What I’m Into July 2014

Cooking – Chocolate zucchini cake, apricot jam, zucchini and tomato fry

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basically fry sliced zucchini in butter until softened with salt/pepper/herb du provence, add chopped tomatoes and simmer together for a few minutes. I like plenty of tomatoes for a saucy scramble, yum.  Good with garlic toast or with eggs for breakfast.

Best Reads – Families Where Grace is in Place, How We Love,  A Homemade Life, Pie It Forward, The Rain Stomper, Who’s Hiding?, A Roar of a Snore

Organization – Reduced available dishes in the kitchen for more efficient clean-up, shifted my sewing space to the living room for easier sewing during baby play, rearranged the master bedroom(long needed, pics soon)

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Day 19 of 31 – This Post Pending – Updated!

Check back for details later.

We were gone most of the hours between 8am and 9pm.

Hashtag, exhausted.

Ok, so here’s how the day went.

First thing in the morning we packed up the car and the babes for the 40 minute drive to Ben and Ascher’s race.  We brought coffee from home

Except in travel mugs.

Except in travel mugs.

and picked up a dozen amazing donuts.  Flavors included pumpkin pie(oh my), pecan pie, chocolate almond, salted caramel, blueberry, and coconut.

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I’ll definitely be keeping this place in mind!

Then on to the race location.  It was the Push 5K, a race specifically for stroller runners.  There were strollers of every make and model and it felt like the coolest stroller comparison shopping event ever.  People were definitely checking out everybody else’s gear.  Mostly single strollers, plenty of doubles and two triples(one jogger and one walker).  I was intrigued by a Hauck, which is a front and back (instead of side by side) double jogging stroller.

Once we had everyone warmly garbed and settled, Ascher in the stroller and Wilona in her moby, we headed for the start line.  The race announcer was dressed in a giant Easter bunny suit and the loudspeakers were blasting songs from kids tv shows and each little rider was handed a bright pinwheel.  They were definitely trying to make it fun for the kids and while there were some sleepy or slightly overwhelmed little faces there was very little crying, an impressive feat for a race with 300+ entries.  There was also a La Leche League tent for nursing moms with chairs, water, books, etc.  I was grateful for the idea of having a good spot, but didn’t end up needing it since Wilona slept almost the whole time.

Eventually, it was time to go!  There was a little bit of shuffling around as people settle into their pace, but people had mostly settled themselves accurately with walkers in the back and the fast starters in the front.  Even with a mob of strollers there didn’t seem to be too much crowding.

After everyone was off I started following the arrows to the finish line backwards and found a good spot a little ways down to grab another pic of Ascher and Ben.  I was excited to see they were in second and not too far behind the first guy!

DSC06914 (480x640)Then I walked back up to the finish line where it seemed like only a few minutes before the first place finisher appeared.  He surprisedly asked me if this was the end as he sped his double towards the finish.  Ben later calculated the more exact race distance and found it was about 1/5 of a mile short, so if the first finisher was timing himself it might make sense that he was surprised by being done already.

About two minutes later I spotted Ben, still holding second!

There!

There!

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That darn tree... Oh, and I guess I forgot to say, Ben was barefoot for the whole race.  I heard lots of murmurs about "did you see the guy with no shoes?" so it was fun to see him do so well.

Answering more questions about his lack of shoes.

Answering more questions about his lack of shoes.

At the end of the race they passed out water, fruit snacks, goldfish crackers and apples, so it was all really great for the kids involved.  More and more people came across the finish and it was fun to see the family groups come in.  Plenty of dads and moms running together, a few dads out to win(all three first finishers = men) and lots and lots of determined mamas.   Some people pulled out their bigger kids and let them run alongside for the last little bit.

Eventually Ben got Ascher out of his stroller and let him walk and Ascher had lots of fun walking around and saying hi to lots of other kids.  He found an completely adorable pair of little twin boys probably close to a year older than him and they all three stared at each other for a minute before the twins ran off to play.  Ascher was very impressed and ran off to follow them, but they were just enough older to be faster and more coordinated than him.  Ben hunted up some acorns and showed them his juggling skills, which they all three thought that was pretty fun.

