Spring!

Spring is finally here (I think). I'm itching to put flowers in the ground, but we've still got a few nights ahead where it could freeze, so I'm holding off a bit longer. I decided to take Jonathan to the greenhouse down the street the other day though.

Read More

Changes...

May has come and gone, and this site has remained undisturbed. My regular readers may be somewhat used to this, as my creativity, hand in hand with my free time, tends to come in fits and spurts. I am ever working on this, but in the meantime, thank you for being patient with me. :) 

Read More

Things I Love, Part 2.

Time for another Things I Love post! First of all, I love etsy.com. All kinds of cool stuff there.

il_fullxfull.292208689.jpg

These are unpaper towels. They look great. Eventually I hope to get some and switch over, not needing paper towels anymore. Buy them here.

il_fullxfull.361891356.jpg

These are just plain fun. :) 

il_fullxfull.276904255.jpg

I plan to get one of these when I actually have dirt to plant in. Each notch is an inch, so it helps you accurately plant seeds and bulbs to the correct depth.

il_fullxfull.351552545.jpg

Just. So. Cute! Buy here

il_fullxfull.214245948.jpg

Makes me laugh. Every time. Buy here.

P.S.

I don't get any money from any of these links, these people don't even know who I am. Just want to share the cool stuff I've found. :)

New Quilt.

Guys, I just had to share this with you. I'm not paid anything for this, full disclosure, I just happened to get myself this quilt and wanted to share the deal with you.

These quilts are $20-30 dollars right now, depending on what size you get, and the shipping is $5. They are thin but rather heavy, making for a nice winter quilt with another blanket, or possibly a nice summer quilt all on its own. (Have yet to test this, as I've only had ours a couple weeks.) I bought mine when they were on sale for $12.50 (the queen, we bought the blue one) but at $25 (again for the queen size) they are still a steal. I highly recommend you check them out. Also, these quilts, same prices, are great looking, though I don't own one myself and so cannot attest to the quality, (it's probably good though).

Dishes.

I always put off doing dishes. It's not that I terribly despise doing them, and I definitely enjoy the result of having a clean kitchen, but there are just so many other things I'd rather be doing. My mom has always taught me that it makes things much easier if you wash dishes as you go, as in washing as you make them, so when you're done cooking you don't have a mountain of dishes left behind. Also, she recommends finishing any meal dishes immediately following said meal. I've never mastered either of these things. Sometimes I think it would make life much easier if I looked forward to them, if I enjoyed the actual washing of dishes act. Who knows...

Merry Christmas!

My senior year of high school, I convinced my dad that, despite having never owned one previously, I would prefer an apple laptop for college instead of a dell. The iBook I received then held up quite well through most of college until a shirley temple was spilled on it accidentally my junior year. After that, while it still worked, thanks to the quick rescue made by my husband, (then fiancé), it had a weird faded stripe running down the center of the screen. It was also noticably slower than it had previously been, partly due to the spill, and partly due to software updates that quickly outstripped its hardware. These issues combined with a fraying power cord inspired the purchase of an iMac, which has since served me well.

Lately, though, my iMac has been having, well, "issues". Nothing too concrete, save a few hard drive hiccups, increasing slowness, and a mic that has not worked well for as long as I can remember. It is showing its age though, and my husband and I have been considering replacing it for some time. This Christmas, he surprised me with an early christmas present of a MacBook Air! I love it, and I no longer have to worry about my computer dying on me unexpectedly.

What does this all mean for you, my lovely readers? Well, anyone who has been around here for awhile has probably noticed that I'm rather inconsistent about posting. The fact is, I'm rarely in the office with a quiet bit of time to type up a post. Most of the time I chase our lively toddler around the apartment, and when he's sleeping I'm likely doing clean-up, damage control, preparation for the following day's whirlwind, or simply unwinding. Now, with a laptop again, I hope to be able to be more consistent sharing here. Here's to hoping!

Facelift.

I love using Squarespace to host my site. Their service is impeccable, and they make it ridiculously easy for me to customize and play with my site. Today Squarespace released a bevy of new site templates, and I found three that I loved for this site. What you see is what won out in the end. (The other two may be cycled through at various times throughout the year, maybe...) Anyway, hope you enjoy the redesign as much as I do! 

Things I love.

This. Agnes over at KnockKnocking actually inspired me to make my own wreath. :)

See? :)

This is beautiful. Love.

With all the clocks on all of the electronics around our home, any clock we choose to hang on the wall has to be art as well. While I'm waiting to invest in any major decorations till we have a more permanent home, I definitely love this.

I've been mildly obsessed with square cake stands lately, as I don't have a cake stand I can fit a 8x8/9x9 cake on. However, this happens to be one of my favorites, and it doesn't even work for that! Oh well. Love anyway. :)

Of course, above all things, this I love the most.

My Family. Happy Father's Day, my sweet Chris!

Mornings.

I am NOT a morning person. I can't seem to get my body moving in the early hours, and when my son wakes me up each day, (yes, he wakes me up, I almost never use an alarm,) I drag through morning routine. I'm not even really a coffee drinker, so I don't get that boost to help jolt my eyes open.

