Friday, July 29, 2016

{around here} Week 30/52: Week of 7.25.16



A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

trying not to complain about this unbearable heat wave, but woo!  SO HOT!    

reaching 20 weeks - halfway there already!  I had an ultrasound on Monday and it was surreal as always: he was curled up in a ball, with his sweet arm over his face and his ankles crossed.  He's measuring right on target and everything looks perfect.  On my end, I'm hoping my slightly elevated blood pressure just means I'm getting old and live a crazy, somewhat stressful life...and not a bigger problem.  (Which, by the way, doesn't get better when you try to self-diagnose yourself in the middle of the night and read the horror stories...not that I would know...ahem.)    

reading The Cuckoo's Calling, which is surprisingly taking me longer to finish than I expected.  Good so far, but not awesome.  I don't know.

hoping my overactive brain doesn't drive me crazy!  Lately, my thoughts have been swirling with ideas, plans, to-do lists and dreams: Big White Farmhouse, home projects, cold-weather wardrobes and school supplies, fall birthdays, holidays and even a wedding.  Saving money, spending money, rental property management, grocery lists, menu plans, tiny baby clothes, pregnancy weight gain and doctor's appointments.  Thank goodness pure exhaustion is enough to lull me to sleep at night - there's no turning this craziness off! 

getting back on track after too many nights of fast food with lots of healthy dinners. The menu this week:
w: grilled chicken and summer blast salad
th: one pan roasted chicken and veggies
sa: chicken with summer vegetable tian

trying out Honey and really liking it.  It finds the best coupon codes for you - gotta love anything that will help me save some money!  I used it this week with a Vistaprint order (saved me 25%!).  Also like that it helps find the best deal on Amazon.

putting in the time for Big White Farmhouse and hoping to see the results.  This week was all about beefing up our "Vintage Finds" section and I hit the jackpot!  A lot of great everyday pieces and even a few that would be perfect for the fall and Christmas.  I was able to add a few items (like the cheese cloche with the teak base above) to the site and will hopefully photograph the rest this weekend.  

receiving this month's box from Young Living: this time, I ordered Lime, Purification, and the Thieves Household Cleaner.
+ Purification was a reorder - we like to diffuse this one when there are funky smells in the kitchen.  We've also put a few drops in sneakers and on a cotton ball for the car.  
+ It's my first time trying the Thieves Household Cleaner.  I love that it's very concentrated and you only need one capful per big spray bottle!  I've heard raving reviews so anxious to see how it works for us.
+ Lime is also a new try.  Love citrus scents!

planning some fun activities to do with the kids before school starts at the end of August.  This summer has flown!  We've started jotting down ideas on our chalkboard wall: water balloon fight, s'mores dip, DIY geodes and a trip to a really cool playground near us.  

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P.S. Big White Farmhouse is having our biggest sale of the summer!  20% off sitewide with the coupon code SUMMERSALE20.  Promotion ends Saturday night, 11:59 EST.  I'd love to help you find the perfect gift or maybe something special just for you!


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

{book report} My Latest Reads // July


As my part of my Learn goals for 2016, I'm reading a variety of styles and genres of books in the attempt to discover new ideas and expand my horizons.  My goal is to read at least 25 this year, of which I'm keeping track on Goodreads.  Are you over there?  Let's connect!

Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson
Dare I admit that I picked this one up solely because of the cover? It reminded me of Downton Abbey.  This book is a historical novel based on a devout Catholic woman named Genevieve Menke.  It moves back and forth between the past and present and having read a few books this year with this format, I'm growing a bit wary of it.  The story line was a little predictable and some characters more relatable than others, but I did enjoy the Catholic references done in a positive way (a rare find for me!).  

The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan
Written by a journalist, the goals of this book are twofold: tracking the life of American food by taking undercover jobs on the fields, at WalMart and at Applebees, while also exploring the challenges Americans face when trying to eat fresh, healthy foods on limited incomes.  While parts of this book were a bit slow, I did come away really thinking about the complexities of food and the small role I can play to help others less fortunate than me with fresh ingredients.     
One quote that really stuck with me: "An emerging body of psychological and sociological research suggests that because the poor must rely on others to provide a range of needs that the wealthy can pay for, they are also more empathetic and have stronger social skills.  Correspondingly, those in the upper-income bracket are found to be less capable of reading others' emotions and hence are less empathetic." - footnote on pg.35

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
I chose this book for the Modern Mrs. Darcy book challenge, a book written before you were born (1962).  In one word, I thought this book was weird.  It's a Gothic mystery about two sisters, but it seemed too anti-climactic to me.  I kept reading waiting for the big surprise, but was left disappointed.  However, according to the reviews on Goodreads, I'm in the minority on this one.  Maybe I just didn't get it?


