Tuesday, February 28, 2012

{recording life} Project Life: Week Eight

I had so much fun sharing my Project Life album a couple of weeks ago that I thought I would do it again!  I can't promise this will be a weekly feature, but I hope it can serve as inspiration for an easy way to record all of those family memories.  So without further ado, week eight: 

This week was mostly about our snow days.  I took a LOT of pictures! 

Close up of the left side.  I devoted the whole page to Sunday's snowstorm and all the fun the boys had outside. 

Right side.  These were just a few random shots taken the rest of the week.  I made little love notes for each boy from the 3x4" journaling cards with something sweet they said that week.  I really like how they turned out and I think I'll be writing more sentimental notes to them soon. 

These are the inserts from the week.  I took a We R Memory Keepers page protector that had 6 horizontal 4x6" spots and cut off the bottom row.  That left 8 spaces for more snow pictures!  Behind that is a picture M created and then dictated the story to me.

One last story from the week was one that I'll probably share on the blog soon.  I used a 12x12" page protector to keep a special piece of artwork made by the boys and glued the pictures right on top. 

I love that Project Life can be anything you want it to be.  Lots of pictures, lots of artwork, lots of journaling and memories...it's all up to you!  Be sure to check out The Mom Creative for lots of PL inspiration!

Monday, February 27, 2012

{chit chat} Monday's Catch Up Post

Happy Monday!  Sorry for the unintended blog breaks the past couple of weeks...life's going full force these days and I'm just doing the best I can to keep up!  I'm sure I'm not the only mamma who feels that way some days.  So in an attempt to play catch-up, here's a little of what we've been up to:

1. Expensive toys are so overrated.  One Amazon box + crayons = an entire morning of fun.  It's hard to keep up, but I think this was an airplane or a spaceship.

2.  I'm trying to eat less grains, per the recommendation of my personal trainer husband.  This has proven harder than I thought!  Apparently I am a fan of all things bread!  I'm making baby steps though and Lent is a good time to practice.  Tonight's dinner is pork carnitas wrapped in lettuce...I'll let you know how it goes!  :)

3. Power Rangers are BIG around here these days.  We've been watching old episodes on Netflix and the boys are enthralled.  According to boys, I am the Pink Ranger and the boys are either White, Red or Black, depending on the day.  Oh, the fun that comes with a house full of little dudes!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

P.S. To all of my Mamma Support Swappers: hopefully your packages to your partner have been mailed, but if not, please do so quickly! :)  I'd love to hear how the swap worked for you...if you ever do a blog post, please let me know!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

{recording life} Currently...

time : 10:45 AM

place : living room couch
drinking : a big glass of ice water
watching : sweet J sound asleep on the couch next to me.  He had a rough night last night (hello molars!) so naptime came quickly this morning. 
reading : Rescue by Anita Shreve and A Place at the Table by Chris Seay, my new book for Lent this year.
feeling : under the weather...yuck
thinking : about all of the projects I want to accomplish this spring.  My list is a mile long...we'll see if I can check them all off!
creating : little love notes to add to my Project Life album this week.  The boys have been saying some hilarious stuff and I don't want to forget. 
hoping : for a powerful Lent in our home this year.  We are ready to fully embrace this season in preparation for Easter!
needing : a nap would be nice!
wondering : what I should blog about. I've hit a bit of writer's block.  I'd love to know why you visit me, what keeps you coming back, what you'd like me to write about. What can I add to my list of ideas?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

{giving} Read a Book, Give a Book

My kids love to read.  LOVE.  And while we have a pretty nice selection at home, they really like to discover books for the first time.  Thank goodness for the library and this great website: We Give Books

Here is how the website works: "We Give Books is a free website that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don't have them, simply by reading online. Simply choose the charity you want to read for and then select the books you want to read. For each book you read online, we donate a book to a leading literacy group on your behalf. The more you read, the more we give."

I love that while my children are reading, we are helping others to read as well.  So Mammas, get started!  Here are a few we are hoping to read this week:

Monday, February 20, 2012

{family} A Snowy Day

We've had quite the mild winter this year.  Temps in the 60s in February?  So strange.  But yesterday, my boys' wishes finally came true: a snow day!  They were so excited to play outside.  Activities included making a snowman and an impressive fortress for a snow battle with Daddy.  I loved their pink cheeks and pure joy.  This Mamma's heart was full.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

{i want to remember} - 2/15/12

Sometimes life gets so busy that I forget to notice and appreciate the little things. Here are some of the things I am loving this week:

I WANT TO REMEMBER... our silly dance parties in the living room.  We put Pandora on and at the boys' request, spread blankets on the floor for "stages".

