The Gift of Self Care

The Gift of Self Care

I read an article the other day that claimed putting Christmas lights and decorations up early might make you happier. I’m inclined to agree as I definitely felt a surge of happiness and excitement while decorating our entire home last weekend. I have never ever decorated this early for Christmas but something about it just felt right to me this year.

As our lights lit up our street our early Christmas decorating was made all the more obvious by the lack of lights on the other houses. Our decision was literally bright as a light shining in the darkness—a beacon of nonconformity. What would the neighbors think? It was the perfect literal example of, in my opinion, the most vital form of self care—making the best choices for myself even if they may seem odd, inconvenient, or against the social grain.

Please hear me, I’m not talking about rebellion. I’m referring to healthy, calculated decisions based on what is the healthiest, and most beneficial action for me to remain in a calm and centered spiritual, emotional, and physical state. That is much more difficult to execute than rebellion. Rebellion is caustic and harmful to the rebellious person, and those surrounding them often suffer the consequences too. While making the best decision for self is healthy and healing not only for that person but also for those surrounding them too. I’ve heard it said that making the best decision for ourselves is also the best decision for everyone else too.

Our early Christmas decorating is unconventional and could possibly irritating to our neighbors but it was the best decision for Sam and I. I needed an early injection of Christmas joy and my decision made Sam happy and created an opportunity for us to have fun together. We haven’t had one complaint from our neighbors and the lights cast a cheery glow on our street. Then yesterday, after the lights outside were hung, I read an article that said there’s another possible benefit to decorating early: the neighbors might think we are friendlier! Research has shown that people interpret Christmas decorations on a home as a cue that the people inside are sociable. With all that’s gone on this year, I want nothing more than to spread friendship to my neighbors!

Choosing to do what was best for me injected my life with some much needed Christmas joy, created an opportunity for Sam and I to laugh and have fun together and create happy memories, and shared some friendly and sociable goodwill with my neighbors. I’d say that’s a win, win, win!

With Thanksgiving just days away and Christmas here in a month it can be tempting to make decisions for yourself and your family based on what you think other people want or need. I want to encourage you to do what is best for you this holiday season. This is a head time of year to focus on self care and mental health but I’d say it’s the most important time. Being in a calm and centered state will surely make this the most enjoyable holiday season you’ve ever had.

So wether it’s putting your Christmas lights up early, saying no to that holiday party, or sleeping in your own bed for Christmas give yourself the priceless gift of doing what is best for you. You won’t regret it!

Oh, and early Merry Christmas!

Maegan

#MentalMonday fear of responsibility

#MentalMonday fear of responsibility

Happy Monday! It’s time for another #mentalmonday post. Today I want to talk about fear of responsibility. It’s an epidemic that is infecting my generation like never before, and I am certainly not exempt. I used to think that it was fear of failure that kept me from writing my books or starting a YouTube channel, then I realized that it wasn’t the act of the those things that kept me from doing them, it was what might come after.

My heart seizes at the thought of success. Can I handle that much pressure—that much responsibility? That’s where self confidence and love come in. I have to believe in myself that I can handle whatever responsibilities and pressure are given me if I succeed and unconditional self love when I fail.

As a Christian I also know that God’s love for me is based on his unchanging decision to love me—my performance has no bearing—that’s really helpful too. Believing in and loving yourself—while acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses—is paramount in squashing your fears. Believe in yourself and love yourself unconditionally, and soar or crash-land you’ll conquer your fear in peace. And the important thing is that you lived your life, you tried—isn’t that what really matters?

Is fear of responsibility holding you back? You are not alone! What are your dreams, your ambitions? I want to know!

*The little boy in the photo is my dad in his Roscoe Bankers baseball uniform. Thanks for letting me use your photo dad!

Maegan

#MentalMonday Positivity

#MentalMonday Positivity

For today’s #mentalhealthmonday I want to embrace positivity. Sam, Lemon, and I spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon at an Addison park engulfed by gorgeous 75 degree wether. It was so serene—the wind wasn’t even blowing! Sam and I had been talking earlier that morning about how despite life’s great difficulties and heartbreaks life is still good.

Even though I was struggling with some emotional things, I couldn’t deny that indeed my life, my day, was still really great. I mean, just look at those trees! I acknowledged I was spending a quiet Sunday afternoon with my best friend and my dog, drinking unsweetened, blackberry tea from Sonic, while basking in fall’s radiance. It turned my whole day around!

If you find yourself emotionally struggling today, remember that your life is still good too. You’re alive, it’s your favorite time of year, the sun is out, you’re being soothed by rain on your window, your cat woke you up purring in your ear, your dog wants nothing more than to love you, you have family and friends who care about you, and God loves you(even if you don’t like/believe in Him), and I care enough about you—maybe you’re someone I’ve never met—to reach out and give you a virtual hug and remind you that you matter! Your life matters and your today is a good day! Grab a piece of paper and write down three reasons your life is good then tag someone you know who needs encouragement in the comments! I believe you are going to have a fantastic Monday! #dontstopbelievin ✨🍁🦔

Maegan

#mentalmonday encouragement

#mentalmonday encouragement

It’s #mentalmonday and I just wanted to remind you that today may feel like it’s kicking you in the pants, but it’s not because you are warrior who knows the value of surrender, submission, and positive thinking! It takes inner strength and endurance to wrestle against our hardest days. When you’re having a bad day, remember that it takes a strong person to admit their struggles, embrace them, and do what is necessary to move back to a safe place of rest.

If this is you and you’re having a bad day today I want you to reach out to a friend with a phone call, text, or dm. Isolation is the enemy! Confide today’s struggle to them(it doesn’t have to be your whole story) and ask for prayer and/or encouragement! If this is not you today (though make no mistake that this could be you tomorrow)I want you to reach out to the first person that pops into your head or the person that’s been on your heart or mind lately and call/text/dm them words of encouragement and/or prayer AND an open ended invitation to be an ear who will listen and be supportive (without giving unasked for advice😉)! Let’s lift one another up today with encouragement and positivity! Happy Monday!

Maegan

Our Fall Bucket List

Our Fall Bucket List

Fall is my favorite. And, I don’t care what any of you may believe, I love fall more than anyone anywhere! Don’t misunderstand–I’m so glad I’m surrounded by others who love fall like myself–it’s just never going to be as much as me. My birthday lands on the first day of fall and its like the official fall kick-off party. The respite from the hellacious temperatures, the annual Monarch Butterfly migration that swirled though my town every year as a kid, sweater weather, and football season, drinking hot cocoa on aluminum bleachers that could turn your butt into a Popsicle, the knit hats, and the promise of crisp nights and cool morning walks with my dog; it’s just the best. A fall bucket list is practically my love letter to the season.

FALL BUCKET LIST:

Dallas Arboretum – Autumn at the Arboretum

The Texas State Fair

Texas Discovery Gardens

Day trip to East Texas to see the Fall Foliage

Carve Pumpkins

Make Apple Cider

Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING!

Dress Lemon up for Halloween

Crisp evening walks with Sam

Make bourbon apple pie

Wear all my favorite sweaters . . . And all my scarves too!

Wear dark lipstick

Lay under a warm blanket and read good books

Read 10 books from Sept. 21st – Nov 30th.

Celebrate my Birthday

Watch non-scary Halloween movies

Knitting in the evenings

Trips to the Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Arboretum: Autumn at the Arboretum event which begins on September 22rd-Nov 21st. Thier fall festival is a spectacular show of color with 4,500 of fall’s favorite flower-Chrysanthemums, along with 150,000 more stunning, fall blooming plants, and thier internationally acclaimed Pumpkin Village, featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, squash and gourds, plus the outstanding Children’s Adventure Garden. Don’t miss this amazing festival and be sure to bring your camera. It is breathtaking color at every turn.  It’s incredibly impressive and makes for a great photo opp. Plus it’s a great excuse to grab a “sack lunch” at the nearby Eatzies and have a picnic overlooking White Rock Lake.

Several days later the Texas State Fair begins! Sam and I go to the fair to see Big Tex, ride the giant Ferris wheel, eat a Fletcher’s Corny Dog, visit the amazing vegetable gardens and Texas Discovery Gardens, the petting zoo and the pig races(they are hilarious). And bonus: the Monarch Butterflies will be migrating south during the fair and the Texas Discovery Garden ground’s have planted flowers that specifically attract the Monarchs. If you get lucky you might even get to see them catching and tagging the butterflies to track them!

