What I’m Into, September 2014


This month, I was into SHIPS!

This month, I was into SHIPS!

Goodbye September, hello “What I’m Into”!  I love reading everyone’s post in this link-up hosted by Leigh Kramer.

Reading…so much!  Between listening to audiobooks while I drive and staying up too late to read just one more chapter, I’ve read so many great books lately.  I know I’m late to the party, but I loved The Invention of Wings.  And JK Rowling’s second mystery in the Cormoran Strike series, The Silkworm, was even better than her first.  I could listen to Jim Dale read anything, but The Night Circus was a great story, too, although the end seemed a little unsatisfying.

Watching…I didn’t watch too much of anything in September, but I’m excited about the new fall shows!  Looking forward to old favorites Parenthood, The Mindy Project, Scandal, and Parks and Rec, and interested in checking out

Listening…to Spotify playlists while I work.  They have some good instrumental ones for when I really need to concentrate, but I have to admit I’ve been rocking out to Welcome to the 90s!  Takes me right back to my high school and college days.

Fitness-ing…I’ll talk more about this in my monthly goals update in a couple of days, but my motivation is still at a nearly all-time low.  I think if I had more than a handful of full night’s sleeps in the last 14 months, I might be more excited about getting up early to run.

Thankful for…the mile loops that’s recently been mowed around the perimeter of the church property where I live.  It’s been great for going on walks by myself and with the family.  The local cross-country team practices on it once a week, so they’re inspiring me to get out there for a run, too.

Planning…summer vacation for next year.  Yes, it’s a long time off still, but my parents want to do a trip with the whole extended family, so we’ve been having some epic group text conversations about locations, condos, and the logistics of traveling with 6 adults and 5 kids.  (Right now we’re thinking about a beach vacation near Gulf Shores, AL.) Because I know right around the corner the kids will be out of school and we’ll be headed on our Summer vacation! We take it about the same time every year, and this year we’ll be heading to one of our favorite spots! To the sugar white sands, and emerald green blue waters of Panama City Beach, Florida, all my family already started packing even though it’s a month apart, I have to admit that I have done some vacation shopping too, I have gotten the best swimsuits and even cool Diff sunglasses.

We are so excited. As with probably ALL of us, our family starts counting down the days to vacation! We even start saving our pennies even more so, as I shared in this post last year. It all helps with the build up, excitement and teaching our kids to help save money. So here’s some thoughts I have when Planning the Perfect Beach Vacation ~ especially if you’re headed to the Panama City Beach area.

Wearing…not too many fall clothes yet.  Each day starts out cool, foggy, and fall-like, but by after it’s nearly 80 degrees and jeans and boots just make me feel gross and sweaty.  So I’m sticking with summer clothes for just a little longer.

Traveling…to Baltimore!  I love traveling (especially sorrynotsorry traveling without kids.  Love them to death, but they’re creatures of routine and travel is like the anti-routine.)  I’ll be back to the East Coast next spring on a trip with my husband to the Q Conference.  Yippee!

Cooking…ALL PUMPKIN EVERYTHING.  (Check out these dried pumpkin chips from Gigi Eats Celebrities!)  Also, fall=chili season!  I love regular beef chili (with sour cream and crumbled up tortilla chips, please, hold the Fritos) but I think my absolute favorite chili these days is this Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili.  I’m taking it for my office Soup Day today, and I bought double of everything to make a freezer meal too.  (Dump all the ingredients in a freezer bag and freezer flat.  When you’re ready to cook, thaw overnight in the fridge then put in crockpot all day.)

Looking forward to…seeing my 4 year old play in his first soccer game.  I don’t think he’s clear on the point of the game, and just knows he’s not supposed to touch the ball with his hands, so it should be interesting.

Excited about…a Southwest Missouri blogger meet-up later this month, and hearing what’s coming next for Missouri Women Bloggers.

Have you ever been to Gulf Shores?  What do you do when your motivation is low?  What should I read next?

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Creating a Capsule Wardrobe with Polyvore


I’ll be honest — I’ve never really understood Polyvore.  I enjoy looking at cute outfits on Pinterest as much as the next girl, but making digital collages of overpriced clothes isn’t really my thing.  But as I’ve been thinking about and shopping for my fall capsule wardrobe, it struck me that Polyvore would be the perfect way to make sure all the items I was choosing for my wardrobe would go together, without having to tear apart my closet.

