A Stillness Of Chimes Review




A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley is the story of Laura Gant, who comes home to Georgia for her mother's funeral only to learn that her father has been seen around town - after he was thought to have drowned years ago.  As she begins to clean out her mother's house she finds clues to a family history she was never aware of, and she starts to get her hopes up that her dad might be alive after all.

This book gave me the feeling of musty smells and peeling paint, but in the best possible way.  The descriptions of the town and settings were so colorful, and there was an undertone of creepy mystery through most of the book that added to the overall charm of the story.  There was also a subtle romance through the book as Laura is thrown together with her old flame as she investigates.

As I was thinking back on the story, I'm not sure I have read a book that was as interesting as this where so little actually happened!  I thought it was very well written, and it kept me interested without even needing to use a lot of action, which is not easy to do.  The characters were really believable and likable, and I liked the subtle character growth through the story.  The ending was good and fit really well with the tone of the rest of the book, I thought.

I'd recommend this book for anyone who likes a mixture of drama and mystery.

Note: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Baby Boy Quilt

Beach-Inspired Baby Boy Quilt | Through Clouded Glass

Clyde's nursery reveal is coming eventually - I'm trying to decide whether to add some name art to his walls before I write the post, but I thought I'd go ahead and share the quilt I made for him now!

I've made quilts for both Wyatt and Gwen, so I knew I was going to make a quilt for Clyde too.  I like making my own quilts/crib bedding, because I just usually don't find pre-made crib sets that I really like - this lets me pick my own colors and fabrics.  They don't turn out perfect by any means, but I'm not entering it in competitions or anything - I just do it for my babies!  I have fun with it!

Beach-Inspired Baby Boy Quilt | Through Clouded Glass

Beach-Inspired Baby Boy Quilt | Through Clouded Glass

I got the idea for this block-y quilt from this book.  I'm not really a traditional quilter (I wouldn't really call myself a quilter at all, really, I just make them when we are adding to our family).   I like big, chunky pieces because it's so much faster to sew together!  This book has tons of fun ideas for modern-looking designs.

Beach-Inspired Baby Boy Quilt | Through Clouded Glass

I just sketched out how I wanted mine to look, figured out how big all the pieces should be, then I arranged them all on the floor before I sewed them together to make sure I liked the way it looked with the different fabrics and patterns.

Beach-Inspired Baby Boy Quilt | Through Clouded Glass

After I put all the pieces together I took it to my old neighbor who does the actual quilting for me.  She picked this cool flame pattern, and I like the way it looks!  After I got it back from her I just folded the extra backing over the edges and sewed it down for the border.

Beach-Inspired Baby Boy Quilt | Through Clouded Glass

I really like the way it turned out, and it looks great in Clyde's nursery!

I feel like I should come up with a name for the final product, something more interesting.  "Baby Boy's Quilt" is a little boring - the colors actually reminded me of the beach, which may have influenced the theme I picked for the nursery. . .  

Maybe I'll call it my "Surf's Up Quilt".  Or "Anchors Away Quilt"?  Or maybe I'll steal the baby shower theme name from Ashley and call it my "Ahoy, It's A Boy! Quilt"!  Something like that anyway.

Beach-Inspired Baby Boy Quilt | Through Clouded Glass


All About Three



I was told before we had Clyde that the transition from two to three kids is the hardest.  I tended to just brush that off.  People told me going from one to two was hard, but that transition went pretty easily for me, so I wasn't going to worry too much.

Well, now, I have to say that they are right.  But they are also wrong.

On the one hand, I feel like three has been much easier.  I remember all of the new baby stuff from my other two, and the recovery and settling in after baby has gone much more smoothly.  I feel like we have fallen into a nice rhythm with Clyde's feedings and sleep schedule, and it doesn't seem as hard to get up with him in the middle of the night as it did with the other two.

Derek was just saying the other day that he feels like going from two to three hasn't been hard at all, that it seems pretty much the same with the two of us handling all the kids.  And I have to agree - when it's Derek and me, I feel like we've got everything really under control, and it hasn't been a hard adjustment.

On the other hand, Derek isn't always here, and I've found that the transition has been hardest when I've had to take care of all three by myself.  Somehow I didn't feel overwhelmed by two kids (maybe because I have two hands?), but three leaves me feeling outnumbered.  It's just tricky to balance the needs of all three when they all three need something from me at the same time.  Wyatt is the easiest right now, because he is older and he is able to do more things by himself, and I feel bad because he doesn't get as much attention/help as the other two who can't do as much.

