Showing posts with label About Me. Show all posts
Showing posts with label About Me. Show all posts

Why I Don't Daily Plan In Our Homeschool




"You are a type A personality, aren't you?" my doctor asked as I packed away the papers full of information I came to discuss with him.

"Yeah, I guess so," I replied.  Everyone always pegged me as a type A, especially doctors, because I love to research subjects that are important to me, and I liked my house relatively clean.  So I always just assumed that's what I was, a classic Type A.

It was only after I had kids that I began to consider that maybe "Type A" wasn't exactly a perfect description of my personality.  I always viewed things like cooking and sewing as more art than science (not very Type-A), and I was never very into planning (also not Type-A).  But after I had kids, I realized that I had a spontaneous, let's-just-do-something-fun today side, which is far more descriptive of a Type B than a Type A.  During the baby and preschool years, I loved having my days mostly wide open, and being able to fill the hours with whatever struck my fancy.

I admit, as my kids grew older and homeschooling requirements grew more immediate, I mourned the loss of my newfound spontaneity.  Because you can't really be spontaneous when you have a list of things to be done each day, can you?

But this is my second official year of homeschooling (sort-of third year, but Kindergarten is only part time in our house), and I have learned that I still do not like to have my days planned out.  When I have a list of have-to's for each day, I feel the pressure and stress rising in my chest.  If I don't feel the freedom to run errands, grocery shop, or just declare a spontaneous field trip day, homeschooling can quickly start to feel like house arrest to me.

So my solution?  I don't daily plan our homeschool.  Instead, I plan weekly.

In my homeschool planning pages, I have a spreadsheet that includes all the different subjects, and what lessons and pages should be done each week.  I don't care how much we get done in any given day, as long as we do some school each day and get everything done that I have assigned for that week.

This has been really freeing for me, and allows me to still play with our weekly schedules a little bit.  If I realize we have no food left in the house, we might go grocery shopping and only do two subjects that day - then the next day we'll catch back up.  If math lessons are humming along really well, we might do two or three lessons in one day and give ourselves a couple days off of math the rest of the week to focus on history instead.

(Or freedom to gather chicken eggs with friends?  Just trying to make the pictures work here.)

So far, this weekly planning has been working much better for our family and my personality than daily planning would.  I imagine some adjustments will be needed as the kids get bigger and their workload increases, but even then, I remember handling my own schoolwork much the same way when I was homeschooled.  If I felt like doubling up on a few subjects and giving myself a lighter workload the next day, that's what I did.

So I don't know if I'd technically be a Type A or Type B, but I know as far as daily planning goes, as long as the weekly work gets done, anything goes.  I love that I can still make homeschooling work with the side of my personality that loves freedom in my schedule.

Do any of you daily plan (in homeschooling or just in life)?  Would you consider yourself a Type B or Type A personality?





How I Handle Things

(The colors out there are just gorgeous right now!  Seriously, the in-real-life colors look just like this.)

Something about October makes me want to write.

Last year I started a 31 Days Of Writing project, even though I had a baby due at the beginning of November.  I wrote about Memory Keeping (you can read all those posts here), and I definitely didn't get to all the posts I had planned because I was in pain and huge and Georgie arrived before the end of the month!

This year we are moving before the end of the month, but I'm still going to try another October writing project, because the trees and the cool air and the candles and the hot drinks make my inner self scream "Pull out that laptop and write!".



I saw this little image floating around Instagram the other day, and I thought, why not?  Let's do this (except I'm writing here instead of on Instagram)!  It'll give me an easy way to scratch the writing itch.



I've missed the first few days (you're not missing much - my answers to how I handle those first two are "Um...I don't?"), but I think there are some good subjects coming up.  I reserve the right to skip any days that are too busy or for which I have nothing to say.

However, PLEASE let me know if there are any subjects on this list that you are especially curious to hear my thoughts on!  
It'll help me know what to prioritize when I get writing time.

First up - tomorrow you get to read my take on Halloween, which would probably be a highly requested one anyway, because if you've been around a while you might have noticed we don't celebrate it. (For you super-long-time blog readers, I've mellowed out about this subject in more recent years, don't worry).  Check back in tomorrow if you want, and please do tell me what else on the list sounds most interesting!

A Little Sunshine (Award)



When I was a kid, Focus On The Family had a pen pal program.  You sent in a card with your name and address, and they paired you up with another kid who also hoped to receive some happy mail.  By the time I reached junior high, I had ten different pen pals going.  I still have a bunch of letters from those girls filed away in my closet.  

Sadly, I lost contact with the majority of my pen pals, but there are still a couple that I am in contact with today, and one of them is Bethany from Waves And Lilacs!  Pen pals that also turn into blog buddies!?  It doesn't get much better than that.  

Anyway, Bethany tagged me for the Sunshine Blog Award a couple months ago.  I am pleasantly surprised that these awards are still around!  If you've never seen one of these posts before, I answer the questions that Bethany sent me, and then award some of my favorite bloggers and pose some questions to them.  It's a fun getting-to-know-you opportunity!




