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Dear Mushka,

Home Tour: Living, Dining, Kitchen, and Library

Home Tour: Living, Dining, Kitchen, and Library

The home tour continues (part one here) with our living room, dining room, kitchen, and library/my office. 

Let's start in the living room. We mainly opened up narrow doorways, added walls to make the library on the end, and evened out all the floor levels the house had.

Wall color: Snowbound by SW

Frames: IKEA (Ribba variety)

Couch: Old from Sprintz

Antique Stand: From Clerks, my favorite local antique shop

Pillow Covers: Pottery Barn ( don't see them here, but linked in case I'm missing them!)

Rug: Rugs USA 

I mentioned that the rug stays clean because we have a no-shoes-in-the-house policy for our family. We don't enforce this with guests so shoes are definitely around some, but it's better than it could be!

Here's the other side of the living room. 

CurtainsHearth & Hand

Art: Deann Art. Looks like mine is currently sold out, but there are so many beautiful ones!

Fiddle Leaf: Real! 

Baskets: Old from Target or TJ Maxx

Lamp: Old from Target 

Coffee Table: Wayfair

And the side leading towards the library!

The chair, cabinet, and globe are all antiques. 

The baby is not available ;) 

This is our dining room. Please ignore the giant leaning mantle, it belongs in the living room entry way and is too heavy for us to move alone. Ha!

Wall color: Snowbound on top, Peppercorn on the bottom. We did the panneling ourselves, it was a quick project. 

Light: Crate and Barrel

Table: Made by a family member

Chairs: Wayfair

Rug: Anthropologie (sold out)

Grey Cabinet (not visible): Target

Pom Pom Garland: Old from Target, hanging for a bday party :)

This fireplace was a little tricky to figure out, but it feels good and simple right now. 

Mirror: Anthropologie (I actually can't remember which one it is!)

Sign: Target

Flower Vase: Target (flowers are my dried ones)

Logs: Terrain

Basket: Target (we have these baskets all over, they're also on the living room coffee table, in the library and kitchen, etc)

The dining room attaches to our kitchen. 

Cabinets: Dorian Grey by SW

Green Wall: Homburg Grey by SW

Here's a picture of this space in action. We eat here most mornings for breakfast and the boys listen as I read or we listen to worship music. 

Here's one of the Bibles I mentioned.

This area will probably be a family "command center" one day, but for now its a cute little drop zone. 

Dresser: Antique

Lamp: Target (with those build yourself pieces)

Frame: Anthropologie

NY Print: Rifle Paper Co

Planter: Anthropologie

Plant: Home Depot

Books: These are my gardening go-tos! I'll do a whole garden post soon. 

And here's my office/library!

Baskets: Target

Prints: Etsy

Chair is old and covered with a coverlet

Pillow Cover: West Elm (old)

Here's the library in action. Our boys grab books and read in here all the time. 

Next week: The bedrooms! 

A Q&A with Katie and Robert on Christian Marriage

A Q&A with Katie and Robert on Christian Marriage

I asked the Dear Mushka Instagram community for questions for a Q&A the other day and received so many about marriage! Robert and I answered them over on my stories, which you can find here or simply read below.

In short, we are two simple people that God has brought together for His glory. We are not perfect and this is not a perfect marriage. The Lord constantly keeps us humble and real.

What’s our dating story?

Robert and I met in college. I had recently broken up with the boyfriend I had followed to college and we met at the college ministry we were a part of. We talked for the first time at a football game. I wanted to talk to him to make another boy jealous - yes, I was 19 and not very smart! We started talking and really enjoyed our conversation so we decided to meet up another time.

We didn’t officially start dating for a few months because I was silly and wanted to wait. We dated for a while and broke up just before Valentine’s Day. But I just knew we’d get married. I don’t know why, but I was pretty confident.

Robert was a new believer and really needed some time to grow. I knew we had issues to work on and was grateful for the time apart to grow. A few months later he came back around and our relationship did a complete 180! We dated for a few months, got engaged and married in 2010.

I love that our dating story is beautifully imperfect, just like us!

How do you know who you are supposed to marry? Is the right spouse just about finding someone who loves the Lord?

It’s more than just finding someone who loves the Lord. Love for the Lord is a great starting point but there can be more to it. God can work through all marriages (even if you are married to a non-believer), but if you’re choosing a spouse look for someone who wants to pursue the Lord fully.

Marriage is too hard not to like the person you are married to. There are seasons and you’ve got to fight for what you want to be true. You’ve got to like the person, want to be around them and see the potential in them.