When Clyde was about a week old, I took all three kids to MOPS and the grocery store.  By myself.  It was probably a little nuts to try that so early, and honestly I'm not sure we would have even made it out the door if Derek wasn't there to help get us going.  But it went okay.  We handled MOPS alright, and then I somehow managed to get all three kids in and out of the store, picking up a pretty good load of groceries in the process.

By the time I got home I was exhausted, and I decided we'd wait a while before trying that again.  But all three kids went down for a nap, and I joined them, and our afternoon ended up being quite nice.  I think that's how it's been mostly - chaos, chaos, chaos, followed by sweet moments of harmony.

Overall, it's only been two and a half weeks.  I'm still figuring it out.  Give me another month and I'll probably have more constructive things to say.

But I do have to say one thing now - that quote I shared a while ago still holds true.  My hands are full . . . but my heart is even more full.

When Clyde passes out on my shoulder, his little nose tickling my neck - my heart is full.
When Gwendolyn picks out a book, crawls on my lap, and looks so intently as I describe each picture to her - my heart is full.

When Wyatt brings me the play doh or his paints, and we set him up at the table while he asks me to say "Humpty Dumpty" with him one more time - my heart is full.

I look over, and I see the sun streaming in the windows, shining on my two little toddlers lining up their toys so seriously, while my newborn swings and looks at the sky.  It's moments like those when it hits me that all the work and tears and chaos are nothing in comparison to these incredible little blessings.

I don't deserve them.  I thank God for the chance to be a mama to all three of them.  There is nowhere else I'd rather be, and nothing else I'd rather do.

How Do You Find Time To Blog?




I have been asked a few times how I find time to blog with two (now three) kids.  There is a long and short answer to that.

Short answer: nap time!

But since I know most of the people who asked are probably looking for a little more than that, I'll give you the long answer as well. . .



When Do I Blog?

I mostly blog while the kids are napping, hence why the short answer is "nap time".  I am very blessed that both of my kids all three kids nap at the same time right now, and they are typically really good nappers - I usually get at least two hours all to myself in the afternoon.

I could clean the house or whatever, and sometimes I do use the time to work on projects.  But typically I use it to do something I like to do.  Blogging is one of those things that I like to do.  It's my hobby, it's not stressful to me.  It is actually relaxing and re-energizing for me to sit down and write or work on my blog design - it is my main creative outlet.  For that reason I often choose to spend those nap time hours working on my blog.

I think I also have more down time than a lot of women for a few reasons.

Because we live in a rural area, I try to consolidate my trips into town, so we spend the whole day at home for three days out of most weeks.  That's three days of good, solid nap times, which translates into about six hours of blog time that I can usually count on each week.

Having a husband who travels a lot for work, though it stinks for me, is actually not too bad for the blog either - since I'm alone in the evenings during the weeks when Derek is gone I sometimes spend a little time blogging before bed.  I have to cut myself off at some point, because I have a tendency to get caught up in what I'm doing when I blog at night and stay up too late, but several months out of the year I have weeknights after the kids are in bed.

Honestly, my blogging time is probably going to change a little now that I have Clyde - I'm not sure my luck will hold out and I'll have three kids who nap at the same time.  (Though for now they are all napping at once!  Newborns sleep so much.)  Wyatt is also going to stop taking naps one of these days.  My blogging frequency may drop at that point, but I'm hoping I'll find another way to carve out time for it - when I have to cross that bridge I'll let you know how it goes!



Making The Most Of My Blog Time

Just as important as finding the time to blog is making the limited amount of time I have as productive as possible.  There are several ways I do that.


I write when I feel inspired.  If I think of a topic that I really want to write about, I try to make sure to work on it within a day or two.  If I wait too long to write down my thoughts, many times they will slip away, and I won't be able to gather the same motivation to get that post written.  If it means putting off a different post I was going to work on, that's what I'll do.  If I can't work on the post right away, I jot a few ideas down in a notebook so I can more easily remind myself of what I wanted to say when I do have time.

I write several of the same types of posts at once.  If I think of a topic and the words are just flowing, I'll write rough drafts of several different posts at once, and then I'll deal with getting them "blog ready" later.