It took me a little bit of playing around to get it right but here’s the trick to making Polyvore work for a capsule wardrobe, rather than giving you serious clothes-envy over its endless selection (and unlimited budget):  the “like” button.  When you like an item in Polyvore, it puts into into a separate tab, which you can then use to create lots of different outfits (they call them “sets”) and save them to look at later.

I got my fall/winter clothes and shoes out of storage recently, so I started by searching to items on Polyvore that are similar to clothes I already have that I want to include in my fall wardrobe.  (Don’t worry if they’re not identical, just get something close enough so you can tell what the outfit will look like.)  My goal is between 30-40 items (including shoes) for my entire wardrobe and I’m not quite there yet.  This leaves me a little room to do some shopping to fill in the holes.  I know I still need a dress of some sort and a black cardigan.  Since I can see everything I already have, it was pretty easy to figure out what I was lacking.

The awesome thing about this is that being limited to a few items really makes you get creative with how you put outfits together.  I call this one “Lazy Saturday.”  Stretchy pants, and hoodie and Toms…  oh yeah.

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 12.39.16 PM



My goal is to come up with at least 3 different ways to wear each item in my wardrobe.  With a small wardrobe, everything has to pull its own weight.   Polyvore makes it really easy to figure out if I can mix and match something enough to make it capsule-worthy.  (Are you thinking about Seinfeld now?  Mwah ha ha.)

What’s your favorite thing to wear in the fall?  

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What I’m Into, August 2014

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer today to talk about what I’m into these days.  I’ve found a lot of great blogs through this link-up, so I’d really encourage you to check out some of the other links, too.  August – don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.  Here’s how I’ve been muddling through:

Wearing…my pjs for half the day on my work-at-home days!  I look like a total scrub, but it’s awesome to get up and get some work or blog stuff done early in the mornings instead of spending time getting ready.

“Reading”…audiobooks!  They are God’s gift to commuters.  I’m just finishing up The Book of Unknown Americans and getting ready to start The Night Circus.  If you’ve listened to one recently that you liked, let me know!

unknown americans

Watching…my sad streak of having no time to watch TV continues, but my son’s latest obsession is Octonauts.  I secretly love it.  He has requested that I address him as Captain Barnacles, which is just ridiculous enough to make me laugh every time.  The “Creature report, creature report!” song at the end of each episode is awfully catchy, and anthromorphized turnips are way too cute.  (See that little yellow guy on the left side?)


Listening…to Time for Three, a classical trio that plays non-classical music.  I don’t normally listen to music while I work, but I’ve found that I need a little background noise when I’m working at home and this instrumental stuff does the trick, plus I was able to try these cheap studio monitors which make the sound ten times better.

Fitness-ing…I’ve been really hit-or-miss with working out lately, but I ran a 5K a couple of weeks ago and did pretty well!  It just goes to show that you can’t judge yourself as a newbie against someone who’s been doing something for a long time.  I’ve been running on and off since I was in 7th grade, so it comes pretty naturally to me even when I haven’t been doing it too often.  Lifting weights on the other hand, is very new to me, so it’s really easy to get discouraged when I feel like I lose all my progress just by taking a few weeks off.

Thankful for…the teenage girls at our new church who love to play with my kids.  (The benefits of going to a church without too many small children — we’re quite a novelty!)  I’m pretty sure I’ll never have trouble finding a babysitter in this town.

Planning…how to fit in exercise and blogging to my new schedule.

Cooking…well, can I brag on my husband’s cooking a little bit?  He’s a really great cook but he hasn’t done much of the cooking for the family in the past few years.  Now that I’m getting home from work later, he has really stepped up and taken over cooking dinner (in addition to kid wrangling), so most nights that I commute, I walk in to the house and dinner is ready to eat!  Now if I could just get him to have a cocktail ready for me, I’d really be living the dream.

June & Ward we're not -- and that's a good thing!

June & Ward we’re not — and that’s a good thing!

Drinking…no, it is NOT pumpkin spice latte time yet! It’s been crazy hot this month (so many 100 degree days, ugh) so I’ve been drinking lots of water, nuun, and lemonade.


Looking forward to…fall!  It’s my favorite season.  Pretty leaves, cool evenings, football tailgate parties, jeans and boots, I love it all.

