Showing posts with label Old-Fashioned Blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Old-Fashioned Blogging. Show all posts

Paper Bracelets Are A Great Mood Booster




That's me, feeling like falling asleep next to my peppermint tea.  Sad.

Caffeinated coffee, how I miss thee!  

Peppermint tea, the whole wake-you-up and give-you-energy promise was a lie.  

Paper Bracelets

Yesterday was an exceptionally good morning.  I heard Gwen scurrying around upstairs, my little early bird, and instead of fighting it, I decided to let her go.  I could clean up whatever mess was made later.

I was rewarded after a little while with soft footsteps in my room, and a little voice.  

"Mama, stick out your arm."  

I had no idea what she was talking out, but I obliged, and she wrapped a little hand-colored paper bracelet around my wrist, securing it with a piece of tape.

How could I not be in a bright mood after that?

I was just thinking the day before too about how I was hoping the kids would make me something for Mother's Day this year.  Like those macaroni necklaces.  I would love a macaroni necklace, but it would be even better if I didn't have to ask Derek to arrange the making of said macaroni necklace.  But do any kids really just spontaneously decide to make jewelry for their moms, or is it all prompted by classroom craft projects?  This morning I discovered that no, apparently they can and do think of it all by themselves, and I loved it.

The First Trimester Blahs

You probably didn't notice or remember, but I promised a six week pregnancy update a week ago and never delivered.  That's because this first trimester is hitting me hard!  I'll save more details for the pregnancy updates, if I ever get around to them, but sheesh, what a roller coaster.  



I can never tell if I'm going to have an energetic day or an exhausted day, a depressed day or a happy day, a smell-things-that-aren't-there day or a hungry day.  I just hope it's not going to be a migraine day, because then I'll spend the afternoon laid up on the couch (I've had three days like that since I found out I was pregnant, so one per week).  Last week I woke up one morning annoyed.  For no reason and at no one in my house.  Just annoyed.  I cried over a game of Risk the other night.  

Basically, I feel like a basket case.  Derek has been a saint to put up with me (seriously).

Last week I was getting ready to write a pregnancy update, but I realized my monthly Tommy Nelson post was late, so all my writing energy drained away to that.  It's taken this long to get it back up again.  

Aside from all that though, it's been so nice to tell people about this baby right away this time.  Despite my varying moods, the constant is that I am so happy about this baby, and it feels good to share it!  Everyone has been so supportive, and I have to say, telling all my blog buddies here and on social media has been so fun! I want to say thank you, thank you, for all your excitement for our family and well wishes!  It has been a big encouragement.

Old-Fashioned Blogger Shout-Out (Or Not)

I've been sitting here for ten minutes, and the only other thing I can think of to talk about is my discovery of the The Great British Baking Show on Netflix.  It's been a slow couple weeks.  Turns out lying on the couch every afternoon falling asleep to the TV might give me enough energy to make it through the evening, but it's not very interesting to write about.  

I've been avoiding reading too much on screens because of the migraines, so I don't even have an old-fashioned blogger to share today!  I'm slacking.  Stick with me and I'll eventually get back to some sense of normality, but for now, why don't you tell ME who YOUR favorite old-fashioned blogger is!  Find any new favorites lately?

What I'm Drinking:  Peppermint tea, and I'm not happy about it.  But anything for my baby!


What I'm Watching Lately



A lot of interesting things happened this week, but I can't tell you about any of them.

It's difficult when so many exciting things happen, and you are itching to write out your thoughts, but you realize you can't talk about any of them in the interest of protecting privacy and avoiding gossip.  So what do you do when that happens?  You write about TV.

The Bachelor

Today, I feel compelled to write about the Bachelor.  Not because I liked Nick as a Bachelor at all (please, no).  In fact I boycotted the Bachelor in the middle of this season because it was just so trashy.  This is probably the trashiest season I've seen, and I was surprised by how many gross comments they allowed on TV.  It all got to be too much and I decided I didn't need to be filling my brain with this junk.  But later, I admit, I got sucked back in to see who he ended up with.  You have no idea how much I hate my weakness here.  It's embarrassing.

This is why I usually avoid starting shows at all if I know they are going to be too questionable in content.  Because (I think you can all agree) it's way harder to quit in the middle of a show than to just never start watching it in the first place.

So no, this season stunk, but we have to discuss something because I had an epiphany last night.  After watching Nick pick Vanessa, which I thought was a dumb decision, I started thinking back on previous seasons of the Bachelor, and I realized something.  