1. How do you balance motherhood and blogging?
Well, I've managed to balance being a mom with keeping this blog running since the beginning, so I've been asked this a few times.  As far as the practical nuts and bolts go, I sit down and type during nap/quiet time, occasionally get away on a Saturday morning to write, and I take pictures randomly wherever I go, just so I have a few images to slap onto a post when I need them.  I make notes in my phone when an idea strikes so I can remember what I want to write about later.  
Especially as my kids have grown, I rarely work on my blog when they are awake, which means I've had to learn to prioritize and scale back where necessary.  I love to blog as a hobby, but my kids are way more important than my blog!  I don't want to let it take my attention away from them, and I find that when I keep that in mind I still find ways to squeeze it in.
I've had people ask me how I find the time, and all I can ever say is that you find time for the things that are important to you.  So sometimes instead of reading a book or binging on a TV show, I spend my spare time writing a post or editing pictures.  I think we often have a lot more time than we think we do, if we just learned to utilize it better (that goes for me too!).
2.What is your dream vacation spot?
Italy.  Derek and I have been wanting to go to Italy since we got married.  Our original goal was for our 10th anniversary trip, but since that is this year, it's obviously not going to happen.  Maybe our 20th?
3.What is one item you would need if left stranded on a deserted island?
That depends, how long am I going to be stranded?  Did I get shipwrecked, or am I just being left there temporarily while the boat fills up with gas or something?  If we're talking temporary - my phone.  I'd have plenty of books to read on my Kindle app.  If I have been shipwrecked...my Bible and some flint (don't make me choose).
Maybe this question was supposed to be more fun, but what can I say, I'm practical.
 4.What is your top goal for the year?
I didn't really make goals for the year this time around, but I'd say for the rest of the year my goal is to get organized and into a good daily homeschool routine.  Last year we got our work done but we mostly flew by the seat of our pants, so I'm hoping to form more lasting habits and rhythms this year.
5. What’s your favorite romantic memory with your spouse?
Oo, good question!  The easy answer would be our engagement or any of the trips we've done together.  But my favorite more normal memory is probably our 6th anniversary. My cousin got married on our anniversary, and we had a fun time at the reception.  The kids were running around and dancing, and it was so cute.  But then our song came on, so I handed the baby off to relatives, and Derek and I danced to the same song we danced to on our wedding day.  It was a sweet flashback, and in that moment I just was so happy to be married to him all over again.
5. How did you pick your kiddos’ names?
I have a system.  First we print off the baby name list from 100 years ago from the social security website (we like old name).  Then we go through and cross off anything we hate to narrow it down.  Then we pick our top 10 names or so from what's left.  Then we look up name meanings, because that's important to us.  We narrow it down to 2-3 name possibilities.  With the first few we would pick the final name when we saw our baby's face (to make sure the name fit), but with the last couple we just had one choice and knew our baby's name before they were born!
6. You can only watch one show for the rest of your life. What is it?
Ugh.  Hmm.  I'm going to say Survivor or The Middle.  Survivor would be great because it has 36 seasons or something ridiculous like that (and counting), so we'd be busy for a while.  And we love to analyze that show!  The Middle would be great because it's so funny!  (Have you watched The Middle?  I haven't met too many people who've seen it.  If you watch it, you HAVE to start from the beginning, you won't get half the jokes if you don't.)
7. What is the anthem of your blog?
Hmm, "anthem" feels so high pressure, haha!  I think my hope for this blog is that someday my kids will read it, and will be able to see God's faithfulness in our lives, even when it was hard.  I've been singing the kids a new hymn lately as I put them to bed, and the words kind of encapsulate what I hope the overall trajectory of this blog (and my life) will be.  
"To God be the glory, great things He has done."
8. What is one blog post you are MOST proud of?
I've got over a thousand posts on this blog now, so this is a hard question. Skip?  I guess most recently I like my "Things I Regret (And Don't) From My First 30 Years" post.  It's a nice summary of my life and this blog thus far.
9. What do you shoot your pictures with?
I either use a Nikon D5200 with a 50 mm 1.5 f/stop lens, or I use my iPhone 7+.
10. What is your favorite recipe?
Oh, I found this great recipe that we've been loving lately!  It's in a cookbook called One Pot Wonders, and it's the "spicy beef and sweet potato braise".  So good!
11. Who/what inspired you to begin blogging?
I started blogging almost ten years ago now!  Back then, blogs were more like public diaries where you also made friends.  I started to blog for a couple reasons.  First, I loved writing down my thoughts about different things, and for me, it's a whole lot more fun to write if I have somewhere to share it.  Second, I was a young newlywed, and none of my friends were married yet, so blogging was a great way to make friends with other girls close to my age who were also married.  The internet has a lot of problems, but one of the great things about it is how it lets you connect with like-minded people from around the world!  I have friends from all over the country and overseas, all because of this little blog.

My Nominees

For those I tag, if your blog is in my sidebar - I tag you!

Michelle, Angi, Rachel, Heather, Brittney, Emily
Amanda, Bekah, Meghan, Laura, Leslie, Rachel

My Questions 
1. What is a favorite childhood memory?
2.  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
3. What was the last book you read?
4.  When you have some spare time, what do you do with it (besides blogging, of course).
5. With whom is your longest friendship?
6. Favorite summer beverage?
7. If you had the opportunity to attend your own funeral, what would you hope to hear people say about you?
8. All you ladies are married - how did you meet your spouse?
9.  Finish the sentence: "In high school I could have been voted most likely to..."
10.  Tell us something that we don't already know and wouldn't think to ask you.