I work in stages.  I find it best and most time efficient to work on blog posts in stages.  Sometimes I'll be in a writing mood, so I might spend my blog time writing out a few different posts, without really worrying about proofreading or getting it "just right".  The next day I might work on pictures or graphics for those posts.  Then the next day I might get the posts finalized, links added, and schedule them.  Working on one thing at a time helps me get more posts written than if I spent time doing all those things in a chronological order for each post.

I don't feel the need to publish the posts right after I write them.   I often write several posts at once, and then hold them in reserve.  This helps me get ahead so that when I am not able to spend as much time blogging I already have a few posts that are mostly ready to go (like this post today - I wrote the rough draft of this post months ago).

I sometimes split posts into multiple parts.  If I'm writing a post that is turning out to be particularly long, sometimes I'll decide if it's something that I can split into smaller posts.  This works best if it is a topic that has sub-topics or categories to it.  If it is a post that I can split up I can stretch it into several days of blog material instead of just one.

I think ahead when it comes to pictures.  If I know I have several book review posts to write, for example, I'll take pictures of all the books at the same time, whether I've read them yet or not.  I'll get them uploaded and edited all at the same time, and when I'm ready to post about certain books, I already have the pictures taken.  If I know I'm writing a post about my pregnancy that I want to use within the next week, I'll take a minute to take a picture of my belly while I already have the camera out.  If I think I might want to post about a recipe, or a house project, or my dog, or whatever, I'll take pictures of those things all in one day, file them in my "miscellaneous folder" on my computer, and they'll be ready to go whenever I actually sit down to write those posts.  Thinking ahead this way saves the time it would take to capture pictures individually for each post.

I schedule posts.  This is the secret for making it look like you update your blog every day without actually having to sit down at the computer every day.  I usually try to keep things scheduled out at least a week ahead, and that gives me more flexibility to not blog on days where I just don't have time (or don't want to).


Blogging like this has become a habit for me, but I didn't start out blogging this way.  If you usually write one post start to finish, it's not going to be easy to start working on multiple posts at once, but it does save time.

If this all seems overwhelming or way too messy for you, I'd say to start with carrying a notebook.  Write down blog ideas as they come to you.  If you have multiple ideas written down, it will be easier to remember to take pictures, or write an extra rough draft, or whatever, when you have the chance.  Eventually it will become a habit to plan multiple posts at once.  I have a hard time not thinking several blog posts ahead now.



One More Tip

The final thought I have about finding the time to blog is that you should only blog to the extent that you actually enjoy it.  That is going to look different from person to person.

The reason I have time to crank out 3-5 posts a week even after multiple kids is because of all of my strategies above, and because it is something that I enjoy doing.  This is how I like spending my free time - as I said, it's actually rather energizing to me.  When I get to that point where blogging starts to suck away energy instead of giving me energy, I take a step back.  I slow down.  And that's okay.

 If you enjoy blogging, try to strategize and make time to do it!  But if the thought of coming up with 3-5 posts a week is too much, just start small.  Shoot for one post a week.  Work your way up to more if you want.  But stop at the point where blogging becomes a chore.  If you don't enjoy it, it's not a good use of your limited alone time as a mom.  Do what you enjoy when you get that time.

A Table By The Window Review



In "A Table By The Window" by Hillary Manton Lodge, food writer Juliette D'Alisa inherits a cooking table from her grandmother, and as she is searching through the drawers she finds an old cookbook with a photo taped to the dustcover - a photo of a man with a suspicious resemblance to others in her family.  As she tries to figure out who is in the photo, her brother approaches her about starting their own restaurant, and Juliette decides to give online dating a try.  Should she leave her food writing job to open the restaurant with her brother?  What about Neil, the man she met through an online dating site?  What does she really want?

I enjoyed this book.  It wasn't one of those books that left me dying to see what happened from one chapter to the next, but it was enjoyable and interesting when I did get a chance to pick it up.  I think that this makes it a perfect vacation book, because it is easy to pick up and put back down again while still holding my interest!  It was just a nice, cozy, laid-back book, and I liked it.

One thing that also makes this book unique is the recipes the author includes in the pages - gourmet recipes of all skill levels are included at the end of many of the chapters.  I feel like I should keep this book in my kitchen so I can try out some of the recipes!

I really liked the main character, Juliette, and she seemed realistic and relatable.  I'm also very interested to see what she ultimately decides about all the decisions in her life, especially her relationship with Neil! The ending felt really sudden to me, and the plot was not resolved in this book.   I'm looking forward to reading the next book to find out what happens!