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Then we loaded back into the car.  Wilona stayed asleep getting out of the moby, but had lots of happy smiles.

DSC06936 (480x640)  Then we headed over to a nearby hospital to visit Ben’s sister and her daughter, my new little niece, Cori.  She’s such a pretty little dolly!  You can read Cori’s story here.

We headed for lunch and found a place with a pretty little back courtyard eating area, empty except for us, where we tossed crumbs to friendly(well-trained, haha) finches and let Ascher run around a bit more before going home.

Once we got home I set babies down for naps and Ben went to do a quick work project.  We were then invited to dinner and football viewing with some family and a good time was had by all, except when Ascher was in the middle of the room for a touchdown and there was lots of sudden cheering.  That was some tears, poor boy, but he recovered nicely.  Then everyone home to bed.

Thus the no real blog post yesterday.  Lots and lots of fun and visiting and good food and time outside.  Exhausting, but happy.

 

Mercy

“Mercy – kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly”

No one I know is ever going to be as unkind to me as I am to myself.

I expect this is true for many people.

A grimace and sigh at looking in the mirror.

Name calling when I clatter a pot while the baby naps.

Disgust at the state of my everlastingly-behind chores.

Making things “my fault” that aren’t.

The never-ending whispers in my head of “you could dress/primp/garden/grow/eat/budget/teach/play/work/love/learn more and better”.

The “why am I doing this when I  should be playing with these babies” as they grump  while I try to accomplish.

The “I accomplished exactly nothing today”.

But.

There is a line between lambasting myself with the things I’m not and inspiring myself to find the balance of what is happy.  I think that line is called mercy.

What if –

A grimace and sigh at looking in the mirror.  “Look at your gorgeous babies, put up your hair(higher the better!), and grab some dangly earrings!”

Name calling when I clatter a pot while the baby naps.    “Hey, baby didn’t budge, happy dance and wash a couple more!”

Disgust at the state of my everlastingly-behind chores.  “50 years from now I’ll be doing the same chores.  Love those babies!”

Making things “my fault” that aren’t.  “That’s what happened this time and guess what, it worked out.”

The never-ending whispers in my head of “you could dress/primp/garden/grow/eat/budget/teach/play/work/love/learn more and better”.  “Improve two things right now.  Plan a healthy dinner, read an informative article or chapter, wrassle babies, wash two things.  Two small somethings makes stuff better.”

The “why am I doing this when I  should be playing with these babies” as they grump  while I try to accomplish.  “You’re doing it for sanity, but sanity is not improved by crying babies.  Break up the task and remember you’re not trying to fix it all at once.”

The “I accomplished exactly nothing today”.  “We read stories and learned a little and got good naps.  We went outside for a few minutes.  I guess I did something after all.”

I want to try to show myself mercy more because if God can forgive me for everything, why am I holding this stuff against myself?

Ephesians 4:32

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

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Once again inspired by Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five minute Friday word.  Click over for more about mercy!

 

Recovering a Worn-Out Glider Chair and Ottoman

Once upon a time there was a young glider chair that looked something like this.  One year for Mother’s Day it was taken home by the father of seven children.  The mother was delighted and the chair got lots of use by all the people in the house.  The mother rocked the little ones, the big ones curled up with books and stowed things in the side pockets and the little and medium ones gleefully spun the chair in circles at every opportunity.  Occasionally fingers got pinched, but overall it was a good chair.

Now time passed and the family grew so that there were 12 people in the house.  The chair began to look a bit tired and worn.  People still enjoyed it, but it wasn’t quite nice enough to be downstairs in the main room anymore so it was sent upstairs.  One day the oldest daughter got married and the mother decided the big family was done with the chair and it was time to pass it on.  The daughter eyed the chair and accepted it with a sewing project in mind.  How hard could it be to make a slip-cover?   *End of silly story-telling voice.*

I happened to have a large, purple, corduroy curtain on hand and figured that for an experimental sewing project it would work quite well.  I pinned the fabric around the chair inside out and repeatedly pulled it on and off as I sewed to test the fit.  I made the armrest and ottoman covers separately and was pretty pleased with the end result for several years.

