Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Books and Shows for a Cozy Fall

Fall always brings me home. Candles, warm blankets, sweaters, and a general homebody sort of feeling. We've had a surprisingly warm fall here in Colorado this year, but it doesn't make me any less ready to next for the cooler months.



This "nesting" that happens every fall brings with it a new round of books and television shows that I enjoy. After being outside most of the summer, it's a nice change of pace to curl up on my couch. Here are a few of my favorites right now...

Books



The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe

I found this book on a "Books Every Woman Should Read" list and I haven't been disappointed. It's the story of five young women embarking upon careers in NYC during the 1950s. It is a good reminder of how far women have come in the workplace, and also a beautiful reminder of the idealism of young women. I wouldn't call it a "clean read" but I do think it's worth your time.



Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman

I have never read a book on motherhood with so much truth on every page. Gloria ties motherhood back to Christ and shows how our role as mothers actively brings the Gospel into the world and into our homes. I have been challenged and encouraged on every page and I highly recommend it!



Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

I am a huge Jane Austen fan, but as a rule I don't read knock-offs of the originals. However, this came highly recommended by my favorite Modern Mrs. Darcy so I gave it a try. I wasn't disappointed! The story is about a young women struggling to find herself and make a life in the midst of her personal pain. She writes letters to the anonymous Mr. Knightly and through the book you get to watch her grow into a new version of herself. It's a beautiful story and a quick, enjoyable read.

TV Shows

The Blacklist on Netflix

Ben and I are addicted to this crime drama. I love shows that have a longer plot that unfolds throughout the seasons and this show does not disappoint. It is a little scary and graphic at times so be aware.

This Is Us

I don't normally watch new shows until they arrive on Netflix but this one was worth the exception. It's only four episodes in, and I'm already loving this sweet family of triplets and their parents. As a parent myself I identify so much with this drama. I'm excited to see how the show unfolds.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

THE PREIVEWS!!! This new GG installment comes out November 25 and I can't wait. A new preview was released yesterday and I'm even more excited than I was before! Expect me to disappear for a few days at the end of November.


What are you reading or watching?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Strength in the Struggle of Motherhood

It's been one of those days weeks when the husband is out of town and the children are crazy and I just. can't. take. it. Do you have those too? I find myself falling in to bed exhausted every night, only to be awakened by a crying toddler a few hours later. Today I asked my friend if it was too early to drink wine-- at noon. She loves me very much and didn't judge. We ate fruit snacks with the kids instead.

But seriously, motherhood is HARD. It is all day, all week exhausting, and it sometimes seems like the phase will never end.

I'm reading a book right now called Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full. The author writes that the gospel is for us a mothers. Christ's death and resurrection have real, concrete meaning on how we parent every day. As I literally lay down my life for my children, it is a reminder of what Christ has done for me.

This week, when you're overwhelmed too, remember the One who laid everything down for you. He promises to give us strength when we're hiding from our kids in the bathroom, or cleaning up poop again, or just trying to make it through a day with little people.

Jesus loves you, mama, and He promises to guide you gently through this season of life (Isaiah 40:11).


 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Can we just take a moment and cheer for fall?! This is my absolutely, positively favorite time of the year.


Growing up in Texas fall was this two-day event in November, so it's thrilling to live in Colorado where fall truly means colorful leaves, cooler temperatures, and pumpkin patches. I always find myself a little more home-bound this time of year, enjoying blankets, baking, and good books, and making my home a place I want to be.

With that in mind, here are a few of my current favorite "fallish" things(yep, new word for you- it's going to be in the dictionary, I promise!).

+ I love candles year round, and I think fall candles are the most wonderful. I love seeing the flame and smelling all that loveliness. I discovered a new company on Instagram recently called Candelles, and I'm itching to try one. I'm between Pumpkin Walnut Biscotti and Vanilla Maple.

+ I keep meaning to hit up Hobby Lobby's fall decor, but I haven't made it over there yet. I'm a sucker for a good fake pinecone or pumpkin. When I do finally go, I'll be sure to show my finds on Instagram!
+ HAVE YOU TRIED THE PUMPKIN SPICES KISSES?!!! Calming down- sorry guys, they're just so. so. so. good. I have a bowl of them on my kitchen counter and I just can't stop eating. They taste like a pumpkin spice muffin all in one magical bite. Try them! You won't be sorry.

