Showing posts with label Fun Stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fun Stuff. Show all posts

Stuff I Like | March (Yes, It's Late)



(Photo not necessarily related to this post, though I did enjoy the snow we got in March.  Now that it's April though, I'm ready for Spring.)


Well, I'm a little late with my March favorites post, so let's just get right into it, shall we?

This article on downgrading your blog. 

There was a time when I briefly considered setting up a fancy self-hosted website, before I cam to my senses and realized I didn't want to be roped into paying (pretty big) money forever to keep my blog up and running.  I thought this article about why it's not a bad idea to downgrade your blog was really interesting.  I can attest to the flexibility and low-pressure of keeping your blog on a free platform.


This amazing miracle sippy cup.  

We finally tried one of those spill-proof, spout-free, sippy cups, and they are so cool!  I couldn't figure out how it worked at first, but I handed it to Georgie and she started gulping away.



Hair training and Dove Dry Shampoo.

 I somehow stumbled across this Instagram account a couple months ago, and was inspired to start "training" my hair to go longer between washes.  The theory is that if you wash it less, your scalp will produce less oil, so...you can wash less.  Washing my hair is kind of a process, so cutting back on how much I wash it has actually freed up alot of my time!  I have just been using Dove Dry Shampoo from day 4 or 5 onward, and I have been really happy with it.  It is not an expensive dry shampoo, and it works really well.  I just spray it on my hairline and in different part-lines throughout my hair, fluff it up with my fingers, and it honestly looks like I just washed my hair.

(Mediocre phone selfie, but let's just look at my hair, okay?  This was five days post washing!)

This dress from Walmart. 

I grabbed this dress on a whim at Walmart the other day.  It's ten dollars guys, so I figured I couldn't go wrong, and when I tried it on at home I was pleased.  It is a nice length, has a nice swing to it, and the arm holes don't gap at all.  It'll be a great park day dress for the summer!

(Someday I will take a bathroom outfit picture and there will be no construction paraphernalia.)

This birth video. 

I have followed this couple off and on for a few years, and they finally had their baby after doing embryo adoption.  They have gone through alot.  It might have made me cry when I watched the video, in large part because her reaction reminded me of how I felt the moment Wyatt was born.  I cried just like that.  Something about that first baby (especially after having some trouble getting pregnant) is just so surreal.  I couldn't believe he was mine.  The nurse joked that if I didn't want him, she would take him, but I was crying because I wanted him so much.  Babies are just miracles.


This article on breaking social media addiction. 

As I've mentioned a couple times, I set up some limits for myself on Instagram lately.  It's been pretty freeing overall, and has really helped me to rein in some bad habits, as well as become a better blog reader again.  This article was like the last straw that broke my social media camel's back.  She has alot of good tips in here.

That's it!  I'll be back with more in April.

Stuff I Like | February 2019


Can you tell my succulents are fake in this picture?  If you remember, I asked you all to help me figure out what to do with the ledge in this post, and I found these succulent planters.  They are still pretty even if they are fake, right?



A few things I enjoyed in February!


Herman Who?

As an average person, I have never taken a class in hermenuetics (the art and science of biblical interpretation), but after watching this DVD I feel like I have!  Todd Friel put out this mini-course on hermenuetics, and it's basically a college-level course condensed and brought to the average Christian in an entertaining way.  I love the different examples he gives of why hermeneutics is important, and I basically wish I could give a copy of Herman Who? out to every single Christian I know.  If everyone understood proper hermeneutics and took it seriously, we'd have so many less Christians caught up in false teaching and silliness.  Highly, highly recommend this course.  Derek and I have been watching it together in the evenings, and we have learned so much.  You can grab a physical or digital copy here.

I also have to note that pretty much anything Todd Friel puts out is gold around here.  They have one of their resources available to watch for free right now called "What Hath Darwin Wrought?" - just click here and go through the steps (donating is optional).  If you don't know the connections between darwinism, racism, and eugenics, you'll want to check it out.