Excited about…a work trip to Baltimore coming up next month.  This means three things: 1.  SLEEP!  Sweet, sweet uninterrupted sleep, how I covet thee.  2.  Mmm… seafood.  3.  I’m also hoping to meet up with at least one blogger friend while I’m there.  (And, oh yeah, 4.  I’ll learn tons about municipal law while I’m there, too, of course!)

Do you love fall, too?  What’s your favorite part about traveling for work?

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Finding my place in a new town

Ava Missouri MO Map professionally designed by GreatCitees.com and used under a creative commons license.

Slowly but surely, the move-that-will-not-end is nearing its end, so now it’s time for me to try to start finding where I fit in my new town.  Do you know what I mean? 

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When you’ve lived in a place for a long time, you know your way around, you know where you go to get groceries, your favorite restaurants, where to get a good cup of coffee, back roads, where to get your oil changed and your hair cut, your neighbor you can call to borrow a cup of flour, and a friend who will bring you ice cream when you’re having a bad day.

Now that I’ve moved, I have to find all those things all over again!  I know a lot of it will happen naturally as I spend more time here and get to know more people, but I feel like I should be doing something to speed the process along.  Here’s my plan:

I’m a runner:  find some local 5Ks to run in

I’m a cook: check out the local health food store (yes, there actually is one!)

I’m a mom: find some fun stuff for my kids to do… maybe fall soccer?

I’m a reader: check out the local library.  Also — Laura Ingalls Wilder lived less than 20 miles from here!  Gotta visit her house.

I love a good dinner out: try out some of the restaurants that people have recommended to me (even if it means I have to drive 30 minutes for really good pizza!

I’m a knitter/sew-er/crafter: I think there’s a quilt shop?  Must investigate.

I’m a friend: Stalk potential friends until they agree to hang out with me.  Wait… maybe that’s not such a good plan?

Clearly, making friends as an adult can be a little awkward.  How did you get to know your current best friends?

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The good and the bad — moving & commuting edition


You guys… moving suuuuuuucks. But we are definitely on the downhill slope now. More stuff is in the new house than the old, and we are living full-time in the parsonage (and I’m commuting to work 3 days a week).

Even though life is pretty crazy right now, I thought I’d check in with a quick post inspired by Kim at Day with KT.

The good:  Our house is on the 39-acre church property, and our views are just gorgeous.  Here’s what I see out my front door!


The bad:  No neighbors!  At our old house, we had really good friends who lived in the house right behind us and our kids were always going back and forth between our yards to play together.  I really miss that!

The good:  My two days of working from home are glorious.  I get so much done — no interruptions! — and no driving.

The bad:  On the days I don’t work from home?  I spend about 2 1/2 hours in the car getting to work and back.  Ouch.  (Although views like this on the way to work help!)


The good:  We are unpacking as we go, and I feel pretty settled in the new house.

The bad:  Half our furniture, and everything from the attic and the garage, are still at the old house — how did we accumulate so much junk, and where is it all going to go? If you love furnitures, check out this new bunkbeds virginia beach va at grandfurniture.com. It’s a perfect centerpiece for your child’s room.
What is good and bad in your world right now?

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Business casual capsule wardrobe, Summer 2014

Photo Credit: peddhapati via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: peddhapati via Compfight cc

Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that will not go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be updated with seasonal pieces.This idea was popularised by American designer Donna Karan, who, in 1985, released an influential capsule collection of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces.

The term has come to refer to a collection of clothing which is designed using only interchangeable items, in order to maximise the number of outfits which can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. If you’re planning to put up a fashion business and in need of financial support you can visit https://loanovao.co.uk/100-pound/ and get the help you need. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colors.  Thanks Wikipedia!

Lately, I’ve noticed the worlds of fashion blogging and simple living joining forces, with bloggers creating stylish, interchangeable wardrobes from 10-37 pieces of clothing and selling it through online with WebDesign499 (that’s a pretty broad range, but I think it depends if you count shoes and other accessories).  I mentioned Unfancy and Kapachino in my last post, but Project 333 and even a Huffington Post columnist are getting into the game.

