Monday, November 26, 2012

{christmas} My Christmas Season Goals 2012




1. Be okay with simple.  I have a newborn in the house this year, so all of my lofty baking and crafting plans just may not happen.  And that's okay.  My hope is to try ONE new recipe and ONE crafty project with the boys.  Anything more is just icing on the cake.

2. Quality is more important than quantity.  The kids don't need gobs of new toys, regardless of the pressure from outside sources.  A few thoughtfully planned gifts are more than enough.

3. Corny and cliche, but true: Remember the reason for the season.  I want to make an effort this year to keep my eyes on the bigger picture, instead of getting bogged down on the details.     

In order to fully experience this beautiful season, I'm taking a blogging break throughout December.  I want to be fully present to my little family!  But be sure to check back here at the Big White Farmhouse in January...I've got big plans for this space! 

Wishing you and yours a blessed Advent season! xo

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 21: YOU!


Day 21: Today I am so, so thankful for you! Yes you, blog reader!  Blogging has become such a blessing in my life.  There are so many amazing people that I otherwise would never have met.  Thank you for your friendship...I hope someday we can meet in person!

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 17-20: Full Days & Fussy Nights



Days 17-20: I'm thankful for that sweet baby girl who (thankfully!) gets a little happier everyday.  We're 99% sure she has some sort of reflux issue and I have been deleting food groups from my diet like it's going out of style.  Goodbye coffee, dairy and anything remotely spicy.  Needless to say, she's been quite fussy and her only happy place seems to be firmly attached to me in the wrap!  I'm trying not to stress about the growing laundry pile and the toy explosion in the living room.  Instead, I'm trying to be thankful for this extra time with my Little Miss.  I know it only lasts for an instant.     

Friday, November 16, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 16: My Birthday Boy


Day 16: Today I am so thankful for this boy, the one who made me a Mamma six years ago today.  He is sweet and helpful, eager to learn and full of curiosity.  His requests for his special day: crepes for breakfast and "super yummy tacos" for dinner.  He's so easy to please.  I'm thankful he loves his Mamma's cooking!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 15: Kindergarten


Day 15: Today I'm thankful for the opportunity to teach kindergarten to my oldest.  We are making great strides in our reading curriculum (Sing, Spell, Read and Write) and I am so proud of his hard work.  He'll be reading on his own in no time! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 14: An Opportunity to Give



Day 14: Today I am so thankful for an opportunity to give back.  Do you ever feel like you'd love to give, but don't know where or how?  I feel like that often, which is why I started the "100 Ways to Give" page on my blog (you can find it up there in the menu bar).  I recently came across a wonderful opportunity to add to my list through the blog, Momastery.  She is the brains behind the Holiday Hands program.  Originally, I just went to the website to browse, but was immediately drawn into all of the heartbreaking stories.  In that moment, I knew I could do something. 

I chose a sweet, brave newly single mamma and a box is headed her way this week.  In reality, it's not much: a small amount to help pay her heating bill, a couple of Barbies for her girls and a cupcake mix for a little holiday family time.  But more importantly, I hope it tells her that she is not alone, that she's a good mother, that she has worth.  Words every Mamma should hear, rignt?

If you're interested, be sure to check out the listings.  Remember that there are many, many ways to give!  Financially of course, but you may have skills, connections, gently used clothing that someone may need! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 13: An Inexpensive Upgrade


Day 13: Today I'm thankful that a can of paint can make a house feel a little more like home.  We've been living with bright yellow walls (you can catch a bit of them in this post) that I have been anxious to change.  We took advantage of Sherwin William's 40% off sale and a few hours later, I had a room that felt a little more like mine. 

P.S. These pictures were taken late at night with all artificial lighting.  Better pictures to come!