This year Sam and I have made plans to see the fall foliage in East Texas. The trees in most parts of Texas don’t turn for the fall–mainly because most Texas native trees and shrubs are evergreen–and that’s something I miss seeing. I’m already looking forward to our day trip and will share more with y’all when we go in late October.

Anyway, those are just some of the big things Sam and I do every year together during the fall. It doesn’t mean the simpler things on our bucket list are less important though. Laying under a warm blankets on a cool fall afternoon and reading a good book is practically Heaven.

I know you probably love fall like I do and probably have a bucket list of your own. I’d love to know what you put on yours. If you live in the DFW area and have a recommendation I’d love to that too!

Maegan

Closet Tour

Closet Tour

I have been waiting so long to share this tour with you all. The renovations were minor but the overall effect is spectacular! I get so excited every time I walk into our closet, now. This is my closet? No way! It is so beautiful to look at I purposely leave the closet door open! I’ve also started using it more like a real walk in closet by getting dressed in the closet–it’s way faster and more convenient. Sam is also a huge fan of the new layout and excited he no longer has to fight his way through the pillows strewn over the floor. I always feel satisfied and proud of my work when Sam gets excited about the end result of a project. I know I not created something beautiful but also functional. I’m linking the post I wrote on how I decluttered our closet before I redesigned the layout and organized our clothes. BONUS: I’m also listing the five ways to instantly give your closet a face-lift at the end of this post. This is not an affiliated post and there are no affiliate links in this post. All products and opinions are my own and bought with my own money.

Here is the before:img_0028img_0029img_0030

And here is the after:acs_0509acs_0510acs_0529 My total renovation cost for this project was fifty-two dollars. Most everything I purchased was on sale or I used coupon. We already owned the lumber, paint, wooden dowel, acrylic magazine holder(this one is similar), chair, sheepskin rug, and art(thrifted). The total project if you owned none of the supplies but, did have you own power tools, screws, and paint brushes, would be about $150+ (not including the accessories). Here’s the breakdown: $20-$30 for lumber, $4-$7 a piece for shelf brackets depending on size, $15 for a quart of paint, $18 for hat hooks if bought full price, $8 for a 6ft 1 1/4in wooden dowel rod, $15 for an acrylic magazine holder, 60 hangers for $30, 10 for $8 plastic slimline hangersacs_0515acs_0522

As you can see the ‘before’ closet was a jumbled mess. The mismatched hangers and random pillows and other accouterments strewn across the floor lent itself to a haphazard feel. As I considered the closet’s overall design I realized that Sam’s clothes needed to be hanging where mine currently hung and vise versa. I was also wasting a lot of dead space with the dresser and small ‘shoe shelf’ which didn’t even begin to hold half of my shoes. There was also an odd nook on the other side of the door I was never sure with what I should do. I’d also been organizing my purses in shoe boxes on the shelf above my clothes and it had never stayed tidy.acs_0512acs_0525

The first thing I did was declutter our closet. I then swapped Sam and I’s sides of the closet so my maxi dresses wouldn’t be dragging the floor and Sam could store his things on the shorter shelf. I decided to move all the clothes down the closet so when you open the door and step inside we would greeted by white open space. With the clothes moved to the other side of the closet I replaced the hangers. Just swapping out the mismatched, bulky, plastic hangers for identical slimline hangers made a huge difference. I quickly realized that I didn’t have enough hangers the first go around and it ended up taking sixty hangers–which was shocking–for my clothes alone. We lucked out and had enough white velvet slimline hangers for Sam’s dress pants but we had to buy more to replace the rest. Sam’s hangers were very cheap($2 a 10 pack) because he doesn’t like the non-slip hangers for his shirts so we found some plastic ones at Walmart!acs_0511acs_0517

To maximize space I added a bottom rod beneath my tops for jeans and dress pants. If you saw my Instastories, the original bottom closet rod brackets were hung too far to the left and were old. We bought two inexpensive brackets to replace the old ones and repositioned them to hang directly below the top shelf brackets. Since this is a rental, I stuck to the same closet bracket style that already existed–though I would have loved to rip them out and replace them with modern and stylish brackets. I want our apartment complex to appreciate the upgrade–not charge me for it whenever we move out.

Next, I worked on the shoe shelves. I measured my tallest pair of heels and added an extra inch in height to determined how many shelves I could get from floor to the shelf above the closet rod. I also measured my tallest riding boots and allotted space for them on the floor. I painted and Sam cut and hung the shelves. This is my favorite part of the entire closet!acs_0524acs_0523

The purse shelves gave me the most trouble. I didn’t think I could fit boutique style purse shelves in our closet. I originally wanted a little command station but decided to give it up in favor of purse shelves. We had some left over wood from another project that just happened to be the perfect depth. I painted them and Sam hung them and the ended working perfectly! Now, I have room up top to add even more purses! I can hear the leather of Sam’s wallet squeaking as he death-grips it. I have a very small hat collection that I was keeping on Styrofoam mannequin heads–which was cumbersome–and the blank spot on the back wall seemed like the perfect place for them. The hooks I bought were a little too big but for $3 each they are getting the job done. Now I think the mannequins look chic and add character. acs_0514acs_0513

Lastly, I felt the space needed an bit of personality and a place to sit and put shoes on. I already owned the sheepskin and chair–some of these items were haphazardly stuffed in a corner of our loft. The floral art was something I thrifted recently and was so so excited to give it a permanent home!

Overall, I think the closet mini-reno turned out beautifully! Its such a functional space now AND it’s beautiful to look at! There are a few things I still want to work on in this space. I still want to add an extra shelf on Sam’s side of the closet to extend the storage, install a milk glass light fixture, and swap the storage boxes out for ones that are 12×12. Overall, it turned out wonderfully and I’m very proud.acs_0526acs_0517

Here are the five things you can do right now to give your closet a major face-lift:

1. Declutter your closet — the best thing you can do is donate all those clothes you don’t wear so you can see the things you actually love to wear. I wrote all about declutteringnmy own closet here so you don’t have to figure it out.

2. Matching hangers — matching hangers streamline the closet and creates a cohesive, and dare I say, custom look for not a lot of work or cash.

3. Hang clothes by color– hang all red tops together, hang all red dresses and skirts together(separately from tops), etc. then hang all clothes by type in rainbow order. This streamlines the closet and makes getting dressed quicker and more fun.

4. Invest in hooks — hats, belts, scarves–get those things off the floor and out of the clothing space by hanging them on hooks along the wall

5. Add something personal — a monogram, a piece of art, your favorite perfume, pink hangers, find a way to make your space look and feel like you!

I hope you loved this post! I want to see your closet makeovers! Link them in the comments below so I can check them out!

Maegan

P.S. Here are some bonus blooper photos of Lemon! Have a great week!

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My Fall Playlist

My Fall Playlist

The last several years I’ve made a fall playlist and since I have a blog this year I thought I would share it with everyone here! I don’t know if it’s actually a thing to create a fall playlist but I make one just like I do every year for Christmas and summer.

Click on the player above and it will take you to my playlist on either your Spotify app or the Spotify web player. Spotify is an app you can download on your phone or computer that will let you listen to music for free. You don’t have to have a paid membership–that’s just of you want add free listening.

I am really curious if I’m the only one that does this. I can’t be the only person who makes a fall playlist, right!? So I thought it would be really awesome if we could all share playlists because I want to know what you guys listen to and maybe add some more good tunes to my own list!

Leave a link to your Spotify playlist or maybe just your favorite songs or bands that remind you of fall in the comments so we can all enjoy your jams! If I get enough suggestions I can create a new playlist with all your suggestions!

I’m so excited! I hope this works! Don’t forget to leave your faves in the comments!

Maegan — xx

Our Foster Care Update

Our Foster Care Update

We’ve waited all summer to make this decision and we know that many of you are eager to know what is next for our foster care journey. After several months on break Sam and I have decided to put foster care on hold.

The reason for the postponement is a lack of space. Right now we just don’t have the adequate space to continue sharing our bedroom with an older infant or possibly a toddler. We are so so glad we fostered Baby E and would do it again in a heartbeat, but going forward we need more space. We also have no room for our families to come stay and help out from time to time. Not having that extra room put a strain on us and our families when they did come and visit. So until our lease is up we are putting foster care on hold.

