Monday, February 29, 2016

My One Word (for 2016)

I know the rest of the world blogged about choosing their "one word" at the beginning of the year, but I won't let my tardiness sway me from missing out on a personal challenge. I've clung to having a "one word" in many years past, and I didn't want this one to be an exception. Although, I must say being in the hospital with a pre-mature baby made my tardiness well worth it. ;)

For the last few years, my life verse has been 1 Thessalonians for multiple reasons...

  • It reminds me to keep my tongue from wagging (mind my own business).
  • It reminds me to work with my hands (laziness does not reflect well on my Lord)
  • It reminds me to be quiet. Be still & KNOW the Lord.

I've read this verse so many times, that it often comes to me during times when I'm tempted to act out of character. When I'm tempted to slander. When I'm tempted to partake in the worlds view of what life should look like. I wish I could say having this verse has changed my life, and while it may have to some degree, I still have SO much to learn

I still yearn to live that verse out in my day to day life. I desperately want to work with my hands to honour God.  I desperately want to learn to mind my own business. And I desperately want to learn the art of quiet---I truly believe that is when we hear from the Lord the most. 

My goal with my one word is simple. To embrace a quiet life...

To spend more time reading God's word than focusing on the noise the world has to offer.
To spend more time praying for issues that He brings to mind.
To spend more time bring Him honour by working with my hands: baking bread, typing words, decorating my home, caring for my husband and children.

Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 13

The weather.....
It's sunny, and starting to feel a bit springish. It's supposed to be fairly warm, so I plan to take the girls outside for fresh air.

Right now I am....
Sipping coffee, listening to the girls, blogging, setting goals, etc.

That there are so many hurting families who feel isolated & alone {within the church} due to wagging tongues.

On my TV.....
Downton Abby, Cheers, Throwdown with Bobby Flay 

Currently Reading...
Northanger Abby by Jane Austen
Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman

On the menu for this week....
Sliced Turkey, Eggs, Biscuits
Buffalo Chicken Casserole, Green Beans & Mashed Potatoes
Black Bean Soup & Salsa
Italian Chicken & Veggies Bake
Salmon, Green Beans & Mixed Veggies

On my to do list....
Speed Clean
Update Calendars
Write Book Review
Unload/Load Dishwasher

In the craft basket....
Project Life Album, Bible Journaling

Looking forward to this week....
A quiet week at home. Looking around the house.... The house is feeling rather crips & clean. We spent the weekend deep cleaning, and de-cluttering. Josh caught up on several work projects, and he even spruced up the yard. I can't wait for the end of the month when I can purchase ferns for the front porch!

From the camera....
The picture of the girls was taken last week. The lighting was nice in our living room, so I grabbed my camera and plopped the girls on a blanket. Evie was ecstatic to snuggle her sister...and Ella was all..."WOW"!! Haha. Love it.

Friday, February 26, 2016

{Book Love} Meet The New You

I have always been a fan of books that challenge you to better yourself. I like books that will give you insight, perspective, and ultimately encourage you to better facilitate your vision for life. I found all those things within the pages of "Meet the New You" by Elisa Pulliam.

A few things that really stood out to me...
  • The author used scripture throughout her book to back up her methods, solutions, and ideas.
  • The book really challenged me to priority what is important in my life: faith, family, friends, etc.
  • While reading the book, I was encouraged to write notes and take action after each chapter!
I'm thankful for the opportunity to read "Meet The New You" and plan to put into practice much of what I have learned. I think the most beneficial aspect of the book was learning more about my personality and spiritual gifts. Doing so has challenged me to work on areas of my life that need "pruning" so that I can better serve God, my family, and all those around me.

Many thanks to Blogging for Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

50 Things To Do This Year

I keep thinking of so many things that I want to do...and then I forget to do them. Mommy brain, much? Anyway, I thought I'd jot down 50 happy things that I would like to do within the next year.

By doing so, it will help me stay motivated, plus it will push me to better myself and/or create memories with my family. It's a win/win all the way around!