However.

On those rare mornings, like this one, where circumstances work out just right that I am the first one awake, me, not the noisy, lovable two year old, I get to experience that special type of peace and majesty that God seems to share with us only in the wee hours of the morning. (For me, that's any time before 7 am, just so we're clear.)

Last night, I developed a migraine. I don't get them often, and usually, with my low tolerance for medication, some excedrin will cure it pretty quickly. Not so this time. I was running a temp, feeling sick to my stomach from the brightness of the lights that were on in the next room, and the loudness of my husband quietly talking with me. He sent me to bed at 9:30; this is unheard of for a girl who usually goes to bed anytime between 11:30 and 2 am. Consequently, when I woke up at 3:30 to a bird singing outside my window, I was AWAKE. I laid there for another half hour, willing myself back to sleep, telling myself I'd regret getting up when the light of day finally touched my tired eyes. Finally, though, I decided to get up, enjoy the peace and quiet, do my devotions, enjoy an uninterrupted breakfast, and deal with some prep work for chick week. That was two hours ago, and I still feel well-rested, and now, so grateful that I got this time of peace. 

Mornings can be beautiful after all, it seems. :)

Gardening.

I began my garden for this year in the first week of april, mainly due to the fact that we had gorgeous weather, and that was expected to continue. I've decided to branch out a bit on what varieties of herbs I grow this year. I've chosen Purple Sage, Pineapple Sage, Lemon Thyme, Purple Oregano, Chocolate Mint, Rosemary (holdover from last year...), Curly Leaf Parsley, and Hidcote Lavender. I'm still working on getting basil, of which I hope to get African Blue Basil, which is sterile and won't die when it blooms like all other basil, but as none of the greenhouses in town are planning to get any, my hopes aren't high. I'd also like to get a bay tree, but they were not ordered in as of when we got the other plants. The rest of the garden will be filled with pretty, blooming flowers that we can enjoy simply for their beauty.

As we live in an apartment, all of these things are in pots, which are now sitting in our living room, since it suddenly dropped to 28°F today and began to snow. As it looks to be clearing up, though, and nothing has actually stuck, I hope to move everything back outside tomorrow.

Posting.

I've made some discoveries about my blog over the years I've kept it. First of all, I post whenever I feel like it, not on any sort of schedule, despite often trying to keep the posts regular. I blog more when my family is occupied, or when I'm on a laptop and can post while enjoying their company. I'm still working out how to keep myself motivated to continue sharing with you all, but I will say this. I do love having this site. It's a lovely spot to share my thoughts once in awhile, and I love the conversations that come up over a recipe, a picture, or whatever is going on at the moment. There may be changes ahead to site design, content, et cetera, but what will stay constant is my love to share with all of you. So thank you, for sticking with me and leaving a thought every so often. If you have favorite posts, requests for content, or any input on where this website should head, please let me know. Thanks again!

Happy Discoveries.

This weekend I am visiting family to celebrate my Gramma Eva's 85th birthday. While I'll post on this whole weekend after it's through, I thought I'd share a lovely surprise from today. This afternoon, my mom and I snuck away from the house to run a few errands and to get a new pair of jeans for me, as mine are now too large. (yay!) After trying on MANY pairs in different cuts, lengths, and styles, we made the lovely discovery that I am down not one size, as I thought, but two jean sizes! Woot! The new jeans are ever so slightly tight, but as the next size up was falling off, they'll work well. Besides, today was that much more incentive to keep working out! (let me tell you, I needed that!) on top of all that, I got a free shirt, just for buying my jeans! Awesome day. :)

Summertime.

Wow, it's been a crazy summer. I feel as if I'm finally settling back into routine after three major trips, a couple illnesses, and a few other upheavals this summer. I remember really looking forward to this summer, looking forward to the weather, the farmers markets, the lovely fresh produce available, and the family time. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed all of that, and more. Suddenly though, fall is staring me in the face, and I feel as though I've missed something. As though I need to squeeze in one more smoothie, one more walk, a splash in the pool, something. I never made popsicles. :)

While I contemplate all of this, I anticipate what is ahead. Fall, my favorite season, with the leaves changing colors, light jackets and the occasional scarves needed, and a cool, clean crispness in the air. A season of apple pie, applesauce, apple cider...I can get carried away in apple season. :)

My hope is that I can squeeze every last drop of happiness out of summer, and fully enjoy fall and the coming winter as well. Too often I get caught up in the day to day trials, and I miss the changes God presents all around me. I hope to change that, and truly appreciate what He's shared.

Money Saving Tips.

Whether or not the economy is up or down, (and it still seems pretty down...) we all benefit from saving money, no matter whether we're saving for a nice night out or a new car or home. I've decided to compile my list of money saving tips that I've discovered or that people have given me over the years. Please share any you've found in the comments section.

