Sunday, March 19, 2017

February Reads



February was such a strange month for reading.  I worked my way through only two books.  Usually the middle of winter is the time of year that I really devour books.  One of those books was actually a Bible Study that I just finished.  I love hearing Bible Study reviews just as much as I enjoy hearing about different books that others read so I am including them here.  

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple:  I picked up this adorable book in December at a lovely little book store just a few miles from the beach.  I thought it looked like the perfect beach read but I didn't get around to reading it until this month.  We spent a lot of time at the beach in December but I didn't read much.  I was too busy exploring with my kiddos to kick back and read.  I honestly think I bought this book based on the cover.  The title is just adorable!  This book tells the tale of a teenager named Bee who comes to terms with her imperfect mother named Bernadette.  Her mother is quite the complex character.  I'm not sure why but this book just wasn't for me.  I had a hard time getting into it but I finished the book because I really like closure.  Anyone else like that?

Entrusted: A Study of 2 Timothy by Beth Moore: One of my first goals when I joined our new church was to get plugged into a Bible Study.  I love studying the Bible with other women so I was super excited to take part in this study.  I knew nothing about this study before I cracked open the front cover.  (It's actually been a really long time since I worked through one of Beth Moore's group Bible Studies.)  Most of the six weeks I spent working through this study I felt like I was drinking from a fire hydrant.  It was really good but man it was so fast.  I'm definitely someone who enjoys sinking my teeth into a book for literally months.  Overall I enjoyed Entrusted and Beth Moore's writing style is just lovely.
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Currently Reading:

Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams Are Delayed by Betsy Childs Howard

Quick Tips for Busy Families by Jay Payleitner

When People Are Big and God Is Small by Edward T. Welch

Woman Code by Alissa Vitti

Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette

What books did you read last month?  Do you have any recommendations?  This month I'm specifically looking for children's audio book recommendations.  The kids and I will be going on a 9 hour road trip to Arkansas alone! I'd love to hear your favorite audio book recommendations that won't drive me crazy in the car.  


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

This Week's Goals


I just finished up my current Bible Study on the book of 2 Timothy this afternoon and man am I fired up!  I just keep thinking: set some goals, get your work done, enjoy your family, and work hard to further the Gospel this week! Here's what I'm focusing on this week:

Marriage, Mothering, & Family:
1.  Eli starts soccer practice this week!  This is his first time playing and I'm so excited for him.  I also need to take him to the store to buy some related sports equipment before practice.  Eli and Eva are also continuing with gymnastics and start a new session this week. 
2. Read three chapters of God's Promises by Sally Michael aloud to the children this week.  This book is fantastic and I"m hoping we can finish by the end of the month so I can let my sister-in-law borrow it when I see her.  We have also read the first book in this series entitled God's Names.  
3.  Enjoy an at-home date night and spend some time intentionally chatting about life.  

Homemaking: 
4.  Have our house inspected for potential damage from the tree that landed on our roof.  (I'm not anticipating damage but just wanted to make sure since I can't actually see our roof.  It is really high up so I'm not going to risk climbing onto the roof.)  
5.  Spend at least two hours working on gathering tax information.
6.  Order new lamp post and light fixture from Home Depot.  

Personal: 
7.  Finish reading Seasons of Waiting and begin reading another book which is yet to be determined.  Any suggestions?    (Perhaps a nice long visit to the library is in order.)
8.  Exercise three times.  We just joined a gym last weekend so I'm hoping to get in some great exercise this week.

Ministry & Friendships
9.  Spend time catching up with a friend on the phone.
10.  Attend a women's conference at our church this weekend!  Yipee!  I'm super excited.  It's been a while since I've been able to attend a conference specifically geared towards women in person so this will be quite the treat.

What goals do you have for this week?  Did your home have any damage from the storms and tornadoes from last week?  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

February at Our Home

We love family fun days!  After enjoying a Madcap puppet show we enjoyed dinner at Brandon's favorite IHOP!
 We have now been in our new home for three months.  Our hearts are beyond thankful at the Lord's good gift of blessing us with a home that we love so much that is so close to Brandon's new job.  When we began looking for a home I doubted that we would be able to find what we were looking for but the Lord had other ideas!  I'm still amazed that we found this little haven so quickly.  It is our prayer that God would use our home to bless and encourage all who enter it.

This month Eva has been obsessed with art.  She spends hours drawing,
painting, coloring, using pastels, and even this aquadoodle mat.  
 This month we enjoyed a wonderful visit from Brandon's parents who came all the way from Arkansas.  It's always great to see Nina & Poppy Steve.  They haven't seen our home since the weekend we moved in so it was neat to show them the small progress we have made.  We've also been discussing a partial basement finishing but Brandon and I can't seem to agree on the layout design.  (We are currently weighing the pros and cons of an open layout.)