Answer the questions on your blog, and then pass the award along (to however many people you want)!



Things I Regret (And Don't) From My First 30 Years



It's here! This week the third decade of my life is coming to a close.  There is something more significant about those decade increments, and I wanted to mark it here on the blog in some way.

I've been toying with different blog post ideas.  I've seen some people doing "30 Things I Learned Before 30", but I couldn't bring myself to write a post like that.  Most 30 year olds are still in the I think-I-know-so-much-but-I-don't-realize-I-really-don't stage, and that includes me.  When I reflect back over the last 30 years, I don't think I'm qualified to offer anyone advice.  I know less now than I thought I knew at 20 years old!  I've spent too much time with people further down the road and much wiser than myself to offer anyone life lessons from a still relatively shallow well of experience.

What I can do though, is look back over these first decades of my life and say what I've regretted, and what I never will, so here we go.

What I Regret From My First 30 Years

Caring Too Much About What People Thought In My Teens

Doesn't every teen care too much about what their peer group thinks?  Yes.  Does every adult wish they had cared a little less about what their teenage peer group thought?  Probably also a yes.  I was so insecure as a teenager, and I can't say that I could have really done anything differently to change that - confidence must be earned in some way, must be grown into.  But I still wish teenage Callie could have had a little more spunk and individuality.

Going On The Birth Control Pill

This one is a bit of a mixed bag, because I am obviously so thankful to have the children I have, and our rather frustrating journey to parenthood brought them to me.  God is sovereign and always had a plan.  But I went on the pill unquestioningly right before I got married, and I didn't know about it's potential abortifacient effect, which conflicts with my pro-life beliefs.  I didn't know it would seriously mess up my hormones so that when we were ready to start trying for a baby, things wouldn't work right.  I'll always wonder if there could have been another child, I'll always wish I did a little more research about birth control before succumbing to that cultural norm.  I just didn't know.

Not Getting Serious About Budgeting Sooner

This year I finally realized that grown-ups should have budgets.  I feel stupid even typing that.  It's not that I had no budget at all through my 20's, I knew what I had to spend each month and I had varying success at staying within that limit.  I didn't really overspend (except for one dark period between 2014-2015), but I didn't think enough about future goals and plans.  I didn't "give every dollar a job".  When I think of all the dollars I have wasted by allowing them to slip away without a plan every month, it makes me kind of sick.  I wish I had taken one of those financial peace classes or read more about making and managing a budget before I got my first grown-up paycheck.

Not Witnessing To My Coworkers

I got a job at a great dental office the year after we got married, and I worked there until I got pregnant with Clarice.  My sister even worked there for a while, which was so fun.  That office saw me through the birth of three of my babies, and I so appreciated the people there.  I worked there for almost 7 years.  And in all that time, I was too chicken to witness to my coworkers.  I was a good employee, and I know some will say that you should "preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words", but let's be honest, that's a cop-out.  No one ever got saved without the use of words.  I should have loved them enough to be vocal.  I kind of wonder if the Lord took me out of that job because I was blowing my chances to tell them about Jesus.  To me, this will always be one of my biggest failures.  From an eternal perspective, it feels like a waste.

Not Filming My Kids More

Not to toot my own horn, but I have kind of knocked it out of the park when it comes to taking pictures of my kids and documenting their babyhood.  But I've also had a video camera in my back pocket for years now, and I'm such a slacker on filming them!  In "my next 30 years" (you know I couldn't resist that country song reference!), I want to get better at filming their childhoods, before they slip away.



What I'll Never Regret

Putting My Trust In Jesus For My Salvation

Let's start with the most obvious one!  When I was four years old I asked Jesus "into my heart", and over the next years I learned and grew into my faith, made it my own.  I will never, ever regret asking Jesus to save me from my sin, turning to Him alone to save my soul.  It was the best decision I ever made, no matter how long I live.  I am so thankful for my Savior.

Being Homeschooled

When I was 8 years old, my mom made the decision to pull me out of public school.  She did this at a time when homeschooling was not common, and looking back at it now, I so admire her bravery.  I am thankful every day for her decision. Being homeschooled allowed me space to stop thinking so much about what other kids thought, and start caring a little more about what God thought.  That first regret in the list above could have been so much bigger.  That decision by my mom to homeschool me became a major part of my testimony - without it, I don't know if I would have grown in my faith or walked with the Lord through high school at all.  It's a big reason why I always knew I'd homeschool my kids.  I wouldn't be who I was today without it, and I never look back at homeschooling and feel that I missed out on anything.  Instead, I gained something precious from it.

Getting Married Young

When I was still in hygiene school, I remember walking into the office one day with a sparkly ring on my finger.  I was so happy and excited.  I remember one of the front office ladies looking at me with concern.  "Are you sure?  You are so young.  What is the rush?"  She didn't get it, and a lot of people didn't get it.  They didn't understand that I was committed to not sleeping with anyone before marriage, so living together was not an option.  They didn't get why I didn't care to "have some fun" first (marriage is fun, people!).  They didn't recognize that when you already know you're going to marry this person, there is really no point in waiting just for the sake of waiting.  They didn't think a 20 year old was mature enough to make that kind of decision.  But we were absolutely committed to each other, and we got over every rough spot together.  I love him more now than I did then.  Did I have growing up to do?  Yes, but I got to grow up with my husband next to me, my best friend.  I'll never regret marrying him young.

