Monday, October 31, 2011

New Favs for October

As I said, I am hoping to start posting once a month some "New Favs" (favs is short for favorites...). This is where I share some things I have recently discovered or rediscovered and enjoyed during that month. Here we go...

1) Coconut Products - At the beginning of the month I bought a huge thing of coconut oil (very good for you!) and have been using it more, okay, a lot in my cooking. It's yummy on green beans and to cook scrambled eggs to mention a couple. Also, I bought unsweetened shredded coconut to make these awesome chicken tenders. I added it to my sister-in-law's granola recipe for the first time and it raised the bar for granola big time!

2) Joshua Bell's album Romance of the Violin. I checked it out from the library. It reminded me how much I love the violin. The album is so beautiful and relaxing. Perfect for listening to while sipping a cup of tea and reading with a candle flickering nearby.

3) Librovox - Thanks to that same sister-in-law, I now know about the amazing Librovox website. It has thousands of free audio books. Every book is in the public domain, which means they are not copyrighted. (I had no clue what that meant. I feel so educated now!) Volunteers record the book, you download and enjoy! So simple. I listened to A Little Princess on the way to and from my friends house last weekend - 8 hours worth of "reading" that would have been spent listening to music I know by heart. And Sweet Girl didn't seem to mind a bit!

4) Small Notebook blog - I already mentioned this blog, but it had to be apart of the list because it has had a big impact on me already. You will see. I have more to write about ideas I've gleaned from this site.

5) Acorns - I have never given a thought to acorns before. But as I was browsing blogs and looking for things I could put together for Mia to do, I saw acorns everywhere. I thought we just didn't have any oak trees in this area because I didn't remember seeing them as a child and I knew we didn't have any in our yard. But one afternoon we ventured out on a trail nearby (but you still have to drive to it) and found a bunch of acorns! Sweet Girl likes putting them, one by one into a jar. I like just looking at them. Whenever I see some outside, I have to restrain myself from gathering a whole handful to take home!

Blogging, Part 2

I've created some, hopefully, realistic goals for my two blogs. I have this blog and also a kind of generic family one with pictures and short updates, for family who care, but don't want to sift through my ramblings, ha ha.

I thought of an overall goal for this blog. It's sort of like a vision and something to help me keep focused and determine which random thoughts should be posted and those I should keep to myself. "A place for inspiration in homemaking, mothering, and spiritual growth." May God help me!

More concrete goals:
1) Write a review/preview each month on each blog.
2) Write monthly goals for each month on this blog.
3) Review goals at end of the month on this blog.
4) Write "New Favs" each month on this blog.
5) Write about any tips, things I learn, issues I go through, as appropriate, on this blog.
6) Write about Sweet Girl's developments each month around birth date (18th) on family blog.

So be looking for some new things! I started something new that is really helping already. I hand write my ideas for posts and even write first drafts in a notebook. I try to put this in my nightstand so when I get flashes of inspiration in the middle of the night, I can just jot it down instead of trying to remember it or having to get up. Also, I can write things down throughout the day instead of waiting for a program on the computer to load or using scraps of paper that get lost. I guess you could say I found a way to organize my thoughts! It feels good and I'm pumped up about blogging instead of feeling lost and overwhelmed. So please, stay tuned!

Do you have goals for your blog(s)? How do you stay focused? Organized? Motivated?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blogging, Part 1

I've been reading some about blog improvement lately. I read just enough to know I am not ready or interested in reading more. I do not feel I have the time or creativity (or time to think creatively?) to follow the tips, although they are geared toward simplifying.

Doing this reading has, however, make me really think about why I blog. I mean, I don't particularly aspire, for now, to gain a huge following. The idea of authors of blogs I follow faithfully reading my blog makes me cringe. To be perfectly frank, even my best friends do not know about this blog, yet. Only a few friends who also blog and one or two others I told in a moment of boldness. And my husband. He's my biggest fan.

