Martha Posts

Operation Escalones {#6} – Spray Paint Basket

Operation Escalones {#6} – Spray Paint Basket

Welcome back!

This Operation Escalones project (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go here!) was super simple but made a big difference in Ty’s office.

Ty just moved into a new office last month and his personal space is much smaller than it used to be…which is a good thing. Much less space to fill and much more personal. It’s definitely the perfect size.

His mom found this odd plant (she calls it the Dr. Seuss plant) and thought it would be cool in the corner of his office. The basket it came in, though, was a little…boring.

So we took the plant out of the basket (no easy task) and we were going to find a new basket until I found a can of black spray paint. I decided to paint the basket instead! You know spray paint and me…we’re pretty tight.

I used the same spray paint tool that I used in this post. Again, I am so glad I bought this tool!! Seriously, it was like $3 at Walmart. Get one.

This is what it looked like before…



As soon as I sprayed the first patch, I knew it was a great idea to paint the basket.


I didn’t paint inside because it’s filled with all kinds of fillers and the plant itself.

It looks much cleaner and more suitable for the office.



Now look at the office all pulled together…voila!



Just a simple fix, but it made a huge difference!

Are any of you as obsessed as I am with spray paint? Did anyone buy the new tool yet? Tell me about it!

Operation Escalones {#5} – Christmas Has Arrived!

Operation Escalones {#5} – Christmas Has Arrived!

Wow you guys! This weekend flew by so fast…and now it’s Monday!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was awesome and delicious…

I will show you some pictures from the table that Ty’s mom laid out for our dinner, it was beautiful! I think that will have to be a post all on its own!

Instead, for today’s Operation Escalones post (don’t know what I’m talking about? Go here or here!) I will show you the beginning of our Christmas decorations! This year we are in a bigger house, so it’s hard to know where to start…but I’m so excited!

So far, only the tree is up. But let me tell you guys, it was a feat! What a beast this tree is. I knew as soon as I pulled it out of the bag it would be crazy.


This is me starting on the bottom of the tree. I wish that I could have a real tree, but living in Arizona, it gets way too dried out and it is way too much work for me! Plus, I like having the flexibility to leave my tree up and be lazy if I want. Yeah, I said it.


Setting up this tree took me literally three hours yesterday. Not to mention, all the time it took me to get it straight! This was Ty’s parents’ tree. We traded this year, because they said they wanted a smaller tree, and I said I wanted a bigger tree. I certainly got my wish. This thing is ginormous — and beautiful!


Here is the tree all done. The boys and I put all the ornaments on today, and it was so much fun. This is the first time the boys have been able to help me with any sort of significant contribution. And they loved it!

Again, sorry for the bad lighting. When I can put pictures from my real camera onto my computer, my picture quality will hopefully dramatically increase.

This tree is so special to me, because of all the ornaments that are on it. I have so many ornaments from when I was little, went Ty was little, and now from my kids.

Every year, Ty’s mom has given him a Santa ornament for Christmas. We have all 27 ornaments on our tree. It’s so special to have them all over our tree.


When I married Ty, she started giving me ornaments that were different depictions of Mary and baby Jesus.


She’s started giving our boys ornaments that have their pictures on them, so we can see how they grow over time.


She’s gathered them from all different vacations, places where they’ve lived, and special memories. They’re all so cool and so unique.

My mom shares my love of ornaments, and has given me so many special ornaments that are just so delicate, ornate, and beautiful.



She’s also given us so many ornaments for our family. Last year, she gave us all of our initials as ornaments. They look like gingerbread cookies, and they’re so cute!


This tree definitely means something to me! It’s so great to pull them out every year, and remember all the different times we’ve gotten all the ornaments.


This was one someone bought me during a really difficult time in my life, and this is such a special reminder that no matter what’s going on in my life, there’s always hope. What a great reminder during Christmas every year!

After we decorated the tree, Noah crawled right under the tree and laid down on his back, looking up from the very bottom. It’s so funny that he did that, because it’s something that my sister and I used to do as soon as our tree was decorated, too.