Not Drinking

That whole "drink a little more lemonade, and not so many beers" (you know, from the song?) does not apply to me!  There are a multitude of reasons why I don't drink, and I won't get into it here.  That could be a whole other post, and it is a post I've attempted to tackle several times but was never satisfied enough with the result to share.  I think there is liberty here for Christians, so I'm not going to judge you if you do have a drink (without getting drunk, of course, see Ephesians 5:18).  But I absolutely think it was a great decision for me to never open that door.  I don't want it or need it to relax (a bubble bath and chocolate does the trick), I don't need it to have fun (I honestly feel sorry for people that do), and let's just think for a minute about the money I've saved over the years by not creating that (potentially addictive and risky) habit.  I don't imagine I'll regret not having a drink in my next 30 years either.

Having Children In My 20's

I started having babies in my early 20's, and had my last baby in my late 20's.  People are always surprised at how young I am, considering I have five kiddos, and sometimes they're even a little judgey about it.  But I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  I'll graduate my first child at 40, and probably my last before I hit 50.  When you are young you have more energy, and I'll hopefully be a younger grandma, which will be fun.  I might even get to see my great grandchildren, like my grandparents have.  Having babies young isn't always possible, and I want you all to know that my heart aches for every woman who wants to be a mama, and for whatever reason she can't.  I know young motherhood isn't possible for everyone.  But I don't regret it a bit.  I personally don't see anything but positives attached to becoming a mom when I was young. I'm glad we didn't wait too long.

Having A Big Family

I've written about this at length, so I'll keep it short here, but goodness, I'm so thankful for my five kids.  Our house is loud and chaotic and full to the brim with joy, and I wouldn't change a single thing.  I'm so proud of my big family.

Quitting My Job To Stay Home Full-Time

There was a crossroads in my life a few years ago.  When my first three kids were little, I was able to work just one day a week.  I didn't have to be away from them very much, and was still able to supplement our income.  It was a blessing.  Then things started shifting, becoming a little more stressful at work, and they told me they needed me to work more days per week.  I hated the thought of giving up that job at the time.  But I didn't want to spend more time away from my kids, especially with another baby on the way and kindergarten looming (I wanted to homeschool).  After I quit, I felt so free (and also a little guilty and insecure about no longer contributing my "extra" to our income, but that was silly and I got over it).  I don't think I ever realized how much even just one day a week was taking from my energy, and now I have it back to give at home.  If you are a working mom, I'm not trying to send you a message, so don't read this section that way, please.  But for me, I'm so glad I let that job go and came home full-time.

Starting This Blog

If I'm totally honest, I struggle with this little online space sometimes.  Blogging has changed so much, and I've changed so much too.  There are times I still love having a place to share my thoughts, and times when I am afraid the whole thing is pointless.  But as I write this today, I'm glad I've documented the last decade here.  Would I remember so much of my 20's if I hadn't taken time to write about it?  Without this space, would I have slowed down, formed my thoughts enough to be able to look back now and see God's hand in the journey from 20 to 30?  I don't really think so.  I don't know what the future holds for this blog.  My children are growing, and life keeps speeding up.  I imagine it will look different in another 10 years than it does today.  But I'm so glad I take some time to write about my life here, and God's hand in it all, if for no one else than for me, to stand as my "ebenezer".  It's a reminder of God's goodness to me.  I don't regret writing here.  And thanks to all of you who have read my posts and stuck with me through the years.  Without you, I don't know if I'd have this record at all.

And just for fun, remember that unofficial 30-year-old beach shoot from my vacation?  Here are the outtakes.  The tide was coming in, and the waves just kept coming in higher, and that water was cold!













Here's to the next 30 years!



Why I Won't Be Sorry To Turn 30


(Note: We took a trip to the beach recently - vacation recap coming soon - and I got this dress from Pinkblush just in time before we left!  They sent it to me for free in exchange for the feature I am including in this post, but I totally used it as my dress for an unofficial 30-year-old photo shoot on the beach!)

There is something about those decades skipping by that seems a little more of a big deal than normal birthdays.  Some of us mark the 10 year increments with bigger birthday celebrations (that's me!), but I think for a lot of people there is a twinge of sadness or anxiety in growing older.



In less than a month, I will be turning 30, and I'm not bothered by it.  Not even a little bit.  Here's why.

1. Growing older means more experience.  

You all know I'm a talk radio fan (honestly, I listen to way too many shows and podcasts), and Rush Limbaugh often says how he is never sorry to grow older, because it means he has more experience and knows more than he used to.  I have to say, I love that.  I've adopted his attitude over the years, and especially as I've been surrounded by wise older people.  Some of them are decades older than me, like my parents or grandparents, some are people just a few years further down the road of life (ahem, like my husband), but I always look at them and think about the experiences and growth that they've walked through and I haven't yet.  So the passing of a year, even a big year like 30, is just another year that I've grown and matured and learned more.

2. Let's be honest, 30 is not that old.  

We all like to joke about how old we are getting when these decade markers pass us by, but really, the early 30's are still relatively immature.  We all think we know more than we actually do.  Just watching the people in my life who are approaching 40, I see the difference even that one decade makes in maturity and wisdom.  I'm not naive enough to think I have no more growing to do.  Thirty is still very young (maybe not always in a good way).