We have both chosen to invest first in others so honestly our progress with the house is going a little slow.  The majority of our house is unpacked but I really haven't touched the boxes that are in the basement.  (Sounds like a great weekly goal huh?)  When given the option to organize something or spend time building new friendships I am opting to spend time with friends.  I'm thankful for the many people who have made us feel so welcome so far.  We have enjoyed play dates and one of the best super bowl parties ever.

A sweet collage from one of our first park outings here!  If you look closely
you can see that Eli is wearing his sister's helmet.  We still haven't found his!
 As part of getting more involved in our community both children have enjoyed taking gymnastics lessons.  Evangeline's occupational therapist actually recommended gymnastics since we were ready for a therapy break.   I have been so pleasantly surprised to watch Eva at gymnastics!  She is a completely different little lady.  Eli has also loved the challenge and Ninja Warrior aspect of his gymnastics class.

The month of February has felt like such a whirlwind with the crazy weather we experienced.  We enjoyed both snow and days that felt like summer.  One day it reached 81 degrees!  I have lived somewhere in Kentucky my entire life and I can't remember a February this warm.  We have enjoyed playing at three different parks and look forward to exploring the other parks that our city has to offer.
We had a great time visiting the zoo with friends this month.
I think a big part of me is still holding out for a nice big snowstorm before Spring hits in a few weeks.  February ended up being a weird month.  Eva was sick for a week and then I also caught a bug.  Thankfully we are all feeling better now.  I also didn't really read at all which is so out of character for me!  I think I'm ready to tackle a few house projects and squeeze in as much fun as possible this month!

Here's to a wonderful month of March friends.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Reads


Ah January.  The month of cozy warm fires and large stacks of books to devour.  At the beginning of January I really thought I was going to cut my reading time in half to allow more time for other projects around the house since we moved in December.  After a long chat with my wise husband I changed my mind.  As of right now I plan on reading the same number of books that I did last year.  Here's a look at what I read this past month.    

What's up with the Fig Leaves? by Heather Thieneman:  Let me start by saying wow.  What a thoroughly researched and thought provoking book.  I probably haven't taken the time to think long and hard about modesty since the time five years ago that I taught a Middle School Girl's Bible Study.  I was blown away by Thieneman's careful research and clear humility which was coupled with grace.  This was a wonderful read that I whole heartily recommend.  If you happen to come across this book pay special attention to the last paragraph on page 199.  The book is worth its cost just in that one paragraph.

Enjoy by Trilia Newbell:  I'm super excited to finally be reading one of Newbell's books.  This author has been on my "to read" good reads shelf for a long time.  I found this book both incredibly encouraging and challenging rolled up into one.  I even took the time to journal through the questions at the end of a few of the chapters.  Throughout this book Newbell touches on what it means to truly delight daily in good gifts from the Lord.  Enjoy was a true joy to read.  Please note that I did receive a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books.

The Returning by Rachelle Dekker: Let me start by saying that I chose this book in order to stretch myself.  It's really not my genre of choice.  I guess you could call it a futuristic, Christian science fiction book about a future dystopian society.  In some ways it reminded me of a suspenseful movie that I might watch with my husband. That said I did enjoy the book for the most part.  It is a beautiful (somewhat allegorical) story of the beauty of forgiveness.  I knew that this book was part of a series but for some reason I didn't realize that it was the third book in the series until after I finished reading it.  Reading the previous books in the series would have definitely been helpful to help understand different aspects of the book.  I think I would recommend reading the other Seer Novel books first.  Overall it was a nice read that I think many readers would enjoy.  Please note that I did receive a review copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.  My review did not have to be positive.

Good News for Weary Women by Elyse Fitzpatrick: Every time I read a book by Elyse Fitzpatrick it is like a fresh wind of grace and encouragement blowing into my heart.  This book was no different.  I loved having Elyse remind me of the good news of the Gospel in the midst of my long to-do lists.  (We just bought a home and moved in December.) This book w excellent resource to combat the lie that our worth as women is measured by what we do.

To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Sandra Byrd: Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres but I realize it's probably not every one's favorite.  (My chiropractor was really amused when she found out I enjoy historical fiction.)  I find myself really enjoying this author.  I also read Mist of Midnight in December which I found fascinating.  This book is the tale of two best friends: Meg Wyatt and Anne Boleyn.  I found the book to be delightful but if you know anything about history you already know how this book is going to end.  What a bummer.  I wouldn't say knowing the ending completely ruined the book but it was a bit disappointing.

