Monday, September 30, 2013

{currently} A September Recap

loving : the weather lately: cool in the mornings and just warm enough in the afternoon.
reflecting : on my baby girl's first year and how much she has grown.  The picture above is aesthetically busy and cluttered, but one of my favorites from her party.  On her knees, playing with her new tea did she get so big?
planning : weekly menus for all of our meals...Eat At Home October is on!
brainstorming : how to inexpensively turn our fourth bedroom into a guestroom.  We are expecting visitors next month.  
running : five days a week, attempting to improve my 5K time.
hoping : to finish my book, The School of Essential Ingredients, before midnight tonight.  The first novel I've finished in months!
addicted to : my guilty pleasure, Grey's Anatomy.
thankful for : the health of my children.
drinking : coffee, lots and lots of coffee.  
making : a mini scrapbook of our summer vacation in Maine using a kit I received from a penpal.
dreaming : about an organized laundry room/mudroom, a project that I hope can be completed this winter.  
noticing : the imagination of my boys as they dress up as Star Wars characters.
baking : gluten-free cookies from Immaculate Baking good!
working on : a big piece of art for the dining room that holds lots of sentimental value.
excited for : a long overdue date night!

Friday, September 27, 2013

{around here} Week of 9.23.13

Our Little Miss turned one this week and I still can't believe we are here.  I feel like I blinked and all of a sudden, she is a big girl and just a bundle of personality.  Slightly mischievous and full of joy.  We are truly blessed to have that girl in our lives.

I've been unhappy with my pacing and feeling super slow, so I decided to start an 8 week training schedule to improve my 5K time.  Three days in and feeling strong.

I'm considering an "Eat at Home October" with Jules over at Pancakes & French Fries.  Meal planning is my downfall and I'm ashamed to admit how many times we eat out due to pure laziness.  I want to see cooking as an opportunity to nourish my family instead of it just being a chore.  This is also a good time to hop back on the Paleo wagon.  One of the items on my life list is to make every recipe from a single cookbook and I think I've found that book!  

Out of the blue one day: "Mamma, I'm so glad I have a baby sister." -M

I got out of my comfort zone and tried my hand at making my own stationery.  I was surprised to realize that it is much harder than it looks!  It took me a few naptimes, but I finished and now I think I'm hooked.

My favorite moment of the week: As we drove to soccer practice, the big boys were talking and started belly laughing in the back seat.  Sophia, oblivious to their conversation, immediately started laughing too.  She's never one to be left out of a good time. :)

Hope your weekend is full of family and fun, friends.      

Monday, September 23, 2013

{chit chat} Lessons I've Learned from the Penpal Project

Seven weeks ago, I introduced the Penpal Circles and 80 amazing women signed up.  Their excitement and enthusiasm was contagious.  It might have been a little selfish, but I included myself in a handful of the circles because I wanted in on the fun too!  Weeks have now gone by and letter writing has become a part of my daily routine.  Today, I thought I would share with you a few of the lessons I've pondered throughout the experience:      

Faster and convenient is not always better.  Technology is amazing and I am thankful for it. (I mean, how would I have connected with all of you?)  But there really is something to be said for a handwritten letter.  A letter takes time, effort and thought...all things that require you to slow down.  I typically write a letter after lunch when my boys are having quiet time and Sophia is sleeping.  I grab a cup of coffee, choose a few supplies and enjoy a moment of calm.  The process isn't long - I'm typically done in 10 minutes - but it's enough and I treasure it.    

Creativity is in all of us.  The letters and packages I have received from my circle-mates have been amazing.  Whether it be an envelope decorated in washi tape, a beautiful drawing on homemade stationary or a photograph, I am convinced we all have a bit of creativity in us.  I am so inspired by what I receive in the mail and that in turn gets my wheels turning.  I like how letter writing is a really easy vehicle to try new things.  

We were made for community.  I've only "known" my circle-mates for a few weeks now, but I already feel connected in a really neat way.  I like that letter writing takes the awkward small talk out of conversation and goes right to the heart.  Where else can you go right to parenting advice, religious discussion and hopes and dreams?  We were made for this type of community.  I just wish we didn't live so far away from each other!


If you are currently a member of the Penpal Circles, I'd love to hear about your experience!

And if you aren't a member yet: sign-ups for the Penpal Circles will re-open during the first week in October for one week.  
If you signed up on the waitlist, I will be e-mailing beforehand so you don't miss out!**

Friday, September 20, 2013

{around here} Week of 9.16.13

Whew. What a week.  Mark has been away on a business trip and I am beat.  

I dusted off the big camera and decided to take at least one picture with it everyday.  I'm rusty, but ready to challenge myself to be a better photographer.

Fall weather has finally kicked in, so I brought up the bins from the basement for the great wardrobe switch.  I typically dread this chore, but the little boys were so darn cute, exclaiming in excitement with every shirt I found.  Hurray for hand-me-downs!

Like most two/almost-three year olds, J is convinced he can do everything himself.  When I tried to help him get dressed, he told me, "No, Mamma.  I handle this."

While researching half marathon tips, I came across Elise's post in which she recommended forefoot running.  I've been practicing in all of my runs this week, perfecting my form and watching my footwork.  I currently wear New Balance Minimus shoes which help a lot.  

M led the blessing at dinner and then thoughtfully said, "I think I'm the only one who prays at lunch."

During our weekly trip to Target, we checked out the Halloween costumes and the boys are preparing to all be Star Wars characters.  I'd love to make Sophie Yoda, but I don't think she'd go for it!    