Monday, November 12, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 12: A Break from Cooking


Day 12: Today I'm thankful that my husband is amazing in the kitchen.  He most definitely is the chef in our family and I love when he whips up yummy meals for us.  This past weekend was no exception...he's the best!  I think I'll thank him by baking some cookies.  :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 11: Veterans


Day 10: Today I'm thankful for all the men and women who are willing to sacrifice everything for our country.  Freedom isn't free and I never want to take that for granted.  I'm especially thankful for all of the men in my family who have served this great nation: my grandfather, father, brother and husband.  We have a legacy of former Marines in this family! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 10: My Dryer


Day 10: Today I am so grateful for my dryer.  Not only does it make our clean laundry warm and toasty, it also soothes upset babies!  This picture was taken at 10 o'clock at night after two hours of crying (her or me?  both?  I'll never tell).  I'm not sure whether she has a touch of colic and if it's just something I ate.  But at my wit's end, I turned the dryer on, threw a random fleece jacket on the top and put her down.  Immediate calm and she stared at the light for almost 5 minutes! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 9: My Helper Boy


Day 9: Today I'm thankful for this boy.  He's my helper.  When this photo was taken, I was sweeping the floor for what seemed like the hundredth time that day.  Something distracted me and I left my chore unfinished.  Next thing I know, this sweet boy is on the floor with the dust pan, intent on completing the job for me.  I am so thankful for his eagerness to help and the joy in his eyes when I give him a job to do.    

Thursday, November 8, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 8: Slippers


Day 8: Yesterday was dreary and cold.  Is this a hint of what winter is supposed to be like this year?  Brr.  Today I'm thankful for my new slippers, keeping my feet toasty on these cold wood floors.  Now I'm looking out for some for my boys.  Anyone have a favorite?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 7: Warm Cookies


Day 7: Today I'm thankful for warm Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, a seasonal favorite around here.  Unfortunately, they never last long...maybe that's a good thing!  So thankful for the ability to fill my boys' bellies with yummy treats.

Want to make cookies too?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips (I always add a little more!)

Cream butter and sugar.  Mix in the wet ingredients.  Mix in the sifted dry ingredients.  Add the chocolate chips.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 6: Imagination


Day 6: Today I'm thankful for post-Halloween sales and two new costumes for 70% off.  These boys have been dressed as ninjas for two days now.  I can't keep track of all the stories they've come up with...I just love their imaginations! 

P.S. How cute is that little Spiderman?  I love how he wants to be just like his brothers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 5: My Health


Day 5: Scenes from this weekend.  We are SICK.  I had such a lofty to-do list to accomplish and well, that didn't happen! Instead we hung out together on the couch and watched Food Channel marathons.  Today I am thankful for hot beverages, tissues and little boys who still make us laugh even when we're feeling down and out.   

Sunday, November 4, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 4: My Big Boy


Day 4: Today I'm thankful for this boy, that smile and the giggle that usually follows.  He's strong-willed and hard-headed and because of that, I'm challenged to be a better mother every day.  But gosh, he's a sweet boy with a big heart.  I love that kid.

P.S. This picture was taken a few weeks ago on his birthday.  When we told him he could pick any restaurant for his special dinner, he excitedly shouted, "Burger King!  I want a burger...and can I have a smoothie too?"  You got it, buddy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 3: Cozy Corners


Day 3: Today I'm thankful for this cozy corner in the nursery.  I like to sit in the rocking chair and daydream about how I'd like to decorate the room.  So many items to purchase and projects to DIY...which will all get done, little by little.  Until then, I'll just rock with my Little Miss.

Friday, November 2, 2012

{month of thanksgiving} Day 2: My Husband


Day 2: Today I'm thankful for a husband who buys me roses "just because". He tells me I'm beautiful, even when I'm feeling like I'm not.  He makes me laugh everyday.  We are celebrating seven years of marriage this month...I can't imagine going through life with anyone else.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

{recording life} A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 1


I don't know about you, but the month of October was a total blur.  Maybe it has something to do with that sweet baby girl in the house?  The next two months are absolute favorites of mine though, and I really, really want to enjoy them.  So in an attempt to slow down and relish my favorite time of year, I'm going to start making a list of all that I'm grateful for - the big and the little things.  The goal is to share one thing everyday this month.  Maybe you want to play too?


