All Posts By

Lindy Pardee

0 In Projects

Our Farmhouse Table Transformation

Almost 10 years ago we bought this table from Pottery Barn. It was on major sale because it was a floor model and it already had scratches on the top. I though since I’m and artist and painter I could redo the top some time. Years went by and I never had time to work on it. That was fine because I was used to all the scratches and new scratches from my kids forks. I had been thinking I wanted to sand it down and do a natural top for a while so we just decided to do it a few weeks ago. The whole table was kind of a glossy black so we decided to repaint the bottom too.

Here it is in it’s oringinal well-used glory.

You know exactly where Titus our oldest sat because there was a line of demarcation scratched into the surface. Special.

Also, while I was cleaning the table leaves I discovered this. Who puts gum under the table?? I thought that’s only what rebel, delinquent kids did at school or an old diner! Surprises every day at our house.

We dragged the table outside (It weighs like 500 lbs.) and Justin started sanding it… This is where things got interesting. We disagreed about the type of sander to use. Justin said belt sander, I said orbital sander. Since he was sanding I let him choose his tool. Well, the high power sander was mistake number one. Mistake number two was me assuming that the table top was solid wood. It turned out to be solid VENEER over partical board. Awesome. So together we destroyed our natural wood top. Lol.

After accepting the reality of our mistakes we decided to keep going with our plans. I wanted green based off another legit chippy farm table we just got for our kids to do homework at (I’ll show you that later). I pulled out my fan decks and chose a similar color (Behr Equestrian Green, interior eggshell) then had it mixed. After Justin finished sanding the rest of the table I got to work painting it. I also had my little helper for part of it.

I love this green color. It was making me so happy. I also used 150 grit sandpaper to buff down the shine out of the eggshell paint without sanding all the way through to the bare wood. I love how that turned out.

We continued with our plan to clear varnish the table top with no stain and let the partical board show through for now until we can replace the wood top completely with new solid planks. The only difference with the varnish is I used a water based satin varnish for the temporary top instead of the oil based matte boat varnish I will use when we have our final top. (The boat varnish is about $100 a quart so I’ll save it for later). FYI oil based varnish is best for dining room tables since there’s a lot of water and grease that gets on it (think kids and pizza). Water based varnish can absorb water and make drink rings and such. It leaves a cloudy spot.

Anyways. When we put the final top on I’ll show you how we do it with all the right stuff. For now we’re making it work.

Ok, so I got done painting the table outside and I was pretty happy with it. I thought it looked cool with the colors and farmhouse look. It was weird though, when we brought the table inside I didn’t like it. I don’t know what it was. It may have been that I wasn’t used to the lightness of the table in that spot, or that there was an ugly kid booster seat attached to the chair pushed up to the table. I have no idea, but for days I was like, “oh gosh… why don’t I love this?” I set some blooming peonies on the table in a giant mason jar and just put the table out of my mind for a while.

I noticed I slowly started to warm up to the table. I got rid of the booster seat and the peonies continued to bloom. I wiped the table down a few times and swept the floor around it. I walked past it a bunch of times. I am starting to like it. Really like it. It could be the peonies, but I think it’s the whole thing. So, I took pictures of it this morning in the early morning light. I definitely like it.

0 In Life

Together and Free Backyard Shoot

A few weeks ago Justin built a project with the boys in the yard. Leah Vis of Together and Free joined us while we were hanging out and shot this rad video. If you missed it check it out here, Leah is a rad family photographer. It’s a really unique way to capture your memories and so natural for the kids to be themselves.

In addition to the video she shot some stills and I love them! Most of the pictures are candids of us hanging out and the boys working on the project. We asked her for a few posed family pics which turned out great, but I think my faves are the ones when no one knew the camera was on them.

If you have a special day coming up you might want to have her come to preserve your memories in this really cool way. Or even just a regular day at home. Isn’t that the stuff of life? The big things, but also the little things? Cooking or doing laundry can be incredibly beautiful, don’t you think? Those are the things that are easy to forget, but they make up more of your life than holidays. That’s what I want more of… capturing more of the beautiful moments in my life!

You can also keep up with Together and Free on Instagram: @togetherandfree.

I hope you enjoy!

0 In Family

Cosette’s Birth: One Year Ago

It’s been a year since we met Cosette for the first time. That was a big day for our family.

It was the fourth time we’ve gone through the birth process with all the highs and lows. We knew what to expect, but since each birth is a unique butterfly so there was always unknowns. Even though I was nervous I knew it was going to be a really good day so we asked Leah Vis to come photograph Cosette’s birth. She has come to each of our births to photograph and it’s been great every time.