P.S. You can read the first chapter here, and also check out some similar recipes on the book Pinterest board!

Note: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

A Sensible Arrangement Review

Asensiblearrangement


A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson follows Marty - as a Texan widow she has decided to leave her old life behind and become a mail order bride for Jake Wythe, a banker in Colorado.  After their marriage she soon discovers that Jake dreams of returning to Texas and owning his own ranch - which is just the life that Marty wanted to get away from.  As their feelings develop for each other and a financial crisis threatens the bank that Jake works at, Marty has to decide whether to tell Jake the truth.

I really enjoyed this book!  All the characters were likable, and the romance between Marty and Jake was really sweet, though subtle in it's development.  I also thought the message of the book was strong as we read about Marty turning back to God after blaming Him for her husband's death for so many years.

The one thing that I have to say is that I feel like a couple of the plot elements weren't fully resolved - through the book Marty's maid, Alice, is being followed and threatened by a Mr. Smitth, who thinks she is in possession of some gold bonds that were lost when her father was murdered.   At the end of the book we still don't know what happened to the bonds, or whether Mr. Smith will be caught.  We also don't get to see how Marty and Jake's life will pan out - will Jake keep his job at the bank, or will they go back to Texas?  I'm thinking (and also hoping) that we get to see what happens to these characters as this series continues?  Regardless, this book left me wanting to read more!

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Easter Basket Ideas For Toddlers


 I'm still working on the birth story post for Clyde - I'm hoping to have it up next week!  In the meantime I wanted to get this post up about the kid's' Easter baskets, because I always have so much fun picking out stuff for them.  Stay tuned for more on Baby Clyde!

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I'm really looking forward to Easter this year.  I feel like Wyatt is understanding more and more.  The other day we were talking about how Easter is the day that Jesus came back to life, and he has brought it up a few times since then!  He was also pretty interested in his Easter basket "presents", but I know more and more about Jesus is sinking in too, and that is what is most exciting to me.

Anyway, we went shopping for the kid's Easter baskets the other day, so I wanted to post some of the things we picked out!  The best part is that most of the things I found for their baskets only cost $1 - I like that price!  So here are my (inexpensive) Easter basket ideas for toddlers.


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If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart book - Alright, we already had this book, but I wanted to post it here because it's one of my favorites.  I can't even explain it, you just have to read it.  It makes me cry every time, and I think it's such a sweet little book for an Easter basket, so I thought I'd recommend it now!

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Hot Wheels cars - Wyatt loves Hot Wheels cars - the other day at the store he grabbed one and was asking me if we could buy it, and I told him we'd have to wait.  So I'm going to sneak one or two into his Easter basket.  I love that he loves these, because they are only a dollar, and such an easy present that I know he'll like.

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Bubbles - What toddler does not like bubbles, I ask you?

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Ponies - Gwen picked out these little pony horses at the dollar store the other day - similar to My Little Ponies, but cheaper.  I want to try to find a couple more for her basket.  This is the first toy that she has actually picked out for herself, which I think is so cute!

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Water bottles - Thank you dollar aisle at Target.

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Fun dough - Or Play Doh, or silly putty.  Whatever you like best.

Flower growing kits - I found these at Target too and snapped them up.  I think it will be a fun project, for Wyatt especially, to water them and watch the flower grow!  Hopefully they actually do grow or it will be disappointing, but if these don't work I have some seeds and some soil in our shed we could use instead.

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Yogurt Melts - I just feel weird about putting too many jelly beans in the kids' Easter baskets.  Plus Gwen can't chew that stuff even if I did want to put it in her basket!  Yogurt melts are a good alternative, and my kids think they are candy anyway.  I just put a few in each of their plastic eggs!

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And I decided to change it up a little and put it all into these:

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Toddler Backpacks - These are Skip Hop backpacks - I had been eyeing them, but I just wasn't sure I wanted to spend $20 a piece on backpacks for the kids right now.  Then I was walking through JC Penny the other day, and spied these on clearance for $6.99 each!  Yes, please!  They only had the shark and the ladybug, but I wasn't going to complain if I could get them for such a good price!  Wyatt has been really into bags lately, and I think he'll love having his own little bag to carry his stuff around.

And Clyde is a little small yet for all this fun, but his favorite thing at the moment happens to be his pacifier - so I finally broke down and got him one of these:

415Bug cuBL SX425

 He might get to use his before Easter though.


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What are you putting in your kids' Easter baskets?
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