I was interested in trying out the capsule wardrobe concept because I hated the feeling of walking into my closet every morning and feeling like I had nothing to wear, and continually choosing the same few items.  Wouldn’t it be easier if I just pared down my wardrobe to only things I wanted to wear?  I decided on a whim in late June to try to create my own capsule wardrobe out of items I already owned.  My plan was to follow the Unfancy model of 37 items (9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms, 15 tops, 2 dresses and 2 jackets/coats).  I ended up going down to 27 items and not worrying about my shoes (since I wasn’t buying anything new anyway).  I searched the web and Pinterest for inspiration, and while I found lots of cute outfits, I wasn’t finding a lot for people who work in an office environment.  Should all my outfits be dressy?  What about casual Fridays?  And what about the weekend?  

Of course, there is no fashion police, so after some internal debate, I just made up my own rules.  I would create a wardrobe of items that I could wear for work or weekends, but super-casual wear like workout clothes, pjs, lounge pants, etc. wouldn’t count.

The wardrobe I ended up with isn’t perfect — between maternity wear and post-maternity wear taking up so much of my clothing for the last 4 years, I haven’t done the best job keeping my wardrobe current with basics like non-pit-stained white shirts and trendier stuff like longer t-shirts, new jeans, etc.  Also — these are crappy iphone photos that I snapped in a hurry and the clothes are wrinkly.  This is real life, not a professional photo shoot, right?

Also, something I’ve noticed about my capsule as compared to most I’ve seen online?  I love color and pattern.  Wearing a bright yellow sweater or kelly green pants just makes my day.  Working these items into a very small wardrobe that’s supposed to be all interchangeable poses an interesting challenge.  Here’s what I came up with.

First up – t-shirts.  Some casual, some dressier.  Some I’ve owned for years and others are new-ish.  I ended up hating and rarely wearing that white one with the lace trim since I felt like the horizontal stripes highlighted my pooch.  And that printed bicycle tee doesn’t look like much on the hangar, but I’ve probably worn it once a week all summer and I get tons of compliments on it.  (From JC Penney, no less!) If you need bags to go with your clothes, check out these neoprene bags and pochettes.


Next… “fancier” shirts — ones with collars, basically, plus a 3/4 sleeve cardi (I love yellow!) and a short sleeve knit sweater that I made myself.  (Sadly it’s too short for current styles… I shouldn’t have included it but how do you get rid of a lace sweater you knit on size 2 needles?)  I would wear all of these for work… hopefully after they’d been ironed.wpid-IMG_3619.jpg

 Bottoms — I bought a lot of “crazy pants” (patterns and bright colors) on a shopping trip with my mom after I was mostly back to pre-pregnancy size, so that’s what I used in my capsule.  These are not exactly the kind of classic pieces that a capsule wardrobe was meant to be built upon, but I’ve been wearing them a lot nonetheless!


Skirts!  (Not pictured are a couple of pairs of shorts that I wear on the weekends.)  I love the cut of that gray A-line skirt but dang the fabric is wrinkly… something to keep in mind when you’re going to be wearing the same stuff over and over!


Last but not least — dresses, a suit, and some blouses.  I am a lawyer after all, I do have to dress up on occasion.  I chose my “summery-est” suit, mostly because I thought I could also break it up and wear the jacket and pants as separates.  But let’s be honest, it’s way too hot to wear a jacket unless I need to be in a suit.  (Isn’t that blue and green dress adorable?  It’s from Stitch Fix and I love it.  Excellent post-partum-pooch hiding style.)


So – that’s my capsule wardrobe!  I will definitely be doing this again for fall, hopefully with a well-timed shopping trip to fill in a few gaps and add a few updates/trendy pieces.

Lessons learned:

  • This was pretty easy for me because I was already used to wearing a relatively small number of clothes.  I hated spending money on maternity clothes so I just wore them over and over. Click this link for more details http://greendayonline.com/installment-loans-for-bad-credit/
  • Most of my clothes are from Banana Republic, Ann Taylor Loft, Old Navy, and a smattering of Stitch Fix and other internet purchases.  Quality matters!  I have a basic black t-shirt from Banana Republic that looks as good as new, while the Old Navy and Loft stuff shows its age a lot more quickly.  It’s definitely worth watching the sale rack to get the higher quality clothes.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the dress!  Just one item in a limited wardrobe and it’s all you have to wear for the day.  Throw a jacket, cardigan, or unbuttoned blouse over it for a completely different look.
  • Sometimes you have to break the rules, and that’s okay.  My job duties changed recently and I’m required to wear suits more often than I used to — obviously I’m not going to wear the same suit over and over.  But luckily I’ve acquired a few over the years so I just wore those on the days I needed to dress up, then went back to my capsule for the rest of the week.
  • As limited as this wardrobe seems, I still find myself gravitating to my “favorites” — probably 10 or so pieces that I would wear over and over if I doing laundry were no object.
  • Accessories become a lot more fun when you wear the same clothes over and over.  I have enjoyed wearing more of my earrings and necklaces than normal, and I am pining after a new purse and some new shoes.
  • I included too many casual tops and not enough dressy ones. I have to dress up for work 5 days a week, so I need to make that a priority in my wardrobe.

