Monday, October 31, 2016

{100 little things} October Review: Blog Post Comments, Marketing Techniques & Homemade Apple Pie


October was a weird month for me.  I had the best of intentions, but no energy for follow-through!  I had a good laugh when I looked at what I had accomplished - with the exception of the pie, everything was done sitting down, hah!  Oh man...I'm definitely just limping along at this point.  On to November, where I'll hopefully get a little crazy nesting fever back.  Current totals: 9 completed and 9 partial finishes.



#25. Find a dresser to refurbish for the new baby.
After months and months of unsuccessful searching, and unable to pull the trigger on a $400 particleboard version, we decided to go in a totally different direction!  We gave the three big boys' shared (and quickly outgrowing) dresser to the little boys and made a closet system for the boys' room instead.  It turned out awesome, creates way more space than two dressers would, and it was actually cheaper to boot.  I would like to repaint the little boys' dresser eventually, but at this point, I'm just happy to have the storage and cross this project off the list!

#65. Try a new marketing technique for Big White Farmhouse.
I participated in a free seminar from Brilliant Business Moms about Facebook Ads and was excited to try them out.  We tried the Carousel Ad, which shows a few different pictures with a link to our website at the end.  I still have a lot of testing to do, but I think it might be a worthwhile investment for us in the future.  



#1. Read 35 books. (3/35 completed)
After a significant reading drought, I was proud of my two finishes this month: The Gap of Time and Father Elijah.  (Book report here.)

#5. Leave a positive, thoughtful comment on 50 blog posts. (31/50 completed)
One of my small, seemingly insignificant ways to spread a little light in the world.  I appreciate blog comments so much and was unhappy at how passive I had become as a reader.  This was just the kick in the pants I needed!  Below are a handful of the blogs I've read and commented on this month:


#42. Make 10 different pies. (2/10 completed)
What's more perfect for fall than apple pie?  I blindly picked a simple recipe on Pinterest and it was pretty good.  I do think the crust was maybe too flaky (if that's possible) but still delicious with ice cream and whipped cream.

#52. Watch 15 documentaries. (5/15 completed)
Every Second Counts: The Story of the 2008 CrossFit Games: Really slow moving.  I'd definitely recommend Fittest on Earth instead. CrossFit has come a LONG way since 2008.

#68. Grow Big White Farmhouse's Instagram followers to 400+.
I had a major (pride) hit this month - for whatever reason, our account has gained and lost about 15-20 followers.  Since our following isn't exactly huge to begin with, that's been a little hard to swallow.  None of these accounts were close to being our "ideal" customer and I suspected many of them only followed to be followed back anyway, but still.  With so many other things going on, I definitely haven't put much time into Instagram and the numbers show.  Still haven't hit the goal, but we're a teeny bit closer: we went from 356 to 370 followers.

#83.  Complete an embroidery project.
Remember that cross-stitch project with Disney princesses that I worked on last summer?  With just three princesses left before completion, I put it away and hadn't touched it since!  On a whim, I grabbed it from my closet and am determined to finish before the baby arrives.  Sophie is thrilled! 

Friday, October 28, 2016

{around here} Week 43/52: Week of 10.24.16

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

experiencing Braxton Hicks for the first time ever, which is catching me off guard! Typically only around dinner time and once or twice a day, but definitely crampy enough to make me stop and notice.  Six weeks to go - the end is near!    

getting started on Christmas shopping.  We've decided to make things SUPER easy for us this year.  We typically only do three presents and stockings for each child, but this year, we're doing two individual gifts each and then a gift for all of the kids collectively (and simple stockings too, of course).  The idea of shopping after giving birth really stresses me out, so I'm hoping to get most of it accomplished in the next few weeks.  And the extended family may all be getting IOUs!  Apologies ahead of time, family.

laughing at Sophie and her 4-year-old shenanigans. Almost every morning, she brings a lunchbox and flower girl basket full of random stuff to drop off the boys at school.  She's suddenly really into makeup and has been "painting" her nails with pink crayons.  She's declared M to be her favorite brother because "he is just so nice to me and he keeps me safe."  Three words she says incorrectly and I don't want to forget: "brabo" (bravo), "pla-nano" (piano) and "syr-ee-up" (syrup). 