The Bachelor/Bachelorette almost never picks who I want them to pick.  And (here's the kicker) - when they pick the person I thought they shouldn't, it usually ends up sort of working out.  On the rare occasions when the contestant did pick who I thought they should, the relationship usually ended within six months!

Basically, I should never be a matchmaker.  I'm good at picking a spouse for me (my husband is a gem), but apparently I'm not so good at picking people for other people.

Shark Tank

I started watching Shark Tank this year and got hooked! My favorite sharks are probably Lauri and Mr. Wonderful, but I think it's ruthless and rude when they withdraw their offer just because a business owner wants to hear all the offers on the table first.  I guess I understand the strategy behind it, but really, who wouldn't want to know all the offers before picking one?

I have also embarrassingly got sucked into buying products because I saw them on the show.  I definitely understand why people want to go on, because it's great exposure for any business.  The show is basically a sneakily more interesting version of The Shopping Network, except only the shark that makes the deal gets a financial advantage from this little series of infomercials.

PragerU

Now we move on to YouTube, because that's where half of entertainment resides these days.  Really, there is precious little that is worth watching on the actual TV.  

I have been a fan of Dennis Prager for so long, mostly for his weekly "Happiness Hour".  The man has more insight into the topic of happiness than anyone else I can think of.  Lately I have rediscovered PragerU, which is full of helpful and informative five minute videos. They are five minute bites of common sense.

Most recently, "War On Boys" was interesting, and "Is Your Child Getting Enough Vitamin N" was great,  and "I Learned More At McDonald's Than At College" gave me hope that not all college students are unprepared for life (at least if they've worked before), and "The Sexiest Man Alive" was just so true.  But poke around, especially in the Life Studies videos, and you'll probably find something you like.  Especially any of the videos on happiness!

Also "Coolidge: The Best President You Don't Know"!  Okay, I'm done now.

Other Channels

On YouTube that is.  I'll just run through a few I've been enjoying lately.

Favorite Homeschooling Channel: A Farmhouse Full.  She vlogs about a lot of things, but I have really enjoyed her homeschooling videos because I'm fascinated by the fact that she has eight (nine?) kids!

Favorite Book Channel:  My friend Felicia's channel, Little Prairie Library! I love seeing all the books she reads and finds, and I've found several good ones through her channel.

Favorite Makeup Channel: Emily Noel.  She just seems like a normal person to me.  Other makeup channel people just...don't.

Looking Forward To...

Survivor, of course!  When does that start back up again?

What are your favorite shows these days?

Old School Blogger Shoutout

I've been enjoying The Lady Okie blog - she is the type of old-fashioned blogger that I've always enjoyed reading.  She even wrote an introduction post last Friday, which is pretty convenient for all you newbies to her blog.  Stop by and say hi!

What I'm Drinking: Baked Cinnamon Apple Tea.  It's yummy if you don't mind teas that are already a bit sweet.  I have to be in the right mood for it.




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).






Speaking Of "Spring"...




From Winter To Spring


In one way or another springtime here always disappoints me.

I used to truly hate springtime, mostly because where I live the season inevitably means one thing - mud. Lots and lots of mud.  However, springtime in the mountains has started to surprise me.  The last couple springs have been unseasonably warm, with blue skies and flowers that have started to sprout early.

This last week I thought we may be in for another uncharacteristically nice spring, but I'm still on guard because the air as I type this on Saturday has a bit of chill sneaking back in.  So even during "nice" springs, you just never know when we will be right back to winter.  I'm dubbing it the springtime blues.  You are happy that the weather is so beautiful, but you are sad because you know it's not going to last that long.

It's an emotional roller coaster, I tell you.

In-Between Seasons Clothing

Regardless, I thought I'd just talk today about transitioning from winter to spring, in more ways than one!  First clothing, and in particular, shoes.  I am so happy that laced suede flats are a trend right now, because I think they are perfect for those transition seasons, when you don't really know what to wear.






Floral Tank: Papaya
Drapey Utility-Inspired Jacket: TJ Maxx
Jeans: JustFab (my referral links here)
Shoes: JustFab

All About Birding

For the uninitiated, "birding" is the modern term for "bird-watching".  Don't let a birder catch you saying "bird-watching", because I hear it's a major faux-pas.  I've mentioned before that one of my favorite movies is The Big Year, and every time I watch it I get in the mood to break out my binoculars and find some birds.  Last year when we went to Yellowstone was when it started, because there were so many varieties of birds there.  I saw an American White Pelican!  I don't think I've seen a pelican in my life before that.

