Monday, February 27, 2017

{100 little things} February Review: Movies, Crop Shares and a Green Smoothie Challenge

Well, February was a bust.  I'm still puttering along but not making fast progress.  But a small milestone: this month, I'm a fourth of the way through the list!  

Current totals: 25 completed and 6 partial finishes

#48. Do a green smoothie challenge.
I did the Simple 7 challenge and loved it!  Some recipes were better than others, but I appreciated the opportunity to try new combinations.  I will definitely be incorporating more smoothies into my weeks going forward.

#41.  Sign up for a small farm's CSA program. 
We've wanted to do this for years, but never had the steep amount required to pay upfront.  This time, we specifically set aside money from our tax return and I'm so excited!  This is also another part of our goal to support businesses in our community and get to know the people who grow our food.  We can't wait.

#54. Make a dent on the movies on Common Sense Media's "50 Movies Every Kid Should See before age 12" (at least 50%).
We finished this one off by watching Mary Poppins.

#79. Find a skin routine that works and stick with it.
I've heard good things about Tula skincare so I picked up the starter kit to try.  Do I dare admit that I've not been consistent about this since I was in college?  I'm no spring chicken anymore and since I don't wear a lot of makeup, I'm hoping this habit will help keep my skin looking healthy.  So far, I like it.  

#1. Read 35 books. (19/35 completed)
Five finishes this month: The Little Book of Hygge, The Summer Before the WarElizabeth is Missing, Different, and Blast to the Past: Washington's War.

#40.  Cook through the "30 Recipes You Should Know By Age 30" list. (2/30 completed)
- Roast a Chicken: the recipe on the website was okay, but I prefer the one in Dinner: A Love Story
- Lemon Thyme Chicken Thighs: yummy and easy

#71. Pay off car debt. (1/2 cars)
We used some of our tax return to pay the last bit of Mark's car off.  Love that feeling when you see a $0 balance!  One more to go.

Friday, February 24, 2017

{around here} Week 8/52: Week of 2.20.17

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

finishing Different and starting The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God.  This is my tenth finish so far this year and I'm so pleased!  I credit it to a lot less television at night and taking advantage of those 10-20 minute pockets throughout the day.  It all adds up!  I also think reading begets reading.  Once the habit is firmly established, I want to read all the books and learn all the things!

making lists and plans to finally get tasks done around the house.  We have a broken TV, a dozen paint cans from the previous owners and a handful of "un-giveawayable" Ikea furniture that need to go, so making that phone call to the trash company.  I've been going through all of the toys we have in the basement that we've kept "just in case" but the kids never play with.  This weekend, I'll be rounding up all of the little donation piles around the house and dropping them off.  It feels good to complete things that have been on our to-do list forever.

laughing at the little kids and their love for Bob Ross.  Sophie has been extra inspired this week and has painted along with him almost every morning.

receiving my essential oil order for February.  This month, I ordered Cedarwood and Joy.  Cedarwood is a woodsy scent (duh) and is supposed to be very calming.  I want to diffuse it with lavender in the boys' room to see if they'll sleep more deeply and - hopefully! - longer.  Joy is supposed to be really good for lifting emotions and with my up and down postpartum anxiety, I thought it may be a good one to try.  (My personal link if you ever want to order something too!)

praying our dryer isn't broken.  We caught TJ standing on the door trying to press the buttons and now the door is wonky and keeps popping open, thus stopping the drying.  Currently, we're package-taping the door shut (#soclassy) until we have the time to see if we can fix it.

thinking about these articles I found around the Internet this week:
+ Harvard Psychologists Reveal: Parents Who Raise 'Good Kids' Do These 5 Things
The Anxiety Epidemic: Why Kids Need Less School and More Freedom
Screens In Schools Are a $60 Billion Hoax

having issues with the IntenseDebate commenting system I have had on the blog.  I finally decided to go back to Blogger's comments, but that deleted over two year's worth of kind thoughts and words from readers.  So bummed.

starting a new system for the kids: color-coded cups and dishes! I really don't know why I was so resistant, but after weeks and weeks of passing illness around, I was convinced that everyone needed their own things with NO sharing!  I got this Ikea set which was perfect for our big family.

loving our new waffle maker!  I've wanted one for months and just finally bit the bullet.  I'm planning to make a batch to freeze for school mornings, but one search on Pinterest and now I'm in trouble.  Cinnamon roll waffles, chocolate dessert waffles...the possibilities are endless!