So if I'm not concerned with people reading my blog, why post? Why do I do it? That is a good question and and first I didn't really know. After thinking about it more, I found three reasons: 1) I like to, 2) it's a creative outlet for me and 3) it challenges me. It's a place for me to document my life and sort out my thoughts. To write for even an imagined audience is different than a journal and I enjoy trying to express myself in interesting ways.

I suppose I have a distant imagining that people will stumble upon it ad find me clever. But, that's highly unlikely since I don't put my name out there. And the clever part too.

I am still left with a desire to solidify my blog's focus and develop some consistency. I have ideas rolling around in my head, but they will have to be explored in a different post.

Why do you blog?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Under Construction

I blogged a while back about wanting to improve the look of the blog. Well, here is a new look. I like it. However, I'm not sure I will stick with it. So bear with me as I try out a few looks and let me know what you like or don't like! And if you have any tips, let me know those too!

The Road Ahead

Since we are in transition of careers and we are not sure exactly where we will be next year or in five (do any of us really?), I've been anxious about it lately. I want to know where we are meant to be and what we are meant to be doing. What is God's vision for us and our family?

This morning I read this in Jesus Calling:
"As you become increasingly aware of My Presence, you find it easier to discern the way you should go. ... Instead of wondering about what is on the road ahead or worrying about what you should do if ___ or when ___, you can concentrate on staying in communion with Me. When you actually arrive at a choice-point, I will show you which direction to go.
Many people are so preoccupied with future plan and decisions that they fail to see choices they need to make today."
Isn't it clear? Focus on TODAY. Focus on CHRIST. CHRIST IS ALL!

So, I am done. I am done worrying. I will still plan, as necessary, but I will try to remember it is all a guideline. It is not a must. So if things change, then that is okay. That it means God is stepping in and saying, "This is My plan; My will for you." And I must remember that His will is always, always better than mine.

I don't know what God's grand plan is for us, only that there is one. But what must be done today, that is clear.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Getting organized... my life, that is

I'm continuing to have the struggle of too many good ideas coming my way and not enough time or capacity to do them or sort them out. Too much blog surfing I guess.

So lately I have been taking some steps to organize my interests, time, and, well, life. The most recent is that I now I have a "blog" night. This is where after the dinner clean up, Coach and Sweet Girl have a "date" out of the house, and I have a "date" with my blogs. Starting tonight. So I spent the first 40 minutes figuring out how to upload a video on YouTube and onto my family blog. Arrrg. Anyway, I was just not making time to blog because when I did blogging, took more time than I intended to spend. This way, ideally, it is structured. I'll have about an hour and I plan to have a few things I want to do or post about. Before it was haphazard and I'd plan to do something "quick" and end up spending the whole nap time on it, or doing other things.

Another thing I've added structure to is how I spend my time on my hobbies and interests. First, I wrote them all down. This list included things like sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, organizing my recipes differently, etc. Next, I decided I would work on ONE hobby or project a month. October is scrapbooking. So far I have sewn a paper organizer (got the idea here), organized my other supplies (stickers, tags, borders, etc) and have made 3 pages to add to my started scrapbook. I am working on pages from our wedding currently. So... only 4 more years to go! I don't think I'll be caught up by the end of the month, but I may just keep working on it slowly here and there. We'll see.

November will be Christmas shopping and projects as well as reorganizing my recipes. I will post about that when I come to it. I'm not planning too much more in advance because one thing I'm learning about myself is that if I plan too far ahead, I just re-plan it as it gets closer. So I am wasting my time by planning the first time.

I think this one-hobby/project-a-month will really help me. I have enough interests to take me through the next year! And trying to find time for a little of this and a little of that all the time was driving me crazy!

Another thing I've been doing is writing out goals for the month in different areas like home, spiritual, Sweet Girl and others. I hope to post a preview each month in the future. This has helped a lot with priortizing. When I plan my week, I look at my goals and decide what things to work on that week. It really has helped me use my time wisely and get things done!