I WANT TO REMEMBER... how wonderful it is to have only one in diapers!  Less than one week and D is fully potty trained!  Although he's definitely a late bloomer in this area, I learned my lesson with M and waited until he was ready.  And gosh, is he adorable with his new Super Hero underwear!   

I WANT TO REMEMBER... J's new word: "UH OH".  Quite appropriate since he is into everything lately!  His new trick is climbing onto the kitchen table.  He may be my hardest yet! 

I WANT TO REMEMBER... our date nights lately that consist of watching episodes of Burn Notice on Netflix.  As usual, we are seasons behind, but it makes for great marathon watching!  Our favorite way to unwind together after a long day.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

{recording life} My Take on Project Life

If you've read my blog from the beginning, you know that I am a big fan of Project Life.  2012 marks my third year using this "scrapbook system" and like anything, it has changed and molded to fit our life.  Want a peek?

When I first started PL in 2010, I did a 365/Picture a Day approach.  In 2011, I found that that method didn't work for us anymore.  Some days I took tons of photos, some days the camera stayed on the counter.  So I moved to a weekly approach and so far, it's working wonderfully!  

I'm sure you're confused, so here's an example: 

These two page protectors represent one week in our lives (last week).  In theory, you can consider each 4x6 opening one day (Sun-Mon) and the smaller pockets places for journaling.  For my weekly approach, I simply see them as a place to put pictures and pieces of our life for this week. 

Here is a close up of the left side.  I took lots of pictures this week, so I cut a few down to fit the smaller pockets.  I also included the wrapper from these cool flavoring straws that my aunt sent the boys.  They were a BIG hit, so I wanted to add it in. 

 Right side.  All of the photos on this page were taken the same day.  Also included is a cute drawing made by D and Garfield taken from a coloring page M did this week.  Lots of journaling about our week too.

The reason I love this type of "scrapbooking" is because I am quite sentimental about paper things.  I keep letters, birthday cards, and don't get me started on the kids' artwork!  With Project Life, I can keep the most important items and have peace about throwing the rest away.  Here's an example: 

This week, M sketched out a figure on construction paper and wanted to know how to spell ninja.  I loved his little handwriting so into the PL binder it went.  I keep a bunch of 8x11" page protectors (the kind you can get at the office supply store or the paper aisle at Target) onhand for this. 

Another fun idea is one that I learned from Jenny (the same Jenny from the Life List series!).  She writes weekly notes to her kids and includes them in her album.  I don't do this every week, but I am always grateful when I do.  I just punched holes right into the card.  (I got the coffee card in Target's Dollar section!)

So that's my intro to Project Life, the Big White Farmhouse way.  A fun and easy way to hold your pictures and your family's memories.  The great thing about PL is that it can be anything you want it to be.  Don't have enough "stuff" for a week?  Do a monthly approach!  It's totally up to you. 

Here are a few links to get you started if you're interested:
If you have any questions, please ask in the comments!  I'd love to try to help! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

{friendship} Now What? Letter & Gift Ideas for the Mamma Support Swap

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the positive response with the Mamma Support Swap!  Everyone should have been e-mailed by now with their partner.  Please let me know if you didn't receive the e-mail! 

Your next question might be: What Now?  Well, I'm here to help you get started!  Even if you didn't participate in the swap this time, I hope this gets your ideas flowing with ways you can brighten someone's day. 

Letters of Encouragement
This is the most important part of the swap.  Like I said before, your words can do so much good.  Words are powerful and life-changing.  (See this post for an example.)  Here are few ideas that you can include in your letter:
  • Recommendation of your favorite parenting book
  • An uplifting quote
  • A tip that's worked for your family (how did you get your son to potty-train?, how do you get your little one to eat her veggies?)
  • Share a story of hardship with motherhood/share a wonderful moment too!
  • Let your partner know you are in this motherhood journey together!

