Rooted In June


IMG_0774It’s so hard to believe that its been over a month since we’ve moved from Florida to Iowa. We’ve watched little corn saplings turn into stalks reaching about my shoulder height now. It’s been a month of hustle and bustle at Downin master HQ. We recently celebrated a wonderful Father’s Day with the family here in Ankeny. Dad ended up buying himself a brand spankin’ new grill that we fired up for a cookout as the littles ran around in the backyard fully enjoying the new swing set/playground that dad built for them two weeks prior.  IMG_0779It’s times like this with family that make me realize how much I live for the weekends. Lately, I’ve been so exhausted and running low on energy from all the transitional phases we’ve been expedited through and the ones that are completely opposite of “expedited”. Being denied the job at Des Moines Christian School and waiting what feels like an eternity for my Florida license of eligibility so I can apply for my Iowa teaching license, has opened me up for a summer job. I decided to use a temp agency by the name of Robert Half to hopefully snag a steady source of income for the summertime. I was immediately assigned a position at Hubbell Realty in West Des Moines. Hubbell_lg1Until the summer is over, I’ll be working in the Warranty/Customer Care department helping my coworkers out with projects and processing work orders from new home owners, contacting trade partners, and so on. Ironically, this is the same company that built the house Thomas and I made an offer on! I literally have processed our own paperwork because….IMG_0769Our offer was accepted!!! Through God’s abundant blessings made possible through my parents, grandparents, and other family members, we are now in the process of becoming new home owners and beginning another huge transition in our lives. This house charmed us the moment we walked into it. Even through the process of looking at other houses, we always came back to view this one and it felt like home every time. It was shortly after our offer was made that I ended up being assigned the position at Hubbell Realty in which I care for customers now just like us! I’m not sure what God had in mind by doing this, but it is definitely not coincidence and he has me at Hubbell temporarily for a purpose. I’m having a blast learning about the quality and design of my home and love that I’m learning something different that I can carry on through my lifetime. Here’s a look at our empty newly finished house! We close officially on July 15th!IMG_0772(Our Dream Home)IMG_0770(Stone Address Detail)

Screenshot (87)(Walking In)Screenshot (83)(Walking Out)Screenshot (84)(Upstairs Living Room)Screenshot (88)(Dining Room)Screenshot (86)(Kitchen)Screenshot (85)(Kitchen)Screenshot (82)(Kitchen)Screenshot (90)(Master Bedroom)Screenshot (91)(Part of the Master Bathroom)

Screenshot (93)(Powder Room)

Screenshot (92)(Spare Bedroom/Office)Screenshot (96)(Basement Living Room)Screenshot (94)(Guest Room)Screenshot (95)(Guest Bathroom)chip_and_joanna_gaines

My inner designer is teeming with ideas of how to make this house our home. I’ve decided that our overall theme is going to be “farmhouse chic”. I’ve been inspired by so many different designers but no one even comes close to stealing my heart more than Joanna and Chip Gaines. I would hand them the keys to our home and say “do what you do” and not break a sweat over if it would be phenomenal or not. Joanna’s style matches up exactly with what my vision is for our house. Not only are her and her husband amazing designers, but they are also sold out for God. Their show on HGTV, “Fixer Uppers” is addicting! Chip is hysterically awkward and funny  while Joanna keeps a level head. Their little family is adorable and I wish that Texas was closer because I would definitely shop at their store, Magnolia Market, 24/7. Luckily, Joanna’s store has a webpage. Check it out! Magnolia Market fixerupper-july14In other news, I’ve been exploring our new hometown and have fallen in love with the cute and quaint shops in downtown Des Moines. Luckily for me, my new friend Jessica is an amazing guide when it comes to East Village downtown. She recently took me to the cutest tea shop (Gong Fu Tea) I have ever had the pleasure of walking into. The tea menu is at least 15 pages and you don’t have to purchase the loose leaf to try it! They also have an authentic Japanese tea corner with floor cushions, tables, and relaxing water feature. IMG_0656Later that same week, I decided to venture out on my own with nothing but my camera and my wallet in hand. I was on a mission to find the cutest little shops and vintage finds. I was so happy to meet so many awesome small business owners and chat about the area amongst other things. One of my favorite stores by far was Porch Light. IMG_0642This business owner was so sweet as to let me take photos of her store for the blog. Porch Light is filled with rustic and modern charm. It all depends in what corner you look into! There’s everything from stationary, recipe cards, aprons, soy candles, furniture, frames, and dishware. You could get lost in this store for hours looking at all the different kinds of products. IMG_0640I also had the pleasure of finding a cute little antique store whose owner was from Pennsylvania! She knew exactly where my old hometown of Allentown was and the little places I remember eating at. I ended up buying an old reclaimed farm window for 45 bucks. I’m planning on making this either a weekly menu board using my chalkboard paint recipe to cover the six separate window segments or use it as the focal point for the command center planned for the office. The owner told me that whatever I choose to do with it she’d love to see the finished product and gave me her contact information to send her pictures of the end product. IMG_0643If books and good coffee at the same time are essential to you, then there is a shop specifically suited towards those needs. Plain Talk Books & Coffee in downtown Des Moines radiates a calm and peaceful vibe the moment you walk through the door. There is an ample selection of good literature both old and new to browse through, read, and even purchase. The employees were very personable and the selection of coffee and treats was great.IMG_0654The final stop of my solo exploration of downtown Des Moines lead me to the Capitol Building. The top of this enormous structure is actually plated with real gold. It definitely took my breath away and serves as an awesome picture taking spot. Although it was fun exploring downtown by myself, I found our next adventure with our friends even more so!IMG_0659The downtown Des Moines farmers market is one of the hugest farmers markets I’ve ever been to. Multiple streets are closed down for the event and you can find just about anything organically possible and more!