The Greatest Gift 

This is a kids' book that my dear friend and penpal from childhood, Felicia, sent me  as part of her Christmas present.  I read it to the kids yesterday, and all of us LOVED it!  The illustrations are perfect, and the story is a retelling of the story of the widow with the two copper coins, from Mark 12.  It even has discussion questions in the back, so it was perfect for our Bible time!  I kind of want the next book in the series now.  Felicia's husband illustrated this book too, and wow, I was impressed.  It wouldn't be nearly as cute without the beautiful illustrating work!  You can check it out here.  I'm basically going to share too many pictures now, because I enjoyed the illustrations so much.










Serial Reader

This app is just the thing my reading life never knew it needed.  It serializes classic books.  You pic the ones you want, "subscribe", and it sends you a 10-15 minute reading "issue" each day.  Before you know it, you've read a classic book!  I love this app for so many reasons - it makes the classics feel more attainable, and I think it's so clever since many classic books were actually originally published as serials in magazines (including one of my current picks, North And South).  I am also reading The Secret Garden, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Our Mutual Friend, and The Wind In The Willows through the app right now.  I want to tackle Democracy In America next.  Have I mentioned all this is free?

The Astronaut Wives Club

I was at the library a couple weeks ago and spotted this TV mini-series on the wives of the first astronauts.  I have been watching it and it is so interesting!  The stories of these women sucked me in.  It leans a little feminist here and there (I am not a feminist in the modern sense), but overall I have really enjoyed it!  I also started listening to the audiobook, and it's just as good as the show.

This Article On Homeschooling

I don't know how I ran across this new blog, but Jane's article on 9 Reasons Why Homeschool Is A Blessing To Our Family - well, basically I could have written it myself.  I think often families are running away from something they don't like in the public school environment when they choose to homeschool, which is entirely valid - but I also love to hear from someone who, like me, is not just running away from something but running toward something that we see in homeschooling.

The Minimalist Home 

One more book!  Full disclosure: Once upon a time I was supposed to be on the launch team for this book, and I received my free launch team copy in the mail right after we moved.  I greatly underestimated how much I would NOT want to declutter right after moving and remodeling, so I did not read this book as quickly as I wanted - out of guilt, ha!  I'm slowly getting back into gently minimizing though, and this book is the perfect inspiration!  I am enjoying it so far.  If you need some more minimalist inspiration after your "tidying up" purge (am I the only one who didn't watch that special?), I'd recommend this one!  I'm finding The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker helpful and inspiring while also being realistic.  Full review coming as soon as I finish it (I've been listening to part of it on audio as well and the audiobook is great).



Do you have any new finds from February?

Why I Read Middle Grade Books (And You Should Too)



It's Middle Grade March!

If you have never watched the bookish corner of Youtube - affectionately referred to as "Booktube" - then you might not know that March is the month to read middle grade books!  All the cool kids are doing it.

I had actually not read many middle grade books since..well, middle school, until a couple years ago. I discovered Sarah Mackenzie's podcast, Read-Aloud Revival, and was inspired for the first time in many years to pick up a middle grade book, a book written for the 8-12 age group.  The one I picked was The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, which I read in the wee hours of the morning on my phone, when I was awake nursing Georgie after she was born.

After reading that book, I wondered why I ever stopped reading middle grade.



So I'm here today to tell you, if you haven't picked up a middle grade book in a while, you might consider finding a good one!  Here are a few things I appreciate in middle grade books as an adult.

1. They are generally clean.

If you have picked up any recently published adult fiction books that aren't Christian, you know of which I speak.  Some things I can overlook in my fiction, and some things I can't.  It's a bummer to get part way through a book and then have to put it down because they crossed the profanity/violence/sexual content line.  It's not good for my soul, as a believer in Christ, to be constantly immersed in things that are not pure, lovely, admirable, etc (Philippians 4:8).  Sometimes I just want a break from wading through smuttiness, and aside from Christian books which can generally be trusted, middle grade is a nice place to turn.

2. They deal with relevant themes (if they are good), while remaining hopeful.  

Just because a book is written for a younger age group, doesn't mean it's not going to have meaningful content.  Alot of the middle grade books that I've read have given me alot to think about.  They often deal with themes that even adults can relate to, like grief for example, but they more often retain a sense of hopefulness about them since they are written for kids.

