Category Archives: at home with the shevchenkos

{choosing joy amidst Covid-19}

The Lord has provided a rather unique opportunity lately in learning to bloom where you are planted, and to choose joy even in the middle of dire circumstances.

 

Around the globe, there are folks everywhere who have come down with Covid-19; not only causing a massive death rate, but a sense of global panic as store shelves empty and the economy is swirled with uncertainty.

As someone now categorized as “high risk” myself for actually catching said virus, it has definitely caused a time to stop and think about how things are going, and what it could possible mean for my family and those who are dear to me. We are practicing self-isolation as best as we can at the minute. No tuning or teaching piano, or photography shoots for me, and Daniel is going out only to pick up necessities and to go to work.

It has been interesting realizing that staying away from others during this time is a way to very purposefully love your neighbor. Because so many of the folks carrying Covid-19 are a-symptomatic, it is being spread to those most at risk without it even being realized. My heart is burdened for the many, many elderly, immuno-compromised, COPD, high blood pressure, etc. folks both in my life and that I do not know, that will likely be affected by this in some way or another. I am praying God is the Lord of their life and that those who do not know Him will be drawn to Him through this crisis.

My heart hurts for all of those who have lost their jobs, or work, and have no idea how they are going to provide for their family. With so many people working what is deemed as “non-essential” work or services, I know they are grasping at straws to figure out how to pay their mortgage, or even just to get enough groceries for the next few days. I am praying we all keep our hearts and eyes open to see how we can minister to these people as we navigate through this crisis, and that when we recognize a need, we are willing and able to (safely) help fill it.

One of the things that is particularly important is making sure we keep our eyes on the things above, even as things are in mass chaos here on earth. Our God is a God of order, and we will be able to best maintain peace and joy when we stay focused on Him and on the truths found in His word- not being swayed by the circumstances that flow in and out of our lives. We must not live in fear- no matter what happens, the Lord has planned all of it, and He knows already the outcome. In that, we can rest secure. <3

Around New Year’s, I posted on instagram that my big goal of the year was to really focus on making my home a safe haven for my little family and our guests who visit. I want the love of the Lord to exude abundantly, and I want it to be a calm, peaceful place for us to live. It is very important to me to be a homemaker with intention. This season has been a good test in choosing to not drag the extra drama from the outside world into our home, and to continue to focus on making it a place of peace, growth, and safety for my family.

Now that all of my time for the foreseeable future will be spent at home, one of the ways I am “choosing joy” is making time for things that I didn’t make time for before while balancing a schedule of being home AND away from home. I am determined to not only make time for some fun things I don’t normally have time for, but I also want to be able to look back at this time as a time when there was much accomplished around my home and farmstead.

If you are looking for some ideas of how you can fill extra time, here are some of the things I have been working on or will be working on soon:

 

-Today, I pulled out my dusty fiddle case and was able to squeeze in practice time for one of the first times since we moved here almost a year ago. I forgot how much I loved to play fiddle!

 

-I am continuing on with finishing up some web projects I have going for my web clients, and I have a few custom jewelry and vinyl orders that I will be shipping out in the next couple of days. I’m also looking forward to making some new things and getting them actually listed in my etsy shop as well.

-Daniel and I have been busy outside on the farmstead and our orchard is planted, seeds are started to go in the veggie beds that Daniel is finishing building this week, our bees are here and happy, and I’ve gotten quite a bit of weeding done in our flower beds. (Details on all of these projects to follow soon on our farm website.) Seeing how empty the grocery store shelves have been, it has been an important reminder and incentive for us to focus andΒ  get our farmstead going so that we have our own sustainable source of food that is not dependent on the grocery store each week. A larger chicken coop is in the works in a few weeks so that our ladies have a bit more room to run around.

 

-We’re still working on the inside of the house too. Thresholds for the guest bathroom floor transitions are coming soon, as is our faux fireplace! I can’t wait to share pictures when we start that project.

-I’m getting freezer meals put away for when baby gets here, or for us to eat sooner if needed with the potential for food shortages. It is so nice to see those meals starting to stack up on the freezer shelves!