Weekend lineup: No rest for the weary!  We've got a soccer game, my four mile long run, and Sophie's first birthday party.  
Have a great weekend, friends!    

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

{chit chat} A Confession: I Don't Have it All Together

Perfection.  It's a crazy, unattainable goal, isn't it?  Sadly, I still fall into the trap. Sometimes social media can be exhausting, maintaining this front that we live a picture perfect life.  But is it worth it?  What is gained if we appear to have it all together, but struggle in silence?

I hope that when you visit this blog, you see an honest representation of my life.  Sure, I tend to take pictures and blog about the "prettier" parts, but I hope you never come away feeling less.  I don't have it all together and never will.  But that's okay!     

So in the spirit of celebrating, here are a few examples of my wildly imperfect life:

  • I currently have a king sized quilt draped across the banister of our stairs since it will not dry in the dryer!  It looks ridiculous, but where else am I going to put it to air dry?
  • I wear my hair in a top knot almost every day of the week during the summer.
  • See that picture above?  When I painted our chalkboard wall, I miscalculated how much to paint.  When we attached the framing, I was left with a bare strip across the bottom.  It drives me crazy and I keep meaning to touch it up, but it's been months!
  • I am a horrible meal planner.
  • My boys are best friends, but can fight like animals.  Some days, I feel like all I do is discipline and referee. 
  • I won't have a William Morris Project post up this week because both of my ideas were busts.
  • I should be doing dishes, but instead, I'm blogging.

What about you?  I'd love to know one thing you are celebrating in your imperfect life!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a $15 credit towards Usborne books!  Help support a mamma with me!

Monday, September 9, 2013

{life list} Watch 100 Documentaries: #1-5

Hungry for Change: I'm always looking to learn more about health and nutrition.  This documentary was quite informational and had lots of good points.  My husband and I liked it very much.

30 for 30: Broke: This was a very interesting look at the reality behind professional athletes' seemingly perfect, flashy lifestyles.  The majority fall into bankruptcy shortly after retirement because of poor financial decision making.  Sad.   

Craigslist Joe: In this movie, a man spends an entire month depending on the kindness of Craigslist users for his survival.  Definitely a "hope for humanity" type movie.  I liked it.

First Position: This documentary followed young people following their dreams to becoming professional ballet dancers.  I found this one fascinating on so many levels.  

SEC Storied: Lolo Jones: I love movies that are inspirational and this one on Lolo Jones was no exception. She overcame homelessness and poverty to become an amazingly talented Olympic hurdler.  After watching, I was itching to go out and run! 

{find more of my life list here}

Thursday, September 5, 2013

{life list} Support 100 Small Business Mammas: Number Two (and a Giveaway!)

It's September and our busy season has just begun.  All of my kids have birthdays soon and the holidays are right around the corner!  Needless to say, gifts are on the brain these days.  I'm continuing to embrace the idea of buying less, but more meaningful gifts.  These sometimes take a little more time to find, but are so worth it in the end.

Let me introduce you to Jessica.  She is the mamma to two sweet boys and I have had the opportunity to get to know her briefly through the Penpal Project.  So when she contacted me to let me know she was also an educational consultant with Usborne Books, I was so excited!  Books are one of my favorite things to gift!  I quickly purchased a book to celebrate our first week of school.    

I chose 1001 Pirate Things to Spot and it was a huge hit!  I loved having the boys huddle around me, searching for the items on the list.

The quality of Usborne books is amazing.  The covers are durable, the pages are made of good quality paper, and the illustrations are colorful and so detailed.

The Usborne website is extensive and has so much to choose from.  Here are a few of our favorites as well as a few on our wish list:

Now to the fun part: I want to give away a $15 credit toward a book or two to one of you!  The giveaway will be open until Friday, September 13 at 12AM EST.  You can enter through the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To further support Jessica, I'm also hosting an online show that will be open until September 20.  Think Christmas presents!  For every $25 you spend, you are automatically entered into a drawing for $20 of free books!  You can find the link here

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

{house to home} William Morris Project (Vol.4): Upstairs Hallway Update

I tend to get the itch to paint on holiday weekends.  Labor Day weekend rolled around and I decided I'd tackle my next project: the upstairs hallway.  The hallway was previously painted the same crazy bright yellow like much of the house.  To each their own, but I've hated it since the day we moved in!  

These pictures don't really do it justice. So, so bright.  I couldn't wait to paint over it!  I needed one coat of primer and two coats of Benjamin Moore's Manchester Tan and I had a totally new hallway!  

I am in love with the difference, to the point where I may or may not be finding excuses to run upstairs just to look at it.  :)

The rest of my to-do list for the hallway:

  • Hang photographs
  • Find artwork
  • Spray paint lamp base
  • Install wooden growth chart
  • Replace light switch covers 
  • Maybe stain the stair railings darker?

Monday, September 2, 2013

{intention 2013} September's Goals

September will be about...

  • NEW ROUTINES.  With the addition of school and sports, our routine is about to change dramatically.  Figuring out how to juggle housework, exercise and other commitments to have our days run smoothly.    
  • GRATITUDE. Being thankful for the abundant blessings we've been given.  Less wasting, both in food and money.  Seeking out the positives on the overwhelming days.  Starting a journal to record all of the little things I usually overlook.    
  • CONNECTIONS. Writing lots of letters to my penpals.  Meeting new people in my community.  Keeping relationships with friends and family members strong.  
{my intentions for January, February, and March}
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