So this was a huge project crossed off my list! Let the festivities begin!

Do you have any special ornaments on your tree? Do you use white lights or colored lights? I’m strictly a white lights kind of girl — they’re so simple!

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Operation Escalones {#4} – Get SO Much Done!

Operation Escalones {#4} – Get SO Much Done!


For some reason, some of the pictures in this post are upside down if you are on a computer, and some random devices. They’re right on some, and upside down on others. I have the blog people on it…until then…stand on your head?

So sorry for the inconvenience!

*carry on*


Oh my gosh you guys! I have gotten so much done this weekend!

There have been a few projects that I wanted to complete, and for the most part they’re done, but I don’t have pictures of all of them! So I will tell you about the one I do have pictures of today, and hopefully I’ll pull it together soon for the other ones.

First, an update.

I just got off the phone with the Geek Squad…


Don’t know what that means? Check out my post here.

Okay seriously, I cried.

This is such a relief. Not to mention the fact that I’m finally getting my computer back soon! So happy!!!

Next, I DID dye my hair darker. Like, much darker. See my post about my options here. As I teased promised on Friday, here is a look at my new hair!

As a refresher, here is what my hair looked like before.

I realize that you can only see a part of it, but it shows really well how light it was. Plus, how cute are my kids when they’re sleeping?


Now, granted, that was dyed also. But, I haven’t been this dark pretty much ever. My natural color is a few shades lighter than this color I have now. And not as red. You can’t tell in the pictures, but it has quite a red tint in the light. I LOVE this new color.


Excuse the random picture, Noah was practicing his photography skills.

Here is another (blurry) picture of my hair, and it’s also picture of one of the projects that I was working on this weekend. My sweet friend, Natalie, just moved into a new house, and she needed some stuff on the walls! So we worked on putting some pictures and some new art in her brand-new house. I think it’s perfect for her and this new adventure in her life!

My hair didn’t turn out so awesome that night. I’m still working on the right style for the extra layers she added. But the art behind us on the wall turned out super super cute!


I bought some fabric quarters and canvases at Joann, and then used my dad’s staple gun to staple the fabric onto the canvases. I love the color combination!

Then, with a few more canvases, I just painted the background the three different colors from that flower fabric. The quote is from something I saw when I went shopping the other day, but it didn’t match the colors, so I figured I could just make something that would match perfectly. It says, “This house is filled with love, laughter, friendship.” Then she had some metal art that she spray painted white and green to complement the rest of the cluster.


**side note** those are some awesome girls! I’m so blessed to have such awesome friends!

One last picture of my hair, and (bonus) with Natalie!


Oops. I lied. Noah was sad he wasn’t in this haircut post, because he just got his hair cut today, too. So here he is with his new haircut. Isn’t he handsome!?


And there you have it! New hair, new house (for a friend), new art!

Did you get anything done this weekend project-wise? What do you think of Noah’s haircut? Let me hear about it!

And as always, if you want to get updates in your email, subscribe!

Operation Escalones {#3} – Project Reading Wall

Operation Escalones {#3} – Project Reading Wall

Happy Monday!

Oh man, I’m excited for this post today!

I will warn you, though…it’ll probably be a long post. You might want to sit down.

Today’s Operation Escalones project took a couple days. I’m showing you what I’ve done in the room that was originally intended to be a formal dining room. If you know me at all, and probably even if you don’t, you will know that a formal dining room is just. not. me.

I want nothing in my house to be formal. I want everyone to feel welcome in every part of my house. You know that room that always feels like, “Um, is it okay if I sit here? Maybe if I just keep my hands folded and try not to sneeze?” Yeah, I hate those kinds of rooms. I can’t curl up with a good book in those rooms. I can’t have a fun conversation in those rooms…it feels more like a fate-of-the-world-discussion kind of room. Not my style.

I wanted this room to be a reading room. I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. And I want it to be available for chatting, snuggling, dreaming…a place where anyone will feel comfortable.