3.  They are quick to read.

If you are struggling to get through books as an adult with a busy life (that's all of us, right?), middle grade is nice because middle grade books are quick to read.  If you are in a reading slump, middle grade is the way to go.

4.  They bring back memories!

So many middle grade books take me back to memories of a carefree stage of my life, when I was a kid figuring out who I was.  I have a weak spot for a good coming of age novel, and alot of middle-grade books have coming-of-age themes, while keeping it light and fun and inspiring (and clean).

5.  They give me a head start on screening books for my kids.

I try to write really thorough reviews of the middle-grade books that I read so I can remember any themes or content that I'll need to discuss with my kids when they eventually read these books.

All that to say, I love middle-grade, and give middle-grade a chance!  Middle Grade March is a good month to start.



Here is my reading list for Middle Grade March:

(Some affiliate links here.)

Pay Attention, Carter Jones and Lizzie And The Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt - I'm pretty much there for anything Schmidt writes after reading The Wednesday Wars.

Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos - I heard this one was quirky and fun and had a Schmidt-like flair to it!

Louisianna's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo - I read Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo a couple years ago, and this book is about one of the side characters.

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall - Am I the only one who hasn't read this?  It feels like everyone has.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - I heard this book is like the game of Clue, so I obviously have to read it.

Famous Mistakes: Nancy Drew Diaries by Carolyn Keene - I have an abiding love for anything Nancy Drew, so I obviously have to see what this new series is doing with her - they better not mess up Nancy!  I'm also reading this to screen for Gwen to potentially read it someday.

Sweep: A Story Of A Girl And Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier - I'm not really into books that have anything to do with monsters, but this is the read-along they are doing on Booktube for Middle Grade March, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai - The first book I'm ever going to attempt that is written in verse (also potentially my last?  I'm not sure about this).

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia - I bought this last year at a library sale and need to see what it's all about!


If I focus I think I can definitely get through all of these in March - I told you, middle grade books are quick reads!

Have you read any of these?  Do you read middle grade books as an adult?  What is your favorite middle grade book?



Dear Candy Hearts | Little Letters Vol.1



Dear Candy Hearts, I love you.  I love you too much, especially with tea.  This has become a really unhealthy relationship.  I'm thinking of breaking it off on Valentine's Day.

Dear Galentine's Day, Are you actually a thing?  Like, do people actually get together with their girlfriends on Galentine's Day?  How do I get in on that?

Dear Husband, Why is it so hard to buy you presents?

Dear Snow, It's time for your mid-year performance review, and I have to say, your results are above average.  You've beautified the landscape, and you haven't melted off right away.  Keep up the good work.



Dear Red Rising Series, Why are you so hard to put down?  You are vulgar.  You are violent.  You killed off alot of the characters I liked.  You are everything I don't like in books.  If you were a human, we would not be friends.  So why can't I stop reading??

Dear Birds, Just sit.  Sit still.  Just for a minute, so my bird-crazy boy can get a picture of one of you. Please and thank you.




Dear Homeschooling,  You are so much more fun than I thought you would be when we first met.  And I thought you would be pretty fun.  Those days when I cried because I thought we weren't getting along, they were just a phase.  I didn't mean what I said.  If it happens again, just disregard.  In my saner moments (like now) I think there is something special here, and I know you can handle my crazy.  This relationship is worth fighting for.

Dear Churches Everywhere,  At the risk of being shouted down for dipping my toes into the broiling controversy of church music - my friend, it shouldn't be that hard to get the music volume level right.  It's not that complicated - I need to be able to hear the words and I need to feel like I can sing along.  If I can't hear the words or sing along, I fail to see the point of getting to you in time for the music.  If the music is too quiet, I hear myself sing too much, and realize I'd be one of those people that are laughed off the stage on American Idol, which is not fun for me or anyone around me.  If the music is too loud, I can't understand a word those people up front are saying, and I can't hear myself sing, and I can't hear anyone else sing, and I start to wonder what the point of all this noise is anyway, and I fear my eardrums may bleed when I leave.  Let's just try to avoid both these things, please.

