

I think I've taken that analogy as far as it will go, so I'll say it this way:
Friends are awesome - new and old.  But when distance separates you on a regular basis, old friends have the power to show how much they truly care by the effort they put into maintaining the relationship.  This doesn't mean calling every week, writing occasionally, visiting, or even texting every so often.  It could mean all those things and more, but it doesn't have to.  What means the most is the genuine care and interest shown in what's happened during your time apart, no matter how long it's been.  As I write this, I'm realizing this is also true for new relationships.  What sets the old ones apart, though, is the understanding the two parties have of each other that only comes with time and shared experiences.

Anyway, it was a really great trip, and I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to make it.  I've been asked if going back makes me miss Lincoln more and/or makes me sad.  There was probably a time in my life (in the first few pages of the KC chapter - ha) when I would've said, "Yes."  This time, though, the answer was, "No."  I was more glad than sad.  I was glad to have so many people I wanted to visit...and so many who were excited for me to visit!  That may sound a little conceited, but I don't mean for it to.  It's just nice to be "wanted" by so many in such a short amount of time, I guess ("I want you to want me...").  I was glad for my time in Lincoln - past and present.  I was glad to spend time with several people who had a large impact on my life then and who care so much about what's happening in my life, now.  I was glad to be reminded of how easy it is to go back...and I was glad to get home to KC.  ☺

Speaking of - I'm excited to share some of the awesome things we've been doing in and out of the house!  Will hope to be able to share sooner rather than later, this time!

Until then,

Favorites of the day:
This girl warms my heart.  She's so genuinely funny and cares so deeply about those she loves.
I just love spending time with her!
He isn't embarrassed to greet me with a huge hug in the middle of his school lunchroom.
I think that says a lot about this handsome, growing-up-too-fast guy.  ☺
 the new Pampered Chef products that came out yesterday!
My most favorite (or, at least, the one I was most excited about)?
The stoneware deep dish pie plate!
I grew up using my mom's, but it had since been discontinued (happens every so often when they change stoneware glaze colors), and I'd been patiently waiting for them to bring it back - hooray!
Check out all the other new products here:
Let me know if you'd like any for YOUR kitchen!  I'm offering a 10% discount on any new products ordered this month.
Also - check out (and like!) my PC Facebook page (Kensy Byers - Pampered Chef)!
Tell all your friends!  ☺

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Operation DIY: status update

Welp, it’s a good thing we bought a house in the summertime when most of our evening commitments/activities are on a break (points to those who are referencing Friends, right now), because it (the house) sure has kept us on our toes!

There have been several not-so-fun (and sometimes surprise) house (and car) projects, but there have also been some fun projects, so I thought I'd share a couple with you. ☺

Upon receiving an expert recommendation, we decided to put our bed in the corner of the master bedroom, rather than on a wall.  It looked fine, as it was, but we thought it would be even better with a headboard!  We happened to have one we hadn't used in a while in the basement, so decided to make use of it...and upholster it!  After doing some Pinterest and Google research, we had a plan, and after gathering the necessary materials (using coupons for everything, of course), we started to implement it.  
First, we pried the top piece off, so we'd have an even surface.

I nearly forgot to take a picture of the foam piece by itself, but caught a bit of it before we covered it with the batting.
Here's a scrap!  ☺
Padded front and soft edges ready to cover.
Guess what we covered it with...?
A curtain panel!
452 (or something like that) staples later, we had a finished product!
Installed.  ☺
So, the next challenge was night stands.  Long story short, we found the perfect solution(s) at IKEA: skinny, stackable storage "cabinets."  We unstacked them and mounted them on the wall.  They have just the right amount of surface space for the things we need access to and a ton of storage in the fold-out "pocket."  IKEA is so good at small spaces...and ingenuitive storage...and awesome stuff, in general!  And my husband is so good at installing all the things!

