Thursday, March 29, 2018

No.102: What I Learned in March


1 // KOMBUCHA ISN'T ALL THAT BAD.
After a month of almost daily consumption, I've gone from taking shots of kombucha (with my eyes stinging from the taste!) to drinking it directly from the bottle, no problem. Not sure if it's doing anything for my gut health yet, but fingers crossed.  My current favorites are Gingerberry and Pink Lady Apple.

2 // MANY METHODS OF COOKING ARE UNIVERSAL.
We've been cooking African food each week as part of our geography studies and I often find myself saying to the kids, "It's like a pancake, but with different spices" or "It's like taco meat, but spiced with this" or "It's like a pumpkin cookie but made with sweet potato instead".  For whatever reason, the universality of cooking really stopped me in my tracks this month.  Food, regardless of geography, is the same but different.  Just like people.  And that is so cool.

3 // I LOVE THE HUNT FOR ORIGINAL PIECES OF ART.
I'm not talking about the pieces that are thousands of dollars (our single income doesn't stretch that far!) but searching the little etsy shops and Instagram accounts has been so fun. My latest purchase is an original hand-painted monotype from Paper Monastery.  It is absolutely gorgeous.

4 // CLIMBING TODDLERS ARE GOING TO DRIVE ME CRAZY.
My memory's a bit foggy, but I'm pretty sure that I have never had a climber like I have with P.  He is everywhere, always on the table and getting into mischief.  We'll often hear him saying, "Uh oh, uh oh!" as he dangles from the dining room table, waiting for someone to save him.  I'm holding onto my hat for the "terrible twos" because it looks like we're getting started early!

5 // ARIZONA AND HAWAII DON'T PARTICIPATE IN DAYLIGHT SAVINGS.
Daylight savings time was rough for me this year.  I could not get my act together for almost a week!  And then I discovered that two states don't even participate.  Who knew?  (And if you live in Arizona or Hawaii, lucky you!)

6 // YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN'T SAVE ALL YOUR STUFF ON YOUR DESKTOP. #SOGUILTY
It took us three months, but we finally had my fried hard drive looked at and he was able to recover all of my photos and files - praise God!  When he returned with the new drive, he casually mentioned that the owner of the computer (cough cough...me) seemed to have a habit of saving everything on the desktop and that was a really bad idea.  Oops.  I'm trying to be better this time around.

7 // SHOVELING SNOW IS A GREAT WORKOUT.
Right before last week's snow storm, Mark tweaked his back, so I volunteered to shovel with two of the boys.  Our driveway is loooong but we figured out a good system (J dug straight through the middle all the way to the street.  M took one side and I took the other, shoveling in rows sideways.) and laughed and chatted.  By the time we finished, we were exhausted, hungry and I could barely feel my arms, hah!  Signs of a good workout. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

No.101: My Latest Reads // March

This post contains affiliate links.

AMERICAN FIRE by Monica Hesse
My Rating: ★★★★☆
In November of 2012, the Eastern Shore of Virginia was old. It was long. It was isolated. It was emptying of people but full of abandoned houses. It was dark. It was a uniquely perfect place to light a string of fires. (8%)
I'm on a true crime kick.  Where Columbine was fascinating but utterly disturbing, American Fire is fascinating purely by the craziness of it all!  The story is about a series of mysterious building fires in Accomack County, Virginia — around 70 arsons located in just one rural county. The culprit is identified early in the book, but the bigger question answered is why?  Such an interesting book, especially from a psychological standpoint.


WONDER by R.J. Palacio
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (more like 3.5 stars)
I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives. (p.231)
My oldest had this read aloud to his class last year (in 4th grade) and he has wanted me to read it ever since.  I heard Wonder was a tear-jerker, but surprisingly, it didn't have that effect on me.  I'm not sure what this says about me, but I was just angry.  (I blame it on being the mother of a child who was picked on and bullied too.  #angrymamabear)  All in all, I'd say it was a good middle-grade novel and a good reminder that words are powerful, both for good and for evil.


MISSING, PRESUMED by Susie Steiner
My Rating: ★★☆☆ 
Life... is full of compromises you never thought you'd make when you were young.
Missing, Presumed seemed like less of a missing person police procedural and more of a character-driven story about a woman who happens to be a detective.  It was just okay for me - I didn't particularly like any of the characters.  I felt myself constantly distracted while reading, which is usually a good sign that I'm not invested in the story.  Even so, I persevered because I really did want to know what happened at the end...and the ending was just okay too.


THE WISHING SPELL (THE LAND OF STORIES #1) by Chris Colter
My Rating: ★★★☆
Courage is one thing that no one can ever take away from you.
I read The Wishing Spell aloud to the kids for school.  The story line was interesting and the kids loved it, but there were enough eyebrow-raising comments for me not to easily recommend it.  I mean, do we really need to talk about a painting of a barely clothed Red Riding Hood wearing only a wolf-skin coat?


