Thursday, July 26, 2012

{recording life} Currently...



time : 7:00 AM
watching : morning cartoons with the boys 
reading : almost finished with Just Start and then I plan on starting Those Who Save Us
feeling : Gosh, where do I begin?  Crazy busy...overwhelmed...like life is simultaneously flying and dragging?  I'll be able to share more details soon, but please know any prayers would be so appreciated!    
creating : to-do list after to-do list.  Between moving, starting our school year and preparing for a new baby's arrival, my list never seems to grow any smaller.  And OCD confession: am I the only one who will re-write a to-do list after a bunch of items have been crossed off?  I like my list nice and neat...ha!  
thinking : about the beginning of our school year.  I've finally set the "official" first day to the first week in August.  Now to take the boys on a special school supplies trip to Target :)  
hoping : that my one-hour glucose test (that I took for the second time this pregnancy) will come back in a normal range, so I'm spared from taking the three-hour test again!  This has been a source of major stress for me.   
needing : free labor to come and work on our landscaping.  My Operation:Curb Appeal has been slow going with 100 degree temps and a huge pregnant belly.  I've still got lots of weeding and "prettifying" (why yes, that is a made up word!) to do, but not a lot of motivation to do it.   
wondering : how I'm going to "do it all".  In my head, I know that something's got to give and unfortunately that may be this blog for a little while.  I plan on popping in as frequently as I can, though, so keep checking back!  (If you're interested, sign up to get posts in your e-mail or add me to your blog Reader!) I am so thankful for all of you readers and the friendships this blog has created for me.  You are the best!  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

{link list} 7.25.12 Edition




Source: google.com via Ashley on Pinterest

1. Confession: I am a very hesitant mantel decorator.  (Oh what a first world problem.)  I'm always second guessing myself and getting frustrated to the point where I give up and just leave it alone!  Mantel decorating is a skill I want to conquer though, so I'm taking notes with this post: A Year of Mantels.

2. New dinner recipes to try: Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps and Easy Garlic Chicken.  Oh and this guacamole...I love guac this pregnancy!  And for dessert?  Paleo-friendly German Apple Pancakes!


3. My kids love a good joke, but I usually quickly run out of ones that they (1) understand or (2) think are funny.  This post on 30 Kid-Tested (and Kid-Approved!) Jokes is on my must-print list.  M and D aren't going to recognize this hilarious Mamma!


4. I love the look of these burlap placemats framed in simple IKEA frames.  So cute and perfect for the kitchen!  That Emily A. Clark is so clever!  


5. With all of the focus on preparing for Kindergarten, I'll admit that I really haven't put much thought into preschool for the D-man.  Oops!  So when Julie at Creekside Learning wrote Homeschool Goals for my New Preschooler, I actually cheered, ha!  So many good ideas there and I love how she's broken them into goals...I'm definitely going to be printing out the list.


6. You must read the story behind the bakery, Mama Mead's....so interesting, right?  I'm really curious to try some of her sweets - can gluten-free really be so delicious?  My top picks: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sea Salted Dulche de Leche Brownies, and Mama Os.    


7. Did you catch this cool Placemat Clutch DIY on Camille's blog?  LOVE the idea and can you imagine the different possibilities??


8. I can't believe a whole year has passed since I mailed in my Box Tops to Joplin!  I've kept an envelope in the kitchen and add as I come across them.  It's a painless, easy way to really give back.  I plan on sending out my latest batch this week...if interested, you can find more information on their Facebook page.
    

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

{wishlist} Vintage Finds for the Nursery from Beatrice in Blue

I love antiques.  LOVE.  From a design perspective, I love the look of aging and the wear.  But what I think I love most is imagining the story behind each piece.  Was this bowl a wedding present for a young bride, eager to begin life with her beloved?  Was this framed piece of art purchased to go in a living room or maybe the bedroom?  How long did it take  to sew this quilt completely by hand?     

I really would like to include more pieces like this in our baby girl's nursery.  Decorating has come to a stand-still with all of the moving preparations lately, but I'm still dreaming and scheming behind the scenes! :)

I recently came across the etsy shop, Beatrice in Blue, and fell in love with a bunch of her items!  Check out a few of my favorites:


I. I am totally in love with this little teddy bear serving set!  Can't you imagine some sweet baby eating her first meals with it?  While it's not recommended for my Little Miss to use, I can picture it on display on a shelf in her nursery.