Leggings. It's leggings season! With boots, and sweaters, and scarves, oh my! I've always been an on-the-cheap leggings girl, but something new has found it's way into my heart this year. Have you heard of Lula Roe? They are literally (hear Chris Traeger from Parks & Rec here) literally the best, softest leggings you will ever try. I make everyone touch my legs now. Hmmm... probably shouldn't do that anymore.... But really, these are amazing! If you're in the market for a pair join me on Facebook this weekend to shop your favorites!

What are your favorite ways to celebrate fall? I'm always on the hunt for fun new ideas!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

5 Ways to Turn A Bad Day Around

Monday was one of those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days. Do you have those too? The kids were awful and I was in a really bad mood. Tessa refused to put a shirt on (plus was up from midnight to 3 am), and I yelled at Eli by 9 am. Then I accidentally put the mac & cheese noodles in dirty dishwater, and my house was a disaster.


Sometimes as a stay-at-home mom, I feel like these days are my new normal. Everything goes wrong, I'm overwhelmed, and I'm home alone with these crazy children of mine. It can be tough to get out of the rut of discouragement when every day feels the same.

I find I often need a push from outside myself to get going again. A reminder from a friend, a text from my husband, a nice store salesperson, to help me remember that everything is going to be ok. So here is my push to you. If you're having a rough day, here are five ways to help reset your mood and redeem your day.



1. Get some alone time. 
I know, I know, you have little ones and this is impossible. Let's be honest, I don't even go to the bathroom alone. You'd be surprised, though, what a cup of goldfish and an episode of Daniel Tiger will accomplish. Don't feel guilty for taking a few minutes away from your kids (while they're safely occupied) to collect yourself. Even a quick chocolate bar snuck in the pantry can do the trick!

2. Listen to music.
Music can change your mood with a quick push of a button. Grab your phone and crank up a fun song to help re-set yourself. As a bonus, your kids will think it's super fun.

3. Exercise.
I'm going to be honest with you- I. Hate. Exercise. Like really really hate it. BUT, I've recently discovered that it makes me feel happier, healthier, and more engergetic. Find something that fits your life, schedule, and preferences. I currently do yoga at our local YMCA while my kids are in their child watch. I know other moms who do Pinterest workouts or YouTube videos. Find your fit and go for it!

4. Clean something.
This one might seem counter-intuitive, but often creating a clean environment around you can give your soul peace. Give your kids a cloth and let them "dust" while you get the real work done, and you'll be so glad that at least one room in your house is clean!

5. Do something you love.
I find that as a mom of young kids, my time is spent on the kids and I don't get much for myself. My hobbies often fall by the wayside. It's so important to find time to do what you love, and to make time for it, even if you're exhausted. So find a friend to help watch your kids, or sneak away during naptime to do something. I promise if you look hard enough you'll find a little time to do something you love.



And if none of these work, put yourself to bed early and remember: You are loved. Nothing beats that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Colorful Cross Baby Quilt (An Easy Way to Match Fabrics)

I make a lot of quilts with precuts, but sometimes I love to make a run to my local Joann Fabrics and whip up a baby quilt. I often spend hours wandering the aisles, looking for something (anything!) to match the fabrics I've already chosen for a quilt. Because as many of you may know, despite the amazing selection at Joann, it is hard to match enough fabrics to coordinate a full quilt. 


And so, my new solution. Choose one (just one!) key fabric. That's right, no twelve coordinating prints this time. Just. Choose. One. I went with a darling baby-themed animal print, which I used as my back plus one of my front fabrics. 


Now take your one print and match it color by color. Grab lots of solid colors or small-print fabrics that match just one color in your main fabric. I chose two oranges, a dark gray, a light gray, yellow, and two mint greens. Suddenly all your "random" color choices come together in one beautiful quilt! You can do this with any pattern, any color grouping. So have fun!


Fabric:
1 1/2 yards of main patterned fabric
1/4 yard (or fat quarters) of 6-10 coordinating fabrics
1/3 yard of fabric for binding
1 1/4 yard of quilt batting or flannel

Basic Instructions:
Cut fabric into 3 1/2" squares and 3 1/2" x 9 1/2" strips (2 squares for every one strip). Before piecing, lay out full quilt on the floor to be sure your strips and squares align properly. Sew in rows of square, square, strip. Once rows are sewn together, piece rows together into full quilt. Layer back, batting (or flannel), and pieced quilt. Pin, then quilt. I quilted each cross individually. Finish with binding.