Monday, March 19, 2018

No.96: Intentions for the End of March

March has been one crazy month so far.  Spring, we're so ready for you!


  • Habit of the Month: Gentleness
  • speak kindly about myself to myself
  • send out the first batch of cards for the Springtime Postcard Project
  • take photos for March's "Our Extraordinary Ordinary Life" 
  • buy candy and fill eggs
  • make sure the kids have something appropriate to wear for Easter (and me too!)
  • find a type of sushi that I like (100LT #45)
  • drink more water
  • make dentist appointments
  • plan out flower beds for the front of the house (100LT #60) and research local landscape architects
  • find coordinating outdoor pillows for the front rocking chairs and back bench that don't cost a small fortune
  • start the weaning process with P (I'm so excited while simultaneously dreading this)


    If you're reading on your phone or in a reader, be sure to click over to see what I checked off the list!
    • on stressful days, stop and breathe before responding (not perfect, but getting better at remembering to do this)
    • be intentional about having some sort of physical contact with each child daily 
    • start buying items for a house emergency kit (post coming soon)
    • try overnight oatmeal
    • research intermittent fasting
    • start taking my vitamins regularly again
    • make dentist appointments
    • finish Easter basket shopping (SO close)
    • plan a day with my mom (this Saturday - I can't wait)
    • buy stamps
    • try ThredUp's new Goodybox program (on the way - I have high hopes for this!)

    What about you?  What do you hope to accomplish in the next two weeks?

    Friday, March 16, 2018

    No.95: Seven Changes // An Introduction

    This post contains affiliate links.

    Every so often, I get this nagging feeling in my gut that a change is needed: a change in behavior, a change in opinion, a change in action.  I like to think of it as the Holy Spirit tapping me on the shoulder saying, "Hey, you may want to think about this a little deeper."  At different points in my life, I push the nagging to the side (I'm looking at you, first year postpartum tunnel!) but the most important ones seem to always return.

    So this is a look into my brain right now.  I'll warn you ahead of time - it's messy in there, hah!  I'm still very much in "input" mode, reading various sources of information and learning all I can.  Looking down the list, these things feel incredibly overwhelming, but my motto should come in handy here: an intentional life happens little by little.  Baby steps is better than no forward progress at all, right? 

    1 // TIME

    For the past few weeks, I've been lamenting to Mark that I just don't have enough time in the day for one.more.thing.  Between the house and homeschooling and kids and meals and.and.and... when do I have time to work out? to pray? to do something for myself?  The more I think about this, though, it's not really an issue of time, but of priorities, procrastination and perfectionism.  

    Other articles and books:

    2 // WASTE

    I blame unpopped kernels for this one.  You know how you always find a handful of kernels at the bottom of the popcorn bowl?  Curious, I picked them out and threw them back into the popper....and they popped!  We had at least half a cup of extra popcorn that I normally would have tossed without a second glance.  It gave me a lot of pause...what else am I carelessly throwing away without a second thought?  

    Other articles and books:

    3 // SLOW FASHION 

    I follow a girl on Instagram named Elise who decided that for 2018, she would not purchase any new clothing.  Instead, she decided to make her own.  Watching her process as she knit a sweater - the time and precision needed - had me wondering how clothing could ever be sold so inexpensively!

    Other articles and books:

    4 // EDUCATION

    With many school-aged children in my home, topped with the responsibility of educating them, this topic is naturally on my mind a lot.  I'm fascinated with learning as a whole, not necessarily just as it applies to homeschooling.  How do we learn?  How can I help my children remember what they learn?  How do I guide them as they grow closer and closer to the teenage years and adulthood?   

    Other articles and books:


    I am not what you'd call an "outdoorsy" person.  But I want to be.  Moving to our new home in the country was the first step and with spring just around the corner, I'm pumping myself up to get outside with the kids.  We all need that time out there. 

    Other articles and books:


    I was recently having a conversation with someone when, as I talked, I watched their eyes flick to their phone (on the table in front of them, naturally) and start scrolling.  It was awkward and embarrassing for me.  In that instant, I thought about the times I have done the same thing, especially with my husband or my children.  I don't want to be that way.