3. I'm surrounded by people who love me (and vice versa).

It is not lost on me how much of a blessing it is to enter my 30's with my own family established, and surrounded by family and friends who love me.  I think maybe the hardest part of getting older is not being quite where you thought you would be, whether that's professionally, relationally, or personally.  Being surrounded by the people who are most important to me, feeling like I belong somewhere, was always one of my biggest hopes for 30, and so my heart is full. When I look to the years ahead, I can expect a continuation and maturation of the fun I've already been having with my husband and kids and family and friends, and that's a blessing!

4.  I've figured out who I am.  

Maybe this is just me, but I've always had these arbitrary marker years in my head, ages that I look ahead to and think "Wow, when I'm that old, I will have arrived."  Well, I haven't really arrived because every time I reach the magical age there is another marker age on the horizon.  But 30 was one of those years for me.  When I thought about 30, I envisioned having figured out my own identity and style, and feeling confident in who God made me to be and what He wants me to do.  And maybe it's just the power of suggestion, because of the mental picture I've developed surrounding the age of 30, but I do feel like I've figured out who I am.  I just think 30 is going to be good.  (The next marker age is 36, in case you were wondering.)









(Speaking of style...I think one of my favorite parts of this age is that I've figured finally figured mine out.  I like to try new trends, but I fit them in around casual and feminine basics - this dress from Pink Blush is a good example!  PinkBlush is my go-to for maternity clothes, but I love PinkBlush's non-maternity clothes too because they are the right cut for my grown-up, post-baby body, with tons of flattering options.  Thirty means abandoning the juniors section for good, and finding brands that look good on my figure, and with options like Pinkblush I'm okay with that!  You can check out the dress I'm wearing here.  It's a perfect beach dress, right?)


5.  Each year I live on this earth brings me closer to Jesus.  

Each year I live is that much longer I have to grow in my walk with the Lord and learn to serve Him better.  Life on this earth is only an incredibly small sliver of eternity, and for those of us who have trusted in Jesus for our salvation, we have eternity in Heaven to look forward to.  And anything good that we experience here will be magnified and perfected there.  Really, how can I be sorry to grow older when I think about that?  Every year I spend here is one year closer to when I'll see Jesus face to face.  As a believer, there are only good things to look forward to when you take the long view.

Was 30 a good year for you, or was it hard to leave your 20's?  Or if you are in your 20's, do you look forward to or dread turning 30?  

Comment below, I want to hear!




A Fall Survey



Is it cheating if I do a fall Q&A as part of my memory-keeping series?  I'm going for it, because this morning has been rough, and I'm not sure I have much more than a survey in me today.  Stealing this from Bekah, but I modified it a bit to add a memory-keeping flair (and to extract the Halloween-related questions, since we don't celebrate Halloween and I have nothing much to say).

1. Favorite Fall Sweet Treat?  I have a special fondness for candy corn and apple cider.  When I was a kid my dad would harvest our own hay for our horses, and we kids always helped.  We'd dress in our old, holey jeans, grab some leather gloves and hay bale hooks, and the whole day was spent getting filthy dirty, throwing bales into the truck and stacking them in our barn.  When we took a break, we'd head inside and my mom would have candy corn and spiced apple cider for us to drink, which made the whole thing less like work and more like a fall tradition.  So yes, candy corn and cider.

2. Red, Yellow or Green Apples? To look at - Red Delicious or Pink Lady, because those are the prettiest.  To eat raw - Fuji apples, which are yellowish!

3. Favorite Fall Sport to Play? Is there really any other fall sport besides football?  I am not really a sporty girl.  Does hunting count as a sport?  Because then I'd say hunting.  I come from a long line of hunters, and growing up we would hunt for elk and deer and live off the meat all winter.  I haven't really been very often since I've been pregnant for so many falls over the last seven years, but Derek is off attempting to restock our freezer right now.

4. Best Drink for Fall?  I really love Celestial Seasonings fall teas, but I unfortunately can't drink them while pregnant! 

5. Favorite Fall Activity?  From my childhood, the aforementioned hunting and haying activities always made it feel like fall.  I'd say in general though, my favorite fall activity is going on a hike somewhere with aspen trees - there is nothing like the smell of aspen leaves in the fall.  They have this spicy, woodsy smell, and it reminds me of my childhood.  My family was big into everything fall, and it was a busy, fun time of year for us, with the scent of spicy aspen leaves always in the background of my memory.  If I could bottle up the scent of aspen leaves in the fall, I would be a happy girl.

6. Must have Fall Purchase?  Candy corn, white mini pumpkins, and I have to admit, new boots/booties or scarves always tempt me this time of year.

7. Pumpkins: Pick your own or store bought?  Store bought.  I'm not sure I've ever actually bought a pumpkin from a patch.  They are cheaper from Walmart anyway!

8. Real or Fake Pumpkin?  I have no preference.  But I do hate when pumpkins start to rot, so fake pumpkins seem safer.  

9. College Football or NFL?  This seems like a politically charged question right now, but I can honestly say college football takes precedence in this house.  Derek has been a fan of the Buffs since he was a child, when his dad took him to his first CU game at six years old.  Derek took Wyatt to his first game this year since he turned six, so we're passing the tradition on!