While we wait, we will still continue to advocate for foster care and the children who are in the system. I will continue to talk about and advocate for foster care here on the blog as well. This blog began as a way to share our journey with family and friends and it will always be a topic I talk about.

Maegan — xx

If you’d like to read about our foster care journey start here.

If you’re like to learn more about the foster families I featured in my Unsung Heroes Series you can find it here.

The Last of Summer

The Last of Summer

The end of summer is finally are upon us. There were many house renovations and projects and a whole bucket list of summer activities–only half of which were accomplished. I always begin looking froward to fall every year about this time as the summer heat has worn its welcome and my desire for cooler weather is thwarted by the knowledge that the heat wont be letting up until late September or October.The Last of Summer, A Review of Summer and Living Room Tour, Maegan K Johnson Blog

I’m enjoying the last bit of my regular house decor before I take it all down–like the madwoman my husband thinks I am–and decorate for fall. I wont see the burnished coppers and bright reds of fall until almost winter so I make up for the sun-scorched grass and ever-green oak trees with a homage to fall in my home.The Last of Summer, A Review of Summer and Living Room Tour, Maegan K Johnson Blog

My manuscript plans were thwarted by the two weeks in July I lay in bed with the most horrible tooth and jaw pain. And I in no way got to the end of my reading list. The tooth pain also got in the way of my master bedroom closet renovation and the repainting of my upstairs office–such is life. The 110 degree weather killed my Doris Day rose bush but Sam is having a wonderful crop of cucumbers and we have made at least six jars of pickles in the last three weeks. The Last of Summer, A Review of Summer and Living Room Tour, Maegan K Johnson Blog

Sam and I did manage to go record shopping several times this summer to my utter delight. We have plans to get the loft painted soon and the closet renovation was finally finished. I didn’t feel the need to get everything on our summer bucket list done because it’s a guideline and not a rule. Whenever Sam and I needed something to do we had our bucket list to rely on and otherwise we made our own fun. We are true homebodies and enjoy just being at home together–so it’s a real shock I didn’t get through my reading list. The Last of Summer, A Review of Summer and Living Room Tour, Maegan K Johnson Blog

I did manage to finish a moderate knitting project that is now tucked away to be wrapped as a Christmas gift. We are soaking up the last of our summer at home before the holidays arrive. My birthday is next month and then we have plans to travel to Alabama for a family vacation in October. I plan to visit my parents in Tennessee sometime in November since I wasn’t able to visit during the summer. And then of course, there is Thanksgiving and Christmas for which we always travel seven hours or more to be with family. The Last of Summer, A Review of Summer and Living Room Tour, Maegan K Johnson Blog

I have always wondered what life would be like to stay in my hometown or even my own home every holiday. I never have had the privilege my whole life. What is that like? If that is you, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What’s it like to be able to sleep in your own bed after spending the day with family for the holidays? It must be so nice, I would think.

Here’s to enjoying the last dog days of summer.

Maegan – xx

Restored by the Fords

Restored by the Fords

For some time now, I’ve been seeing these incredible white interiors on Pinterest and I can’t get enough. I did a little search and found that these beautiful interiors all have one amazing designer in common–Leanna Ford. She is also part of the duo that makes up the HGTV design team on Restored by the Fords in which she and her brother Steve enliven quirky and unique houses in Pittsburgh.

This fabulous home of Los Angeles-based interior designer Leanne Ford was photographed by the talented Nicole Franzen for domino. Leanne’s 1945 farmhouse is filled to the brim with fabulous vintage finds and an almost completely white color palette that brings a sense of cohesion to the cacophony of textures and design eras galleried throughout her home. But make no mistake, as gorgeous as the vintage chandeliers, gilded mirrors, and shiny brass fixtures may be, it’s the white color palette that is the star of the show. Endless shades of vanilla, cream, and ecru are the showgirls against the time-worn and weathered backdrop of the farmhouse itself. Never has anyone made white feel so warm, so timeless, so layered–like the folds of a creamy, woolen blanket.

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Photography by Nicole Franzen for domino

Back to School Beauty Favorites

Back to School Beauty Favorites

I got so many questions about this makeup look the other day when I posted it to my Instastories that I thought I would write a Back to School Beauty Favorites based on it. Lets face it–the kids might have gone back to school this week but the summer heat isn’t going anywhere until late September. Some of these products I’ve used faithfully during the hotter months in years prior but the one’s marked with an (*) are new products I’ve fallen in love with this summer.

I have three products I’v become particularly obsessed with: The Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation (it’s the best foundation I’ve found for oily skin and doesn’t break up on my chin); Coty Airspun Powder (It smells like my great grandma but honestly it’s better than the Laura Mercier Powder. GASP! and it’s only $6); Maybelline Shine Compulsion Lipstick (it’s the perfect dupe for the new Marc Jacobs Gloss Sticks and it is sooo freaking beautiful and sexy on the lips. It’s not sticky or tacky and feels light as chapstick. I’m OBSESSED!)

+ MAKEUP WORN

FACE:

Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation / Bone 1W1 *

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer / Fair Neutral 12N

Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette Refillable Pan / Lucid

Coty Airspun Powder / Transulcent *

Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion / 10M Honey *

Milani Baked Blush / Berry Amour 03

Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powder / Pale Pearl

BROWS:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer / Taupe

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel

EYES:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette

Ardell Faux Mink Lashes / 817 *

Diorshow Maximizer 3D Lash Primer

L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara / Waterproof Blackest Black *

LIPS:

Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Lip Liner / Natural 049

Maybelline Shine Compulsion Lipstick / Baddest Beige *

Maegan — xx

Unsung Heroes: The Baker Family

Unsung Heroes: The Baker Family

If you are new here I have been hosting a foster care series for the last three weeks called Unsung Heroes. The last three Mondays I have featured a foster mom and her family that has stood out for her devotion, dedication, and advocacy for all foster children. These women and their families are the Robin Hoods, the Dark Nights of our time–average people like you and me daring to change the world. I interviewed each foster mom about the ins and outs of foster care from the most commonly asked questions to the most sensitive. I’m confident that you’ll not only be inspired by each woman but may have some of your own questions answered and possibly leave with a new perspective!

Our final series family are the Bakers. Amy and her husband Curt live in Baltimore, Maryland with their three beautiful children: Henry age four, who they recently adopted from foster care; and their two beautiful foster children Finn, age three, and June, twelve months. Amy is a wedding photographer with a beautiful farmhouse Instagram page called @ournottinghamcottage and her husband Curt is a sales manager. They love spending time together as a family, thrifting, refurbishing furniture, and family movie nights. The Bakers have been fostering for one year.
Unsung Heroes: The Baker Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: Amy, I’m so honored to have you and your family as my final series guests on the blog today. Let’s dive right in–what made you and Curt decide foster care was for your family?

Amy: I have wanted to since I can remember and when I met my husband it’s something we were both called to do.

Maegan: Timing is always a topic that comes up in foster care. When did you and Curt know it was ‘time’?

Amy: After we got married we were immediately ready to start our family and started the certification process about 6 months after our wedding.

Unsung Heroes: The Baker Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge as a foster parent?

Amy: All of the appointments and how busy your life instantly changes overnight.

Maegan: What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a foster parent?

Amy: Make sure you and your spouse are 1000% on the same page and are open for love and heartbreak. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and say no if you aren’t ready yet.

Maegan: If you could give one piece of advice to a new foster parent what would it be?

Amy: Surround yourself with support. Whether that’s family, friends, or other foster parents having someone there to walk through this journey with you. My second piece of advice is ADVOCATE for your foster children.

Unsung Heroes: The Baker Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: What is your goal as a foster parent?

Amy: Our goal started out to build our family with children who do not have a chance to have a full life. Since we have started, we have had the privilege to foster 7 children total. We have adopted one through the foster to adopt program, 2 long-term foster children, and 3 emergency weekend placements. Our goal now is to love each child unconditionally until their biological family is ready to get them back and in our long term placements, adoption.

Unsung Heroes: The Baker Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: Fostering is not sustainable lifestyle and it’s important to have a plan before beginning. Does your family have a set of goals you plan to or a specific end date?

Amy: We are planning to foster until we have adopted 3 children. When our children reach at least 10 years old, we plan to restart fostering older children.

Maegan: What is the best thing about being a foster parent?

Amy: The opportunity to be in each child’s life. It’s truly the greatest gift to be able to impact these children and love on them.