Big White Farmhouse notes:
+ New in the shop!  We just got in these really cool sustainable wraps made from beeswax.  They are supposed to mimic plastic wrap, but without the waste.  The heat of your hand creates a seal on bowls and cups.  You can also use it to wrap up produce, like half a lemon or greens from the garden.  I can't wait to try them too.  We carry them in small, medium and large sizes as well as a sandwich wrap.


FAVORITE PICTURE BOOKS OF THE WEEK: an attempt to read more to my little ones
Cloudette: I loved the illustrations in this one.  The message that even little ones can do great things is sweet too.
Penguins Love Colors: Sophie loved that there were six penguins like our family.

RELIGIOUS TRUTH TO PONDER: a piece of my faith to think about or put into practice
Whenever you think God has shown you other people's faults, take care: your own judgment may well be at fault. Say nothing. And if you do attribute any vice to another person, immediately and humbly look for it in yourself also. Should the other person really possess that vice, he will correct himself so much the better when he sees how gently you understand him, and he will say to himself whatever you would have told him.
-- Saint Catherine of Siena

m: leftovers
t: Chinese takeout
w: takeout
th: paleo meatballs with marinara sauce, pasta for the kids
f: BBQ chicken taquitos


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Monday, February 20, 2017

{around here} Week 7/52: Week of 2.13.17

 A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week. (Better late than never this week!)

Around here, I have been:

finally relaxing after a crazy week!  Mark worked a big conference all week with early mornings and late nights.  We seemed to only see each other a few minutes before my eyes started drooping and my head bobbing...thank goodness he was as exhausted as me!  Weeks like these make me appreciate him so much - with all of these children, we have become a good team and you just don't realize how much you depend on each other until half of the team is away.  Looking forward to getting back into our routine again.  

cheering for J as he lost his first tooth!  He's been wiggling it for awhile, but finally pulled it loose in the school drop off line.  

listening to all of the exciting things happening at school.  D has been working on a big project for Merchant Day, where all of the kids made and sold items to other kids in the second grade.  He drew 40 trading cards with super heroes on them and they were really popular!  He was pleased with the response.  M is shooting a real bow and arrow in PE, which is a huge deal.  J has started weekly spelling tests and has been doing great.

celebrating a successful contract on our old house!  There was quite a bit of back and forth, which is always stressful, but it looks like we may be in the clear for closing in early March!

signing up M, D, and Sophie for soccer this spring.  We're excited to watch them learn and play.  And see Sophie in tiny shin guards, hah!

finishing The Summer Before the War and Elizabeth is Missing.  Still slowly working my way through Different.

preparing for a house full of visitors as we celebrate P's baptism!


FAVORITE PICTURE BOOKS OF THE WEEK: an attempt to read more to my little ones
Mama Built a Little Nest
We're Going on a Bear Hunt

RELIGIOUS TRUTH TO PONDER: a piece of my faith to think about or put into practice
"In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice.  We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross.  We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church." (CCC 1785)

m: leftovers
t: breakfast for dinner - crepes!
w: tacos
th: pizza
f: panini sandwiches


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Friday, February 10, 2017

{around here} Week 6/52: Week of 2.6.17

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

surviving another round of illness in the house.  We picked up J on Monday after he threw up on the playground (The nurse said that he was the 76th kid that was absent or sent home that day!) and it was pretty much downhill from there.  Mark and I both were hit with a weird virus that had us freezing one minute and sweating the next.  We all were coughing, so I'm sure we have some sort of bronchitis floating around too.  We've become obsessed with Purell and I plan on disinfecting every inch of my house this weekend.  Ironic note: In January, I used the Saint Name Generator to pick our family saint of the year and we got.... St Catherine del Ricci, patroness of sick people.  We've been asking for her intercession big time this week!

