Monday, December 15, 2014

{brave} I Want to be Brave Like My Son: Looking Back at 2014

My oldest son inspires me on a regular basis.  For about a year, he has asked to run in a "real race" like his Mamma and Daddy.  There aren't many children-friendly races near us, so he waited patiently until November to run the Turkey Trot Fun Run, a big one mile loop.  

On the day of the race, due to an oversight on our part, we had him running all by himself among a sea of children and families.  Being his mamma, I could tell he was a little nervous.  I was nervous too.  We made a plan to meet at the finish line and then he was off.  Sending my baby out with all these people, I got a lump in my throat.  Would he be okay? Was he scared being all by himself?

He smiled big, walked up close to the front of the group and ran his little heart out.  I choked back tears as I watched my boy push through to the finish line and conquer a goal he's been wanting to do for months.  

He was brave.  


When I chose "brave" as my one little word for 2014, I really had no idea how it would affect my life.  At the beginning, I created my own parameters:  getting out of my comfort zone creatively, in the kitchen, and in my giving.  And while I have made strides in these areas, I ended up having to be brave in even bigger ways.

When we found out I was pregnant with baby number five, I was so excited, but also greatly doubted myself.  Can I do this?  Am I a mother capable of doing this vocation well?  Four was already a "big" family, but five?  Five is considered crazy in today's society.  Would I be able to handle all of the stares and thoughtless comments?  

When I felt God's prompting to homeschool my two oldest, I doubted my abilities again.  Can I do this?  Can I be a good teacher to the one who really struggles with learning?  Will I be able to give them the education they deserve?  

Both of these instances required a jump into the unknown, a leap of faith.  "I am not afraid...I was born to do this", a quote from Joan of Arc, became the words I whisper to myself when the doubts creep in.  I wouldn't say that 2014 has been the year I've become fearless - not even close! - but I'm making baby steps in the right direction.

Going forward into 2015, I want to be more like my son.  I want to look the scary things in the face and acknowledge my nerves, but make a plan and go for it with all I've got.  I want to be brave.

I'm signing off to spend the rest of Advent with my little family.  I have some exciting things in store for the blog, though, so be sure to meet me back here after New Years!  Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2014

{around here} Week of 12.8.14

This week was rough.  One sick kid after another and I think I'm next.  Needless to say, the productivity in our family was pretty slim.  We spent a lot of time watching "educational" shows on Netflix and hanging out on the couch.  Every so often, they'd get a burst of energy and play something, only to come back to the couch and ask for a movie.  It breaks my heart when they don't feel well.  I'm praying everyone starts feeling better this weekend.  

I did manage to finally put up Sophie's curtains in her room...just in time to totally change her room around.  I've been coming up with plans to switch rooms around to make our home work better for us in the new year.  But more on that in January.

"Mamma, you are awesome.  Our whole family is awesome. is the whole universe!" -J, newly four

I've been thinking a lot about this post and have been inspired to put a few of Nell's tips to action.  On Monday, I made a checklist (comment on 5 blogs, enter a giveaway, share a post on social media, etc.) and I've been working on it a bit everyday.  It actually brings focus to my blog reading.

One more thing to note: This week, I expanded my internet horizons a little and joined Twitter.  I have no idea what I'm doing!  I've also been on Google+ a bit, but I'm not sure what to do there either.  Are you on either?  Give me tips!

Have a wonderful (and healthy!) weekend, friends.

Monday, December 8, 2014

{shop small} Vol.01: Stocking Stuffers for Her

As the Creative Director for Big White Farmhouse, I am constantly searching for new products.  Our company is passionate about supporting the "little guys", the ones who are working tirelessly to create a life doing what they love.  I love that entrepreneurial spirit and I hope you do too!

Since I can't carry all the cool products I find in my store, I thought I'd pop in every so often to share some of my discoveries with you!  So welcome to a new series: Shop Small!  Volume 01 is a collection of ideas that would make perfect stocking stuffers for the ladies in your life.  (I'm adding that goal clipboard to my wish list!)  Hope you enjoy.

She Is...Pink Pencils Set of 6 by Amanda Catherine Designs 
Monogram Journal and Pencil Set by Happy Dappy Bits
Complete Spa Gift Set by Little Flower Soap Co. 
Hedgehog Embroidery Kit by dioramatist
Goal Clipboard by Decoylab 

Friday, December 5, 2014

{around here} Week of 12.1.14

Gosh, I'm loving December so far.  For the first time in months, our schedule is wide open.  I've slowed down a bit, paused my to-do lists and just enjoyed my kids.  It was a good week.