Dear People Everywhere, Think of something more interesting to say about my five kids than "you have your hands full".  If I had a dollar for every time I heard that phrase, I'd never have to scrounge for coffee money again.  Preferably, pick something that is not rude, and bonus points if it's encouraging (because as you've noted EVERY DAY OF MY MOM-LIFE, yes, this is quite a job).  Comments on the cuteness of my offspring are always welcome.

P.S. People Everywhere, if you want to GIVE me a dollar each time you utter the aforementioned phrase, then please continue.  This mom needs her coffee.


(Moi on our nature hike the other day, powered by coffee.)

Stuff I Like | January 2019



I'm going to try something new here on the blog and share different things I'm liking or loving each month.  I always enjoy reading these kinds of posts myself, and I'm hoping to put together my own once a month as part of my blog goals this year.  We'll see how it goes!

The Book With No Pictures - My kids are finally old enough to find this book completely hilarious, and what makes them happy makes me happy.  Also check out the book I'm Just No Good At Rhyming.  Derek and I have laughed our way through the title poem, but the kids were cracking up at "The Sweetest Lullaby Ever" and "Hey Kids! Get Your Parents To Read This Poem!"  You have to have a goofy side to your personality to make any of these work!

Wild Thing podcast - You all know I live in the mountains, and supposedly people have sighted Bigfoot in our area.  I think there was even an episode of Finding Bigfoot filmed here.  There is a local Bigfoot club.  I know people who believe Bigfoot is a real thing.  I'm not convinced it's not a real thing.  After visiting Washington last year and seeing how much wilderness is out there, I can see how something might be able to hide in those woods.  Anyway, if you have even a little part of you that is interested in learning more about Bigfoot, Wild Thing is a fun podcast to check out!  It's an investigative podcast about...you guessed it...Bigfoot.

You probably could skip episode 2 since it's all about evolutionary theories (which I don't agree with), and watch out for one inappropriate part in episode 8 that you'll have to skip past - but also, my town is mentioned in that episode, ha!  Told you, Bigfoot is big here (no pun intended, but it's funny right?).

These two articles - Weirdly, in the last month two completely unrelated friends have brought up the same question: "What happens to people who never get an opportunity to hear the gospel?"  I've been frustrated with myself for not being as concise and clear as I wish I could be during these recent discussions, because the Bible is clear on what happens to people who never hear about Jesus.  It's a hard question and perhaps a hard answer, but "there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:10-13). It is only through Christ that we are saved. These two articles solidly answer this question biblically, and say everything I was trying to say to my friends, only better.  Definitely worth a read if you've ever ran into (or wondered about) this question.  What Happens To Those Who Have Never Heard About Jesus?  Can A Person Be Saved Through General Revelation?  

Also a quick note: I think if someone in a remote tribe (for example) is truly seeking after God, that is a work He has begun in their heart, and He will get the Gospel to them.  It's important to remember that God is infinitely more compassionate and just than we are, and everything He does is good and right. You have to start with that understanding or this question can never be answered satisfactorily.

Little Letters Linkup - I've been thinking alot about old-fashioned blogging this month, not just what happened to old fashioned blogging, but whether and how it can make a comeback.  As far as I can tell, there are precious few old-school linkups still going, which is a pity - I used to find so many other blogs to read through a good linkup.  They used to be very social things, where you wouldn't just drop your link and run, but you'd take time to look around and make connections with other bloggers.  Well, recently I came across this "Little Letters" linkup.  Guys, I think we should participate!  Sharing mini-letters to random things in your life - old-fashioned blogging used to be all about this sort of post, and I want to support it.  So keep an eye out for my little letters post in the next few days, and write one too if you want!

The Big Words Of The Bible Cards - Still loving these cards, which you can read more about here.

Snow - We had several snow days in January, and I am loving the snow so much!  It's supposed to snow again today, and I couldn't be happier.  It's pretty, and it's moisture.  If we don't get snow, then there is a much higher likelihood of wildfires in the summer.  So bring on the white stuff!