-I recently finished up a whole-house decluttering challenge with some friends of mine, and it was really eye-opening as to where we were wasting space, and how much extra junk we had that we didn’t use! I am so glad we were able to get that stuff cleaned out and had room to put away some extra diapers and such.

 

-Some of the extra time has been spent really thinking through what Oliver’s daily routine looks like now. At 14 months, he is very busy and needs different activities to keep him busy and out of trouble through the day. I am thankful to have been able to spend some uninterrupted time on that without needing to be distracted running errands and with other out-of-the-house activities.

-Finally getting some reading done, haha! I hadn’t really spent any time reading at all since Oliver was born, and realized I needed to be feeding my brain. It has been nice to see my reading challenge list start to actually fill up on Goodreads!

-Along the same lines of increasing knowledge, the man and I are planning on taking some of the free online classes being offered over the next few weeks. I know for sure that we will be doing some beekeeping classes through the extension office, and Daniel found an engineering class he’s considering doing as well.

-This one seems small, but it’s actually quite big. Playing inspiring, uplifting music throughout the day has been a great way to bring some joy and cheerfulness into our home. Even Oliver knows what it means when I say that Mama is about to turn some music on, and he gets the biggest grin!

-I am also trying to make time to touch base with folks I haven’t spoken with in a while, whether through a quick text, or old-fashioned snail mail. If those notes could bring even a little bit of encouragement to someone having a rough day, than that would be wonderful!

My dear friends, wash your hands, maintain social distancing, and choose joy. Prepare wisely, love your neighbor, and don’t live in fear. Enjoy the way the sky lights up as the sun rises and sets. Take in the sights of the bees dancing from flower to flower. Feel the warm spring breezes blow through your yard. Soak up the precious extra time you are getting to spend with your family. Sip that first bit of coffee and enjoy all the little flavors and the gentle aroma coming from your mug. Listen to the birds singing, or a favorite song, or ask for suggestions for new tunes. Write letters to the elderly stuck in nursing homes unable to receive visitors. Learn a new skill. Learn to listen instead of talk. Pray for our leadership as they are having to make hard decisions. Be a servant to others, rest in Jesus, and wash your hands. <3

{a place of our very own}

Daniel and I had purposed early on in our marriage that we would really like to purchase a house and be moved in by the time we had been married for two years. Neither of us were particularly excited at continuing to pour money into a house that wasn’t ours, and that we couldn’t change and customize to fit our needs as a growing family. It became quite clear shortly after Oliver’s birth that we would need to start actively looking for a house of our very own.

We began to watch real estate listings in various areas, and even put in offers on two different houses that fell through. We were beginning to get discouraged and wondering why it seemed that God was moving us on with nowhere to go.

One evening, we were scrolling back through listings once again and looked in an area that we hadn’t looked at before, and the “perfect” house popped up. It was exactly the size we were looking for, sat on an acre of land, and is incredibly close to Daniel’s workplace! First thing the next morning, Daniel called our agent, one thing led to another, and we were able to look at the house and put in our offer that day.

Our real estate team went over and above to make sure we had everything in order, and we found out that the then-current owners had accepted our offer! We got our earnest money in and began the process of finishing what we would need for the closing.

The closing went really smoothly…both our financing team and again, the real estate team we were using were so fantastic and were able to help us make sure all the paperwork was in order. The actual closing meeting was comical…there are so many pieces of paper that you sign. The first few signatures look great, but the more we signed, the worse our signatures got. πŸ˜€ All in all, it took about an hour, and we were done! It would still be a week before we actually took possession of the house, but we were still floating on Cloud 9 of “we own a house!!”.

We were able to sit down with the old owners for breakfast at our local Cracker Barrel when it was time to take possession, so that we could get to know them a little better and they would have faces to go with our names. We sat chatting for hours and thoroughly enjoyed the time. They were moving out of the house and into a 5th wheel camper so that they could travel the country and visit with all of their children and grandchildren. We found out that they were actually married in the backyard here, which was amazing because we were married in the backyard at the Lambert Estate. We were not expecting to find that commonality! We asked them why they chose our offer, and they told us that they had received several offers on the house, and even though our offer was not the highest, they knew ours was the one they felt like they were supposed to accept. They said a few times that they had no idea why they gravitated towards it. Daniel and I knew- it was because the Lord had chosen and set aside that house for us. It was an incredibly humbling experience. After we were finished eating, they gave us the key. We said our goodbyes, and set off for our new home.