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My Reading in Numbers

Books Read this Month: 3
Total Books Read this Year: 23
Books Read for the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Challenge: 5
A book published this year
A book you can finish in a day
A book you've been meaning to read
A book chosen for me by my spouse
A book published before I was born

Friday, July 22, 2016

{around here} Weeks 28/52 & 29/52: Weeks of 7.11.16 & 7.18.16

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

bringing a family a meal to celebrate the birth of their fourth baby (and first daughter!).  The dad is a friend of Mark's, so he went all out: BBQ ribs, homemade baked beans, his special coleslaw and homemade macaroni and cheese.  I stayed out of his way and just helped package everything up, hah!

working on house projects. Nesting is in full swing already and I was happy to knock a few things off the list:
+ Finally hung curtains in the kitchen (just simple ones from Ikea, my favorite)
+ Went on a date with Sophia to Homegoods and picked up a big basket for dirty laundry (to go in the upstairs hallway) and found a lamp for my office.  Now I can hop in and work even after dark - game changer!
+ Picked out a ceiling fan and kitchen/laundry room lighting for our electrician to install

ordering a bassinet on Amazon Prime Day.  Our old one officially bit the dust and I didn't really want to commit to an expensive one at this stage in the game.  So lucky to have found a nice one with good reviews and a small footprint for less than $80!

reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle (finished!) and The Cuckoo's Calling.

spending a week on vacation in Maine!  We got a few new things for the 10-hour trip: this car topper and color-coordinated LLBean duffle bags for each of the kids (we waited for a sale, plus 2% back on ebates!).  Other favorites: puddle jumpers for the little ones, a Pirates of the Carribean audiobook from the library and fluffy striped beach towels.

staying at our family's camp right on the lake.  The weather was warm, but definitely not Virginia unbearable, so we loved it.  We swam for hours multiple times a day.  It was so surreal to have my children experience one of my favorite childhood memories.

filling our days making lots of memories.  The highlights: delicious Italian sandwiches and Whoopie Pies, swimming morning, noon and night, spending time with extended family, playing Pie Face! (a huge hit!), a quick Freeport trip while the big three enjoyed their first baseball game with cousins, and a visit to the farmhouse.

enjoying a new ice cream spot - we went two days in a row because it was so good!  I had mint chocolate chip and coffee heath bar...still dreaming about it.

laughing at our sweet, sweet Sophia.  Her latest is calling watermelon, "waterlemon".

surviving an exciting ride home.  We left at 1am and at around 4, our "low tire pressure" light came on.  We stopped at a gas station, filled the tire and thought we were home free...except 20 minutes later, the light returned.  On the second stop, we could hear a hissing from the tire - definitely a hole!  Mark called roadside assistance, who helped us with a very tricky spare, allowed us to follow him to the body shop and then plugged the hole.  A two hour delay, but thankfully the rest of the trip was uneventful.

settling back into reality.  We were so sad to leave (there were tears from a few of us!) but happy to sleep in our own beds and get back into a normal routine.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

{currently} 20 Things I Love: A Gratitude Journal vol.8


M's excitement about his very own library card
brand new maternity bottoms that make me feel just a teeny bit stylish
the smell of fresh tomatoes
starting the search for the kids' fall clothing: lots of good luck on Kidizen and ThredUp!
watching D's creativity as he creates stop-motion animation movies
vintage finds that are both functional and pretty to look at
TJ's slobbery kisses and cuddles
when Mark makes the coffee before he leaves for work
a newly mopped floor
a new favorite soap - so refreshing!
a good night's sleep
a high five from Sophie as she declares, "Girls rule, mama!"
feeling tiny baby kicks
new inspiration for sharing on Big White Farmhouse's Instagram 
dirty feet from being outside in the yard
watching the birds outside our window
blueberry peach cobbler
J's kindness toward his sister, especially when she invites him to her tea parties
easy dinners on the grill
this quote from St. Dominic Savio: "I can't do big things.  But I want all I do, even the smallest thing, to be for the greater glory of God."  