So since we've started our "normal" life after baseball in July, I feel like I have organized my home, house duties, cooking, and now, my interests. I feel so much better when things are organized and for the most part they are. But there are still things like my "Control Journal" and menu planning folder getting out of hand... the six different gluten free flours sitting in their plastic bags needing containers and the list of random projects adding up. I enjoy the challenge and the feeling of completing something.

I've really enjoyed getting ideas from the Small Notebook blog. I just discovered it and  I could literally read her stuff all day! But then nothing would be organized or simplified, now would it?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blogging as Me

Remember the post I wrote on the skirts I made? And how I said I'm a horrible photographer? Well, it's something that really bothers me. I follow a handful of wonderful blogs. These women I read about... in my eyes, they do it all! Their blog has a wonderful design, they always have fascinating photographs (taken by them!) woven into an insightful or simply charming post.

I fumble my way through, trying to design my blog just perfect. It never is what I want. I simply don't know how to create what I want. My pictures are always less then what I want and I don't know how to get a nice border around them. I feel like it takes forever to upload the pictures AND thoughtfully write. I enjoy blogging, but I have a standard in my head I simply cannot meet.

I do this to myself in my life. My house does not look the way I want it to. My clothes are not what I want them to be. I do not have the friends or talent or time I want. On and on and on... anyone else ride this downward spiral?

The point is: I have been feeling this way the past few days. I have felt this way before. Today, I was reading some of my favorite posts and God, I know it was Him, lead me to this post that hit me so close and brought me so much comfort. If you ever feel inadequate in any facet of your life - read this!

I hope it helps you as it has helped me to at least have a vision of how to approach blogging, and life in general. God has not appointed me to be owner of a popular, perfect, updated-every-day blog. At least not now. But I am a wife and mother, daughter and friend. I am me.

You will see me fumble around here more, trying to make it more of what I want. More me. I hope to create something I can let be so I am simply write and post as is comes to me, happy with the display it comes in. I don't think God wants me to stop, or to not try new things. But He wants me to do it joyfully, as myself, and not trying to be someone or something I am not.

I will try to be more ME and worry less about what my 2 or 3 readers think! Bear with me, love me, and pray for me! This is not somewhere fancy, but it is real.

Going Back In Time

Saturday night I was in high school again, and at the same time, the me I am now. I attended my 10 year high school reunion. During the day, as the time got closer, I wondered why I decided to go. I had originally decided not to go, but my best friend from high school (and college, and now) decided to go and her reasons, at the time, made sense to me. After thinking about it more, I had decided to go.

I don't know what other high schools were like, but my class was very cliquey. You had the preps, the middle people, and the "druggies" - for lack of better terms. The middle people (the group I was in) had it's own little groups, some people closer to some than others, but we all got along and there was a lot of crossover between our groups. For example, those in band were close as were those in choir. But I was in choir and I still had friends who were in band.

Anyway, as I prepared to go to the reunion, I felt as if I had been invited to a prep party and that it would mostly be them and just a few of "us". I questioned why I was going. There were some people I was hoping would be there. Not being on Facebook, I'm not in the "know" about where people are and what they are doing, so I had lost touch with a few people I still liked.

In the end, I am glad I went, but I was right about feeling weird about it. It was still very cliquey and I didn't end up talking to too many people. I am glad I went for the sake of reconnecting with two girlfriends, one who's back in town too with a little girl just a few months younger than Sweet Girl. We had to leave just as the dinner was closing and the bonfire was started. If we had stayed longer, I'm sure I would have ended up talking to more people. As we drove away, I felt as if I had been a bit snobbish. But, I am shy and I didn't want to seem fake and talk to someone I didn't really talk to in high school. I wish I was more like Jesus and actually cared like He does for each and everyone one of them.

Everyone (and really only 20-30 people from our class were there) seemed to be pretty much the same as they were in high school, which was good and bad, depending on how they were of course. I'm sure everyone is more mature, but no one seemed to really move up or down in their "status", which really did make me sad for some people who I felt had great personalities and potential, but just were with the wrong crowd.