Day 1: Today I'm thankful for this overflowing pile of handmade blankets and quilts.  The weather has gone from balmy to brisk...where did the fall go?!  My new morning routine is cuddling underneath them and watching cartoons with the kids.  And I'm reaching for them in the evenings, as my husband and I unwind after a long day.  So thankful for their warmth and the memories we're creating.       

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

{house to home} A Little Girl's Nursery Inspiration Board

I was given an amazing gift a few days ago.  Let me start this story by saying that as much as we love our new home, the paint colors chosen by the previous owners are pretty bad.  (Remember my Ronald McDonald kitchen/first floor?)  The master bedroom and the nursery were the worst.  Loud colors and lots and lots of stripes.  Seeing the rooms everyday drove me crazy, but with a brand new baby, the idea of getting it all repainted was just not realistic right now. 
 
My cousins to the rescue!  Giving me the most amazing gift, they offered to fly in for the weekend and paint both rooms!  Can you believe it?  I was so humbled by their generosity. 
 
The nursery was painted Benjamin Moore's Buxton Blue, which is gorgeous.  Before and after pictures will be coming soon.  And now I'm itching to get this nursery decorated!  A few of my inspiration pictures:     
 
 

Lamp from Urban Outfitters
Frame Display from The Mom Tog Diaries
Pink Gingham Curtains from Castaway to Couture

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

{link list} 10.17.12 Edition


1. These cookies are adorable and would be an awesome gift for the photography enthusiast in your life!

2. I loved this article: 10 Things I've Learned from Raising Girls.  My favorite was #6: Life is a miracle. "I knew this before I had girls. But I didn’t really KNOW this. My body co-knit their bodies with the divine. Their bodies might do the same someday. Their first breaths of air, their first blinks of light (moments that are honestly quite foggy in my memory), those don’t “just happen.” There is some mystery there that makes my soul want more of it."  So beautiful.

3. We definitely won't be accomplishing as much as we did last fall, but you know how much I love a list!  Katie Bower has some great ideas on her Fall Family Fun List that I want to add for next year.   

4. This DIY thumbprint pumpkin card is a darling idea for the grandparents. 

5. Did you hear about 30 Memories in 30 Days Challenge?  Such a great idea.

6. Next on my to-read list: The Shoemaker's Wife: A Novel

7. I am on a cooking roll!  On my list to try: Buffalo Chicken Fingers, Bacon and Cheese Quiche and Baked Apple Donuts.

8. Ever read a blog post and felt like they were speaking just to you?  Or that you could have written the exact post yourself?  It just happened to me.  When I read this on Angie's blog, I got goosebumps and a lump in my throat.  I desperately needed the reminder that I am beautiful, no matter what size I am.  Maybe you do too?   

Monday, October 15, 2012

{etsy finds} One-of-a-Kind Finds at My Vintage Lane


Ready for a new shop full of great vintage finds?  My Vintage Lane is just a treasure trove!  These are just a few things that caught my eye:

1. These slate chalkboards are so versatile.  I'm picturing them as part of a holiday party tablescape, written with the menu.  So cute!
2. I think old cameras are so neat and make for interesting home decor.  I'd put this 1930's  Kodak camera in a bookcase with a few others. Sure to be a conversation starter!
3. The four pint-sized milk bottles would look darling on a kitchen windowsill holding cut flowers.  Or!  The bottles would be perfect in a craft room for those teeny odds and ends.  I love pieces that are functional as well as beautiful. 
4. Buttons can be used for a countless number of projects.  I recently re-found this pin, which got my wheels turning.  I'm thinking of decorating an "A" in buttons for my office and this lot would be perfect.
5. I LOVE this Pepsi crate and can picture it in my big boys' room filled with Legos.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

{recording life} 30 Before 30



October is becoming a special month around here.  We are enjoying every newborn moment with our Little Miss, slowly getting situated in our new home, and oh yeah!  Celebrating some birthdays!  This year, my little D-man is 4 and I turn the big 28...how is this even possible?  Time sure has flown. 

