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Posts from the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Weekend Links

Some links I enjoyed reading this week:

Mean Girls and the Fear of Rejection

How to Find Wonder in the Midst of Wash and Rinse and Repeat Days

If My Child Marries Yours

One Important Pursuit to Find Greater Happiness

 

Happy weekend!

Blogs I Love

Finding a few minutes here and there to keep up with my favorite blogs is something I love to do. The ones I read are all unique in their own ways, but many of them have common threads —  homemaking, faith, living simply, motherhood. I thought I’d share the ones I read regularly, so you can enjoy their fabulousness too, if you aren’t already a fan!

(I read these through the Feedly app on my phone that updates whenever each blog has a new post. This app saves me tons of time — I used to just revisit the sites repeatedly, checking to see if there was a new post. Oftentimes there wasn’t, so I was just wasting time clicking around).

Here are some of the blogs I’m subscribed to, along with brief descriptions:

  1. Enjoying the Small Things – motherhood, slowing down & enjoying life, party planning ideas
  2. Bower Power – home improvement projects, motherhood (she’s also insanely funny)
  3. Young House Love – home improvement projects, parenthood, “green” living
  4. A Holy Experience – faith, living with gratefulness (author of the book One Thousand Giftslove her poetic writing)
  5. Momastery – motherhood, faith, living & loving bravely (also hilarious)
  6. iHeart Organizing – hence the title…tons of organizing goodness
  7. The Art of Simple – living slowly & simply, faith
  8. The Happiness Project – knowing yourself, tips for happier living

So those are verrry brief descriptions, but I love these blogs and keep up with every post these people write. Check ’em out if you get the chance!

What are your favorite blogs? I love discovering new ones to read.

 

 

Friday Faves

Some of my favorite things from this past week…

Fave Read: I finally finished the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (what the Game of Thrones TV show is based on), which took forever since it was a whopping 700+ pages. So this week I started something new – And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I love love loved his previous books (The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns), so I’m excited to dig into his latest one.

Fave TV show: We’ve been binge-watching Netflix’s House of Cards this week. And perfect timing, since season 2 premieres today. About a South Carolina congressman, this show is intriguing and addictive. And I’m a fan of pretty much anything director David Fincher touches.

Fave Treat: Since we’ve been snowed iced in for the past few days thanks to winter storm Pax, I decided we needed some kind of yummy dessert to snack on. I had some cake mix in the pantry that was about to go out of date, so I whipped up some of these cake mix cookies. I used white cake mix instead of strawberry. but a dash of red sprinkles added some sweet Valentine’s charm.

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Fave Link: This girl – always nails it. Loved her post about how single parents are awe-inspring and admirable and such warriors. Especially since having Weston, I definitely applaud those who do this parenting thing on their own. This Valentine’s holiday is a great time to remember that real love isn’t picture-perfect and tidy and easy…it’s tough and it can be exhausting. It means putting others before ourselves, which isn’t usually comfortable. And whether that love is through parenthood or marriage or family or friendship, it’s not easy, but the most important things in life usually aren’t.

Fave Instagram: Our house, during this snowstorm craziness. (Photo edited using the Waterlogue app….with which I’m obsessed).

Painted in Waterlogue

Here’s to warmer temps hopefully arriving soon. Wishing you a restful and happy weekend!

Friday Faves

(I’m writing this “Friday Faves” post even though it’s technically now Saturday and no longer Friday…oops).

Some things I’m currently loving…

1. Fave Pretty Thing – I stumbled across the etsy shop Ivy Lane Accessories this week and am so obsessed with these gorgeous post earrings. I’ll definitely be ordering some, not only because they’re so adorable, but because little baby fingers can’t grab them and inflict all kinds of pain on my earlobes. :)

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2. Fave Treat – I made this Valentine’s snack mix a couple weeks ago and am still making more batches. It’s more of a dessert than a healthy snack (peanuts, dark chocolate m&ms, and marshmallows), but it’s a perfect mix of sweet and salty and festive Valentine color…and it just makes me happy.

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3. Fave Read – I’m reading Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider and loving all of her wisdom about simple living — what it means, why it matters, and how to get there. (I wrote this post about her new book, Notes From a Blue Bike).

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4. Fave Instagram – Family selfie on the floor during play time.

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5. Fave Entertainment – We watched the movie Enough Said this past week and really enjoyed it. Since having Weston, we haven’t really watched that many movies; it’s easier to just watch TV shows since they come in smaller time segments. But we’re trying to get back into watching more movies, and this one did not disappoint…funny and sweet and sentimental of course since James Gandolfini recently passed. Worth the time to watch, for sure.

Happy Weekend!

 

 

Being Intentional & Simplifying in 2014

This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour. Tsh Oxenreider (from The Art of Simple) has a new book out, Notes From a Blue Bike. As part of her book launch, she’s invited readers to share posts about their own journeys toward living slower, simpler, and with more intention.

My “theme word” for 2014 is intentional. I love making goals and resolutions, and I can go a little overboard with way too many goals at a time, so it helps to narrow my focus to one or two key words. I chose “intentional” for this year because it’s so easy to go through my days and feel like I’m just letting life happen instead of consciously making choices that match my values or actively choosing the way I want my life to be. Since Tsh’s new book is all about living more intentionally, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and get some fresh inspiration.

