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 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! :)

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!

(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, 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 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 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!  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

{link list} 8.15.12 Edition

1. A fact many of you already know: adoption is expensive!  Although I don't have any first-hand experience, I can only imagine the stress.  So when I hear about families raising funds through different avenues, I really, really want to help.  My latest find is Carina at A Punk, a Pumpkin and a Peanut and her beautiful necklaces.  $25 each and the proceeds go directly to bringing their little girl home!    

2. I was in the kitchen packing and noticed a sad truth: I have SO many recipes that I've ripped from magazines or printed from the Internet, just sitting there in big unorganized piles.  I'm thinking a total recipe overhaul is needed once I'm settled into our new home.  Love this idea for a Recipe Smash Book...easy to make and it will create a little more order to the chaos!

3. A great idea for independent creativity (aka when Mammas need a break!): Squiggle Drawings.

4. The blue and off-white ikat pattern on this accent chair from Overstock is just beautiful.  Not sure I have a place to use it, but I really wish I did!  

5. Did you catch this recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes that are actually good for you?

6. This screenprinting technique using gelatin looks so cool!  I'm still deciding if it's a "Mamma craft" or if I want to share the experience with my kids.  :)

7. This story is just amazing (I bet his guardian angel was working overtime!): Missing Man with Amnesia Walks, Hitchhikes Over 1,000 Miles Home.  

8. EXCITING NEWS!  I am working out the final details for the second Mamma Support Swap, which will take a kitchen/cooking theme this time.  And a new addition to the fun: for everyone who signs up, you will be entered into a drawing for a bunch of kitchen goodies!  Can't wait to share sure to come back for the full post on Monday!  (You can see the first Mamma Support Swap post here.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

{chit chat} Monday Almanac

From the Kitchen
I finally took a look at my long-neglected 27 Goals list last week.  Um, yeah...a lot of that is just not going to happen before my birthday in October!  "Get in shape" = hard to do while pregnant and "Attend a homeschooling conference"?  I missed that opportunity two months ago!  Oh well...there's always next year, right?  One goal I did manage to accomplish was making cake pops with the boys, albeit from a box.  Final verdict: a lot of work for my kids to devour so quickly!  I'm just making cupcakes next time :)

Around the House
Lots and lots of exciting changes are happening around this house!  I will share the details soon (we have seen God's hand so clearly!), but short story is that we've decided to rent out our current home and are buying a new home near my husband's new job.  The timeline has been significantly shortened from our original plans, so we are a flurry of moving boxes and house projects lately.  I can't wait until this craziness dies down a little!  

Kindergarten is actually going quite well.  M needed a few days to get back into "school mode" and re-learn focusing for longer periods of time, but I think we're getting there. He's also a boy and 5 years old, so I'm going to incorporate wiggle breaks and physical activity throughout the school day.  

On the Blog
Posting on the blog may be a bit sporadic during the next few weeks, but it hasn't been forgotten!  I've been brainstorming and dreaming of new things for this little space of mine.  I'm also considering getting a blog makeover...does anyone have any favorite designers?  I'm ready for a new look.

Fitness, what's that??  My lofty plans for exercising with my prenatal workout video have gone out the window.  Should I admit that packing, deep cleaning and going up and down stairs 100x/day is enough of a workout for me at this point?  :)

Plans and Schemes
Hoping to make the time to visit a few of our favorite places before we move: the Children's Museum, local ice cream, and our favorite park are on the list.   

I'm pretty excited that I've almost finished my 2012 Reading Challenge with months to spare!  I recently finished 
Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum.  It was a page turner and I found it quite unsettling, but I assume every book about the Holocaust should be that way.  Warning for those intrigued: there is quite a bit of graphic description as far as the abuse/rape she suffered, so if you have no stomach for that, I'd skip this book.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

{gift guide} Late Summer Nautical

All of a sudden, I'm realizing that summer is almost over!  How did the season go by so quickly??  Fortunately for us, we still have the rest of August to slow down and enjoy to the fullest!  In honor of late summer, I've compiled a nautical-inspired gift guide...maybe you have a friend who could use a little surprise on her doorstep?