Ty’s dream for this room was to be sort of like a library, not just a reading room. He wants to have books that he can loan out to people. We have so many business books, biographies, books on raising children, religious books, etc. I hope this room will be a blessing in so many different ways to so many people!

So without further ado…how I put together my reading room!

I bought the shelves at Ikea. They come in different sizes, and then you buy the brackets and connectors separately. Perfect! I wanted it to be a look of ordered chaos. I bought five shelves (one big, two medium, and two small) to be scattered all over the wall.
This is what the table looked like when we started. By the end of the project, you couldn’t even see the table. That’s just how I operate…basket case, remember?


My mom and I started in the middle of the wall, measuring from the top of the stairs down to the floor. That’s where the connecting bracket for the middle of the biggest shelf went. Each shelf had to be secured to the bracket with little screws (picture on the left), so we did that before the shelves went up. Each time, we drilled a pilot hole in the shelf first (the picture on the right), to keep the wood from splitting.

image02 image8

We leveled everything about a hundred times and marked and marked again with a pencil. Nothing is worse than an un-level shelf, except for maybe a whole wall full of them!


I had a whole plan drawn out of where things would go (I’m OCD like that) that was almost exactly to scale. Thank goodness for graph paper!


It really helped with measuring out things on the wall. Not a lot of thinking involved with every shelf. Just measure and go!


We hung all of the shelves first, and then filled in with the bigger pictures, mirrors, and artwork. Then the smaller pictures, and finally filled the shelves! It’s so important to me that my house be filled with us. I love looking at so many pictures of my little family everywhere I look!



As you can see, the top of the wall is still blank. I have some plans for up there, so it won’t be blank forever, but it will be a little different than what we have down low.


And there you have it – my reading room wall!


Sorry that I can’t get a picture without the chandelier…I tried holding it up out of the way, but it just doesn’t work.

Want to borrow a book?

Do you have a place in your house that is just for reading? Do you like to read as much as I do? Do you have any recommendations for books to put on my reading wall?

Operation Escalones {#2}

Operation Escalones {#2}

Whew! I’m off-kilter today!
First of all, yesterday I had a sick kiddo so we stayed home from church and all subsequent activities. That threw me off completely! It felt more like a Saturday than a Sunday — and a lazy Saturday at that! So when my alarm went off this morning it took me a while to even realize it was Monday!
The good news is that with our day home yesterday, I got two — yes I said TWO — projects from my Operation Escalones list done! Plus some.
It’s a good feeling. Seriously.
I framed all the pictures that I printed (from this post). And I’ve gone through all my papers in the office and they are ready to be filed!
I just got my filing cabinet from Ty’s office when he moved, and I’m going to set it up to be a command center for all our papers…stay tuned for that post!
Project List #2
Don’t forget that I will cross these off when I figure out how! 🙂 So for those keeping score…all that is left is the task of hanging pictures in the movie room. From the last list. Obviously I’m not in a huge hurry. Hopefully this week, though, so I can start a new list!
Also, this is a short post today because of all the work I have been getting done these past couple days. There’s going to be an awesome post next Monday, people!
Anyone else get anything done this week?? 

Operation Escalones {#1}

Operation Escalones {#1}

Happy Monday all!

So the graphics today are not what they should be, but bear with me while I start a new blogging process, okay? I’m on a new adventure with all of this! Did you miss what happened? Check it out here!

Anyway…on to Operation Escalones! Not sure what I’m talking about, you can read my post about the name change here!

Operation Escalones: Project Donate Crap.

Okay, seriously. You know how sometimes, you go through your stuff and you start putting together a pile of stuff that you don’t need anymore, and you realize that you really have so much stuff, and that a lot of it is not that great of stuff? That’s been me lately.

After the garage sale (see the craziness here), I started looking at all my stuff and was so sad to have to even bring it home. Instead, my mom and I took all the price tags off, drove straight to the donation bins, and dropped them off! Done and done!

Whew what a good feeling! I love purging!

When we lived in our smaller house, every inch of closet space was valuable. The name of the game was “storage.” It was a challenge to get everything in the right place, and an even bigger challenge to find right place for everything.


