Monday, November 30, 2015

{BWF} Cyber Monday Sale at Big White Farmhouse & a Few Gift Ideas

Just popping in to share that today is Cyber Monday (yay!) and the last day of Big White Farmhouse's biggest sale of the year!  We hope you'll consider us as you begin your Christmas shopping!

Here are a few items we carry that would make unique and thoughtful gifts:

For the Little Ones // We carry a line of plush animals that make darling baby and toddler gifts.  Lucy Owl is my favorite, but Lewis Toad is definitely a close second!  We also have wooden rattles created by a husband-and-wife team in Washington.  I love the bunny!

For the Tween Girl //  Our lip product gift sets are perfect for tweens and teens.  These beauty products are made by another talented husband-and-wife duo, this time in Colorado.  We carry three different themes: Fruit Salad, Flower Power and The Bakery.  

For your Grandmother // Bring over a gorgeous potted plant to your grandmother with one of our garden markers tucked in.  Our "Joy" garden marker is especially festive this time of year, but we also have "Thankful for You", "You are My Sunshine", and even "Water Me".

For your Crafty Friend // Have a friend who loves to knit?  Our Hand-Dyed Rope Bowl is a beautiful and unique gift.  They are the perfect little size for holding the yarn as you work.  You could also fill it with small journaling cards for a scrapbooking pal!

For your Children's Teacher // Our new candle line is a great choice for teachers.  Each of our scents smells great and I have been pleased with how evenly the candles burn.  

For your Neighbor // Wrap one of your favorite quick breads in one of our fun tea towels for an easy neighbor gift.  My go-to is banana bread, but the possibilities are endless.  This idea is also great for thanking your host during your holiday travels.

Be sure to also check out our Seasonal section, filled with pewter ornaments, Christmas cards, gift tags and more!  

Friday, November 27, 2015

{around here} Week 47/52: Week of 11.23.15

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.  At the end of the year, I'll publish them into a keepsake to treasure.

Around here, I have been:

laughing at TJ dressed in a much too small outfit.  D grabbed it for Mark out of the donation pile and I'm not quite sure how the heck it zipped!

reading All the Light We Cannot See (just a few pages left to go!) and The Fulfillment of All Desire.  I also listened to and finished The Total Money Makeover on Audible.

starting to work out again.  It's humbling to start all over, but I'm determined.  I'm sore in places I forgot existed, hah!  I mainly used my T25 videos and will be adding in some running next week too.  

celebrating our ten year anniversary!  We went to mass and then renewed our vows afterward.  It was quite a bit different than the first time around - holding a whiny baby with a three-year-old clinging to our legs! - but still so special.  Ten years, five kids, four moves and too many memories to count.  We are so blessed.

being with family for Thanksgiving.  We shared a delicious meal (with my mom's gorgeous tablescape) with most of my family (we missed you C&A!) and it's always nice to be together.  

waking up early with my best girl to get Big White Farmhouse's Black Friday sale rolling.  In case you're interested, the sale is 30% off sitewide (excluding sale items) with the coupon code MERRYMERRY.  We'd love to help you with your Christmas shopping!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

{five favorites} Vol.03: Five Thanksgiving Traditions and Ideas

Happy (early) Thanksgiving to all of my friends here in the US!  We have felt the excitement in the air all week and can't wait to celebrate with good food and family tomorrow.  Today I'm sharing five traditions that we've started as a family, plus a few I'd like to incorporate in the years to come.  

Thankful Leaves // Throughout the month, we have used this free printable to write down things we are thankful for.  To save ink, I printed on cardstock, cut out the leaves and used them to trace on different colored construction paper.  I also punched a hole on the top and strung them with twine across our chalkboard.  Another idea would be to have your family and/or guests jot something down on Thanksgiving day.  

Donate Food to the Local Food Pantry // Every year at our church, the Knights of Columbus hold a food drive collecting Thanksgiving items for our local food pantry.  I always want to help out, but never seemed to remember in time!  This year, I was determined (even adding it to my 100 Little Things list) and I'm hoping this is a tradition we can do every year with the kids.  I used this post from Meg Duerksen as a starting point for our grocery list.

