Monday, January 26, 2015

10 Goals For This Week

January is actually one of the slowest months for our family.  A welcomed blessing after such a full December.  It usually consists of lots of reading, a few projects, and lots of wishing that spring would soon appear!  There is a light snow outside the window this morning which is just enough to make us want to stay indoors all day but not enough that we could go sledding.  The ground is also covered in a nice sheet of ice.  Here are a few of my goals for this week.  

Mothering/Homemaking Goals

1.  Catch up on laundry.  I decided to strip our cloth diapers last week which put me behind on our regular laundry.  There are probably at least 5 loads to do.  Hopefully I can finish them all today.
2.  Pick a new read aloud to begin with the kids.
3.  Begin compiling a list of seeds to order for our garden this year.  Possibly begin planting a few seeds.  
4.  Continue the process of ridding our home of clutter.  This week I would like to go through my books.
5.  Start work on a friend's baby gift.  The hardest part of making the gift is narrowing it down to one project!
6.  Begin compiling all of our tax information and itemized tax deductions.

Marriage Goals:
7.  Enjoy a date with my handsome hubby.

Personal Goals:
8.  Exercise 3 times this week.  I would love to exercise more but this is a good realistic goal for my current season of life.  Last week I was able to accomplish this goal with three nice long workouts!  I enjoyed a nice, long, family walk, the elliptical machine, the treadmill, and a little weight training.  

9.  Finish Reading Say Goodbye to Survival Mode and Grace Is Free.  

Ministry Goals:
10.  I am back to serving as the pianist for our church which is a fairly big commitment.  One of my weekly goals always includes learning all of the songs for Sunday, an offertory and the prelude.  I would also like to learn a new song to play in the month of February.

What goals do you have in mind for this week?  Do you have any good recommendations for a read aloud book for my kids?  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Week in Review: January 12-18

I thought it might be fun to share a weekly review post on what we have been doing.  I am really hoping to blog on a more consistent basis this year.  The week in review posts will probably be in addition to my frugal things posts.  Last week was one of those mixed weeks filled with good days and some bad days.

One of the highlights of the week was a fun family trip to Costco.  The happy hubby's computer died so we decided it was past time to replace it.  Costco had a great price on a laptop so we chose to invest in a membership.  This was our first time purchasing a Costco membership and I am really excited.  We chose a Costco membership over Sam's due to the amount of organic and gluten free items that Costco carries.  (Back to healthy eating for the family.)  I think we have already saved enough money to pay for the cost of the membership but I anticipate that we will visit Costco at least every other month in the future.  Shopping at Costco was so much fun!  Usually I don't enjoy grocery shopping but the newness of the store, plethora of samples, and having the happy hubby along made it quite a fun time.

The happy hubby and I also enjoyed a double date with some sweet friends of ours to Mellow Mushroom.  We had a great time and look forward to hanging out again soon.  

The bad part of last week included our sweet Evangeline coming down with croup yet again.  Whose ready for spring?  We are!  Thankfully it wasn't bad this time and she is now feeling better.  I did miss church on Sunday which was disappointing.  (Since the happy hubby is a pastor I will always be the one staying at home with sick babies.)  It is always sad to not be able to be a part of such a wonderful church and to hear the Word preached.  I also had to postpone a trip to visit a sweet college friend since Eva was not feeling well enough to travel 3 hours.  

I also finally sat down this week and looked at some seed catalogs.  Half the fun of planting a garden really is in planning.  Right now I am trying to decide if I will keep our garden the same size this year.  I would also love to make a few raised beds.  It's crazy to think that where we live the last frost date is only about 16 weeks away.  It really is time to start preparing to start seeds.  

On a fun note Eli boy started swim lessons.  We are super excited and thankful that Eli has the opportunity again this year to work on his swimming skills.  (This is his third time taking swim lessons.)  He is doing great and can't wait until next week's lesson.  Maybe I will be brave enough to take along a camera at his next lesson.

This is also one of the first years since I was a child that I have only one resolution.  Just Give Me Jesus.  That's it.  Last year was a hard year for me personally and I know that I need to take the time to step back and focus on the main thing, the best thing, and that is Christ.  I've carved out a little more time in my crazy busy day to spend with the Savior.  Time to spend writing prayers in my journal and really crying out to the Lord.  A time to spend pouring over the Word and watching as God transforms my life.  Already I can see how gracious He has been to me.

Monday, January 12, 2015

December Reads

December Reads
After completing my final exams I was in no mood to read anything that required any brain power last month.  :)  (I will be sure to make up for this deficit in January.)  My reading in December was incredibly sporadic and really only included about two or three days while we were traveling.  I get really bored on long car trips so I always pack along a few fiction books.

Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell:  After devouring Mitchell's book The Messenger I jumped at the opportunity to read another one of her books.  This book was different than I expected.  Surprisingly I thought this book was actually very funny.  I found myself laughing out loud.  I also enjoyed all of the science and botany that the author included throughout the book.  She did a great job of weaving it throughout the story.  Spoiler alert: The only thing I really didn't like about the book was how utterly predictable it was.  The book builds a little slowly and then ends exactly as I predicted it would from page two.  Overall a nice light fiction read perfect for an eleven hour car ride!  Please note that I did receive a review copy of this book from Bethany House.  All opinions are my own.