watching The Chase, a game show we found on Netflix.  Mark and I try to keep up with the trivia until our heads start spinning, hah.

collecting non-perishables for the St. Lucy Project at church.  I'm so grateful for projects like these because they are so easy and family-friendly.  We talk a lot to the kids about taking care of our friends who may be going through a hard time and it's so beautiful to hear their innocent reactions.  It typically starts with a sad "I can't believe that..." which quickly turns to "Well, we have more than enough!  Let's give them this and this and this..."  The kids each picked a few things to include in our bag (which I ordered on Jet, along with our other groceries) and they are so excited to lug it back to church next week.

finding a few postpartum items on ThredUp (as part of 100 Little Things #85).  I also picked up these dishcloths and love them.  They reminded me so much of the one's my Gram used to make and I know they'll get tons of use.  (I was also tempted by Theresa's storage baskets and doughnuts for Sophie's kitchen...be sure to check out all she offers!)  

(finally) figuring out the dresser dilemma!  Poor Mark...he's heard me talk about this dresser for months now!  In the end, after months of thrift store browsing, Craigslist and FB group searching and coming up empty, we decided to go in a totally different direction.  The three big boys had been sharing (and quickly outgrowing) one dresser, so we took that for TJ and the new baby and are creating a closet system for the boys' room instead.  Surprisingly, in the end, it was actually cheaper too.

reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry.

mailing gratitude postcards to our Big White Farmhouse 2016 customers.  With a million different stores to choose from, we are just so thankful for everyone who supports ours and we really wanted to tell our customers how much we appreciate their role in making 2016 our best year in business yet!  

listening to the boys share about their fun-filled days at school.  D had a field trip and is working on a pumpkin book report project (Batman, of course).  J had a community helper parade and chose to be a firefighter.  M is in a classroom book club and is reading a book where he found a cuss word.  He was shocked and definitely not expecting that in a fourth grade novel ("and recommended by a teacher even, Mom!" he said, hahaha), but it was a good opportunity to chat about not-so-nice words that we probably should avoid saying.  Life lessons.

baking Oatmeal Toffee Cookies (minus the coconut).  They looked pretty terrible (like flat hockey pucks), but were still delicious.  I also brought out the bread machine again and timed it for an "as fresh from the oven as it's going to get" after-school snack.    



P.S. We have just a little over a week left for collecting donations for our Pajama Drive, with all pajamas being given to Northern Virginia Family Services.  We are so thankful for everyone who has given so far (BIG thanks to Cheryl, Anne, Andrea, Stephanie, and Tabitha & family!) and would love to have you contribute too.  
Currently, we have a need for pajamas in all sizes for girls.  

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

{currently} 20 Things I Love: A Gratitude Journal vol.9


when TJ decides to nap (!!!) and Sophie tucks him in
a satisfyingly tall tower of freshly folded clothes
J's drawings scattered throughout the house
when Mark makes coffee in the coffee press
amazingly supportive teachers who work hard for my kids
TJ's face when his brothers come home from school
watching my belly move and flow as this baby moves around
warm sweaters
hearing Sophie sing songs about how much she loves me
my church and our holy priests
laughing with Mark until I pee (thank you, multiple pregnancies)
enjoying a good book again after a long break
M's tender heart and excitement for the new baby
watching the leaves change ever so slightly on my drive to school
surprise Pajama Drive donations arriving in the mailbox (thank you!!)
feeling peace about our current home even though it isn't our dream
when D cuddles up next to me on the couch
pumpkin spice doughnuts
reuniting with old friends and watching the kids not miss a beat
this quote I found on Pinterest: "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.  Sometimes that's all I can say to find peace, strength and clarity.  He is enough - always enough."

Monday, October 24, 2016

{book report} My Latest Reads // August, September & October

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!

I hit some sort of wall at the end of the summer.  I didn't pick up a single book for over a month!  It was weird, but maybe a necessary break?  Anyway, I'm back and hoping to finish the year strong.  I hit my Goodreads goal of 25 books this month, but I'm aiming for at least five more.   