Gift Ideas for Mammas
  • Soaps
  • Recipe cards (include one of your favorite recipes too!)
  • Nail polish
  • Hair accessories
  • Journals
  • Baking supplies like cupcake liners and sprinkles
  • Stationary
  • Your favorite book
  • Chocolate!
Remember to try to have your packages postmarked
by Friday, Feb 24! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

{recording life} Making a Life List: Part III

Source: weheartit.com via Maddy on Pinterest

I'm a little late, but here is Part III of Jenny's Life List series.  This week, she gave 10 writing prompts and challenged her readers to come up with one item (at least!) for each.  Below are a few of my answers:

Writing Prompt: List 10 things you would do if given a second chance.
Life List item: Assist or help coach a middle school softball team.
Why this item?  I played softball for six years and stopped right before I went to high school.  Looking back, I realized how much of my self-esteem came from playing sports in middle school.  I'd love to coach someday to help girls feel that way too.

Writing Prompt: List your favorite things to do on the weekends or your day off.
Life List item: Play a pick-up flag football game with my entire family (parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc)
Why this item? I come from a competitive and athletic family.  They are so inspiring to me.  And we love football.  I think it would be so fun to play a game together...I'm picturing Thanksgiving! 

Writing Prompt: List 10 new professions you would like to try. (money/talent not important)
Life List item: Take cooking classes with my husband.
Why this item? My husband and I both really love to be in the kitchen.  He loves to experiment with flavors and spices...quite the opposite of my exact measurement baking!  Cooking classes would be a fun date for us, while at the same time expanding our culinary skills! Win win!

These are just a few of the prompts Jenny put on her blog.  I'm excited to work through the rest this weekend.  You can check out all of the prompts here.


Today is the last day to sign up for the Mamma Support Swap!  Sign-ups will be open until tonight and then I hope to e-mail you all with your partners this weekend!  So excited about the positive response! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

{giving} Empower People around the World with a $25 Loan

Today I'm excited to share with you a new way to give.  The organization is called Kiva, have you heard of it?  Watch this short video (it's only a minute long!) to find out more about how it works: 

How Kiva Works from Kiva on Vimeo.

This is Aidah.  She is from Uganda.  Married with three children, she has managed a retail business for eleven years.  She requested a loan to purchase more food in order to expand her business and increase her profits. 

I don't know about you, but don't you think she has the greatest smile?  I was instantly drawn to her story and couldn't wait to help a fellow Mamma.  My $25 was combined with others around the world and just like that, her loan was funded and her dreams are so much closer to coming true!

I think this non-profit organization is amazing.  I love that by December, she will have fully repaid the loan and I'll be able to help fund another.   You can find more about Kiva here.


Just a reminder that the Mamma Support Swap is open until Friday, so be sure to sign up!  You can find more information here

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

{food for thought} Make Time for Reading

"Parents unconsciously teach their children what is valuable by the way they spend their own time.  If television is more important to the parents than books, the children will likely choose the same..."
"A busy schedule is the enemy of reading.  Agreeing in principle with all the benefits of books, you may at this point simply sigh and say, "I wish we had more time for reading."  But the fact remains that we arrange time for what we think is truly important..."
"The plea I am making is simply this--make time for books! Don't let your children live in spiritual poverty when abundance is available!"
  ---from Honey for a Child's Heart, pages 24-25

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

{kids crafts} Valentine's Day Craft Roundup

Valentine's Day is just a week away!  With a house full of boys, this holiday has minimal appeal, but here are a few ideas I just may be able to get them to do!


Have you signed up yet for the first Mamma Support Swap?  Find all the details hereSign-ups will be open all week.

Monday, February 6, 2012

{friendship} 1st Ever Mamma Support Swap!

Source: etsy.com via Ashley on Pinterest

This post is for all of you Mammas out there.  Maybe you are pregnant with your first baby and you are filled with both excitement and anxiety for what's to come.  Maybe you are a new mama or maybe you are a mama to many!  Maybe you feel unsure in your role as a mother.  Maybe you feel isolated from the "outside".  Maybe your life feels so crazy, and while you'd love another child, the thought just terrifies you.  Maybe you feel all alone.

Motherhood is a hard and largely misunderstood vocation.  So my thinking cap went on.  How can I use my blog to provide encouragement to another mom?  How can I help another mom know she is not alone?  How can I show another mom her worth?  The wheels started turning.  After I participated in the Blogger Exchange Party, the wheels started really turning!