Unsung Heroes: The Baker Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: Attachment is one of, if not the biggest, concern most non-foster parents have about becoming a foster parent themselves. What are your thoughts on attachment?

Amy: Attachment is KEY for these children, it’s usually their biggest need when they come into care. I’m not going to sugar coat it and say that doesn’t make this process extremely challenging and constantly bittersweet. We were beyond scared to start this process and get our hearts broken. We are currently in the middle of a potential reunification for one of our foster children we’ve had since birth. I can’t count how many tears have been shed during this process but we have been able to give this child the ability to attach to her biological family because we made sure she felt like she was part of our family.

Unsung Heroes: The Baker Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: Why are you passionate about foster care?

Amy: Because there are children who need second chances and biological parents who need them too. Any of us could be in the situation these people are in.

Maegan: If you could only use three words to describe the certification process, what would they be? Why those words?

Amy: Exciting, tedious, informative

Unsung Heroes: The Baker Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care Series

Maegan: There is a great need for foster parents all across America. Could you list some of the statistics for your area?

Amy: In 2017 Maryland reported 51,349 charges of neglect or abuse. In Baltimore City the number of foster children has varied from 2,000 – 6,000 in the last few years. From my research I could not find an exact amount at this current time but Baltimore City (which is where we’re certified) is extremely high.

Unsung Heroes: The Baker Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care Series

Thank you so much Amy for letting me interview you today. And thank you so very much for all the hard work you and Curt do as a foster parents. And thank you for being a shining light to all foster children.

I hoped you enjoyed hearing from Amy and all our other foster moms, and that you learned something new today. Please leave Amy some love here in the comments and Instagram–foster parents need lots of encouragement and support! If you personally know Amy and Curt I’m asking that you to support them with your hands this week. Call and ask when you can come over and do some laundry and/or wash some dishes or bring them dinner. Don’t call and ask what you can do–call and say your coming over to help or bring a meal. And then pray for them! It takes a community to foster–it takes lots of help. So, show Amy and Curt how much you appreciate all they do by lending a helping hand. If you’d like to follow along on the Baker family’s journey you can find them here on Instagram!

Thank you to all the foster families who participated in my feature and thank you to all of you who have faithfully followed along. I hope you’ve been inspired and motivated!

Follow these links for the Paxson FamilyDoss Family, and Wright Family features!

Maegan –xx

Unsung Heroes: The Wright Family

Unsung Heroes: The Wright Family

If you are new here I am hosting a four-week foster care series called Unsung Heroes. Each Monday I am featuring a foster mom and her family that has stood out for her devotion, dedication, and advocacy for all foster children. These women and their families are the Robin Hoods, the Dark Nights of our time–average people like you and me daring to change the world. I interviewed each foster mom about the ins and outs of foster care from the most commonly asked questions to the most sensitive. I’m confident that you’ll not only be inspired by each woman but may have some of your own questions answered and possibly leave with a new perspective!

This week’s family is very near and dear to our heart. We are blessed to call them long time friends as we have known Patty since we were in high school.  Their shining example as foster parents is one of the reasons why Sam and I decided to become foster parents ourselves. My guests this week are Patty and Ash Wright. Patty and Ash live in the Texas Hill Country and have a beautiful eight year old son, NRW, whom they adopted through foster care, and their wonder-dog Ranger. Patty is a stay at home mom (with a killer home decor Instagram FostermomFarmhouse) and her husband Ash is a political consultant. They love spending time together as a family and enjoy church, traveling, nights at the Austin Spurs basketball games, camping, fishing, family game nights and watching NRW play sports. The Wrights have been fostering for three years.

Unsung Heroes: The Wright Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: Patty, I’m so excited to have you as my series guest this week. I know we’ve talked about this before but what made you decide foster care was for your family?

Patty: After years of infertility, we started praying about how to grow our family! We had a coworker who had just adopted from foster care and their family referred us to their foster agency! We went to an informational meeting and we started paperwork the day of our first meeting!

Maegan: Timing is always a topic that comes up in foster care. When did you and Ash know it was ‘time’?

Patty: Very quickly after we learned about foster care and the growing need in Texas, Ash and I both felt like God was calling us to be foster parents! We were both excited and ready to provide love and safety to little Texans in need!

Unsung Heroes: The Wright Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge as a foster parent?

Patty: The greatest challenge as a foster parent is the uncertainty associated with foster care in many different aspects! Every foster case is different and it is almost impossible to predict how long a child will be placed with you! We were eager to adopt and we fostered several children before we were blessed to adopt our son!

Maegan: What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a foster parent?

Patty: We always encourage people who are considering foster care to research foster agencies in their area and attend an informational meeting to learn as much as possible. There is such a need for good families to foster and we want to help change the negative stigmas associated with foster care.

Unsung Heroes: The Wright Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: If you could give one piece of advice to a new foster parent what would it be?

Patty: Don’t give up!  There will be hard times but always remember why you decided to foster in the first place!

Maegan: What is your goal as a foster parent?

Patty: To provide a safe, loving home for children! We believe in God’s plan for our lives and we believe we are doing our part in helping children placed in tough situations.   We also hope to adopt from foster care again!

Unsung Heroes: The Wright Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: Fostering is not sustainable lifestyle and it’s important to have a plan before beginning. Does your family have a set of goals you plan to or a specific end date?

Patty: No, we hope to provide a safe home for many children for many years to come!

Maegan: What is the best thing about being a foster parent?

Patty: Watching our foster children grow and learn is the best thing for us! When we think about how far our son has come in the past three years, we are so thankful that we were chosen to be his parents!

Unsung Heroes: The Wright Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: Attachment is one of, if not the biggest, concern most non-foster parents have about becoming a foster parent themselves. What are your thoughts on attachment?

Patty: It is super important for foster parents to teach children in their care about normal bonding and attachment practices. Most often, children in care are coming from a place of abuse and neglect and are actually craving attachment. It is important to treat each child in your care as “your own” for as long as you are blessed to have them!

Maegan: Why are you passionate about foster care?

Patty: Our world is a broken place and we want to provide a safe home for children who are put in impossible situations. It is our job as Christians to take care of those in need and we are thankful that we have the resources to do so!

Unsung Heroes: The Wright Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: If you could only use three words to describe the certification process, what would they be? Why those words?

Patty:

  • Paperwork-There is A LOT. Start with the easy pages and get those finish quickly!  Look over the more extensive questions and think about what you’re going to say before starting. Save the hardest for last!
  • Commitment-Do not get scared of the paperwork, trainings and information! Push through and keep your focus on becoming licensed!
  • Excitement-Becoming certified as a foster parent is such an exciting time! Don’t let the process overwhelm you!

Unsung Heroes: The Wright Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesMaegan: There is a great need for foster parents all across America. Could you list some of the statistics for your area?

Patty:

  • On average, there are 7 children each night sleeping on cots at CPS offices while waiting on a foster home.
  • In 2015, there were 415,129 children in foster care in the US.
    • In Texas: 27,895 children
    • In Austin: 3,568

Unsung Heroes: The Wright Family, A Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Care SeriesThank you so Patty for letting me interview you today. And thank you so very much for all the hard work you and Ash do as a foster parents. And thank you for being a shining light to all foster children.

I hoped you enjoyed hearing from Patty and that you learned something new today. Please leave her some love here in the comments and Instagram–foster parents need lots of encouragement and support! If you personally know Patty and Ash I’m asking that you to support them with your hands this week. Call and ask when you can come over and do some laundry and/or wash some dishes or bring them dinner. Don’t call and ask what you can do–call and say your coming over to help or bring a meal. And then pray for them! It takes a community to foster–it takes lots of help. So, show Patty and Ash how much you appreciate all they do by lending a helping hand. If you’d like to follow along on the Wright family’s journey you can find them here on Instagram!

Follow these links for the Paxson Family and the Doss Family features!

Maegan –xx

Unsung Heroes: The Doss Family

Unsung Heroes: The Doss Family

This week’s Unsung Heroes Family Feature is the Doss family. Shelby and her husband Jerod–also known as Boogie–have two beautiful children, Layla age four and Pheonix age two, through adoption via foster care. This sweet family lives in Oklahoma and have been fostering for three and a half years! Shelby is a mom, photographer, writer and speaker and her husband Boogie is a minister. The Doss family loves Jesus, traveling, living room dance parties, Disney, and adventuring!