The other project I'd like to share with you is our bathroom door.  There was some unused space in the main bathroom that we want to fill with a double vanity, at some point, but the door situation didn't make that possible, as it was.  So, we decided to put on a sliding "barn" door.  We found plans to build one and had some truly amazing help with the process!
Unfortunately, this is as much of the building process I was able to was a busy day.
Here's the (almost) finished product, though!
We took it down so I could add a few coats of primer and paint, then we put the handle on and hung it for good!
(Some of you may be wondering what that little "nook" in the wall is, am I right?  As far as we know, it was built to hold a phone.  We left it on the wall, but had to cut off part of the ledge.  It's still functional as a cute little shelf, though!)

Despite all the discouraging discoveries in the house, it has been fun to continue to make it our home.  I'm so thankful for my handy husband and his ability to do (and/or figure out) pretty much anything.  He's pretty amazing.  ☺

With all fingers in tact,

Favorites of the day:
time with friends, new and old
the fact that I'm able to wear flip flops
(This has always been a "favorite," of course, but I'm especially thankful after my broken foot.)
ice cream

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rain, rain, go away. Actually...stay. We thank you today!

Hey, everyone!

Hope this finds you well and you're staying as cool as possible (no, I didn't say cool as a popsicle, but that wouldn't be terrible...) in this lovely summer weather.

I finally unpacked the computer - hooray!  Haha - just's been out for a while.  But seriously - we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (kinda) as far as unpacking goes, so we're able to take time for other things, writing a blog post about our moving day/weekend!  ☺

I'll try to keep this a "nutshell" version - can explain more in person, if you'd like!  This is what memories are made of...or something like that:

The plan was to close the purchase of our new home the Thursday afternoon before Memorial Day weekend.  That all went as planned, but it had been raining most of the day and was expected to continue the rest of the afternoon, which wasn't ideal...nor was it the dry weather we'd been praying for.  

We had helpers (friends and family) lined up to come help move the piano and other large, heavy stuff that evening.  Bless their hearts, they all showed up, despite the rain and tornado warning!  I'd gone straight to the new house after closing to do some cleaning, so I wasn't there when they loaded the piano (there wasn't much "uncovered" ground to cover there, so the rain wasn't as much of an issue on that end).  They kept watching the radar and decided to take a half-loaded truck to the new house in hopes of catching a "dry" window to get the piano in (which was a much more extensive process on the other end - it was pretty amazing!  I'll show you the video sometime, if you'd like.  My husband is a piano-moving genius and knows some really strong, helpful people to assist in carrying out his plans!).  By the grace of God, they literally had just enough time to get it in while it was not raining.  We had some pizza, then, those saintly helpers offered to go get another load, despite the rain!  Truly can't thank them enough!

We'd planned to put the entertainment center, couch, and most of the extra boxes in the basement, but on Bryant's first trip down to do so, he stepped on the carpet and heard a "squish."  It was wet halfway into the basement - a lot of wet carpet.  We'd also gotten about 8 inches of rain in 36 hours, the front yard was completely saturated, and water was coming over/under/through the front wall of the house.  Luckily, my handy husband had already redirected some of the drainage on the sides of the house, so the two side rooms in the basement were not affected.  We had fans, wet shop vacs, etc. going in an effort to salvage the carpet in the main room, but alas, it was not in any shape to keep.  So, we (mostly my dad and some helpers - thank you!!) tore it up - pad, tack strips, and all - and found this underneath:
"Wow!" huh?  I'd say we'd keep it, since it's back in style after its debut in the '50's, but it's not really salvageable, either, after having carpet pad glued to it, then scraped off.
While this was very discouraging on our very first night in our new house, and staying up into the wee hours of the morning trying to prevent a completely flooded basement wasn't ideal after a full day of moving, this is the conclusion we came to:
The rain we were praying away all day was actually a blessing in disguise.  If we're going to live in this house, that was the best time to have water in the basement, because...
...we didn't have any of our things down there, yet (besides the piano, which was on the opposite wall and not affected, praise the Lord).
...we can ask the seller to pay for some of the necessary remedies, since these issues weren't disclosed to us (this is the short version of that...more details, upon request).
...upstairs is still comfortably livable with the downstairs things up there..
...our realtor is awesome and is still on board with us to keep taking care of the issues at hand - even post-sale.
...we had lots of help right away, so didn't feel totally on our own with this particular "joy" of homeownership.