Did you find any new stuff you like in January?

Currently | January 2019




Are you one of those people who complain every time it snows in the winter?  Because I am so not one of those people.  I just don't quite understand how you could not want it to snow in the winter.  You could have brown ugliness, or you could have this!





I think I can rest my case.

Borrowing the prompts here this time around, I'm currently...

Choosing...things for the house.  The renovation is back in full swing.  Derek is planning on finishing up the kitchen details this weekend, and then the master bathroom is next on the list. I'm trying to make decisions about bathroom tile, and vanities, and decorative items, and which chair to buy for the corner of the living room to tie everything together.  Also, have I shown you this flower box thing we have in our living room?



I have it filled with a garland leftover from Christmas at the moment, but I'm trying to decide what to do with it long term.  We could tile it over and make it a plain old ledge, or I could try to get creative and think of something cool to fill it.  Since I have a black thumb, actual plants are out of the question.  What would you put in here?  I'm tinkering with the idea of a fake succulent garden, but I haven't found quite the right thing yet.

Tidying...nothing.  Everyone is experiencing a bout of house-tidying madness after Marie Kondo's Netflix special, and I'm over here actively avoiding starting any tidying projects.  My life over the last several months has been so not normal, between church issues and moving and renovating and Christmas - I just don't think I can bear to put anything else into upheaval.  So I'm hunkering down with my piles of stuff, and I'm liking it, thank you very much.  I'll tidy in the spring, when my bathroom floor is no longer bare plywood.

Exploring...my unread shelf.  One of my goals for the year is to refrain from buying any new books, and to read and/or make a decision on whether to read the books that I own and haven't yet read.  There are a lot.  I'm just warning you now.  In reality, clearing my unread shelf will be a multi-year project, but I'd like to get through at least half of my books this year.  Go look at my unread books on Goodreads, and tell me if you've read any of these and what you thought!  You can help me know what to read and what to gift to my local Goodwill. (Also, why can't you give away ebooks?  This should be a thing.).

Resolving...to actually follow through on my goal of going one week a month sugar-free.  I attempted to go sugar free the first week of January, and also the second week of January.  After succumbing to stress-induced candy heart cravings, I decided the third week in January was not going to be a winner either.  It's just been stressful, okay!  I think I'll make next week the official no-sugar week.  I'm doing so great on my New Year's goals, huh?

Refreshing...my style a little bit.  I've had a limited selection of things that have fit me over the last year because of baby weight, and I realized that my style identity has suffered some as a result.  I'm not really sure anymore what items in my closet are things that I feel good in, and which things need to be updated and refreshed.  I would like to shop my closet and figure out which things still feel like "me", and which things should go.

That sounds suspiciously like tidying, doesn't it?  But hopefully a little less chaotic and a little more fun.

What are you all up to this January?

What I'm Asking For Christmas

(My really cute baby and me. I know, how could I ask for anything more, right?  But Derek did want me to make a list.)

Every year a few weeks before Christmas I bug Derek to give me a list, and I write a Christmas wish list out for him.  This year I had a hard time coming up with a list.  I mentioned this to my parents, and they told me it only gets worse as you get older - you don't know what to ask for, and no one knows what to buy you.  Maybe it's because as you mature, you don't want material things as much as the intangible things that make Christmas special.  (Either that, or maybe it's the fact that as adults we just end up buying the little things we want throughout the year anyway... )

Still, I mustered up some items, and I handed Derek this exact Christmas list a couple weeks ago...and I'm pretty sure he didn't even follow it.

Well, I guess that's what Christmas money is for, right?  (Thanks in advance, Mom and Dad!)

Still, I thought it would be fun to share my little list here.  Maybe if you are like me and had a hard time coming up with a list in the first place, this will give you some ideas!

The Clockmaker's Daughter - I am a Kate Morton fan.  Apparently this book is a little bit of a departure for her, but I'm still all in!  I'm really hoping I get this one for Christmas, and if I don't, I'll be buying it ASAP.