Enter the first ever Mamma Support Swap

This is the plan.  The Mamma Support Swap encompasses two things:   
  1. Support: A handwritten note to your partner, telling her about yourself and your family.  You can add some advice, words of encouragement or just let her know you're praying for her.  Your letter can be any length, but challenge yourself!  Words are powerful...you can do so much good.  This letter is the most important part!
  2. Swap:  A little something special purchased just for her.  You can learn more about her on her blog if you need ideas.  Let's keep it in the $10-15 dollar range.  Not mandatory, but if you want to include a little present for her kid(s), please feel free to do so!
My prayer is that through this swap, we can encourage each other on this wild adventure we call motherhood.  Maybe we'll even make a new friend!  You know the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child"?  Well, I think it takes a village to support a mamma!

So are you in?  Know a few friends who could use some support?  I hope so!  Please e-mail me at mrsb04jc (at) gmail (dot) com with the following information:
Your Name
Your blog address
Age(s) of your children

Sign-ups will be open from February 6 to February 10.
I hope to have everyone e-mailed with their partner by Monday, February 12.
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, February 24. Then be on the lookout for a special package just for you! :)

One more thing...please, please, please spread the word!  I am just a little fish in the big blog ocean, but I know there have to be so many mammas out there who could use some love.  Talk about it on your blog, Facebook, even twitter! 

P.S. I'm working on making a button for you to grab too! Check back soon!

Friday, February 3, 2012

{in the kitchen} Blueberry Banana Bread

Talk about impulse.  While I probably should have been attacking that never-ending laundry pile, I instead made a dash to the kitchen to make Blueberry Banana Bread.  Word to the wise: don't casually peruse cookbooks unless you're ready to bake. Right.This.Instant!  I have no control when it comes to delicious quick breads.  The recipe comes from this book, which was actually an anniversary gift to my husband.  Enjoy.

Blueberry Banana Bread
from Ruhlman's Twenty

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I omitted this because I didn't have any lemons at home)
1 cup blueberries, tossed with 1 Tablespoon flour

Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter a loaf pan. 
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt.  In a large bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, bananas, vanilla, and lemon zest and mix well.  Add the flour mixture and whisk just to combine.  Stir in the blueberries.
Pour batter into pan.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

Oh, and Mammas: need some encouragement this winter or know someone who does?  Be sure to check back Monday for an exciting announcement! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

{recording life} Making a Life List: Goods and Greats

I'm back with my Part II of Jenny's Life List series.  (You can find my post on Part I here.)  This week, the task is brainstorming a few things into two categories: goods and greats.   

Here's what Jenny says about "goods": "Simply put, they are my goals. They still hold tremendous worth. They still require me to work hard to achieve them, but no one ever questions me or my ability to succeed. My goals still require planning and execution, and other resources such as money and/or childcare.  But goals are completely attainable and often 100% up to you to achieve."

I have a lot of things that could easily fall into the "good" category.  Here are a few I came up with:
  • Go horseback riding
  • Run a race with my dad
  • Ride the Amtrak
  • Make homemade ice cream
  • Make every recipe from a single cookbook (a la Julie & Julia)
  • Organize a getaway trip with my cousins
  • Have our family pictures taken by a professional photographer
  • Learn how to make candles
  • Take a photography course
And then there are the "greats"...goals that are a whole different level.  This is Jenny's take:
"Essentially my greats...are my dreams. Dreams are sort of scary. My dreams can leave me energized and breathless in one moment and then quickly make me feel naked and vulnerable in the same minute.  The scary things about dreams is that they aren’t always planned out and the details aren’t always available. That is hard for a planner and for a type A person such as myself. Why? Because dreams require something other than just your hard work.  Dreams require elbow grease plus a bit of magic.  Dreams still require intention plus God smiling upon you.  Dreams also bring out the skeptics and/or the “realists”. These dreams bring on the statements: “Jenny, that’s ridiculous. That’s impossible. You are setting yourself up for disappointment.” Now that voice can come from others or from within yourself. This is where you have to ask yourself if you and your dreams are worth the fight. Are we deserving of great things? Simply put, YES!"
Jenny's words are powerful and inspiring. Those dreams deep in my heart...those are the ones to put on this list. I'm going to throw a couple of mine out there - maybe they will inspire you to dream big too!

  • See a game at every NFL stadium with my husband
  • Give in 100 different ways (at least!) 
  • Purchase an old home and completely renovate it
  • Run a successful home decor business
What are your goods and greats? I'd love to hear an item or two on your life list. Oh and check out Jenny's blog to see her biggest dream. She's so cool.
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