She catches those moments that fly by unnoticed or the emotions and memories that start to fade away after a while. I’m so glad I get to go back a relive the beautiful moments of the day we met our daughter Cosette.

I hope you enjoy!

0 In Photography

From Selfies to Self-Portraits

We’re home from our 10th anniversary getaway and it’s been fun to go back and look at all the photos we took on our trip. We stayed at The Parker in Palm Springs and The Venetian in Las Vegas–two wildly different hotels, but both are photogenic in their own unique ways.

Usually a lot of the photos that we have of Justin and me together are selfies are a crooked picture taken by a stranger. But this trip was different, just before we left Justin gave me a small tripod and a remote clicker for taking pictures on my phone. We got to try the setup out on this trip and it was so fun and we got some great photos.

If you want to try this setup out you can pick both of these things up for around $30. We think it was worth every penny. (The 3rd thing is a bigger mount if you have a iPhone Plus)

  1. JOBY GripTight GorillaPod Stand – $20
  2. Bluetooth Selfie Remote Shutter – $13
  3. Tripod Mount for iPhone Plus – $10

There are a lot of little tripods on Amazon but I like this one because the legs grip to whatever surface you set it on. We set it on weird stuff like odd shaped rocks and a tall uneven Joshua tree stump. The fact that it’s grippy and can conform to different surfaces makes all the difference.

If you try this out, here are a few tips for a getting great photos with the tripod and remote:

1. Think Bigger Than Your Arm

Think about what makes a compelling photo that includes more than just your face and a little background. Since the camera is not attached to your arm you can be more creative and take a shot from a perspective that’s unique.

2. Be Confident

You might feel like a dork smiling and posing by yourself in front of random strangers with no camera in sight, but do what you need to do to get a good shot.

The Venetian had this rad love art installation we wanted to get a photo in front of. We had to set my phone up on the other side of a fountain probably 30 feet away from us in order to fit all of the letters in the background. Not only did we have to stand on the other side of the fountain to strike our pose I had to be confident that no one was going to run away with my phone. I did tell Justin that he better chase down a thief.

3. Take More Photos Than You Think You Need To

Never take just one photo – we always take a handful of photos in each pose. And when I say “a handful of photos” you might think I just means 2 or 3, but I pretty much mean 6-8, at least. Sometimes we even move around a little bit since we can’t exactly see what looks best. The more photos you take the better chance you have at getting a great shot. You can always pick your fave and delete the rest after. This helps us to chose the photo with the least amount of background distractions.

If you’re taking a family photo you have a better chance of getting all the kids looking the same direction in your photo if you take a lot of pictures. Another variation is to set the camera up without your kids knowing and get some candid family shots. Those can be so precious.

The remote is better than using the phone timer because you can set it up and take multiple shots without running back to the camera. We also were able to stand there and wait for people to mosey out of our shot so it looked like we were the only ones there.

4. Think About the Details

Turn the sound up on your phone so you can hear the shots click. It helps to know when the picture is taken. Whoever is holding the clicker makes sure their hand is behind them or someone else’s back so it’s not noticeable. This might seem basic, but make sure the phone is attached in the clip so you have full access to the screen and you can tap anywhere to focus

We hope you enjoy these cool tools as much as we do!

3 In Marriage

A Letter to My Husband on our 10th Anniversary

To my husband on our 10th anniversary,

Over the past 10 years, Justin, you have been my most favorite person. You have also been my most unfavorite person. Sounds crazy, but that’s what it was. We’ve been together for a long time and at the beginning we were excited, but we had a lot of selfishness going on. We were attempting to make a great and happy life together, but sometimes we were pulling different directions. We didn’t agree on a lot of stuff and I felt like we were on different teams. You saw success one way and I saw it another and we were immovable.

The truth is that I didn’t trust you. I didn’t feel like I was the most important thing to you. My need for safety was way bigger than you must’ve thought and I didn’t fully feel sheltered by you. That meant it was hard for me to follow you. I see how that was difficult for you too because you didn’t feel trusted and honored as a leader. Which led to you being frustrated and trying to control certain things. Obviously that didn’t help and our cycle of fear and pride went round and round.

We had a lot of good times and I will always look back on all our years with joy and thankfulness, but it was hard too. We have always had the same goals, but we both saw different paths to get there. We both wanted faith filled lives, we wanted to serve the Lord and his church, we wanted to raise a family in faith and wisdom and we wanted to love each other well. For years we didn’t know how to get there together.