1. Cook at home. A meal out for two people can be anywhere from thirty dollars on up. (Twenty if you're lucky.) A meal at home can be less than four dollars a person. It's amazing what you can save by simply cooking your favorite foods at home. Can't cook? Learn. Trust me, there are plenty of websites, classes, and people out there willing to help you get acquainted with your kitchen. If you happen to know me in real life, I would be happy to be one such person, just saying. :) If you choose to go the website route, please check my 'Sites I Follow' section for a plethora of sites to start with.

2. Related to number 1, consider doing a potluck meal with friends, where everyone brings a little something to share, but no one has to cook a full meal. I've yet to really try this, but I'd like to. Also, you can try a round robin, where everyone takes a night of a week, or one night a month, and you cook one meal for the group. This is more dangerous, as far as saving money goes, as you can end up spending as much to feed a crowd as you would on your groceries for the week. The nice side of it is that you only have to cook that one day, and you get a variety of meals you may never cook otherwise.

3. Also related to number 1, take a list to the grocery store, and stick to it. This helps you keep your purchases reasonable, rather than impulsive. There is a bit of margin, if, say, you forgot to put milk on the list, but try not to make too many exceptions.

4. If you like your lattes, chai, or cappuccinos, or just good old plain coffee or tea, make them at home. The mark up on these drinks at a coffee shop is horrendous. Granted, it's nice to treat yourself once in awhile, but try not to make it a habit.

5. Garden. I live in an apartment, as many of you know. I still have a rather large container garden where I get nearly all my herbs. (I refuse to grow cilantro, as I can't stand the smell of it. That is the one herb I will buy when a recipe calls for it, simply because I don't want it in my garden.) The mark up on herbs compared to what you can do with a bit of dirt and some seeds is remarkable. Sometimes you can even get the seeds for free. (I have yet to do this, but one of my sisters does regularly.) Contact your local community garden and see if anyone will allow you to harvest some seeds from their plants. Most are more than willing.

6. Open your windows, as weather permits. Turn off air conditioning, lights, whatever you can, and let the outdoors provide for your needs. Also, turn off the light as you leave the room.

7. De-clutter. Not only will you enjoy being in your home more, but you may find things you can sell, or even donate, (tax write off optional).

8. Rent movies, try Netflix, Hulu, etc. This has become a necessity for us, as taking a toddler to a movie is rather difficult. The lovely thing, though, is that you can have cookies, dinner, home-popped popcorn, or whatever is your fancy, without trying to 'sneak it in' to the theater.

9. Walk. This applies to working out, or simply trying to get somewhere. You save money on gas, and gym memberships to boot!

10. If you have kids, trade babysitting nights, or days if you can, with other couples. This will save on the cost of a babysitter, and you don't have to worry about trusting the 14 year old to know what to do in case of an emergency. :) We've done this to some extent, mostly trading a couple days every once in awhile with other stay-at-home moms. This also ensures that your child will have some other kids to play with.

Gardening.

Well, my garden is well under way. I did find my Marguerite Daisies, but it turns out the particular variety I was searching for is only nicknamed a daisy, and is actually a Argyranthemum. In any case, I was estatic to find it. Lately, I'm not so estatic about it. It's a six inch high brown bushy lump. I've followed all the care instructions, and yet it's dying. Does anyone out there know much about Argyranthemum frutescens? Please let me know if you've got any advice. Thanks!

Spring Cleaning and Gardens.

I find myself in the midst of spring cleaning. It is absolutely gorgeous outside, and I've locked myself indoors with noxious chemicals. (Well, mainly clorox wipes and dust rags, but still...) It looks so lovely outside, I find myself wanting my home to compare, if not match, that beauty. And so, with dust rag in hand, I have been sorting through my shelves, my cabinets, and my closets and dusting everything in sight while tossing in the donation bin anything that has seen better days.

My goal is to finish in time that I can go exploring in greenhouses all over town. I'm greatly anticipating the revival of my deck garden, which beautifies my view immensely. I'm planning on growing mint this year, in addition to the usual basil, tomatoes, etc. You see, I love mint tea, but it never occurred to me to grow my own, until this year. So, that is what I will do. I will try to keep you all updated with pictures of how my garden does this year, perhaps as incentive for me to keep it well-watered. (I'm always forgetting to water!) Also, I think this is the year that I'll test out hanging baskets, as I've learned of a better technique to deal with higher ceilings to hang from. (Replace the plastic hanger with nylon cord, and string to chosen length...stronger, and prettier, and at the right height!) I'd LOVE to grow marguerite daisies, but I'm afraid they wouldn't hold up well to our second floor winds. We shall see what I come home with! 

Intermission.

I apologize for the lack of posts this month. My church here in Lincoln is putting on their 19th annual easter pageant this week, and as the interim choral director, I'm rather involved. :) Regular posting should resume in April, after the holiday. Until then, Happy Easter!

If you are interested in attending our pageant, upcoming performances are at Southview Baptist Church in Lincoln, NE, on the 26th, 27th, and 28th at 7 pm. There is an additional performance on Saturday the 27th at 3 pm.  Our pageant depicts events in Christ's life including his death and resurrection. It is fairly realistic, so if you have very young children you may want to consider the provided childcare. (You can trust the childcare, I'm trusting them with my son as well.) :) I hope you are able to join us!