A nice paperback copy of The Fellowship Of The Ring - I read The Lord Of The Rings trilogy when I was in junior high, and I will always love these books with a deep and abiding love.  I got the three-in-one hardback volume when it first came out after they made the movies.  I felt so cool with my four-inch-thick hardback.  Now, years later, when I've decided to re-read these books, I realize how impractical it is to try to read from a four-inch hardback.  So a nice paperback, or smaller hardback, copy is on my list.

Face masks from Target or Walmart - I just like those little $1-3 face masks.  I wear them when I feel like my skin needs an extra boost, or when I feel like I want to visit a spa but can't afford it.  Examples:




Moonchild palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills - I went to Sephora to browse for some inspiration (I told you, I didn't know what to put on my list), and I saw this highlighting palette there.  When I do my makeup, I put on BB Cream or foundation (depending on the day), set it with translucent mineral powder, apply a little blush, and top it all off with a sweep of highlighting powder on the tops of my cheekbones and the bridge of my nose.  I know it sounds like a lot of steps, but when I take the time to do it right, my skin looks all glowy (even without being pregnant).  I've tried a few different highlighters over the years and prefer the ones that are almost iridescent.  This palette has a few different highlighters with different colored undertones, all on the iridescent side of the shimmer scale, and I'd love to try them out.  

Perfume from Skylar - I have been eyeing these perfumes for a few months, and I finally caved and ordered the sample palette when they had a Black Friday special.  These perfumes are made with more natural ingredients (if you care about that kind of thing), and they are supposed to be mix-and-match.  They are mix-and-match, and they all smell good. I'm leaning toward Coral, Isle, Meadow, or Capri.  I should probably decide which one I want sometime before Christmas.

Essie nail polish - You know how they say that the brands you prefer aren't usually set until your 40's?  Pretty sure that is not true for me and nail polish.  I like Essie, I pretty much don't use any nail polish but Essie, and I'd like a new color.

USA Pan cookie sheets - These things have some sort of silicone coating that is supposed to make them really stick-proof!  Plus I am in desperate need of new cookie sheets.

What is on your Christmas list?  

I'm pretty sure I won't be getting all this stuff, but it was fun to put this together anyway!

P.S.  I should also note that I'm pretty sure Derek got me something even better than my list.  Will update after Christmas!

Currently | December 2018



Currently I'm...

Listening...to Sawyer Brown's Christmas album and the sounds of my kid's giggling, and a story from Gwen about what happened when they played with bubbles (in the bathroom, because that's where bubbles are restricted to in the winter).

Drinking...A cup of coffee.  I had another epiphany last night that while I am very diligent to teach my kids about the Lord with words, I'm not doing so great at backing it all up with actions on a day to day basis.  I get irritable and angry often enough that I'm embarrassed about it, and they almost never see me cracking open my Bible because I've been squeezing it in during the evening after they are in bed.  So I'm too often treating them like a nuisance and never visibly reading my Bible, but I still preach at them?  Sounds like a recipe for raising hypocrites to me, and last night I was so convicted about it.  So I am radically changing up my daily schedule, and part of that is waking up BEFORE they do and starting the day with God's Word.  It's better for me to start my mind off on a God-centered foot first thing in the morning, and good for them if they catch me at it.  But...waking up before the sun...yeah, I need coffee.

Scheming...about surprising Derek at work today.  I felt like our relationship is really taking too much of a back burner these days, and the wear is starting to show.  So we are going to go pick up some cheap decorations, and surprise Daddy at work with Christmas music and hot chocolate while we decorate his office!



Thankful... that this cold that I was afraid was the flu (please see my Instagram post and video for more info), seems to in actuality be the mildest cold that we've had in a while.  I had visions of sick children lying about the house, but even little Georgie is perky and cheerful this morning.

Planning...a Rube Goldberg device.  You know, one of those set-ups where you push a marble, and after a bunch of stuff being knocked over, your cup of coffee is poured for you.  Examples here.  Sometimes I'm not sure what we got into with our co-op, because I have no idea how to build a Rube Goldberg device with a seven year old and five year old!  Let's be honest, it will mostly be me building it, but I think I'll read the chapter and have the kids draw a Rube Goldberg device...and then I'll just show them the one I come up with, ha!



