Monday, January 15, 2018

No.70: Wintertime ABCs

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ANNE OF GREEN GABLES - I'm slowly working my way through this series (as part of 100 Little Things) and it's such a refreshing change from the majority of books I read.  I tend to be a bit of a pessimist and Anne's wonder and positive imagination remind me to seek the good in everything. 

BREAD - The idea of baking my own bread has been really intimidating, but I decided 2018 is the year to jump in with both feet!  I've started experimenting with a few recipes and it is SO satisfying to pull the loaves out of the oven.  Cue the crazy texts to my husband saying, "I made this!  Check out that crust.  Look at the crumb!"

CONTENTMENT - My mom gave me a copy of Fulton Sheen's Guide to Contentment and I've been reading a section or two every day.  In the book, Sheen covers multiple aspects of the human experience ("love, anxiety, beauty, meditation, honesty, freedom, compulsion, self-pity, success, failure, health, joy, marriage, sex, faith, and adventure...") and how they can move you toward or further from contentment.  Lots of food for thought in one little book.

DUTCH OVEN - My dinnertime workhorse!  I've been using my dutch oven at least once a week this winter.  A few of our favorites: Simple Tomato Soup, Pot Roast, and Chicken Orzo Soup.

EGGS - After Sophie was born, I developed some sort of egg sensitivity and haven't been able to eat them without feeling nauseous since.  I can have them in things (like baked goods) but not on their own.  Eating a healthy breakfast is tricky when you can't have the #1 go-to protein source.  Right now, I'm surviving on baked oatmeal and peanut butter and banana toast.  I'll add in green smoothies when it's warmer.

FIREPLACE - We've had gas fireplaces in our previous houses, but just used them for aesthetic value and never for warmth.  We're finally using the one in this house and oh my gosh, I can't believe what I was missing!  There's something so cozy and peaceful about reading, playing or shoot, even scrolling Instagram by the fire.

GROCERY PICKUP - This deserves a blog post all its own, but we've started using Walmart's Grocery Pickup and it has  My routine: I make a menu and grocery list on Thursday evening and add the items to the app by Friday afternoon.  Mark takes our recycling to the dump on Saturday mornings (#thatcountrylife) and then swings by Walmart on the way home.  They literally come out and put the bags in the car for you!  The idea of grocery shopping with all of these kids sends me into a panic, so this discovery has been a God-send.  (P.S. If you want to try it out, you can use this link to get $10 off your first order.)

HANDIWORK - My grandmother was an accomplished seamstress.  She taught me how to thread a needle and piece a quilt.  I've been thinking about her often as I add stitches to an old cross-stitch project I hope to finish this winter.  There's something so calming and meditative about handiwork.

INFINITY SCARF - Last year, I bought a chunky knit scarf secondhand on Thredup, but never really had an opportunity to wear it.  (We had such a mild winter in 2017.)  Thank goodness for this year's frigid weather!  Totally kidding, but it has given me ample opportunity to wear it and it's my new favorite scarf.  So warm.

JOURNALING - I'm rusty at this.  I guess blogging is a form of journaling, but I want to revisit the method of old-fashioned pen to paper.  I'm starting small with my One Line a Day journal for now.

KINDNESS - As I was reflecting on my word for 2018, I found this quote on Pinterest: "A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees."

LITTLE ACTIONS EVERYDAY - This is my motto as I work toward my big 2018 goals.  Every morning, I jot down four or five small actions that I can accomplish that day.  Examples are: texting a relative to check in and say hello (my "roots" goal), measuring a wall to see how many frames I need (my "home projects" goal), or eating something green at every meal (my "health" goal).  While the little actions must be small enough to complete that day, they really do add up.  I'm only two weeks in and am already feeling the momentum.

 - With my body seemingly falling apart right now, I'm going back to the basics and revisiting the Mutu System.  Last year, I only got four or five weeks in before the craziness of home buying/selling consumed me, so I'm anxious to complete the entire program this time.  After six babies, I know my core and pelvic floor could really use some work.