Julia Child Inspired Invitations // I came across this print (the etsy seller has since closed her shop, but isn't it great?) and thought it would be really cute used as a Thanksgiving invitation.  Definitely keeping this in mind next time we host.   

Thanksgiving Journal // This journal idea is one that I hope to adopt in the years to come.  Instead of going around the table sharing what they are thankful for, this family instead passes around the "Words of Thanksgiving" book.  Adding new entries year after year, I'm sure this would become a priceless treasure.

Hand Print Turkey Family // With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I don't think I'll be able to get to this craft in time, but I'm keeping the idea ready for next year.  I think once it is framed, it will be one of those sappy Mom things where I'll pull it out every year and announce, "I can't believe your hands were all so small!"  

Do you have any fun traditions in your family?  What are your favorite go-to recipes?  Are you a pumpkin pie fan or do you prefer apple or pecan?  Let's talk Thanksgiving!


I'd love to hear about five of your favorite things too!  Need some ideas?  Here are a few to get you started:
+ What are five things you are thankful for today?
+ What are five lessons you've learned this year?
+ List your five favorite places to shop for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

{health} On Dusting Off and Starting Again

I stink at regular fitness.  

I love a plan (I'm a rule-follower through and through), but the slightest change in my schedule can get me all out of whack and I just quit.

Case in point:
+ I ran four days a week for almost four months in preparation for my first half marathon.  After crossing the finish line in May, Mark's work picked up and I ran exactly twice afterwards.  
+ In June, I started Jamie Eason's Livefit program and lifted four days a week for five weeks.  I went on vacation and never started back up again.
+ In August, I started T25, working out six days a week for six weeks.  School and soccer season started and - you guessed it - I quit.

It's been two months of zero (and I mean ZERO) exercise. Today, I've been doing a lot of thinking about my relationship with fitness.  The vain part of me obviously wants to lose weight (14 months in and I still haven't lost all the baby weight), but I'm starting to see that there might be so much more.  

Working out provides a way to lose the belly fat and pump up the muscles, sure, but for me, I think it's bigger than that.  When I work out, I feel strong.  I feel like I can take on the world!  I surprise myself with small improvements: faster mile times, longer planks and heavier weights.  When I work out, I can be in my own head for a little bit, which is huge for this introverted mama.  I carry myself with more confidence.  I'm a better me.  

Having a daughter is helping to change how I see myself too.  I've started to talk to myself like I would talk to Sophie.  Would I tell my beautiful, precious daughter that she is too flabby and uncoordinated to be an athlete?  Would I tell her that she'd look so much better if only she were three sizes thinner?  Never.  My sweet girl is perfect just the way she is...I'm trying to believe that too. 

So one more time, I'm dusting off and starting again.  Here we go.          

Friday, November 20, 2015

{around here} Week 46/52: Week of 11.16.15

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.  At the end of the year, I'll publish them into a keepsake to treasure.

Around here, I have been:

feeling...sad. Sad for Paris, of course, but sad for humanity as a whole.  I've pretty much sworn off social media because I have a hard time with the name calling and bickering.  Everyone seems to have the answer to the world's problems and differing opinions be damned.  I have thoughts of my own, but I'd much rather look you in the eyes as we hold warm mugs of coffee in our hands, you know?  I want you to know my heart and where I'm coming from, before you judge my character or my devotion to my religion.  I will be the first to tell you that I don't have any answers: I'm just a sad mamma who wishes there wasn't so much evil in the world.    

celebrating M's birthday.  I have a tween. A tween!  His birthday is always a little bittersweet, especially as I realized that his time here at home is half over.  In a blink of an eye, he'll be 18 and on his way out into the world.  Sometimes that's just the perspective I need to appreciate the right here and now.  Slow down, time.

reading All the Light We Cannot See.  I'm still so behind in my book club and I think with what's going on in the world, I'm having a hard time reading more sad things.  This book is such a heartbreaking story - so well written, but so hard for me right now.

potty training and it's been so easy!  We are firmly in the "wait until they turn three" camp because by this point, they totally get it and the transition is pain-free.  We do M&Ms for every success.  Sophie has been killing me with her kindness.  She says, "Mama, let's celebrate with my guys!" and passes one M&M out to everyone.  Yay for only one in diapers!