10. Favorite Fall Memory?  Definitely hunting with my dad.  I started hunting big game with my dad when I was 12 years old, and I got my first elk.  It was exciting to get something, but the best part was just being out in creation with my dad.  I especially liked going in the morning, because it was always fun to catch the sunrise, and the early morning air in the fall was so invigorating.  I always remember my dad saying he feels most alive in the fall, and I feel the same way...I think my memories of hunting are a part of that feeling, because of the early mornings in the beauty of fall and the crispness of the air.  And then of course, taking snack breaks for Nut Rolls and Gatorade (those things never tasted so good as when we were hunting, let me tell you).

11. Raking Leaves or no Leaves to Rake?  To my children's mortification, we don't really have any rake-able leaves where we live in the mountains.  They so badly want to jump into a pile of leaves, but any piles that are raked here would end up being a rocky, muddy mess!

12. Favorite Soup?  In general, I love potato soup, but in the fall I'm a fan of pumpkin soup!  I found a recipe and made it for the first time after Derek and I were married, so it brings back good memories.  He, unfortunately, is not a pumpkin soup fan so we don't have it much.  But I like it!

13. Favorite Fall Candle scent?  Autumn Leaves, which is a Yankee Candle scent.  It smells woodsy and spicy - not as good as real aspen leaves, but I still love it!

14. Love or Hate Pumpkin Spice?  This feels like a complicated question - it depends on what we are talking about.  I like the actual spice in theory, and I love pumpkin flavored things in the fall.  But pumpkin spice lattes, for example, are generally just okay to me.

15. Short Booties or Tall boots?  For early fall, definitely booties because my feet get too warm in regular boots.  In late fall and winter, I like both!

16. PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte): YES or NO?  Again, just kind of okay to me.  I always feel like I have to have at least one in the fall, but I generally like other flavors better!

17. Hayride or Corn Maze?   Corn maze!  You get a lot more time out of a corn maze than a hay ride.  

18. Favorite Fall TV Show?  I generally hate most things on TV these days.  The things that I feel like watching most in the fall are: Gilmore Girls, Anne Of Green Gables, and 
You've Got Mail.

Please feel free to grab the questions for your blog, or answer your favorite ones in the comments!  I love these getting-to-know you surveys!



A Brief History Of My Hair


I never said these memory posts were all going to be serious, did I?

Back When I Was A Blonde: Birth-Two Years Old

Yes, my friends, despite being solidly in the brunette camp now, when I was a toddler I was blonde.   A picture in case you don't believe me:



When people wonder where my kids got their blonde baby hair, I can say for certain that it was from me.  I don't remember what it was like being a blonde.  Did I have more fun back then?

The Brunette Phase: Three Years Old-10 Years Old

My hair changed rather suddenly to a light brunette when I was three years old.  It still changed to blonde in the summer when the sun would bleach it during all those hours outside, until I was in first or second grade - then I was solidly a brunette, and it's only gotten darker since then.

The Frizzy Phase: 11 Years Old-14 Years Old

Ah, puberty.  That was a rough hair time for me.  Something about the hormones made my hair want to try to turn curly, but it wasn't quite succeeding - I ended up with a semi-wavy frizzy mass.  I am quite thankful for my mom during this period, who tried to help my hair situations with different anti-frizz products she would buy for me.  But my hair just refused to decide if it was going to be semi-wavy, or sort of straight, or full-on curly, so it was a confusing time.



The Curly Phase: 14 Years Old-16 Years Old

My hair finally curled up enough for it to actually look like it was on purpose, and we found some decent products.  Still, I had a hard time accepting my wavy/curly hair.  The preferred hair style in the culture at that time was definitely sleek and straight, and my hair was just...not.  I always felt like it was a little out-of-control, and it was hard to get my curls to look right because they were still half in the "wavy" category.  (I'm still not sure how to deal with my curly hair au natural, to be honest).

The Straightening Phase: 16 Years-20 Years Old

I finally got a hair straightener and started using it more regularly.  I found at this time that I liked my day three hair the best.  The first day I washed and straightened it, it would still be on the frizzy side (I'd try to wash it on days we weren't going anywhere).  The second day, the frizz had calmed down some.  By the third day it actually looked pretty smooth!  But by then it was time to wash it again.  I wrestled with my hair in this manner until my 20's.

The I've-Got-It-Figured-Out Phase: 20 Years Old-Present

I got married and started working at a real job (and hence earning my own grown-up paycheck) at 20 - which gave me a lot more wiggle room to try out different products.  And what do you know, I finally found THE product that would make my hair cooperate! Sexy Straight Hair (that's what the product was called).  I even had the courage to try growing my hair long once I found this lifesaver.



It didn't last long, I think I'm more of a bob kind of girl.

I eventually switched to a Chi straightener (game-changer) with the Chi Shine Infusion Spray (which is pretty similar to the product above, just easier to find), and that's what I use today.

I do have one regret about the different stages of my hair up to now, and that is the fact that I have never figured out how to wear my hair curly and like it.  I am not sure if it is because of the semi-traumatic experience of having my hair go rogue at a stage when everything else was changing too (oh, puberty), or if I internalized too much of the straight-hair-is-better message of that time when my hair was changing, or if I have just never found the product that would make my curly hair manageable enough to suit me.  