IMG_0662Not only was it fun for the humans, but it was also fun for the four legged variety of life especially since Chris’ sister and her husband have their own dog bakery vending spot! We decided to take both of our dogs on a stroll through the market and wow!…They were so popular! Here’s some of our highlights!IMG_0664 IMG_0665 IMG_0666 IMG_0667 IMG_0668 IMG_0669 IMG_0670 IMG_0671 IMG_0672 IMG_0674 IMG_0676 IMG_0677It seemed like we only had been through half the shops by the time we ended up leaving. Thankfully, the market extends every weekend all the way to the month of October! Every day that I go out and explore more of Iowa the more I fall in love with it. In the meantime of waiting on the Lord to direct our next steps,IMG_0699We are just going to enjoy the moments as they come to us. IMG_0688 IMG_0704 IMG_0728 IMG_0732 IMG_0782 IMG_0785 IMG_0786 IMG_0792 IMG_0805 IMG_0811 IMG_0812 IMG_0921 IMG_0923We will continue to keep you all updated as much as possible through the completion of our move. Once we get settled in, recipes, crafts, and design projects will start up again on the blog! I’m so excited to start lighting the fire into my old routine again! Till next time dear readers!

~The Downin Three IMG_0054


The Great Ankeny Transition


IMG_0531The great Midwest has embraced the Downin three into its abundance of adventure, soft grass, and promise of opportunity! God blessed us with safe travels up to our new hometown and with our family who are housing us as we search for a place that we can call home. The adjustment phase to living in Iowa has been a pleasant one. IMG_0440

IMG_0443Diesel has jumped in head first and now has a new buddy to play with. Our friends, the Schreiers, adopted a sweet puppy named Marvin who Diesel loves to play with! It hasn’t been easy finding a dog that could match Diesels endless energy, but Marvin definitely gives Diesel a run for his money. They had their first play date recently and ran each other ragged!


When Diesel isn’t busy draining his energy with Marvin, you can find him running around the yard with our darling nice Jade who has taken the biggest liking to her furriest new house guest. It has been so wonderful watching how much Jade has grown up. My heart glows with warmth just thinking about the amazing woman she will become and the specific plan God has for her. For now, it’s just fun watching her deeply enjoy childhood and live carefree.

IMG_0468 IMG_0481As for my amazing parents in law, I have been enjoying every minute I get to spend with them and my other Iowan family members. Its been so helpful to have their support during our transition back to Iowa. With my mother in law’s help , I’ve been learning all the good shopping places for clothes, groceries, and home décor. She also drove me all the way to my interview and waited in the car for an hour and a half till it was over. I’m so grateful that she did because after that interview I needed some extra emotional support!