celebrating Homemade Bread Day on Tuesday with white bread in the machine.  Sort-of cheating, but still delicious.

thinking about this article and especially this line: "This moment, where I am pulled in too many different directions and I’m unsure of how to proceed, this is what I can turn into a thriving moment by simply learning to savor it."  Light bulb moment.

homeschool notes:
+ Morning Basket Time is working and I'm loving it too.  Such a special, peaceful way to begin our day.
+ J has been dissatisfied with the amount of schoolwork he has (never enough - again!) so I'm breaking out my Kindergarten things and we're going to see what he thinks.
+ We decided to take a break from the Hobbit and have started reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe instead.  M is completing a lapbook with comprehension questions as we go.  We even tried Turkish Delight!  If all goes to plan, we'll be finished by tonight, just in time to watch the movie for Family Movie Night!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

{five favorites} Vol.02: Our Five Favorite Picture Books for Fall

Can you believe we're more than halfway through November already?  After a whirlwind few months, life has finally started to slow down around here and I've been trying to make up for lost time!  This week, we've been reading our fall books before they're put away to make way for Advent.  I thought we'd share them with you!  Here are five of our favorites:

The Little Scarecrow Boy // In this story, the little scarecrow boy longs to follow his father to the cornfields to scare the crows.  Instead, his father wants him to stay and practice his scary faces at home.  The little scarecrow boy goes to the field anyway and tries his skill, but can he succeed in scaring the birds away?

How To Make an Apple Pie and See the World // I just love this one.  This book is a silly story about gathering the ingredients needed for apple pie by traveling around the world.  A recipe for apple pie (which we need to make!) is included in the back.
Nuts to You! // The story of a boy who has a squirrel come into his room through a hole in his screen, this book is simple enough for the littlest readers.  I also like the more detailed squirrel facts in the back for older listeners.

Autumn Days // This book is full of information about the season of autumn and it goes through everything from the holidays to changes in nature.  I love the illustrations.

A Turkey for Thanksgiving // From the description: "Mr. and Mrs. Moose invite all their animal friends for Thanksgiving dinner and the only one missing is Turkey. When they set out to find him, Turkey is quaking with fear because he doesn't realize that his hosts want him at their table, not on it."  A cute one.  

**Links are affiliate - thanks for supporting the Big White Farmhouse!**

I'd love to hear about five of your favorite things too!  Need some ideas?  Here are a few to get you started:
+ Tell us about five of your Thanksgiving traditions.
+ What are five skincare or beauty items you use everyday?
+ Share five tips for meal planning and maybe a recipe too! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

{around here} Week 45/52: Week of 11.9.15

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.  At the end of the year, I'll publish them into a keepsake to treasure.

Around here, I have been:

having one of those weeks.  My baby is trying to give up his second nap and the result is a fussy, whiny toddler.  I have been less than patient with him, as the stress of getting it all done with a baby clawing at my legs grows and grows.  Having been down this road before, I know it's only a season, but man!  It doesn't make it any easier when you're in the thick of it.  Sometimes parenting is hard.

picking up 80lb of chicken from Zaycon Fresh.  The process is so easy (Mark didn't even have to get out of his car!) and I'm so happy to not have to think about purchasing meat for a little while.  Now to consider investing in half a cow... 

reading All the Light We Cannot See.

ordering new rain boots from L.L.Bean.  I used a gift card from my birthday (thank you A&S!) and these will be perfect for slushy snow and muddy soccer fields.

changing around rooms.  We turned the playroom into a special living area for Mark and me (affectionately called "the parlor") and we also switched up Sophie's room for more play space.  I'm so happy to have rooms that are actually being used and enjoyed. 

planning for what's next for Big White Farmhouse in 2016.  I joined a week-long "Planathon" group on Facebook and it has me feeling really inspired and excited.  I've been listing new products, rearranging the shelves in my office and starting to piece together my goals for the new year.

figuring out a way to meal plan consistently and I think I've figured it out!  I've stopped stressing about paleo-this or gluten-free that.  I'm going back to the basics of food as nourishment for our bodies.  Less obsession with what goes in and more focus on moving: dance parties during dinner cleanup, walking around the neighborhood on chilly afternoons, being silly monsters around the house.  This was the menu this week:
M: Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs & Salad
T: Kielbasa Pasta Skillet
W: Skillet Cheesy Chili Mac
Th: Hummus-Crusted Chicken, Rice & Veggies
F: Family Movie Night!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

{five favorites} Vol.01: Hair Clips, Hobbit Puppets and Thanking a Veteran

If you're coming over from Jenna's blog at Call Her Happy, welcome to the Big White Farmhouse!  I'm so happy you're here!      