Chair4 Then when I was expecting Ascher I decided that the chair needed a cover that was more babyish and fun.  I cruised around the fabric store, but didn’t find anything quite right for a price that I could stomach.  Then on a whim I went through the bedding section of Walmart and found a bright sheet that was only $5 for a twin size sheet.  I bought three and took them home.  I wasn’t ready yet to start sewing, so I tucked the sheet around the chair to see how it might look.  I was pleased with the look, but it stayed only that far done for months.  Eventually Ascher was born and I certainly wasn’t ready to do any sewing then, so I pulled off the sheet and put the purple cover back on.

When we found out about baby #2 I figured it was time to get serious and cover that chair!

Then I used a couple leftover pieces to make some fun throw pillows. 

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I guess this doesn’t look like leftover pieces, but the backs of the pillows are the striped fabric. :)

 

They can be used on the window seat in the baby room or used for extra support in the glider.

My little helper inspecting the final product.  The curtain is another one of the same sheets.

My little helper inspecting the final product. The curtain is another one of the same sheets.

It’s really nice to have this project finally checked off my list and I’m extremely pleased with how it all turned out!

Here's how it turned out!

Here’s how it turned out!

No-Sew Fabric Flowers Tutorial

Usually I hate the tutorials that claim to be easy or no-sew and then require some obscure bonding agent to actually accomplish, but I think this is different.  All you need is a hot glue gun(mine was just a couple bucks at Walmart) and it seriously does make the project simpler.  I’ve made the same flowers by sewing and it works, but it’s a lot faster with the glue gun.

FabFlowers01These flowers are really easy and give you a lot of impact for whatever you want them for.  I attached the pink flower above to a baby size headband for one of those fun, giant flower/little baby headbands.  I’ll sew the blue flower to a hair clip for a less over-the-top look.  Ben suggested that you could paint a tree or flower stems on a wall and then attach the big flowers for some 3D wall art.  Whatever you decide to do with them, they’re definitely fun to play with.  Here’s how I made them.

Hopefully this all makes sense to you.  Let me know if you need any more clarification and I’ll see if I can help.  I’d love a pin if you found the tutorial useful.  Thanks for reading!  :)

31 Days – An Assessment and My Favorites

Waaaay back a whole month ago I set some goals for the month of October.  I did ok with some of them and not terribly well with the others.  But, even though I didn’t manage to do exactly what I set out to do, I did get some stuff done more or more frequently than I had previously been doing it.  I did do some cleaning and organizing and prettying up the house.  I also did some sewing and hairstyling and more attentive dressing.  I didn’t do well with reading anything useful or limiting internet(probably because I never did decide exactly how I was going to do this) or blogging as often as I thought to.  Overall it was a fun month and I’m pleased with what I did get done.  I’ll definitely be trying to keep doing interesting, useful stuff more often.  I know I enjoy the effect of a good project long after it’s complete.

Favorite projects from my month –

You should go here and check out how everyone else refreshed their lives with fun and useful projects this month.  Everyone did really well!

I especially enjoyed seeing how Erika’s strict internet rules improved her time with her husband – here and here.  Makes me wish I’d really buckled down and made some rules about the important stuff.  I got lots of fun stuff done, but maybe have less to show in the areas that required more mental muscle.  Always room for improvement though, right?

I loved this account of how having the right tools for the job makes the job more pleasant.  I also loved her pretty jewelry organizer.

Recaps of weekends with my family(along with some lovely table decor!) always make me smile and this sign makes me want to get more truth written up on the walls of my home.  So important to be remembering truth.

This recipe looks amazing.  It will be made sometime soon, I’m quite sure.