But I do wish I could have figured out how to make it work and love it, because I would love to be an example to my daughters in that way - I'd love to teach them to embrace the unique beauty of their individual hair types, like my mom tried to do for me.

Maybe that will be the next stage of my "hair evolution" - The I-Finally-Get-My-Curls Phase.

Do any of you have wavy/curly hair?  What products do you use?  Did you ever figure out how to tame the curls, or do I just need to learn to go with the curly-hair flow?


Why You Should Give The Antique Mall A Chance



Wow.  What a roller coaster of a week it has been!  You may have noticed that this old fashioned blogging is a day late, and that is because of the afore-mentioned roller coaster.  I'll get around to sharing the whole story soon, but for now, let's focus on one highlight of the week, which was a trip to our local antique mall with my mom and sister on Saturday.


All About Antique Malls And My Love For Them

Just in case you don't have an antique mall near you (which I'm sure you do, they are all over), a bunch of antique dealers can rent space in the mall to sell you their finds.  Because of the range of sellers, you could literally find anything in an antique mall.  You can never know what to expect, what you may find, or how much you may spend.

The very first time I ever entered an antique mall was with my grandma when I was perhaps eight years old.  My grandma used to take each of her grandkids out for their birthday and buy them whatever they wanted for a gift, followed by a sleepover at her house.  It was a great tradition, and one that my mom continues with her grandkids today.

This particular year, I wanted to find more Bobbsey Twins books.  This was a great old series about four siblings, two sets of boy/girl twins, and their adventures.  I had a couple of the books, but the additional titles listed in the back cover always intrigued me.  With titles like "Bobbsey Twins On Blueberry Island" and "Bobbsey Twins In Tulip Land", my eight-year-old imagination was running wild.  I had to read those books!

So my grandma took me to an antique mall to see if we could find any.  After browsing for quite a while, I spotted not one, not two Bobbsey Twin books, but the entire series!  In my haste to bend down and see the price tag, I failed to notice a broken ceramic washbasin, and sliced open my knee.  My grandma whisked me out of the store, applied hydrogen peroxide, and I later got a stitch.  I still have a scar.

And I never did get those Bobbsey Twins books.


How I Shop At Antique Stores Now



Still, that whole adventure seemed to attach the invisible thread that would draw me back to antique stores later in life, and when I grew up and went to the mall as a newlywed, I figured out that there are actually a bunch of other interesting things there besides Bobbsey Twins books.  This is what I usually look for:

1. Unique teacups.  All the china has a certain appeal to me, because they just don't make a lot of these things anymore!  But teacups are so dainty, and also practical, so I find myself scanning the shelves for them most.  My criteria for teacups is that they must be unusual and speak to me in some way.  Even amidst the unique field of teacups, you'd be surprised how often a rose pattern shows up, and then all the rose patterns start to look the same, so I go for the unusual or even odd-looking ones.  I'm also a happy camper if I can find one for less than $15.  Over $15 is usually more than I'm willing to spend, unless it's something really special.

2. Old books.  This cannot be just any old book, because with the advent of Amazon, you can find almost anything online.  In order for me to buy it, it must be an unusual title that I know would be hard to find or cost a fortune online, or it must be a good price, or an edition of a classic that has a cool look to it.

3. Records.  I keep asking for a record player for my birthday and Christmas, but so far no one has taken the hint!  Still, I am convinced I will get one someday, so I keep my eyes peeled for any good old records.  Especially if it's an Elvis record.

I definitely recommend going into the store with a few items that you want to hunt for - otherwise it can get overwhelming.  The search is what makes it fun!


Antique Store Haul

My mom and sister and I had a lovely time browsing the shelves last Saturday, after my mom treated us to breakfast (thanks Mom!).  There is so much in this antique store.  We only made it through half the aisles!  We decided we'll have to go again in a few months, and I'm already looking forward to it (and trying to remember to hold some money aside, because I always end up buying something).







(Doesn't everyone need a ceramic Robin Hood head?)

 (My Beautiful Mama.)

(Haha, my sis.  Can she strike a good pose or what?)

(Moi.)

This is what I ended up getting:

-Peach pearlized teacup.
-Delicate mint and pink daisy teacup.
-Green flower teacup.
-A book for my dad (which I won't specify here, in case he's reading).
-A hardcover copy of The Boxcar Children ($3!).
-A Peter, Paul, And Mary record ($2), which I will play someday on my future record player.
-Two pretty handkerchiefs (one from my mom).  Why don't people carry hankies anymore?  I guess because of the whole disposable tissues thing.

I'm most excited about the teacups and hankies, because they are so pretty.  You can expect these to be making appearances when I have to stage photos for the blog.  Can you believe I got all three of those teacups for $20?  I thought that was a pretty good deal.  

It was so fun to spend the morning with my mom and sister and find some treasures!





Have you ever been to an antique mall?  What would/do you hunt for in antique shops?

I highly recommend making a trip to your local antique mall, for a few reasons.

1. It's amazing the amount of interesting things that can be packed into one building!

2. You never know what you will find, but you most likely will find something that speaks to you.

3. If you don't find something cool for yourself, teacups and old books make great gifts!

4. It really is a great outing for bonding with family or friends, especially if you go from someone of a different generation than you.  It was so fun to hear all my mom's stories, keep an eye out for interesting items to swoon over or chuckle at, and see everyone's tastes!  It's one of the best destinations I can think of for quality time, and definitely was a special day with my mom and sister.