Would you ever try a capsule wardrobe?  What is one item of clothing that you would absolutely have to include?


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Managing a move with small kids

I haven’t been around this blog too much this summer, because I’ve been busy moving and getting settled into our new home and new town.  My blog-friend Jana offered to write a guest post that is chock-full of awesome advice for people in my situation.  I hope you find it as helpful as I did!

~ ~ ~

Last summer, after 9 years, my husband and I decided it was time to move out of our townhouse. We had been considering it for a couple of years but between the terrible school district we lived in and the…incident that happened in the house next door, we finally pulled the trigger and put our house on the market.

Thanks to a fantastic realtor, our house sold quickly and in less than 90 days, we were in our new home (the drama it took to get the new home is another discussion). In the year we’ve been here, the quality of our life has improved dramatically and I can’t believe we waiting as long as we did.

That said, I must confess that “unpleasant” is too soft of a word to describe the whole moving process. Especially when you take my then-6 year old daughter into consideration. When you’re moving yourself or just adults, it’s a fairly uncomplicated, albeit cumbersome, process. When you add children into the mix, you’re bringing on a whole set of extra circumstances that you need to prepare for, and don’t forget that we even tried Making Moving Easy With Home Moving Services so we wouldn’t have as much as stress, I think that if we would have done it by ourselves we would probably be crazy by now.

And so you’re not caught off guard like I was, here’s a few situations and how to handle them:


If you have kids, you know how important their toys are. However, those toys? Also need to be packed and if you pack the wrong ones, you’re looking at a complete meltdown. And honestly, who wants to deal with the ensuing tantrum packing mermaid Barbie causes when you’re trying to pack an entire house? Not me. Probably not you, either.

To prevent that, have your kid help you pack their toys. Set a limit on how many they can keep out, explain that the toys are only being put away for a little bit and that they’ll see them again in the new house, and let them pick ones get packed last minute.


Keeping a routine for the kids is rather difficult when you’re thrust into the chaos of moving. While they are more flexible than we sometimes give them credit for, it is still necessary to stick to somewhat of an eating schedule. Because there are few things worse than a hungry kid. And to save your budget, you also need to make sure that you’re not constantly going out to eat. Which is hard to do when your pots, pans, and dishes are packed away.

Although not ideal, for a few days, keep some prepackaged, microwaveable foods and single serve snacks in the house (even the shelf stable fruit cups and stuff can work), or keep a limited amount of stuff in the fridge, like fruit and cheese sticks. Use disposable dishes and silverware. Make an event out of it, like having a picnic on the floor. And, if you are going to bring in all the time, especially in the days leading up to the move, explain to the kids that this is a “special situation”. You don’t want them to come to expect this as the new normal!

Moving day

Whether you hire movers or do it yourself, there will come a day when your stuff needs to be moved. You’re also going to have a few hours when you’ll need to sign all that fun paperwork, like the mortgage documents. It’s a frustrating, exhausting time and you know what makes it even more frustrating and exhausting? Having kids underfoot the entire time.

If you can, send them to their daycare or hire a babysitter or leave the kids with a neighbor, friend, or family member for a few hours on moving day. This not only prevents the kids from getting underfoot while you’re, say, trying to move heavy bedroom furniture from https://ivyandwilde.com/ down a flight of stairs or moving a TV through a doorway, and therefore prevents injury, but it keeps them busy and occupied so you’re not having to stress about them (read: deal with their whining) and you can concentrate on moving.

Just make sure you’re budgeting for it, especially if you have pay someone. Moving comes with enough unexpected expenses; you don’t want this one to creep up on you too!

Another tip: keep your kids involved in the whole moving/selling/buying process. Even if they’re little, they still understand that something is changing and including them in the process makes it somewhat less stressful. Visit this site www.bundlesofjoy-shopping.co.uk/personalised-baby-gifts for ideas that deals about personalised baby gifts.

