Friday, November 02, 2018

Friday Five: November 2nd

Dipping my toes in the "Friday Five" waters...maybe this is something I can keep up with?  With my track record, no guarantees!😂  Anyway, I'm calling this week the "H" edition: homeschool, habits, health, and home.  Here are 5 things that I'm loving this week!

  1. Homeschool: Finding out that David Suchet has narrated the entire Bible and you can listen to it for free on Youtube.  Suchet is one of my favorite British actors (actually probably one of my favorite actors, period!) and we listened to his narration of the book of Mark this month for school.  It's so well-done.  I should note that it's only in NIV, just a heads up.  I prefer ESV, but we have really enjoyed listening to this and I've found it's not that much different.  
  2. Habits: One of my focuses this year was to be habits, but I haven't done as well with them as I would like.  But I'm happy to say that since we got back from our trip out west, I've actually kept up with the dishes every night for the first time this year.  It's been a whole month now, and I feel like this habit is slowly becoming...well, a habit!  It's really given me more time in my days, and I feel so victorious every time I finish the day with a clean kitchen sink.  Hurray!
  3. Health: I've been struggling in this area lately, after having a fairly good summer.  I indulged a bit too much (or a lot too much) on our trip, so now it's time to buckle down again and work on healthy habits.  One thing that I've embarked on is a 21 day THM challenge that a gal on FB has organized.  So far I have finished 2 full days of eating on plan, and I am thankful for the accountability.  Now to get back to regular exercise as well!
  4. Home: I just love being home at this time of year, and I especially love fall decorating.  Our fall foliage wasn't the best this year because of so. much. rain, but at least I can make things pretty inside!  Thankful for thrift store and dollar tree decor, and other odds and ends that I've been able to decorate with. 

  5. Homeschool (part 2 😉): Another great thing we've added into this year's morning time for school is The Same Page podcast, hosted by Mackenzie Koppa.  When we first started listening to the Core Edition (memory work) back in August, I will admit my kids were less than thrilled.  I even heard, "Do we HAVE to listen to this?!"  BUT, they did love the Literary Edition, where Mackenzie reads a chapter or so of a classic novel, 4 days a week.  The first book she did was The Wizard of Oz, and even though we've listened to Anne Hathaway's recording of the same book on Audible, I believe they enjoyed Mackenzie's reading just as much.  (The current book is Peter Pan, which they are also really enjoying!)  And now they have even become fans of the weekly memory work, and have painlessly memorized selections from Scripture, Shakespeare, and other poems and facts.  I love that Mackenzie gets her kids involved in the memory work, so there is variety in who is reading what pieces each week.  Hearing her kids recite Romeo and Juliet was just so fun!  So if you haven't checked this out, please just might be a hit with your kids, too.  
So ends my first (but hopefully not my last) Friday Five!  

Friday, July 20, 2018

Let them eat cake!

I signed up to make a cake for our town’s annual ice cream social...triple chocolate seemed like the way to go! 😊🍦

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

My mom's been encouraging me for months to join in with the Wednesday Hodgepodge hosted by Joyce at From This Side of the Pond.  So today I decided (to start my blogging engines) I would DO IT!  And so I did...and come to find out, this is the last Weds. Hodgepodge until September!!   And even then it may not be a regular feature on Joyce's blog anymore.  Oh well, hopefully I can find something else to join in on, to get the writing juices flowing!  Anyway, here we go...

1.  I feel most energized when I __________________
Hmmm, this is tough.  I think there are a couple things.  As an introvert, having time alone to recharge really refreshes and energizes me.  As you can imagine, time completely by myself is hard to come by!  So those times are few and far between, but I do enjoy them.  On the other hand, I also get recharged by spending time with friends, just talking and sharing.  Bouncing ideas off other moms energizes me.  And when I really get on a roll and stay on top of my housework, menu planning, cooking, etc...then I feel super energized and happy. 😊

2. Where were you ten years ago?
I was in the thick of mothering three little ones (now my three bigs!).  Sam was 4, Julia was 2, and Josiah was 3 mos. and had the bluest eyes!!  (Still does!)  It's amazing looking at this picture, how much he looks just like the bigger person he has become.  Sometimes I miss them at these ages, especially when I look back at pictures from those years.  But we're in a better stage of life in our family and marriage now, so I have to say I like this season better...most of the time. I think I found more time to blog back then, though!

3. July 17 is World Emoji Day.  Do you use emojis? Which one's your favorite?  Your most used?
Yep, I use them...probably way too much. 😉  My favorite is probably the😍 or the 😂 but my most used is a regular smiley. 😊 (And would you believe I didn't know there was now an emoji option on Blogger?  No more typing colons and parentheses! 😄)

4. What song would you put on a wedding DO NOT PLAY list?
My mind is drawing a blank on this one!  I'm sure there are some funny ones I could list, but can't think of any at the moment.

5. What deserves less of your attention?  More of your attention?
Less: Facebook for sure.  Internet in general!  I'm going to take a break soon, maybe next week.  More: Menu planning.  Camper renovation project.  School planning for next year.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
A few things I'm thankful for today:  A successful thrift shopping expedition (Nike sneakers for Julia for $3!  Shorts for Josiah for camp!  A cute skirt for Julia!), new books in the mail thanks to a Prime Day coupon, work coming out of Jim's ears this summer, perfect weather today.  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Long time no post!