It’s easy for women to come up with a check list for what you want in a spouse and sometimes the Lord can work through that. But ultimately, don’t limit God to what you think you need. God gives us wisdom! He is for marriage and He is for Christian unions and He will lead us to the right person.

I think He gives us peace when it’s a yes and discomfort when it’s not right. This doesn’t mean that the “right person” doesn’t mean you won’t have trial and suffering in your marriage! But the Lord will give you peace and wisdom when you call out for help.

Find someone who’s imperfections you can live with. Don’t count on change. Can we commit to loving the person in front of us and the person they will become?

Marriage is also not the goal of the Christian life! The Lord works through both marriage and singleness. We still feel lonely, angry and sad in marriage. God is our only hope and lasting joy!

Advice for newlyweds?

If there is frequent bickering (not real issues), you might not be having enough sex? God uses it to form real intimacy. Pray for it and work towards loving one another in that way. I received this advice as a newly wed and it was so helpful!

Also, learn one another. It can be through the enneagram, another test or studying one another. Know that you and your spouse are very different people. You’ll give so much more grace when you understand someone else’s why.

Protect what your spouse is walking through. Your husband does not need you to go behind his back about what he is struggling with. If it isn’t a big issues, speak uplifting words about your spouse. Be champions of each other’s sanctification. If you need prayer for your marriage, make it about YOU.

How do you handle differences of opinion on big matters?

Adoption is the biggest difference we’ve ever had. I felt called to adoption and Robert didn’t. In those situations, commit to praying. God isn’t trying to cause discord between the two of you so seek His wisdom. Ask for a heart that’s willing to submit and respect your husband.

Still talk about big decision and as best as you can, don’t move forward until you can agree. Don’t let yourself be resentful at your spouse.

What to do when one person is pursuing God more than the other?

We’ve experienced this in our marriage and it’s important to learn that your relationship with God will look different than your spouse’s. Robert is never going to have lifetime goals, prayer journals and do everything that I do in my quiet time with the Lord.

Make sure you are giving grace for a person to grow differently than you. Different isn’t wrong or less then.

No man has ever been nagged into pursuing the Lord. You can pray in times of need for your spouse - pray for wisdom and guidance and strength until your spouse is ready to pursue the Lord again. That’s what you do!

Everything is an opportunity to humble yourself and rely on the Lord. Make the goal for everyone to love God more (all of us need to love Him more) because He is worthy of our praise and love!

I hope this was helpful, to hear two very real people talking about marriage! You can catch the video of Robert and I discussing our marriage here. Follow along on Instagram where we post our monthly Q&A’s, answering all of your questions.

Home Tour: Playroom, Mudroom, and Studio

Home Tour: Playroom, Mudroom, and Studio

We moved into our home Summer 2018, after renovating its (very poorly) flipped rooms. The house is quirky in imperfect- a true 1970's ranch home- and it's exactly what this growing family wanted. 

I don't have great before pictures (drats!) but here's one from what is now our playroom. We wanted to keep the built-ins, but they were actually falling off the walls. The other side of the room had cork walls, so we took those down and added two closets. 

The unglamorous side of renovating: discovering the mold and water damage hidden behind poor flip jobs. 

But here's this space now! Scooters no longer allowed inside ;) 

Wall color: Requisite Grey by Sherwin Williams

Map: Gathre

Bench: Handmade

Blocks: Melissa & Doug (a beloved toy in our home)

Rug: Rugs USA

Basket: TJ Maxx

Trampoline (not pictured, but mentioned in my IG story- we LOVE this thing)

Curtains: Hearth & Hand. They still need to be hemmed & steamed, but well worth buying the 95" length. 

Shelves: IKEA

Books: Maps, How To, Stuck, Julia Child, The Gardeners, Jabari Jumps, Up in the Garden, Who Sang the First Song

Ottoman: Goodwill

Couch: Sprintz (no longer available)

Rug: Rugs USA

The boys were gifted this kitchen last Christmas and play with it almost every day!

Kitchen: Hearth & Hand (sold out at Target, available here)

These bins make organizing the toys easy and doable. Even my two year old knows how to pulls balls in the ball bin, trucks in the truck bin, etc. And the best part is that they're only a few dollars each. 

Lots of sizes available here.

What was once the laundry room is now Robert's office. It isn't done yet so no photo here, but you can see it in the background of the one below. 

Wall Color: Homburg Grey by Sherwin Williams (proof that you should test every color in your home before you paint; this reads more teal in our home than online; I love it)

Runner: Anthropologie

Sign: Smallwoods

 

This isn't a great before picture of our mudroom space; it was actually an open breezeway when we bought the house! Here it is with drywall, tile, and a door. 