2. This pink and white chenille bedspread reminds me of my Gram's house.  I love the subtle detailing and the distinctly feminine touch.  $56 for a full-sized bedspread with so much history?  What a deal.

3. Look at that little girl saying her prayers!  I can picture her in a vignette (similar to the way it's styled above) on a tall dresser/bookcase or even on the wall as part of a big collage.

4.  This wooden divider box is so versatile and I can think of a million ways to use it!  For the nursery, I would use it next to the changing table to hold diaper rash creme, lotion and baby powder.    


Friday, July 20, 2012

{learning} Our Homeschooling Plans: Kindergarten 2012-2013

The beginning of our first "official" homeschooling year is just about to begin!  This may be a boring post for some of you, but I always enjoy taking a peek at other families' school plans...maybe you do too?  Homeschooling is the best choice for our son this year, but we plan on taking each year as it comes.  I look forward to seeing us both grow and learn as we embark on this adventure together!   


Religion
On Monday and Friday, we will read a story from an Illustrated Children's Bible (similar to this).  Then I plan on using these free Draw & Journal Printable sheets to have M narrate and draw what we read.  The plan is that by the end of the year, he will have his own illustrated Bible storybook!  On Tuesday and Wednesday, we'll be working from Who Am I? Religion Series with lots of discussion and crafts.  Thursday will be an easy day with a read-aloud from Once Upon a Time Saints while the boys listen and work on a coloring page.   

Phonics

I was really hesitant to shell out the cash, but with such amazing reviews, I knew I had to take the chance.  We are really excited to start reading using the Sing, Spell, Read and Write: Level 1 curriculum.  

Math
I am using the free lesson plan site, Lesson Pathways, as a guideline for this year's math program.  I love how this blogger incorporates the BUILD system and I plan on doing something similar.  We'll be using a lot of living math elements: games, math literature, and hands-on manipulatives.  I know he's going to love it!

Literature 
After such a wonderful PreK year using Five in a Row, we are going to continue with something similar, only with my own spin.  I have chosen a year's worth of books with an "Around the USA" theme.  Some books come from the FIAR curriculum, some do not.  Each week, we'll study a new state and while we won't get to all 50, I'm hoping to give him a pretty good introduction to the wonderful country we live in.  This is also where we will incorporate geography, art projects and science experiments too.  

Art

Lastly, my boys love art, so I knew a "formal" art curriculum was something I may want to look into.  When I found the Home Art Studio Kindergarten program, I knew it was perfect!  The boys are chomping at the bit to dig into all of the new art supplies!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

{food for thought} When You Face Trials

Unrelated photo...just two water-gun wielding fools on a hot day :)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
---James 1:2-4

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

{link list} 7.18.12 Edition


1. I loved and appreciated the brutal honesty of Jenny's Project Health post from last week.  As I quickly approach the heaviest weight I've ever been (albeit while pregnant, but still a little scary!), I want to make less excuses and more plans for my health once this little one is born.  I'm sure I'll share more here on the blog when that time comes...I'll need the accountability!  

2. I love this colorful map of the United States and it's a free printable to boot!  I think it would look darling blown up in a kids' room or possibly a playroom?  Keeping this idea stored away for our new house!


3. This recipe for homemade teething biscuits is such a great way to use up all of the baby cereal that we never seem to finish when my babies start solid foods!  I think they would make a darling 1st birthday favor too (for a bunch of little attendees)...wouldn't they be so sweet cut in a themed cookie cutter and packaged in something like these bags?     


4. An amazing story: Pregnant Woman Nurses Abandoned Infant to Save Her Life.


5. Need a good idea to encourage your children to help around the house?  Taping a square to the floor will definitely be a challenge to get my boys to sweep!  Chores = fun!


6. Did you see this boys' room over on Young House Love?  So many good ideas there...it makes me so excited to be able to design a brand new room for my kids!