Wow, it has been quite a while since I've posted anything...way back in March.  Crazy! 

Just this week I received a surprise package in the mail from a friend, and she mentioned that she misses my blog, and reading my goals...well, I miss blogging!  Honestly it's so hard to find even 15 minutes of quiet to sit down and write here, but I so hope I can pick it up again.  Maybe I need to start pulling some early morning "shifts" to write. :) 

I just updated my blog background because it seems that the Shabby Blogs site is down (or doesn't exist anymore?).  Bummer!  I really loved that "new" background that I found last summer.  This one is nice too, but not quite the same. 

Life carries on at a frantic pace (at times), but we are really having a lovely summer so far.  We've fit in a lot of fun things, even though Jim is busier than ever with work (we are thankful!).  Just this past week we hosted relatives from my side of the family and his, on two separate days, which was really fun.  Here are a few pictures from our time together:

{with my youngest cousin Andrew}
 {with Great-Grammy T.}
 {with Jim's cousin Troy and his family}
I've been thinking about trying to set myself some kind of blogging schedule, and maybe that will help me be consistent with posting again.  Maybe something like one day devoted to cooking/recipes, another day to natural living/health/wellness, another day to family updates...we'll see.  I know that not a lot of people still check in here very often since I'm such a sporadic blogger, but I do hope I can change that.  (I know I say that every time I start posting again...good intentions and all!)  Anyway.  We will see what I can do!  I hope that all of you who do still check in from time to time are having a good summer!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

March Habits and Goals

So, since I didn't get a February post up about habits and goals...let's make sure it happens in March! ;) 

For a recap, last month I decided to focus on drinking water for a personal healthy habit.  I was shooting for 72 oz of water per day, and I did really well for about half the month.  I found a good water tracker app for my phone and kept up with the water goals long as I remembered to record stuff in the app.  It kept me motivated, knowing I only had so much left to go each day.  Then...I slacked off, kept forgetting to record my water intake, and basically bombed the second half of the month.  Sometimes I'd get to lunchtime and realize I hadn't had a drop of water yet that day...nothing to drink other than coffee.  Oops!  So I think I need to refocus on this goal in March, and I'm going to kick it up a notch by making exercise more of a priority, too.  I did fairly well in January (isn't that the way it goes with starting a new year?!), but in February I only recorded 4 runs on the treadmill, and no other specific exercise.  No wonder my jeans have been a little tighter... :(

I have a personal goal this year of running/walking (combined) 200 miles.  So far I'm up to 24 miles (including today), which isn't bad, but isn't as far as I could be, for sure.  In March I'm setting a goal of 20 miles, and would love to do even more than that.  I also want to get back to doing my workout DVDs a couple times a week, as I see better results in muscle definition when I use those.  Summer's coming, which means short sleeve/sleeveless weather, and I'd kinda like my upper arms to not be so jiggly!!

Another goal I have set for myself is to read 40 books this year.  Last year I started using the Goodreads app, which was really fun and motivating for me.  I decided to track not just the books I read for myself, but the chapter books we read together for school, too.  I set a goal of 30 books last year, and ended up reading about 35, which was encouraging!  Granted, the majority of them were read-alouds for school, but I think about 1/4-1/3 of them were personal reads.  So far this year I'm up to 8 books total, 4 in each of the first 2 months.  I'm excited about that, and glad to be doing better with making books a priority again!  (More about what I'm reading in a future post...)

In February I also realized I still need lots of work in building that waking-up-early habit, as well as making my daily quiet time a habit!  The past few months have been rough with lack of sleep (that seems soooo much harder to deal with, the older I get!) and I struggled to get up before the kids, many days.  So that's one of my goals again for March...getting myself up by 6-6:30 each day (earlier is better, but this is a good start), so I can have that time in the Word, and hopefully exercise before the kids get up too.  It makes my whole day so much smoother if I can be ready for the day and not put off exercise or devotions till after school, because then it usually doesn't happen.  Now that Ari is starting to get back to sleeping better again, and it's getting light out earlier, I think this should be easier.

As far as goals/habits for my home (word of the year!)...the main thing I want to zero in on this month is menu planning.  I have been terrible at that over the fall and winter, and I know life would flow much more smoothly if I had a good plan every week.  I also want to utilize my crockpot more on the days we are out of the house a lot, or need to leave the house early for church.  I've also really gotten away from using my Happy Planner, except for school, and I want to get back to that.  Just last week I missed an important deadline because while I'd written it down in my planner I forgot to, you know, actually LOOK at the planner that day!  (Thankfully it all worked out okay...but it could have been a problem!)