So with another birthday comes another list.  (ANY excuse for a new list!)  While I didn't accomplish much on my 27 Goals list from last year, I did love the practice of thinking about all those little things I'd like to do.  The list is a fun challenge for me, so here I go again!  This time, I'm embracing the ever popular "30 before 30"...so this gives me two years instead of one to get some items crossed off the list! 
--------------------------------------------------------------

1. Join our new library and actually use it!
2. Lose all of the baby weight...get back into those old jeans!
3. Read 40 books.
4. Run a race with my Dad.
5. Make pasta from scratch.
6. See a movie in theaters.
7. Learn how to make my own cleaning supplies.  
8. Take a family vacation to someplace we've never been.
9. Sew a dress for our Little Miss.
10. Grow tomatoes.
11. Purchase an original painting from an artist on etsy.
12. Make tie-dye shirts with the kids.
13. Eat only local foods for a month.
14. Become debt-free (minus our mortgage).
15. Visit the National Zoo with the kids.
16. Donate blood.
17. Make a new recipe every evening for 30 days.
18. Take the kids to Legoland.
19. Go hiking.
20. Run a successful online home decor business (Big White Farmhouse).
21. Have a family photo printed onto a canvas. 
22. Send five friends/family surprise presents just because.
23. Host a game night. 
24. Purchase a new knife set for the kitchen.
25. Grow succulents.
26. Visit an aquarium.
27. Redesign the blog so it looks more professional.
28. Financially support (in a small way!) a family fundraising for an adoption.
29. Visit NYC.
30. Collaborate with another blogger on a project of some sort.

Monday, October 8, 2012

{chit chat} Monday Almanac (vol.2)


From the Kitchen
Since our sweet girl was born, meal planning has gone out the window.  And while I'd be lying if I said I was tired of trying out all the local joints around our new home (oh yum!), our budget just won't allow it.  So I made a small challenge to myself to cook dinner this week.  Again, keeping my expectations LOW, I'm only committing to three "real" meals.  Baby steps!  On the menu: Crockpot BBQ Chicken, Beef Stroganoff and Italian Chicken.    

Around the House
We've got toys everywhere, so I'm researching and designing organization systems.  Craigslist has been checked daily, but so far, no luck.  I'm hoping to find a good deal soon! I'm also thinking one more Goodwill purge should take place...the boys' birthdays and Christmas are near!

Homeschooling
M's been asking daily if we can do school, so we're slowly going to ease back in.  Phonics, math games and the occasional art project will be just enough this week.

Fitness
I'm two weeks postpartum and just starting to feel ready to getting back into shape.  I need to dig through a few boxes, but I'm determined to find my "Postnatal Rescue" DVD and get started!  I'm also planning on walking with my family for the Little Flowers Virtual 5K...have you registered yet?

Plans and Schemes
A trip to the pumpkin patch needs to be planned soon.  I also hope to start brainstorming Christmas ideas....call me crazy, but I know I'll blink my eyes and it will be here! 

Reading
Currently reading A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression, which I'm finding fascinating.  Have you read it?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

{chit chat} And Then There were Four...


Knock on wood, but life with four little ones is pretty great.  Loud and a whole lotta crazy, but still great.  I feel like I've said all pregnancy: Once you're outnumbered, why not add one more to the mix?!  Good thing she's such a natural fit.  She's already proven to sleep through anything (which is a must with three big brothers!), is a natural nurser (such a blessing!) and has every male in her family wrapped around her finger.  

The transition to four has gone relatively smoothly for us, so I'd like to share my humble tips for newborn survival.  Let me know if you have any others to add!

1. Keep your expectations LOW. 
For my first day solo at home, I had one goal for the day: survive!  Other than feeding myself and the kids, I had very low expectations.  No long to-do lists taunting me.  Nope, if I could keep us all fed and happy by the time my husband got home, I declared the day a success.  Anything else accomplished was just icing on the cake.  So when I managed to fit in a few loads of laundry, bill paying and some bedroom organization...well I just entered rockstar category. 

2. Do one thing for yourself everyday.
I think Mammas can get overwhelmed in the newborn stage easily without this step.  Find that one thing that makes you feel beautiful/sane, and make sure you do that everyday.  Some Mammas may need to get dressed everyday.  Some may feel better with a little makeup on or the ability to blow-dry their hair.  For me, if I can get a shower in, no matter how short, it does wonders for my day.  I feel clean and ready to conquer anything. 