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines: Yeap.  I'm definitely a fan of the Gaines' tv show Fixer Upper on HGTV.  This book was simply adorable.  It told the back story of how they met and their first ten years or so of marriage before they began filming their hit television show.  I found it inspiring and delightful.  Thanks to my friend Emily for the recommendation.

1 Peter : A Living Hope in Christ by Jen Wilkin: Since I ended up not doing this Bible Study in a group I took my time going through this study.  I literally sank my teeth into the book of 1 Peter for months and it was very fruitful.  I will say this study was challenging and I found myself digging very deep.  Wilkin encourages the reader NOT to use a study bible or commentaries at first.  While I love a good Study Bible, this was a great personal challenge that caused me to dig a lot deeper into the Word.  One of my favorite questions throughout this study was the last question that she included on each day which was to summarize the passage.  What a simple question that really helped me to grasp the meaning of each passage.  On another note, I didn't have access to the DVD's that accompany this study.  I'm sure they are fabulous but they just weren't an option financially.  If there is a Bible Study out there that you would love to walk through don't be afraid not to work through the study just because you can't view the DVD sessions.

What books did you read in January?  Do you find yourself reading more or less during the winter? 


Monday, January 30, 2017

This Week's Goals

I had a great time spending two days attending the VBS Preview conference in Nashville
with this goofy guy last week!  It's always such a treat to accompany him to a conference. 
Happy Monday friends!  I hope your Monday is going well.  We had a dusting of snow this morning so it's been a fun day.  There really wasn't enough snow to go play in but we enjoyed a nice, quiet day that we spent completely at home.  I'm convinced one of the secrets to getting more done is simply staying at home and not leaving my house.  After a busy week last week I knew that the kiddos and I all needed a stay-at-home day.  We'll be taking it easy this evening with some homemade Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner and some family time.   I'm pretty sure Eli has plans of us all playing games all evening!  I ended up not sharing my goals last week since I was headed to TN for two days to attend a VBS Preview conference.  It was super fun!  Here's a look at my goals for this week. 

This Week's Goals
Marriage, Mothering, & Family
1.  Attend home school group at the local library.  This month the local children's museum is coming to talk about different cultures.  We've been learning a bunch about cultures this year through our Five in a Row books and by praying for different missionaries all over the world.
2.  Enjoy an at-home date night with the happy hubby and work on plans for our next "real" date night.  We've decided to set a goal of twice a month "real" date nights for 2017 complete with babysitter.  I'm super excited that we have been on 3 dates so far this year!
3.  Take Eli to Dave & Busters to celebrate the 100th Day of School.  It actually happened last week but we're pretending it's on Friday so Brandon can tag along!

Homemaking
4. Spend three hours working on home projects.  This week includes having our gas fireplace serviced and meeting with someone about finishing our basement.  I did spend a good amount of time last week watching youtube videos and reading books on basement remodeling.  (In case you are wondering we would love to finish part of our basement so that we have a guest room.)  I also might add some curtains to the bathroom or above the sink in the kitchen.
5.  Begin a new crochet project.  I think I"m starting to feel more settled into our home since I decided to add some crafting back into my week.
6.  Spend an hour organizing financial paperwork.

Personal
7.  Exercise three times.
8.  Finish reading Enjoy by Trillia Newbell and What's up with the Fig Leaves? by Heather Thieneman.  

Ministry & Friendships
9.  Attend iMom at church this week.
10.  Meet up with friends for a playdate this week.  

What goals do you have for this week? 

Monday, January 16, 2017

This Week's Goals & Recap

Eli had a great time at Art Club this week and I had a great time hanging out just the two of us!
Happy Monday!  I have my usual, quirky assortment of goals for the week.  I think I have finally adjusted to the fact that it is no longer Christmas break.  It's time to get back to work.  

Last Week's Goals
Marriage, Mothering, & Family:
1)  The children and I are headed out of town on Saturday for an out of town birthday party!  It's an indoor pool party and the kids are just beside themselves with excitement.  It was awesome.  The birthday party was an indoor pool party complete with a massive water slide!  Totally worth the hour drive in the rain.  
2)  I'm planning on spending some time alone with Eli this week and plan to take him to "Art Club" at the library.  Part of my yearly goal to "settle" into our new community is to take part in local activities.  So far the library has some of the best!  I had such a fun time taking Eli to Art Club and talking about life.  
3)  Enjoy an at home date night with the happy hubby on Friday night.  (We had a fantastic time last weekend attending the UK vs Arkansas basketball game in Lexington.)  This didn't really happen.  We spent some great time together this week but I got lazy and didn't put forth any effort into making a fun "at home" date night.  

