Friday, May 1, 2015

{around here} Week 17/52: Week of 4.27.15

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.  At the end of the year, I'll publish them into a keepsake to treasure.

Around here, I have been:

thankful that my people are slowly starting to feel better.  The littlest two still have sniffles, but that's still a huge improvement from last week!

assembling Sophie's new table.  I had reward points from Wayfair burning a hole in my pocket and decided she needed a little table for her tea parties.  She loves it and has been inviting her daddy and brothers to tea all week.

kicking myself for missing the Catholic Women Blogging Network's Mid-Atlantic Conference this weekend because of an oversight!  I kept thinking that it coincided with M's First Communion, only to realize they were actually a week apart!  I'm bummed, but hoping I can attend the next one.

baking blueberry cake.  Sunday night at bedtime, I told Sophie that when she woke up, we would make blueberry bread.  She got excited, then stopped, looked me in the eyes and said, "No Mama.  Make blueberry CAKE."  How can you say no to that?  So we did.

reading Beyond the Birds and the Bees.

working on new product ideas for Big White Farmhouse and considering ways to get our name out there.  Marketing is by far the weakest aspect of my business.  I've been learning all I can, watching others and slowly making a plan to implement myself.

watching Sophie dance around the house. Having a girl is so different and fun.

running again and it's just what this introverted, over-tired mama needed.  As I get older (and have more children), I'm realizing how important it is for me to be alone and in my own head for a bit.  

brainstorming ideas for a summer book club, hosted with Tabitha and Shelly.  We're still in the planning stages, but hope to be ready by June 1.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

{a year of challenges} April is for Quiet Time: A Summary

The clock says 7:30.

It's been a busy morning of coffee brewing, diaper changing, and breakfast making.  I haven't stopped moving since I rolled out of bed over an hour ago.  As I chug down that first big cup, the kids chat a mile a minute: everything from the Hobbit, to how to block someone from scoring a soccer goal, to Sophie's favorite Care Bear.  After their bellies are happily full of Mickey Mouse pancakes, they run to play before school begins.

I have a million things I could be doing.  There are still dishes in the sink, Big White Farmhouse promos to create, laundry to start....but I sit down at the dining room table, books and breakfast and baby in hand. It's time for quiet.

For me, quiet time is when I get myself ready to conquer the day.  Sometimes I read my bible, sometimes the daily readings with Blessed is She.  Sometimes I just sit there with my head in my hands and pray.  Then I take my planner, choose the three big tasks I want to accomplish that day and think about dinner.  It's not fancy, not time intensive...but wow, has it changed me and how my day goes.

Let's be honest here.  Just because "quiet" is in the name, that doesn't mean that's what it looks like in reality.  TJ squeals and babbles (and on a bad day, is whiny and clingy).  The kids come in and out.  They usually respect that I'm reading, but sometimes there are pressing questions to be asked or brotherly squabbles to break up.  I'm so glad quiet time doesn't require silence to be fruitful.

I've learned a lot this month. Prioritizing time in prayer has been so helpful with the overwhelming feelings of motherhood and household keeping.  Instead of constantly worrying about the job I'm doing, I have peace knowing that He is holding my hand every step of the way.  I'm still not a great housekeeper and my to-do list is still miles long, but that peace that I was so desperately looking for?  I've found it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

{life list} A New Look at Living a Full Life

For the past few weeks, while stuck inside with sick babies, I've been spending a lot of time on Pinterest.  While it can sometimes be overwhelming, I really do enjoy the visual inspiration.  At the same time, I tend to be a "pin it and forget it" pinner...on to the next pretty picture while forgetting the rest.

Last week, I found myself browsing through my boards and thinking, "Wow! I would love to make that!" or "That looks easy enough...I should try that."  I started jotting down a few of the ideas and then..lightning bolt!  If you've been reading for awhile, you'll remember my list of 100 little things I did in 2014.  I loved working on that list, so I decided to revamp my life list to include a little of both: big and little and everything in between.  

Living a full, intentional life doesn't have to just be about traveling to new countries or attending Olympic games.  Sometimes it's just trying a new recipe or camping in the backyard with your kids.  You know the quote, "Enjoy the little things in life because one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things"?  I really want to live that way.  I hope you will too.    

I've included a bit of my new life list below.  I'll be periodically adding to it and checking them off as I go.  I have a direct link on my sidebar if you'd like to follow along!

P.S. I'm also using these journals to hold my notes and ideas from my pins on Pinterest.  The paper quality is fantastic!