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
I feel like the only person in the world who feels this way, but this book was just okay for me.  I've never really been a J.K.Rowling fan (I could never get into Harry Potter, much to the shock of my son!) and while this mystery about the death of a supermodel was much more exciting, I still had a hard time staying interested. It sort-of felt like it was too long? 

The Gap of TIme by Jeanette Winterson
This novel was a modern take on Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.  I have never read that work, so I was thankful for the synopsis at the beginning of the book to get me up to speed.  In case you haven't read it either, the play revolves around a man's false belief that his wife is having an affair and pregnant with a child that isn't his own, thus exploring themes like jealousy, betrayal, and forgiveness.  While the writing was beautiful and almost lyrical at times, I had a hard time with the sexual and graphic nature of some of the scenes.  Just okay for me.
(I received this book from Blogging for Books, but all opinions are mine.)

Father Elijah: An Apocalypse by Michael O'Brien
Sometimes I think a book falls in your lap at just the right time.  I actually purchased this one back in May, but it's been sitting on my nightstand ever since.  Out of the blue, I picked it up and flew through the almost 600 pages!  Father Elijah is an apocalyptic novel about the Catholic Church at the end of time and is so well written, I sometimes forgot it was fiction.  It was exciting, suspenseful and thought-provoking.  I know it will be a book that will stay with me for awhile.


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My Reading in Numbers

Books Read these three Months: 3
Total Books Read this Year: 26
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, October 21, 2016

{around here} Week 42/52: Week of 10.17.16


A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

celebrating D's 8th birthday.  He's been counting down the days for weeks!  He requested bagels for breakfast, bacon cheeseburgers for dinner and a homemade ice cream sandwich cake.  He is -hands down - my hardest child to shop for, so I was thrilled that he seemed to be happy with all of his gifts.  And surprisingly enough, his most-used gift so far was just a super hero coloring book and big pack of colored pencils.  Huh.  


identifying with these words from Elizabeth Foss that describe me to a T: "This journey to silence the voice has been an arduous uphill climb. Through the perfect storm of nature and nurture, perfectionism and self-recrimination are hardwired into my psyche. I’ve been one to try too hard, move too fast, produce too much and reach too high for as long as I can remember. All my life, I have lived with the exhaustion and utter despair of never measuring up to my own perfectionistic standards."  The past few weeks have been difficult because I feel like I physically can't keep up with my brain!  There are so many things I want to accomplish, but the exhaustion is unreal.  I'll wake up in the morning ready to take on the world, but will have to lay down a bit on the couch by 11am.  I've been trying to be okay with a little more clutter than usual, a little more television watching than usual and a lot less checked off my to-do list.  To everything there is a season and this is the season to start slowing down, no guilt allowed.  God always uses pregnancy to work on my heart...how quickly I forget every time.         

finishing Madam Secretary.  A slight departure from what we usually watch, but I really enjoyed it.  We've moved on to Luke Cage, which is...ehh.



turning off Facebook (with the exception of popping in for Big White Farmhouse posts and checking into the book club) until after the election.  I just can't handle all the nastiness from people I really, truly do enjoy in person.  Maybe I'm too sensitive, but it's really starting to take its toll.  I did fall into the trap yesterday post-debate "just to see" and quickly was like, NOPE.  

working on Big White Farmhouse and trying to silence all the doubts as we enter into the holiday season.  I had a crazy day panicking that I hadn't prepared enough, marketed enough, purchased enough...but in the words of Tony Horton, you can only "do your best and forget the rest", right?  A few highlights:    
+ More behind the scenes work spent on special mail going out next week to all of our customers from 2016!  
+ I got the new Christmas garden markers in, and they are super cute.  The three sayings are: "Bright & Merry", "Jolly" and "Merry Christmas".  They make such an easy gift for neighbors or teachers - add to a poinsettia or a small potted plant and you're done!  I also ordered a bunch of "Festive Forks", which would be so fun to add to a Thanksgiving table.  I also think two of the "Pie Time" forks tied to the top of a homemade pie would make such an adorable hostess gift!