When we arrived, Daniel unlocked the door, carried me over the threshold, and held me while I sobbed and he prayed over us and our family, and over the years we would spend in this house….this house that was to be our home. <3 The first order of business was to change the entry doorknobs.

We knew that we were wanting to do quite a bit of updating before we moved in. The biggest project by far was tackling the popcorn ceilings. Daniel started scraping them on possession day! I don’t think either of us were prepared for the amount of mess that it would make to scrape them all clean, but they look SO AMAZINGLY BETTER now. It was totally worth cleaning up the mess then, and now, because we are still finding remnants of drywall dust here and there from that.

Our rental contract was up on September 1st, but our goal was to be out by August 31st. The closing was on May 28th, 2019, and we took possession roughly a week later. Once we had taken possession of the house, we basically started driving back and forth nearly every day to blitz and get as much done as we possibly could. As we were leaving the house one day after a super-productive work time, the most beautiful full rainbow was right over the house…a beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness in a time where we were experiencing it so fully in our lives.

The period of time where we were working on the house and driving back and forth from the old house was an absolutely crazy-busy, exhausting, and fulfilling time. We were seeing things getting done, and then there would be project setbacks, and so many other things. I remember being so ready to just be settled for a bit… feeling like you are stuck between two houses is somewhat miserable for a woman. I think we have this need to have our nests in order, and it simply isn’t possible when you are in the middle of a move, or renovation project, or big life event. πŸ™‚

I knew I wanted a way to “journal” the project with pictures, since the house is going to be looking quite a bit different when we get finished. I ended up started an instagram account just for our home renovation projects, which shares the name for our new piece of paradise: “our urban farmstead”. Feel free to pop over and give us a follow if home renovation is your thing. πŸ™‚ I’ll share a few pics here and there on this blog, but for now, that’s the best place for the most up-to-date renovation updates.

One of the other things that we knew we needed to address before moving in was the electrical. We ended up doing some swap work with some sweet friends of ours and they came and updated all our electrical and installed our new energy-efficient LED lighting and new switches, ceiling fans, and breakers! It has been such a blessing to have light switches in places that make sense, and for everything to be so bright. I am so thankful we went ahead and got that knocked out!

As we got into August, we finally had most everything finished that needed to be done for us to move in, and it was time to start getting our things moved over. A few of my brothers helped move quite a bit of our furniture, and our sweet church family helped us get the piano and couches loaded up and ready to be brought over. We were so thankful for the help in getting those things moved because we certainly couldn’t have done it on our own!

Finally, everything was moved, the rental had been scrubbed from top to bottom, and it was time to say “so long” to that chapter.

It has been so nice to be getting settled in here and learning about our new neighborhood and community. I am slowly but surely learning how to get around to the various shops for my errands, and learning how long it takes to get to my parent’s house and my piano student’s houses and various other things. Our neighbors are all so sweet, and we have thoroughly loved our backyard.

Another friend that was moving gave us quite a bit of outdoor furniture because they wouldn’t have room for it in their new house. It has already been such a blessing and really makes the back yard look so nice!

Here’s some photos of some of the “so far” afters…by “so far” afters, I mean that we still have quite a ways to go. The kitchen, for instance, still needs new cabinets, counters, and for the trim to be finished. We are also adding additional cabinet and counter space in there. We are also slowly going through and refacing all the doors to match, so that they aren’t just the standard hollow-core doors. We’ve still got tile work to do in the guest bathroom, and carpet needs to be pulled up in the last two bedrooms, pergo planks put down, and trim needs to be hung.

I absolutely love the way the light drifts through the house. I made this video one day in an attempt to capture what I could see in my mind’s eye…

God has been so very good to us. I can’t wait to see what memories and adventures we have here. <3 Rest assured, you'll be hearing soon about more of our various projects and things we are renovating. There's still quite a bit to be done. <3

{simple joys}

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The clock of life seems to be ticking ever faster these days. One day flows into the next, and I’m never sure of just how life flies by with more expediency as each moment passes.