  1. Visit the Daffodil Festival.
  2. Learn to make jam or jelly.
  3. Go to a public garden.
  4. Practice a new photo technique.
  5. Take pictures using studio lights.
  6. Finish one entire year of Project Life.
  7. Print instagram family album.
  8. Finish Evie's baby book.
  9. Start Ella's baby book.
  10. Learn to make Lasagna from scratch.
  11. Go to the lake.
  12. Start a sunday afternoon drive tradition.
  13. Deep clean the house.
  14. Go on a date with Josh once a week.
  15. Sell our house.
  16. Plant okra & tomatoes this year.
  17. Take a day "off" once a week.
  18. Start a recipe based blog.
  19. Sell vintage collections online.
  20. Read at least two classics a year.
  21. Go on an overnight trip with Josh sans kids. ;)
  22. Start yard saling again!
  23. Chalk paint a furniture piece.
  24. Take more pictures of nature.
  25. Watch a sunset on a mountain top.
  26. Make a cheesecake from scratch.
  27. Read two young adult novels a year.
  28. Find an old classic show to watch from beginning to end.
  29. Keep up with my Bible journaling.
  30. Memorize more verses.
  31. Plant roses.
  32. Find a tea that I will love to drink.
  33. Pefect an iced coffee recipe.
  34. Go on a road trip within the state.
  35. Read at least one book to the girls a day.
  36. Try to walk at least twice a week.
  37. Start biking with Josh whenever possible.
  38. Start benchpressing with Josh again.
  39. Eat clean on an 80/20 rule.
  40. Make a least one new veggie recipe a week.
  41. Clean out master closet.
  42. Watercolor with Evie.
  43. Go for walks around town. 
  44. Take Evie to the library.
  45. Learn to make biscuits from scratch.
  46. Learn a few words in French.
  47. Host a sit down dinner.
  48. Find a new candle scent to burn.
  49. Keep my Orchid alive. (it only lasted 3 phooie on that one, ha!)
  50. Get new tennis shoes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

5 Things I Love About Life Right Now

February is that in-between month that leaves you longing for spring as winter slowly withers away. Some days are warm, and the sky so blue it looks like the perfect paint sample. Other days are a stark contrast with a drizzling cold that seems to seep right to your bones. Our state is funny like that...extreme.

Despite the weather toying with my mind, I find that these days I'm enjoying our life right now. It took a while, but I'm bumping along on this road of stay at home mommyhood. A few things I'm really loving...

...The age Evie is at is just adorable. She's so full of life, and laughter. She loves learning, exploring, and trying to be a grown up. She loves to give us "group hugs" when daddy gets home. He's still her favorite person, and it's all screams & giggles when he walks through the door. She has become rather obsessed with books. I find her looking through board books and picture books throughout the day. I think I'll share some of our favorite kiddo books soon!

...Having a pudgy newborn to smooch on. She's a total sugarbear. She very rarely fusses, but when she does, and I pick her up she just smiles, and does that cute "silent laugh" thing. I adore it. I also love dressing her in baby gowns. Gowns were not my thing with Evie...she was always bunched up. But, Ella loves to stretch, so the gown have been perfect!

...Watching Evie become a big sister has been so fun. I am shocked at how much she adores her baby sister. Most of the time she loves to kiss her, pat her belly, and give her hugs. The first week was rough, but after that it's been smooth sailing. The only thing we are working on now is that she shouldn't be stealing the baby's paci. Haha!

...I'm home so much more than I would have ever expected. I'm an on the go kind of person, but when we had our first, I learned to be more content at home. Well, that has tripled since we had Ella. I love being home. Changing diapers, cleaning house, and menu planning are SO my thing! I really love being a housewife. I know our generation scoffs at that, but truly homemaking is such a fun art. It allows me to tap in on so many "passions" that I have whether it's cooking, decorating, mothering, entertaining, organizing, etc. Can anyone else relate?

...Our new "clean eating" lifestyle has sailed along. I'm kind of surprised at how much easier, and cheaper it is that I would have thought. I still enjoy treats here and there, but have learned to love veggies with a new gusto. I think that stems from trying so many different recipes!

So, that's what I've been loving lately. Nothing life shattering, but little things that make my heart happy. :)

What have you been loving lately? Linking up with Big White Farmhouse

Monday, February 22, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 12

The weather.....
Cloudy, and a bit cool! 
Right now I am....
Working on book reviews, menu planning, filling in the calendar, etc.