I let the kids take charge and they decorated the tree with the most colorful ornaments.  Their boring mother would have chosen something simpler, but they are so proud of that darn tree, I can't help but love it too. Even if the majority of the ornaments are on the bottom half of the tree. 

Favorite homeschooling activities:
  • We started a new unit in science about the human body and we are all so excited!  We made a life-size tracing of M's body and will be adding body parts and bones as we go.  This week, we started off with the brain and eyes.    
  • A new favorite activity for spelling words: hangman.  M can't get enough!
  • We are also including the daily activities from Advent Adventures.  The kids love the videos.

TJ has been a bit clingy this week, so I have yet to dive into a new book.  Thank goodness for podcasts!  I have been addicted to Serial and have listened to all 10 episodes in just a few days.  If you're into detective novels, Serial would be right up your alley.  I also got a chance to listen to the new Fountains of Carrots podcast, which is so good too!  I especially loved episode two with Jenny. 

On the Blog:

I've been busy packaging orders for Big White Farmhouse, my favorite part!  For the month of December, I'm adding a little doily (I think it sort-of looks like a snowflake), a mini Christmas-related flash card (from this shop) and a mini candy cane with every order.  I think it's festive, while also being cost-effective.  Also!  If you haven't heard, Big White Farmhouse has been included in Call Her Happy's Shopping Guide and Giveaway.  We are giving away one of our pewter ornaments!  The giveaway ends Monday, so be sure to enter soon!

Have a great weekend, friends.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

{brave} December's Goals

It's the end of the year and I'm ready to slow down.  2014 has been filled to the brim with so many good things and I've been working hard.  Every day has a game plan: schooling, home projects, kids' sports, exercise, business to-dos, the regular household chores, etc etc.  After our perfect Thanksgiving weekend, I realized that while I love accomplishing all of these things, I also need time to step back a bit.  It seems December is the perfect time to cut out all the extras and focus on my little family for awhile.   

For the month of December, these are my only goals:

1. No sugar until Christmas. I've been working hard to get back in shape and I think giving up sugar will help me overcome the plateau I've had the past month.  It may just kill me to pass on the cookies and other goodies, but I'm going to try!  (I'm in a wedding at the end of the month, so big motivation there too.)
2. Start thinking about the New Year. You know me and my love of goals and resolutions!  I'll be asking all the questions: What do I want to do personally in 2015?  How do I want Big White Farmhouse to grow?  What home projects do I want to accomplish?  What memories do I want to experience with my family?  What do I want to share with others on the blog?  How can I grow in my faith?  Starting the lists and being inspired for what's to come.
3. Slow down and enjoy this magical season with my family.  

What are your goals for December?

P.S. Big White Farmhouse is so excited to be a part of Call Her Happy's Holiday Gift Guide!  We're giving away one of our pewter ornaments, so be sure to check it out!

Monday, December 1, 2014

{christmas} A Literary Advent Calendar

It's Advent! How are you counting down the days to Christmas at your house?  With a little baby in the house this year, I wanted something super simple with very little prep work.  So for 2014, a literary advent calendar was the perfect solution!  

In case you're unfamiliar with the idea, I took every Christmas book we own and wrapped them.  After years of collecting, we finally have enough for all 25 days!  If you don't have 25 books, you can always borrow from the library, which is very cost-effective if you remember to return them on time.  

The goal is to unwrap one book a day.  I labeled each one with a number (using this awesome printable) and recorded the book titles in my planner, but it will be a complete surprise for the kids.  Some days we'll only read the book; on other days, I want to include a craft or activity.  Our list of "must-do" traditions include gingerbread houses, hot cocoa in their special snowman mugs, making Santa cookies with Poppa, and an after-bedtime drive around the neighborhood to see the lights.  

For record's sake (and in case anyone is interested in the books we're reading), this is the list:

1. Merry Christmas, Curious George 
2. Tomie's Little Christmas Pageant
3. Gingerbread Baby
4. Through the Animals' Eyes: A Story of the First Christmas
5. The Jolly Christmas Postman
6. Saint Nicholas: A Veggie Christmas Story

7. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas  
8. The Clown of God 
9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 
10. I Spy Christmas: A Book of Picture Riddles 
11. Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons 
12. Franklin's Christmas Gift  

13. Story of Christmas
14. Frosty the Snowman
15. The Night Before Christmas
16. Santa's Favorite Story: Santa Tells the Story of the First Christmas
17. Santa's Reindeer 
18. Twelve Days of Christmas
19. Christmas in the Manger
20. The Christmas Angel
21. Madeline's Christmas
22. Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale
23. Spot's First Christmas
24. The Night Before Christmas
25. The Christmas Story

What are your favorite Christmas books?  When I was little, I loved The Jolly Christmas Postman!  

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