As if I needed another reason to just give birding a try, I saw in one of my homeschool Facebook groups that the Great Backyard Bird Count is starting right now.  This is a citizen-study put on by Cornell every year.  It helps them gather information on bird migration patterns, and it helps citizens (like me) get outside and identify some birds.  I decided we would participate and incorporate it into our school days.  

Our first day out was not overly successful.  I heard a chickadee and saw a Dark-eyed Janko.  But to be honest, I was just guessing as to what bird it was.  I poured over websites and books for almost an hour trying to figure out what it was that I saw.  It was a 7-9 inch bird with a chestnut-colored back, and blackish and white tail feathers.  I settled on the Janko, because it's very common and also the only bird that even vaguely fit that description.  

I'm sure I'll get better at this whole thing eventually and won't have to spend an hour identifying each bird, right?

The Book-Buying Urge

Even though I wouldn't say spring has officially started at all, this spring-like weather is conjuring spring-like thoughts.  Spring makes me think about saving money for the homeschool conference, and preparing for next school year (oh, the life of a homeschool mom), which makes me think about picking curriculum for first grade (even though we are still in the midst of kindergarten).  And since I am an eclectic homeschooler with an emphasis on "living books", it makes me want to buy books for the kids.

My Usborne party was a declared success, and I have a big 'ole batch of books coming my way from them soon (more on that when they arrive!).  Last Saturday I also took a shopping trip by myself, and there is a local thrift store that has a particularly good selection of books.  Seriously, every time I go there I find a bunch of classic children's books.  I am baffled.  Who is giving away all these good books?  I must be in a sweet-spot, surrounded by parents with kids just a little older than mine who give all their good children's books away to this one thrift store.  This is my haul (excuse the fact that I'm talking so fast, Derek was waiting for me and I was in a rush!).





I may have gone a little overboard.  It's hard not to do when you can get each book for $1.50 each! This batch of books would have cost me at least $160 on Amazon, and that's if I bought each one of them used.

Old School Blogger Shout-Out

Just one today, for the sake of time!  Alex from Inspiration Clothesline is a long-time blog friend.  Go check out her most recent post where she announced being pregnant with her FOURTH baby!  So cute!

What I'm Drinking: Still to be determined.  Coffee?  Peppermint tea?  Something that will wake me up and give me energy for our homeschool playdate this morning.


Five Movies To Watch On Valentine's Day (And Other Fun)



Well, it's here! The day that keeps February from being a throwaway month.  The day of love.  Valentines's Day!

In the spirit of the day, I thought today's old-fashioned blog post could surround the holiday.  How often do major holidays land on a Tuesday, after all?  Not often.

(If you are here for the movie suggestions, scroll down.)


Valentine's Day Spirit

I'm sure you are all well aware by now that I love Valentine's Day - mainly because every year I mention repeatedly how I love Valentine's Day.  If you need to get into the Valentine's Day spirit, I suggest these previous musings on the subject.


Now that we are all on the same page...

The year that Gwen was born I started taking a Valentine's Day photo of the kids each year, so in the spirit of tradition I did the same this year.  I think this might be my favorite setup because it was so colorful!  The kids did most of the painting for those hearts, and they loved the little background I set up.




Best decision of 2016 - painting the house that grey color.  I just love it so much.

(More adorable kid photos on my family Instagram today!)


Valentine's Day Buckets

For the kids' Valentine's gifts I had to be a little thrifty this year, so we just kept it simple.






Cute Valentine's Buckets - Target
Educational Card Decks (wrapped in DIY wrapping paper) - Target
Valentine's Pencils - Walmart
Glittery Hearts - Walmart
Rolos - Anywhere

As of this typing they haven't seen their Valentine's treats yet, but I'm confident they'll be a hit.

I ordered a present for Derek a couple of weeks ago, but it has yet to arrive.  I was quite disappointed by this, because Derek always out-does me when it comes to gift giving, and I was excited to out-do him this time.  I've decided instead to sneak a little Valentine's gift into his work bag for each day leading up to the arrival of his gift.  That will keep up the suspense and gift-giving excellence, right?