    Other articles and books:

    7 // PARENTING

    Ahh, parenting.  It's an area of my life where, just when I think I'm getting the hang of this gig, there's a life twist and I realize - yet again - that I have no idea what I'm doing.  

    Other articles and books:

    Linking up with Kelly's Quick Takes!
    P.S. There are still spots open for my Springtime Postcard Project.  Find all the details here.

    Monday, March 12, 2018

    No.94: My Springtime Postcard Project

    I am so excited about today's post!  Inspired by Naomi, one of the tasks on my 100 Little Things list this year is to mail fifty postcards.  The original plan was to copy her directly and send vintage ones...but then I found this set from David Allen Sibley.  These postcards are absolutely gorgeous.  Sibley's watercolor artwork is so colorful and detailed!  I really love that there are a wide variety of birds represented, everything from woodpeckers to songbirds to owls.  I was tempted to keep the set intact and add the box to our nature basket, but ultimately decided that I couldn't keep them just for myself.  

    So here we go!

    Today I'm launching the Springtime Postcard Project, in which I hope to send these fifty postcards out into the world.  Each one will include a unique message: I'm thinking a short story from my life, a recipe, a poem or maybe even an inspirational quote.  Can I add you to the list?  It would be so fun to "meet" my readers in a new and different way.  Fill out the form here, then sit back and watch your mailbox for a springtime surprise.

    I received these postcards from Blogging for Books but all opinions are my own.

    Friday, March 9, 2018

    No.93: Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Plan: Term Three

    This post contains affiliate links.

    We're two weeks into our third term and it really feels like we're on the home stretch!  We have had a wildly successful school year and I'm hoping we can keep the momentum until the very end.  The general plan for our last term is to just "keep on' keepin' on", finishing up most subjects and finding a natural stopping point for the rest.  We'll have a week of Spring Break after Easter as well as a week of standardized testing.  Summer break, we're coming for you!      


    I'm stretching this guide out to last a year and a half.
    I'm stretching this guide out to last a year and a half too.
    Books and Field Trips:

    • Brave Writer Arrow Guides
      • The Borrowers (Topics)
      • The One and Only Ivan (Parallelism)
    • Brave Writer Partnership Writing Projects
      • Project: Five Ws: Who, what, where, why and when (to be used as a biography report)
      • Project: Imaginary continent


    Books and Projects:
    Books and Projects:
    The three big boys will also be attending religious education at our parish.
    We are focusing on the continent of Africa this year, learning about one country a week.  
    Term Three Countries: Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Botswana, Cameroon, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia
    Books and Projects:
    This preschool-ish (for ages 3-7) curriculum is primarily for S and TJ and I really dropped the ball in Term Two.  Hoping to get back into the activities this spring.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2018

    No.92: New Habits, Little by Little: Cooking at Home (February 2018)

    As we sat in contented silence around the table, mouths full of that night's delicious culinary experiment, one of the boys announced, "Mom, you are such a good cook compared to at the old house!"  I was tempted to feel embarrassed by the years of dinner inadequacy, but honestly?  He was right.  I have come a long way since last July.  Feeling so grateful for this monthly dinner project and how it has changed me for the better.

    Week 31 (cont.):
    Thursday, February 1: A Taste of Ethiopia. honey garlic berbere chicken thighs and rice
    Friday, February 2: BBQ from a local spot to kick off Mark's birthday weekend

    Week 32:
    Saturday, February 3: pizza for the kids, Home Chef for date night (barbacoa steak tacos with queso fresco and pickled vegetables)
    Sunday, February 4: white chicken lasagna soup with french bread
    Monday, February 5: Mark's birthday! chicken parm sandwiches
    Tuesday, February 6: beef chimichangas
    Wednesday, February 7: sick day for Mama - we had frozen pizzas
    Thursday, February 8: A Taste of Kenya. Kenyan beef stew with chapati "pancakes"
    Friday, February 9: we ruined our dinner by having homemade blueberry pie in the middle of the afternoon, so just snacked on popcorn and leftovers