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I thought I’d share a few areas of my life in which I’m striving to be more intentional this year…

  • Time – There are a lot of changes I want to make with how purposefully I spend my time, from little things like not wasting all of my spare minutes scrolling through various social media, to bigger things like how we spend our evening hours together as a family. With my husband’s new job, we have less time at home together (he was working from home a lot before), so we’re trying to make better choices with how we spend our time together at night. We both feed Weston dinner and give him his bath, so it’s nice to have those family rituals each evening. But we’re also working on healthier boundaries with technology — not being glued to our various devices but making the time for more conversation and more meaningful time together. For example, if we feel like watching TV, we try to choose a show we both really like and enjoy it together without other distractions instead of just leaving the TV on as background noise while we do other stuff. I also want to use the time I spend feeding my son more intentionally — I nurse Weston six times a day, so that’s a huge chunk of time that I could be using more wisely – by just slowing down and resting, or reading something I actually want to read, instead of playing around on my phone or checking email repeatedly while I’m feeding him.
  • Friendships — I want to be more intentional with putting in the effort and time to build new relationships as well as being consistent in connecting with the friends I already have. Things like regular phone dates with out-of-town friends and showing up to play dates where I can meet and get to know neighbors and other mom friends (Weston and I recently joined two play groups — one in our neighborhood and one for moms in the northeast Columbia area — which we’re really excited about :)) So often friendships get put on the back-burner when we think we’re too busy to really invest time in other people, but I want to prioritize relationships more this year.
  • Our Home — I didn’t realize how cluttered our little house had gotten until all the baby items came along and we realized we have nowhere to store it all! It’s pretty embarrassing how cluttered some areas of our home are, and a shame that we can’t even use some rooms/closets because they’re just overflowing with STUFF that we don’t even use. Areas like our office, office closet, bedroom closet, and pantry need a major overhaul. My goal is to simplify, take A LOT of stuff to Goodwill, and have room for the things in our house we actually use and love.
  • Filling my cup — Motherhood is the most rewarding and joyful experience, but it requires a constant giving of yourself and your time and your energy, and that’s not always easy. I’m learning to be less selfish with my own plans and wants, but I’ve found that I need to carve out at least some time each day to do things I love, like reading a little bit before bed each night, even if it’s only a page. Or setting aside just a few minutes here and there to be creative, like working on a digital photo book project or blogging after Weston goes to sleep at night. When I don’t make time for “filling my cup” with some of these things that reenergize me, I feel drained and not myself. And when I’m not making regular time for things just for me, I’m much more prone to getting impatient and frustrated throughout the day.

Do you have a theme word for 2014? How are you hoping to live differently this year? I’d love to hear. :)

 

Weekend Links

Happy weekend! Some links I enjoyed last week:

 

It’s a stormy day here, so I’m trying to spend as much time as possible on the couch with a hot drink and a book. (And trying to ignore the fact that it looks like IKEA threw up in here — all of our bedroom furniture/decorations are currently thrown in other rooms thanks to our busted water pipe damage still being fixed).

 

 

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 silly boy doing his crazy-sleepy laughs

Hoping your weekend is filled with all of your own favorite kinds of rest.

2013 Recap & Happy New Year

I’m a few days late, but Happy New Year!

2013 was a big one for us. Some highlights:

1. The best part of 2013 for us was adding our sweet baby boy to our fam. Weston has brought so much joy into our lives. Motherhood is by far the toughest thing I’ve ever done, but we’ve been having so much fun these past five and a half months. Even on the most frustrating days (like when he decides to boycott naps all day, like yesterday), all he has to do is look at me with that big gummy grin of his and it’s all worth it. We’re so blessed to have such a sweet little guy.

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2. This one is connected to #1, so maybe it should be called #1.5 instead of #2, but being pregnant for over half of 2013 was also a highlight. I loved being pregnant. Yes it was uncomfortable at times, and the second half of my pregnancy was in a way a very scary time because of a potential umbilical cord problem we faced (more about that later), but I would do it again in a heartbeat. (Ok maybe not in a heartbeat — more like in a couple of years, when I forget that whole newborn-never-sleeping-at-night part). Anyways, I loved feeling Weston’s kicks and having a big ol’ pregnant belly and not having to count calories. And having cleavage for the first time, that was a plus. K, moving right along.

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 3. Quitting my job. That was a biggie. I miss the feeling of productivity I had with teaching, and I miss the people I worked with, but this was the right decision for me for now. Even though I most likely won’t go back to middle school (God bless the brave souls of middle school teachers!), I’m sure I’ll return to teaching at some point. I’m loving being at home with the munchkin, so leaving teaching definitely goes in the “plus” column for 2013.

4. Joining community groups through our church. We’ve been attending our church for a while and love it — everything from the pastor to the music to the fact that we can wear jeans and get free coffee. But we hadn’t joined a small group, so we didn’t feel very connected. I am generally not the type of person to just show up to something where I will know absolutely nobody and actually participate (in terms of scary things, that ranks right up there for me with spider attacks and giving speeches), but I knew it was time to make the leap and get connected. I wanted to actually know other people when we showed up for church on Sundays instead of just smiling and saying hello to people whose names we didn’t even know.

So, I signed up for one, and one rainy day this past summer, I put on my brave girl pants and showed up. And I’m so glad I did. Those last months of my pregnancy were the scariest in terms of the cord knot we knew was threatening Weston’s life (but praise God it didn’t cause any problems!), and the book I read with this group of women was just what I needed during that season. I was in a different group this Fall, and it was wonderful, too. And (!) we actually know people at our church now, so yay. Branching out of my comfort zone and signing up for these groups was a definite highlight of the year.

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I’m thankful for the ways we were challenged and grew this past year, in our faith and in our marriage and in becoming parents. It’s been a crazy good year. Here’s to a 2014 that undoubtedly has many more exciting things in store.

Happy New Year!

photo-3P.S. I think this just might be my favorite pic of the year: my men in their Gamecock gear.