Maegan: Shelby, I am so glad to have you and your family as my guests today! So tell me, what made you and Boogie decide foster care was for your family?

Shelby: My husband and I knew we wanted to adopt before we were even married. About a year after tying the knot we started looking into how we would be able to fulfill that desire. We knew that it would be expensive and we wanted to start working on it right away (being 20 we knew it would be a while before we had the funds needed) that’s when I stumbled upon foster care. We saw the great need and we knew this is the route we needed to take.

Maegan: Timing is a topic that always comes up when talking about foster care. When did y’all know it was ‘time’?

Shelby: We had been talking about starting the process of getting certified to foster but since we didn’t know anyone personally who had done it, we didn’t even know where to start. One day while my husband was at work I decided I was going to call our local DHHR. When I called the woman on the other line they had classes starting in a week or so and signed us up! That woman ended up being our first home finder and it all just felt like it was meant to be. After that phone call I called my husband and told him we were about to start our journey. It’s hard to explain but It all just felt right.

Unsung Heroes The Doss Family a Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Family Feature Foster LoveMaegan: What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge as a foster parent?

Shelby: The biggest challenge to foster parents is not letting fear win. It’s easy to let the fear and anxiety creep in and take over. You’re in high stress situations, advocating, court hearings, meetings, therapy, facilitating visits, navigating relationships with biological family, all while doing your ‘normal’ everyday life. Don’t let the fear steal your joy. When you’re waiting to hear back from a worker about how court went, when goodbye is looming, or when you feel like no one is in your child’s corner-don’t let fear win. Don’t let it steal the moments you have RIGHT now. Don’t let it take the good that is there. Don’t let the thought of goodbye keep you from the joy of hello. Don’t think because you might not be with them forever that right now doesn’t matter. Fear is a lie.

Maegan: I have a lot of people ask for advice. What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a foster parent?

Shelby: Know your limits. No one can say ‘yes’ to every situation. And even though it is going to hurt when you have to say ‘no’, know that your no is someone’s yes! Know what you are capable of taking on at this point in your life. That likely will change and grow as your parent, learn the system, and become more knowledgable about parenting kids from hard places. But, especially in the beginning make sure you know what you and your spouse are ready to take on.

Maegan: If you could give one piece of advice to a new foster parent what would it be?

Shelby: Give grace. Give grace to yourself, to your child, to their biological parent, to the system. You will never be wrong in this-we could always use more of it. This doesn’t mean let everything go and just go with the flow. DON’T DO THAT! Advocate, speak up, protect, push for better! But while doing all of this recognize that we are all human and likely doing the best we can. We have a broken system and it can be disheartening and frustrating but, just like any relationship working together will get a lot more accomplished than continually pointing out shortcomings. Treat the system and the birth family as if we are all on the same side-because we should be! The side of the child.

Unsung Heroes The Doss Family a Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Family Feature Foster CareMaegan: What is your goal as a foster parent?

Shelby: While we had the dream and desire to adopt we also knew that foster care was so much more than a means to adopt. We became foster parents to be a safe place for those who needed it. We not only had a heart to be there for the children but to be a source of encouragement for the parent as well.

Maegan: Fostering is not sustainable lifestyle and it’s important to have a plan before beginning. Does your family have a set of goals you plan to or a specific end date?

Shelby: After being foster parents for over 3 years in West Virginia we packed up and moved to Oklahoma. Right now we are giving our family time to just be. We haven’t lived a life without workers, visits, and the state involved in our parenting since the day we became parents over 4 years ago. After a tumultuous battle for our son we knew this is what we needed. These past 6 months have been medicine to our soul. We still have a strong yearning to be involved in the foster care system and we are confident that one day we will jump back into being foster parents but this break was crucial. So, while we are on this respite we are looking for other ways to be active in advocating for vulnerable children. I’m working on getting certified as a CASA worker and we are hoping to be enrolled in a mentor program at some point. Even during the periods of times that we don’t have foster children in our home, I don’t believe there will ever be a day when we can fully walk away from foster care-we know too much. We have the ability, we see the need, and therefore we have the responsibility.

Maegan: What is the best thing about being a foster parent?

Shelby: The absolute best thing about being a foster parent is seeing our children flourish. I say our because as soon as a child is welcomed into our home-they are ours-even if just for a season. Being able to witness the broken being healed, the fear turn to peace, the dim light shine bright, is such an incredible gift. Being there to nature and help heal the hearts of the one that’s hurting is one of my greatest joys in life.

Maegan: Attachment is one of, if not the biggest, concern most non-foster parents have about becoming a foster parent themselves. What are your thoughts on attachment?

Shelby: Attachment is different for everyone and I can only speak for myself. Love is a choice. And as long as you are choosing to love these children attachment will come. It might be immediate (for both of my forever children it was instant), or it might take time. But making an active decision to love regardless if attachment takes place right away thing or not is the most important thing. And in time-attachment will come.

Unsung Heroes The Doss Family a Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Family FeatureMaegan: Why are you passionate about foster care?

Shelby: I’m passion about foster care because if we as foster parents aren’t then who will be? Our eyes have been open to crisis and we have a responsibility to speak up and out for those who cannot for themselves. I look at the world differently now. When I hear about a child in need the thought is ‘what if that was my child.’ Because, in reality it could be, and to think if I would have missed out or not been there in the time they needed me most of all because of fear or because I wasn’t educated about foster care. I’m so passionate about speaking about foster care because I want people to know two things: their child could be out there-needing them, crying for them, looking for them—regardless if it will be their child for forever or for just a season. That child is out there and they need YOU. James 1:27 is still in my Bible and I plan on living that out. These children deserve better, our future deserves better-and who am I to say ‘leave it for the next person-that’s just not my thing.’ Taking care of each other-that should be everyone’s thing.

Maegan: If you could only use three words to describe the certification process, what would they be? Why those words?

Shelby: Paperwork. Transparency. Preparation.

I would use these 3 words to describe the certification process. Paperwork-not much to say about that. Get ready for your hand to cramp.

Transparency-Be ready to open up and let people into parts of your life you normally wouldn’t. It can be uncomfortable for someone to basically interview you for the position of ‘mama’, but its all worth it. Preparation-Not only did a lot of what we were having to do to be certified prepare us as foster parents but it was preparing our minds and hearts for what was going to happen as well. The paperwork-it never goes away. The transparency was continuing as well–we had to get used to people coming in and out of our house, asking permission for things we normally wouldn’t have even age much thought to, giving an answer for doctor’s visits, formula intake, etc. So more than the classes, the attributes we were perfecting through this time were what were beneficial.

Unsung Heroes The Doss Family a Maegan Johnson Blog Foster Family Feature Foster Care Foster BabiesMaegan: There is a great need for foster parents all across America. Before we go, could you list some of the statistics for your area?

Shelby: In Oklahoma on any given day there are more than 350 children who are waiting for a forever home. That’s 350 children that are literally just waiting for someone to say ‘yes’ to them. There are over 5,000 children in our state in need of a safe place to land and more than 1,000 of those children have a permanent goal of adoption.

Maegan: Shelby, it was such a pleasure to talk with you about foster care! Thank you so much for all the hard work you and Boogie do as foster parents. And thank you for being a shining light to all foster children.

I hoped you enjoyed hearing from Shelby and that you learned something new today. Please leave her some love here in the comments and Instagram–foster parents need lots of encouragement and support! If you personally know Shelby and Boogie I’m asking that you to support them with your hands this week. Call and ask when you can come over and do some laundry and/or wash some dishes or bring them dinner. Don’t call and ask what you can do–call and say your coming over to help or bring a meal. And then pray for them! It takes a community to foster–it takes lots of help. So, show Shelby and Boogie how much you appreciate all they do by lending a helping hand. If you’d like to follow along on the Doss family’s journey you can find them here on Instagram! Have a great week everyone!

Maegan — xx

Unsung Heroes: The Paxson’s

Unsung Heroes: The Paxson’s

Unsung Hereos: A Foster Family Feature Series, The Paxson's, Maegan Johnson's Blog, Foster Care, Foster Families, Foster LoveToday is the first feature in a four week series I am hosting called Unsung Heroes. Each Monday I am featuring a foster mom and her family that has stood out for her devotion, dedication, and advocacy for all foster children. These women and their families are the Robin Hoods, the Dark Nights of our time–average people like you and me daring to change the world. I interviewed each foster mom about the ins and outs of foster care from the most commonly asked questions to the most sensitive. I’m confident that you’ll not only be inspired by each woman but may have some of your own questions answered and possibly leave with a new perspective!