That sometimes, life doesn't always go as planned.

On my TV.....
Cheers, Downton Abby, Parenthood

On the menu for this week....
I'm working on slowly changing our diet to accomodate a "clean eating" lifestyle. I'm amazed at how simple the switch has been. My personal goal: Less processed, more veggies & fresh fruit, and whole grains on a limited intake. ;)

Broccoli, Cheese & Chicken Casserole (made with Quinoa instead of rice)
Sliced Turkey, Eggs & Fresh Fruit
White Bean, Tomato & Spinach Soup
Taco Salad & Guacamole
Buffalo Chicken, Mashed Potatoes & Italian Green Beans
Blackened Salmon, Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Hash Browns

On my to do list....

Speed Clean
Work on book reviews
Update Calendars
Check E-mail
Finish putting away laundry

In the craft basket....
Project Life Album, Bible Journaling, and some more "crayon time" with Evie.

Looking forward to this week....
Dinner with some of our oldest friends. Dreaming of the future. A date night with Josh. ;)

Looking around the house....
It's a messy Monday. Ha!

From the camera....
The picture is of the orchids that my husband bought me. They make the house feel cheery!

On my prayer list.....
Some friends waiting on news regarding a future adoption. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

A little Valentine

She's my mini photographer in the making! I just snapped these pictures in her room on Friday afternoon. I handed her the mini brownie camera and told her to take pictures of me. She smiled, and said "Camera"?? She knew exactly what I was talking about. It cracked me up.

We celebrated Valentine's Day with chocolates, naps, and dinner with my family. It was lovely! Hope you all enjoyed lots of goodies on the day we set aside to celebrate love. ;)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tot School: The Color Red

This week, Evie got to attend her first Valentine party. She didn't have a clue it was a party, but she certainly enjoyed playing with the kids. ;) The next day, I thought it would be fun to have a "red day" and work on some tot school together.

I've noticed she so curious, and eager to learn these days. Many times I find her pulling board books off the shelf, and studying the pictures. Her main sentence these days are, "What is this?" or "What is that?". I realize she is still so young, but I think a few minutes of "structured" learning wouldn't hurt. I dare say she enjoyed it due to the melt down afterwards (it was nap time). ;)

So for our first round of tot school we learned about the color red. We put on a red dress, ate a red apple, built a tower with red blocks, colored with red crayons, made red crafts, and used red water colors. Then throughout the day, I would point out other red items. It was fun! I'm ready to figure out another fun "color" day at home.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Project Life Album 2015

I got started with Project Life last year. It was my birthday gift from Josh, and I thought it would be a great investment. I've spent the last few days playing catch up, and adding embellishments here and there. It's the perfect memory keeping system! It fits my personality. I like that it's easy, simple, and can be customized to fit your style!

I chose the Strawberry Edition for my starter packs. The color scheme is very vibrant, and just girly enough to satisfy my tastebuds. I'm hoping to finish up 2015 in the next couple of weeks so that I can get started on a new album for 2016!

Linking up at Sundays at Home

Friday, February 5, 2016

Need A Reminder to Rest?

As wife & mothers we all know the word "busy". Maybe a little too much, too often. For me, becoming a mother was a wake up call to slow down, and enjoy life more. I didn't want to miss all those precious moments that we often take for granted with our families.

Reading "Rest Assured" by Vicki Courtney reminded me again of why I want to keep a slower pace. Allowing time for my spiritual life, my family, and my personal life allows me to be the best version of myself. When I keep myself too busy chasing too many things I often miss out on God's best for my life.

If you are looking for a call to action when it comes to finding balance and rest for our weary souls, I would highly recommend this book. Great for women of all ages, and all walks of life!

Rating: 4 Stars
Note: I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February Goals

I've always been a Type A+ person. Goals are my "thing" and while they may change regularly, there is something satisfying about setting them. However, I'd also have to admit that adding littles to the picture has kept me from setting goals. I think part of it is that I have felt like I'm living in a bit of a hazy fog (interrupted sleep does that, ha!). On the other hand, I also realize that I still need to be bettering myself two littles under two or not! Back to goal setting I go!