Moving is never easy, and moving with kids certainly throws another ball in the air. But if you manage it using some of these tips, it’ll make it that much easier.

How about you guys? Have you ever moved with small kids? What would you add to this list?

Jana Lynch is a blogger at Jana Says, mom, wife, animal lover, avid reader, newbie runner and runs the blog mentoring program Bloggers Helping Bloggers. Stop by and say hi to her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram!

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What I’m Into, July 2014


It’s the end of July… what a busy month for me: we moved and my baby turned one!  (I’ll have a birthday party post soon, I promise.)  Just to lighten things up around here, I thought I’d join in on the What I’m Into fun.  To see other posts like this, check out Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into link-up.

Wearing…my summer capsule wardrobe, inspired by the blogs Unfancy and Kapachino.  I created it almost exclusively out of clothes I already owned, and it is making it exceedingly clear to me that I need to go shopping!  But I’m trying to be good and hold out until fall.  (That’s part of the capsule wardrobe concept — you only shop 4 times a year.)  I really want to blog about it, because there isn’t a lot out there about capsule wardrobes for people who work in a business environment, but I haven’t quite figured out how to photograph everything.  I’ll work on it.

ListeningShazammed recently: Come Get It Bae, Pharrell Williams, I’m Ready, AJR. Favorite new podcast: Marriage Start-up.  Favorite radio show: Old School Lunch Hour…90’s rap and hip hop, need I say more?

Watching…When do people find time to watch TV?  Seriously… I’m not one of those no-TV snobs, I actually like TV!  I miss it.  Other than my beloved SYTYCD, I haven’t watched anything in weeks.  I never even finished Season 2 of Orange is the New Black!

Reading…Shotgun Lovesongs by Nikolas Butler and Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.  Everyone raves about Crossing to Safety, but can I admit that I’m enjoying the other book more?  It just has a more compelling storyline.

Fitness-ing…I started Mutu recently to work on my diastasis recti (ab separation) problem.  It’s slow going, but I think it is helping.  I’ve also been taking advantage of the beautifully cool weather we’ve been having, and running a couple days a week on my lunch break.

Thankful for…my sister, who I can call or text about anything from figuring out what to make for dinner to major life-stress-freakouts.  She is awesome, and always calms me down with some practical and funny advice.

Planning…to move more of our stuff and get more permanently situated in our new home very soon, since my son will be starting preschool there in mid-August.

Cooking…lots of food on the grill, still loving my freezer meals, and these apple muffins!

Drinking…Mount Hagen Organic Cafe instant coffee.  Yes, I said instant.  Because of the two-house living situation that my husband and I are in right now, there are a lot of mornings when I’m the only coffee drinker in the house and it just seems like a waste to make a whole pot of coffee.  This stuff is amazingly good for instant coffee.  And it’s awesome for iced coffee, too.  I also started brewing kombucha again.  I need to get some juice to flavor it — it’s pretty strong straight up!

Looking forward to…working from home a couple of days a week starting very soon!  I think I’ll be super productive without so many interruptions at the office, and it will be awesome not to have to commute every single day.

What have you been into lately?

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Party planning

Photo Credit: Aih. via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Aih. via Compfight cc

So… my baby’s turning ONE next weekend. How in the heck did that happen? While I’m over here pondering the existential nature of time and my place in the universe, do you guys mind planning a birthday party for me? I seriously lack the party planning gene.  We’ve got both sets of grandparents coming in as well as 1-3 aunts/uncles and 2-5 cousins (all 7 and under).  Here’s what I think I need:

  • Cake (big brother says Sam wants a blueberry cake)
  • Decorations (I have a leftover “Happy birthday” banner from J’s party, some paper lanterns, and a fabric scrap garland — that’s festive, right?)
  • Lunch (preferably something easy to make for a crowd)
  • Birthday activity – I’m thinking I may just gather up all our outdoor toys and let the bigger kids loose outdoors… or maybe go to the pool?
  • Something else?  What am I forgetting?  (oh yeah… we’re also baptizing Sam this weekend.  He probably needs something to wear other than his standard Carter’s romper.  Argh.)

Have you hosted a party recently where you fed a crowd some delicious food?  Do you make a killer blueberry cake?  Hit me up with recipes, party planning ideas, etc.  (I refuse to look at Pinterest at this point — it will give me a panic attack.)