Old School Movies For Valentine's Day 

Excuse me for using my old-fashioned post for something slightly Pinterest-y.  Last week I bemoaned the fact that there are very few new chick flicks out these days, and I am still stretching to think of a recent good romantic comedy.  I don't like my romantic movies heavy in any sense.  I appreciate light and happy.  I considered sharing my favorite modern chick flicks, but then I realized that I am sure all of you reading this blog have seen those many times over, so I reached a little farther back.  I present to you, for your Valentine's Day viewing consideration:

The African Queen (1951) - I admit, it's been quite a while since I watched this one, but I may have to remedy that soon.  Humphrey Bogart! Katherine Hepburn! A quirky love story that takes place on a boat! I can almost guarantee it will leave you grinning, for one reason or another.

How To Marry A Millionaire (1953) - Lauren Bacall! Marilyn Monroe! I realize I should probably stop exclaiming all these actor names, because unless you already into old movies it won't really make a difference to you.  But, just trust me, it's a winning combination.  This movie is funny, and outrageous, and just cute.  An old-school romantic comedy if ever there was one.

The Shop Around The Corner (1940) - Remember You've Got Mail (how could you not)?  This is the movie that inspired that movie.  I watched it several years ago, and thought it was different than the original but not in a way that ruined either one!

McClintock! (1963) - Imagine a John Wayne western and a romantic comedy got married and had a baby.  This is that movie.  Can't picture it?  Let me tell you, it's a lot of fun!  About a married couple on the brink of separation as they reconnect, all set in the old west.

If A Man Answers (1962) - And this one I'd call more of a "Galentine's Day" movie.  Not that you couldn't watch with your husband, but there is some (respectful) comparing of husbands to dogs, so it's more fun to chuckle at it with your girlfriends than with your man!

A couple of these are one Netflix, but if you don't have any luck there, I suggest checking your local library!

What are your Valentine's date plans (if you have any?).  We went bowling and shopping last week, so we'll probably just hang out and watch a movie tonight.

 (Photo taken by Wyatt!)


Old School Blogger Shoutout

I think I need to create a spreadsheet because I'm losing track of who I already mentioned! 

Elizabeth from Life In St. Petersburg - Elizabeth is an American mom living in Russia.  I always find her posts interesting, whether she delves into Russian culture or not!

Carol from Pur et Simple - Carol is a mom to eight kids spread across 20 years - so she has grown kids and little ones.  It's interesting to me to read what that looks like since mine are a lot closer together!

Both of these ladies are relatively newer reads to me, but it's so interesting to peek inside life with kids in different stages and places!

Who are your favorite old school bloggers?  If I don't get some new suggestions this section is going to peter out in the next couple weeks.  Or I might switch it to specific post shout-outs.  What do you think?  

Comment below if I haven't mentioned you yet and you'd like to be featured, or tell me your favorite old-fashioned blog to read (and read this post and this post again if you need a refresher on what I mean by "old-fashioned").

What I'm Drinking: Diet Lime Coke. I know. Where's the tea?  It's just a Diet Coke kind of day.









Two Dates (This Never Happens, People)

(Note: This is not actually what I wore on our date, I just am feeling lazy about taking a new photo this morning, and outfit photos seemed like a good fit for this post.)

Derek and I went on two, count 'em two, dates last week!  This is very noteworthy.  I know there is that big push to do a weekly date night as a married couple, to which the only thing I have to say is - "ha!".  We have four kids under the age of six.  There is no possible way we could do a weekly date night.

Babysitters

For our dates, we rely exclusively on the goodwill of our families as babysitters.  Which made me curious, does anyone hire babysitters for their kids?  If you do, I have questions.

Where did you find your babysitter?

Have you ever regretted who you hired to watch your kids or felt the need to switch babysitters?

What is the going rate these days? I'm pretty sure I can't afford it (x) four kids.

I only ask these things because I am curious, because I think it would have to be a pretty special young lady for me to feel like she could be an acceptable substitute for grandparents.

Bowling Date Night

First date night - we went bowling! (Thanks to my sister for watching the kids!)  I haven't been bowling in forever, but Derek and I have been thinking of starting a monthly bowling night for the last...three years?  We clearly can't seem to get our act together.  However, they just opened a new bowling alley in our mall, so we went to check it out.  It was so fun!  

I've determined I need to develop my bowling style though.  I always feel self-conscious when I see everyone around me (my dear husband included), bowling with such flair, and I pretty much just walk straight up and swing the ball.  Derek tells me my style is girly, but I know it's also boring!

Even though I wore something else for our date, this would be a good bowling outfit, no?  Just switch the boots out for bowling shoes (I am proud to say that I actually have my own bowling shoes.)








Earrings: $0.50 at Forever21
Shirt: Francesca's
Moto Jeans: JustFab
Snap Sweater: Jane.com
Bag: JustFab
Button socks: Target
Booties: A Christmas gift.