bringing P to his 2 month appointment and am happy to hear what I already know is true: he's a perfectly healthy little boy.  13 pounds 1oz and super tall.  He's almost outgrown his 3 month sleepers because his legs are just so long!  I've got some shopping to do.

finishing The Little Book of Hygge and now really thinking about the connection between little, everyday experiences and how they in turn help gratitude, life satisfaction and happiness.  I thought this book was such an easy read and really thought-provoking for me as a mother.

receiving an offer on our first house!  It's been on the market for almost a month and we were not optimistic for a quick turnaround since the market there is so slow.  Unfortunately, the offer was really low, but we've been countering back and forth and made our final push last night.  At this writing, we're crossing our fingers and hoping they accept!

watching the boys fill out their Valentine's Day cards.  I had pinned a bunch of cute ideas on Pinterest, but then cackled to myself and said NOPE.  Mama's in survival mode right now.  Storebought Captain America, Star Wars and Scooby Doo boxes at $2.50 each for the win.

reading the ebook version of The Summer Before the War borrowed from the library.  I've been reading and reading and wondering why I'm never making significant progress only to discover that the print version is 496 pages!  I've got nine days left and am only 57% through, so I've got some work to do this weekend!

starting Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him and sobbing and sobbing through it.  I don't talk about it much on the blog because it's his story to tell someday, but this book put a bulls-eye on some of the struggles we've been having at home.  I felt like someone finally understands and I don't feel so alone.   

listening to the Sorta Awesome podcast episode 26: The truth about anxiety.  My anxiety has been up and down since the baby (thank you, hormones) and I appreciated the unfortunate solidarity from people who get it as well as some of their tips.

Big White Farmhouse notes:
+ More items coming in for the Children's Room!  We received colored pencils made from apple tree twigs that I think are so unique and cool.  We also got in fairy house kits, which come in a beautiful collector's box.  I've hid them from Sophia for now, because she's going to die when she sees them!  Maybe for Easter?

FAVORITE PICTURE BOOKS OF THE WEEK: an attempt to read more to my little ones
Some Bugs: Read this with J when he was home sick.  He loved finding the ladybug on every page!

SEE THE GOODa happy, positive or funny find
Go Pats!

RELIGIOUS TRUTH TO PONDER: a piece of my faith to think about or put into practice
"...Jesus' prayer, characterized by thanksgiving, reveals to us how to ask: before the gift is given, Jesus commits himself to the One who in giving gives himself.  The Giver is more precious than the gift; he is the treasure..." (CCC 2604)

m: leftovers
t: one pot chicken orzo soup (hit the spot for a sore throat!)
w: Chick-fil-A (eating out for survival at this point)
th: slow cooker paleo beef barbacoa
f: dairy free beef stroganoff


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Friday, February 3, 2017

{around here} Week 5/52: Week of 2.3.17

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

drinking a lot of water.  Like a lot a lot.  When P was born, I remembered to bring my water jug home from the hospital and am finally using it on a daily basis.  Filling it up four times equals about a gallon, so that's been my goal.  Right now, I'm at around two and a half.

trying kefir and starting on a probiotic to help my digestion issues.  I'm thinking I may have leaky gut, so I cut out all sugar, dairy and most grains.  It's crazy how sensitive the dairy is - I had a handful of Goldfish, felt sick to my stomach, only to remember that they were cheddar Goldfish.  Duh.  I also had ranch flavored Veggie Sticks and felt the same.  I'm in uncharted territory and the learning curve is hard!