3. Don't be too proud to ask for help.
With the births of my older two boys, I think I felt like I had to prove myself as a mother.  So I tried to do it all, asking for very little help.  Ironically, these were the times where I struggled the most with the Baby Blues.  With baby number four, I've finally learned my own limitations and I try to call out for help before I reach my breaking point. 

4. Step back and see with new eyes.  
Sometimes with the exhaustion that the newborn phase brings, it's hard to see past the feeding and diaper changing and the older children watching, etc etc.  But if I could offer any advice, it would be to make sure you take the time to step back and see the good.  When I really take the time to see, I see three big brothers who just adore their sister.  I see a healthy baby girl who is so sweet, it makes my heart hurt.  I see a family that is so, so blessed. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

{family} Introducing our Newest Addition!


I am so excited to announce our sweet girl's arrival!
She is a doll and we are so in love.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

{kids craft} Welcome Fall with a Painted Leaves Collage

Well, I'm feeling quite embarrassed about my whine-fest in the previous post. Sometimes life is just overwhelming and writing it out is theraputic, you know?  Funny what a good night's sleep can do. After weeks of insomnia or using the bathroom CONSTANTLY all night long (thank you pregnancy!), God has been gracious and given me a few consecutive nights of uninterrupted sleep! What a gift...and what an amazing way to gain some perspective.

So I'm happy to report that I'm in a much better place this week and in turn, I think I've been a much better mother.  And nothing gets a "Yay! You're the best, Mamma!" like a spur-of-the-moment art project, albeit with a semi-selflsh motive.

Back story: After perusing our new SuperTarget, I came across these simple white frames on clearance for 50% off: 

 
$4.98 for an 11"x14" frame?  Yes please!  I've also been on the search for simple (read: cheap) fall decor, since big purchases are just out of the question right now.  Oh to live on a budget...I'm sure most of you can relate. :)

Cue the kids and the art project.  My inspiration came from this tutorial, with just a few tweaks.  For one, we used tempera paint with paintbrushes instead of finger paint.  I limited the boys to red and yellow, which they then mixed to make orange too.  I also ended up tracing and cutting out the leaf shapes myself, since there was way more interest in the glueing part.  

Our final result:

 
I love it!  And yes, the walls really are that yellow....think Ronald McDonald meets the majority of my first floor.  Lots of home improvement posts to come!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

{ramblings} Catching Up: A List

One of the last boxes I packed....obviously over the whole packing experience!

Hello, hello!  Popping in to catch up before diving back into the craziness.  My brain is mush, so a bullet list will have to do today:
  • I AM TIRED.  I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking, but moving at 37 weeks pregnant is a ridiculous idea.  I am huge, achy and largely miserable.  Thank goodness for the nesting instinct that gets me motivated to do anything.
  • As if this time wasn't stressful enough, my otherwise really healthy children have been taking turns with a lovely stomach bug.  So GROSS.  So badly timed.  
  • Between the sickness and the moving, the kids have been watching crazy amounts of PBS cartoons on TV.  The worst part is that I'm just too tired to feel guilty about it. 
  • The old house = stress-inducer.  We thought we found a renter, but she unfortunately fell through.  And even though I worked all summer long, the rental management company apparently has a list for us of improvements they'd like to see completed.  (Good point to know: we now live two hours away).  Exactly how I pictured spending the last few weekends before my 4th baby is born!
  • The new house = craziness. Boxes to unpack and a house to organize, all while my kids run rampant.  Did I mention the disgusting dog prints we found all over the carpet (that smelled like poop!) when we walked in for the first time?  Did I also mention that we haven't had hot water for three days?
  • This post is turning into a whole lot of complaining.  Sorry about that.  Not typical for me as I'm usually a glass-half-full kinda girl.  I need some prayers!
  • One more order of business - Mamma Support Swap: hopefully everyone who participated has mailed their packages by now.  If not, please get those out soon!  Oh and Megan (winner of my giveaway!), I haven't forgotten about you!  I hope to find our new post office this week.     