Unsung Hereos: A Foster Family Feature Series, The Paxson's, Maegan Johnson's Blog, Foster Care, Foster Families, Foster LoveOur first feature family is Chelsey and Ty Paxson a sweet couple from Boerne, Texas. They are first time foster parents who decided to start their family through foster care. Chelsey works in investments and her husband Ty is an electrician by day and races his cars in his spare time. They enjoy traveling, finding great new restaurants, rodeos. Chelsey and Ty are first time foster parents to a sweet two month old baby girl who goes by Baby L.

Maegan: Chelsey, I am so honored to have you as my first feature family. Let’s jump right in: What made you and Ty decide foster care was for your family?

Chelsey: My dad was adopted, and my husband’s mom worked for an adoption agency most of his life, so adoption has always been part of our lives. We always say that we are so blessed with wonderful friends and family and wanted to share our blessings with children who might night have been so fortunate. With so many children in need, we wanted to make a difference in one of their lives before we created a new life.

Maegan: Timing is a topic that always comes up in foster care. When did y’all know it was ‘time’?

Chelsey: My husband and I have both had baby fever many times in our marriage, but every time we prayed about starting our family we felt like God shut that door for us and took the desire away. One day we prayed about starting our family through foster care and we felt that he immediately answered our prayers that it was time, so we pushed forward full steam ahead.

Unsung Hereos: A Foster Family Feature Series, The Paxson's, Maegan Johnson's Blog, Foster Care, Foster Families, Foster LoveMaegan: In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge as a foster parent?

Chelsey: Knowing that your heart is going to get broken. We really want to adopt a child so we know that our hearts are going to break if/when the child returns to family, or if we get to adopt the child we know our hearts are going to break for them and their family that the situation didn’t work out for their family to be together. These children deserve for their families to fight for them. If we win and get to adopt, it means someone else has to lose.

Maegan: I have a lot of people ask for advice. What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a foster parent?

Chelsey: Do your research and find the right agency. Even if you have a great support system and resources fostering is difficult, you don’t need to add to the challenges with an agency whose main focus isn’t the children and Jesus.

Maegan: If you could give one piece of advice to a new foster parent what would it be?

Chelsey: Don’t worry about what the world expects of you. You obviously have felt called by the Lord to help these children and lean into Him more than ever.

Unsung Hereos: A Foster Family Feature Series, The Paxson's, Maegan Johnson's Blog, Foster Care, Foster Families, Foster LoveMaegan: What is your goal as a foster parent?

Chelsey: To love these children as Christ loves us. I want them to never doubt the love we have for them and that they have a safe and healthy place to stay.

Maegan: Fostering is not sustainable lifestyle and it’s important to have a plan before beginning. Does your family have a set of goals or a specific end date?

Chelsey: Once we adopt we would probably take a break and focus on trying to have a biological child and raising our family. Once our children are a little older we would like to foster again and help as many children as we can.

Maegan: What in your opinion is the best thing about being a foster parent?

Chelsey: Getting to love on these children.

Maegan: Attachment to a foster child is one of, if not the biggest, concern most non-foster parents have about becoming a foster parent themselves. What are your thoughts on attachment?

Chelsey: Not having someone attach to them is detrimental to these children’s development. Getting attached to them is actually the best thing you can do for them.

Unsung Hereos: A Foster Family Feature Series, The Paxson's, Maegan Johnson's Blog, Foster Care, Foster Families, Foster LoveMaegan: Why are you passionate about foster care?

Chelsey: I sound like a broken record, but these children deserve families.

Maegan: If you could only use three words to describe the certification process, what would they be? Why those words?

Chelsey: Paperwork, Invasive, Worthwhile

  • Paperwork – because there is a ton
  • Invasive – because they get all up in your business
  • Worthwhile – because even though it’s a lot of paperwork and it’s invasive, I would do it over and over again if it meant I got to have this time with Baby L.

Maegan: There is a great need for foster parents all across America. Could you list some of the statistics for your area?

Chelsey:

  • 8 children get removed from their homes every night in San Antonio
  • Almost half of the children in foster care will need to find new forever families
  • 80% of children are removed due to neglect
  • After the age of 6 a child only has a 5% chance of being adopted

Unsung Hereos: A Foster Family Feature Series, The Paxson's, Maegan Johnson's Blog, Foster Care, Foster Families, Foster LoveMaegan: Thank you so Chelsey for letting me interview you today. And thank you so very much for all the hard work you and Ty do as a foster parents. And thank you for being a shining light to all foster children.

I hoped you enjoyed hearing from Chelsey and that you learned something new today. Please leave her some love here in the comments and Instagram— Foster parents need lots of encouragement and support! If you personally know Chelsey and Ty I’m asking that you to support them with your hands this week. Call and ask when you can come over and do some laundry and/or wash some dishes or bring them dinner. Don’t call and ask what you can do–call and say your coming over to help or bring a meal. And then pray for them! It takes a community to foster–it takes lots of help. So, show Ty and Chelsey how much you appreciate all they do by lending a helping hand. Have a great week everyone!

Maegan — xx

Retro Prairie Book Mobile DIY

Retro Prairie Book Mobile DIY

To say I’m excited to share this DIY tutorial is an understatement! I’ve looked all over the internet and I think my tutorial is the very first tutorial ever made specifically for a Book Mobile. If you’re new here, this DIY was highly requested because of the mobile I made for our Nursery in this blog post. Book mobiles aren’t just for nurseries but also look good in little girl and tween rooms too and would be great decor at weddings and baby showers! I have more exciting news at the end of post so don’t forget to scroll all the way to end! Alright! Let’s jump right in!

Time: 3-4 hours depending on how elaborate your embellishments are

To replicate this book mobile you will need:

1. Book 2. Wooden Horse 3. Ribbon 4. Hammer and Nail 5. Glitter Glue 6. High Temp Hot-Glue Gun 7. Pencil 8. Twine & Fishing Line 9. Several Pieces of Cardboard 10. Paper Flowers 1 & 2 2. X-Acto Knife 12. Paintbrush 13. Blowdryer 14. Glitter 15. Black Paint 16. Ruler

*You will also need a drill if you decided to hang the wooden horse as seen in this tutorial.

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-2

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-3

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-41. First, measure the spine of your book and trace it onto a piece of cardboard. Place your extra cardboard beneath the piece you traced your spine on and with your exact knife cut out the new spine from the cardboard. Make a light first pass with your knife–then a deeper second pass. The cardboard spine is there to provide support for the spine after you’ve removed the pages.

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-5Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-6Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-18

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-72. Release the spine from the end pages of the book. Make several shallow passes at the base of the end pages. The end pages are usually thicker and will be glued to the last thinner pages of the book as well. If you press too hard with your knife you might cut through the spine of the book. As you cut through the end page you will feel the netting as you cut closer to the spine. Cut through the netting slowly from top to bottom. Once the page is released repeat on the other side. Again, be careful not to cut all the way through the spine.

*This is where the blowdryer might come in handy. Every book is different and some have their pages glued onto the spine–that was not the case with this book. But, the book I made my original mobile did. If that is the case, use your blowdryer to help soften the glue and run your knife gently between the spine and the glue to release it.

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-83. Once the pages have been removed place your cardboard spine into the spine of the book. If the cardboard is a tight fit trim it down a little but not too much. The cardboard spine helps the book’s covers stay open. Once the cardboard is the right size glue it down.

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-104. You’ll need to cut a paper spine for your pages to hang from. Cut an inch wide section from one of the books end-pages (because the paper is thicker) and tri-fold it hotdog style. Glue onto the carboard spine.

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-95. Take the extra cardboard and place it under the spine of your book. Using your hammer and nail punch a hole halfway down the spine.

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-116. Thread the twine through the hole and tie a figure eight knot. Pull the string until the knot is flush with the spine and glue it into place.

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-127. Cut pages loose from the binding and determine your page layout. If your book has illustrations you might want to feature them toward the bottom.

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-138. Start by folding your pages hotdo style and gluing three of them into the spine to create your base. Glue at least one page to each side of your new paper spine.

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-149. Keep glueing your pages until a shape starts to form. Make sure your pages are glued on straight. This is tricky to do and I had to stay on top of mine to keep them straight.

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-1710. Paint your horse front and back.