Lunch And Shopping Date

This was our early Valentine's Day date, because next weekend is Wyatt's birthday, and the weekend after that we already have plans.  So we dropped the kids off for a day with Gramie and Poppa, and went out to lunch at Macaroni Grill.  I got the lasagna, but unfortunately it was cold.  We asked them to heat it up, but I didn't finish it because then it felt soggy.  You win some, you lose some.  After lunch we walked around the mall, and Derek won his way into my heart (again), by telling me to pick whatever candle I wanted in Yankee Candle (Yankee candles may be my love language).  

I chose Meadow Showers.  I was going to pick Emerald Isle, but they only had three of those left, none of which was oily enough.  If you don't buy a really oily Yankee candle, it's just not worth the money.  But pick one with lots of oil, and it will fill an entire floor of your house with scent.

We topped off the date with ice cream at Cold Stone creamery! 

Notice The Lack Of Movies

We did not go to a movie for any of our dates, and the reason is that I am convinced Hollywood can't come up with anything worth seeing anymore.  The last three movies we went saw were a disappointment, and I just wasn't sure I was willing to risk more money on a movie I might not enjoy.  Derek and I have discussed at length what we think the problem may be, and here are a few of our theories:

1) They can't come up with anything original anymore.  So many movies lately are remakes of stories that have been successful in the past.  And they still manage to mess some of those up!  Case in point - Tarzan.  One of the several movies that have been a big old "wah wah wah" over the last year.

2) Someone in Hollywood needs to take a class on character development.  The last several movies that I've seen, one of my main complaints is that I can't seem to connect to the characters.  I don't know who they are as a person, their personalities aren't presented well, I can't see the progression of their relationships in the movie, I can't really figure out why their problems are such big problems to them personally, they aren't relatable.  In short, I don't really care about them.  And that's Hollywood's job, to make me care about the characters! Something is going awry, and I would tell them how to fix it, but then what are we paying them the big bucks for?

3) Did someone forget that there is a category called "romantic comedy"?  The last time I saw a decent romantic comedy...well no, a romantic comedy at all, was several years ago.  So many of the romantic movies that are out right now are so serious and/or depressing.  What is going on here?  It's almost Valentine's Day, shouldn't there be a wealth of this category at this time of year?  Where are all the rom coms?  Am I missing something?

Basically, we've decided that there are no recent good movies except ones that are based on true stories.  If we want to see a movie these days, it better be based on a true story, or there is a better than likely chance we aren't going to enjoy it.  

Am I the only one with current movie woes?  Have you seen anything good lately (that wasn't a true story)?

Old School Blogger Shoutout

These are a couple ladies that I've gotten to know largely through social media over the last couple years, and their blogs have become some of my favorites to read!  They share thoughtful, encouraging posts, and I'm happy to introduce them to you today.

Gina at Baby Blue Mom - Gina always has great insights and encouragements for moms, and she really inspires me to be a better hostess!  I love her hospitality tips.  She is expecting her third baby, due pretty soon!  Her husband also works at White Horse Inn, a great resource that I have been enjoying (when I have time to read something other than books for review!).

Elisha at Grateful With Two - Pronounced "uh-lee-sha"!  Elisha is homeschooling her two boys, and she is also an avid reader...so I think you see why we have become friends! She is a sweetheart, and I love reading her thoughts!

Also, a repeat shout-out to Meghan and Alex, old-school blog friends who had their babies over the last couple weeks!

What I'm Drinking: Vanilla Jasmine herbal tea.  With candy hearts, of course! (A delight for my tastebuds, a bane for my waistline.  I will not be too upset when Valentine's day is over and this temptation is out of my life.)

P.S An old-school blog friend, Brittany, is throwing me an Usborne book party! If you are interested in joining the Facebook party on Thursday, let me know in a comment and I'll send you the link to join - otherwise, check out Usborne books here!  I'm hoping to have a post up tomorrow about my Usborne wishlist for homeschooling next year, so stay tuned!




Remember How I Started A Literary Society?



(Those specks in the picture are crumbs on the table.  I didn't clean it before I staged this pic, and it's too late now. It's been that kind of morning.)


I have no idea where the phrase originated, but I'll go ahead and say that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.  I opened my eyes with a scowl on my face, shuffled into the bathroom to fix my makeup, and shuffled upstairs for some coffee.  I would like to say that I am feeling slightly better now, but as I sit here assessing, I'm not sure if that's accurate.  On a day like this, you break out every item that normally makes you smile (light the candles - check), snuggle a couple children, and just make it through.

