Friday, March 17, 2017

{around here} Week 11/52: Week of 3.13.17

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

enjoying having the boys home for two days.  After a handful of days in the 60s, the weather decided it was still winter and finally snowed!  The kids have been waiting anxiously all season so it was a fun surprise.  They played for hours and we had to eventually bribe them with hot cocoa and treats to get them to come inside (a few are battling colds).  It was a much needed break from reality for all of us, free from responsibilities and cozy in our home.  I loved it.  

watching Annedriods on Amazon Prime with the kids.  A fun mix of science, robotics and engineering.  And now my kids want to make a robot.

writing cards.  I'm loving how it forces me to slow down and really think and pray for the recipient.  This week, I sent a thank you card to a friend who brought a baby gift for P and started on another pocket letter for my sister in college.  I also participated in a project for a young mom battling cancer.  I've been thinking a lot about free time and using it wisely and in ways that fill me up.  I always thought that I never had time for hand-written notes, but that's not really true.  I just didn't feel it was a priority at that point in my life.  Now more than ever, I think it is - it may take the place of another activity (usually reading), but there's always time to sneak it into my week.

reading all the books.  I requested a handful of e-books from the library a few weeks ago and they are all coming in at once!  I've got Jim Gaffigan's Food: A Love Story, The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress and the second book in the Series of Unfortunate Events series that I'll be reading on my phone.  Add in my Lenten reading, Charlotte Mason book and Upstairs in the White House.  I'll definitely have more than enough to dive into in the coming weeks!

trying new "ice creams", or maybe more accurately, frozen desserts.  Mark picked up a coconut milk one and an almond milk one.  I LOVE ice cream so wasn't expecting much, but they're actually pretty good.  The coconut milk does seem to have a hint of coconut taste, but not off-putting.  Now I'll have something to enjoy this summer with everyone else!

researching and reading and dreaming and praying and hoping.  We have big decisions to make and it's scary and stressful and so exciting all at the same time.

Big White Farmhouse notes:
+ Easter basket ideas post from earlier this week here (and a coupon code!)
+ I did a reorder for more mr. and mrs. forks (such a great bridal shower gift) and added a few new options for our garden markers.  Coming next week!


FAVORITE PICTURE BOOKS OF THE WEEK: an attempt to read more to my little ones
Ducks Don't Wear Socks
Everybunny Dance!

RELIGIOUS TRUTH TO PONDER: a piece of my faith to think about or put into practice
"The heroic minute.  It's time to get up, on the dot!  Without hesitation, a supernatural thought and...up!  The heroic minute; here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does not weaken your body." -St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way #206

m: leftovers
t: pulled pork sandwiches
w: more leftovers
th: tacos
f: homemade cheese pizza


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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

{five favorites} Easter Basket Ideas from Big White Farmhouse

I've just begun the search for the perfect items to put in the kids' Easter baskets this year.  Through the years, I've become more and more picky about what makes the cut.  I like quality toys that won't break days after arrival and items that foster creativity and get their imaginations going.  (And books.  And they get a little bit of candy too, of course.)  Are you the same way?  It has been a long time since I've participated in #5Faves, but I thought I'd jump back in today with five Easter basket ideas from our shop, Big White Farmhouse:  

Peg Doll Vehicle Sets // Sophia and TJ LOVE these wooden vehicles.  They are sturdy enough for little hands, but look just as sweet displayed on a nursery shelf.  We have a police car, firetruck, airplane, pink coupe and blue rover.

Wooden Rattles // SO cute for the littlest ones!  We have a wide variety of designs: bear, cat, heart, car, bunny and bird!

eco-dough and eco-crayons // Eco-dough is made with natural ingredients and colored using fruit and veggie extracts.  I like this big set because it's easy to separate for many baskets.  The eco-crayons are made to look like sea rocks from the coast of Maine and are great for the one to two year old crowd.  

Treasure Hunter's Kit // If you're looking for less "stuff" but with a bigger impact, this kit may be perfect.  Everything you need for a treasure hunt is included in a beautiful wooden box.  Be sure to also check out the Fairy House Kit too.