    Week 33:
    Saturday, February 10: pancakes for the kids, Home Chef for date night (coffee-rubbed steak with brown butter mashed potatoes and roasted carrots)
    Sunday, February 11: slow cooked pork roast with rice and vegetables
    Monday, February 12: sheet pan brats and roasted vegetables
    Tuesday, February 13: Fat Tuesday! leftovers and king cake
    Wednesday, February 14: Ash Wednesday. bean and cheese burritos
    Thursday, February 15: fettucine with a roasted red pepper sauce and grilled chicken and Italian sausage (it was 70 degrees today!)
    Friday, February 16: honey garlic shrimp with broccoli and rice

    Week 34:
    Saturday, February 17: breakfast for dinner - Mark's homemade biscuits and gravy
    Sunday, February 18: leftovers
    Monday, February 19: beef stroganoff soup
    Tuesday, February 20: whole roasted chicken with macaroni & cheese and salad
    Wednesday, February 21: swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes, homemade blueberry pie
    Thursday, February 22: burgers while we were out running errands
    Friday, February 23: A Taste of Uganda. Ugandan egg rolex

    Week 35:
    Saturday, February 24: chicken parm sandwiches
    Sunday, February 25: Mark's homemade pizza
    Monday, February 26: simple tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
    Tuesday, February 27: chinese stir-fry
    Wednesday, February 28: french onion pot roast with mashed potatoes

    Monday, March 5, 2018

    No.91: Intentions for the Beginning of March

    Hello from the other side!  I'm embarrassed to admit that we were those people, totally unprepared for the wind storm that pummeled us on Friday.  Thank goodness for random bits of food in the pantry and generous neighbors who shared their bottled water with us!  A huge tree down the street fell and pulled a power line down with it, blocking our only exit.  On our property, we had a smaller tree snap in half and a big one is currently leaning precariously on another.  We lost power for a total of 56 hours, but were able to escape to my parents for most of it.  (Such a big thanks to them as well!)  We felt like we learned so many lessons: procrastination will eventually come back to bite you (ironically, we were going to buy some emergency gear this month!), we're WAY more attached to technology than we think, and God is good all the time.  Even when we're huddled in three blankets, teeth chattering, eating the crumbs from the cereal box. :) 


    • Habit of the Month: Gentleness
    • on stressful days, stop and breathe before responding
    • be intentional about having some sort of physical contact with each child daily (cuddles or even just a side hug - different strokes for different temperaments around here, hah!) 
    • start buying items for a house emergency kit
    • try overnight oatmeal
    • research intermittent fasting
    • start taking my vitamins regularly again
    • make dentist appointments
    • finish Easter basket shopping
    • plan a day with my mom
    • buy stamps
    • try ThredUp's new Goodybox program (like Stitch Fix, but secondhand!)


      If you're reading on your phone or in a reader, be sure to click over to see what I checked off the list!
      • for Lent: workouts first thing every morning before touching my phone or computer (it hasn't exactly played out this way, but I AM working out AND I'm doing my devotional, so hopefully still leading me to Christ)
      • fill up on more green veggies
      • try overnight oatmeal
      • try kombucha (100LT #58) (we tried this one and this acquired taste, but not as bad as I thought!) 
      • find one last item for February's Five Favorites prize pack (I found soap from Honest Roots Farm here in Virginia)
      • finalize plans for Term Three of the school year (blog post coming soon)
      • start brainstorming Easter baskets (I'm weaning myself from my Amazon Prime habit and trying to shop small or local, so starting early!)
      • make speech appointment
      • make dentist appointments
      • make eye appointments for the big boys
      • unpack and display my newly inherited china from my grandmother (I need to make the time to do this!)
      • figure out what to do about first floor painting
      • decide on new chairs for the living room
      • buy frames for living room gallery wall
      • learn how to make baguettes (100LT #50)
      • complete my winter cross-stitch before it's no longer winter
      • bring donations to Goodwill

      What about you?  What do you hope to accomplish in the next two weeks?