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

{i want to remember} - 9/4/12


With the movers coming in just a few days, I'm becoming quite sentimental!  Here are a few things I want to remember about this little home of ours:

I WANT TO REMEMBER... moving into this house on a crisp fall day, almost six years ago.  I was just weeks away from M's due date and we were so excited to be able to bring our baby back from the hospital to a home.  Our home.


I WANT TO REMEMBER... the slow and steady process of making it "ours" through the years: new furniture, a kitchen renovation (and how excited I was to get new countertops!), DIY projects like the board and batton, and my favorite: having hardwood floors installed.  

I WANT TO REMEMBER... what "living in the country" feels like: wildlife in our backyard, lots of trees (requiring lots of raking in the fall!), and trips to town that take 30 minutes or more.     

I WANT TO REMEMBER... that this home will always have a special place in my heart.  It's where I learned how to be a mother and a better wife.  I grew self-confidence here.  I learned to embrace my vocation, discovered new hobbies and uncovered some long-hidden dreams.    
  
I WANT TO REMEMBER... how we grew from a couple to a family in this home.  Our boys' early memories are here: birthday parties, family dinners, playing in the backyard and lots and lots of laughter.  We have much to remember and be thankful for.

Off to make more memories in the next chapter of our family's life.  We are excited to see all that is in store for us!    

Thursday, August 30, 2012

{friendship} Liebster Award....who me?

Well, what a fun surprise!  In between serving lunch to my littles, I snuck a minute to check my blog reader and imagine what I found!  I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Kallah over at Being Open to Life...thank you, thank you!  

In case you're in the dark, the Liebster Award is given to bloggers by bloggers. It’s a way to acknowledge and encourage each other (which we all know is right up my alley!). The award is given to blogs with less than 200 followers...so fun to support fellow "little guys"! 

So according to Kallah, when you receive the award, you are encouraged to post 11 random facts about yourself and then answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you. You can also share 11 blogs you love and declare them winners of the Liebster Award too!  I've got a to-do list a mile long, but since this seems way more fun than laundry or packing, let's see what I can come up with! :)

11 RANDOM FACTS YOU NEVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT ME
1. I lived in 10 different houses in my first 18 years of life (thank you, Marine Corps!).
2. I have always been a little crazy about paper products...journals, notepads and calendars are most definitely part of my love language.
3. I am a lefty, as is my brother.  We're the only ones in our entire family.  Weird.
4. In school, I was one of those crazy kids who loved math classes.  In fact, I was the girl who voluntarily took calculus during senior year.  What can I say?  I love solving for x!
5. I drink entirely too much Coke Zero.
6. I don't mind doing laundry, or even folding laundry, but putting away laundry?  That part is the hardest for me.
7. I had a scoop of icecream every single night after dinner growing up.  Mint chocolate chip is my favorite.
8. I keep a journal of every book I've ever read, a tradition I've kept up since grade school.
9. I am quite resistant to the "latest and greatest" technology.  I still rock the Blackberry and honestly?  The only reason I would ever upgrade is to get Instagram.  ha!
10. I am a way better baker than I am a cook.  My husband is the opposite.  That must be what makes us a good (and well-fed!) team.
11. We are so excited to meet our little girl (four more weeks to go!), but if you had asked me 5 years earlier how I pictured our future family, I would have happily told you that I saw five/six strapping boys who looked just like their Daddy.  Our Little Miss was a big surprise...but surprises are good. :)
 
 
ANSWERS TO 11 QUESTIONS (well, 5 of them!) 
(Unfortunately I don't have time to answer them all, but here are a few...)
 
1. If you could ask God one thing right now, what would it be? 
I would ask God why He trusts me so much!  Some days are just hard: bickering boys, taking care of the homestead, general pregnancy discomforts and long, long days.  There have been many days I've retreated to my bedroom to let God know I just can't do it anymore, that this life is too hard!  Thank goodness for grace...He knows just what I can handle and He's always there when it feels like too much. 
 