Here are a few things I'd like to work on this month:

Faith: I'd like to start reading through my devotions every day, and journaling what the Lord is teaching me. It's very theraputic. I've slacked the last couple of weeks. 

Health: This is important because I have really aged over the last year. It was just a rough year, rough pregnancy, and rough post-partum. I haven't been taking care of myself as I should be, so I want to make this a number one priority. This includes eating healthier food choices, exercising regularly, drinking more water, and taking a few hours each week to pamper myself. A facial goes a long way!

Marriage: I'd really like to carve a few hours each week for just the two of us. We are lucky to have mom's who offer to watch the girls regularly. Also, there is always the good 'ol put the kids to bed date night. ;-)

Project Life: I'd like to catch up on 2015, so that I can start working on 2016. I'd also like to look up some new journaling ideas. I lack creativity with this project! It's such a fun way to recap the years!

Reading: My goal is to read at least two book each month.

Home: So, we are praying about where our next house should be. Finding the right neighborhood, putting our house on the market and all that will take a LOT of time. I want every step to be within God's will. It's scary, but exciting. 

Linking up with the Monthly Goals Link Up

Little Tid Bits

Reading: Little Women by Louisa May Alcot via my new pretty edition, and Audacios by Beth Moore

Drinking: Swiss Hot Chocolate made with milk

Watching: Downton Abby. Parenthood. Gilmore Girls. 

Dreaming: Of warm spring afternoons, and adventures with my family of four.

Thinking: About my upcoming birthday. I asked for a shopping spree at Barnes & Noble. ;)

Cooking: I made a clean eating dish with brocolli slaw & buffalo chicken yesterday. It was a nice, filling lunch. I'm also in the mood to try new baked veggie recipes. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Elleanor's Newborn Photos

I had planned to take Ella's newborn photos myself, as I had with Evie. It's a huge cost saver for us, plus I enjoy the challenge Although, I am not by any means a newborn photographer. It took me HOURS of working to get the shots that I wanted. I ended up taking three rounds of photos on three seperate days.

The first photo, I had found a similiar style on pinterest. I found the green wrap on Etsy, and a coordinating headband on Etsy as well. The second photo was taken on a whim...I had originally purchased the rose garlands for a different pose altogether. But, when I saw that she was looking around, I snapped the picture. It turned out to be one of my favorites!

Needless to say, I'm happy with how they turned out. And I'm still pinching myself that I'm a mother of two. ;)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 11

The Weather::
A bit chilly, but the sun is shining brightly!

Right now I am::
Catching up with blogging, and listening to Evie scream while she runs back & forth in the kitchen. ;)

About oh so many things. A lot of heartache for many people I know, and sometimes it's over whelming. Remembering to pray about everything, and cast my cares at the feet of Jesus. Thankful that he carries the burdens for us.

Looking forward to::
Cleaning up the house, and finding a new routine. I'm feeling more like myself, and I'm ready for spring cleaning!!! Josh started working on our pantry makeover yesterday, and he plans to finish it this week. To say I'm excited would be a huge understatement!!!

On my reading pile::
My Utmost for His Highest & two devotionals by Beth Moore

On my tv::
Downtown Abby Season 4

Things that make me happy::
Time with my little family. Clean house. Dark Chocolate & Iced Coffee. Going on a date night with my husband. ;)

On the menu for this week::
Taco Bake
Chicken, Green Beans & Potato Casserole
Buffalo Chicken & Broccoli Slaw
BBQ Meatballs & Mashed Potatoes
Breakfast For Dinner

On my to do list::
Put Away Laundry
Deep clean bathrooms
What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating::
I just finished printing new photos off so I can catch up with Project Life. Also, want to finish Evie's baby book, so that I can start on Ella's.

Looking around the house::
Evie is "Sweeping" the floor, Ella is stirring, the kitchen is a total mess. ;)

My Little Unicorns

We found a couple of unicorns on our front porch yesterday! We decided to keep them. *wink* 😍

About Me

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I'm a wife, mother, and homemaker learning to enjoy the simple things in life. Which may or may not include a good latte, meaningful books, decorating my home, and all things French & Disney related. Thanks for visiting!