So much useful stuff going on in this post!  It keeps reminding me that I haven’t yet made my applesauce for the year….  Yummy!

Good job, everyone!!

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These lovely things are the last thing related to my 31 days project.  I’ve wanted some brown, knee high boots for a while, but never found quite the right pair.  These caught my eye at the beginning of the month, but I decided I’d better wait to see if they fit into my budget for the month before buying them.  A couple days ago I decided they did and they should be here soon!  I’m very excited to see them(and praying they fit right!).  Providing they work, I’ll have to see if I can style them for you upon arrival!

Drifting to Focus

Only day 3 of 31 and I’m already feeling off track.  I know it’s not irretrievable.  I have every intention of still doing lots of fun big and small things this month.  I just feel silly for having only normal things to report for the last couple days.  Nothing exciting to show for yesterday.  Baby and I both slept badly the previous night so I was happy to get my exercise, a partially clean kitchen and a nap.  Just minimal stuff for functioning.

Isn’t he cute??

Today we were both well rested to start the day.  I exercised and (mostly) cleaned a bathroom while Ascher got his first nap.  I confess to some aimless pintresting and I know I could have gotten the bathroom donedone if I’d *sigh* focused.  After a snack for us both we walked to the park.  It was a lovely, fresh, breezy day and there was just enough fall in the air to make me wonder if I’d wish for long pants.

His mother defends the plaid hat and striped overalls by saying that it was all blue and red and white. Don’t judge, you know it works. ;)

I tried Ascher in the baby swings on the playground for the first time.  He was mellow with the idea, but not enraptured.  He gave me little smiles when I made silly faces and sounds at him, but he was definitely a bit overwhelmed with the new place and all the new things to see.  I think it’ll still be nice enough to bring him over for a little while longer, but I’m sure he’ll appreciate it as fun much more in the spring.

At some point in the evening Ben told me that he was imagining the smell of chocolate chip cookies and he was wondering if that could be made a reality, so I made some cookies(yum!) and jumped into dinner prep while they baked.  Biscuits with tuna gravy and corn and peas on the side made a yummy, easy dinner.  We watched an episode of Flashpoint.  I like that show, but wow, it’s serious sometimes!  I don’t get teary for much, tv or movie-wise, but this one had me at the end scene.  Sad!

Ack, moving away from emotional displays now.

I stuck a roast in the crockpot to slow cook overnight.  We remembered that it was maybe going to freeze tonight.  I tried to put the baby to bed.  Note the tried.  Ben went out and picked 60lbs of tomatoes and peppers.  Holy smokes, guess those’ll need processing pretty soon here.  We’ll have LOTS of tomatoes in the pantry!  :D  Baby went to sleep.  I wrote a blog post.  Baby is waking up.  Insert deep thoughts here about the need for focus.  Never mind, Baby is not waking up.  Which means I need to truly finish this post and not make you imagine it… bummer, haha.

I’ve already learned a few things from this project.  One, that I’m very susceptible to being inspired by others projects, to the point that I want to drop what I’m doing and start something that someone else showed me.  Obviously I need more practice in focus.

Two, that if I don’t have something in mind to do I can fizzle the day away looking for inspiration.  Why one and two don’t peacefully combine is beyond me.

Three, that a day of perfectly normal, needful things is not a failure of this project.  I had a really good day today.  I made dinner and cookies and exercised and played outside and made the baby laugh and cleaned the kitchen and started dinner for tomorrow and hung out with my husband and cleaned a bathroom(!!).  I did a lot of stuff,  even if it wasn’t an interesting tutorial or recipe or home transformation.  I guess what I did today was focus on the joy of normal.  And that’s certainly something I can never get too much practice in.

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Are you wanting to shorten a long to-do list?  We’d love to have you join our 31 Days to Focus and Refresh as we seek to focus on the things that matter to refresh our hearts, homes and habits.  Even if you can only join in for a day we’d love to see what you’re up to.