Can anyone relate to this?! I know I’ve felt like this is my house on more than one occasion.

As we were contemplating buying our new house, I had two goals. First, I wanted to have a lot more storage than we had. And secondly, I didn’t want any of it to be overflowing. One of my favorite things about this new house is all the closet space it has — and how empty all the closets are!

It’s much easier to keep barely filled closets organized than it is to manage overflowing closets. I mean, who doesn’t live a good organized closet?


Did you swoon? I did.

I should’ve cleaned out my closets better when I lived in a smaller space. But alas, it was too daunting with so much stuff crammed into one space. Is this a linen closet? Or is it a game closet? Well what about all of this miscellaneous stuff…where would that go? I wish I had, though. I could’ve thought much more clearly, I think.

So now that I’m in a bigger space, I’m determined to keep it more organized and to purge much more thoroughly. I will NOT succumb to the idea that the more space I have, the more stuff I’m able to have. No sir! This girl is determined to be a better giver-awayer (I do that alot – just make up words…but it works, doesn’t it?), and an even better stuff-buyer (seriously, it’s fun, give this word thing a try!).

It’s also a goal of mine to teach my kids how to be generous and give of themselves. I’ve really tried to make them a big part of going through all of our stuff and explaining that we are called to take care of those who have less than we do. Part of growing my boys into Spartans is teaching them to look outside of themselves and recognize need around them.

So with all of that said…

Here is my project list for Operation Escalones, but I can’t figure out how to edit it from the iPad, yet, so just pretend the task of giving stuff away is crossed off, okay? I’ll figure it out soon.

Project List #2

It feels almost as good to just have it done, but the maniac in me likes to see it crossed off the list. I’m the one who adds a task to the to-do list just to cross it off. Did I just lose some friends on account of being crazy? Yikes! I said I’d be totally honest here, didn’t I? Anyway, I’ll fix it soon.

Are you completing any project? Are you a giver-awayer? Or are you a much more discerning stuff-buyer? Most importantly, are you a word maker-upper??

Prayer Tasks

Prayer Tasks

Hello again!

Today I wanted to share with you some thoughts about what I’ve been reading lately. I just started reading “Women Living Well” by Courtney Joseph. She’s got a blog called Women Living Well (find her here). Another blog that I love to read, Biblical Homemaking (check it out here), is doing a book study on the book. You still with me?

Anyway, I have joined a book study with some women from my local moms group to study “Women Living Well.” This week was just chapters 1-3 (I think we’re a week behind the study on Biblical Homemaking).

These first chapters are all about slowing down and making time to just walk with the King. It has been a struggle for me to choose spending time with Jesus lately instead of checking out in front of the TV or instead of tackling my to-do list that will never end.

To be honest, that’s such a stupid choice, because I am so anxious to BE Jesus to people, and yet I’m so quick to decide not to spend time WITH Jesus to learn how to be like Him. Being a sinner makes me an idiot.

But, that being said, I have been missing feeling close to Jesus. I miss talking to Him throughout my day. Courtney reminded me of something that I had forgotten about. It used to be such a blessing to me a long time ago, and I’m not sure why I let it fall by the wayside. Being a sinner makes me an idiot, remember?

She suggested, among other things, to pray through some of my tasks for the day.



I used to do this on a smaller scale, but I am implementing this in a much bigger way, starting today. So here are the prayers I will be praying over my family and home while I’m doing some housekeeping tasks. My “Prayer Tasks,” if you will.

 Making the bed: I will pray for our marriage – for our communication, for our attitudes, for our intimacy.

Laundry: I want to be thankful for the ability to clothe my family and for the abundance of clothes we possess..

Ironing: I really only iron Ty’s work clothes, so these prayers will be around his business. I will pray for his business dealings, that he would be protected from bad business deals, and that he will be rewarded for conducting business with such integrity. I will also pray for his reputation and his standing in the community. Finally, I will pray that he will work diligently, be focused, and efficient – his is a busy business, and it is easy to get overwhelmed. **As a side note, I will also be praying for those who work for Ty. They are a blessing to us, and I am so grateful for all the work they do.**

Cooking: I will pray for the health of my family and for each of them to develop the skills to make good choices when it comes to eating healthy foods.