3rd Literary Society Meeting

You also go the path of least resistance when writing an old-fashioned blog post, and share what you did yesterday - which for me, was our third literary society meeting! In case you missed it, last fall I started a literary society, not to be confused with a book club.  Book clubs have everyone reading the same book - literary societies get together and talk about books in general.  Books that are our favorites, books we are reading lately, recommendations - anything goes.

Our society meets every other month, and last night was our largest meeting with eleven people!  I was hoping we could get a circular table, but instead we were seated at a long table, so I floated between sides to make sure to talk with everyone.  As usual, it was so fun!  We talk about a myriad of books, but these are the ones that made it onto my to-read shelf on Goodreads.

Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
The Power Of One by Bryce Courtenay
The Story Of The World - Vol. One

Have you read any of these?

My Non-Goalish Reading Goal

Now I'll go ahead and just tell you what I am currently reading, though I first want to step back and remind you how last year I set goals to be more purposeful about what I was reading.  

Yeah, that didn't go so well.  

I didn't stick to my categories at all through the year, and I swiftly decided that no such goals would be made for 2017.  Along with my growing annoyance with words like "purposeful" and "intentional" (because they are so overused these days), 2016 led me to a conclusion - not everything has to be intentional.  Why are we wearing ourselves out by having a plan for every little area of our lives?  Doesn't that suck some of the fun out of it?  For me, it does.  I am perfectly fine not being intentional with certain areas of my life and just going with the flow.  I'll save my intentionality stress for things that matter more than what books I read.

This year I've decided to read things that are currently interesting to me, and forget about categories.  I think I will get more out of my reading if it's something that's currently relevant in my life, and I'll probably read more books this way as well because I won't be forcing myself through something I'm not enjoying.  No intentional reading here this year.

However, all that is not to say that I won't still have some sort of theme to my reading, based on my interests, and one of my unofficial, interest-based goals is to read more about the Cold War.  I've always found the idea of the Cold War fascinating, and last year when we saw Bridge of Spies, it sparked my interest to learn more.  I know the basics of what the tension was about, but I don't know many specifics.  How did it start?  How and when did we realize that we were in a Cold War with Russia? What did people think about it?  What was it like living during the Cold War?

So what I'm currently reading: A Brief History Of The Cold War by Lee Edwards.  The title makes it sound terribly dry, but it's well done in my opinion.  It's a straight-up history, but written in an engaging way, and I'm learning a lot.

Next up in the Cold War queue:

Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy 
The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell
Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky
Killing Reagan by Bill O'Reilly

I've asked around, and most people have no suggestion for me - but hey, there is no harm in trying again!  Do you have any recommendations for books that have to do with the Cold War?  I'd love to add more fiction to the list.

So what are you all reading lately?  

On the queue for the rest of my day?  I'm off to finish my coffee, read between taking care of children, eat my chocolate croissant (are you aware that yesterday was croissant day?), and fold a ton of laundry for the pregnancy resource center.  Oh yes, and Derek and I have a long overdue date tonight (I think I'm going to try to talk him into bowling)!

Old School Blogger Shoutout

I'm not sure if these bloggers would technically describe themselves as "old school" - but I am, because I feel like they have a spirit of the old school about them.  Their posts, though sometimes more on the professional side of blogging, are not cold and impersonal, and through reading their blogs I feel like I have gotten to know them!  They are two of my favorites to read, and these ladies are so sweet and always respond to comments via email, if not by reciprocating the commenting on my blog.

Rebecca from Caravan Sonnet - Rebecca is just a sweetheart, and has so many insights into walking with the Lord through the trials of life.  She is also having an anniversary giveaway that ends TODAY, so get yourself over there and scroll down to find that post!

Elizabeth from Teaching Sam And Scout - Elizabeth used to blog at E, Myself, And I, but switched to Teaching Sam And Scout a couple years ago...her blog is focused on her job as a teacher, but I feel that she has done a good job of keeping the personal touch too.  Her links and likes posts are my go-to for keeping up on whatever is popular in blogland.  She does the leg work so I don't have to.

What I'm Drinking: Coffee.  Just coffee.  With whipped cream.  I'm hoping it's enough to break me out of my funk.


The Secret To The Perfect Chalky Heart (And Other Musings)



I started typing this post during nap time yesterday.  Nap time is a fight these days.  Wyatt and Gwen are old enough that it is really "quiet time", and I think Clyde is on the verge of giving up naps too.

