Saturday, June 29, 2013

What I Learned in June

For the past few months, Emily over at Chatting at the Sky has been posting about what she's learned each month. When I read May's I had thought, "Maybe I'll do something like that." But then I felt like I would be a copycat. So, I was super excited when a few days later she posted and invited her readers to share what they've learned and link it onto her site! I've been building my list all month.

In June I learned:

1) How to make fruity kombucha. I've been brewing kombucha for a few months, but haven't tried it with fruit because I felt like I needed to know more than "put some fruit and kombucha in a jar and let it sit for a few days." But you know what? It's that simple! I've tried strawberry (amazing!) and watermelon (not amazing).

2)  The status of my high school exchange student. She stayed with me for a week or two my senior year of high school, then I went to Germany and stayed with her a couple weeks after graduating. We were like sisters. We stayed in touch for a few years, but it's probably been close to 8 years since I've heard from her. Out of the blue, she emailed me! She's married and has twins. It's been so good to exchange emails with her.

3) That my daughter can sleep through just about anything. If you had told me that when she was a baby, I would not have believe you. But now she sleeps through all her brother's crying or talking. As well as falling off the bed or sleeping half on the bed. So that's why they are sharing a room now. And it is SO nice!

4) That I want to do hooping. I watched a video, I tried it out. I'm hooked - or shall I say hooped? (Sorry.)

5) My new favorite song is Home by Philip Phillips. I had no idea he was the American Idol winner of the one season I actually followed some.

6) That freecycle is truly awesome. I scored this vintage teacher's desk, which I hope to paint a fun blue color in the future. It's huge, but solid.

7) How to run a baseball scoreboard. I could do it all day! Really.

8) How to  make yogurt in a crockpot. I was worried about how it would turn out, but it was great!

9) How to treat my wavy hair better after reading The Curly Girl Handbook. I hope to post more about what I learned and how things are going with my hair now that I'm a true "Curly Girl."

10) How to cut a boy's hair. Or not really how, but that I can wing it and it turns out okay. 


11) How to cook beets, and that you have to peel them, and that I like beets! Thanks to our awesome CSA and Joy of Cooking my veggie know-how is expanding!

It was really fun looking for things I'm "learning." There's so much I want to learn, but not always the time and sometimes I feel like I'm getting no where. But having a reason to keep tabs on it, I see that there's a lot going on!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My 100th Post - and a late announcement

I guess one hundred posts feels like a milestone. But ironically, it's kind of the beginning. As you probably noticed, I have a new title. (And a new, but not finished, look.) I meant to explain it before I did it, but this late explanation will have to do.

I do not have an eloquent explanation, as I had hoped to come up with by now. It comes from the verse that has been shaping my thoughts and life for many months now.

"but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

And every time I try to explain more, the words seem jumbled. So when they come out right, I will write them on the "About this Blog" page. Stay tuned! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Recipe: Granola Balls

It’s about time I put a recipe on here, with how much I love food and all! So here’s a new favorite of ours: Granola Balls. 

I got the recipe off of Pintrest, but I do not have the original link anymore. There are lots of different recipes around. So the credit goes to someone out there. This is not one of my creations. 

It was originally called Energy Balls, but that just sounded odd to me. And it made me think I could go ahead and eat a couple more to get through the day – for energy. I can’t say I’ve noticed great increases in energy from eating them. I just know they are delicious! They are our favorite things, all rolled up in a ball: oats, peanut butter, coconut, honey, nuts… and if you choose – chocolate!

Granola Balls
1 cup oats
2/3 cup coconut flakes
1/3 cup finely chopped nuts
½ cup ground flaxseed
½ cup mini chocolate chips, raisins, or dried cranberries
½ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup melted coconut oil (optional)

Combine oats and coconut flakes on a baking sheet. Toast in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

Put oats and coconut in a big bowl. Add nuts, ground flaxseed, and raisins, cranberries or chocolate chips. (If you are using the chocolate chips, let mixture cool first - or add and you will get Chocolate Granola Balls). Add peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and coconut oil if using. Mix well. 

Chill for at least 30 min. Next, roll mixture into 1-in balls, pressing together tightly. Store in the refrigerator.