The River by Beverly Lewis: I have read a number of books by Lewis and have loved almost everyone of them.  This book was so different from the other 15 or so books that I have read over the years from the same author.  Many of the scenarios came across as a little unbelievable if you have read any of her other works.  I did enjoy reading this book of two sisters who left the Amish world but would put it at the bottom of my list of favorites from Beverly Lewis.  If you are new to the wonderful world of Amish Fiction I would skip this one and look at some of her other works.

Child of Mine by David & Beverly Lewis: As I mentioned above I have read most of Beverly Lewis' books over the past ten years.  I thought it was so interesting and sweet that she wrote this book with her husband.  This was one of the books that I took along while visiting family in TX and I am fairly certain that I read the entire book in one day.  It was such a page turner!  Don't start reading this book until you have a little time to devote to it!  This story of heartache, love, betrayal, and forgiveness will leave you guessing to the very end.  This book was thrilling to read and exactly what I would expect from Beverly Lewis.  I hope that the authors write another book together soon.

DIY Type: 50+ Typographic Stencils for Decorating, Crafting, and Gifting by Dana Tanamachi:  This book includes two sets of alphabet stencils and a few ideas on projects to make using the stencils.  The book includes a mere 14 pages filled with ideas.  I would say it is hard to call it an actual book since it is mainly just stencils.  You also have to cut out all of the stencils which makes the book pretty pointless in my mind.  I have a Cricut that will make a stencil much faster and easier than utilizing this book.  For a book that retails for over $20 I really do expect a lot more.  The ideas were incredibly common: decorate a pillow, make a banner, decorate a cake, paint a canvas etc.  I would call myself a "crafty" person who has made a few items using letters (mainly banners) but I just don't see this book earning a permanent place in my library.  Please note that I did receive a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books.  All opinions are my own.

I would love to hear what you have been reading.  What books do you plan on reading in 2015?  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Simplicity 5936: Toddler Jumper Review

So blessed to have a sweet little girl to sew jumpers for!  
I picked up this adorable Nativity Doll Fabric (see below) last year thinking I would probably use it to cover a canvas or sew a pillow cover.  It is rare to find such beautiful fabric that includes the characters from the Christmas Story.  I also just adored the boutique look of the fabric and how the figures almost resemble Matryoshka dolls.  When I pulled this fabric out of my "Christmas Fabric" box I knew that I needed to make a dress or jumper for my girl.  

I added the white rick rack. 
When my younger sisters were growing up I remember sewing them lots of jumpers but jumper patterns are hard to find.  I think jumpers are simply adorable especially on little girls!  I was so thankful when I found an older pattern that my sweet mom had picked up for me at a yard sale.  Simplicity 5936 was actually printed while I was still in high school.  Does that mean I can call this a "vintage" pattern?  

I decided to sew View C and added 2 inches to the length since that view was a little short for my taste.  There is also a nice option (View D) which includes a band of contrasting fabric but I didn't have any fabric in my stash that would work.  Evangeline wears a size 18 months in ready to wear clothing so I made a size 1/2 which was the perfect size.  It is crazy to think that my little girl is now in toddler sized clothing.  

I really should have used an invisible zipper but that would have meant a trip to the store.  

 My only caution with this pattern really involves the pattern layout for cutting out the fabric.  I flipped my pieces so that the print was in the correct direction.  This pattern was a breeze to sew and I hope to make another jumper for my daughter this month.  The only change that I made was the fact that I skipped adding the hook and eye at the top.  It just didn't seem necessary due to my zipper placement.  If you wanted to add some warmth you could also line this jumper with flannel or sew a flannel slip.

My only regret in sewing this jumper is the fact that I cut the pattern.  I really should have taken the extra 10 minutes to trace the pattern so that I could reuse this pattern for the next few years.  If I want to sew it in a larger size I will probably just add a 1/2 inch to the size that I have already cut.  This pattern is wonderful and I hope to come across another one in the future.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Elijah & Evangeline's Birthday Cake Smash

Happy 5th Birthday Eli!
 I just downloaded some pictures from Christmas and realized that I never shared the pictures from the rest of Eli's birthday party.  It was so much fun to celebrate Eli's 5th birthday!
Eli spent about 10 minutes picking out the exact cake and icing that he wanted for his cake.  

Our sweet Evangeline was ill for about two weeks surrounding her first birthday in October.  We did not have a party or even attempt to give her a piece of cake.  Her entire birthday was spent with lots of cuddles as we nursed her back to her happy healthy self.  We decided to allow Evangeline to have her first piece of cake when we celebrated Eli's birthday per Eli's request.  Such a sweet memory to share with her big brother!  

The first bite.

Final verdict?  Yummy and so much fun to play with!