FINISH: GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF DONE by Jon Acuff
My Rating: ★★★★
The only way to accomplish a new goal is to feed it your most valuable resource: time. And what we never like to admit is that you don’t just give time to something, you take it from something else. To be good at one thing you have to be bad at something else. Perfectionism’s third lie is: You can do it all. I’m here to tell you that you can’t. (18%)
 We become adult toddlers when we refuse help from people and believe the lie that seeking assistance is a sign of weakness. (59%)
Oh boy, this one was a perfectly timed read.  My perfectionism has been rearing its ugly head big time lately.  As I read Finish, it was as if he could see inside my brain!  So weird and yet reassuring too.  I zipped through the book in days and immediately put the tips and tricks he suggested to use.  An inspiring book for sure!






___________________________________

MY 2018 READING IN NUMBERS
Books Read: 18
Fiction: 12  // Non-Fiction: 6
Kindle Books: 10  // Paper Books: 8
Original 2018 books "to-read" total on Goodreads: 443 // Current "to-read" total: 437


Linking up with Book by Book!

Monday, March 26, 2018

No.100: Five March Favorites (A Link-Up and a Giveaway!)

The post contains affiliate links.

Welcome to the Five Favorites linkup!  Congratulations to Brooke, with February's winning post: Five February Favorites.  Be sure to check below for this month's prize pack!  


1 //  MY WELCOME MATS
I finally replaced two of our doormats with this "hello" one and this "home sweet home" one and I just love them so much.  Isn't it funny how something so little can bring so much joy?

2 //  MAKING SECTIONS ON PINTEREST BOARDS
Sections are music to my organization-loving ears!  My Pinterest boards were getting a bit unwieldy with hundreds and hundreds of images.  Who can find anything in that?!  I started using the section feature and it's made all the difference.  Two examples: I have a private meal planning board with sections for each week.  When I browse for ideas, I'll pin them to the appropriate week.  I also have a home improvement board that I categorized by room.  It's so helpful to see everything together!

3 // 7 MINUTE WORKOUT APP
Another month, another workout app.  I still love Nike Training Club, but couldn't seem to find 30-45 minute stretches to commit to a workout.  So I'm trying the 7 Minute Workout.  It's easier to fit two or three mini-sessions into my day (right now, I'm using it during our morning school break and then sometime in the afternoon) and I'm still getting my heart rate up.  My perfectionist tendencies want to make me believe this is a cop-out, but something is better than nothing at this point. 

4 // HOMEMADE PIE CRUST
We've been on a bit of a pie kick over here lately.  Is it random to make blueberry pie in the middle of winter?  I've tried a few different pie crust recipes and Mark and the kids say this one is the best so far.  Really flaky and buttery - it's delicious.

5 // MOTION-ACTIVATED NIGHTLIGHTS
The kids have a bad habit of turning all the lights on at night when they need to find us or use the bathroom. (#scaredycats)  To avoid soaring electric bills, we compromised with motion-activated nightlights and put them in the bathroom and hallway.  They haven't totally solved the problem, but a big improvement!   

_______________________________


A Peek into March's Prize Pack
The giveaway items I've chosen are a mix of some of my favorite things: etsy finds, vintage pieces and little bits picked up from various stores.  All have been purchased by me and nothing has been sponsored.  This incentive is to thank you for visiting here and linking up your posts.  It's my small way of showing you that your words are being heard!  I read every single entry and try to comment on or share a few (I wish I could do this for every one - not enough hours in the day!)  Here's how it works: every time you link up a blog or Instagram post, you get an entry.  The linkup will be open a little bit longer since Sunday is Easter.  This month, the official closing date will be Wednesday, April 4th and I'll randomly pick a winner on April 5.

March's prizes include:
1 // Anklet socks from Woven Pear

2 // Little white flower dish

3 //  Honeybee Scatter Garden Seeds

4 // Journal from Print Stitch and Paste

5 // Blackberry Hibiscus candle

I can't wait to hear about what you're loving this month!  Here's what to do:
1. Write a blog post sharing about five of your favorite things.  You could also share a photo on Instagram! (hashtag is #bwffivefavorites)  It can have a theme (ie: five of your favorite slow cooker recipes) or just a mishmash like I usually do.
2. Please link back to this post so your readers know where to find the Five Favorites hub (posts not mentioning "Five Favorites" or not linking back to this post will be subject to removal).
3. Not mandatory, but feel free to visit some of the other posts in the link-up!  Sharing and/or leaving a comment is even better.
4. Make sure to add a link to your specific post or Instagram picture, not just your blog address.
Thanks for linking up!