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Gettin’ crafty with DIY Mama #askawayfriday

Two blog posts in a single week?  Yes, it’s really true!  It’s Friday so that can only mean … it’s Ask Away Friday time!  This week I traded questions with Shelly from DIY Mama — she has a really cute blog where she chronicles life as a new mom and talk about all the DIY projects she tries… the good, the bad and the ugly.  I love it when people are honest about how DIY projects really go!  Check out her family command center (and learn that magnetic paint is no bueno).
Here are Shelly’s questions for me:
1.  Loving that you do Project Life! Did your parents scrapbook or did you just want to have the memories for yourself and your kids on your own?
Confession time… I have majorly been slacking on my scrapbooking!  Ever since the great Snapfish debacle earlier this year, I haven’t printed a single picture, much less organized them in any way.  I will catch up though!!!
My parents were not scrapbookers, although I do remember them lugging around a huge VHS recorder to dance recitals and school programs, so the urge to record memories was definitely there.  (Let’s just hope those tapes never see the light of day!)
2. What is your favorite way to unwind after a crazy day (pretending your boys are already in bed.) 😉
Pretending indeed!  I swear, if I have both kids in bed before 9pm I consider it a MAJOR victory.  Usually it’s closer to 10.  Ugh.  But let’s just say some miracle happens and I actually get some free time in the evening… I’m pretty boring – I like to read, watch TV with my husband and have a glass of wine, or just go to sleep early!
3. We just drove through the Show Me State! We stayed a few days in St. Louis for the 4th to see the festival, fireworks and City Museum! What is your all time favorite thing to do in your state?
St. Louis is a really fun city, especially with kids.  I think my favorite thing to do in Missouri is to go hiking in our state parks — some of my favorites are Roaring River, Elephant Rocks, and Taum Sauk.
4. What is the wackiest belief you had as a child? (Borrowed from Tamara from Tamara Like Camera)
I had a bizarre fear that pirates were going to come into my bedroom at night and stab me in the ear… so clearly the best way to protect myself was to sleep with a lot of covers over my head.  (That way the knife would only go through the blankets and miss my head?!)
5. Where did your love of sewing and knitting come from? What is your favorite creation?
I learned to sew and knit from my mom.  I didn’t really love it as a kid, though.  I think the reason I like it now is because it’s such a contrast from my job as a lawyer – I get to work with my hands and a project actually has a finite beginning, middle and END.
My favorite creation(s) are the hats I’ve knit for my husband.  He shaves his head so when it’s cold outside he wears them ALL THE TIME.  There is nothing better for a knitter than seeing our work actually get used to keep someone warm.
6. If there were 5 extra hours in the day, what would you spend them doing?
Oh, wouldn’t that be awesome?  I’d spend them doing the things I love that I feel like I hardly ever have time for anymore — reading, knitting, cooking, running, and sleeping.
7. What was the last book you read and last movie you saw in theaters? Do you recommend?
I *just* talked about the last book I read in my last post, but Hmm… the last movie?  I almost never go to the movies so this is a tough one.  Maybe Silver Linings Playbook?  It’s good!  I hear the book is good too, and pretty different from the movie, but I haven’t read it yet.
8. Choose ANY photo that you’ve not shared on your blog and tell the story behind it.
This photo was taken in May 2010, and I just love it because three of my best friends and I had all just had babies within 3 months of each other.  All these little babies are 4 now, and they are just so much fun.  It has been so great to figure out this whole parenting thing right alongside such good friends.  (Three of us had a second round of babies about a year ago, too.  You’ve been warned — don’t drink the water!)
9. What is your favorite thing to do with your three boys (husband is included!)
Despite the hype, babies aren’t really all that exciting, so our family activities these days are pretty tame.  I’d say our favorite thing to do is take a walk around our neighborhood (we have a pond a few streets over, so my 4 yr old like to go check out the ducks) or go hiking at the nature center near our house.
10. What is something you’re proud of before your life as a wife and mom?
I am proud that I was brave enough to study abroad in Spain for a whole year.  I took college classes in Spanish (not Spanish classes — stuff like Econ and Marketing!), traveled a TON while I was there, learned so much about myself, and became a more independent person.


Thanks for the great questions, Shelly!  If you want to hear more about her, including why she has a photo of herself holding a Jimmy John’s sandwich while wearing a wedding dress, click over and check out her blog!

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