Old School Blogger Shoutout

Last week I somehow snuck in quite a bit of blog reading time, and found a few new favorites!  This week I thought I'd point you to Rachel at The Random Writings.   I feel like Rachel's blog pretty much embodies everything good about the long-ago days of blogging, and she is also a wonderful social blogger who will return your comments.  I am loving her blog and looking forward to getting to know her better!

What I'm Drinking: As you may have seen yesterday on Instagram, hot chocolate with Irish cream syrup.  But as you are reading this today I am off to the Children's Museum and have probably picked up a white chocolate iced coffee (my on-the-go go-to).






Why I Watch The Bachelor




Writing this post strangely feels like writing a confession, but here it goes - I watch the Bachelor.

I was really late to the Bachelor train, since I only started watching with Sean's season.  Derek was traveling at that time, and every Monday night I would snuggle on the couch with a newborn Gwen and tune in.  I did the same in 2014 when I was pregnant with Clyde, and again in 2015 when I was pregnant with Clarice.  And now I nurse Clarice every Monday night while watching Ben make his picks (I'm not holding my breath on him finding a wife, but you never know).  I even rope Derek into watching with me, and my sister and I talk on the phone to discuss the Bachelor happenings.

Is There A Purpose To Your Reading?





When I was in first grade, cliques were a big deal.  It mattered what group you belonged to, and once you were in a group you really couldn’t associate with other groups without risking being banned from your own group (I know because I was banned from my group by associating with someone who didn’t fit in).  The level of peer pressure that was placed on my little seven-year-old self by other seven-year-olds is actually a little disturbing when I think about it.

Anyway, we called these cliques “teams”.  And I still remember in first grade, forming my very first “team” with another girl based on the fact that we both read the Saddle Club books.  Books have been a big part of my life for a very long time.  

It was cool to be a part of our book-based group in first grade.  I’m not sure the book group would have been the cool group had our Saddle Club “team” survived until high school, but thankfully I was being homeschooled by then anyway, and me and my bookish friends all continued to read together.  We even wrote our own stories and read them aloud to each other - a writing club of sorts, and it was all so much fun.

I’ve carried my love of reading into adulthood, but I have to admit, it’s harder to stay motivated these days.  When four little kids are calling for your attention all day long, it is terribly tempting to use your moments of down-time to just veg and watch TV.  But it’s important to me to keep reading, to keep learning new things, even though I don’t have to anymore.

I love how Whitney has specific goals for her reading.  Instead of just setting a number of books as a goal or 2016, I have taken a cue from her and decided to be a little more intentional about my reading as well.




My goal for 2016 is to read one book for each of the following categories each month:


One Book To Strengthen My Relationships.

This could be a marriage or parenting book, a book about friendships, or a book to help me know myself better in an effort to improve my relationships.

One Book To Improve My Spiritual Health.

This could be a book that will instruct me biblically, a book on theology, a bible study, etc.  (One book I hope to read for this category is “Your God Is Too Small” - my pastor mentioned it a few years ago, and I have been wanting to read it ever since!)

One Book To Grow Intellectually.

I’d love to include a few more academic books on my to-read list.  This could include books about science, history, politics, or culture, or classic fiction.

One Book To Entertain.

I still have to fit some fun fiction in.  That’s where my love of books all started, after all.



The point of setting category goals like this is to hopefully stretch myself to read books that I am not always naturally drawn to, and to read books that will help me draw closer to Jesus and the people in my life.  I think it is perfectly acceptable to pick up a book that is easy to read, but I don't want to only pick up easy-reads.  The more you read, and the more difficult material you read, the easier it is to tackle those "hard" books that make you grow as a person.  I want to get to the end of this year being more capable of getting through a difficult book.  When you are working out physically and you want to see improvement, you have to push yourself to do something a littler harder each time.  It works the same way with reading.




If I stick with my goal, this should mean that I will read 48 books in 2016 (at least), and hopefully make it through some of my ever-growing to-read list! I am going to try to write a post each quarter to update you on my progress.  I am not worried about hitting the 48 book goal, because that is less than I read in 2015, but I do think it will be a challenge to stick with my categories.  It's a worthy challenge though.  Hopefully I’ll have some good, strong books to recommend to you throughout the year.

To see a few of the books that I hope to read this year, check out my shelf on Goodreads.  I'd also love to hear your recommendations for me!


Do you have any specific goals for your reading?  What was your first favorite book?







---


Also, A New Linkup!

I also have something fun to share with all of you - I am going to be a co-host for a brand-new linkup this year!  With Grit & Grace will be a monthly linkup to share goals and accomplishments with each other.  

There is something about writing out goals that helps me be more tenacious in actually accomplishing them.  At the same time, if some goals don't get accomplished because more important things - like family - take precedence, that is okay and even healthy.  We want With Grit & Grace to be a goals community that encourages each other to work toward our goals but also give ourselves a break when life happens.  

I am looking forward to sharing my main goal for February along for the first linkup this Wednesday, the 3rd!  If you are a fellow blogger, share your goals on your blog and then head back here to linkup with us!



© Through Clouded Glass. Design by MangoBlogs.