We always sought prayer and counsel from friends and our church family when times were especially hard. Nothing is more beautiful than the prayer and support of those who loved us and God working through others to speak to us. We also went to marriage counseling and with all theses things we started seeing amazing breakthroughs in our marriage. When we started counseling at year five we both said we wanted to be on the same team. It took a while, but I think we can both say that we made it. We’re a team.

Justin, you are my best friend, you are my teammate and I know that you love me with all your heart. I am the most important person to you. You shelter me. You serve me. You encourage me. You boost me on your shoulders. You are Jesus to me. You are my safe place. You truly are my favorite person. I trust you fully. I follow you with joy.

Thanks for walking beside me these past 10 years. We have a beautiful and blessed life and it’s only going to get better! I’m so excited.



1 In Family

Our Afternoon with Together and Free

Last week we got to do the funnest thing! Justin and the boys were finishing the window fort in the backyard and our friend Leah from Together and Free came over to hang out for a little bit and capture our family spending time together in the backyard. She has captured every major moment in our family since our wedding day 10 years ago, but this day she did it differently. She just sat in the background and recorded the moments as they happened. It was all casual, candid and real moments that she caught.

She put all the clips together in a video as long as a song and the finished product blew our socks off! It is a beautiful film of our family being together. We can’t stop watching it and smiling. We have always loved Leah’s photos and I have called her a photo artist since the beginning, but this is another level. It is her beautiful photos, but in motion. It is truly art in motion.

Also, we have a three year old that doesn’t like being told what to do especially for photo shoots so this was revolutionary for us. She didn’t notice Leah and was fully herself. Her genuine smiles and personality was all there. It was easy for us all of us to be ourselves. It was really a great experience in every way.

We are so excited to share with you this beautiful film of our family! Enjoy!

0 In Art/ Family

Habitation: My Cousin’s Art Show

I love a good art show, but I really love it when it’s a show featuring my dear and talented cousin. Last week I got to go to my cousin Grace’s Bachelor of Fine Arts senior show at La Sierra University. It was amazing for so many reasons.

Art is big in my family. Many of us know we are artists and others may not think they are, but their craft speaks otherwise. On my dad’s side six have graduated (or are graduating) with a bachelors degree in the arts. That’s some commitment to the arts right there!

One of those cousins is Grace, when she was 11 years old I started art lessons with her. We did projects together and I shared the art knowledge I had gathered through school and work. We did art together for years and I have such fond memeories of it. She took that foundation and ran with it. Her incredible unique style emerged and now I sit and watch her create amazing art pieces that I wish I could take and hang in my house.

I brought Titus, our naturally creative seven year old, to the show as my date. It was his first art show and it was so fun to watch him experience the art. I saw him walk up to a painting and start to run his hand down it. I let him know that touching was not allowed in the gallery setting. Although in my heart I knew how fun it is to feel the texture of a dry, smooth, bumpy, cool, thick painting. Running my hand down a finished painting is one of my favorite things to do and I loved that natural attraction he had to it.

Seeing the show Grace put together was amazing and very special. She shared the space with another graduating senior friend and they called the show “Habitation”. Grace did large scale oil paintings that zoomed into small and overlooked spaces. She found sanctuary in these small places as she noticed their beauty and power. She said in her artist statement , “Changing the scale, changing the focus”.

Enjoy the show.

Loss of Time, Not of Heart

Emanating Light

In the Care of the Present

Caught in, Caught up

The Part that Stays

This is Grace and her friend she exhibited with, Yessenia. I mainly focused on Grace’s work, but Yessenia had amazing ecological prints that were so beautiful and meaningful.

0 In Faith/ Family/ Parenting

Easter Book Recommendation for Families: The Miracle Man

We found a great book to help our family prepare for Easter and I wanted to share it with you. Miracle Man: The Story of Jesus, by John Hendrix is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the life of Jesus that bring his words to life. I read it to the boys out under a tree while their sisters napped earlier this week.

I love the artwork in this book. The written words themselves are art. The words are not simply laid upon a picture. The words become the picture on every page. It’s so creative and there’s so much to look at. Our boys were intrigued.

Each page tells the story of a miracle Jesus has done. We see Jesus as many things in the Bible, but I love seeing him through the perspective of a “miracle man”. He has done and is doing miracles in our lives. I love our kids thinking about Jesus that way and looking for his miracles in their lives.