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-1611. While your horse is drying, choose your flower layout and hot glue them to your fishing line. Leave plenty of extra fishing line on the ends to hang them. I also included ribbon for this tutorial because if fishing line isn’t your thing ou could always substitute pretty ribbon!

Maegan-Johnson-Original-DIY-Book-Mobile-Boho,-Retro,-Cowgirl,-Prairie,-Tools,-Items-Needed,-Black-Beauty,-Wedding-Book-Mobile,-Teen-Book-Mobile-1513. Once the horse is dry, paint your horse with glitter glue and glitter your horse wherever you want.

14. Drill a hole in your horse and tie it up with the fishing line.

15. Decide the layout for your embellishments layout and glue them down to the book’s cover.

Hang and enjoy!

Maegan Johnson Original DIY Book Mobile Boho, Retro, Cowgirl, Prairie, Tools, Items Needed, Black Beauty, Wedding Book Mobile, Teen Book Mobile,21Maegan Johnson Original DIY Book Mobile Boho, Retro, Cowgirl, Prairie, Tools, Items Needed, Black Beauty, Wedding Book Mobile, Teen Book Mobile,24Maegan Johnson Original DIY Book Mobile Boho, Retro, Cowgirl, Prairie, Tools, Items Needed, Black Beauty, Wedding Book Mobile, Teen Book Mobile,25Maegan Johnson Original DIY Book Mobile Boho, Retro, Cowgirl, Prairie, Tools, Items Needed, Black Beauty, Wedding Book Mobile, Teen Book Mobile,22Maegan Johnson Original DIY Book Mobile Boho, Retro, Cowgirl, Prairie, Tools, Items Needed, Black Beauty, Wedding Book Mobile, Teen Book Mobile,23

Maegan – xx

 

GIVEAWAY WINNER IS: @Amymooreporter

 

Now as promised the Big Announcement:

 

ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL WIN THIS BOOK MOBILE!

To Enter:

1. Join my email list–you can find the sign-up at the bottom of this post under my photo or in the sidebar if you’re on a desktop/laptop

2. Like this post on my Instagram page and tag a friend on that same post

Done!

One entry for signing up for the email list. One entry for liking the Instagram post and tagging a friend. You get two entries if you do both!

This giveaway will run from 07/12/2018 – 07/19/2018. Winner will be contacted and announced on 07/20/2018. Winner will have 24 hours to contact me. If the winner does not respond to contact in 24 hours another winner will be picked.

*Open to US residents only. Must be 18 years or older to enter.

Johnson Summer Bucket List

Johnson Summer Bucket List

About three summers ago Sam and I started making summer bucket lists and it is one of the best things we ever started doing–besides making a yearly family goal list. It’s a practice that has begun to define our summers! If you’ve never made a summer bucket list I highly encourage you to do so. A summer bucket list can be all the fun things you want to do and it can also be all the goals you have set for yourself. Have you ever made plans in June and looked up in August and you hadn’t accomplished any of them? Me too! I have found that a summer bucket list keeps that from happening–its like fun goal setting. Below is our summer bucket list:

Lay out by the pool

Finish my summer reading list

Kaboom Town Addison Firework Show

An Evening Picnic

Attend a Baseball Game

Finish My Manuscript

An Evening of Stargazing

Make homemade ice cream

Twinning with Sam

Day trip

Try Galaxy doughnuts at Sweet Daze

Cook stir fry

Feed the ducks at the library

Try rolled ice cream

Trip to the Zoo

Finally go record shopping

Take Lemon swimming at the dog park

Visit my parents in Nashville

Vintage shopping

Paint the dining table

Paint and organize the loft

What’s on your summer bucket list? Let me know in the comments below!

Maegan — xx

A complete guide to decluttering your closet

A complete guide to decluttering your closet

The closet purge. It doesn’t matter how well you know your style, every so often it’s time to clean everything out. Am I right? It could just be that the seasons have changed and as you un-box your clothes for the new season wardrobe you spot pieces and items that just aren’t working for you anymore. Or maybe there are a few things that just don’t fit the same as they used to–hello Christmas cookies and those extra holiday carbs. Or maybe you’ve had a major life change and your wardrobe no longer fits your current lifestyle–I’m looking at you brand new mama. Whatever the case may be, life is constantly changing and so our wardrobes are constantly changing as well.

I have two resources I recommend reading on the subject of decluttering and closet management. First is ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up‘ by Marie Kondo and the second is ‘The Curated Closet’ by Anuschka Rees. They both have a wealth of knowledge on two different but similar subjects–one on organization and health the other on style–and I highly recommend you read them both. I drew a little from both of these resources while coming up with my own purging method.

A few recommendations before you start:

Purge your closet before organizing your closet

  • I’ve made this mistake a hundred times and let my say that trying to organize where bags and shoes should live among all the clothes you probably don’t wear and wont be keeping is a total waste of time. Leave the organizing until the end.

Purge accessories and shoes last

Gather your tools

  • Trash-bags, permanent marker, music to set the mood, something to keep you hydrated

Let’s Begin!

You will be making four piles: pieces that don’t fit, pieces you haven’t worn in the last year, pieces you’re keeping, and a donate pile. Lay a trash-bag out to represent each pile.

1. Separate and place in a pile what doesn’t fit

  • Let’s be honest–you probably know the exact pieces of clothing that don’t fit in your closet right this minute. And if you aren’t sure, you probably have a good idea which pieces really need the ‘try it on’ test. I will go so far as to guess with great accuracy that you are picturing those pieces of clothes right now. Take everything for the current season that you know doesn’t fit and put it in a pile. Don’t try anything on yet.

2. Separate and place in a pile everything you haven’t worn in the last year that still fits

  • Don’t make excuses for your clothes, don’t not put it in the pile because you spent good money on it and you probably will wear it later on–maybe(that’s called the sunken cost fallacy–go google it). Just put it in the pile. You will be glad you did later on.

3. Go through the ‘doesn’t fit pile’ one piece at a time, try it on if need be, and determine if this is really something you will ever reasonably be able to wear again.

  • If you’re not confident you will be able to fit into it again within the next six months or by the next year(summer 2019 from now summer 2018) then toss it in the donate pile. Holding onto the past sometimes keeps us from reaching our goals in the future. I’m speaking from personal experience as someone who lost 130lbs. When I started my weight loss journey, I parted ways with a lot of clothes I had been keeping for years in the hopes one day I could go back and fit into them like the old days. You can’t go back to the old you. You–in the present–has to move forward to your future self–that’s how time works. However, if a particular piece of clothing motivates you forward I say keep it! That clothing is now an empowering tool to encourage you! You will know the difference too as you hold each item. If it fills you with guilt its holding you back. If it empowers you, keep it!
  • If something is too small or too big but has extreme sentimental value(notice I didn’t say guilt or sunken cost fallacy) then keep it!

4. Put all clothes you haven’t worn in the last year in the donate pile

  • Let’s face it–you didn’t wear it because you didn’t love it and you probably are never going to wear it. Give someone else the chance to wear it who really would love it. If it’s a more expensive item try selling it at a consignment store or through an app like Poshmark. *
  • If there’s something you haven’t worn but has extreme sentimental value(notice I didn’t say guilt or sunken cost fallacy) then keep it!

5. Go through the remaining clothes in the fourth pile piece by piece and determine if it fits your style perfectly

  • Can you make three separate outfits with this item? Do you really love wearing it? Does it fit right(can you wear it all day without discomfort)? Does it make you happy to put it on? If you answer yes to all these questions then place it in a new ‘to-keep’ pile. Repeat this step for each item. What doesn’t make the cut gets tossed in the donate pile.

6. Separate all the off season clothes (that would be fall and winter right now) and put them in bags or boxes and store them underneath your bed

  • When doing a major ultimate purge I don’t recommend trying to sort off-season clothes because it’s too overwhelming to guess where you might be in four-six months in life. Just repeat this process once the seasons change.
  • Move all off-season clothes into bags or boxes and store them under your bed. This will free up space in your closet and each time you look for an outfit you will only see the clothes that can be worn right now. This is really a huge deal because it gives your brain a mental rest and it becomes relaxing to look at the clothes in your closet and not have to constantly block out all the off season items.