Friday, July 8, 2016

{around here} Week 27/52: Week of 7.4.16

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

celebrating the Fourth of July...sort-of.  Honestly, it was a bit of a bust - the cloudy, rainy weather ruined most of my plans and excitement.  Oh well, there's always next year!

baking blueberry peach cobbler twice.  It's definitely our family's summer tradition and just as good as I remembered.  We devoured an entire 9"x13" pan in one sitting.

finishing up my third 100 Little Things list to begin in August.  I'm so excited about it, I want to get started now!  Instead, I'm hoping to cross off a few more items on Round Two...one month to go!  On the list: a baseball game for the kids, new flavors of lemonade, and possibly breaking out the sewing machine to make Sophia pajama pants.  

working on a basic social media schedule for Big White Farmhouse's third quarter.  I nailed down some promos/sales and did some research about marketing.  So much to do and learn, there's never a dull moment in this business!

reading The American Way of Eating (which was really interesting...I'm still gathering my thoughts) and just starting We Have Always Lived in the Castle.  My "to-read" list on Goodreads is over 300 books, so I'm thinking I may need to reel myself in, stick to the list and cut that number down a bit...is that even possible?  So many books to read, so little time.  

having crazy, bizarre dreams - thank you pregnancy!  Some have been really scary and I've woken up in a sweat, praying every protection prayer I can think of in my semi-awake stuper.  Thankfully, though, most of the dreams are just random and involve family members, TV characters and even a few people I haven't seen since high school.  

working on our emergency preparedness kit again. Somewhere in the last six months, I misplaced my list and that task fell to the back, BACK burner.  But after our little power outage scare last week, I'm re-inspired!  First things to purchase are more cases of water and a battery-operated cell phone charger.  #priorities

loving how big TJ is getting this summer.  All of a sudden, just like his brothers before him, he is all about his "guys" and will play happily for 20 minutes (which is like forever for that little busy-body!) at a time.  He's also loving a Lego Superman movie we own and asks to watch it daily, complete with happy dance.  

watching a crazy squirrel intent on making it to our bird feeder!  He hangs on our screen and is oblivious to the kids smacking the window.  I think the poor thing is scared to death!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

{learn goals} Some Goals for July


Things to Look Forward To
- home improvement projects around the house
- making memories with extended family
- exploring the local farmer's market
- a new series to watch at night with Mark
- seeing our baby on the ultrasound machine

Things to Work On
- a new 100 Little Things list (to begin in August)
- making rest a priority
- less anxiety, more positive thinking and prayer about the future
- birthday ideas for my kids born in September
- exercising regularly again

Things to Think About
- a craft I'd like to make with the kids
- an encyclical to read
- a new flavor of lemonade to try
- an act of service to complete as a family
- fun ideas to help D practice his handwriting

{via}

Friday, July 1, 2016

{around here} Week 26/52: Week of 6.27.16

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

surviving a week with Mark away on business. Long days, but we did okay.  We had movie night with pizza delivery (AND breadsticks because I'm the "best mom ever", hah!) and a playdate with friends.  I surprised them with ice cream cones and a new playground to discover.  But the biggest event of the week was a huge thunderstorm (with hail and everything!) that blew out our power.  As I panicked a bit trying to round up all the flashlights while making sleeping arrangements in my room for the kids while trying to remember how long a refrigerator can go before everything spoils, the power miraculously returned after about three hours!  

completing a little bookshelf project in the upstairs hallway.  I wanted a space to display books and these Ikea shelves were cheap and perfect.  Hopefully, the kids will be inspired to read more of our collection by seeing them out and available.  

trying to get into a routine of regular work on Big White Farmhouse.  I know I will see the most return of my time if I invest consistent hours, but finding those pockets of time is so tricky!  Aiming for an hour a day, most often broken into twenty minute chunks.  This week, I got new vintage sewing drawers ready and listed and worked on our monthly newsletter to go out Saturday.  Not much, but baby steps in the right direction.  

reading Chateau of Secrets (just finished!) and starting The American Way of Eating.

watching documentaries to finish up #6 on my 100 Little Things list.  I'm reaching the end date to that goal soon!  Currently, the list is only about 40% completed, but I'm hoping to knock out a few more before August 1.  Time to start thinking about round three...

feeling the baby kick for the first time.  Is there really any more amazing feeling?  So surreal and it just never gets old.  What a privilege it is to carry another baby into this world.

diffusing Lavender and Jade Lemon almost everyday.  I'm kind-of obsessed with Jade Lemon right now.

laughing at my sweet Sophie: instead of saying "all aboard", she says "on the board!"  All of a sudden, she is really into playing with rocks: stacking, organizing, creating stories.  She also is really interested in ice skating and loves to "skate" around the house in her socks.  She's a sassy little thing, but I sure love this age.  
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