So, to condense it are my March goals:

  • Wake up by 6-6:30 every weekday (today was a flop because my phone died in the night so my alarm didn't go off...oops!)
  • Drink at least 72 oz of water every day
  • Run/walk 20 miles and incorporate exercise DVDs twice a week
  • Finish 4 books
  • Make a menu plan every week
  • Make a to-do list in my planner daily (and check said list!)
I think that will give me plenty to work on this month!  How about you?  Do you have specific goals for this month?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"The Pause that Refreshes"

I started a post back on February first...seriously, I did.  It was called "February Goals and Habits" and it was about 2 sentences long before I got distracted and never got back to it.  Arrrgggghhh!  WHY do I have such a hard time prioritizing blogging, which is something I enjoy?  Anyway, here's me, being determined to write at least one post this month, and since it's the last day of the month, this will be it. ;)

Years ago I read through the Mitford series and one line stayed with me... the mayor, in talking about the town of Mitford, commented that "Mitford would like to be the pause that refreshes."  I love that.  And I've been thinking I don't have enough of my own "pauses" in life!  This week, though, has been a bit of a pause, and I'm enjoying it.  Our schedule since last summer has been pretty jam-packed.  As the kids get older we have more activities than we used to...although we still have very few activities compared to most of our public school friends!  But one thing we have prioritized over the past year and a half is swim lessons for the three older kids.  Because they are in two different levels, we have lessons on both Mondays and Tuesdays.  This means a trip into town (15 minutes each way) twice a week, plus usually another trip at some point to do a full grocery shopping for the week.  Then every couple weeks or so I've been trying to take Ari to preschool storytime at the library, and/or moms' group which meets at a local church.  I feel like it's good to give her some social time with kids her own age, since she's the "caboose" in our family.  :)  These events fall in the middle or end of the week, plus we have prayer meeting/kids' club at church on Thursdays.  So, all that to say that most weeks, we are out of the house for something almost every day.  Again, not a busy schedule compared to many families...but busy, for us!  But it's a season, especially with the swim lessons, and we have wanted to keep them going with that as long as possible, since once you take a break it's really hard to get back in...they have a long waiting list.   Anyway, this week is school vacation here in NH, and this week (and last) have also been a break between swim sessions, so I've been thoroughly enjoying the extra staying-home time and it feels good to catch my breath a bit in this "pause."  I even menu-planned on paper for the first time in months!!  While we are still doing most of our schoolwork, we are taking a spontaneous break from our together read-aloud time in the mornings, which has actually felt really good.  It's everyone's favorite part of school (mine, too!), but sometimes it's nice to change things up and this has been the right week for that.  Jim's been home, we've been sugaring, and the weather has been so beautiful that we've wanted the kids to be outside playing and helping as much as possible.  Taking time off from a little bit of school has allowed for that, and it's been nice.

And to bed for another pause that refreshes.  I hope to put up another post before the end of the week, about my goals/plans for March...let's see if this one actually happens!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

My Word(s) for 2018

**note: I wrote this post several weeks ago, meant to go back and polish it/add to it, and kept forgetting.  I decided instead of striving for perfection, I'm just going to hit "publish" and get it out there!! I hope to post later this week about the habit(s) I want to focus on in February. **

I've been mulling over what word to choose for my "word of the year" and having a hard time narrowing it down!  The trend in the blogger world these days is to choose one word that you'd like to define your year, and I've enjoyed doing that for the past several years.  Last year's word was thrive, as I came out of a season of "survival mode" (hello, newborn/infant years after many years off!!), and I feel like I made good progress toward thriving instead of surviving.  Another year I chose the word love, and still another year I chose two words, intention and worship.

This year I've once again decided to go with two words that I hope will define 2018: habits and home.  Over the past few years, but especially last year, I've realized that habits are something I really, really need to zero in on.  When I have good habits going, my life runs more smoothly, I have more energy, and I feel more productive.  Conversely, when I fall out of those habits (whether it be exercise, getting up early, keeping up with the dishes...), then things feel all out of control around me and I get more stressed, and am not really a fun person to be around!  I also see the need to work with my kids to build good habits in their lives, as well.  So, habit(s) was one word that stuck out to me, but I wasn't completely sure if that was THE word I wanted to choose for my just seemed kind of...I don't know...boring? (Sorry, mom, I know that's not your favorite word! ;))  But then on Sunday it hit me...another word I could use in conjunction with habits, and together they would form the theme I really wanted to focus on this year: home.  You see, I had already decided who to choose for a literary mentor for this year, and it's Sally Clarkson...and the first of her books I'm reading is The Life-giving Home.  And thus, as so many habits involve home, and the keeping of it...and another thing on my heart is opening my home to others (another "h" word: hospitality!) seemed the perfect choice for my second word of the year.

I can't wait to see what will happen in my heart and home as I focus on these two words!  I also want to pick one habit per month to work on.  It makes sense to me to just babystep my way to better habits, although of course I hope to work on more than one thing at once...but just put my biggest focus on one, if that makes sense.  And January is for getting back to basics in the most important area, a daily devotion/quiet time.  I want to make sure I spend at least a few minutes every morning in the Word and prayer, so that is my habit for this month!  My secondary habit (but one that closely ties into the devotion one) is getting up earlier every morning.  My sweet friend just lent me her copy of Hello Mornings by Kat Lee, which I am so excited to read and gain inspiration from!