Nevertheless, I typed a couple paragraphs and then set my laptop aside so I could go wash my hair before all the kids got up.  I barely made it out of the bathtub before they were all downstairs playing "shots" with Gwen's new doctor toys. I watched them for a while (apparently "bees in the ears" is a serious ailment), and then finally headed upstairs to make some real macaroni and cheese for dinner.

I got the cheese sauce started and then thought I'd edit a couple pictures
while it simmered, but I found my laptop in Gwen's room.  They named this post "bv6766t@TFAQEQAS1QW2wiIop".  I was tempted to leave that as the title to the post, but I thought it might discourage any of you from actually reading it.  We will be having a talk about playing with mommy's laptop.


My Haircut

As mentioned last week, I got a haircut and color this weekend.  A friend of mine from church is a hairstylist, but I've never made an appointment with her before - that is changing now!  I love the way it turned out!  This is the first time in a long time that I have not come home from a haircut and felt the need to pull out the scissors and fix something myself.  I am told my hair is very thick and very heavy, so choppy ends is frequently a problem - but the way she did my cut this time, the ends are not too thick at all and give me some oomph on top.




For the color, I went with blonde and red highlights again, but the red is a little lighter than the red I've done in the past.  I think I'm subconsciously wishing for summer.  I really like the way it turned out.  It took me a day to get used to the lighter red, but I think it's better for spring.  In the fall I'll probably go with a darker red again (or try something wild and crazy, like the colored hair I pinned).

A Non-Political Discussion Of Inaugural Ball Dresses

The other day I was walking through the mall, looking for gifts for my MOPS group for the Spring and picking up a birthday present...but I found myself eyeing the formal gowns in one of the stores' windows.  

You know how you sometimes read about community dances in historical novels?  I always have two questions: 1) Did they really have frequent dances like that back in the day, or is it just convenient for whatever fictional romance is playing out?  And 2) why are there no community dances or balls anymore?  If they exist, where are they?  I want to go; I want to dress up and go somewhere where waltzing occurs and inappropriate dancing is lacking.

All that to say, between the formal dresses in the window and the inaugural balls that I stayed up late to watch last Friday, I feel that an inaugural ball fashion review is in order.  

The First Lady and Vice President's Wife made great dress choices in my book.  There is something about a white dress on a First Lady that I always love.  And I think I even liked Mrs. Pence's pick just as much, if not an eency bit more, than Melania Trump's.  It just twirled so nicely!  

If I had to pick though, I think I would have gone with Ivanka Trump's dress for myself.  I love the glitz.

Have any of you been to a formal event since you graduated high school?  What did you wear?  It's a pity all the formal occasions have to be wasted on the questionable fashion choices of many high school students.

On Candy Hearts

Let's just talk ever so briefly about candy hearts, shall we?  Candy hearts get a bad rap.  They are accused of being "gross" and "chalky" and "hard as a rock".  Okay, maybe they are chalky.  But if you get the right bag of candy hearts they can actually be pretty good, especially with a cup of tea as you look ahead to the day of love.  So let me tell you the secret to not-gross candy hearts.

1) Don't get the mini candy hearts.  Those really are as hard as a rock, and you probably will break a tooth.  Especially if you already have some fillings.  Just don't do it.

2) What you are looking for is the Brach's Large Conversation Hearts.  Note I said "large".  Bigger hearts mean less of a chance you will break a tooth.  Which brings me to my third point.

3) The secret to a good bag of large conversation hearts is to find one that doesn't appear to have a lot of air in it.  Pick up the bag and shake it around a little.  If you can find one that looks vacuum sealed or where the candy hearts don't change position too much when you shake the bag...it's gold.  Buy that bag!  It will be full of nice, soft candy hearts.

4) Where do you find these good bags of conversation hearts you may ask?  I had to do an internet search because my regular grocery store doesn't appear to carry them anymore, and I found out that Target has them this year!  As if you needed another reason to shop at Target.  There you go.

(After you eat those hearts, you should check out my "worth the time" post last week for a great sale on Sonicare toothbrushes.  That's the dental hygienist in me coming out.)

Old School Blogger Shoutout

Today, I give you two old-school bloggers who are about to have a baby any minute...

Alexandria from Life Of Scooter - Scooter is Alex's cute little dachshund, but she writes about all kinds of things...including expecting baby #3!  Go look at her cute bump!