Friday, March 23, 2018

No.99: 20 Things I Love - A Gratitude Journal vol.6

This post contains affiliate links.

drinking hot coffee with Mark by the fire
the excitement on the kids' faces when they woke to falling snow
shoveling our loooong driveway with M and J
watching the baby experience snow for the first time (his reaction: not too sure)
warm rain boots that double as snow gear
seeing grass again as it all melted, 24 hours later
bright blue skies and sunshine
motivating myself for more movement with my Fitbit
a new water app that is keeping me accountable
addressing postcards and thinking about the women who will receive them
that moment when you return to your dough after it has doubled in size
the smell of freshly baked bread, straight out of the oven
Sophie and Daddy card games
heart-to-heart conversations with a friend
a book that challenged me to be better
my nightstand, piled high with new books to begin
sliding into freshly washed sheets at the end of the day
the big boys' renewed passion for reading
watching TJ climb the stairs one step at a time
this quote: "Those who leave everything in God's hands will eventually see God's hands in everything."

Thursday, March 22, 2018

No.98: What's In Their Easter Baskets 2018

This post contains affiliate links.

I went in a new direction with our Easter baskets this year.  In years past, my go-to gifts have been bubbles, bathing suits and other things they would need for spring.  This year seemed different: my biggest boys are getting older and we already have plenty of bathing suits.  So what to do? 

I ended up with two goals:
  1. Try to kick my ridiculous Amazon Prime habit by shopping through small businesses first
  2. Pay attention to the kids' interests and find things that combine learning and fun
I'm so happy with the end result!  In full disclosure, I did buy about half of this through Amazon.  BUT.  I picked an Usborne book for each child (in case you don't know a consultant, my two favorites are Sarah and Jessica!) and I bought two beautiful things from an etsy shop called From Jennifer.  So baby steps. 

Here's what's in their baskets in 2018: 

M (11 years old)
D (9 years old)
P (1 year old)

What's going in the Easter baskets at your house this year?

P.S. Each of the kids has one of these Easter baskets (in different colors) from World Market and I love them!  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

No.97: Our Extraordinary Ordinary Life // March 2018 Edition

A monthly project featuring ten photos throughout the day that show a peek into our extraordinarily ordinary life.

The First Day of Spring - Tuesday, March 20, 2018
I was awake way too early, my braining firing at all cylinders at 4:30AM.  Mark was already up and working from home (a rare treat these days!), so I decided to get up with him so we could drink our coffee together by the fire.  It lasted a whole five minutes before the baby woke up, hah!  Oh well.

The day was dark and dreary, with rain all morning and hail in the early afternoon.  For the first day of spring, it sure didn't feel like it.  I think the high was 37 degrees?!  We got our school done before noon and made pepperoni pizza bombs for lunch.  I even managed to take a power nap during quiet hour!  The kids spent the rest of the afternoon drawing, reading and block-building and I caught up on chores.  There really is nothing like slipping into clean sheets at the end of a long day. 

My ten photos this month are dark and grainy, but a decent representation.  It was definitely one of those days where you're thankful for a warm house, cozy blankets and a good book. 

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!

INTENTIONS FOR THE END OF MARCH

  • 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)

    PREVIOUS INTENTIONS

    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:

    5 // NATURE & BEING OUTDOORS

    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:

    6 // LESS SCREENS

    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.  

    Oh.my.goodness.  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!      


    TERM THREE: FEBRUARY 26 -MAY 25

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

    BIG KIDS LANGUAGE ARTS & WRITING
    • 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

    LITTLE KIDS READING & PHONICS

    FIFTH GRADE SCIENCE
    Books and Projects:
    K-THIRD GRADE SCIENCE
    Books and Projects:
    RELIGION
    The three big boys will also be attending religious education at our parish.
    GEOGRAPHY
    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:
    YEAR OF PLAYING SKILLFULLY
    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. :) 


    INTENTIONS FOR THE BEGINNING OF MARCH

    • 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!)

      PREVIOUS INTENTIONS

      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 one...an 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!

      1 // I AM OBSESSED WITH BAKING BREAD.
      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?! 

      2 // THE STORY OF MOSES THE BLACK IS SO GOOD.
      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.
      3 // WHEN THEY'RE READY, THEY'RE READY.
      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.

      4 // MUCH OF WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW ABOUT COLUMBINE IS A MYTH.
      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.   

      5 // SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOME TOUGH LOVE.  THANKS, BATHROOM SCALE.
      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. 

      6 // FRESH AIR AND WARM SUNSHINE IS RESTORATIVE.
      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.

      7 // NEVER PAINT TEXTURED WALLS.
      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.

      8 // TO AVOID BURN OUT, TAKE A NAP.
      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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