In the days following, we continued to have several helpers show up in big ways.  From cleaning and unpacking to pulling up carpet and installing ceiling fans to building shelves and a sliding barn door!  All the projects were things we'd planned to do, at some point, and could've done on our own, but we were so very blessed to have lots of helpers to get so many of them knocked out right away.  What a blessing to feel so supported and what an encouragement after the discouragement of a wet basement!  We were nearly in tears most of the day as we realized in such a tangible way the time and effort people were willing to give us.  It was a beautiful day, and they got a TON done!  Huge thanks to those who were involved (or home watching kiddos!)!

Another big thank you for all the well-wishes, offers to help, and to those who have been so gracious to give us housewarming gifts!  From gutter guards to power tools and so many thoughtful things in between - we sure do appreciate it all!  Here are a few:

It's feeling more and more like home every day, and we're still very excited for the potential this new home holds for us.  Thanks for sharing the journey with us. ☺


Favorites of the day:
generous friends who are willing to continue to allow their basement to serve as our storage unit till we can get our feet on the ground with the basement stuff
surprise flowers in the yard
pool time!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A NEW coop!

You guys.

I've been so, so, so excited to share this with you!

As many of you know, we put our house on the market about a month and a half ago.  We loved our home (which was Bryant's bachelor pad for a couple years before we met) - it's so cozy and cute and a perfect starter home.  That said, though, we've always known we'd need more space if we were ever to expand our family, so decided to start looking for that "space."  (I know some of you are reading into that...this is not a pregnancy announcement.  Don't worry - it will be very clear if/when that announcement comes!)

Since about a month before we listed our home, we'd been working with an agent to find a new home, looking both online and in person.  We found a couple that were "maybe's," but we predominately saw ones that weren't an option for us, for one reason or another.  Any that we liked enough to consider putting an offer on were under contract before we had a chance to do so.  It was getting discouraging - we thought we wouldn't be able to find something by the time our house sold.

We had showings for our "exit" home almost every day for a couple weeks starting the day it went on the market.  There were multiple second showings and one "almost" offer, and then, an offer came through!  Wohoo!

The SAME day we got the offer on our house, we saw THE house for the first time.   (By "THE," I mean THE one we decided to put an offer on...THE one God was saving just for us...THE one we loved the most...THE one that had nearly everything we were looking for, and more!)

We stood in awe of God's timing that evening we saw the house for the first time.  It had been on the market for over a week with no activity, which was seemingly unheard of during the time (and in the area) we were looking.  We continued to be in awe as all the pieces with the sale of our "exit" home and the purchase of our "target" home fell into place.  He knew it all before we did, and we didn't need to worry about a thing.

And now, it's official!  We've got the keys, started on some improvements (hooray for home ownership...of any any condition - there's always something to work on), started moving our things in, and can't wait to continue on our marriage journey in our new-to-us home.

I won't bore you with all the specs here, but we might do so in person if/when you get to come see it!  ☺
Old home... home!

God is GOOD!

Home ownerly,

P.S. I've been refraining from posting these pet packing pictures till now.  Please enjoy.  ☺
It's exhausting...

Favorites of the day:
Habitat for Humanity ReStores!!!
(This one is a favorite for the month, really - we've been back sooo many times after discovering one of several in the area.  The best place for DIY-ers, for sure.)
all of our helpers - past, present, and future - We seriously couldn't have done this without you all!  From helping find properties, to gathering boxes, to heavy lifting and cleaning...and all the projects to come - we are so thankful for you giving of your time and talents!
being done packing (PTL!)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Broken - Part 2

So, as I mentioned in my last post, this not-walking thing has proven to be unusually difficult for me.  Not physically, mind you, but mentally and emotionally.

After the initial shock of the pain and figuring out what to do subsided, I was scared and sad.  As welcome as a break should be, I found myself breaking down - multiple times - with my sweet, patient husband as I realized how helpless I would be for the weeks to come and considering what that meant for him, my students, etc., etc.  I sobbed and sobbed saying, "These things don't happen to me." and "I can't believe I broke my foot." and "Why will it take so long to heal?"