checking items off my "Baby Countdown To Do List", even if it feels like money is just flying through my fingers at this point.  I keep telling myself that we've saved throughout the year for this reason, but it's still so hard to see the bank account spiral downward (I'm sure this is classic underbuyer behavior).  
+ Sophie and I finally agreed on a winter coat and I found D's for a steal on Kidizen.
+ Mark hung the art I got for my birthday in the dining room.  They were originally meant for our bedroom, but were SO big (note to self: measure before ordering!) that we moved them to the only big, blank wall we had left.  They're cheesy, but a meaningful saying our family uses a lot.  I love them.
+ I purchased new sneakers in the next size up for TJ with a gift card I hadn't used (BONUS!) and snagged a few nursing tanks for those first few months at the same time.

sending M off on his first big field trip, three hours away!  He loved it and had so many things to share when he got home.  In other school news, J had an ABC Bootcamp parade and he got to wear the "J" vest he made.  He was so proud.      

making slow cooker beef stew - so delicious.  The rest of the week was a mix of dinner flops (such a bummer!) and "breakfast for dinner".  


P.S. We're still collecting donations for our Pajama Drive, with all pajamas being given to Northern Virginia Family Services.  We are so thankful for everyone who has given so far (special shout outs coming soon!) and would love to have you contribute too.  Currently, we have a need for pajamas in the 12mo/18mo/2T range for both boys and girls.  

Find our Amazon wishlist here


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This post contains affiliate links - thank you for reading and supporting this blog!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

{#100daysproject} Finding Joy in my Extraordinary Ordinary: Days 37-54

Part three!  Reaching the halfway point with the next 18 photos, from October 2-19:


I feel like I can see into the future as Sophia carefully put on makeup after watching me - so surreal | My two funny boys on their way to CCD | Stepped on Tick-Tock Croc and it made me see stars!  I'm going to miss the random toys strewn around the house someday, right? |  Convicting reflections in my devotional are hard to read, but so good for my soul | She's been flying around the house on her scooter, singing at the top of her lungs.  It's awesome to be four | I miss watching M's creativity in the kitchen.  Finally convinced him to make something filling for breakfast and he created a masterpiece | TJ is J's mini me and just thinks he's the greatest.  I love watching them together | Leftover homemade apple pie after a wonderful afternoon with my mom and sister | Almost 32 weeks!


Red roses, hot coffee and funny cards: little pieces of a perfect birthday | "Sit me, Joe Joe!"  Looking at the latest Lego catalog together | Sweet girl has been having some fears about bedtime, so we made a temporary bed for her in our room.  Found her asleep with her Mary doll and hands clasped in prayer | Our house and neighborhood aren't perfect, but today I'm thankful for a warm, cozy place for my boys to come home to | The look of absolute joy and excitement on his face | Mark hung my birthday signs and I couldn't love them more | Our post school drop-off routine: a snack and a movie (today was Tinker Bell) | Waiting in the school pickup line as she anxiously searches for her brothers: "I just can't wait to see them, mama!" | Mark and I helped J create his special "J" vest for school.  We kept glancing at each other with so much love and pride for this sweet boy.  We rarely get to have one-on-one time with just him, so it was such a special treat

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PART ONE OF #100DAYSPROJECT
PART TWO OF #100DAYSPROJECT

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

{shop small} Vol.08: Pops of Orange

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 of the cool products I find, I like to pop in every so often to share some of my discoveries with you! Volume 08 is inspired by neutral hues mixed with pops of bright orange, the perfect autumn combination!  Enjoy.



Fall Campfire Mug by Darling Savage Designs
Apple Cider Pillow by Design Districtt
Felt Ball Garland by Mailbox Happiness
Fall Berry Wreath by Elegant Wreath

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And as a shameless plug, we have lots of unique things at Big White Farmhouse too!

Monday, October 17, 2016

{book club} The Inspired Readers Book Club: Book Sixteen


After taking a break from the book club the past few months (due to pregnancy and my overwhelming schedule), I'm hopping back in and you should too!  The Inspired Readers Book Club has helped me read a range of genres, introducing me to books I'd never think to pull off the shelf.  I also appreciate the accountability aspect of the book club; less mindless TV and more reading!

Shelly is leading this time and chose My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman.  We read A Man Called Ove earlier this year and it was one of my favorites, so I'm anxious to read more from the author!