Monday, June 17, 2013

on why loving can be hard

I hope other mamas of littles can relate. You go to put your snuggle bug down for his nap. As you nurse or rock, you love on him, cherish him, and adore his little nose. Two seconds out the door and you cringe and groan at his cry. Why? Why not just patiently step back in and rub his back a little? Or whatever it takes, lovingly.

Or your toddler whines for the first hour of the morning because she doesn't want to get dressed and she's hungry. She pesters and you pester back. And the thought of loving her in that moment is just hard.

I've been inspired lately by a couple songs: Ingrid Michaelson's "Everybody" (Everybody, everybody wants to love. Everybody, everybody wants to be loved...) and Jason Mraz' "I'm Yours" (no I won't hesitate no more, no more.... it can not wait, I'm yours). I like to listen to them on my morning jogs as I near the house. They remind me that everybody wants to love and be loved. That means my kids too. And I think, "Can't I just let go of me and be their's? Be available?" When I listen to these songs, I feel so motivated to say "I'm yours" to the world, to each person I meet. To say, "How can I help you? What are your needs?" To give up my selfish wants and ways. To simply give... of myself, my time, my energy, and my love.

But as soon as I walk in the door, all my motivation deflates. Why? Why is it so. hard. ?

As I thought about this question, I realized a few things. For one, as mamas, we give love in hard ways. We wipe bottoms, we discipline, we cook, clean, fold laundry. These are not particularly warm and fuzzy feeling inducing things (though sometimes they are). And to the ones we are continually doing these things, the love we get in return is not in the same form. Or maybe no love is returned at all. Plain and simple: being a mama is loving our children through hard work.

A couple other things that occurred to me, is that loving is hard because I am simply selfish. I want to relax, I want to listen to my music - without whining in the background. I want to be obeyed so I don't have to remind or discipline. It's all selfishness. Another thing - I try to give this agape - never ending, unconditional love - by my own strength. And that is never going to happen. That love can only channel through me from God, if I ask Him and let Him.

I feel that loving our children can be a confusing balancing act. On one hand, loving them can be something like giving them a treat or letting a chore slide, but it quickly can turn into spoiling them. Something that may feel like "sacrificial love" ("I'll pick up your toys tonight") can easily become getting walked on. It's hard to find the line between meeting one's personal needs (time to read, relax, reflect) and taking too much time or being selfish about it.

These are all hard things. Loving is hard. It's a balance act - one I can't do alone. And while I don't have the answers, I have a few practical ways I want to work on this. They are nothing new, just what I felt compelled to apply to this particular weight on my heart.

Three Ways to Work on Loving

1. Pray for love every day. At the beginning of the day and throughout, especially in difficult moments.

2. Pray for everyone. This is the easiest way to love them.

3. Look for little things to do for others. Be open to doing them. In time, this will get easier.

How is loving hard for you? Have you overcome some of these difficulties? How?

Monday, June 10, 2013

a few of my favorite things

Take a little walk with me down memory lane... 

The blouse on the left used to be a dress which I wore to my high school graduation. I turned in into a top right before my wedding and wore it on our honeymoon.

The bag was purchased at a random boutique shortly after I started my first post-college job. It was just want I needed. I used it a long time and loved it!

The third item is a blouse I bought a couple years ago when I was in dire need of a wardrobe redo. We were living in Maine at the time and one of the other baseball wives (and a good friend of mine), who has great style, went shopping with me and helped me. But, alas, grey is not one of my colors, I've since learned.

When I was sorting through my closet a while back, I knew these three things were underused, but I couldn't bring myself to pass them along.

 And then I had an idea... and finally, much later, I did it! 

Here is it!

I simply took the flowers from the grey top and stitched it to the bag. Then I sewed fabric from the other blouse over the ratty handles. It gave the bag new life! I plan to use it exclusively for my latest favorite thing: "My Day."

It's a new thing in this house. It's a day where my husband is in charge for the day and I'm free to do what I want. I got the idea from the book A Mother's Rule of Life.  I'm super happy (and blessed!) to have it!

Have you re-purposed anything lately?

Monday, June 3, 2013

another letter to my readers

I just noticed in my list of posts that this was a draft! Opps! I thought I published this a couple weeks ago... Well, here is now!

Dear faithful readers, 

You have seen many seasons in my blogging. Seasons of quiet, like lately, or a season or two of steady entries - maybe even a noisy season. The truth is, I was not sure what the balance was - for me or this space. The past couple months I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying about this space. I feel ready to make it a consistent part of my life.