Slacking on...sending out Christmas cards.  What is wrong with me?  Usually I have them out the week after thanksgiving, but I can't get my act together this year.  Which is a pity, because people need our new address to send US Christmas cards!  I really need to get on it.

Reading...alot of things, as per usual.  I'm reading Fool's Gold by John MacArthur, about discernment.  I'm re-reading The Lord Of The Rings.  I just started the Fellowship, and it's just as delightful as the first time I read it (or more, since I know the story now).  And I picked up Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, which is the book that inspired the movie Christmas With The Kranks.  Which happens to be one of our favorites (it's just so relatable as an adult!).

Waiting...on the photos to transfer off my phone and onto my computer.  I only have to do this about once a year, but oy, it's a chore.

Excited...about the book bucket I put together.  For years I've been wanting to wrap up Christmas books and open up and read one each day with the kids.  This is the year it finally happens!



What are you all up to currently?




The Gifts I Bought Myself


It has been years since I've been Black Friday shopping.  I think some of the magic was lost for me when they started opening Black Friday doors on Thursday.  Come on, people.

However, this year I took advantage of Black Friday shopping when a friend invited me to go with her - I wasn't even expecting to buy much, but I ended up getting all my Christmas shopping done.  I forgot how freeing it is to get your shopping done early!  The rest of December is wide open now! I am looking forward to having more time to do Christmas projects with the kids and less time worrying about presents.

However, I may have also bought myself a Christmas gift on Black Friday.  I laughed when I read Elizabeth's post about buying a gift for yourself, because I totally do that.  This is what I got:



1. Housewife Theologian by Aimee Byrd.  

I read No Little Women by Aimee Byrd last year, and it was excellent.  I have been looking for a chance to buy another book from her, and Amazon's book coupon seemed to be it!  I'm really looking forward to this one - I love books that make theology accessible, and also that encourage Christian women toward good theology.  I'm expecting good things.




I cam across this after a similar recommendation from Jami Balmet's blog (or Facebook page or something), and I have to say I'm so excited about this one.  It arrived in the mail today, and I flipped through it - it is perfect!  On the left page it has the actual text of Hebrews, and on the right page it has a blank dot-grid page for you to use for journaling, or whatever.  

I know Bible art journaling has been going on for years, but after mulling it over for a long time, I decided I'm not a huge fan - I don't like how the illustrations so often go over the text of Scripture, and how the focus often seems to be on the art instead of the Word of God.  I'm sure it can be done well with a heart to bring glory to the Lord, so if you do Bible art journaling and have found a good balance, I think that's great - it's just not something I'm interested in.  However, there has been something appealing to me about those wide margins, because I'd love to take more thorough notes when I'm reading through a book of the Bible.  

This little volume is perfect for that; I can focus on one specific book and write down everything I'm learning with a full blank page!  I am so looking forward to using it!  I chose Hebrews, because I've become a little attached to that particular book after trying so hard to memorize it (I'm only shakily up to chapter 4).  I'd like to renew my memorization attempt in 2019, and I think this will help.





Do you buy Christmas gifts for yourself?  What did you get?

(No need for it to be spiritual, I also bought myself a new lipstick today for the Christmas season, ha!)

One Month In - Home Remodel Update!



I told Derek last night that this week is the cutoff.  Once we get to December 1st, we are officially on break from renovating until the New Year!  He didn't take much convincing.

This has been a whirlwind month, and the house doesn't even look like the same house anymore.  I haven't blogged through the process as much as I'd like, but I thought I'd do a little update now that we're about one month into our new home!  This is what we got done, and what we still need to get done.

(Sidenote - If you want to actually see how far we've come, go on Instagram TV and watch my house tour videos on there (@callienicole7)!  I have one "before" video, and a "halfway through" video.  I'll share before and after pictures on here after we finish everything!)