I am so excited to announce that I'll be the new host for the Five Favorites link up!  If you are a regular reader, you've seen me link up frequently in the past, with everything from cool weather running must-haves to our favorite kids games to why we love  Every Wednesday, I'll be sharing five of my favorite things, which could be anything from inspiring blog posts to recipes to products we use and love.  Some weeks may have a theme and some may just be a random mix of fun finds.  I hope you'll play along and link up too!

Hair Clips from JMhandmade
I won one of these hair clips in a giveaway and it has quickly become one of Sophia's favorites.  I chose a few more to stick in her stocking for Christmas, including this adorable little bee

"It’s not about technology or not. I’m not suggesting you get all old-school-pen-and-paper about it (unless that’s your thing.) It’s about connecting instead of comparing. Instead of using the computer to watch someone else’s perfectly crafted life, enter into someone’s less-than-perfect life. You can use Facebook if you want, but you might find email, Skype and phone calls work better."

Hobbit in a Bag
from Michelle at Falafel and the Bee
We are ever so slowly working our way through the Hobbit.  I came across this idea for stick puppets and couldn't purchase the people-shaped craft sticks fast enough!  The older boys stuck to the plan and made Hobbit characters; the littles, on the other hand, went rogue.  We now have "a pretty girl in a purple dress" and the Hulk too, hah!

To Do List: A Free Printable
from A Pair of Pears
I have a lot of moving parts going on around here with homeschooling, Big White Farmhouse, my book club, the blog and other normal household tasks and appointments.  I've been using this printable to sort it all out and it's been working great!

To my Veteran...
"thank you for fighting. thank you for being strong enough to leave. to miss years of moments, of firsts. thank you for overcoming your fears and standing strong. thank you for continuing to deploy over and over and over. thank you for loving US enough to do what you do so that WE do not have to do it, so that we can be safe."

This one is a few years old, but as the granddaughter, daughter, sister and wife of a veteran, I couldn't agree more.  There are great links at the bottom of the post too. 


I'd love to hear about five of your favorite things too!  Need some ideas?  Here are a few to get you started:
+ Who are five people who have a significant influence in your life and why?  
+ What are five of your favorite Fall recipes?
+ Tell us five things you do to prepare your home for colder weather.

Friday, November 6, 2015

{around here} Week 44/52: Week of 11.2.15

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.  At the end of the year, I'll publish them into a keepsake to treasure.

Around here, I have been:

feeling so.wiped.out.  We have had a killer fall, full of good things - soccer and playdates and church functions and homeschooling routines and even a crazy decision to blog for an entire month, hah!  I think I managed to make it to Halloween, turned the page to November 1st and then collapsed.  This week has been less than productive, but I think I needed the rest.

enjoying our new morning routine for school.  It eases us into the school day and just seems more gentle than rushing to start workbooks.  This week, I introduced the boys to Frog and Toad...big hit!

confused by this crazy weather.  After being in sweaters and boots for a week, we're back to temperatures in the high 70's!  Mark, a few of the kids and I are starting to get sore throats and stuffy noses.

reading (ever so slowly) All the Light We Cannot See.  I'm so behind on our book club schedule!  Hoping to catch up this weekend.

researching ways to make my life a bit more organized and streamlined.  I've entered the inspiring (and a little bit overwhelming) world of planners and wow, there is so much out there!  Special stickers, "Plan with Me" Youtube videos, a multitude of pens and washi's crazy.  I'm working through all of the ideas and figuring out what will really work for me.  

thinking a lot about this blog and where I hope to go in the new year.  It never fails - whenever I step away from technology for a bit, inspiration strikes and I can't wait to start again.
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