Make homemade icecream completed 7/2013 
Make pasta from scratch
Make a layered birthday cake
Make my own vanilla extract
Perfect a delicious iced coffee recipe
Bake homemade pretzels
Make strawberry jam with Mom
Bake pita bread

Make 100 beautiful things with my hands
Make a pennant using vintage sheets for Sophie's room
Learn how to use my camera in manual mode
Make a piece of clothing using a pattern
Learn how to knit
Learn floral arranging
Finish the cross-stitch superhero pillows for the boys
Learn how to make candles
Learn calligraphy
Write a children's book
Create a journal with prompts and publish
Make my handwriting a font
Make silhouettes of the kids

Home Decor and Improvement
Purchase an old home and completely renovate it
Complete a total gut renovation project (bathroom or kitchen?)
Build a tree house in the backyard
Buy a new welcome mat
Hang Sophie's gallery wall
Purchase a bench for the dining room table
Paint a piece of furniture with milk paint
Find a white pitcher for the mantel
Splurge and buy fresh flowers

Health & Fitness
Run 100 races: 5K, 10K, half marathon and anything with my dad

My First Race! May 2013: Semper Fred 5K, 33:08 // #2. September 2013: Crossroads 4 Miler, 39:53

Go horseback riding

Run a relay race
Complete a weight lifting program
Learn to paddleboard

Books to Read
Read every book on my "College Bound Booklist"
Read The Temperament God Gave Your Kids 

Start a book club

Wardrobe & Self Care
Donate my hair to Locks for Love completed 01/2013 

Buy a dress over $100 and not feel guilty about it

Learn how to French braid
Find a flattering denim button-down shirt
Buy a new curling iron and learn to curl my hair
Be brave and wear red lipstick out in public

See all 50 states 
Go on an Alaskan cruise
Ride on the Amtrak
Visit every NFL stadium and see a game
See a show on Broadway
Take a family vacation in Seaside, FL

Making Memories
Go paintballing
Camp out in our backyard
See Cirque du Soleil
Have our family pictures done by a professional photographer completed 10/2013 by the wonderful Lucy O Photography
Take the kids boating and tubing
Make tie-dye t-shirts
Take a cooking class with my husband
Learn how to flyfish with Dad
Take the family to a game at Fenway Park
Organize a getaway trip with my cousins Chicago in 04/2014
Put Christmas wreaths on the graves in Arlington National Cemetery
Go apple picking

Make every recipe from a single cookbook, like Julie and Julia
Support 100 Mammas in their small businesses

Read the entire Bible in one year
Give in 100 different ways (at least!)
Purchase a handmade item from every state in the USA

Watch 100 documentaries

Learn how to make my own cleaning supplies
Write down all of the kids' birth stories
Buy stock
Learn to shoot a gun
Donate blood
Run a successful home decor business Big White Farmhouse launched 01/2014
Open a brick-and-mortar retail location for Big White Farmhouse
Start a scholarship

Friday, April 24, 2015

{around here} Week 16/52: Week of 4.20.15

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.  At the end of the year, I'll publish them into a keepsake to treasure.

Around here, I have been:

tired.  One by one, everyone from Mark down to TJ has been hit with a sickness that just won't go away. Barking coughs, sweats and chills, small fevers...they've all been miserable and I've been doing my best to keep everybody comfortable.  We've been watching lots of movies and adding in "fun stuff" to keep things interesting (ie. bubble blowing, going out for milkshakes and ordering pizza).  I hope we can all get back to normal soon.

not running.  Not once; I couldn't get away!  After 10 full weeks of training, it feels weird, but I think my body appreciates the unintended break.  Hoping to get back in the swing of things this weekend.    

realizing that "quiet time" doesn't have to equal total silence to be fruitful.

grateful.  Mark was in a car accident last week (he's fine) and we were worried that his car would be totaled.  Thankfully, it's fixable and covered by insurance...we can avoid a car payment a bit longer!   

reading A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France

grossed out when J literally picked a fly from his eye.  He ran in the house from playing outside saying his eye hurt and then with some rubbing, came to me with dead fly in hand.  Ick.  

donating money to a friend running for a great cause.  I'd love to race and raise money for charity someday...maybe for half marathon number two!

selling our unneeded homeschool books on ebay.  It feels good to get this goal checked off my list. Now hopefully they will sell!

Monday, April 20, 2015

{shop small} Vol.04: Spring Florals

As the Creative Director for Big White Farmhouse, I am constantly searching for new products.  Our company is passionate about supporting the "little guys", the ones who are working tirelessly to create a life doing what they love.  I love that entrepreneurial spirit and I hope you do too!

Since I can't carry all of the cool products I find, I thought I'd pop in every so often to share some of my discoveries with you! Volume 04 is inspired by all of the new buds popping up outside.  I love finding the latest wildflowers on my runs!  Enjoy.

Personalized Bunny by The Refined Roost 

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