I’m watching my tiny son grow up. Though he is but a little babe; a man-child now, already I see the stirrings of the grown man he will be one day. The firm set of his brow when he is deep in thought, and the determination he is using to become more independent and mobile. The days are long, but the years are short, and I know it will be but a brief time he will be in my home with me before he flies our nest and builds one of his own.

I’m thankful for this season of rest the Lord has provided for me. Through the hard work of my husband, I am able to stay here and feather our nest and care for our little boy. It has been a welcome reprieve from the craziness of working, and balancing night shift and other life changes. God knows what we need when we need it.

I find myself admiring the beauty in the simplest of things…

The way the silverware looks in the drawer all clean and shiny.

The way the sunshine streams in through the front door in the afternoons.

The fresh smell of Oliver’s laundry all washed and ready to be folded and put away.

The way the banana muffins look as they come out of the oven…hot and gooey with chocolate-y goodness.

I’m thankful for how God continues to reveal Himself as we’ve been praying through some major life decisions. We’ve got our laundry list of things that we are hoping to accomplish and work towards, and at the end of the day, God is faithful. He continually leads us right where we are to go, and firmly shuts doors that we are not meant to walk through.

I’m so thankful for our simple, and joy-filled, quiet life. Life is such a precious gift- may I never take even one minute for granted.

{grove collaborative and ebates}

Good afternoon, my friends!

I don’t normally do posts like this, but I wanted to share because it made me really excited. πŸ˜€

Now that I am home full time (or most of the time, anyway- I am still teaching and tuning piano πŸ™‚ ), I’ve had more time to dedicate to figuring out how to best use our home budget money. We are in the process of saving to purchase a home, so I’m wanting to stretch our pennies as far as I can.

I kept seeing people post about their Grove Collaborative welcome orders, and I decided to give it a try. However, I wanted to see what exactly I could put in my order to make it have the best bang for the bucks.

First, I installed the ebates browser extension. I signed up several months ago and have had great success getting money back with our amazon and ebay purchases. If you decide to sign up, please use my link! πŸ˜€

Next, I went to Grove Collaborative to place the order. This made my ebates browser extension pop up to let me know that an order through them would give me $2.00 cash back. (Score!)

Grove Collaborative has an order minimum of $20 that you have to spend in order to receive the free cleaning supplies. You enter your email address on this page, and it automatically adds the free items to your cart. It also adds several other products to your cart to make up the $20 difference. I didn’t really want some of the items that it added, so I deleted them and began to scour the site for other options. I also joined the VIP free trial so that shipping would be free as well.

Here is what my order ended up looking like:

And here is where $2.00 was credited to my ebates account:

So, that made my total $20.38 for all of the following:

So far, I’m using the cleaning caddy to hold washcloths in our bathroom, and it’s doing great for that. The only Mrs. Meyers scent out of these that I did not like at all was the Lemon Verbena. To me, it smells like bug spray. πŸ˜› Live and learn. The sad thing is that I ordered dish soap, all purpose spray and hand soap in that scent because I was expecting a fresh, citrus scent. Oh well. I have absolutely LOVED the hand towels. I’m actually planning on ordering several more because they are so absorbent and do a fantastic job! I have not yet tried the glass cleaner concentrate.

All in all, for $20, I am VERY pleased with how many items I was able to get.  PRO TIP: Some of the Mrs Meyers scents are priced more expensively than others. I went with the ones that were a dollar or so less than the others and as a result, was able to get an additional bottle just from the savings.

Let me know if you do it, and what you decided to get! πŸ™‚ Have a blessed afternoon, friends!

~Mrs SuperShevy

{bath time for baby}

We’re beginning to fall into a routine here at our little house in the valley, and I never want to forget these sweet moments as my little baby is growing by the day. I’m trying to do better about documenting even the tiniest things, so that we can look back one day and remember what life was like “way back when”. Here’s a glimpse of Ollie’s bath time in black and white. <3







I so love this simple life we live. <3