There was a hurdle I needed to (and still need to at times) get over: the why. Why write on a screen, usually not knowing if people even read it? And if people do, what they thought and if it benefited them. I tried just not writing; I still wanted to write. I tried writing but not sharing; I still wanted to share. The closest answer I found was this: “Typically, when beauty delights the soul, a person seeks to share the experience. One desires an outlet to communion, someone to share the vision.” (The Feast of Friendship by Paul D. O’Callaghan) The author goes on to explain that by sharing, we form friendships. I love friendship, and I need friends. And I love to write. This blog is a place for me to share the beauty, joy, and delight I find in life in order that others may share in that experience.
After I came to terms with that, the question remained, “What, exactly, do I write about?” You and I don’t have the time for all that goes through my head! I needed focus. And so I realized that what I really want to share is the way I’m growing in my various roles: wife, mother, homemaker, daughter of God, and woman. And I made a plan. 

I’m sure the plan will change here and there, but my goal is to only write about something if fits into these four categories: natural living, food, homemaking, and life.  I realize those are pretty broad, but it does narrow it down some and gives me some focus. I also hope to regularly share some links I find helpful. Because really, everyone else says everything so much better! Overall, I want to try and have something to share once a week. Maybe one or two extra a month. We’ll see! 

As I thought about all these things, ultimately I had to come to terms with a few things. One, I am a writer (and I totally paused before I wrote that because I barely believe it). Whether or not there’s any talent, the fact remains that I enjoy writing. I love it. I need it. And if that’s the definition, then I fit it. Two, I cannot write for affirmation or to please anyone. If I do, then it won’t be genuine. I will admit, I don’t know what my “style” of writing is yet, if I even have one. So, the way I write might change here and there. Which brings me back to you, dear readers... As I grow in this space, as a writer, as a woman, will you give me grace when I stumble? And will you give me a cheer when something blesses you?  I really don’t know what I’m doing, but I feel called to do it. Thank you for joining me.

Love Always,

PS I'm also working on the look of the blog, so please be patient while it's changing looks here and there!


We were eating tacos when he told me. Our home would be here, in this town, unless God led us away. He wouldn’t look for a job elsewhere. He was putting aside pursuing a “career”. We would build our lives here

And I got chills and teared up when I told my girlfriends – all gathered around my living room. And I was so grateful.

The next step for me, naturally, was to start thinking about our “permanent” home. (I put that in parentheses because one can never know for sure.) What layout do I want? How many bedrooms? Bathrooms? And on and on. It’s something I’ve thought about before – and often. Too often. 

In fact, years ago I started collecting pictures from magazines (was I even married?). Pictures of houses and kitchens and living rooms. About a year ago I started a folder with paper for us (me, really) to write thoughts on each room and aspect of a home. So we would know what we wanted when the time came. 

And it feels as if the time has come. We know we want to be in this location, we want to give the baby his own room, and I want chickens already! We want to own, to have land, to really settle down. 

But the time has not come – as far as I can tell. We are committed to buying debt-free, but our savings are very small when you think about buying a house. And though we are still saving, it’s going to be a long time before we can buy (or build, which is my dream). 

And though I know this, my mind still works to create this future homestead. I’m starting to lean towards a smaller home, with small bedrooms, but a big living room. A smaller porch, but a big deck. I’m seeing that my wants are changing. I feel like I know what I’ll want, and what our needs will be like, in ten years, but do I? And I pray it doesn’t take us ten years… but it might. 

Last night I noticed the five or six binders under my desk and thought, “What ‘s even in those?” Do I really need them?” And I remembered all those pictures tucked away, and thought of the folder taking up room in my drawer. What do I have all that stuff? I couldn’t even remember one of those pictures. Why do I cling to them? What good is it – and can I let go?

And so I feel as if I am at a crossroads – not with the location of my home, but in my head and in my heart. Can I let go of these long-time hopes – dreams of the perfect home? Can I let go of my desire to have a house – to own – “right now!”? Can I simply trust God in His timing, lay it down, and wait patiently on Him?

I’m sure going to try. And I took a first step today. All those pictures and thoughts are in the recycling bag. When I told my husband, he stopped in his tracks and said “Really?!?” It’s that big of a deal to me. 

What is something you are struggling to let go of?