We painted the original outdoor brick (Snowbound by Sherwin Williams) and made it our laundry room. All our outdoor doors are painted Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams (seen a tiny bit in the photo). 

We still need to cover up all those laundry connections. Ahh, the never ending to-do list :)

Laundry Bins: Amazon

Drying Rack: Amazon

Sink: Wayfair (can't find the link, sorry!)

Here's a very messy photo to show you how this mudroom really functions. We each have a "cubby" for jackets, purses, hats, etc. All our boys shoes and socks stay in their baskets; Robert and I keep some shoes in our closet, but our most worn ones are here. We have a no-shoes-in-the-house policy so they usually don't come past this point. 

We also don't have a garage space so strollers, chalk, helmets, etc end up here. 

The bottom of this cabinet has our cat's litter box in it. If you're building/ renovating a home try to think about details like that. It makes all the difference!

To the right of this photo heads into our house; to the left of this photo heads into our garage-turned-studio! 

When we moved into this house we knew Dear Mushka could function out of our garage for a time while we figured out her long-term home. We're about at max capacity, but it's working for now. 

Most of the white furniture is from Ikea. The table is old from World Market. Orders get packaged there!

The rug is from Rugs USA. The black shelves are old from Wal-Mart. 

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I'll be back soon with the rest of our house! 

July Bestsellers | Christian Jewelry and Apparel

July Bestsellers | Christian Jewelry and Apparel

We’re about to hit our 30,000th order here at Dear Mushka and we thought it would be fun to completely refund whoever places that order! So keep this in mind if you were thinking of ordering one of the July Bestsellers I’m about to share, or if you want to order a few pieces as gifts for you and your friends - if you hit the 30,000th order you’ll be refunded 100%🎉

I hope it’s you!

Many of the top ten items over here at Dear Mushka for this month are clearly gifts, and some of them are just for you, too. Yay! Let’s count them down!

10 The Priority Rings

Slip the Priority Rings on your hands and remember to first seek God before whatever else your fingers run to - social media, to-do lists, etc. My prayer is that seeing these rings on your fingers will be a reminder to seek first the Kingdom of God.

I leave mine on all the time and they are so easy to wear! Feel free to get a few in different sizes to wear on different fingers, stacked or as a midi ring.

9 The Together Necklace

The Together Necklace comes in gold or silver and has three different verse card options to match the piece. It is our adoption necklace with the international symbol for adoption being represented as a triangle with a heart.

The triangle shows the three sides of an adoption - the birth mother, adoptive parents and the child. Our verse card options also match these three different people involved in an adoption.

We gave this piece to my sons birthmother and birth grandmother and they loved them! It definitely shows how much you value and love the birth mother, no matter the situation. If you’re adopting or have a friend that is adopting, ADD THIS TO YOUR CART.

8 The Aid Necklace

The Aid Necklace comes in gold, rose gold and silver options. The design is a stardust bead and represents filling the hole in your heart that was created by loss. This piece is for miscarriage, loss of a loved one or any season of grieving. It makes the perfect gift.

7 But First Pray Shirt

This T-shirt was on sale this month and still is, however, we just have XL’s left! It has football sleeves, is super cosy and covers your bum. This piece screams Fall outfit to me.

6 It Is Well Tote

This tote bag is the perfect size! It’s a cute farmer’s market bag, bible study bag or pool bag. I love the idea of this bag with your more quiet time items next to your chair - so cute!

It’s an excellent add-on to receive free shipping or to gift it with a few goodies tucked inside. We are not going to restock these when they are gone so grab it now if you want to use them for your Christmas gifts!

5 The Renew Earrings

The Renew Earrings come in teal and and grey. I thought the teal would be a little bright but it’s muted and so good! The grey feels so dreamy and I am loving them with a basic white tee. They come paired with a verse card from Romans 12:2 and remind us to sweep away the thoughts of this world to clear your mind and make room for what God calls good.

These would pair so well with a plaid or flannel shirt for Fall!

4 The Carried Bracelet

The Carried Bracelet has been in the Dear Mushka store for the longest time and continues to be a favorite. The design pairs so well with its verse and gives the imagery of God’s arms wrapping around you. This piece is my go-to gift for baby showers or anytime someone needs a reminder that God is carrying you as you carry little ones!

Our bracelets are so good. They are made from brass, are super durable and you can adjust them for a good fit.

3 The Today Earrings

The Today Earrings are so easy to wear and I have literally worn them all summer. They are such a fun stud with their little detailing that catch the light. They come paired with a verse card that reminds us that this is the day that the Lord has made and that through Jesus, we can rejoice no matter what.