What We've Accomplished

New flooring - You might remember the old flooring was mostly pink carpet, even in the bathrooms. There is no more pink carpet, and we've replaced it with a nice grieve carpet and (vinyl) wood floor downstairs!  The carpet was installed for us.  Derek did the wood floor.  We had $1000 worth of wood stolen from us though (we have our suspicions), which is a bummer because it's really throwing our budget off now.

New paint - We originally thought we'd paint everything ourselves to save money, but we changed our minds.  We decided to hire out the paint in the entire house (except bathrooms), even though it wasn't originally in the budget, because doing it ourselves would take forever, and I've realized I loathe painting.  I have to say, that painter was worth every single penny.  I'm so glad we didn't try to do all that ourselves, and the painter said he'd come back to touch up anything we weren't happy with, even up to a year later!  I knew I picked the right guy for the job.

Painted the kitchen cabinets - We went with white on the upper cabinets, and navy blue on the lower. I may have panicked a little bit when we first started painting the blue, but now that it's coming together I think it's going to look great when it's done!

Kitchen backsplash - Derek just finished it last night!  It's a nice tile with copper/gold/brown/grey/ivory pieces.

Granite countertops - They installed them last week!  However, as soon as they were in, Derek and I decided to prioritize the kitchen, because with the color of the cabinets before, the granite didn't even look that good.  It's amazing how much cabinet color affects the look of everything else.

New fridge and dishwasher - It had to be done.

Demolished the master bathroom - If you recall, there used to be carpet in the master bath.  We are now down to bare wood floors, the shower and tile is ripped out, and tub will be going soon.

Painted the downstairs bathroom walls and cabinet - I did this myself.  I tend to be a little sloppy with painting, so it's not as pristine as the painter's work, but it'll do.

Bought and assembled new furniture, hung curtains -  Most of our old furniture works just fine in the new house, but we did need a few new things.  I spent a ridiculous amount of energy searching for just the right furniture.  We found an entertainment center that we love a couple months ago, and I picked out desks for the school room, bookshelves for my "library", and new curtains for the playroom and the kids' rooms (blackout curtains - yay!).  I also ordered a new couch, because we are overdue; our other one is in that too-soft-droopy phase.  The new couch comes in January!

Unpacked 90% of our stuff - This is no small feat.  I have a few boxes of kitchen stuff, a few boxes of books, and toys left to organize, but I unpacked everything else and hung all our decorations throughout the house.  It's starting to feel like home now!

Set up our Christmas stuff - Very important.















What We Have Left To Do

Finish the master bath - I fully expect this project to take at least a month - we are saving it for January so we can enjoy Christmas without projects hanging over our heads!

The upstairs bathroom - we have done exactly zero things in the upstairs bathroom.  We want to paint the walls and cabinets, replace the pink toilet, replace the floor tile.  We are still trying to determine if replacing the shower tile (also pink) is in the budget.

Finish the downstairs bathroom - It still needs a new (not black) toilet, new countertop, and new faucet and light fixtures.

Buy kitchen curtains - There are a lot of windows in this kitchen, and the glare is serious!  We need something for the windows.

Finish kitchen island remodel - We want to put a faux brick with a German schmear-type look around the island to finish off the kitchen.  Right now the island just looks like painted plywood (which it basically is).

Buy and install wood stove - I so miss my old wood stove!  We decided we need one here too, and luckily, all the pipes are already installed for one - so we just need to install the rock backdrop and the stove itself.

Kid's playset - Derek wants to build the kid's a playset this spring, since we left the old one at our other house, so we budgeted it in.

Finish unpacking/hanging curtains - I have a few boxes left, and few rooms with now curtains yet - we're getting there.

Clean out garage - The garage has become the holding area for everything.  Can you believe I still haven't even parked in it?

We've accomplished a lot, but it still feels like there is a lot to go!  However, the main living areas of the house are mostly finished, so it's nice to not feel like we are living in a mess anymore.  It's coming together, and it's so nice for the kids (and my sanity) to have the extra room!  We haven't gotten into a good routine here yet though, and I'm looking forward to a little more normalcy during our December break!



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