Our reading schedule will be as follows:
Week 1 (October 24): Chapters 1-11
Week 2 (October 31): Chapters 12-22
Week 3 (November 7): Chapters 23-end

As always, we'll have discussion questions posted on Monday, so feel free to jump into the conversation whenever you have time.  New members are always welcome - we'd love to see you in the Facebook group!

Friday, October 14, 2016

{around here} Week 41/52: Week of 10.10.16

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:


loving this cooler fall weather!  It's finally staying consistently brisk, although the extended forecast predicts temperatures back up in the 70's soon. WHY?!  In the meantime, we've been pulling out our "comfy pants" and all the quilts and blankets.  The challenge is on to see how long we can go before putting on the heat!


celebrating my birthday - 32!  What is it about your 30's that makes you think about your own mortality?  Life is truly so fleeting and more than ever, I just feel so thankful for my health and the life Mark and I have created.  My birthday has become just one big day of gratitude.  

    
feeling the nesting urge again.  I'm 32 weeks pregnant this week, so only 56 days (or less) to go!  For whatever reason, 8 weeks sounds like forever, but 56 days?!  That will be here in no time!  This week, I took out all of the newborn clothes, took inventory and starting purchasing the missing pieces.  As baby boy #5, most of our clothes have had it, so it's been kind-of fun to start over.  I'm finding I'm much more picky than the first few times around.  Also!  The baby seems to have moved a bit, so the debilitating sciatica has lessened.  Thank you Jesus.   

wearing lots of striped shirts.  I've been picking up a few pieces (like these from Gap Maternity and a few lucky finds on Kidizen!) and poor Mark can't keep up with what's new or not.  But they're all different!   Black with white stripes, navy with light blue stripes, black with grey stripes...hah!  I have a problem.  Feeling whale-like probably isn't the best time to wear horizontal lines across your body, but I'm going with it anyway.  A few of my other favorite pieces to note: My chambray shirt is getting a lot of use (with a striped shirt underneath of course) and looks semi-pulled together with leggings.  I also pulled out my old Minnetonka moccs and love how easy they are to put on and take off.  'Cause Mama only bends over when absolutely necessary these days.

dealing with Sophie and some sudden fears about having bad dreams.  She's been coming in our bed every night, so we set up a cot on the floor as a compromise.  It was meant to be a temporary, last ditch effort, but she seems to think she's moving in.  I found her "bed" made and decorated with all the essentials! (I had a big laugh about the wiffle bat! #preparedforanything)

listening to Fountain of Carrots' podcast with Anna of In Honor of Design.  Such wise advice about juggling motherhood and business.

thinking a lot about the upcoming postpartum time and how to keep my PPD in check.  Having had a history of varying degrees with each of my kids (with the exception of TJ), it's part of the whole "having a baby" business that really takes the most of my focus.  I did the same with TJ and the change was really significant.  Hoping I can follow the same path with this new baby too.

laughing with the kids as we read Those Darn Squirrels!  The grumpy man reminds me of Ove (from A Man Called Ove): crusty exterior with a sweet spot deep inside.  A good reminder to all of us not to judge a book by its cover.  J also borrowed The Pigeon Needs a Bath from the school library and I could barely read over the belly laughs.  On a different note, I read Angel in the Waters to Sophie and TJ and starting crying about halfway through.  They kept looking at me like I was crazy as I tried to make my way through the last half, hah.


reading Father Elijah and getting ready to start My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry for book club.

doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work for Big White Farmhouse: SEO, descriptions and titles, etc.  Pretty boring stuff, but I'm hoping it will help us a little in the search engines.  I also launched a new Christmas section and started adding some product (ornaments, cards, and tags).  I know some people are extra on the ball and I don't want to miss out on those possible sales like I did last year.

getting so excited about the support for our Pajama Drive.  At last count, we have 6 donations!  New pajamas seem so insignificant, but can be life-changing for a child in foster care or at the homeless shelter.  I often put myself in their mamas' shoes and get all choked up.  (Here's the link again to the Amazon wishlist - we'd love your help too!) 

reflecting on an interesting tidbit I heard on the radio this week about listening.  The guest made the observation that today more than ever, people don't really know the art of active listening.  Instead of really hearing what the other person is saying, they're just waiting for that person to finish talking so they can make their own arguments.  This behavior is so clearly seen on Facebook statuses and even presidential debates, but aren't I also sometimes guilty in my marriage and with my children?  We all belong to each other.  Maybe respectful, active listening is the first tiny step toward more peace and kindness in this world. 

this week's menu:
m: Columbus Day: burgers out
t: My Birthday: Mark's nachos supreme and pumpkin cheesecake
w: leftover chili
th: honey dijon garlic chicken with veggies
f: spicy smoked sausage alfredo bake

Fun fact: Blogger says this is my 686th post!