Homemaking
4)  Help Eli make a birthday present for the party we will be attending.  I had planned on making the gift but he actually insisted that he was going to make it!  This was a fun project and Eli was so excited to give his gift.  
5)  Spend 5 hours unpacking and working on different house projects.  This week I'm hoping to tackle the coat closet and possibly hang up some curtains.  Okay confession time.  Spending 5 hours on "house projects" took way more time than I anticipated.  In case you are wondering here's what I did in those 5 hours broken up over 3 days: cleaned and organized entryway closet, unpacked three boxes, hung one curtain rod, and hemmed two curtain panels.  I honestly thought I would have time to install all four curtain rods so I'm glad I made a time limit goal.  

Personal
6) Finish my Bible Study on 1 Peter.  I've been working through Jenn Wilkin's study for months and it is wonderful!  I loved Jenn Wilkin's 1 Peter Bible Study so much that I'm kind of sad that it ended.  I'm jumping into a new Bible Study called Always True this week.  
7)  Take a class on digital photography.  It was really good.  I can't wait to go back this week.  I'm super thankful for a sweet husband who helps me take the time for pursuits outside of the home.  
8)  Read 5 chapters of Good News for Weary Women: Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps, and Bad Advice by Elyse Fitzpatrick.  She's one of my favorite authors and this book has been fabulous so far.  It was great and I actually finished it.  

Ministry & Friendships
9) Visit my grandmother.  So glad we finally had a chance to visit.  

Other:
10) Organize (and finish unpacking) everything for my piano studio.  I start teaching again next week!  Can I get half credit?  I worked on it and I'll be finishing it up tomorrow.  

This Week's Goals:
Marriage, Mothering, & Family:
1)  Take the children to the Bugs program at our library.  We actually spent most of last semester studying insects so this is perfect!
2)  Enjoy an "at home" or "real" date night with my husband.
3)  Take Eli & Eva to their gymnastics class.

Homemaking
4)  Spend thirty minutes working on Evangeline's "princess" dress.  She keeps asking so I'll try to make this a priority this week.  
5)  Spend three hours working on "home" projects, unpacking, etc.  I'm hoping to work on hanging more curtains this week.
6)  List a box of books for sale on amazon.  Hopefully I will also find my scale this week.

Personal
7)  Attend the Intermediate Photography class.  I learned SO much last week at the Beginner Class.
8)  Go to bed by 10pm every night except Friday.

Ministry & Friendships
9)  My sister is coming over to spend the night.  Woohoo!
10)  Attend the new members class at our church.  I'm actually really excited about learning more about my new church.

What goals do you have for this week?  
Do any of you break down your goals by categories?  If so I'd love to hear what categories you use.  I might change up my categories for 2017.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

This Week's Goals


Hello friends!  I hope that your week is going well.  We enjoyed such a fun time last week with all of the snow that I couldn't help but share a fun photo with you.  Sledding ended up being a bit of a disappointment but we had a great time exploring our backyard in the snow!  Can you tell Eli loves throwing snowballs?  We recently moved "to town" but we have the neatest backyard.  Most of our backyard is actually woods so we have our own mini forest and even a creek.  What a blessing!  

This is our second week back from Christmas break and I'm ready to ease my way back into some serious goals.  Here's what my week looks like:

Marriage, Mothering, & Family:
1)  The children and I are headed out of town on Saturday for an out of town birthday party!  It's an indoor pool party and the kids are just beside themselves with excitement.
2)  I'm planning on spending some time alone with Eli this week and plan to take him to "Art Club" at the library.
3)  Enjoy an at home date night with the happy hubby on Friday night.  (We had a fantastic time last weekend attending the UK vs Arkansas basketball game in Lexington.)

Homemaking
4)  Help Eli make a birthday present for the party we will be attending.  I had planned on making the gift but he actually insisted that he was going to make it!
5)  Spend 5 hours unpacking and working on different house projects.  This week I'm hoping to tackle the coat closet and possibly hang up some curtains.

Personal
6) Finish my Bible Study on 1 Peter.  I've been working through Jenn Wilkin's study for months and it is wonderful!
7)  Take a class on digital photography.
8)  Read 5 chapters of Good News for Weary Women: Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps, and Bad Advice by Elyse Fitzpatrick.  She's one of my favorite authors and this book has been fabulous so far.

Ministry & Friendships
9) Visit my grandmother.

Other:
10) Organize (and finish unpacking) everything for my piano studio.  I start teaching again next week!

What goals do you have for this week?