Ashley Robyn from With Grace - This is a relatively new blog to me, but Ashley is expecting her first baby, and I've been enjoying her reflections.  She hasn't posted in a couple weeks, but I'm thinking that might mean baby is here?  Go stalk her blog for a couple weeks and we'll probably have a baby announcement soon!

What I'm Drinking: Almond Sunset tea from Celestial Seasonings.  It's the right kind of tea to drink while eating candy hearts, in case you were wondering.






Hikes, Hurts, And Haircuts



Does anyone else have a hard time getting back to the rhythm of life after New Year's?  This week feels like the first "normal" week since before Christmas - and it's not even actually normal since we had a long weekend for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  I'm declaring today an honorary Tuesday, so this old-fashioned post is a day late (but not really, because it's an honorary Tuesday).

A Winter Walk

I am happy to report that our sickness last week was fairly short-lived.  I had about a day and a half of feeling miserable, and then I felt almost totally better the next day.  A couple days after we had all seemed to recover from our cold I was definitely feeling the cabin fever though.  So I decided we'd take a winter walk!  I see no reason why we can't still enjoy the outdoors in the winter (we just have to bundle up first).  I drove us all to a stream, and the kids had a grand ole time poking through the ice with sticks.  It was a short walk, but it was lovely.  I think we might do it again this week.



























First Friendship Hurt

Today I sat down to type this with my bowl of mini wheats, Gwen sitting in the chair next to me.  Then I heard "Bobby* doesn't talk to me anymore."  I looked up, and she was looking at me with big, sad brown eyes.  She just looked at me, because I'm the mom and it's my job now to explain these things and make them better.  And my heart broke a little, and I didn't know what to say to my sweet little four-year-old with her first friendship hurt.

I remember the first time it occurred to me that my children were going to be hurt by their friends.  When Wyatt was about two years old, he made a little friend in his nursery class at church.  Every time I sent him in, his friend would grab his arm and include him in whatever the kids were playing.  I stood outside the nursery window and watched this once, and I just remember feeling that squeeze in my heart.  I was so happy he had a little friend, but I was also strangely scared.  What if his friend dumped him eventually?  What if the friend decided he liked playing with someone else more and Wyatt felt left out?

I've had my share of friendship hurts, but it's even harder for me to think about my kids being hurt.  I know it's the nature of the beast, so to speak.  You can't really venture out and make the good friends without also taking the potential for hurt that comes with it, but knowing that doesn't make it easier to watch your children as they take steps into the friendship minefield.  It's only a matter of time.  I just pray that they'll find friends who are good enough to make the risks worth it.

I looked at Gwen, grasping for words.  I mumbled something about little boys going through a stage where they only want to play with the other boys, and said "I'm sorry, honey."  It seemed to be good enough.  Now she's bouncing around Clarice's high chair and laughing, friendship woes forgotten.

I'm the one still sitting here thinking about it.

Hair Color and Cut

Moving on to something more superficial, this week is not only inauguration week (for which I've planned a whole little President unit study for our homeschool), but it's also haircut week!  For me, and for the boys (because I need to break out the razor and give them a haircut this week).  I still can't bear to cut Gwen's hair.

On Saturday I'm getting my hair cut and colored.  This is what it looks like now:



I think it looks fine now, but I'm overdue for a trim.  The shape is getting a little wonky, and I wouldn't mind an inch or so taken off (not too much because I want to grow it out a little for the summer, but we'll see).  The part I'm having a hard time with is the color.  I'll probably just get my usual blonde and red highlights, but part of me wonders if I should try something new.

What is "in" these days?  I rarely color or highlight my hair, and I am definitely not up to date on current hair trends.  I kind of do my own thing, at least thus far, but I am going to ask my hairstylist/friend if she has any ideas.  I kind of like these (ignore the purple and blue ideas, those are for if/when I get up the nerve someday - which is not today).

Brunette Friends, do you color or highlight your hair?  What's your favorite look?  Should I try something new or stick with the old stand-by?

I'll post an updated picture next week!

What I'm Drinking: Celestial Seasonings Coconut Thai Chai.  Think of a more summery spin on chai tea.  It's good!

Old School Blogger Shoutout:

Felicia at Behind The Yellow Door - My dear friend Felicia has jumped on the old-fashioned blogging bandwagon!  She wrote a post about her New Year's Goals, and I think I need to steal her book goal for myself (too many books, you know).

Bekah at Shafferland - Bekah is a newer blog friend, and I have really been enjoying getting to know her better through her blog!

*Bobby is not the real name.  But it seems like a great fake little boy name, right?










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