declaring February to be the month of food!  My new dietary restrictions have me a little overwhelmed, so I want to dig into some new recipes.  I have "complete a green smoothie challenge" on my 100 Little Things list, so this may be a good time to implement it into my morning (and a good way to get down that kefir, hah).  I also pulled out the list for "Cook through the 30 Recipes You Should Know by Age 30", another 100LT task, and hope to get a good start on that too.  This week, I roasted a chicken and made lemon thyme chicken thighs.

feeling a range of emotions with post-baby weight loss.  The more babies I have (and older I get), the longer it takes for me to lose the pounds.  The days of nursing and "the weight just melts off!!" is over!  I still have half of the pregnancy weight to go and then probably 15 pounds more if I really want to be at fighting weight.  But ahh...I hate having the scale and step counts and food choices dominate all of my thoughts.  Life's too short!  But I also would like to be a bit more comfortable in my own skin...and fit in some of my favorite clothes again too.  Vicious cycle.

discovering that you can get 3% back on orders through ebates!  I depend on Jet for almost all of my pantry staples, so this was awesome to find.  We've decided to put all of the "Big Fat Check" (what ebates calls your money back) onto our debt and every little bit helps.

playing Qwixx with Mark and The Scrambled States of America Game with the kids.  We're trying to collectively lessen our screen time and games are the perfect form of entertainment for our competitive bunch!

helping J with his 100th Day of school project.  He had to fill a heart with 100 items and he chose buttons.  I loved spending that one-on-one time with him, counting (and counting and counting...) and chatting about whatever was in his head.

finishing the first book of the Series of Unfortunate Events series and Yes, Chef, bringing January's reading total to six.  I'm slowly making my way through The Little Book of Hygge (SO good to read during winter!) and starting The Summer Before the War.  I also listened to a few more episodes on Modern Mrs. Darcy's podcast and have been filling up my Goodreads to-read list...I think I'm up to more than 360!

watching Hunted.  We don't have cable, so Mark and I watched online.  We love it and are excited to watch a show "old school" (week-by-week) instead of binge watching on Netflix. 

thinking about these articles and what they may mean for me going forward:
Where Do Donated Clothes Really Go?
+ The Link Between Clutter and Depression

Big White Farmhouse notes:
+ So many new products coming in!  We are expanding our children's section to include more toys that encourage imagination and our first product just arrived: a treasure hunter's kit!  I love that all of the little pieces fit nicely in the wooden box.  We also have new berry-inspired tea towels that are packaged in berry baskets.  SO cute and would make easy gifts!  We also have apple versions and berry cloth napkins.
+ We just launched a new promotion for February: free heart stickers with every purchase, while supplies last (and then we'll probably send some other surprise).  They are perfect for that little something special on envelopes, scrapbooks, planners or Valentine's Day cards.


FAVORITE PICTURE BOOKS OF THE WEEK: an attempt to read more to my little ones
The Lady with the Alligator Purse: Sophie loved this one!  We sang it again and again.
Robot Zot: J's pick from the school library

RELIGIOUS TRUTH TO PONDER: a piece of my faith to think about or put into practice
"The way Jesus shows you is not easy.  Rather, it is like a path winding up a mountain.  Do not lose heart!  The steeper the road, the faster it rises toward ever wider horizons!" 

m: roasted chicken, potatoes
t: dairy-free slow cooker white chicken chili (Mark loved it, I was ehh)
w: paleo italian meatballs and marinara sauce
th: lemon thyme chicken thighs, salad
f: pizza


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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

{year of slow} Some Goals for February

Things to Look Forward To
- celebrating Mark's birthday
- starting a green smoothie challenge
- paying off one of our cars!
- having family visit for P's baptism
- signing up the big boys for soccer

Things to Work On
- new essesntial oil blends to diffuse
- birthday boxes to donate to the local food pantry
- making the phone calls needed to donate unneeded furniture
- getting back into a groove with BWF's social media presence

Things to Think About
- a dairy-free recipe to make
- a board or card game to play as a family
- a new local restaurant to try
- a book to share/lead with the book club

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