7. A new take on an old classic: Ham and Cheese Crepes.


8. I almost laughed out loud as I read this post from the Nester.  Every time I wash our master bedroom sheets, I notice the bare box spring and think: "Man! I need to do something about that!" ...to which I promptly forget about it!  Nester's solution to purchase a simple sheet set (use the fitted sheet for the box spring and the flat for pillows, etc) is GENIUS.  


9. (A BONUS this week!) Inspired by Grace's closet clean-out, I decided to take a good look at my own wardrobe and weed out a few unworn things.  My selling site of choice is usually ebay, but this time I'm trying out a new one called Threadflip.  Anyone have any experience with it or positive/negative reviews?  You can find my "closet" here.      

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

{read along} Mitten Strings for God: Grace



"Among the social institutions that may not survive into the twenty-first century, the family meal must certainly be near the top of the list.  Our schedules pull us away from the table and each other, and fast foods invite us to eat on the run, stopping just long enough to fuel up between one activity and the next.  And, as any mother who has raced home to cook dinner for her family knows all too well, we often put out far more than we get back.  Is it worth all the effort it requires to shop, make a meal, and get it on the table, only to be met by children's upturned noses, adolescents' complaints, and somebody shouting that they don't have time to eat as they head out the door?  Is this ritual really worth preserving after all?" --page 123

Tell me I'm not the only one who's felt that way!  This actually just happened to me recently.  After battling my children over breakfast and lunch, I picked a dinner I knew  would surely be a winner.  I mean, they'd devoured it before, so it had to work, right?  Um, wrong.  Two upturned noses and even my little guy only ate a few bites.  At that moment, I thought: "Is this really worth all the effort?"  
In my heart, I know it is, so I continue to plow on through, even on the rough nights.  

"...our sons and daughters learn the hearth's powerful lessons right here, in their own homes, at their own tables.  When we honor our human need for nourishment, both physical and spiritual, we teach our children respect for their bodies and for themselves.  When we practice mindfulness ourselves, our children become more mindful." --page 134-135


Need some encouragement or inspiration for family dinner?  Check out these links:

Monday, July 16, 2012

{etsy finds} Summertime in the Kitchen with Wind & Willow Home


Don't these kitchen items from Wind & Willow Home just scream summer to you?  I love the bright pops of color paired with the neutral wood tones...so fun!  

Friday, July 13, 2012

{home} Getting Ready to Sell: Picking Paint Colors


So today's post is about updating rooms with paint.  I seem to come across this tip all the time!  Paint freshens things up, makes spaces feel current and clean, and is a relatively cheap upgrade.  In our home, we are focusing on three areas: the master bathroom, the kitchen, and the trimwork...all are in need of a little "refreshment".

I'm sticking to mostly neutrals, and can I just say that picking a white is HARD!  So many undertones!  I've been staring at these sample charts all week and I think I've made my decision, but no promises until I get to the paint counter :)  


Do you have a favorite neutral color for the kitchen or bathroom?  Have a go-to white for trim?  Please share in the comments...you just may make my life a whole lot easier!  Have a good weekend, friends!    

Thursday, July 12, 2012

{giving} Donate Gently Used Baby Clothing to Loved Twice

I think I mentioned last week that one of the big projects I've accomplished so far this summer was going through every piece of my boys' clothing.  Everything...from size newborn on up to what M currently wears!  I organized and sifted, tossed the really stained ones and set aside a few for Goodwill.

Around the same time, I began to brainstorm some giving ideas.  It's been awhile since we've done some tangible service project in this house and I was trying to come up with an easy idea that could include my kids too.

And then, like God always works in my life, it all fell into place.  A couple of years ago, I read about Loved Twice in the newspaper.  This organization collects gently used baby clothes (up to 12 months) and basically creates kits with everything a mother will need to clothe her baby for the first year.  They then distribute the boxes through social workers to hospitals, shelters and more.  An amazing gift for a mother in need, right?  This short video sums it up so well:



Fast forward to now and the organization comes to mind again right as I am knee-deep in my children's outgrown clothing?  I knew it was God's prompting.  So I took a look at the clothing with new eyes, picking pieces that would keep a little guy warm in the cool months ahead.  A handful of outfits, a few shirts, a couple fleece pajamas...I chose as much as I could stuff in a Flat-Rate shipping box.