Scatter Garden Kits // A unique idea for the child that values quality time.  I can imagine a themed basket with everything you need to create a garden together: one of our scatter garden kits (we have a butterfly habitat, songbird habitat, fragrant flowers or honeybee), a pair of gardening gloves and maybe some kid-sized tools.  (I've heard awesome things about this book too.)  So fun.

And a special bonus for you, my blogging friends:
Take 15% off anything in the shop with the coupon code BLOGFRIEND.  Good until Sunday, April 2, 2017.

Linking up with Bonnie!

Monday, March 13, 2017

{giving} Birthday Boxes for the Food Pantry

Making birthday boxes for the food pantry is one of the 100 Little Things tasks that I've really been excited to accomplish.  My kids have been a bit...self-centered lately and they needed a good dose of service to simmer that behavior down.  After a few weeks of slowly collecting the items, we spent Saturday morning talking about helping others and assembling the boxes.  I never know if it will "click" but this one definitely did - they could not imagine other kids not having a little birthday celebration!    

We filled our boxes with cake mix, frosting (with sprinkles!), candles, and a Happy Birthday banner.  We also included a few inexpensive treats for the birthday boy or girl: Silly Putty, crayons and fruit snacks.  Other good ideas would be stickers, bubbles, art supplies or sidewalk chalk.  

An easy project with a big impact.  They can't wait to drop them off!

Friday, March 10, 2017

{around here} Week 10/52: Week of 3.6.17

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

telling the kids lots of memories about my grandmother.  Since the baby is such a horrible traveler and the kids needed to be in school, I wasn't able to make 10-hour trip to the funeral.  So hard, but I tried to make up for it by baking chocolate chip cookies (one of her favorites) and sharing lots of funny stories about growing up with her.  I've been trying to put into words what she meant to me, but I only seem to come up with a feeling: the overwhelming feeling of being home.  She was a strong lady who loved with her whole heart.  I hope to live my life much like she did hers.

celebrating two big projects getting checked off the list last weekend.  We had a junk removal service come and take a bunch of random over-sized crap we've been piling up in our garage for months.  It was gone in 10 minutes and we now have our garage back!  We also managed to sell our old bed on a Facebook yard sale site, so we're just a little bit richer too. (Hah, just kidding.  It's going into the groceries fund.)

reading a handful of books.  For my Lenten reading, I'm slowly going through Scott Hahn's Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises and St. Josemaria Escriva's The Way.  I'm also reading The Precious One for book club and then a random library pick called Black Friday.

gathering supplies for a re-emergence of snail mail.  I think a part of my "Year of Slow" should be about making the time to collect my thoughts and hand write them to friends and family.  It's also a great opportunity to practice a little creativity  - I can use up a bunch of scrapbook/paper goods that have been collecting dust!  I finished my first letter on Wednesday and can't wait to make letter writing part of my weekly routine.  (P.S. Let me know if you want to be penpals!)  A few fun links I discovered this week:
+ Write 30 letters in 30 days in April
+ Bring Back Snail Mail Challenge
+ Pocket Letters
+ the #snailmailrevolution hashtag on Instagram
+ 1000 Postcard Project (I want to do something like this!  Maybe for 100 Little Things list vol.4?)

rediscovering one of my favorite Catholic bands from when I was a 15 years ago. (How did I get so old?!)  Crispin was funky, fun and still devout.  Fun fact: I learned how to pray the Memorare from their song, Ave Maria.  I also love their version of Were You There?  A fun trip back in time.

Big White Farmhouse notes:
+ Meal planning menupads are 10% off, no code needed!