IMG_0462IMG_0450If you’re wondering readers, the interview with Des Moines Christian School was pretty intense. Good, but super nerve-wracking. Everyone at the school was just wonderful! They made me feel at ease as soon as I came in. The anxiety from the interview came from being asked questions in front of a panel. All the teachers and specialists I met were so kind and even prayed for me before we began the questioning process, but I stumbled to find the words I was looking for and paused frequently. As a perfectionists , this was clearly not okay with me and I was determined to show them I was capable of teaching through the mini-lesson in math they asked me to come up with. schoolI set up for my math mini-lesson in the same conference room that I just had my interview in. I decided to do a lesson on parts of a whole for a third grade position in the school. I had a word problem up on the board that read, “Mrs. Downin wants to share her Hershey bar with all of her students. What fraction of the Hershey bar will each student receive?” On each section of the conference table where the students sat, I put a bag filled with a cup of play dough, an unwrapped Hershey bar, and a toothpick. As five selected third graders made their way into the room, one of the boys remarked, “This doesn’t look like a math lesson.” I was very happy to hear that because I like to incorporate different modes of learning and manipulatives into all the subject areas. As I went through the word problem with them I had them take out their  candy bar and use it as a manipulative to solve the problem. However, the pace at which the students understood was through the roof because in only two short days they would be out for the summer and therefore have learned every concept. I struggled until the activity section where the students rolled a fraction dice and whatever fraction the dice landed on was what they needed to show me by rolling out their play dough into a pancake shape and cutting into it by using a toothpick. All I know is that it’s in the Lord’s hands. Whatever the outcome, God is still faithful.IMG_0453Speaking of, Thomas has been doing exceptionally well in his new position at Bankers Trust and is continually encouraged in his day to day training and absorption of new employee material. The Mr. is one hard working man and I know that if I were to walk into a bank I’d want hubby as my teller. God is using his jovial spirit and dedicated work ethic to bring glory to His name. We are so grateful for the position that he’s been placed in. In terms of being “placed”, Thomas and I have fallen in love with an Ankeny Ranch House and are in the process of trying to make an offer on it.Screenshot (68)Not only is this ranch house of our dreams located to all of our loved ones in Ankeny, but it’s also close to Thomas’ workplace and several surrounding elementary schools! We believe we could live in this home for years and years and grow into it as we establish a family. It is a three bedroom three bathroom home with a beautifully open floor plan.Screenshot (71)Right from the moment you walk in through the entry way, you can see straight to the backyard past the kitchen and living room with a cozy fireplace (Diesels favorite Midwest napping spot). The high ceilings and beautiful wood flooring add a charm and sophistication that we greatly enjoy.

Screenshot (69)Then there’s the kitchen. Beautifully hung white cabinetry adorn the walls with updated appliances and a sturdy granite countertop. Kohler faucets and sinks come standard throughout the home and have actually gotten me excited to do the dishes! However, our friends gave us some pretty good advice about becoming too attached before making an offer. It’s not uncommon to have a house snatched beneath your feet in this market. It was very hard to hear, but needed to keep things in perspective. For now, we pray that the Lord will continue helping us get our foot in the door, but if the outcome turns out to be something different we will live in a place all the better for us according to the Lord’s plan. IMG_0586In other news, our Downin family of three was recently reunited with the Downs family in a surprise visit to announce our permanent stay in the state of Iowa! For those of you who don’t know the Downs family, Pastor Jon, the father of this family, married Thomas and I and two of my sisters in law when they were married! Tyler, the second oldest son, has been Thomas’ friend since they were wee little twerpy boys and was in our bridal party at our wedding. They are basically our second family and we love them all so dearly. After introducing our furbaby,  Diesel became the focal point of all the Downs children’s affections and as you can tell from the picture above Diesel is being completely neglected 😉IMG_0548Hours of playing ensued. Diesel had a blast fetching multiple frisbees thrown into the tall Alfalfa grass and hopping around trying to find his way out. Not only did Diesel make friends with the Downs children, but he also made friends on the Downs’ farm.IMG_0578The cows are Diesel’s new favorite animal to play with. He would run around the fence that they were enclosed in and try to get them to chase him. One of the cows understood this and pranced around following Diesel wherever he dashed along the fence. Another favorite new friend Diesel made was Gunner, one of two farm dogs on the property.IMG_0563IMG_0560Gunner is a Hungarian breed of dog and one of the biggest sweethearts I have ever met! It was fun to see these two play around. It got me thinking how well Diesel would do with the other farm dog juggernaut. IMG_0581After seeing the immense size of this dog, we all agreed that Diesel would probably be a bite sized snack for Juggernaut and it would be safer not to introduce them.

IMG_0596After an emotionally draining week (In the best way possible), it was so refreshing to get out with the family and enjoy the beautiful Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines! The Guzmans were also able to join us and it was so much fun watching my nieces and nephew feed goats and llamas rediscover their favorite animals.IMG_0608 IMG_0610 IMG_0621 IMG_0628 IMG_0632 IMG_0633 IMG_0634 IMG_0636Anyways, it’s been quite a journey so far and we look forward to updating you all on the developments with the house situation and outcome of the interview in the near future! In the meantime, please continue to keep us in your prayers. Till next time!

~The Mrs.IMG_0465& The Mr. & DieselIMG_0304