The Loved Twice website has a list of prescreened agencies that you can send clothing to, but they also have drop-off locations if you live in the San Francisco area.  Be sure to check them out!      

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

{link list} 7.11.12 Edition


1. The temperatures in Central Virginia are out of this world hot...same with you?  My kids are getting a little stir-crazy from staying in the house most days, so I'm thinking to change it up a little by introducing Giant Ice Cube Awesomeness!

2. Speaking of beating the heat, check out this list of 11 Ways to Survive the Summer While Pregnant. I'm really liking the idea of carrying a spritz bottle around!  


3. A really cute DIY idea: Shadow Box Jewelry Holder from the ever-creative Martha.  I like that it helps with clutter control as well as a way to actually see all the pieces you own!    


4. Did you read Cori's post on thoughts on becoming a mother for the 4th time?  I couldn't have said it better myself.  My favorite part:  "
So now, when I lay in bed at night and feel this 4th baby moving around inside of me, I know how much more having another child means than just welcoming a new baby girl.  It means another spirit, with a will, a personality, and a unique potential to leave her mark on the world.  And I don't feel anything like that harried mother I pictured all those years ago.  I feel grateful."

5. Let's talk food.  This summer we are on a mission to eat as simply we as we can.  I ran across this site dedicated to $50 weekly menus for a family of four.  Is it even possible??  I'm still sifting through all of the ideas, but I do like that she includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  I'll be sure to let you know what I find!  


6. Need an idea for DVD storage instead of keeping all of those cases?  I LOVE the look of these binders...so customizable and easy!


7. How cute is this Tiny Envelopes Card from Lemon Drop Papers?  I've got lots of ideas for something similar to put in my Project Life book.


8. Did you see the eye candy in the craft show post on Oh Hello Friend?  Can't wait to have a few spare minutes to check out those vendors!  

Monday, July 9, 2012

{family} Monday's Musings...


Happy Monday, friends!  How was your weekend?  Ours was wonderful, but went by much too fast...why is that always the case?


Around the House

We are in full house prep around here!  I am trying not to get discouraged or frustrated: as fast as my to-dos are getting checked off, the list just seems to get longer with new things.  The weather should hopefully be out of the 100's next weekend, so I'm looking forward to getting Operation: Curb Appeal started.  


From the Kitchen

My husband is just a little obsessed with the show BBQ Pitmasters, so he couldn't wait to break out the grill this weekend.  Ribs and pork were on the menu...his best yet!  

Homeschooling

I've been working on our lessons plans for Kindergarten and the books have been trickling in.  I'm thinking of starting at the beginning of August: I know M is dying to begin and it will give me a head start before our Little Miss is born.

On the Blog

I have lots of ideas for this little blog of mine!  I only hope I have the time to make most of them become a reality.  Look for some business talk, a summer Mamma Support Swap and even a giveaway in the next few weeks!  


Reading

I'm wild and crazy and reading two books at the same time: Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future and Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic. Opinions and recommendations to come soon.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Friday, July 6, 2012

{chit chat} Short-Term Sacrifices: Saving Money to Accomplish our Dreams



"If you want something bad enough, you can usually find a way." - Money Saving Mom
  
Dreams are a funny thing, don't you think?  For our family, our dreams include my husband's new job (which requires us to move) and me starting a new online business. Both are important to us and I am convinced that they are answers to years and years of prayer.  BUT...isn't there always a but?...our dreams don't come without a price.
My boutique needs start-up funds to get us running and the whole house-selling/moving/new-home-buying adventure requires money too!  So this summer, we're committing to making some short-term sacrifices to achieve our goals.  I see it as a challenge to be creative with stretching our money, and you know I love a challenge!  