2 The Resolved Necklace

The Resolved Necklace comes in gold or silver. Wearing it reminds us that when we keep our mind focused on God (the moonstone) we will experience lasting peace. I love to pray on this piece with “Lord, show me where I’m not keeping my mind focused on you!”.

1 The Companion Bracelets!

The Companion Bracelets are always in our top ten jewelry pieces each and every month. These come two to an order! Two bracelets, two verse cards for a take on a friendship bracelet. It makes the perfect gift for someone who has really been supporting you lately. I love the idea of gifting this with a note that says “thank you for lifting me up in this season”.

There are 7 color options and they are very reasonably priced for two in an order. So many of you have told me stories of you and your BFF both buying a set for one another! It makes the perfect everyday piece and can be easily paired with a basic tee for a simple and put-together look.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about the designs behind these pieces and that you feel equipped to love your people well! Be sure to follow us on Instagram to watch our daily stories. 

My Go-To Parenting Books

My Go-To Parenting Books

I love to read and have always found a wealth of helpful knowledge and wisdom in books. Here are my go-tos when it comes, specifically, to raising up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. 

(Click photos for a direct link)

1. The Bible. And I don't say this lightly! If you are longing for wisdom on how to raise children who know and love God, prioritize your own knowledge and love of the Lord. The only way you can rightly reflect His character is to make a study of it. 

While The Bible doesn't address specific disciplinary issues like entire other books do, it is full of wisdom straight from the heart of God on every issue we could want. Friendships, sibling relationships, telling the truth, handling anger, etc. 

 

2. This is the best parenting book I have ever read, aside from the Bible. It isn't very practical (which drove me nuts at first), but gets to the heart of our role as parent and what it should look like. It radically changed how I see raising children, and is a book I reference often. I can't recommend it more!

“When you think your job is to change your child and you’ve been given the power to do it, your parenting will tend to be demanding , aggressive, threatening, and focused on rules and punishments. In this kind of parenting you are working to make your children into something rather than working to help them to see something and seek something. In this form of parenting, it is all about you and your children, rather than you being an agent of what only God can do in your children. Your hope is that you will exercise the right power, at the right time, and in the right way so change in your children will result. That process is profoundly different than working to be a useful tool in the hands of a God of glorious transforming grace, who alone is your hope and the hope of your children.” 
― Paul David Tripp

 

3. This was the first book I read that encouraged me to use scripture to guide the little hearts in my home. It was such an obvious answer, but I'd never seen it done before! The book is practical with lots of examples, and packed with scripture. 

(We have a new product coming this Fall that you'll love if you loved this book!)

 

4. I've made it a point to ask great parents what helped them as they learned to instruct their children, and they almost always include this book as one of the most beneficial tools. And after reading it, I see why! 

It's written by Christians and has scripture inside, but is incredibly practical. It walks through parenting with consequences instead of threats, shame, etc and has lots of examples to learn from. I'm having my husband read it now! 

 

5. This book is similar to the one above. It's recommended over and over again, is full of practical examples, and is packed with wisdom from people who really understand the way children think.

There were a few chapters/examples in this book that I put into action and immediately saw changes from. It's excellent! 

 

6. Sally Clarkson has been a spiritual mother to me through her writing, and it all started with this book. Its goal is similar to no.2 on this list, getting to the real heart and purpose of motherhood. She draws you into her home and experiences as a mother, encouraging and motivating you do live each day intentionally. 

“My calling as a mother is the same as any other Christian’s: to fulfill God’s will for our lives and to glorify him. This means I am to follow the Lord’s design for my marriage—cleaving to my husband, supporting him, honoring him, loving him as my own flesh. I am to be a careful steward of the world in which I live. I am to seek opportunities to bring God’s message of redemption to others, to make full use of the gifts and talents he has placed in my life to bring him glory and further his kingdom. And I am to delight in him and worship him and praise him in whatever circumstance I find myself.” 

 

7. This is another Sally Clarkson book. It's less about discipline and more about a home's God-loving culture, but it encouraged me to be more intentional and consistent in my parenting, so I included it here, too.

 

8. If you have boys, this has been a great read and reference. My heart is wired so differently from the men in my home, I need to know how they operate and think! This one is broken up into age sections so I've read a few chapters and will continue to go back to it as my boys get older. So helpful!

 

9. I haven't read this yet, but the Risen Motherhood podcast has been such a helpful resource for me (and so many others!) in motherhood, I know the book will be just as lovely. I'm so grateful for other women walking this road alongside me, longing to glorify Christ in all we do. 

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