Dishes: I will be thankful for the closeness we fostered while eating our meal, the conversation we had, and for the ability to feed my children until they are full.

Sweeping and mopping: I want to pray for the feet that walk through my home on a daily basis, whether they are guests or residents. I pray that they would be the feet of Jesus, both in our home and in the world.

Island: This is the gathering place for all the clutter in my house. And in times that we have so much going on in our lives, this particular spot bears the brunt of the mess. So in this place, I am so grateful that we have so much richness and fullness in our lives that this place becomes piled so high. (This place to pray was given to me by one of the girls in the study…smart lady!)

Driving to and from school: Every day on the way to school we pray. Now we will be praying for my boys to be eager learners, kind classmates, and attentive listeners. I hope that they are lights for Christ. I pray that they will be protected from harm, unkindness, and distraction.

I’m starting to brainstorm different ways to remind myself to be praying for these things as I do these tasks. I think little notes will be a good start.

What a great way to spend the day with Jesus, sharing my daily life with Him! I hope you’ll join me!

Have any ideas of how to remind myself to pray at these specific places and times? What are the tasks that you will pray through this week? 

Footsteps and Garage Sales

Footsteps and Garage Sales

**I am sorry this didn’t post on Monday! The site had some difficulties, and wouldn’t allow any posts until early morning on Tuesday.**

Okay, so I have a correction/confession.

Last Monday, I said that the original blogger who started Project Elephant (read about the original idea here) changed everything on her blog and was no longer doing the Project Elephant posts.

I was wrong. Sort of. She did change everything, but she is not quitting Project Elephant.


After some thought, I’ve decided to move ahead with renaming my project series, because I’m not sure how excited she would be about me riding the coattails of her series indefinitely. So…she got me started, and I’m going to use this as a launching point for my newly named (but still the same conceptually) series!

And thanks to my sweet friend, Kacie, for the inspiration for the new name!

Kacie suggested something along the lines of “Footsteps” of “Footprints”. I liked that, but I thought I’d take it a little further and do some research about each word. I also did some translating into other languages, and then I stumbled on something that perfectly describes how I do projects.

The translation of “footsteps” from English to Spanish was “los escalones,” so I decided to just look up “escalones”. It comes from the Spanish word “escalonar.”

When I looked up the definition for “escalonar”, these are some of the definitions: “to scale, to place at intervals, to stagger.”

Um, hello!!!

This describes, well, just about…every project I complete. I stagger my way through most projects, improvising, creating, revising. In order to” scale the mountain” (aka “complete the bigger project” formerly known as “eating an elephant”), I’ve got to place my feet at regular intervals (aka “complete the project in smaller chunks” — formerly known as “eating the elephant one bite at a time”).


Anyone else done with the quotations marks??

Okay, so I’m trying out the name for this week.

Operation Escalones

What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinion!

As for the project list itself, here is the project list as of last week, with one item completed!

Project List #2

You guys, this last week has been c-r-a-z-y.

I was doing a yard sale with 10 other moms all week long. It took three days to set up, and the sale was three days long. Suffice it to say, I was busy!

Here are some pictures of the sale, to give you an idea of how much stuff we had!

IMG_8490 IMG_8489

I’m getting hives just looking at it again!

Anyway, it was a lot of hard work, but it was also hanging out with some fun, awesome moms all week long.

It was a successful sale, and I’m glad to have done it, but goodness knows I’m glad to have it over!

The plan for the rest of the week is to be with my boys! I missed them all week when they were with my mom or Ty’s mom. They had so much fun, but I can tell that they’re just about as fried as I am.

It felt good to go through all our stuff and get rid of it. What I didn’t sell is getting donated (the next item on my list), so that will be a little bit of a project, too…wish me luck!

Operation Escalones: Project Garage Sale — check!

What do you think of the new name? Have some suggestions? Tell me about them!