Here are a few ways we're trying to stretch our dollar - I'd love to hear your ideas too!
Put the thermostat up a few degrees.
I don't know if it's the same where you live, but my local power company is crazy expensive!  To try to fight those costs, we keep the thermostat around 77-78 degrees.  It's a little warm, but we stay comfortable with ceiling fans and smaller fans in the bedrooms.
Cut out cable TV.
We actually did this a few years ago, but it's worth mentioning.  With resources available online like Hulu and Netflix, we still see our favorite shows and really haven't missed all of the additional channels. Not to mention the extra time we have instead of sitting in front of the TV!
Make simple meals from scratch and limit fast food/restaurants.
While all of those delicious meals on my Pinterest board are enticing, we're focusing on simple foods that can stretch.  I'm also really intrigued by this Summertime Pantry Challenge...I'm thinking that may be a good way to use up some items in the back of the pantry!

Sell unwanted items on Craigslist or ebay.
Part of the fun of moving preparation is going through all of our things.  No use in moving something we don't really want, right?  I've created an area for CL/ebay possibilities and will tackle selling them soon.

Take free "field trips".
I love to take my kids on new adventures but sometimes that can get pricey!  Right now, we're taking "field trips" that are free: new parks and trips to the beach.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

{link list} 7.4.12 Edition


1. These baseball cupcakes are super cute and easy enough that I can show the boys and let them at it.  Thinking this will be a fun activity sometime soon.

2. I've been on a big organizing kick the past few weeks.  Finally tackled ALL of the boys' outgrown clothes (from newborn to size 5!) and they are currently stored in a bunch of mis-matched plastic totes.  I'll probably switch to this cost-effective solution once we move to our new house.

3. I loved this article about the "Nine Nanas"... a great reminder that goodness is still alive and well in this world!  My favorite quote from one of the Nanas: “We want people to know that someone out there cares enough to do something. We want to make sure that happiness happens.”  How inspiring.

4. Moving is stressful with so much to remember and think about!  This binder is genius and I will definitely be making one soon.

5. Did you see the Pottery Barn-eque American flag that Melissa did over at 320 Sycamore? LOVE. 

6. We tried this super easy recipe for a homemade Rotisserie Chicken last weekend.  Big hit with my husband!  Perfect for summer since there is no need to turn on the oven...goodness knows it's hot enough already!

7. New recipes to try soon: Skinny Poolside Dip and Turkey Ranch Club Wraps.  Yum!

8. A new shop you must check out: Threads from Ashley at The Shine Project!  Their mission is incredible: "Threads is a cause driven business that changes the future of at risk youth. They come from various backgrounds, but all have one thing in common, they want to break the cycle. By employing them, we instill values of self reliance and hard work. They are paid fair wages for the bracelets they make, and in turn are able to pay their way through school. Many of Threads employees are first generation college students. They dream of becoming nurses, broadcasters, writers and engineers. Your purchase will directly impact a student. Even beyond financial support, your belief in them is a symbol of hope and trust that they can achieve what for so long seemed impossible. By purchasing Threads you are wearing more than just a bracelet, you are wearing change."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

{read along} Mitten Strings for God: Enchantment




 Food for thought:
"Somehow, in our hurry to steer our children toward accomplishment and independence, we seem to have forgotten what childhood is all about.  Preoccupied with managing their lives, and our own, it is so easy to lose sight of our children--their tenderness and innocence, their joyousness, their capacity for wonder, their hunger for enchantment.  A touch of magic can reawaken the childlike spirit in all of us, allowing us to revisit, for a time, the secret realm of childhood." --page 119

Monday, July 2, 2012

{entertaining} Last-Minute Fourth of July Ideas

Happy Monday, friends!  Can you believe it is July already?  Have any fun plans for the week?  We are keeping it low-key around here, but I thought I'd make a roundup of a few fun ideas anyway.  I'll host a fun Fourth of July party one of these years :)


1. I liked the layered look of this red, white and blue tablescape.  Definitely a fun idea if you were having a more formal meal.
2. Chocolate dipped pretzels would make a super cute party favor.  Put a few in a long plastic bag (they have tons of options at places like Michael's or Hobby Lobby), tie with a ribbon and done!
3. Having a night-time gathering?  Tealights in bottles (maybe Mason jars?) make great luminaries. 
4. These Berry Sundaes are quick to prepare and nutritious too!
5. Need a decoration idea?  These star medallions are cute and will be easy to reuse year after year. 
6. Quick and easy snack idea while you're waiting for the fireworks: red licorice wrapped in colorful paper.  
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