Justin’s favorite part of the story is how it ends with “one last glorious” miracle. It’s kind of a cliff-hanger in that it ends right at the moment of Jesus’ resurrection (perfect for Easter). It lets us pick up where that story ends and sets us up for a conversation with our kids about what it means for Jesus to be alive in our lives.

Here’s the link to Amazon so you can pick it up before Easter, but we also think it’s a great book to read year round.

0 In Crafting/ Decor

Ombré Heart Valentine’s Wall Art

We don’t decorate too much for Valentine’s Day. Not like we don’t want to, but there’s not usually time to put together anything that takes longer than pulling it out of a box and setting it somewhere. We do have a few things lingering around for years that still make their way out of the box every year, such as the always classy mini bean bag pillow.

Justin picked this up at a 99-cent store at the beginning of our marriage and it has never left. This is the first year our seven-year-old read what it said out loud. Justin got to have a slightly informative conversation with him about it and now we’re well on our way to one of our kids knowing where babies come from.

I decided to up my game this year so I got creative and made a quick trip to Target to grab a few supplies. (You know those quick trips where your husband texts after 2 1/2 hours asking when you’re coming home and if you can bring dinner).

Bit by bit, over a few days, I tackled this project.

To start, I painted some cardstock paper five different colors. (This step can be totally bypassed if you just buy colored cardstock, but I didn’t have time to look for the colors I wanted). I chose five colors that ranged from light to dark and reminded me of Valentine’s Day.

I set the boys up with scissors and set them free to cut the paper into pieces. They loved it. Boaz liked cutting fringe instead of straight lines and Titus was scratching out secret messages to me on the paper (heart eyes for days).

Then I used chalk to mark out a large heart on the wall. I took all those paper bits, some double sided tape and went for it. I arranged the bits of paper in an ombré style. I made sure the colors bled into one another and wasn’t too careful about it. I put the “love” heart Titus cut out for me in the perfect spot and decided it was done.


I love the controlled chaos this has. Wild with boundaries. Isn’t that a bit like love too? I love it.

What are your favorite Valentine’s Day projects?


  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Brushes
  • Scissors
  • Tape
0 In Home/ Organization

Our Minimalism Journey: Part 1

Justin and I were hoarders and didn’t know it. We both came into our marriage with so much stuff it was crazy. Good thing our first apartment came with a one car garage or we wouldn’t have been able to bring all our junk with us. That’s even with leaving the less important junk at our parents’ houses.

Our Crazy Collections

We both kept some pretty ridiculous stuff. One time we went to Justin’s parents house and his mom brought out an old cardboard box there with his name on it. Inside was his collection of complimentary items from various hotels he had visited over the years like pads of paper, pencils, soap, cups, toiletry items and other random things. We had a good laugh about all that junk as we dumped it all in the brown trash can.

I was cleaning out the garage a few years ago and discovered the braces and hardware from when Justin broke both of his wrists at the same time. Like the metal bars, bolts and screws that were attached to his bones. LOL! Somehow those things made the cut through three moves. When I was cleaning our closets a while back, I even found Justin had kept every pair of converse he had worn since we got married. They were all at the bottom of his closet. Six pairs of tattered worn out shoes. It was so funny and very eye opening.

I, on the other hand, hoarded far more boring things than Justin like clothes, papers, yarn, magazines, paint, fabric, and craft items. Stuff like this has crowded our home for a long time. It’s always been a pain to have so many things, but I thought “more is better” so it stayed.

Choosing Minimalism

It’s safe to say Justin and I have had an epiphany when it comes to our stuff. As we’ve added more kids to our home it has become more and more apparent that we can’t maintain so much and take care of kids too.

We all know kids don’t stay still and because of that nothing in our home stayed still either. We used to have shelves and shelves of kids toys, shelves of books, stacks of magazines, decorations that were low to the ground. Our closets, cabinets and garage were so full that there were things that didn’t have a place. I found myself spending so much time scooping up toys and clothes and everything in between. I might as well have had a shovel. To the kids the act of dumping the toys out of the basket became the fun instead of the toy itself.

We made the decision that more is not better and that was the beginning of our minimalism journey.

Since then we have discarded tons of bags and boxes of stuff, we’ve had three yard sales, and donated to one of our favorite charities. It all started with a decision to have less which was then fueled by Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Now every time we thin out an area, we can’t wait to do it again. We are not done with the process of thinning out our items, but the biggest change is in our minds.

Less had truly become more in our eyes.