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Monday, October 10, 2016

{giving} The 3rd Annual BWF Pajama Drive & I Need Your Help!


Three years ago, I held the first ever Big White Farmhouse Pajama Drive for children in need.  October is considered to be the beginning of "Danger Season", when temperatures begin to drop around the country and many children don't have pajamas to keep them warm on chilly nights.  I mean, can you even imagine?  We are big fans of warm, cozy pajamas around here and it breaks my heart to think that some little ones just don't have that luxury.

So in my small way, I set out to help.  

Friends, family and even a few blog readers all came together to send pajama donations from across the country.  I worked along with The Pajama Program, which got me in touch with a wonderful local organization called Northern Virginia Family Services. That first year, we donated 14 pairs of pajamas.  For our second drive in 2014, we collected almost 30!  It makes my heart swell to think that we helped a handful of little ones stay warm during the winter.

So here we are again.  October is here and the weather is getting a bit colder everyday.  After taking an unintentional year off (2015 was a blur!), we're continuing the tradition: it's time for the third annual Big White Farmhouse Pajama Drive and I'd love your help!  

This year, I've made it even easier to participate.  I created an Amazon wishlist and have been adding to it all month with a variety of pajama brands, sizes and price points.  There's something for everybody!  Purchasing through that link will have the pajamas sent directly to me, which means a big impact with very little work.  The perfect solution for us busy mamas.


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Here are the details:
+ The pajama drive will be open for the next four weeks, until Monday, November 7, 2016.
+ All pajamas need to be new and should be the complete set (top and bottoms) or a nightgown.
+ The age range we're collecting for is newborn up to 5T.
+ To make donating even easier, choose a pair or two from our Amazon wishlist and they'll be sent directly to me.
+ If you prefer to shop on your own instead of the above Amazon link, donations can also be mailed. Shoot me an e-mail (mrsb04jc at gmail dot com) with "Pajama Drive" in the subject line and I can send you the address.  
+ Involve your entire family.  This is an easy opportunity to include your children in service!  

I hope you'll help me spread some happiness to children in need in my community!  If you feel inclined, I'd love it if you would spread the word.  Share on your blog, your Facebook page, even with your family and friends.  Together, we can work to do great things!


Once again, here's the Amazon wishlist link: SHOP HERE!


"Never worry about numbers.  
Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you."
- Mother (now Saint!) Teresa

Friday, October 7, 2016

{around here} Week 40/52: Week of 10.3.16

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

feeling all the lovey-dovey emotions that come with a wedding and even more so because the groom was my brother!  I cry at everything lately, but got emotional at least 10 times that day.  There is something so incredibly beautiful about watching my brother so happy and to witness how much his wife truly knows and adores him.  I am excited for them and their future together and SO excited to not be the only married sibling anymore!

wearing this dress from Asos Maternity.  I needed something semi-fancy but comfortable, and this dress was perfect.  My decision to wear heels at 30 weeks pregnant, though?  Still paying for that one, hah!  At least I looked put together in the pictures :)   

reflecting on a prayer from the wedding Mass that really stood out to me: "May the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob be with you, and may He fulfill His blessings in you, that you may see your children's children even to the third and fourth generation, and thereafter may have life everlasting, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth forever. Amen." (emphasis mine)  Mark and I talk all the time about growing old and seeing our children grow and start families of their own.  We imagine our huge, noisy crowd and how big of a table we're going to need to build for Sunday dinners.  I think of my own family and how my great-grandmother (the beloved matriarch and inspiration for both this blog and the shop) lived to see four generations before her death.  What a privilege!  Because at the end of the day, our children are our greatest gift and what truly is more important than family?  

finishing The Gap of Time and moving on to Father Elijah.  