After coming home with my lovely boot and taking a dose of pain meds, I proceeded to make a to-do list of all the things I could (and needed to) do while sitting the living room...for days on end.  While it has been really great to have (forced) time to get these things done and feels good to be able to check them off, it has not been awesome to not be around people - esp. ones I care about and am used to seeing on a weekly basis.  I'm realizing more and more how much social interactions fill my bucket and how empty it gets when those are limited.  I'm continuing to remember to find fulfillment and worth in the Lord.  He freely fills my bucket to overflowing no matter what my physical state or circumstances.

I've said this a couple times this week, and I'll "say" it again: I feel like God literally broke me to break me of some other things in life.

My broken foot has broken me of:
  • the insistence on doing everything myself - This is a big one.  Since I'm home more than Bryant during the day, I try really hard to do all the housework (laundry, cleaning, cooking) while he's not here in order to maximize our time together when he is.  He's always willing to help, I just never take him up on it.  Not so for this week, though.  He has insisted on doing EVERYthing - down to packing my lunches (something I usually do for him).  He has been the best helper and is the reason my recovery is going so well.  I really can't thank him enough for taking such good care of me.  Give him a big pat on the back and a "Good work!" next time you see him!
  • the necessity to fulfill every obligation and attend every event, all the time - Hear me out on this one: We are involved in a variety of weekly activities, both separately and as a couple.  Each one makes our lives fuller in its own way, and we have varying degrees of responsibilities in each.  We are committed people in that we don't skip these various activities "just because," and make sure to prioritize our time accordingly.  That said, there are times when we need to step back and take a breather, and a couple broken bones was a good reminder of that and excuse to do so.
  • the habit of getting up 52 time to go to the bathroom after getting in bed - I'm guessing this one will come back, but one can hope...
  • the "push through" mindset - If you've known me for long at all, you know I rarely take a sick day.  If I'm not feeling well, I sometimes don't even tell my husband, much less others I encounter on a day-to-day basis.  To be honest, my first thought when I fell and heard the bones snap was, "I'll give it a while and see how I feel later.  It can't be that bad."  That was before I tried to walk on it.  Ha.  This has taught me that it's ok to be "down."  It's ok to need help (and to ask for it!).  It's ok to take time for myself - sometimes it's very necessary, in fact.

I feel kinda weird getting so introspective over a couple tiny cracks in my metatarsals, but I really think it happened for a reason - I've learned some valuable lessons, and I wanted to share them.  Because...what else was I to do after I'd crossed everything off my "to-do?"  ☺

Thank you for your well wishes, cards, calls, and visits.  Thanks to those of you who have brought food, modified plans to come help (instead of our original plans to go do other things), and to those who have been understanding of and flexible with our absences.  And, again, thank you to my sweet, capable husband for forcing me to keep my foot up for many days.

Thanks to Charlie for being so attentive.
Thank you to my mom for reminding me to take advantage of this device, to my husband for initiating the trip to the grocery store, and for the teenage boy working at HyVee who took my picture on his phone when we didn't have ours on us.

And thanks for reading.  Would love to hear your experiences/thoughts/questions!  ☺


P.S. As may of you have probably seen on Facebook, we listed our house for sale this week.  (That's the "big projects around the house" I mentioned in the previous post.  Lots of packing, moving to storage, and cleaning done in preparation of this.  In fact, I broke my foot less than 10 minutes after our realtor left after taking pictures for the listing.)  Such a bittersweet feeling to think about saying good-bye to our precious starter home - our first home together - but also exciting to think about finding a new, bigger space together (Bryant owned our current home before I moved in, so this is a "first" for us).  
No, this is not a pregnancy announcement.

Favorites of the day:
The Great British Baking Show
a crafting "win" I'm excited to share soon
The fact that we got our Chipotle meal for FREE, thanks to coupons.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Broken - Part 1

Hi.  Gonna jump right in, here (figuratively, of course...).

I had a "first" on Friday: I broke my foot.  Not only was this the first time I'd broken my foot, but it was also the first time I'd broken a bone.  Ever.  Guess I broke my record (pun intended).

Yes, it was April Fool's Day.  No, this was not a joke.

It was a complete accident, and I knew right away something was wrong.  In fact, I heard the snap - I just didn't want to acknowledge it for what it was.