      Thursday, March 1, 2018

      No.90: What I Learned in February

      Linking up with Emily Freeman!

      It's hard to believe that just two months ago, I found bread so unfamiliar and intimidating.  In a crazy turn of events, bread has suddenly become a form of self-care.  The process, from start to finish, just fascinates me.  What other food requires four rather blah ingredients and transforms them into something amazing?! 

      For Black History Month, Meg Hunter-Kilmer posted the stories of 28 influential saints on her Instagram account.  I already knew a few (including my favorite, St. Josephine Bakhita!) and was introduced to many, many more.  When I read Meg's post about Moses the Black, I knew I had to share it with my boys - what a great story!  From her post:
      St Moses the Black was basically a land pirate. A former slave, he became the ringleader of a band of 75 outlaws. This guy delighted in murder, fornication, and revenge, once swimming the mile-wide Nile with a dagger in his teeth to knife a guy whose dog had barked at him. Eventually, his brigandry got the better of him and he ran to a monastery in an attempt to avoid the police. Once there, he was overcome by the love of Christ and begged to be received as a monk. It took him quite a while to adjust to life as a monk; once four robbers broke in and Moses beat their faces in before remembering himself. He then tied them up and took them to his abbot, sheepishly saying something like, “It used to be I woulda killed them, but I’m thinking that’s not how we do?” His monastic life was extremely difficult, as one might expect of a man accustomed to action and terrible sin, but he fought for years to overcome his temptations and ultimately became a priest and then an abbot himself, leading dozens of souls in the way of holiness. When another group of outlaws was approaching the monastery, Moses urged his men to flee, saying of himself, “Those who live by the sword must die by the sword.” He welcomed his murderers with open arms and was rewarded with a martyr’s crown.
      We finally potty-trained our fifth child this month...or maybe I should say that he finally decided it was time and potty-trained himself.  At almost three and a half and with two failed attempts under his belt, I was starting to believe he'd be entering college in diapers.  But isn't life funny?  Just like that, one day he decided to go for it and less than a week later, the diapers are totally gone.  (Even at night!)  When they're ready, they're ready.

      As I read through Columbine, I was surprised to learn that much of what I thought I knew was false.  The two biggest: 1) The entire situation was, essentially, a failed bombing attempt.  Should their make-shift contraptions have actually worked, it would have been much more catastrophic.  And 2) Did you ever hear the story about the girl who defended her Christian faith before she died?  Yeah, that never happened.  The questions were actually posed to another girl (who lived) but the stories were intertwined by another student.  A book was still written despite the mix-up.   

      I have been in full hibernation mode this winter, especially as I stopped exercising to heal a hip injury.  On a whim, I decided to pull out the scale and whew...the numbers don't lie.  I do think I'm having some hormonal issues, which certainly doesn't help, but there's always room for more movement and more vegetables. 

      We had two beautiful days with temperatures in the 70's - what a gift!  I too often forget that I need the outdoors as much as my children.  I'm often quick to send them all outside while I clean or putter around the house, attached to my to-do list.  Note to self: fresh air and a little sunshine can change the course of the entire day for the better.

      My home improvement fiasco of the month: I naively thought that painting textured walls would be easy.  You just get the "textured wall brush" and off you go, right?  Oh no.  After two cans of paint and two walls that were still completely splotchy, I gave up.  After a lot of back and forth, Mark and I have decided that we're just going to paint the walls back the original color and call it good for now.

      After a few weeks of pushing myself to my limit, I hit a wall last Sunday and ended up taking an unexpected two-hour nap.  It was amazing!  I woke up refreshed, happy and ready to take on the week ahead.  Definitely adding naptime to my to-do list every few weeks.

      Your turn...what did you learn this month?

      P.S. Don't forget to link up your Five Favorites posts for a chance to win this month's Prize Pack!  The link-up is open until Sunday.
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