NO SUGAR - Two weeks in and so far, so good.  I haven't been nearly as grouchy as I expected!  During the first week, I felt constantly hungry and I could tell I was eating because I was trying to fill that sugar void.  I tried to eat intentionally, but I'm sure the carb content was pretty high.  That "hunger" is slowly going away now, although I do desire it when I'm feeling overwhelmed - hello, stress eater!  New habits, little by little...

ORDINARY TIME - I loved Kallah's post about her word of the year and have thought about it often: "Ordinary Time for a Catholic is interrupted by the extraordinary. It isn’t supposed to stretch out in an uninterrupted linear distance. It is a time set aside, intentionally, where you are grounded, specifically FOR the exciting (Christmas! Easter! Pentecost!) or difficult (LENT!) times ahead. To me, a sense of Ordinary Time is actually an appreciation of Time itself; how precious it is, and how easy it is to waste it."

PAINT - This keeps getting pushed to the back burner, but I'm hoping to finally start painting the first floor soon.  I can't wait!  I find painting a room about as calming as I do handiwork - is that my introvert showing? #alonetimeinmyhead

QUIET HOUR - Speaking of "Introverted Sanity Savers", we've started our daily Quiet Hour again after lunch.  The big boys read while the little ones play quietly upstairs, the baby (hopefully) naps and I get to enjoy the silence.  My self-imposed rules are that I cannot do chores or scroll social media (although I sometimes cheat at this one...) and I should either read, blog or do something creative.  I desperately need that space in my day just for me.

READING ON THE KINDLE - After years of fighting it, I finally broke down and asked for a Kindle for Christmas.  I have the super basic one and like it so far.  I really like that I can borrow and read books from the library.  It will never replace the feel and smell of a hardback novel, but it's close.  (I treated myself to this reading light and this cover and love both.  It's the little things.)

SNOW - After that magical weekend in December, we've been teased with bits of flurries, but nothing sticks.  The kids are dying for another round!  We'll see if we get lucky.

TWINKLE LIGHTS - The Christmas decorations have all been put away, but I kept the star lights up in the kitchen for January.  I love tidying up in there after dinner and then shutting off all the lights except for the stars.     

UNIFORM - Even though it's freezing outside, I've started thinking about my "mom uniform" for spring.  Like my fall/winter wardrobe, I'll be pretty much starting from scratch and want to make smart choices.  Right now, I've got casual dresses and simple tops with not-too-short-but-not-old-lady shorts on the list.  Clearly, I have some work to do in the next few months.

VALUABLE - You know how sometimes a Bible verse (many times one that you've read before) pops out at you in a new way?  This line from Mass on Sunday did that for me: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been purchased at a price."  I must have needed the reminder that in the eyes of God, I have value.

WEANING - Can I just admit that I am SO ready to be done nursing?  The plan is to continue through cold season and then start making the switch.  I.can't.wait.

and X, Y...

Zzz'S - I know many people hate winter's short days, but I've been getting the best sleep because of it.  Because it gets dark so early, I'm drowsy and ready for bed by 9:00, and since it's pitch black outside, why not?!  It's like hibernation for humans.  Now if my fussy teething baby will get the hint, hah!

Like with my Summertime ABCs post back in July, I took a walk around our property.  So hard to find beauty when everything is bare and brown, but the sky sure was a gorgeous blue that day.


  1. So fun to read through this ABC template, Ashley! And I totally feel you about being done nursing- glad I'm not the only one who has felt that way. :)

    1. Yesssss....definitely not the only one! I'm counting down the days, haha!

  2. I blushed when I read you quoting my little post!! I’m so grateful you relate! :)
    And that shot your front porch is so dreamy!

    1. I LOVED your post and the connection of ordinary lives with the Church calendar. I don't know why I've never made that connection before! So so good.


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