smiling at Sophia as she chatted non-stop on our drive home from bringing the boys to school one day: "Mama, the sun is so bright.  The sun is shining in my eyes.  I think the sun is following me 'cuz it likes me."

loving the Our Lady of Grace felt doll we ordered for Sophie.  She has such a special love for Mary.    

entering Q4 with Big White Farmhouse and I'm so pumped!  I keep reading and researching and my to-do list keeps growing, but at the end of the day, I'm just going to finish what I can and call it good.  This business is a marathon, not a sprint!  (As much as I wish we would have become a huge, overnight success, I think our growth rate is a much better fit for my current lifestyle anyway)  A few other notes:
+ We're working on a Customer Appreciation surprise for our 2016 customers and are really excited about it!  Working behind the computer screen can sometimes feel impersonal and one-sided and we really want to thank our BWF family for their part in shopping small and supporting small artisans.  
+ Starting prep for the holidays with a few fun gift ideas!  This week, I ordered new garden markers for the Christmas season and some hand-stamped forks perfect for Thanksgiving.  Should arrive in the next few weeks.
+ We're having a little candle sale this weekend with all of our fall scents being 15% off: Cozy Cabin, Sweater Weather, Mulled Cider and Pumpkin Caramel Latte.     

hobbling around after Tick-Tock Croc attacked me!  Okay, so not exactly true, but that's the story I told the kids.  Before going to bed one night, I stepped on TJ's little plastic toy and it was so unexpected and painful, I saw stars!  My inner foot bruised and swelled and I've been walking funny (even more so than usual, if that's possible) in the days since.  Lesson learned to have all the toys picked up before dark!  

baking chocolate chip cookie in a cup, which isn't really the same thing, but gets the job done.  I have been so good with sugar consumption (my finicky taste buds just haven't craved it), but this last week has been bad - I want it all!  That and cheddar popcorn...pregnancy is weird.  

watching Madam Secretary, Longmire, and The Mysteries of Laura.



this week's menu:
m: taco bowls
t: easy chicken pot pie with biscuits
th: burgers and chicken on the grill (one last time!)
f: homemade pizzas


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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

{#100daysproject} Finding Joy in my Extraordinary Ordinary: Days 19-36

Part two and the next 18 photos, from September 14 to October 1:

These two really are best friends.  I hope they continue to stay close as they grow | Watching the babies play outside and feeling so thankful for our perfectly imperfect home |  Even though TJ really has no idea what a "birthday" is, the rest of us are anxious to share in his special day.  Only a little longer to wait! |  There is something so beautifully surreal when I watch them all together | Our new couch can hold all of us now! | Taking the glucose test today and feeling peace, no matter the outcome | 29 weeks: getting anxious to meet this little one | D has been furiously writing and illustrating stories in his notebook, something I dreamed he'd enjoy someday.  So thankful for his teachers who have ignited that interest in him | Our home is never clean with TJ around.  Embracing the chaos because it all just goes too fast



Sitting in the car line and all I can think about is how old he looks | Our beautiful, smart, funny little girl is four!  We are more thankful for her everyday | His imagination is so fun to watch | "Every day the sky is a deeper shade of blue, When I'm with you" | Sent home from school and headed to the doctor | So excited to see "our" birds | A simple dinner and no one complained - a huge deal! | Headed to the wedding and in awe of the view | Feeling all the lovey dovey emotions today: for my brother and his new wife, for my children, for my husband and our marriage of (almost) 11 years, for our extended family...today was a good, good day

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PART ONE OF #100DAYSPROJECT

Monday, October 3, 2016

{learn goals} Some Goals for October





Things to Look Forward To
- birthday celebrations for me and D
- pulling out warm quilts and blankets
- cozy evening decaf coffee "dates" with Mark
- baking batches of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, a fall tradition
- inching closer to the end of this pregnancy
- pumpkin carving

Things to Work On
- hosting a pajama drive for Northern Virginia Family Services

- implementing some of the ideas in Trim Healthy Mama
- starting a few meals for the freezer
- finding that dresser (!!!)
- switching clothing from summer to fall

Things to Think About
- an apple pie recipe to bake

- ways I can serve others while in this season of life
- a new book to start
- throw pillows for the couch
- a nail polish color to try (if I can still reach my toes!)


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