And now, two days later, I am still reliving that night, over and over. Sunday morning I felt as if I was trying to land on Earth again from a different planet. It felt so weird. How and why did high school have such a huge affect on me and why, after 10 years, am I reliving those days in my head and concerning myself with what those people (whom I haven't even given thought to in those 10 years) are doing and thinking?

Maybe it is because of those crazy teenage years and being with those people 8 hours a day, almost every day, for at least 4 years. It all didn't seem to matter a month ago. Now it's all I can think about. Pretty crazy and I can't seem to sort it out...

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I found myself greeting another new month, my head full of goals and plans. I am glad this month is not as busy as last month was. For one, Coach will be home in the evenings for dinner and home on the weekends, mostly. A lot of events happened in September too, one after another. October has it's fun things too, but more spread out.

The first few things happened this week already. Thursday I went to Amish land to a bulk store and a farm for fresh cheese (more on that on another post). Friday a friend came with her two children for the day and we had a lot of fun together. Saturday was my 10-year high school reunion (post coming on that too). This week is low key. Just a doctor appointment for Sweet Girl on Wednesday.

The 16th is the first day of a family reunion with my dad's siblings. It will be just a couple hours south of us and last until Wednesday morning. We will be staying in a cabin with my parents. It's a state park and the area is gorgeous, especially at this time of the year. I am really looking forward to it! Plus, they have an awesome indoor water park. I'm sure Sweet Girl will love splashing around!

The weekend after that, the 22nd, Sweet Girl and I will finally visit my friend and her new baby. We'll come home on Tuesday. Coach has things happening on campus so I thought it was a good opportunity to go.

Other than that, the days will be "ordinary" days! I'm glad to have some normalcy and hope to get some projects (and relaxing) done.

A Poem for my Second Child

"Are you in there, Little One?"
last night I thought,
before I closed my eyes to sleep.

But no, you weren't
this morning I discovered,
and sad thoughts, in my mind, began to creep.

The timing would have been perfect
lately, I had been thinking,
but, it must be so, that God has a different plan.

"I know You know best"
at prayers I told the Lord
"I will do my best to wait... and understand."

"But oh how I long for you, Little One."
at times I whisper in my mind,
when I hold your sister close - so big, soft and warm.

I'll wait until that time
whenever the Lord grants it,
and rejoice when I learn, inside you have been born.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sewing Projects

Disclaimer: I am NOT a photographer. I take horrible pictures and I apologize! I can never get the lighting right, etc, etc. Please overlook!


I made two skirts out of two dresses. The purple dress was a gift from my husband for Valentine's Day. Maybe my body wasn't back to normal shape yet, but it just fit funny. So for the longest time I planned on making it into a skirt. When I finally got around to it last week, I tried on the dress and actually liked it. I debated. Needing a pretty, plain skirt more than another dress plus a few other factors helped me decide to make it a skirt. I'm glad I did - I love it! It was crazy easy as I just had to cut the top off! 

The jean dress (that's me in early pregnancy with Sweet Girl) I have had for years. I bought a shirt jean dress recently and I have been in need of a jean skirt. I just can't find one I like. I love this dress and I've had it for years. The denim is very light in weight, but a classy dark in color. This was simple too. I cut the top off, folded the edge over and sewed, leaving a gap for elastic. Put elastic through and sewed it up. It's not perfect - a little wide around the hips, but it's good enough for now. If I get the nerve in the future, maybe I'll try taking it in. 


I made a curtain for one of Sweet Girl's windows. I love the fabric. I made a pillowcase out of it first (see bottom right). It's called "Hearty Flower", which I think could describe her. She is hearty and spunky, yet sweet and girly like a flower. Anyway, I love it and I hope to make the second Saturday. The fabric will be different, but I hope to incorporate the scrap from this one into it. Someday when we live somewhere else or have money to buy curtains, I hope to turn this into a blanket, or something more lovey than a curtain.