2. If you could tell your five year old self one thing, what would it be?
I would let her know that she really doesn't like the sight of blood, both hers or anyone else's.  Her dreams of becoming a doctor are well-intentioned, but silly. :)
 
3. What is your fondest memory of your childhood?
With all of the packing going on around here lately, I've been doing lots of reminiscing about my many moving adventures growing up.  I remember the stacks of boxes lining the rooms and hallways and how it seemed like they reached all the way to the ceiling.  Our house felt like it was full of tunnels, perfect for playing hide-and-seek.  I'll also never forget the feeling of arriving to a new and completely empty house.  Running around, making "snow angels" in the carpet of my new room, hearing my voice echo through the house...I'm excited to experience that with my boys soon.
 
4. Why did you start a blog?
I started my blog about a year ago as a way to honor my great-grandmother, who passed away in Dec 2010 (at 99 years old!). She was a huge inspiration to our entire family with her dedication to family, learning, and making a house a home.  With all of that in mind, I dove into the blog world and have been writing about my own experiences with those themes ever since. I've been blown away at the amazing way a blog allows you to connect with others! What a blessing.
 
5. If you only had one store to shop at for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Easy question.  I would choose Marshalls or TJ Maxx because it's the best of all worlds: I love the thrill of the hunt, it holds both name-brand clothing AND home accessories and it's budget-friendly.  Win, win, win!
 


 A FEW BLOGS...
(Naptime is ticking away, so no time for 11, but here are a few great blogs that definitely deserve the Liebster Award!)
 

1. What can I say about Meg at Handmade by Meg K?  She is definitely Jane of all trades: besides being a Mamma, she crafts, sews, gardens, cooks....so amazing!  Be sure to check out her new saints dolls in her etsy shop.  I want Mother Teresa!
 
2. Christy at fountains of home is a super-sweet Mamma of four sweet kiddos.  I love her posts and photography, along with the "G.K. of the Day" series she does.

3. If you're a homeschooler of little ones, you have to check out Pam at everyday snapshots.  I love her laid-back schooling approach and have actually implemented a lot that I've seen through her blog. 
 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

{link list} 8.29.12 Edition


1. Katie over at Blessed with Full Hands is sponsoring an amazing Virtual 5K Run to benefit sweet babies helped by the Little Flower Projects.  $25 (which is tax deductible, so double plus) and you are registered!    She has lots of fun giveaway items available for participants too...be sure to check it out!  The virtual run date is set for October 13th.

2. Chocolate Zucchini Cake, anyone?  Looks delicious!

3.  I'm really liking this grey and brown tote bag...the question is, can it hold all of my baby necessities?  Hmm...

4. One of the items on my 27 Goals list that I still need to accomplish is a silhouette of each of my kiddos.  I love that they capture a moment in time...these kids are growing too fast!  I recently came across this tutorial and it seems easy enough to do!  

5. I found this post over at Basic Ingredients incredibly interesting: Doomed to a Life of Dentist Bills...  What are your thoughts/experiences?  

6. Encouragement for fellow Mammas: The Hidden Life.  

7. Maybe it's my weird sense of humor, but I found this Ice Cube Recipe hilarious.  The comments/reviews are even better.  

8. Do you read Ashley's blog over at Under the Sycamore?  She is in the process of picking up her daughter in China...her post about their first meeting made me teary.  A must read.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

{friendship} Mamma Support Swap Sign-Ups End Saturday!

Just popping in to remind everyone that the Mamma Support Swap Sign-Ups will be ending  Saturday morning, so if you're interested, sign up soon!  I'll pair up partners during the weekend, so expect to hear from me by Monday.  Also, check back Monday to see the winner of the giveaway!  

Have a great weekend, friends. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

{link list} Recipe Box Edition


Since it's Mamma Support Swap sign-up week, I thought it was only fitting to turn this week's link list into a recipe box!  Check out these yummy meals and treats:

1. Janssen at Everyday Reading recently shared her favorite Banana Bread recipe, which sounds delicious.  Other must-try recipes on her blog: Green Calzones (a vegetarian meal) and Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (a meal for the meat-eaters!).  