FAVORITE PICTURE BOOKS OF THE WEEK: an attempt to read more to my little ones
The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party

RELIGIOUS TRUTH TO PONDER: a piece of my faith to think about or put into practice
"But faith is not an isolated act.  No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone.  You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life.  The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others.  Our love for Jesus and for our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith.  Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers.  I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I can help support others in the faith." (CCC 166)

m: bacon-wrapped chicken strips, salad
t: tacos
w: breakfast for dinner - waffles and fruit
th: honey dijon garlic chicken and asparagus
f: tilapia and roasted potatoes


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Monday, March 6, 2017

{currently} 20 Things I Love: A Gratitude Journal vol.11

birds returning to the feeder
generally good health after a string of illnesses
delicious green smoothies
the silence of three littles ones asleep at naptime
Old Navy leggings that hold everything in
coconut milk in my coffee
finding a note from my boys on my pillow
hearing all the kids laugh and play together (rare!)
warm oversized sweaters
our weekly "date" watching Hunted
a freshly made bed
selling our old bed and finally getting it out of our hallway!
a baptismal outfit that has been worn by all five of my sons
Mark's brisket
dance parties before bed
watching D dive into a new book
telling funny memories about growing up with my grandmother
a brand new box of crayons
Panda Puffs as my dairy-free sweet treat
this quote from St. Josemaria Escriva: "May your behavior and your conversation be such that everyone who sees or hears you can say: 'This man reads the life of Jesus Christ.' "

Friday, March 3, 2017

{around here} Week 9/52: Week of 2.27.17

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

laughing at Sophie after hearing her brothers talk about skydiving: "There's just one thing...I'm scared of heights.  I don't want to fall to my death."

finishing The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God: The Story of Ruth Pakaluk and Necessary Lies.

falling into the rabbit hole of education.  Mark and I had a few conversations about the pros and cons of having our children in public school this year and - you know me - now I'm reading and listening to all the things related to schooling.  I started reading A Charlotte Mason Companion and watched a handful of TED talks, including this one from Joshua Katz and this one from Tawana Weiker and this one from Chandra Shaw.  Lots to think about.

starting something new.  I recently read an article about the Pope and how he puts all his worries at the feet of St. Joseph and is able to sleep at night.  Inspired by him, I've started writing down the things that cause me so much stress and anxiety and placing them at Mary's feet.  Somehow the physical practice of writing it down really gives the spiritual idea life and gives me peace.

beginning Lent!  Two Internet articles I really liked this week:
+ This quote from a post on Team Whittaker: "But, truly, if our Lenten promises are transformative, we won’t have to shout to the world what we gave up because at the end of 40 days people will know. They’ll see the change. More importantly, we’ll be changed, and our Beloved will rejoice."
5-Minute Sacrifice for Lent

listening to Sophie "read" The Lady with the Alligator Purse over and over.  And over.

watching D's curiosity.  He was home sick with a stomach virus for two days, but by the afternoon of day two, he was back to normal and anxious to do something.  We have an old, broken laptop and in passing, he asked if I knew what the inside of a computer looked like.  Imagine his surprise when I said, "Why don't you take the laptop apart and find out?" !!  He was so focused and spent at least an hour working and examining all the pieces.

praying for the repose of the soul of my grandmother, who passed away on Thursday.  She was so, so loved.


FAVORITE PICTURE BOOKS OF THE WEEK: an attempt to read more to my little ones
Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf

RELIGIOUS TRUTH TO PONDER: a piece of my faith to think about or put into practice
"The prayer of blessing is man's response to God's gifts: because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing." (CCC 2626)

m: slow cooker beef stew
t: Fat Tuesday - takeout
w: Ash Wednesday - homemade cheese pizza
th: chicken burritos
f: shrimp pasta


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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

{year of slow} Some Goals for March

Things to Look Forward To
- closing on the sale of our old house
- catching up with friends
- buds on the trees with the beginning of spring
- reading the first book of book club for 2017!
- weekend trips to the park with the kids

Things to Work On
- small Lenten sacrifices every day
- giving my children my full attention when they speak to me
- sticking to the meal plan and not eating out
- snail mail letters to friends and family, just because
- getting back into exercise after a month of illness/Mark's crazy work schedule

Things to Think About
- special dinners for St. Patrick and St. Joseph's feast days 
- a Bible study to work through
- new vegetables to plant in our container garden
- what to put in the kids' Easter baskets
- a quick bread recipe to try

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