3. Red Anchor Stationary (set of 6 cards and envelopes): $7.50

A few ideas:
  • For your vintage-loving or thrifty friend: The vintage binoculars would be fun to display atop a bunch of navy/blue books.  Maybe you have a favorite book to share or you could even hit up Goodwill and pick up a few (peel back those dust jackets and see what you can find!).  
  • Send a long-distance friend or relative the gorgeous stationary with a new pen and stamps.  Great idea to start a pen-pal relationship!
  • The bracelet would make a great gift for a tween/teen in your life.  Maybe a back-to-school present?  
  • For that decorating-obsessed friend: The whale pillow is unique and the small knots would make an awesome bowl or glass vase filler.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

{link list} 8.8.12 Edition

1. Excellent post: Living in my Ideal World.  My favorite quote: "Our food choices do not define who we are. They certainly do not define our motherhood."  As a mamma who has definitely fallen off the healthy food wagon lately, I really needed to read this one.  
2. And another good one: Cracked Goggles.  A good reminder if you're in the middle of a trial and wonder what in the world God's plan is.  

3.  Have you checked out Land of Nod lately?  Our Little Miss isn't even here yet, but I think I've already picked out her twin bed!  Since that is still quite a ways down the line, I've got my eye on some wall art decor for the nursery instead: an alphabet print and maybe spelling out her name

4. I'm still struggling with being a consistent meal-planner, but this free printable from Angela at Anything but Perfect may help me get motivated.  So cute!

5. Have you ever made Browned Butter Crinkles?  I haven't, but they look delicious!

6. Let's talk jeans.  I'm still in the horrible stretchy pant stage of pregnancy and will be for the next two months (at least!), but I found this article incredibly interesting.  Gap and Old Navy are gateways to Mom Jeans?  Who knew?!

7. I think I need this print to hang up in our new house...LOVE the simple typography! Also love this one (maybe for the nursery?) and this one too.  

8. A simple idea for you DIY-ers: Painted Cork Board Messaging Hoops.  Cute for a craft room!

9. You must check out Camille's new accessory shop. Her necklaces are so lovely and understated...must have pieces for your jewelry box!

Monday, August 6, 2012

{etsy finds} Vintage Back to School

Today is our first day of Kindergarten!  The school supplies have been purchased, the lesson plans have been written out and the books are anxious to be read!  As a real first-timer as far as homeschooling goes, I've got lots of butterflies.  I'm praying (a lot!) that I can provide my children a year full of learning and fun.  

To celebrate this momentous day in our family, I found all kinds of great school-related finds on etsy.  I'm still on a big vintage kick lately...check these out:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

{read along} Mitten Strings for God: Rhythm

" is a challenge for us to incorporate rhythm into our daily lives.  To do so, we must commit ourselves to order and routine; to a slower, more deliberate pace; to intention rather than to happenstance.  In other words, we must develop a sense of ritual." -- page 139

With everything moving so quickly in our lives lately, I can definitely see the ramifications in the actions of my children.  For the past few weeks, there has been a lot of brotherly bickering, lots of begging for "One more TV show, Mamma, pleeease?!"....and this Mamma is tired.  My kids need a routine.  They thrive, both in behavior and attitude, when there is a plan to our day and they know what is coming next.  
The first day of our school year is on Monday and I just know this will be a positive change in my home.  Finally, some rhythm!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

{link list} 8.1.12 Edition

Hello friends!  Popping in to share my latest discoveries via the www.  I knew I couldn't stay away for too long! :)

1. This post, A Miracle Inside the Aurora Shooting: One Victim’s Storyis just amazing. It’s definitely worth the read.

2. Last week, I purchased this printable from katygirl Designs for the new nursery.  Isn't it sweet?  One of my favorite verses and bonus point! All proceeds go to Hope 4 Sudan.

3. Another really interesting article: 1940s Housewife showed how to tame high grocery prices.  A thought provoking quote from her now-grown daughter: "
I am distressed by the things now, living to get things as opposed to living to enjoy life..."

4. New breakfast recipes to add to the to-try list: Gluten-Free Baked Oatmeal Casserole and Peanut Butter Banana Oat Breakfast Cookies.  

5. How cute is this little packaging idea using cupcake wrappers?

6. I love the texture and the colors of this original painting from Angela Cox.  Abstract and just so cool!

7. A new book I cannot wait to read: 
The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared.

8. Food for thought provided by Mother Teresa: "
You and I, we are the Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me.  Give a glass of water, you give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me." 
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