My knight in shining armor rushed home to take me to get an x-ray and diagnosis.  Thankfully, we got right in and all went as it should, given the situation.  After inspecting the x-ray pictures, I believe my doctor's words were, "Well, you broke it."  Yay.  The third and fourth metatarsals in my left foot are fractured.  They're not out of place, so that's good.  As far as we know, no surgery or anything will be necessary.

So, she sent me home with a prescription for pain pills, instructions to stay off it as much as possible, and this:

As inconvenient/annoying/frustrating as it is, this really couldn't have happened at a better time.  I had just completed my pressing obligations for the day when it happened.  We'd just come off a week of lots of big projects around the house.  I'd been busy with Pampered Chef parties and nannying, in addition to the rest of our activities, but have a less-full couple of weeks coming up.  We don't have any travel plans for a few weeks.  We don't have children.  We don't have a huge house with stairs, etc. to navigate.  If I had to break a bone, now would've been the preferred time, anyway.

That being said, if you know me at all, you know how difficult being fairly helpless and un-useful is for me.  I'll be writing more about this in a future post.  For now, though, I just want to praise my amazing husband for being such a good and capable caretaker.  Apparently, we're supposed to be practicing the "in sickness and in health" stuff, lately - he had gum surgery a couple weeks ago, so I'd just completed my "turn" at playing nurse.

So, here's to a couple days of completing all my "able to be done while sitting down" tasks and a few weeks of wearing a new kind of footwear.  ☺


Favorites of the day:
live online streaming for church services
fresh flowers

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Guess what, you guys?!

The Scoop from The Coop hit over 20,000 views this past week!

I wish I could have an "in person" reaction...but we'll have to settle for a "WWHHHAATTT?!?!?!!??!!"

So, in honor of this milestone, I thought I'd do an ultimate favorites list - say...20 Favorite Things, perhaps...?  ; )

(in no particular order)

1. Favorite color: red

2. Favorite animal: cat

3. Favorite game show: Wheel of Fortune
The Price is Right is a close second.

4. Favorite Pampered Chef product: Crinkle Cutter
This is both a nostalgic and practical choice.  Except, they stopped selling them - have I mentioned that here, yet?  Yeah - they discontinued my favorite product a few weeks after I signed on to be a consultant.  I literally almost cried.  Don't worry, though - I stocked up before they were completely out.

5. Favorite place to get a burger: Five Guys
The fact that I actually have a favorite burger place was a recent epiphany...and has proven itself true on multiple occasions, already (as in, I am disappointed by burgers elsewhere).  I crave these burgers regularly (stop right there - no need to read into that), and am always satisfied when we do indulge.  Plus, they just started selling pretty killer milkshakes, too, so...

6. Favorite web browser: Chrome

7. Favorite pizza: Papa John's
I'm going to have to specify "carry-out or delivery" here, because I could never choose between the traditional pizza I've had on the streets of Italy, the deep-dish deliciousness found in Chicago, and the homemade creations I've had in some of your kitchens.  They're just all too good!  So, favorite readily-available pizza would have to be Papa John's.

8. Favorite way to eat corn: on the cob

9. Favorite card game: Pitch

10. Favorite retail store: Target
Honestly, I think I have lots of favorites, but this is the most consistent one - I've always loved Target, and I'm pretty sure I always will.

11. Favorite nickname I've been given: Kens
That can be considered a nickname, right?

12. Favorite Pandora station: shuffle

13. Favorite Wii game: Just Dance

14. Favorite season: fall

15. Favorite thing about building a fire: s'mores

16. Favorite footwear: flip-flops

17. Favorite late-night host: Jimmy Fallon

18. Favorite Olympic sport to watch: figure skating

19. Favorite flower: roses
But I really love all flowers!

20. Favorite person: Bryant ♥
There is a pretty extensive tie for second-favorite. ☺

Thank you so much for contributing to this ever-growing view count!  I so appreciate your interest and support.  You are the reason I keep writing.

I'd love to answer any questions you have and/or write about whatever topics you'd like, so please let me know if you have any!  (You can leave an anonymous comment, if you're more comfortable with that.)

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Favorites of the day:
checking things off to-do lists
The "new perspective" I gained this past weekend. ☺