2. Jillian at Dear Emme brought over Strawberry Shortcake Muffins (using this recipe) to her neighbors...don't you wish you lived next door?  :)

3. Sarah at Clover Lane always has easy recipes that the whole family will eat.  On my to-try list: Tomato Parmesan Chicken, Garlic Roll-Ups, and Apple Bars.

4. I found these amazing Rolo Stuffed Snickerdoodles on Rachel's blog.  I am dying to make a batch of these soon!  Other recipes I can't wait to try: Better-than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice and Cheesy Stuffed Meatball Sliders.

5. Joy at in so many wards finished the Whole30 Challenge this summer and shared this recipe for Paleo Mexican Meatballs.  I know my husband would love this meal!  

6. Have you heard of Skinnytaste?  Delicious meals that are healthy for you too?  I'll take it!  I can't wait to try the Egg, Tomato and Scallion Sandwich, Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats, and Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes.

7. Maria and Josh over at Two Peas & their Pod have a treasure-trove of recipes on their blog!  The Grilled Ratatouille Pasta Salad looks perfect for a light end of summer dinner.  And Jalapeno Cheddar Grilled Chicken?  Oh yum.

Do you have a favorite recipe on your blog?  A tried and true family favorite or maybe something Pinterest-inspired that you just made for the first time?  Please feel free to link up and share!




Monday, August 20, 2012

{friendship} Supporting Mammas in the Kitchen with a Swap and a GIVEAWAY!


Back in February, I felt really convicted to reach out to Mammas with support and a little fun.  The purpose of the first Mamma Support Swap was to use the Internet to support mothers in all walks of life, connect us on a deeper level, and to celebrate this crazy vocation we've been called to.  Being a teeny little blog, I was so nervous that this idea of mine would crash and burn.  But I was blown away by the interest and the support!  And I knew this had to be something that happened more than once.

Enter the second Mamma Support Swap

This time around, the swap has a cooking theme.  We all know that the kitchen is the heart of our homes and as Mammas, we hold a great responsibility to feed our families. But boy, can that be an intimidating challenge!  Picky eaters, tight budgets and just overall exhaustion can all affect our meal planning.  I think we can all appreciate a little help!   

So this is the plan.  The Mamma Support Swap encompasses a few things:   
  1. Support: This time around, this part is up to you.  If you'd like, include a handwritten note to your partner, telling her about yourself and your family.  Feel free to add some advice about meal planning, budgets, or tips for picky eaters.  Words of encouragement are also great and always appreciated.  Words are powerful...you can do so much good.  
  2. Recipes:  Include at least two favorite recipes to share.  You can use recipe cards you already own, or there are tons of free printables out there (check a few out here, here and here).
  3. Swap:  A little something special purchased to help her in the kitchen or just make it pretty!  Let's keep it in the $10-15 dollar range.  Ideas: your favorite cookbook, recipe cards, coffee mug, etc.  Anything kitchen/cooking related is fair game.  Be sure to check your partner's blog if you need ideas!  
Like I said in February, my prayer is that through this swap, we can encourage each other on this wild adventure we call motherhood.  Hopefully we'll even make a new friend!  So are you in?  Know a few friends who could use some support and need an inspiration boost in the kitchen?  I hope so!  Please comment below with your name, blog address (if you have one - it's not mandatory to have one to enter) and e-mail address. (You can also e-mail me at mrsb04jc at gmail dot com if that's easier too!)

Sign-ups will be open from August 20 to August 24.
I hope to have everyone e-mailed with their partner by Monday, August 27.
You will then be responsible for getting in touch with your partner for her address.
Please have your packages in the mail no later than Friday, September 7. Then be on the lookout for a special package just for you! :)


And a big bonus: for everyone who signs up for the swap, you will be entered into a giveaway of kitchen goodies from me!  Included in the prize package:

A striped kitchen towel
OXO Wooden spoon
Recipe Cards from Greencard Designs
White Privet House for Target plate
and possibly a favorite sweet treat too! :)

One more thing before I close this monster of a post...please, please, please spread the word!  I know there have to be so many mammas out there who could use some love, support and inspiration.  So please talk about it on your blog, Facebook, twitter or even pin the picture above!  I'd be forever grateful!  
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