7. Bag up all the clothes being donated or stored and label them

8. Put your donate bags in the trunk of your car

9. Place all the items in the ‘to keep’ pile back in your closet

10. Repeat these 9 steps for your shoes, jewelry, and other accessories

*There might be a few items that you’re on the fence about. I recommend a trial separation for these items. Put them away for two weeks in a bag under your bed. If you don’t go looking for them in two weeks donate them.

Once you have it all purged its time to organize and beautify your closet!

I hope this post was incredibly helpful and simple. Its daunting to tackle what seems like an impossible task but I know you’re up for it! I want to know if my ‘method’ worked for you! Come back once you’re done and tell me how it went in the comments below!

Maegan — xx

Summer Reading List for Kids

Summer Reading List for Kids

I remember every summer my mom letting me pick a big fat “big kid” book from our local library and reading it to me every afternoon until we finished it. Those are some of my best childhood memories. Even my brother–who didn’t really enjoy being read to–wanted to sit and listen sometimes.

With summer in full swing your child or children are probably desperate for something to do. Or maybe they are reading through books faster than you can swipe your library card. Either way, you need book suggestions! Guess what, I’ve got a great list for you! The list I’ve compiled is categorized by genre instead of reading level–I leave the reading level decision to you, the parent.

May I also suggest signing your older child up for a Goodreads account. It’s a completely free online community with millions of book suggestions and millions of people passionate about reading. It’s a place to keep track of all the books your reading, write reviews, and get suggestions about what to read next.

Adventure:

Swiss Family Robinson

Little House on the Prairie (Series)-1 from boys perspective

Watership Down

The Odyssey

Wilderness:

Hatchet

Call of the Wild

White Fang

The Last of the Mohicans

Where the Red Ferns Grow

Shiloh

Old Yeller

Irish Red

High Seas:

Robinson Crusoe

Master and Commander (Series) 12+

Treasure Island

The Temeraire (Dragons)

Fantasy/Magic:

The Hobbit

The Lord of the Rings (Series)

The Chronicles of Narnia (Series)

Redwall (Series)

Ralph the Motorcycle Mouse

Indian and the Cupboard

Eragon (Series)

Harry Potter (Series)

Western:

Hank the Cowdog (Series)

Science:

The Magic School Bus (Series)

Science Fiction/Space Opera:

Enders game (Series)

Star Wars (Series)

Strong Female Characters:

Little Women

Anne of Green Gables (Series)

Amelia Bedilia (Series)

Mystery:

Nancy drew (Series)

The Hardy Boys (Series)

Box Car Children (Series)

Equestrian:

Black Beauty

National Velvet

My Friend Flicka (Series)

Misty of Chincoteague (Series)

Bears:

Paddington (Series)

Winnie the Pooh (Series)

 

Happy Reading!

Maegan — xx

Boho Chic Laundry Room Renovation

Boho Chic Laundry Room Renovation

Laundry rooms are not glamorous. Especially laundry rooms in a rental. Ours is utilitarian at best and that’s only because the hook-ups actually work. Like most adults I would love for my laundry room to be functional and look great. Our laundry room was obviously neither functional or pretty. It was a hideous mess. Aside from the tools laying on top of the dryer this was what it looked like a good eighty percent of the time–especially once we started fostering. I couldn’t keep up with the clutter and the clothes at the same time. The fact that we had nowhere to put a laundry basket made the situation worse. Part of renting in a large city is lack of space. I was stacking the laundry baskets on top of the washing machine and dryer to keep them out of the hallway that runs between the guest half bath, our bedroom, kitchen, and garage door. I also had other baskets full of laundry randomly scattered throughout the house. I had to take the baskets off the top of the washing machine every time I washed clothes–it was such a time waster. Not to mention that the tiny horrible self was really hard to reach. I finally had enough.

My goals for this mini-remodel were; a permanent place for my laundry baskets and laundry, laundry supplies within arms reach, a soothing and happy color palette, and no more clutter. I had been wanting to paint something a deep dark green for years, so I immediately knew that this space was the perfect place to try that color. If I hated it I could quickly repaint and it was easily hidden from guests.

The first thing I had to do was rip the shelves off the wall. They were installed poorly and calked around the perimeter so they ripped off the top layers of drywall and layers of ancient paint. They were a mess and they smelled so so bad. It was really gross. I was immediately faced with several dilemmas I wasn’t expecting; first, I had to repair the drywall and peeling paint; and second, I now had to putty and add texture back to the wall. I had no idea how to do either. As I stood staring at the gashes and holes torn in the wall I started second guessing my decision. It’s that moment every renovator has when they realize they’ve committed to more than they expected but it’s already too late to turn back.

The first thing I had to do was take a very sharp knife and cut around the edges of the peeled up paint. I’d never repaired drywall before so that took some internet sleuthing to figure out. I used Rx-35 PRO-999 to seal down the drywall and paint, and create a layer for the putty to stick to.  So I painted over the entire exposed area and then let it dry. (This is the drywall after the PRO-999)img_9377

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Once it was dry I started puttying. I used a wide putty knife and regular old DAP, and honestly I just went for it. I have seen my dad and Sam putty before so I kind of had the idea. This was a little different though in that I had to layer in on thick and leave it(that’s why the PRO-999 is so important because it helps that putty stick). It took over an hour to putty the area and then it took about twelve hours to dry completely. Once it dried, I lightly sanded it and then reapplied another layer of PRO–999 over the entire area to set the putty into place.

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With the putty dry we taped off and painted. The color I chose is called Thunderbolt by Valspar. I opted to have the color mixed in Sherwin Williams Enerald paint because it’s antifungal and water resistent–perfect for a laundry room. With that we installed the Closet Maid wire shelving from Home Depot. They were the only brand I found locally that had 20″ deep wire shelving. They cut my shelf to length in store so it fit perfectly in my car with the back seat down. Did you know both Home Depot and Lowe’s can cut your wire shelving in store to the exact length you need? I was so proud of myself for figuring that out. I saved a lot of money on this project because I didn’t have to buy an extra tool to cut my shelving! Sam was very very happy about that too. I chose coated wire shelving because it wouldn’t be as affected by the humidity and moisture constantly trapped in this space and it was an inexpensive option even though it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing shelving to look at. And we rent, so the budget for this reno needed to be a reasonable. Y’all know what I mean.

Maegan Johnson Laundry Room Tour Before and After, Dark Green and White,

I now had a designated place for all my laundry baskets but I lost space for my laundry supplies. I cut a 3/4″ piece of pine and painted it with some white paint I already had to match the appliances and shelving. I bought these 3″ brackets from Hobby Lobby and painted them to match. A key component to living organized in a small space is to constantly get rid of stuff. I completely purged the junk that was being kept in here and what I didn’t trash I moved under the kitchen sink with the rest of the cleaning supplies. There are perks to living a more plant based life because the stuff you actually need gets narrowed down to the essentials. I honestly had no idea that I only needed like three things to do laundry.  Laundry soap, dryer balls, lavender to scent the clothes, and lemon for stain removal. Done.

Maegan Johnson Laundry Room Tour Before and After, Dark Green and White, Theives Laundry SoapMaegan Johnson Laundry Room Tour Before and After, Dark Green and White, Small Laundry Room

With the dark green walls I wanted to keep the aesthetic as crisp as possible. I also painted the dryer base white and what a difference it made! It added a cohesive, geometric element to the space. The laundry room is located in the smack middle of our town home and it gets no natural light. I needed a better, brighter, whiter light so I could see. How can anyone see stains in dim yellow light? I changed the light bulb to a generic 75 Watt Daylight LED and what a difference it made!

Maegan Johnson Laundry Room Tour Before and After, Dark Green and White, Scottie Dog, Lemon

Lemon is soo sweet–and such a good helper! She really wanted me to play while I was shooting for this post. I can’t believe what a little paint and some new shelving did to our laundry room or what a huge impact it has made on our life. I have seriously stayed on top of laundry now. Let’s get real though, my husband still wants to leave a pile of clothes on his side of the bed and I left the clean sheets in a pile at the foot of our bed the other day. But, this change has brought so much peace and functionality to a daily chore that was really making my life miserable. And, for the first time in years, I am actually able to keep up with what is clean and what isn’t–and I’m not drowning in loads of unwashed laundry. This ended being a bigger project than I anticipated, but it was worth it. Oh, was it so worth it.

I hope you were inspired by my mini reno! I always want to inspire you and remind you that if I can so can you! Do you also have a space in your home that is completely not functioning for you and your family? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Maegan — xx

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